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UW-Oshkosh suspends spring study abroad program in South Korea

Posted at 11:52 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 20:03:46-05

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) - Amidst concerns for coronavirus, UW-Oshkosh is suspending its spring semester program in South Korea.

Jenna Graff, the International Education Director, said this will affect two students from UW-Green Bay. In the UW System, universities work together to send students to countries they're interested in.

UW-Green Bay has not suspended any of their programs at this point. They did have to bring a different student back early out of caution.

"For the student that came back early, it's very disappointing for them," said Brent Blahnik, UWGB's Director of International Education. "I'm sure it's very disappointing for all students."

Blahnik adds that they're currently looking at their summer programs and talking about possible adjustments on locations and itineraries.

Just across town at St. Norbert College, all of their study abroad programs are still a go. Gail Gilbert, the Director of Study Abroad and Off-Campus Programs at St. Norbert, said this type of situation is one colleges have seen before with SARS and H1N1. While St. Norbert's does not have a program in South Korea, they are keeping a watchful eye, especially on Italy.

"There have been recommendations that have come out by the Italian government that there should not be travel to some towns," said Gilbert. "So we recommend of course to our students, not to travel to that area."

The CDC has currently classified Italy at a level 2 travel advisory. Gilbert said their teams will continue to evaluate the situation to maintain the safety of their students.

Lawrence University also released a statement which said, "We are closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus. No Lawrence University students studying abroad have been sent home and no study abroad programs have been cancelled to date."

Every college we spoke with stressed that the safety of their students was their number one priority. They said they've had multiple conversations with students to talk about what's going on.

Blahnik also said travel should be top of mind for many students as spring break is right around the corner for many schools.

Two other universities have suspended their study abroad programs in South Korea. UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison recently made those announcements.