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Coronavirus Updates for Study Abroad Students

Office of Global Learning

Dear Cornell study abroad students,

By now, you are aware that effective January 29, 2020, Cornell announced that it will not permit Cornell-related undergraduate travel to mainland China until Cornell’s International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART) removes China from the elevated risk destinations list. In recent days, you may have heard about the rise of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases, predominantly in China’s Hubei region where it was first identified, and in other countries in smaller numbers. 

We realize that this global health issue may understandably cause a level of unease for some students abroad. We want to assure you that the Office of Global Learning, working in partnership with ITART and in alignment with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of State, and International SOS recommendations, is closely monitoring developments as they unfold related to this global health concern. 

As you continue your study abroad experience in programs and universities in locations around the world, we want to take the opportunity to reach out and share the following recommendations: 

  • We recommend against all non-essential travel to mainland China during your semester abroad. Most airlines have already implemented restrictions for inbound and outbound travel in mainland China, making it very difficult to arrive and depart.
  • Put into practice every day personal and public health preventative actions recommended by the CDC. These include hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, among others, many of which are the expected steps you would take to protect yourself from the common flu or other transmittable viruses.
  • We encourage you to follow the instructions and recommendations put forward by your host university or study abroad program regarding any precautions that support the prevention of a community outbreak. In some cases, this may include delayed semester start dates and other changes to the semester schedule. Know that our office will be in contact with your study abroad program should the need arise. However, know also you are most welcome to reach out to us at any point with questions or concerns at or by phone at 607-255-5243.
  • All Cornell travelers have free access to mental health professionals who are there to support them by phone or Skype for up to five sessions/incident/year, in more than 60 languages.  To reach these counselors, travelers may call International SOS, 24/7 at 1-215-942-8478. 
  • You received a message on Friday, February 7 from the Presidential Advisors on Diversity and Equity, and the Vice Provost for International Affairs. While the email may have been directed to the Ithaca campus community, we also want to stress its important message regarding the Cornell core values of diversity and inclusion and the practice of those while abroad. We encourage you to avoid making assumptions about the health of others based on identity or symptoms, and we encourage you to be kind and supportive to others in your study abroad program community.

As always, your safety, well-being, and experience are important to us and we look forward to continuing our support of your global learning journey.

Office of Global Learning