Temple University says students in Italy are being asked to fly home as the school closes its satellite campus in the European nation over concerns about the deadly coronavirus.
The news comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning for Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to Italy as the country deals with an outbreak of more than 1,100 cases. That number is by far the highest figure outside Asia, the Associated Press’ Colleen Barry reports.
As a result, Temple will close its Rome campus for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
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“For you, this means you will need to make arrangements to gather your belongings, leave Italy, and return home as soon as possible,” the school told students in an update posted to its website.
Students have a round-trip ticket from Rome that they get when enrolling in the program, and American, Delta and United airlines have waived change fees for people flying out of Italy, Temple spokesman Ray Betzner said.
The decision to close the Rome campus was made out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with guidance from the CDC and the U.S. State Department, Betzner said, adding that no Temple University students have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“We’ve got a team of people there working with our students … and they’re going to be there for the next week to make sure everybody gets out of there safely and gets back home," Betzner said.
Students are asked to notify Temple of their current whereabouts and fill out the Temple Rome Request for Remote Course Completion form so that the school may know students’ plans once they return home.
Students are asked to contact the AA Emergency Phone at +39 333 494 8391 or the TURome Emergency number at +39 069 670 1506 for help.
“We know you will have many questions that are not covered here, and we continue to pursue the answers to help make this transition as easy as possible,” the school continued in its statement.
Online classes will be offered starting March 9. Details about the exact days and times the classes will be offered will be provided in the next few days, Betzner said.
Because spring break was scheduled for next week, the time off will allow students, professors and administrators time to organize schedules and prepare for the online courses, Betzner said.
“Our first responsibility is to our students,” he said.
As it stands, the school says students will not be reimbursed for fees associated with leaving Italy. However, they should keep receipts in case that changes.