UNCW cancels Italy study abroad program amid coronavirus concerns

UNCW cancels Italy study abroad program amid coronavirus concerns

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW officials announced Wednesday that they’re canceling a study abroad program in Italy due to concerns over coronavirus.

“After careful consideration, and in an abundance of caution, UNCW has made the difficult decision to cancel the “Italy: Fast & Slow” study abroad program that was scheduled to take place over spring break,” stated Michael B. Wilhelm, associate vice chancellor of International Programs, in an email sent to students. “We know this news will disappoint you, but we hope you can appreciate that we must put your health and safety above all else.”

The BBC reports that there are at least 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy, as of February 26.

There are 59 known cases of coronavirus in the United States with no cases of the virus reported at UNCW or in North Carolina.

It’s unclear how many students were planning to go on the UNCW spring break trip to Italy.

Ren Sawyer is a senior. She said, “when you’re a senior and you’re really seizing the opportunities brought to you by college to go to places you maybe would never be able to get to in the first place, if this is your last opportunity to before graduation, even with a refund, that has to be heart-breaking and disappointing.”

Students will be given refunds for the trip and Wilhelm said in the letter the university hopes to offer a similar experience “when the situation in Italy improves.”

According to the Associated Press, Elon University has also suspended its program in Florence, Italy recently, citing concerns about the virus.

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