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University preparing students for study abroad programs amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 12:53 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 17:11:07-05

LAFAYETTE — There are now about 60 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Feb. 26, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Although there are no confirmed cases in Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette still wants to be prepared for any outcome.

Among the more than 700 international students at UL, some travel from China where the coronavirus first spread.

Wenting Wu came to the university about six months ago.

"My family members are still in China, and they're still at home now because the government believes that the situation is very serious," explained Wu.

She says she feels safe in Lafayette where university officials are taking precautions.

"We have been trying to follow the same campaign we do with the flu: prevention," said Gabriel Carranza, Executive Director of Global Engagement. "Prevention has to do with hygiene and how you interact with other people and just paying attention to how you are feeling."

The university is currently preparing about 90 students for departure in May to Europe and Latin America.

However, their dilemma is the unknown of the disease.

"We have scheduled meetings with our safety director here on the campus, and we are in communication right now with the representatives with the CDC and the World Health Organization," said study abroad coordinator Patricia Mouille.

Campus administrators will meet next week to discuss plans on how to deal with the possibility of the virus impacting campus and programs abroad.

"They will help us to know [about] the coronavirus and how to prevent this disease," said Wu.