UMD cancels abroad programs during spring break and summer due to coronavirus concerns
The University of Maryland's Health Center on Sept. 16, 2019. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)
The University of Maryland canceled all spring break and summer study abroad programs Tuesday due to the spread of the coronavirus, according to a campuswide email.
The move came after the university suspended all spring semester programs in Italy and South Korea, which both received Level 3 travel guidance last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Study abroad programs in China, the center of the outbreak, were suspended in January after the country received the same designation, which warns against any “nonessential travel.”
“[We are] trying to follow CDC guidelines and manage our [abroad] programs responsibly and effectively, but without overreacting,” university provost Mary Ann Rankin said at Tuesday’s University Senate meeting. “Students are the primary focus for a lot of emergency actions.”
There are 9 spring break abroad programs and 144 summer programs across every continent except Antarctica, according to the Education Abroad website.
In the university email, Rankin stressed that students returning from a country with a Level 3 designation should self-quarantine for 14 days.
“We all need to work together to limit the possible spread of this infection,” Rankin wrote. “Our thoughts are with everyone in the UMD community who has been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19.”
Rankin added that this university is in the process of looking into “other student-led international trips over spring break that are not organized through the Education Abroad office.”
According to a Feb. 26 statement, the university plans to suspend any study abroad programs in countries the CDC upgraded to a Level 3. Students in countries with a Level 2 guidance for the virus — currently only Japan — were advised to be prepared to return to the U.S. if the situation changes.
As of Tuesday, there have been over 91,000 confirmed cases worldwide with 3,123 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The CDC has confirmed 60 cases and six deaths so far in the United States. No cases have been identified on campus, according to the university website.
Staff writer Lyna Bentahar contributed to this story.