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Washington University to bring home students studying abroad in Italy

There are 35 Washington University students in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

ST. LOUIS — Washington University is requiring students studying abroad in Italy this semester to leave the country.

The school is assisting the 35 students with travel and other accommodations, a spokeswoman said.

The CDC has issued a level-3 travel warning for Italy, advising against all non-essential travel there. The CDC reports there’s limited access to medical care in the affected areas in Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.

The country reported nearly 1,700 cases of coronavirus as of Monday.

The students returning from Italy will be subject to health screenings when they get back to the United States, the Washington University spokeswoman said.

Other student trips hang in the balance.

Master’s student Melanie Liu is supposed to travel with other students to Barcelona for coursework during spring break next week. A similar trip scheduled to Shanghai for the same week was already canceled because of coronavirus fears.

Liu said she needs the credits from the trip to graduate in May.

"We need to graduate, and I'm sure they'll find a way for us to accomplish those credits,” she said.

Liu said the school will decide by Wednesday whether the Barcelona trip will go on as planned, but she’s already made the call for herself.

"I would prioritize my health and peace of mind over the travel,” she said. "We also have a choice in how to approach this, so I think for now I'll just delay the trip."

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