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Auburn University suspends international travel, recalls students studying abroad

<p>A digitally colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image reveals ultrastructural details of the coronavirus viral particles.</p>

A digitally colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image reveals ultrastructural details of the coronavirus viral particles.

After the recent surge and spread of the coronavirus around the world, Auburn University announced Monday that it's recalling all of its students who are currently traveling abroad and suspending all official international travel for students, faculty and staff.

The University said it's taking these measures "out of an abundance of caution for safety and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," according to a press release. 

The CDC recently advised universities in the U.S. to consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs.

"The recall will begin immediately and will be undertaken as carefully as possible," the press release stated.

Auburn abroad programs span across Europe, Asia, South and Central America, Australia and the Pacific Islands, Africa and the West Indies.

The University said students, faculty and staff who have reason to believe they may have been exposed or have symptoms associated with the coronavirus need to call the Auburn University Medical Clinic at 334-844-6125 before visiting the clinic. 

After hours or on weekends, they should call 334-749-3411 before going to the ER at East Alabama Medical Center.

“Our number one goal is the safety and well-being of our students,” said Bill Hardgrave, Auburn’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “We are aware of how this recall impacts programming for those students currently abroad and for those who have trips planned in the coming months. We are making provisions for students affected to continue their coursework.”

Prior to this latest decision involving travel abroad programs, Auburn had already temporarily suspended all University travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea due to the coronavirus. 

Auburn officials are also advising caution to those who are planning travel abroad during the upcoming spring break.

“Students, faculty and staff should be aware of the potential implications of international travel,” said Dr. Fred Kam, medical director for the Auburn University Medical Clinic. “We strongly discourage personal travel to any country classified by the CDC as a level 3 risk for COVID-19. Beyond that, we urge everyone to seriously consider the possibility of quarantines or restricted travel back to the United States for any trips outside the country.”

The CDC updates a website that details travel warnings and alerts for airline and cruise ship travel to specific countries related to potential coronavirus exposure.

Auburn University President Jay Gogue has formed a task force to monitor the potential impacts of the coronavirus on campus according to Campus Safety and Security.

The task force is made up of health experts, emergency management personnel and other campus leaders.

Eduardo Medina | Editor-in-chief

Eduardo Medina, senior in journalism, is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman.

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