Coronavirus concerns cut study abroad programs short for South Dakota students

Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 5:25 PM CST
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As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the globe, the staff at Augustana and South Dakota State University are closely monitoring the developments.

Erin Kane, Augustana International Programs Assistant Director said, "A lot of the unkown with the illness, with how to protect ourselves, how to prevent transmission. We are definitely all working around the clock to stay up to date."

They're particularly interested in what's happening with the virus overseas, as a number of students from both universities are on study abroad programs.

15 from Augustana and 19 from SDSU.

Jon Stauff, SDSU International Affairs Assistant Vice President, said, "I think it's a very difficult time for all of us in international education. It has been a time where we come together and we're constantly talking to each other, in order to share insights and other information as we need to."

Both schools have made the decision to bring their students that are currently studying in Italy home and suspend international programs for the time being.

Kylee Kohls, SDSU Senior, said, "Anger and frustration to disappointment but then like where do we go from here?"

Senior Kylee Kohls was supposed to spend her spring break in Italy, on a school-sponsored trip.

She now has to make new plans.

"Italy will still be there and someday I hope to go and I have to keep that in mind that, yeah it could be really disappointing right now but our best interests are being considered and I have faith in that," said Kohls.

As for the three students who now have to return home from Italy, they'll be allowed to continue their courses either online or in person.

On Tuesday afternoon, Augustana issued an update saying all international group travel programs for the month of March are postponed.

This includes all academic, athletic, and art trips for faculty, staff, and students.

Both Universities said they're going to continue to closely monitor its progression.