USF, UT suspend Italy study abroad programs as CDC upgrades coronavirus travel notice

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The University of South Florida and the University of Tampa are suspending study abroad programs in Italy because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Spokespeople for both universities announced the program suspensions Monday. Students will be returning stateside ASAP and will have to finish out their semester coursework online.

This comes after the CDC upgraded Italy’s travel notice to a level 3, discouraging any non-essential travel to the country.

All students returning stateside will be subjected to a 14-day self-quarantine before they can return to campus.

USF tells 8 On Your Side seven students are abroad in Florence. University of Tampa has 12 students in Italy, seven in Florence, four in Rome and one in Sorrento, per a university spokesman.

Both universities had already suspended abroad programs in China and South Korea due to the outbreak. FSU and UF have taken similar steps.

USF and UT are also implementing travel restrictions to high-risk countries for students and staff.

But on USF’s campus, Coronavirus concerns are hitting much closer to home with the detection of the first case in Hillsborough County, a woman in her 20s who recently traveled to Italy.

“My thermodynamics class, I think like a third of the people were gone,” according to sophomore Alex Collins.

“Hundreds of kids grabbing the same door, you know what I mean?” freshman Joe McSherry asked. “It could spread really easily through here.”

In a memo sent to students and staff Monday, USF said there is no evidence of any Coronavirus case connected to campus.

“I’m kind of just a little freaked out, not going to lie,” admitted sophomore Amy Lepley. “Hopefully everything will work out in the end.”

When asked about contingency plans on USF’s campus should the virus spread through Tampa, a university spokesperson told 8 On Your Side it was too premature to discuss specifics.

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