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Kent State cancels school-sponsored spring break trips to Italy, Vietnam amid coronavirus outbreak

The school has already called students back from Italy and banned all 'non-essential' school-sponsored travel to China.

KENT, Ohio — Kent State University is taking more steps to combat the spread of coronavius, announcing Tuesday that scheduled spring break trips to Italy and Vietnam have been canceled.

The school-sponsored journeys had been set for between Mar. 21 and Mar. 29 and had been planned months in advance. However, Italy is currently under a Level 3 travel warning from the CDC, and the flight to Vietnam passes through South Korea, which is at the same level.

KSU says it does not allow travel to or through countries under a Level 3 warning, and as such has called back students currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy and may cancel summer trips to China if the situation does not improve. In addition, similar measures will be taken for any countries and regions added to the CDC's list.

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"While Kent State is not able to stop travel for anyone taking personal trips over spring break, we strongly urge members of the Kent State community to consider such plans carefully at this volatile time and recommend that all heed CDC travel notices," the university said in a statement.

So far, the coronavirus has infected more than 92,000 people worldwide, killing more than 3,100 (including nine in the United States). Partly at the direction of President Donald Trump, the CDC has urged all citizens to stop traveling to China, South Korea, and Italy unless it is absolutely necessary, and is also stringently screening those coming back from the countries. Iran is under even stricter measures, having already been placed under a travel ban by the administration due to perceived unrelated terrorist threats.

While President Trump and health officials agree the risk to most Americans remains low, all expect the number of cases in the U.S. to keep increasing. CDC guidelines ask anyone who has recently traveled to a region under a Level 3 warning with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath to immediately contact a doctor or local health department.

There have not yet been any confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio, but Kent State is still urging all students (regardless of where they have traveled) to stay home if they are ill and continue to wash their hand and disinfect areas around them frequently. Anyone at KSU with health concerns is asked to immediately call University Health Services at (330) 672-2322 or the Kent State Nurse Line after hours at (330) 672-2326.

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