By Jalynn Walker
The university decided Thursday to cancel its study abroad program in China for the Spring 2020 semester as a result of the coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread globally, disrupting one student's semester plans.
For the spring 2020 semester, the UAlbany study abroad program was going to be in coordination with Fudan University.
This school is located in Shanghai, China, about nine hours from the believed origin of the virus, Wuhan, China.
The program was scheduled between February 17th - June 26th of 2020, according to UAlbany’s study abroad website.
Once in China, an exchange student would be living in on-campus dorms and taking classes provided by Fudan University.
In the fall of 2019, UAlbany had two students studying in China. The Office of Communications and Marketing also confirmed that several students traveled to China during the winter session, and are unable to return to campus due to government-issued travel bans.
The office declined to identify the names of the students to protect their privacy.
The decision to cancel the study abroad program came the day after The World Health Organization declared a "global health emergency" on Wednesday.
The virus, which was first detected one month ago in Wuhan, China, has killed 106 people and infected 7,837 others worldwide, according to media reports.
In a recent statement to the school, Medical Director Graciela A. Desemone, MD, assured the UAlbany community that they are keeping a close eye on the situation: “As always, our highest priority is the health and safety of every member of our University community; that is why we are asking you to take all appropriate precautions as we continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, the Director of Media and Community Relations for the University’s Office of Government and Community Relations, said that there are protocols in place for outbreaks of disease that may occur on campus.
The Student Health Services, in a coronavirus update on the main page of its website, encourages students who have been in China in the last 14 days and feeling sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing to self isolate and call them before arriving for care.