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Notre Dame London Program receives advisories regarding coronavirus

| Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Notre Dame officials called a mandatory meeting for London Global Gateway students at Marian Kennedy Fischer Hall at noon Monday to update them on the ongoing spread of coronavirus throughout Europe. Notre Dame’s Dublin program — its second-largest abroad program — has yet to call for such a meeting.

In the meeting, administrators stressed that, as of right now, the London program will continue as normal.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Naatz
The Millennium Eye and Thames River in London. Notre Dame officials met with students in London on Monday about the coronavirus outbreak and its implications for the abroad program.

“As of today, we have no intention of closing the London program. We’ve made that very clear to everyone,” Alice Tyrell, director of academic programs for Notre Dame in London, said. “That means, at this moment, if you chose to voluntarily withdraw from London today, that would constitute a voluntary withdrawal from the University.”

The situation is active and changing, Tyrell said, and is informed by advice from the University, as well as both the U.S. and U.K. governments.

“If this guidance changes, it will be communicated to you,” Tyrell said.

However, students were encouraged to take some travel precautions in the wake of the virus’ spread. Students were strongly advised not to go to Italy, after Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s cut both of their study abroad programs short.

University-sponsored travel has been halted entirely, as it is unclear where and to what degree coronavirus will appear next.

“The situation remains fluid,” Josh Copeland, director of student affairs for Notre Dame in London, said. “We follow the information as it’s given, in daily updates from local government resources both in the U.S. and in the U.K., but there’s only so much that we can predict about it. As you’re choosing where you go on your travels, please do keep that in mind.”

These warnings should be given greater attention as students head into spring break, Copeland said.

“Think about the the possible potential consequences for you returning from a place like Italy coming back to the U.K. if it becomes a greater concern,” Copeland said. “Travel restrictions could be put in place. You could be facing more complicated screening. Depending on if you were to come back and be symptomatic of something, you might have to be facing quarantine or self-isolation as governed by those guidelines. … You could have significant issues at reentry, you could find yourself stuck and unable to be back for classes because you’re dealing with an isolation situation. Personal advice — it’s just not worth it.”

All students — those planning to leave London over spring break and those choosing to remain the city — are required to alert the University to their whereabouts for the upcoming week by filling out standard travel forms.

Furthermore, University officials confirmed if the Centers for Disease Control and State Department issue a level three travel alert for a country, the University will pull students from that country.

“We are looking at working for all locations,” Jaime Signoracci, associate director of international travel and safety for Notre Dame International, said at the meeting over the phone. “Again, we’re monitoring the situation hour-by-hour [in] all the countries that we currently have international travelers due to faculty and staff.”

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