Temple University is closing its Rome campus for the rest of the spring semester and Pennsylvania State University is recalling all students in Italy, citing elevated travel warnings by the federal government and health authorities over the worsening coronavirus outbreak.
The actions come just as the first death in the U.S. due to the coronavirus was reported Saturday — a patient in Washington state. On the same day, President Donald Trump announced new travel restrictions, banning travel to Iran and elevating travel warnings to regions of Italy and South Korea.
“For you, this means you will need to make arrangements to gather your belongings, leave Italy, and return home,” Temple said in an announcement issued Saturday that urged “immediate attention.”
Temple Rome faculty will offer classes online beginning March 9 so that academic progress will not be interrupted, Fay Trachtenberg, interim director and acting dean of Temple University Rome, said in the statement, promising more details within days.
A spokesperson for Temple said there are a total of 277 students at Temple Rome.
On Friday, Penn State placed Italy on the restricted list for university-affiliated student travel and said it was “in the process of bringing students home.” Faculty and staff “are strongly encouraged to return home,” the school said, and future travel to Italy would require approval from the provost or university risk officer. A spokesperson said Penn State had 237 students in various parts of Italy as of Friday.
Penn State is working with program providers and administrators on campus to minimize disruption to academic plans, the school said. And the Education Abroad Office will work with students individually to mitigate the academic and financial impact of this decision, Penn State said.