The University of Maryland has suspended its foreign study abroad programs in South Korea and told students to return home, following recent changes in the CDC guidance on COVID-19.
The spring program was set to begin for eight students on March 15. Six students are in South Korea and two are still in the U.S. Study abroad programs in China had already been cancelled. The CDC raised its alert level from two to three in South Korea, saying that there is transmission within the country and that anyone there on non-essential travel should leave.
The university has told students in Japan and Italy to be prepared to leave if the circumstances in the country change. It also advised students on other study abroad programs to limit their travel. The CDC has advised people in Japan and Italy, now under a level two alert, to take precautions such as washing hands frequently and staying home if they are sick.
UMD officials did not respond to questions about how many students are in South Korea or whether they would face a quarantine when they arrive back in the U.S.
COVID-19 is now in 50 countries and has infected 82,000 people. The first U.S. case of the virus in a person with no known connection to travel abroad or other known causes was confirmed in California on Wednesday. The woman lives in Solano County.
Morgan State University confirmed one student participating in a study abroad program, Semester at Sea, is on a cruise ship that has been rerouted over coronavirus concerns.
The floating college campus visited Japan and Vietnam over the past month and were planning to dock the ship in Seychelles for a stop in Port Louis, Mauritius, but were blocked by local public officials, the program said. The ship will instead head straight to another stop, Maputo, Mozambique.
Semester at Sea officials said Jude Gedeon, public health commissioner of the Seychelles, told them the decision was "not just a health decision but a combined one based on a multitude of factors."
University officials said they have been in consistent contact with both the student on board and the Semester at Sea risk management team since the ship’s departure. The student is “doing fine,” officials said.