While most Valpo students are preparing to return back to campus upon the end of spring break in order to finish their semester, some students are being prompted to reluctantly return to campus earlier than intended.
Students in study abroad programs received an email informing the students that Valpo is recalling all of its study abroad programs.
These are, but not limited to the Cambridge, Namibia and Hungary program.
According to an email to Namibia students from Associate Provost for Inclusion and Retention, Dr. Stacy Miller, Valpo anticipates that the situation will worsen, leaving them with strong concerns that the United States and other nations may restrict travel in and or out of its countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This issue would leave students currently abroad unable to return home once their program ends.
Another factor in the decision comes from communication with peer institutions such as Purdue, Northwestern and Ohio state, many of which have canceled or recalled their study abroad programs.
While the decision is disappointing, Valpo also sees how this can become a financial issue as well. Because the request asks that students return home no later than March 16, Valpo is able to provide up to $500 to help with travel charges.
While nothing has been solidified with what will come of the student’s coursework, Miller said colleagues here and abroad are working to ensure coursework can be completed.
Earlier this week, some spring break study abroad trips were advised to come home. Students attending the College of Nursing and Health Professions spring break trip in Germany came home one day early.
According to Assistant Professor of Nursing, Christina Cavinder, the attendees received information from the Director of Study Abroad, Erin Kunert, saying the number of cases of coronavirus in Germany were supposed to go up.
“A vast majority of these cases were in Western Germany,” Cavinder said. “We were in Eastern.”
While the coronavirus hadn’t yet played a direct factor in their trip, Germany was suspected to become a level two state of emergency. Those in charge decided to be proactive for the students and professors involved.
Those people traveling from countries and states with a level two advisory are to self quarantine for 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Santana said their last weekend in Germany was to be spent in Berlin and while they couldn’t spend the weekend, they were able to visit for the evening, ultimately flying out of Berlin to Dublin and then to Chicago.
Germany, as of now, has never made it to a level two and those involved on the trip were never in a high risk area, which doesn’t require them to self quarantine.
While colleges surrounding Valpo such as Indiana University and Purdue University, are choosing to cancel in person classes, many schools around the country are closing as well. According to an article in Forbes, at least 55 colleges are canceling in person classes, including Ivy League school Harvard, despite their not being any known cases at most of these schools.
According to an email to students at Purdue, all faculty and staff must move their courses online or to an alternative to in person delivery before March 23 and they should be prepared to continue doing so until potentially the end of the semester.
According to an article from the Indiana Student Daily at Indiana University, IU has canceled in person classes after their spring break, now encouraging students to travel to their permanent homes if possible. Face to face teaching will resume on April 6.
While Valpo hasn’t made any in person class cancelations yet, The Torch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available to the Valpo community.