Villanova University has curtailed its study-abroad program in Italy, calling back students studying in the European country as the coronavirus continues to spread there.
“Given the rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in Northern Italy, we have made the decision to bring home our students who are abroad in Italy," the school said in a statement Wednesday. “The University is in close contact with other study abroad programs in which Villanova students are participating and will determine appropriate responses to additional disruptions caused by the coronavirus.”
The move affects 52 Villanova students studying in four areas of Italy, including nine students in a partnership program in Milan, which is in a region hit particularly hard by the virus, said spokesperson Jonathan Gust. Classes for students in those programs were already canceled for the week. The partnership program had advised the students to stay in their apartments for the week and made arrangements for online programming, he said.
Villanova also has 23 students in a program in Urbino, east of Florence, as well 18 in partnership programs in Rome and two in Florence.
Though details are still being ironed out, Villanova intends to fulfill “all necessary academic accommodations” for students returning from Italy, Gust said. Since Villanova’s spring break begins next week, the study-abroad students will return to their homes rather than the university’s campus, he added.
There are no confirmed cases of the virus at Villanova’s Main Line campus, the university said.
The announcement comes a day after New York University canceled its classes in Florence, instead offering schooling online and urging students to leave the city.
Outside of Asia, Italy has reported the worst outbreak of coronavirus, with at least 325 cases and 10 deaths as of Wednesday.
Gust said Villanova has an “emergency preparedness team” that evaluates how coronavirus may affect students in Philadelphia and abroad.
On Tuesday, Arcadia University decided to cancel an upcoming two-week trip for 21 students to South Korea, citing the spread of coronavirus. Spokesperson Daniel DiPrinzio said the school is continuing to monitor its study-abroad situations daily in Italy and Japan.
As of Wednesday evening, no changes had been made for students studying at Temple University’s campuses in Rome or Japan, said spokesperson Ray Betzner, though a trip to the Japan campus for a “handful” of university administrators was postponed.