Spread of coronavirus in Italy cuts short study abroad program

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 2/27/20 2:15am


Nine students currently studying abroad are self-monitoring for coronavirus after recently visiting Venice.

by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The College is ending a language study program in Italy early due to concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus. While two other Dartmouth programs in France are continuing as planned, a group of students who traveled to northern Italy are both not going to class and self-monitoring for the virus over the next 14 days, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence. 

Nine students — eight of whom are on the College’s Lyon program and one on the Toulouse program — visited Venice last week, according to Garrick Allison ’22, who is on the Lyon program. During their first day of class after the trip, Centre International d’études Françaises director Manda Green informed the students that they would need to engage a 14-day isolation period, according to Allison. The eight students in Lyon are staying in a long-stay hotel. 

Allison said that although they are not in a “hard quarantine,” he and the seven other Lyon LSA+ students have been advised to avoid public places such as restaurants, bars, museums, gym and public transportation as much as possible. According to Allison, the students are not allowed on University of Lyon property until the 14-day precaution has passed. 

French professor Yasser Elhariry is working to help the students complete their class requirements, according to Allison. At the end of the two weeks, the students will complete their final week with final exams as planned. 

“While we continue to feel that the risk of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to students studying in Lyons and Toulouse remains low, authorities and university officials in France have issued guidance that any students who traveled to northern Italy during last week’s break should not return to university classes and should self-monitor for the next fourteen days,” Lawrence wrote. “We are working with the students who traveled in that area to make sure they are able to comply with these new guidelines in a way that will enable them to complete the program.”

She added the both programs in France will continue as planned. 

Meanwhile, the language study abroad plus program in Rome has concluded due to concerns about the spread of the virus, according to an email sent to students on the program by Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education executive director John Tansey. 

“Recognizing the uncertainty associated with the recent increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in northern Italy, and out of an abundance of caution, the College has decided to conclude the Italian LSA+ early,” Tansey wrote to students. 

The College is paying for students to return on the earliest available flights from Rome, and preparations are being made to still have students receive full credit for the program. 

“As the Director of the program, I will do everything I can to ensure that students will conclude the program remotely with a sense of accomplishment for their intercultural achievements,” program director Tania Convertini wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth. 

Correction appended (Feb. 27, 2020): This article originally attributed the fact that the College is paying for students to return on the earliest available flights and that students will receive full credit to Tania Convertini. This information was actually stated in John Tansey's email to students.