University-sponsored trips to South Korea stopped due to Coronavirus

Baggage+handlers+on+the+United+Airlines+jet+ramp+at+O%27Hare+International+Airport%2C+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+15%2C+2020.

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Baggage handlers on the United Airlines jet ramp at O'Hare International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

Isabelle Sarraf, Assistant Campus Editor


COVID-19 News


Due to the COVID-19, coronavirus outbreak, Northwestern-sponsored undergraduate travel to South Korea will be restricted for the time being, the University announced in a Thursday release.

This announcement came one month after the University prohibited undergraduate travel to China because the U.S. Department of State deemed travel to the country too high-risk.

This week, the State Department classified South Korea as a Level Three travel advisory, suggesting U.S. travelers reconsider all travel to the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level Three travel warning for South Korea on Feb. 24, advising Americans to avoid non-essential travel to the country.

By policy, the University restricts undergraduate travel to countries given Level Three advisory warnings or above.

As of now, most University-sponsored spring break travel to Asian countries — including Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam — remain on schedule, but preparations are being made in case COVID-19 spreads further across the continent, according to the release. Though no spring break programs are scheduled for countries with a high number of cases like Italy or South Korea, the Office of Global Safety and Security is monitoring all University-sponsored spring break trips and issuing weekly updates.

In a Feb. 28 email, University officials wrote that one undergraduate student and one graduate student studying abroad in Italy are returning to the U.S. due to their programs closing. The State Department raised its travel advisory to Italy to a Level Three and advised Americans to reconsider travel the same day.

The University maintained that there is no increased risk of the novel coronavirus to the Evanston or Chicago communities at this time, but officials are closely monitoring the outbreak and will continue to provide updates to the community.

The release also stated that the University does not condone discrimination against members of the campus community based on their country of origin or countries they’ve traveled.

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Twitter: @isabellesarraf

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