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UMD Cancels Education Abroad for Spring Break, Summer Sessions Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Maryland Today Staff

As novel coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, the university today announced the cancellation of all Education Abroad programs for spring break 2020 and for summer session 2020.

In addition, all students abroad with a chronic health issue or who are immunocompromised are urged to return home, Provost and Senior Vice President Mary Ann Rankin said in an email to campus today.

According to new guidance from the University System of Maryland, anyone who returns from any country classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as Warning Level 3 should self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days before returning to their institutions. China, South Korea, Italy and Iran currently have Level 3 warnings. UMD previously issued similar guidance after suspending Education Abroad programs in Italy on Friday (with programs in China and South Korea stopped earlier).

“I must emphasize the importance of not returning to campus and refraining from non-essential contact with others during the two-week self-isolation period,” Rankin wrote in the email. “Members of the campus community may want to visit friends on campus, but we insist that travelers from Level 3 countries avoid doing so for 14 days. We all need to work together to limit the possible spread of this infection.”

The university will close programs in any country with a Warning Level 3, and Rankin reminded students in Japan, which currently is at Alert Level 2 for coronavirus, to daily monitor for notices from the UMD Education Abroad office and be prepared to return immediately.

UMD is relying on information provided by the CDC, the World Health Organization, the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts to guide decisions concerning locations around the world where UMD students are studying abroad. The university’s Incident Response Team is actively involved in decision making.

For more information on program cancellations, contact the UMD Education Abroad Office. The university is looking into other student-led international trips over spring break that are not organized through the Education Abroad office, Rankin said.

Rankin asked that all members of the university community limit non-essential international travel, and said UMD is suspending authorization for travel using institutional funds to or from any country with a CDC Warning Level 3 status for novel coronavirus. Any exceptions must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

We continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice prevention behaviors and hold each other accountable in following safe and healthy practices,” she wrote. “If you know of a fellow student, colleague or coworker who has traveled to a Warning Level 3 country, please discourage them from coming to campus.”

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