With UNC's new coronavirus-related restrictions for foreign and domestic travel, while some students have found their travel and spring break plans disrupted, others plan to keep moving.
Junior Amelia Jerden, who has been studying abroad in Florence, Italy, had her semester cut short because of the virus’ spread. While her friends have asked her about being in Italy during the epidemic, Jerden said she was surprised that she didn’t see anything abnormal.
“At first, one thing that really upset me was that I didn’t feel like the panic I was hearing from home was really reflected in what I was seeing,” Jerden said. “Everything in Florence seemed the same, nothing was changing, no one I knew was sick.”
Initially, Jerden was frustrated when she and others in her program were contacted by the UNC Study Abroad Office, who let them know that they would have to return home as soon as possible.
“I thought they were overreacting,” she said. “But now, given the fact that the United States has closed borders with China and that Trump said he has considered closing borders with Italy and South Korea, it just kind of made me nervous, and I see more now why UNC decided to pull out.”
Jerden said she realized a big part of the University’s decision came from the fact that if students didn’t return home soon enough, they might get stuck in their study abroad locations.
In a formal notice sent out Wednesday night, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said UNC is restricting University-affiliated travel to locations in the U.S. where a state of emergency has been declared related to the coronavirus.
The notice said if you travel to an affected area, you may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.
“We did not come to these decisions lightly and did so with the health and well-being of our entire community in mind, while also following federal and state guidelines,” Guskiewicz said in the notice.