UPDATE: All Prato Study Abroad Students Returning to America Amid Coronavirus Outbreak


Kayla Mutchler

University of New Haven student packs her bags, as she prepares to travel back to the U.S. due to coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATED Mar. 1: All University of New Haven students studying at the Prato campus will be returning to the U.S. this coming week. An update from U. New Haven president, Steven Kaplan is expected later today.

University of New Haven President Steven Kaplan announced in a Feb. 25 email that due to the recent coronavirus outbreak in Europe, students and faculty are being advised to return to the U.S., though both students and faculty have the option to stay.

This morning 55 students returned to the U.S, while 25 still remain on the Prato campus. They will be required to stay in their homes until the end of spring break, Mar. 22.

If Italian officials clear study abroad campuses to return, students will have the option to return to Prato. Students who decide to stay in the U.S. can complete the semester at the West Haven campus or by taking online classes. Faculty who do not return will decide how their classes will proceed. Details will be released as necessary.

According to Prato faculty at a campus-wide meeting on Feb. 25, if conditions worsen in Italy, local authorities will advise university officials to take necessary actions to keep students and staff safe.
In the email, Kaplan said, “Our main concern is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our campus community.”

The university is assisting students and faculty in their return home. In a meeting with Prato campus students and staff, the dean of the Tuscany campus in Prato, Kevin Murphy, said that the booking of flights and the costs of travel would be covered by the university. Flights are scheduled for Feb. 28, but that may change.

Classes were canceled on Feb. 27 to allow departing students and staff the time to move out of their buildings. Online classes are expected to resume once students and staff are situated at home, classes will be canceled for this Monday, Mar. 2.

Students who remain at the Prato campus were told on Feb. 27 that they would be moved into the San Francesco dormitory once students returning to the U.S. have left.
University personnel will update the community as needed.