The novel coronavirus outbreak that the World Health Organization has labeled a public health emergency is now impacting local universities, which are taking measures to inform and aid students and staff.
The new strain of coronavirus has infected nearly 10,000 people and killed more than 200 across the globe. At least six cases have been confirmed in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2019 coronavirus can lead to headache, cough, sore throat, fever and body aches. In severe cases, the coronavirus may turn into bronchitis and pneumonia. In these cases, patients may experience a high fever, coughing with mucus, shortness of breath and chest tightness that worsens when breathing and coughing.
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Below is a list of local universities and how they are addressing the outbreak:
Arcadia University has cancelled the China-based class for its short-term study abroad “Preview” program, school spokesman Dan Diprinzio said. Students enrolled in the China-based classes have been transferred to Preview classes in Dublin, London, Oman and Paris. Study abroad programs that had connecting flights in China have also been rerouted to other airports. The university has also cancelled or postponed faculty and staff trips to China through March.
The school has a partnership with Jiangsu University in China in which Chinese students can finish their degrees at Arcadia University’s Glenside campus, DiPrinzio said. Typically, the students arrive at the Glenside campus in early July, but the move will now be delayed because Jiangsu University has had to postpone the start of the new semester in response to the coronavirus.
In addition, DiPrinzio said Arcadia is working with “overseas partners, primarily in Australia and New Zealand, to identify alternative programs for students that were planning to study in China who may need last minute options this Spring 2020.”
Drexel University is suspending all travel to China for students. Students and staff who still want to travel to China will first need to get approval from their respective dean or department head, and then the Office of the Provost will have to give its OK, as well.
Rutgers University is restricting authorized travel to China for students, faculty and staff. The restrictions apply to teaching, study abroad programs, conferences, presentations, internships research, recruiting and athletics. Impacted students are asked to contact the Rutgers Global International Student & Scholar Services unit at 848-932-7015.
Temple University has suspended university-affiliated student travel to China. The school says there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus at any of its campuses in Philadelphia or abroad. People who traveled to China on or after Dec. 1 of last year and have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing car reach out to the Student Health Services office at 215-204-7500 or the Employee Health Services office at 215-204-2679.
University of Delaware
A spokesperson for the University of Delaware said the school does not currently have a study abroad program in China, but officials have been in contact with students studying in other countries and advised them to take precautions during travel, including wearing face masks and washing their hands frequently.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is recommending that people reschedule, delay or cancel all travel to China through the end of the academic term, which ends May 12. The university is not mandating that students, staff and faculty in China leave, but asked that anyone there with questions contact its Global Support Services. The Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing will follow Chinese government recommendations for hours of operation.
The university has also asked campus schools, centers and departments to inform students and visitors flying in from China about what to do if they become sick on campus.
The university plans to make decisions about summer travel to China at a later date.