New coronavirus travel guidelines for students studying abroad


CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that it’s not a question if the novel coronavirus will spread to the United States, but when.

Even though there are still zero confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in New York State, local communities are urged to prepare for the spread of the virus, including colleges and universities.

Cornell University and Syracuse University are taking extra caution to protect students and faculty studying abroad.

Thursday morning, Cornell University released a statement with the latest guidelines, travel restrictions and accommodations for its students and faculty.

The university said they are prohibiting all school-related travel to South Korea and China.

Academic programs in both countries are expected to be suspended, and students who are abroad will be sent back to campus, whether that’s in Ithaca or their New York City location.

For any country with a CDC Alert Level 2 travel health notice, those academic programs will be evaluated by the university on a case-by-case basis.

The CDC recommends that Americans avoid all non-essential travel to China and South Korea. Both countries have a Warning Level 3 travel health advisory.

Japan, Italy and Iran are experiencing sustained community spread of the COVID-19 and are determined to be Alert Level 2 heath warnings.

Hong Kong is under Watch Level 1, where travelers should practice usual precautions. Other destinations with the risk of community spread are Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

One doctor at Upstate University Hospital says Central New Yorkers should pay attention to the CDC’s health advisories and follow travel restrictions closely.

I think the U.S. CDC and State Department are very good at the updates of their daily travel advisories, and I think they take a conservative posture, which I think is certainly appropriate to do. Though, if they have travel restrictions or recommend people only conduct essential travel, I would pay attention to those advisories, and in places what appears to be sustained transmission of coronavirus, you get new cases every single day. I would think twice about going to those locations if it’s not essential travel.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, Infectious Diseases, Upstate University Hospital

On Wednesday, SU announced their new travel restrictions.

According to the statement, SU has temporarily restricted students, faculty and staff from traveling to South Korea for university purposes effective immediately.

Those who have traveled to South Korea will need to stay off SU property for 14 days.

SU officials announced on Tuesday that their academic program in Florence, Italy is suspended.

Additionally, SU will also monitor other abroad academic centers and will suspend those programs if needed.

To read Cornell’s statement in full, click here.

To keep yourself and others healthy, here are prevention tips from the CDC:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough and sneeze

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