Coronavirus and US Campus issues

Today’s lead article for The Chronicle of Higher Education has the Headline “Colleges Brace for More-Widespread Outbreak of Coronavirus” and the opener “In the wake of federal warnings, they are putting plans and cautions in place and even preparing to close, if necessary.”

The article is behind a paywall. We should expect to hear more about contingency planning for US campuses.

Any business, school, org, government entity should be doing some planning and training. Never hurts to be prepared.

A shortage of upperclass on-campus housing will likely be an issue for many schools in the next academic year. Some students will choose to defer or forego study abroad programs due to Coronavirus concerns.

Is this you guess or is this supported someplace showing colleges are going to cancel study abroad programs next year? Source please.

There have been other things like SARS and MERS, and bombing and the like…and study abroad programs have continued.

I’m not sure even saying “some students” is an accurate statement now for programs that are happening in the fall or spring of the 2020-2021 academic year. And yes, I do know those programs are taking registrations now.

@doschicos @BunsenBurner ? Your thoughts?

And I apologize. There is already a whole thread about study abroad and the coronavirus in the Parent Cafe. I should have put my response…there.

I think its valid to say some students at least will pass. When my kids studied abroad, they had to make decisions months in advance and commit financially, so now for a Fall program. I could very well see students/families choosing to pass given the current uncertainties.

@thumper1, it is entirely my supposition that some students will forego study abroad in the fall. I think it’s a reasonable assumption, but apologize if you think I shouldn’t have made that prediction. I didn’t make any mention of universities cancelling their fall programs.

We help sponsor and promote the Rotary exchange programs for high schools in our community. We’re having our annual interest meeting Monday for summer and fall placement and are getting a lot of concern and pushback from parents. That was the anecdotal basis for my prediction.

At DD’s school junior and senior housing is tight, but helped by the fact that many students are abroad one semester of their junior year. Less students abroad would logically lead to housing shortages at schools with high participation in study abroad programs. We don’t often think of study abroad as a way to manage campus housing shortages, but it often is just that.

Students are signing up for fall study programs now. The current Coronavirus concern, whether overblown or not, has got to be impacting enrollment in the affected areas. Again, just my opinion.

Good companies should be pulling plans off the shelf, reviewing/refining, and preparing for the training/procedures previously prepared.

I know my former employer’s risk management organization had a plan for this situation at least 10 years ago.

From the Sacramento Bee:

A student living in a dormitory at UC Davis has shown “mild symptoms” of coronavirus and has been placed in isolation, along with two other students living in the dorm, Yolo County and university officials said Thursday.

The student has a runny nose and a cough after potentially being exposed to someone with coronavirus, officials said. The individual is in isolation at a home off campus. The two other individuals in isolation are the student’s roommates and are not showing signs of the virus.

Hope they are testing them to find out for sure.

Here’s the rest of the SB article:

Officials declined to say whether the three are in isolation in Davis. They are isolating “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a university press release. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is testing the student’s specimen for the virus and results are expected back in three to four days.

“Federal guidelines say (quarantine is) 14 days of isolation from the time of exposure,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, the Yolo County Health Officer.

The three people live in Kearney Hall on the UC Davis main campus.

The student showing symptoms has been off campus since Tuesday, said Michael Sheehan, an associate vice chancellor for student affairs. The other two were moved to the on-campus apartments Wednesday evening.

“We have a few apartments kept off line for a situation like this,” Sheehan said.

University officials are asking all students about their travel history and have not found any other students who came into contact with the virus, Schorzman said.

“I do want to emphasize in this county, in Yolo county, in the city of Davis, on the UC Davis campus, there is no evidence of the spread of the coronavirus,” Chapman said. “There is no evidence of the transmission of the virus.”

Only a few UC Davis students were wearing masks Thursday after the news was announced.

Outside Kearney Hall, the freshman dorm where the student being tested lives, other students hurried off to class or to workout.

Solene Tan, who’s from Shenzhen, China, did not know that a student in her dorm was being tested. When she was told by a reporter, she immediately put her hand over her mouth and gasped.

“My dad said not to worry but I think he is just trying to comfort me,” said Tan, 18, who came to UC Davis from China to study physics. Her father is a pediatrician there.

After learning three of her dormmates were being tested as a safety precaution, she said she was a little worried, but not severely.

None of her family or friends in China have been infected, she said. She last visited them in December.

Cecilia Garofoli said it was shocking to see “just the sight of seeing ‘Davis’ related to the coronavirus in any way,” she said

The UC Davis sophomore from Oakland said she’s been following the coronavirus in the news for weeks, but was surprised when she got an email from the chancellor around 2 p.m. Thursday saying three of her follow students were in isolation.

“It all happened so fast,” Garofoli, 19, said after finishing up a run with her friend. “But everything I’ve been reading has been saying to just be calm.”

Staying calm is harder for others though, like her friend who lives in Laben, the dorm next to Kearney.

“My friend was freaking out,” Garofoli said.

The news comes after a patient at the UC Davis Medical Center tested positive for the virus, making the patient the nation’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus from “exposure in the community.” UC Davis Medical Center is located in Sacramento.

UC Davis clarified that no one has tested positive for the coronavirus in Yolo County, but that the university has increased disinfection practices throughout student housing and dining properties.

Two students from Los Rios Community Colleges may have been exposed to the patient who was diagnosed with coronavirus at UC Davis Medical Center. The students, one from American River College and the other from Cosumnes River College, are medical professionals, and were exposed to the individual off campus before the person tested positive.

Across the Sacramento region, school districts are preparing information for concerned parents who want to protect their children from the virus.

Several districts in Sacramento and Placer counties say they have been fielding calls from parents who want to know what schools are doing to protect students.

My son’s college (Elon) sent out an email about coronovirus on 2/26. It gave an overview of their resources and stated that they have a plan, a link to the CDC, some cautions about spring break travel, and other links with symptoms and risk factors. They also outlined their decision to end the current study abroad semester in Italy and that they are closely monitoring all other current programs. No mention was made of fall programs. (I personally am very glad neither of my college kids has study abroad planned for fall 2020…I would feel uncertain about it). The email ended with the basic hygiene tips and phone numbers. PS Elon is in a tiny town in NC, haven’t heard anything from my D’s school in LA. But this is par for the course Elon sends a very high level of communications to parents.

I work at a college and we received an email outlining the planning process should classes need to be moved online and residence halls closed. Interestingly, when talking with students this morning, they had received no information about this.

Just today from Wake Forest:

Dear WFU/Venice: Casa Artom Students and Parents/Families,

I am writing in follow-up to my communication from earlier this week to inform you that Wake Forest has made the difficult decision to suspend the Spring 2020 semester program in Venice. Though we still assess the health risk to students to be low, this decision follows our review of all the information currently available, including the possibility of further travel restrictions to/from Italy.

Thus, effective Friday, February 28, we will cease academic operations in Venice and close Casa Artom. We ask that all students begin making immediate preparations to depart the house by Sunday, March 1. To begin the process, please contact directly your airline of record on your roundtrip ticket or your booking source (e.g. Expedia). We have spoken with a travel agency today and have confirmed that flights continue to operate normally out of Venice and that the airlines have ample available seats.

Our primary goals are the safety of students and ensuring they can return to the U.S. We know this is difficult for students, and we are doing everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. As such, anyone with special circumstances for whom making these flight changes may present a logistical or financial challenge, may contact the Center for Global Programs & Studies at 336-758-5938 during regular business hours today (8:30am-5:00pm EST).

Looking ahead to the remainder of the semester, we have made arrangements for students, at no additional cost, to reside in on-campus housing beginning Sunday, March 15 after spring break. Dr. West will provide the students with a list of available residence hall rooms from which they will choose before leaving Casa Artom. Although students will not be able to select a roommate with whom they will be living, students can later follow existing Residence Life & Housing procedures for room changes if a change is desired. Please note that students are free to make their own alternative housing arrangements to reside off-campus; however, it will be at their own additional expense. Also, if any student needs housing prior to spring break, we will work to accommodate them accordingly.

Students will also be provided the “Apartment Meal Plan” at no additional cost. This plan should provide sufficient access to meals for the remainder of the semester. However, students may choose a more substantial meal plan at their own incremental expense if they desire.

Regarding coursework, students will be able to continue the business courses with Dr. West on campus. We are currently exploring the best options for the remaining classes; however, instruction in some format will resume for all classes the week of March 16, following Wake Forest’s spring break.

This is a challenging moment for everyone, and we are most appreciative of your patience and flexibility now and in the days ahead. We will continue to provide updated information and support you through this process.


David F. Taylor
Assistant Dean for Global Study Away

I’m curious if this will affect campus visits…and especially ones for students from Asia and other affected areas.

This and other impacts too…including the potential lack of ability to take the standardized tests. I posted on the other coronavirus thread that CollegeBoard has cancelled all SAT registrations for students from mainland China, who typically must travel to take the SAT as it’s not offered to the general public there. It also cancelled the March admin in the private mainland China schools where it is given.

ACT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, GMAT…have also cancelled Feb and March administrations in China.

An article with some more details/historical perspective:

What if some of these kids are infected?

My son has graduated from the American University of Beirut but his fiancée is still there. The Lebanese government has advised that schools close but AUB has decided to remain open. My son is pretty worried ?

There is a potential case at DS19’s school here in Canada.

California colleges are preparing contingency plans for online delivery of classes in the event of Coronavirus disruption.


California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley has asked campuses to prepare contingency plans in the event of a shutdown. Some colleges could start delivering classes online in the event of a closure, said spokesman Paul Feist.

“They’re taking precautions and staying vigilant — no one’s panicking or anything like that,” said Feist. “The threat, as it is right now, is low, but we need to prepare in the event that that changes.”

So far, three students at Sacramento-area community colleges have been exposed to a patient believed to be carrying the coronavirus, the Los Rios Community College District reported.

The students were believed to have been exposed while working off-campus as medical professionals. In two cases, at American River College and Cosumnes River College, the students returned to campus after being exposed; the third student, at Sacramento City College, did not. County health officials have asked the students to isolate themselves for 14 days but did not recommend closing the campuses.

At UC Davis, workers are disinfecting dorms daily and even hourly in some high-traffic areas, said spokeswoman Melissa Blouin, after three students living on campus were quarantined. One had been exposed to the coronavirus and is currently being tested. The other two were roommates of the person who was exposed.

California State University started shutting down studying abroad programs in South Korea, which has seen the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside China. The university system had already recalled students studying in China, said spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp.

Uhlenkamp said the arrival of the virus in California has administrators asking: “What does it mean, now that we know it’s here?”

Universities may try to repurpose online learning systems in the event of campus shutdowns. For example, CSU offers online classes through its CourseMatch system, which is designed to allow students to take virtual classes at other campuses.

The UC Davis students’ tests came back negative.