AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University has suspended spring break study abroad programs due to the novel coronavirus.
95 students will not travel to Africa, Asia and Europe for their study abroad experiences. Iowa State is still deciding on the outcome for its spring break trips to Central America, South America, Canada and Australia.
Iowa State University International Risk Analyst Shaun Jamieson said, “there’s a heightened risk in travel alone. I think those are some of the distinctions we would make for deciding whether to suspend a program already in progress versus cancel one that has not started yet.”
All 135 students studying abroad in Italy for the spring semester have been asked to cut their trip short.
Sophomore Jackson Bridie said he received an email at 3:00 a.m. last Friday to book a return flight home.
“It was kind of a stressing way to find out when we all woke up and figured out we were getting sent home,” Bridie said.
Bridie was waiting to start his program in northern Italy when the school canceled classes last week.
Iowa State’s Study Abroad Director Frank Peters said the school is working to find alternative ways to help its students not fall behind in their work.
“At this time, I think the majority of the courses are going to be salvaged and then we are working up contingency plans if a student needs one or two more courses especially, for a graduating senior,” Peters said.
As of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday 92 students from Italy have returned back to the United States.
The university is advising all students to self-isolate themselves for 14 days before getting back into a normal routine.
Bridie said he was surprised by the airport screening process.
“In northern Italy where the outbreaks were concentrated at in Italy and we didn’t get our temperature checked, no questions really. The only thing that we got asked when we entered the United States they asked if we had been in contact with anyone that was sick and we said no,” Bridie said.
Iowa State is currently housing three students away from the general population during their 14-day isolation.
Iowa State said they will reimburse up to $1,200 in change flight fees for its students.