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FGCU orders students and staff home from Italy, requires self-quarantine upon return

Florida Gulf Coast University wants its traveling choral students and staff to come home now. Many colleges and universities are changing their study abroad plan to keep students and staff safe from the coronavirus. Now, FGCU is scrambling to get its students back from Italy as soon as possible.

A trip to Italy cut short for 28 FGCU chamber choir students and faculty. Susan Evans, who works with FGCU, said the students and faculty are all healthy, feeling well and had a good time.

“A little disappointed to have to come back early,” Evans said. “But they have done some performances including today at the Vatican. So I think they will have some memories to bring back with them.”

Hopefully, the students and staff will not bring back symptoms of the coronavirus. The university’s decision to bring the group home early came as travel warnings to Italy increased.

“After only a couple days of them being there, it was elevated to a Level III and there are quite a number of cases of coronavirus in Italy,” Evans said. “So really just in an abundance of caution for their wellbeing, we decided to bring them back early.”

FGCU is not the only Florida university cutting study abroad trips short. Steve Orlando, who works at the University of Florida, said they are in the process of bringing 41 students and two faculty members, from their school of architecture, home from a program in Vincenza, Italy.

When the FGCU students and staff return to the United States from Italy, there are precautions in place. The vice-president at FGCU said it will rely on the honor system. If students traveled to one of the countries where the U.S. has placed a Level III travel advisory or higher, they expect them to self-quarantine for 14 days. The same applies to UF. Both schools also are working on plans to allow those students to keep up with their classes with online options.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” Orlando said. “So we’re monitoring it daily and almost by the hour because it’s changing so quickly.”

Reporter:Taylor Petras
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