Dear Assumption Community,
The situation in Italy, as well as globally, with regard to COVID-19, what we know as coronavirus, has evolved this week with increases in the number of confirmed cases. Know that the safety of our students is paramount as we closely monitor the situation in all countries where our students are studying abroad.
ROME CAMPUS TO REMAIN OPEN
As you may have heard, a number of U.S. colleges and universities have suspended or terminated their study aboard programs, primarily in China, South Korea, and the northern region of Italy, an area to which we have suspended travel for Assumption students. Many U.S. colleges and universities with programs in Florence, Rome and other areas of Italy continue to operate.
While Rome is relatively unaffected by coronavirus, we enacted the following at the Rome Campus given the situation in northern Italy:
- Earlier this week, all College-sponsored travel to northern Italy was suspended as well as all independent student travel to the region; and
- The suspended travel area was expanded to include Tuscany.
The Rome Campus will remain open and staffed given Rome’s distance from the impacted area. Yesterday, I spoke with students studying in the Assumption Rome program by videoconference during which they reiterated earlier comments to remain in Rome. However, if coronavirus spreads to the central region of Italy, we will reevaluate operations at the Campus.
OPTION TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES
Given the concerns relative to coronavirus, the College today offered to all Assumption students participating in study abroad this semester the option to return to the United States to complete their studies. Working with the Office of the Provost, a program will be developed to enable students to complete their courses. With regard to students studying in Rome, we have already consulted with faculty there to allow students who return to the U.S. to seamlessly complete their Rome courses.
DELAYED RETURN TO CAMPUS
Students studying abroad who return to the U.S. are prohibited from campus for a minimum of 14 days, a period of time suggested by health officials. College officials will provide a date upon which they may return.
The response of foreign governments to coronavirus varies. For example, in Italy, there are 11 towns under quarantine. Individuals should first consult the
travel warnings and advisory resources of the U.S. State Department
before deciding to travel internationally. Know that if you are located in an area that is placed under quarantine, neither the College nor the U.S. embassies or consulates can secure your release.
WORCESTER CAMPUS OPERATIONS
While coronavirus has not significantly impacted New England or the United States, as a precautionary measure, College officials have begun reviewing several contingency plans should operations be interrupted. Options are currently under review to ensure that students may complete their courses regardless of any challenges that may arise in the near future. We do not anticipate such an interruption, however, we must plan for the unexpected.
In the meantime, faculty, staff, and students on the Worcester Campus can protect themselves by taking the same precautionary measures as they would if they contracted the flu, such as refraining from travelling or remaining at home if feeling ill. I urge you to consult prevention information provided by the
Centers for Disease Control
. If you are interested in learning more about coronavirus precautions, please
read the message
sent to the campus community on January 28.