Illinois State University is urging its students studying abroad in Italy and Japan to return to the U.S. due to concerns over the coronavirus.
The respiratory illness COVID-19 has afflicted at least 90,000 people worldwide and caused at least 3,000 deaths, including six in the U.S.
ISU President Larry Dietz sent an email to students, faculty and staff on Monday saying the university is following travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control by restricting travel to countries with higher outbreaks including China, Japan, Iran, Italy and South Korea.
“Staff continue to monitor travel advisories for countries around the world and are acting to ensure the safety of Illinois State students, faculty, and staff participating in study abroad programs or university sponsored travel,” Dietz said in the statement.
ISU said it has 15 students currently studying in Italy and four in Japan.
Dietz added the university is helping those students studying abroad with academic arrangements and some travel costs.
Dietz said while the coronavirus’ threat to the ISU campus is low, the university is closely monitoring developments and is working on contingency plans.
“The university is vigilant in taking steps to ensure the safety of the campus community,” Dietz said.
Health officials have confirmed four people in Illinois have contracted coronavirus.
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