CUNY & SUNY suspend study abroad programs over coronavirus

The Baruch College campus of CUNY.
Photo via Facebook/CUNY

The coronavirus outbreak has claimed some of the state and city public college systems’ study abroad programs.

While announcing new confirmed cases of the illness Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the State University of New York and City University of New York have indefinitely suspended their international study programs located in China, Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea. Each of these nations have had major coronavirus outbreaks and are under a CDC Level 3 warning.

SUNY and CUNY are now working to recall all non-essential students, faculty and staff studying or working in these nations. Upon returning to New York, they will be placed in a 14-day quarantine to check for possible coronavirus infection.

The recalled students, faculty and staff will board chartered flights from the affected nations to Stewart International Airport in upstate Newburgh. All will be thoroughly screened for coronavirus symptoms, which include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. 

SUNY students living on campus will then be shuttled to their dormitories, where they will be placed under the two-week quarantine. 

During the quarantine period, the recalled students, faculty and staff will be provided various resources as well as regular medical monitoring and, for students, remote course study.

Cuomo said this action was being taken “out of an abundance of caution” and the recommendation of the New York State Department of Health.

It’s important that facts outweigh fear, and the reality is we are getting the testing done, getting the information out and deploying healthcare resources to treat people who need it, so I am reminding New Yorkers that there is no reason for undue anxiety and the general risk remains low in New York,” the governor added.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson said the university “will provide students with financial and academic resources and work to minimize any disruption today’s action may cause, while we work aggressively with all our partners at the local, state and federal level to protect our entire campus communities.” 

Out of an abundance of caution, we urge our students to accept this invitation to return now, to avoid later complications should circumstances change,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez added. “We are committed to safeguarding CUNY‘s campuses and students, and to ensuring that all students may fulfill their course requirements for the semester without additional financial or academic obstacles.”

CUNY indicated on its website that they are still accepting applications for the affected countries for future semesters, but advised students to consider applying for abroad study programs in alternate locations.