Eighteen K-State students who were studying in Italy have returned to Manhattan and are under a mandatory quarantine at the university’s Jardine Apartments, university officials said.
Italy has become the European epicenter for the virus, with more than 7,300 confirmed cases as of Monday. The country’s government imposed a nationwide lockdown Monday, prohibiting non-essential travel and all public gatherings. K-State had suspended its KSU in Italy study abroad program, which had 33 students, last week.
The students returned from Italy on Monday. The 18 students are in a self-imposed quarantine in previously unoccupied apartments at Jardine, while students who chose not to stay at K-State are isolating themselves at home in conjunction with their local health departments. All students are following the 14-day quarantine period and recommendations for social isolation recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. The Riley County Health Department and Lafene Health Center are monitoring the students at Jardine.
Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing, said the university is still working through logistics on costs for the program suspension and continuing the students’ academics on campus.
“The most important step was to get the students and faculty home,” he said.
A few universities, including Harvard and Ohio State, began to move classes online. Harvard also told students to move off of campus for the rest of the spring semester. Morris said K-State is in consulting with other universities to determine the best path forward.
On Friday, provost Charles Taber sent a letter to faculty members advising them that while there is no immediate coronavirus risk to K-State, faculty should begin to plan for potential disruptions to classes and other educational programming. He also announced the formation of a working group to coordinate the university’s response to a potential coronavirus outbreak.
A university webpage — k-state.edu/keepteaching, created in response to coronavirus concerns — instructs instructors on how to keep classes going in the event of a disruption to campus services and access. The page discusses different strategies instructors might take in using Canvas, the university’s online student software, to teach remotely.