TAMPA, Fla. — The coronavirus is altering plans for students already studying abroad.
University of Tampa students in Florence learned their program was canceled, forcing them to head home early.
“Unfortunately, my program just informed us that they are suspending all programs in Italy, and students need to depart by March 12. Everyone here is heartbroken, shocked, and disappointed, for we were all expecting to be in Italy for another three months. We all wish we could stay, but sadly it is out of our control,” said student Amelia Cavanaugh in a statement.
Some students said in their location, it appeared to be business as usual and said they had a low level of concern.
“My concern level is very low just from that interaction with the locals and our professors. The only thing I may be worried about is if there’s a travel restriction being put on for me going home or me being stuck in a foreign country,” said student Dominic Griffin.
“I think a lot of the students here, and just the Italians that we talk to, they don’t seem very concerned by it, and everyone’s living their normal daily lives in Florence,” said Cavanaugh.
The CDC has recommended people avoid non-essential travel to Italy, where there’s a high level of community transmission of the virus in areas of northern Italy.
“I feel like a lot of it has been exaggerated by the media and there’s been a lot of panic,” said student Lia Janeiro. “Definitely take precautions but to not sort of judge people based off of where they’re coming from or anything.”
But now some students said they’ll have to finish their classes online.
“At first I wasn’t too worried about it but now that it’s becoming bigger and nobody really knows for sure exactly how you can get it I feel like I’m getting a little more worried,” said Janeiro.
Students said they anticipated traveling home throughout the week.