International study suspended
Jackson Volenec – Reporter
In response to the continued spread of coronavirus spread of regionally and worldwide, the university has suspended international travel to certain countries, with more expected to get added to the blacklist in the coming weeks.
“As the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, we are taking every precaution to mitigate any potential impact on campus,” said President Joe Bertolino in a campus-wide email.
“We have suspended institutionally sponsored travel to countries designated Level 2 or Level 3 by the CDC.”
There have been over 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with Eastern hemisphere regions being the first to get severely affected. So far, that travel has been suspended to Asian, with China, Iran, South Korea and Japan, but Italy has also been restricted as well.
“[This list] is likely to grow in coming days and weeks,” said Bertolino . This restriction includes school-sponsored travel programs and applies to all students, faculty and staff regardless of any symptoms they could or could not have, affecting two students who are currently studying in Italy.
This also requires those to not return to campus after arriving in the United States for two weeks. Southern is far from the only place to be canceling events which require involve traveling internationally, as other places in the United States are doing the same all around. Three states have declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak.
Professors expressed understanding for the people who are negatively affected by this restriction, but are supportive and aware of why the campus had to make the decision.
“I don’t think you’d find one soul who would be happy to be sent back from whatever they’re doing,” said Italian professor Giuseppina Palma. “But the reality is, right now, it’s in everyone’s best interest for them to be back.”
Palma said that although it is necessary for proper actions to be taken in order to remain safe, it is not necessary to panic over this new sensation, and the best way to go about it is to change and adapt to emerging situations.
“These are contingencies that we do not have control of, and we need to adapt to them,” said Palma.
“The most important thing is to be aware and accepting of the modern circumstances.”
The school administration has made outgoing efforts to educate students about the necessary action everyone should take in order to protect themselves from illness.
“On campus, we continue to advise all members of our community to take everyday preventative actions that help stop the spread of germs,” said Dean of Students Jules Tetreault in a letter to students.
The campus website has provided multiple pages providing information on the virus. Some professors chose to outright mention it during their classes, even if it did not directly relate to class material.
“I always tell my students to be safe, to not expose themselves more than they need to,” Palma said. “Just like the flu, we need to make the proper precautions to ensure we are safe.”
Even with the immense amount of press coverage and nervous attention surrounding the coronavirus currently, students realize that the danger is not imminent and not worth stressing over.
“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the coronavirus. Even though it is a dangerous sensation, I feel like it’s hyped up to be a lot more than it actually is,” said English major Patrick Kearney, a sophomore.
Although Bertolino said he agrees it is not necessary to panic about this virus, he is prioritizing the safety of the campus first.
“While the immediate risk to the American public and to our students and employees is believed to be low at this time,” said Bertolino in an email to the campus, “I assure you that Southern remains diligent in monitoring the most up-to-date information.”