By the University at Buffalo
Following the guidance of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State University of New York, the University at Buffalo has instructed its students who are studying abroad in countries impacted by the novel coronavirus to return to the U.S.
Nine UB students currently are participating in UB study abroad programs in Italy (eight students) and South Korea (one student), which are among the countries for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a Level 2 or Level 3 travel notice.
“This is an extraordinary gesture by the governor. The UB community appreciates the governor’s efforts to help the university keep our students safe,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi said.
In addition to recalling students from affected countries, UB and SUNY also have cancelled all campus-sponsored travel to impacted countries for the remainder of the semester.
“The health and safety of our students is of paramount importance to the university, whether they’re pursuing their education at our home campus or anywhere in the world,” said UB Provost A. Scott Weber. “The university will take all steps necessary to ensure our students have the opportunity to complete their studies in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines.”
For SUNY students in impacted countries who have yet to return to the U.S., SUNY is currently arranging chartered flights from South Korea, Italy and Japan to New York Stewart International Airport in the coming days.
Upon arrival and in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines, local and state health representatives will screen passengers, and SUNY will arrange transportation to designated SUNY campus dormitories to begin 14-day quarantines.
SUNY will then work closely with campuses, as well as state and local health departments, to provide medical monitoring, remote course study, and various resources to help individuals during the quarantine period.
Tripathi has also announced the formation of a COVID-19 advisory committee at the university comprised of faculty, students and staff across the university community. The purpose of the advisory committee is to provide perspective and advice regarding UB’s readiness during this evolving situation.
Since January, a COVID-19 task force has been active at UB monitoring the COVID-19 situation and the health of the university community, collaborating with the Erie County Department of Health, and developing and implementing a communication plan to facilitate the delivery of accurate, up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 to the UB community.
UB has communicated regularly with students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars via its COVID-19 information website, www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus, social media and other channels, all of which are sharing information provided by authoritative sources, such as the CDC and Erie County and New York state health departments.
At this time, the Erie County Department of Health reports there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Erie County, where UB’s campuses are located.