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March 2 Update: Impact of coronavirus on study abroad

The following message was sent March 2 to all UW-Eau Claire and UW-Eau Claire – Barron County students, faculty and staff:

As the coronavirus impacts other countries, we would like to update you on the impact to UW-Eau Claire study abroad programs.

Italy Spring 2020

On Friday, Feb. 28, with our students’ safety being our No. 1 priority and in light of updated Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of State travel advisories due to the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the UW-Eau Claire leadership team decided to cancel spring 2020 study abroad programming in Italy.

In accordance with UW-Eau Claire international travel policy, our Travel Risk Committee met on Friday to review student travel to Italy as the CDC raised its warning level to Level 3, "Avoid Nonessential Travel — Wide Community Transmission,” and the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory from Level 2 to Level 3, "Reconsider Travel.” The committee then made the cancellation recommendation to Academic Affairs.

Our 12 students in Italy have been enrolled at our partner institution, Istituto Lorenzo de' Medici (LdM). We have recommended that they return home as soon as possible and asked that they share their itineraries with us as soon as their travel plans are made. The students have been offered the opportunity to complete their courses at LdM via distance learning, and UW-Eau Claire will be coordinating with our partner institution to minimize academic impact of this program cancellation.

Italy Summer 2020

Upon evaluation, Center for International Education and Intercultural Immersion programs to Italy during June 2020 have been canceled. July 2020 Italy programs have been suspended; an additional review of July 2020 programs will occur in April, at which time a final decision will be made. Impacted students have been given the option to switch to another program or a future term if they are still interested in studying abroad.

China Summer 2020

The suspended summer 2020 Center for International Education and Intercultural Immersion programs to China have been officially canceled.

Continued monitoring and support

UW-Eau Claire continues to monitor Centers for Disease Control public health guidelines for travelers returning to the U.S. and to refer our returning students to those guidelines. The Center for International Education staff are working with the students returning from Italy, as well as from our South Korea study abroad program canceled earlier, to answer any questions they have as they navigate this unexpected change in their semester.

We also continue to monitor country-specific Center for Disease Control and U.S. State Department guidance related to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to keep the campus community updated regarding the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on UW-Eau Claire students studying abroad.