doctor holding thermometer at hospital coronavirus

WVU has canceled all 13 upcoming faculty-led international spring break trips as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Henry Oliver, director for Global Advancement, said on Sunday night the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guidance encouraging universities to cancel or postpone any upcoming international study abroad programs. 

"What we noticed over the weekend is there are a lot more cases that have become apparent," Oliver said. "Our ability to guarantee the health and safety of our students consequently decreased with that."

WVU had originally planned trips including Honduras, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Czechia and many more. Any domestic trips have not been impacted.

Oliver said the main reason this poses a concern is because the length of the spring break study abroad programs is shorter than the actual time it typically takes for coronavirus symptoms to show up.

Oliver said another concern has arisen as access to public places and infrastructure continues to be a growing challenge. He said the University is concerned it would not be able to deliver the experiences it wants to for its students.

"If you look at examples like the Louvre is closed," Oliver said. "There are infrastructural changes."

He said entering certain countries like Italy is also becoming increasingly difficult, with multiple U.S. airlines restricting travel.

Oliver said with spring break travel less than two weeks away, the University is working to ensure no students will be financially liable for the situation. He said if there is any possibility for delaying any of the trips, the University will keep students updated on the situation.

He said any students who had registered for the program will be refunded as the University works to cancel flights and other travel bookings. 

For those who have spring break travel plans outside of University-led trips, Oliver said it is important to exercise caution while abroad.

"We obviously can't control that," Oliver said. "What we want to do is do our best to educate our students to know what the best practices are while abroad."

At this time, the only summer study abroad programs that have been impacted are the WVU Wind Symphony's China tour and the Exploring Business in China program. Oliver said WVU will continue to monitor upcoming summer abroad programs.

News Editor

Gabriella is from Ashtabula, Ohio, and has written for the DA since 2018. She is a journalism student with a minor in Japanese studies and German, and plans to attend WVU College of Law following graduation.