In the wake of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, the University of British Columbia campuses including UBC Okanagan is taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all their students currently studying abroad.
No exchange programs have been cancelled, but students in all affected areas have been made aware of the warnings issued by Global Affairs Canada and World Health Organization.
Currently, there are 11 students in China, one of which is in Hubei Province. All the students have been informed of their options in light of the virus outbreak.
"We’ve informed students of their options to return to Canada, and either defer or withdraw from their program, or wait with their family in China until our partner universities are able to resume their academic activities,” said Matthew Ramsey, Director of University Affairs at UBC Vancouver, including UBC Okanagan.
UBC has also contacted the 19 students in South Korea to share the Global Affairs Travel warning for Daegu and Cheongdo.
The 13 students on exchange in Northern Italy were asked by UBC to relocate while the Global Affairs Travel Warning is in effect, and their partner universities in Italy have given students the option to complete their coursework online.
Ramsey stressed that the university has not received any reports, in Canada or abroad, of students who have become ill. He was also not aware of any students who have chosen to return early from exchange.
UBC also suggested to students planning a future exchange to China to defer that travel as advised by their host universities. The Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control have also advised that trips to China are not recommended at this time.
UBC is continuing to closely monitor the situation as it develops.
"We have convened a group of stakeholders across the University to plan and coordinate actions as new information emerges,” Ramsey said. “That includes whether or not to proceed with current exchange, co-op and other programs underway.”
Today, University Canada West in Vancouver announced that they are closing until Monday after a student was identified with a presumptive case of COVID-19.
Ramsey urged those concerned about COVID-19 to consult the UBC campus notifications page for information and updates.
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