CLEMSON, SC — As the Coronavirus has spread rapidly across the globe, it’s leaving an impact on study abroad and international travel programs at many Upstate universities.
Everyday, thousands of students walk across Clemson’s campus for onsite classes. However, there’s also dozens of students and facility members, who either live or rely on classes overseas. Some of them recently had to cross China off their list, due to the Coronavirus.
“We did have a small number of students who went home over the holiday break. Our office of Global Engagement as well as Undergraduate Studies, International services, emergency management, various areas on campus have worked really closely together to ensure that there’s no risk involved with their return,” said Joe Galbraith, Clemson University’s Associate VP for Strategic Communication.
As of February 3rd, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there have been 11 confirmed cases in the U.S. Although none have been reported in South Carolina, many colleges are taking precautionary measures now.
“We did have one student who returned to the United States a couple of weeks ago who was doing a semester abroad,” Galbraith said.
Galbraith said that student is symptom free after studying in Shanghi. The school also had around 10 people go through thorough procedures after holiday visits in China.
“There were individual conversations…consultations, and assessments. Working with the health officials in Redford Health Center,” Galbraith said.
A similar situation for Wofford College. They had 16 students travel across China for an Interim program in January. However, they were all screened at airports before coming back. The campus also had their own measures as well.
“We had them check in with our wellness center staff here on campus or their home healthcare provider just to make sure any symptoms were addressed as needed,” said Amy Lancaster, Dean of International Programs at Wofford College.
Some schools have canceled their study abroad trips that were scheduled. Other said they will stay in close contact with overseas partners until everything dies down.
“We have people overseas that we’re talking to who are on the ground giving us minute by minute updates,” Lancaster said.
All schools said they will continue to follow federal and state department guidelines all to ensure students are cleared from the severe virus.
“They didn’t show any signs. There’s was the 14 day incubation period that the CDC has identified right now. And so, now that we’ve passed that window, we feel comfortable that everybody is okay,” Galbraith added.
7 News also spoke with representatives at Furman and Anderson Universities. Both said their campuses have not been impacted by the virus. They said they will take safety measures seriously and weigh all options when study abroad opportunities do arise.