Coronavirus concerns prompt UST to close Rome programs for the semester

| February 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
The dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Forty-seven students from the University of St. Thomas’ Catholic Studies and St. John Vianney semester studies in Rome will be coming home early because concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

“After careful deliberation, and out of an abundance of caution, the university has made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of the St. John Vianney/Catholic Studies Rome semester and to close our Bernardi Campus,” the university said in a Feb. 28 news release.

“We strongly encourage all our students in Rome to return to the United States as soon as possible and no later than Friday, March 6 — which is when the Bernardi Campus officially closes,” university officials said.

Students will be able to complete their classes from St. Paul, the university said.

“We simply cannot predict how COVID-19 will continue to spread throughout Italy, and we believe it is in the best interests of our students to leave Rome before the ability to do so is restricted,” university officials said.

Three other UST students in Rome and four in other locations in Italy have been given the option to return to the United States because they are part of other programs, university spokeswoman Vineeta Sawkar said.

More than 650 cases and 17 deaths in Italy have been attributed to the coronavirus. Italian officials have taken increasingly aggressive steps to contain the virus, including nationwide prohibition of school trips, travel restrictions and quarantines in certain municipalities in the northern part of the country.



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Category: Local News