Students studying abroad encouraged to come home

Brooke Reilly

After President Donald Trump issued a travel ban between Europe and the United States due to the coronavirus on Wednesday night, Quinnipiac students studying abroad are being encouraged to go home.

Associate Director for Education Abroad Mark Tortora and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Jennifer Brown emailed all students studying abroad and their families on Thursday afternoon. This came just two days after President Judy Olian announced that Quinnipiac will be transitioning to online classes for the remainder of the semester. The university has been in contact with these students regarding the coronavirus for some time now, but this email provided an important update.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has elevated its travel warning for a number of European countries to Level 3 – its highest warning level – which means it is recommending travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the country,” Tortora and Brown wrote in the email. “In addition, while the newly announced travel restrictions by the U.S. government for travelers returning from several European countries do not impact U.S. citizens’ ability to return to the U.S., we realize this creates additional uncertainty for students remaining overseas.”

Email from Associate Director for Education Abroad Mark Tortora and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Jennifer Brown to students and families studying abroad

The university is strongly encouraging students studying in Australia, all European countries and the United Kingdom to return home. The email said that the university’s partner institutions will allow students to finish their courses online for the remainder of the semester, so they receive full credit for their classes

The email noted that students and families should not worry if travel arrangements cannot be booked immediately because Quinnipiac students will not be forced out of their housing prior to finding transportation home. The email also warned that students traveling from countries with a level 2 or 3 warning may need additional screening upon returning to the United States.

Students studying abroad and their families were left to answer whether or not they should return home now.

“I knew this time would come, and I’m happy Quinnipiac took action sooner than later to advise us to come home, as well as my host university,” Corey Windham, a sophomore studying in Ireland said.

Although he is unsure how final exams will work, Windham and his family decided that it would be best for him to go home and finish his classes remotely for the rest of the semester.

Sophomore Shannon Donoghue is also studying in Ireland but is still not sure of her future plans.

“I have no plan at all right now. I have to wait to see what my parents want me to do,” Donoghue said. “It’s just unfortunate because I’ve been planning to study abroad since I was a freshman in high school, and now it is being ruined.”

Both Windham and Donoghue, along with other students, had multiple trips planned to travel around Europe in the coming weeks, especially with their spring breaks coming up. They do not believe that they will be able to get refunded for those at all as of now.

There has not been any information sent to them in regards to housing reimbursements abroad either.

“As of now, we haven’t been told anything about reimbursement for housing, and I also had to pay for my own ticket home, which was upwards of $700 because of the short notice,” Windham said.

According to the email, when students return back to the United States from other countries, they will be “required to self-isolate at home for a minimum of 14 days.”

Stay with Q30 for more updates regarding the coronavirus and its impact on Quinnipiac. Updated March 13, 7:50 a.m.