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Nursing trip canceled amid coronavirus outbreak

Following the spread of the coronaviruses, SVSU’s annual nursing trip to China was reevaluated and canceled.

Karen Brown-Fackler, chairwoman for the nursing department, explained that coronaviruses attack the respiratory system.

Symptoms can include fever, runny nose and cough, she said.

Though the viruses more frequently affect the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, Brown-Fackler said the trip was canceled since there was a risk to students and faculty.

Originally, Brown-Fackler said the trip’s cancellation would wait until closer to May. If the virus was not contained by then, students would not go. However, Study Abroad Coordinator Aileen Ash said after the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State released travel warnings Jan. 30, the trip was officially canceled.

“The decision was made earlier (last) week to cancel programs running to China this semester … when the CDC and U.S. Department both raised their travel warning to a Level 3: Avoid all non-essential travel to China,” she said. “As of [Jan. 30], the U.S. Department of State raised their warning again to a Level 4: Do not travel.”

Brown-Fackler said previous trips have taken as many as 12 students, but the May 2020 trip had three students and two faculty
members signed up. She said the problem wasn’t with the health of those going on the trip, but rather the health of everyone the students live with.

“If (the students who go) acquire the virus and bring it back, they can spread it to others who aren’t as healthy,” she said.

In the past, the trip took students to China’s Guangzhou province, which is about 600 miles from the coronavirus outbreak.

Brown-Fackler said she was hopeful that the virus would not affect the exchange program in the future.

SVSU students had to commit to the China trip in September 2019. Students were asked to visit the Study Abroad Office to assess their options.

“I’ve recommended that students come meet with me to explore other options or attend the upcoming study abroad fair to see what opportunities interest them,” Ash said. “We will do our best to move students into another program that suits their needs.”

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