Coronavirus affecting international travel plans for college students

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – The coronavirus is affecting travel plans for many people, including some college students who planned to travel for class over spring break.

Kylee Kohls is a senior at SDSU. This semester she enrolled in a leadership class. As part of the course, she was supposed to travel to Italy over spring break.

“Throughout the coursework we’ve been paying attention to some of the Roman culture and leadership strategies that they use and we were really looking forward to understanding those a little more through some visits and our time in Italy,” senior, agricultural communications, Kylee Kohls said.

But concerns about the coronavirus, caused those plans to change.

“All 19 of us who were enrolled were planning on going so a week before we were supposed to depart we were told we were not going to be going,” Kohls said.

Jon Stauff is the assistant vice president for international affairs. He says the well-being and safety of students and staff are top priorities when making the decision to cancel something like this.

“The number of cases was spiking in Italy to a degree that we thought it might be a better situation to have the students stay home and complete course assignments on campus,” assistant Jon Stauff said.

In the end, Kohls is thankful university officials are making a decision in the best interest of their students.

“Italy will still be there, even though many people in the class were disappointed that we weren’t going, I have faith that someday I will get to go, just not during my senior spring semester,” Kohls said.

The CDC has issued a level three guidance for travel to Italy, which is avoid non-essential travel.

In an email sent to staff and students, SDSU has suspended all university-sponsored international travel until further notice, including all student and study abroad programs for the spring and summer terms.

The University of South Dakota has canceled all university-affiliated international travel for Spring and Summer 2020, including study abroad and faculty-led trips. That was also in an email sent to staff and students.

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