Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame have announced they are immediately suspending travel to China for all faculty, staff, and students in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, named 2019–nCoV. Other universities in the Hoosier State tell Inside INdiana Business they are monitoring developments with at least one also canceling a class for a semester abroad program.
The moves come as the World Health Organization declares the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
In response to advisories from the U.S. government, Indiana University is implementing restrictions on travel that “align with this guidance to protect the health and well-being of our community.”
IU says the suspension will be reconsidered when advisories are modified. The university says it will grant exceptions for humanitarian reasons for those traveling to countries to assist with pandemic response.
According to the university, there are no known cases at this time in the IU community. It says the risk to the IU campuses remains low.
Notre Dame officials say they’ve been monitoring developments of the illness for several weeks. The university said as of Friday afternoon, “we have no reason to believe there is any risk to members of the Notre Dame community, and the American College Health Association has advised that there currently is “no basis for changing business as usual regarding housing, campus events, and other circumstances under which large groups of people will be gathering.”
Notre Dame says university-sponsored travel to mainland China for all students, staff, and faculty is prohibited until further notice.
Taylor University in Upland is also taking precautionary action. It has canceled a semester of a business-related program in Xian, China in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Charles Brainer, dean of international programs at Taylor, says the decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department announced Level 3 travel restrictions to China, meaning only essential travel there should be undertaken.
Xian is about 500 miles from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the university says two students and a faculty member who have been in China this month are being held off-campus for 14 days, the incubation period for the coronavirus. Brainer says while the three people were not in or near Wuhan, the university is taking this precautionary step.
In West Lafayette, Purdue University said there’s no decision yet on travel restrictions as it’s an evolving situation. “We, like every other campus, are monitoring the advice of the CDC and State Department,” said a university representative.
Ball State says it does not have any employees or students currently in China. The university in Muncie issued this statement:
“Consistent with Ball State University policies and procedures, anytime the U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Advisory Level 4 designation for a particular region we suspend all work-related travel. This was effective starting January 30 and it will remain in place until the U.S. State Department reduces the travel advisory level. Our goal is to keep our Ball State community – including our employees and students – safe.”
Butler University in Indianapolis says it does not have any students studying in China this semester, but it continues to monitor developments.
Likewise, Indiana State University says it does not have any students, faculty, or staff in China, nor are there any students scheduled to go to China this semester. ISU says its officials are monitoring the situation.