Auburn University recalls students studying abroad, suspends international travel, urges caution for upcoming spring break

Published: March 02, 2020
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Auburn University is recalling all of its travel abroad students and suspending all official international travel for students, faculty and staff until further notice given the global outbreak of COVID-19.

Auburn officials report taking this action out of an abundance of caution for safety and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The decision comes on the heels of a new CDC advisory that asks institutions of higher education to consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs. Auburn abroad programs currently span the globe throughout Europe, Asia, South and Central America, Australia and the Pacific Islands as well as Africa and the West Indies. The recall will begin immediately and will be undertaken as carefully as possible.

“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. That decision included official travel for students, faculty and staff. In advance of Auburn’s spring break during the week of March 9-13, Auburn officials are also urging caution for those planning travel abroad during that time.

“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 maintains a website outlining travel warnings and alerts for airline and cruise ship travel to specific countries, as it relates to potential coronavirus exposure. Upon return, students, faculty and staff who have reason to believe they may have been exposed or have symptoms associated with the coronavirus, should call the Auburn University Medical Clinic at 334-844-6125 before visiting the clinic. Afterhours or on weekends, they should call 334-749-3411 before going to the ER at East Alabama Medical Center.

Auburn President Jay Gogue established a group of campus leaders, including heath experts, emergency management personnel and others, to plan for how this evolving situation with COVID-19 could continue to impact the university. Currently, there are no known cases in the state of Alabama; however, the CDC expects the number of cases in the U.S. to rise. To keep the campus community informed, the university has created a COVID-19 website for updates and answers to common questions about COVID-19 and its impacts.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.