Canisius College President John J. Hurley is recommending students who are studying abroad return home immediately because of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Hurley also said the college is prohibiting college sponsored travel to China, Italy, South Korea and Iran, and is considering canceling all Canisius-sponsored international travel for the foreseeable future. That would include study abroad programs, immersion experiences or some credit-bearing classes, including summer trips.
He said he expects to make a decision soon.
"At this time, the college is not aware of any students, faculty or staff who have been exposed to the coronavirus," Hurley said in his email. "Because we do not know when the situation will stabilize, we have been in constant contact with students and families and have strongly recommended that students attending other universities for study abroad experiences return home immediately."
It is not known how many students would be affected. Hurley said anyone whose travel plans are affected should work with the program director. He suggested students and employees who run into financial difficulties report specific financial concerns to the director of international partnerships and study abroad.
He also had words of caution for those planning travel over spring break, the week of March 16, and the Easter break starting April 8.
"Please note that non-U.S. citizens who may be able to travel to China over spring break are not guaranteed return to the U.S., given the current travel restrictions. Chinese citizens whose passports have been issued by the provinces that have been especially impacted, may not be allowed to leave China," he said in the email.
Hurley said the college is preparing to make sure academic programs can continue remotely and online in the event an outbreak should develop in the region or on campus.
Canisius students are not the only ones affected. A number of colleges are canceling or suspending programs. Several programs used by Skidmore College students in South Korea and Italy have been suspended, the Times Union in Albany reported. Marist College announced that programming and coursework at its satellite in Florence, Italy, has been suspended, according to the Marist Circle, a student newspaper.