COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Several universities across Ohio are either bringing students home or canceling programs abroad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that claimed the life of its first victim in the United States Saturday.
On Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued Warning Level 3 travel advisories for Italy, South Korea, Iran, and China based on the coronavirus outbreak. The Level 3 advisory warns against nonessential travel.
An Ohio State University spokesperson said students currently in South Korea are on their way back to Ohio.
“Our students who are studying in South Korea are coming home or are on their way home this week,” said OSU spokesperson Ben Johnson. “We sent out an all-campus email this afternoon.”
In addition, OSU has added Italy and Iran to the list of countries under temporary restriction for university-sponsored travel for all faculty, staff, and students through at least April 20.
In early February, OSU set travel restrictions to and from China.
Miami University is also restricting travel, canceling a spring break trip to Italy.
Like OSU, Miami University is also restricting travel based on the CDC advisory.
According to the school’s travel advisory, university programs for China have already been canceled for the foreseeable future.
Miami University is also urging students currently in Italy or South Korea to return to the United States as soon as possible to complete their studies.
In early February, two Miami University students who recently returned from China were cleared for coronavirus exposure after being tested for the virus.
Like OSU and Miami, Ohio University is also restricting school-sponsored travel based on CDC recommendations. However, Ohio University has not made a decision requiring students or staff to return to Ohio if they are currently overseas.
Like the other schools, Ohio University is also recommending personal travel follow the CDC guidelines.
NBC affiliate WKYC is reporting Kent State University is bringing all of its students currently studying in Florence, Italy, home due to concerns about the coronavirus.
According to WKYC, a statement was issued late Saturday afternoon, with university representatives calling the move “necessary for [students’] protection.”
As of Thursday, there were no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Ohio and no Ohioans were under investigation for exposure to the virus. There are 212 individuals who are under public health supervision. The Ohio Department of Health website says these people are not exhibiting symptoms of illness, but are being asked to report in with their local health department and to monitor their temperatures.
The U.S. has about 60 confirmed cases. Worldwide, the number of people sickened by the virus hovered Friday around 83,000, and there were more than 2,800 deaths, most of them in China.