Coronavirus sends students studying abroad in Italy packing their bags

Olivia Schueller

Quinnipiac University students studying abroad in Italy were told their program would be ending and that they should return home to the United States as soon as possible. 

On Wednesday, March 4, an email was sent by CIS abroad to students in Florence, Italy. 

The notice said, “We have suspended this program after a great deal of thought and consideration.”

Letter sent to QU students from CIS Abroad

“It’s a little disappointing, but at the same time I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Declan Murphy, a junior from Quincy, Massachusetts, said.

In a few days, Murphy’s study abroad trip was turned upside down. 

He said he knew the possibility of being sent home was real when Italy was changed to a level 3.

A level 3 means to avoid nonessential travel to Italy, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Murphy is currently in Vienna on a spring break trip. 

“I had to cut it short to go back to Florence tomorrow,” Murphy said. “I think in the next week I’m going to be home in the states.”

Another Quinnipiac student, Adriana Iolascon, got home on Saturday and is in quarantine for 14 days in at her home in New York.

She describes Florence as her,“home away from home,” and said she felt really safe in Florence.

“The amount of times I had people text me, ‘Are you OK? Are you being sent home?’ It was never even a question,” Iolascon said.

Murphy was able to go to four countries during his two months abroad.

“I’ve made the most out of this experience, but it’s something I’ll never get back,” Murphy said.

Both students had more trips planned, but they are now making new plans to travel back home. 

“I may try to travel within the United States, try and make the most of my time,” Murphy said. 

Students who studied abroad in Florence will be finishing their classes online and remotely in their home states. 

For now, students studying abroad in other countries are allowed to continue their programs.

An email sent by Quinnipiac said, “we are not making changes to any of our other study abroad programs. We will continue to consult with experts and monitor any new travel alerts, and we will immediately contact our students abroad if our recommendations change.”

Quinnipiac’s spring break is from March 7-15 and students are being told to take the necessary health precautions to stay home if they’re feeling sick.

On March 10, President Judy Olian said in an email to students that classes will be online for the rest of the semester starting March 18. Students are also told to stay home another week, until March 22. Exceptions will be made to some students to come back to campus earlier who may have extenuating circumstances (i.e. an internship, clinical or field study).

More coronavirus information from the CDC can be found on their website.

This article was updated March 10 at 7:13 p.m.