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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, suspended its spring study abroad programs in Italy on Friday and is working with the 33 affected students to return them to the US and complete their academic coursework.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday changed its travel advisory for Italy to Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. UT administrators on Friday night immediately implemented the university’s plans for the students to return to the US.

UT will reimburse students for their airfare. University advisors will coordinate with students to determine their best option to finish their studies. Alternatives include online courses offered by students’ host universities in Italy, UT courses, or additional options tailored to students’ individual academic needs.

Students were primarily located in Milan, Rome, or Florence. UT had previously suspended its education abroad programs in China and South Korea.

“Our commitment to the health and safety of our students is paramount, but we know that this decision is a difficult disruption for them,” Provost David Manderscheid said. “We are working hard on our campus and with host institutions to ensure students stay on track academically. We will support them in this transition to make sure they do not lose time in their studies.”

University administrators continue to evaluate summer study abroad in Italy. If summer programs are suspended, affected students will receive assistance with alternate academic arrangements.

Although the University of Tennessee has received no reports of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, officials with UT Student Health, Emergency Management, Student Life, the Center for Global Engagement, and additional offices continue to closely monitor the outbreak and are working to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff.

The university is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Knox County Health Department, and international health safety and security agencies.

UT also has a cross-departmental Emergency Response Team that is meeting regularly. The Office of Emergency Management, the Emergency Response Team, and additional subgroups are reviewing UT’s pandemic plan and taking proactive action focused on scenarios for study abroad students and contingencies for campus operations.

For more resources, and information visit UT’s coronavirus information page.