RMU cancels study abroad opportunities as the coronavirus continues to spread


Photo Credit: (MGN Online)

John Blinn, News Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP— Robert Morris University has canceled all Faculty-Led Education Abroad Programs (FLEAPs) for the remainder of the semester as an act of caution against the coronavirus.

In an email from RMU’s Office of Student Life, on behalf of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mary Ann Rafoth and Vice President of Student Life John Michalenko the university stated, “Out of an abundance of caution, the university has decided to cancel all FLEAPs for the remainder of the spring semester — including FLEAPs scheduled for May — given the rising number of nations that have experienced outbreaks and the speed which the governments are imposing travel restrictions.”

The email went on to say that students who are registered for the trip will be contacted in regards to refunds. Students will also be offered other opportunities to earn alternative SET credit through other courses and programs.

Student Life added that students who are currently outside of the country for semester abroad programs have been asked to take precautionary measures while they are away.

Students enrolled in study abroad programs that would take place over the summer are recommended to contact the Center for Global Engagement with any questions and will be contacted by the university.

The university’s decision comes just a few days after the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention warned the nation to prepare for a widespread outbreak of the virus in the United States.

The email also said, “We are sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this decision has caused.”

With spring break just a few days away RMU recommends that students stay up to date on the U.S. Department of State travel alerts.

They also advise students to try their best to follow a list of ways to prevent the spread of all communicable illnesses.

This list includes:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze;
  • Dispose of used tissues;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water;
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers which are located throughout campus;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Do not share drinks, utensils, or other personal items;
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with individuals who are sick; and
  • Get immunized for vaccine-preventable diseases, including obtaining an annual flu shot.

RMU said that they have been closely following the spread of the illness on an international scale over the span of several weeks and is continuing to take steps to protect the campus. They also noted that they have been following guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department, American College Health Association and the CDC.

There are currently no cases of the coronavirus at Robert Morris University.