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Penn State Adds Italy to Restricted Travel List, Working to Bring Students There Home

by on February 29, 2020 12:19 AM

Penn State has aded Italy to its restricted list for university-affiliated travel amid the global novel coronavirus outbreak, the university announced in a release late Friday night.

The decision comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated its coronavirus travel notice for Italy to a Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) and the State Department raised its travel advisory for Italy to a Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). As of Friday, Italy had 820 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and 21 deaths

As part of the new classification, Penn State Global Programs has instructed students in Italy to make travel arrangements home and has provided options for assistance.

The university says it is working with program providers and administrators on campus to minimize this disruption to academic plans. Additionally, the Education Abroad Office will work with students on a case-by-case basis to mitigate both the academic and financial impact of this decision. The Global Safety Office will continue to monitor the evolving situation.

Faculty and staff currently in Italy are “strongly encouraged” to return home as well. Any future travel to Italy will require senior administration approval — coming from the provost or university risk officer.

“The safety of all students, faculty and staff traveling internationally is Penn State’s highest priority, and the university has made these decisions with the health and well-being of student and employee travelers in mind,” the university said in the release.

More than 83,000 cases and 2,800 deaths from the novel coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, the vast majority in China where it originated in late 2019. COVID-19 has been confirmed in 56 countries and on six continents. The United States had 62 cases as of Friday, none in Pennsylvania.

Earlier Friday, Penn State announced it was suspending university-affiliated travel to China and South Korea and canceling any short-term trips like spring break embedded courses to Italy and Japan. As the situation continues to develop, the university will post updates and additional resources on its site dedicated to the coronavirus, which can be accessed here.


Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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