The University of Arizona has canceled all current study abroad programs for the Spring semester due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It has also ceased on-campus activities at its micro-campuses and moved their classes online.
Frank Camp is the director of marketing and communications at UA Global.
"We are working to bring all of our students currently abroad back to the U.S.,” Camp told the Daily Wildcat in an email. “Our teams are all still very much evaluating the situation on a minute-by-minute basis.”
In addition to the 10 Arizona Abroad programs operating during the spring semester, other trips led by the UA faculty have also been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Jo-el Banini is a freshman majoring in physiology and global health studies and minoring in nutritional studies and Spanish. She was in Paris, France over spring break as part of a course entitled “Global Africana Studies Experience: When African Americans Came to Paris.”
“Our instructor was fast and efficient under the pressure and the UArizona study abroad community was quick to keep us updated and informed,” Banini said in an email. “Getting out of France was a hectic experience, but successful nonetheless due to the hard work and quick thinking of Dr. Bryan Carter (our instructor) and Tessa Boyce (our travel agent).”
The university is working closely with faculty, students and families to ensure the health and safety of all those involved, as well as sort out financial details.
Brent White is the dean of global campuses and vice provost for global affairs. He said the university will be working on a case by case basis with students abroad who are affected by COVID-19.
“We will continue to work with students returning from studying abroad, providing financial aid to those who need it,” White said.
The fate of the summer Arizona Abroad programs is still undecided. Faculty at UA Global are closely observing how the virus progresses within the coming weeks before making a decision. A number of other programs led by UA faculty have been canceled.
Maggie Lyons is a sophomore majoring in geology and minoring in mining engineering and math. She had planned to go abroad for the Accessible Earth Geology Field Camp in Orvieto, Italy, but the program has since been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak there.
“I was planning on graduating in three years,” Lyons said in a phone interview. “Because of this, I’m going to have to take at least another summer. Field camp is a graduation requirement for geosciences.”
For the remaining programs that have yet to be canceled, including Arizona Abroad, Camp assured that the University would work to communicate the status of these summer programs abroad as efficiently as possible.
“We are working on comprehensive messaging but given the constant changes it is impossible to give a blanket response on what will happen over the summer," Camp said in an email. "As soon as decisions are made we will communicate with our students who have applied.”
In the event that summer Arizona Abroad programs are canceled, White confirmed that students who have applied these programs will be refunded their application fee.
When asked if the university was prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, White referred the Daily Wildcat to the university’s pandemic plan. The pandemic plan was developed in conjunction with government agencies to identify measures that should be taken by the university during a potential pandemic.
According to the website, the pandemic plan “details steps that should be taken before, during and after a pandemic and involves all aspects of University operations, from facilities and risk management to communications and business affairs.”
COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-Cov-2, a type of zoonotic virus. Symptoms of the disease include fever, tiredness and dry cough. If you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus and exhibit some or all of the symptoms, consult a doctor for medical advice.
The World Health Organization recognizes origin of the outbreak of COVID-19 to be the city of Wuhan, China, sometime in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to over 140 countries and was officially declared to be global pandemic by the Director-General of the WHO on March 11 of this year.
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