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Coronavirus Outbreak Spurs Cancellation of South Korea Education Abroad

The University of Maryland has suspended Education Abroad programs in South Korea this semester in light of growing novel coronavirus risk in that country, Mary Ann Rankin, provost and senior vice president, announced yesterday in a campuswide email.

Rankin said the decision followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raising its travel advisory for South Korea to Warning Level 3, which advises against nonessential travel. UMD previously stopped authorizing travel to China, the only other country with Warning Level 3, and canceled participation in Spring 2020 Education Abroad programs there.

The university will immediately suspend such programming for any country that the CDC upgrades to a Warning Level 3 advisory, Rankin wrote. Students studying in countries with an Alert Level 2—currently UMD programs in Italy and Japan—should be prepared to return to the U.S. should circumstances change
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Decisions to suspend a program and instructions on next steps will be communicated directly to students and their parents in the affected program.

Additionally, Rankin said UMD would work individually with any student abroad with a chronic health condition, who is immunocompromised or otherwise concerned about continuing studies abroad. The university is working with education partners to evaluate online learning solutions, should students have to depart a program early.

“We encourage students abroad to follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures,” she wrote. “We also urge students studying abroad to limit additional travel as much as possible.”

There are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Maryland or in the state of Maryland, and university officials urge all members of the community at home and abroad to practice preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. Click here for UMD coronavirus updates. Those with questions specific to coronavirus are urged to contact healthconcerns@umd.edu.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.