Education

Some Kentucky college students returning from Spring Break are being asked to stay off campus if they’re coming from coronavirus hot-spots.

Bellarmine University students come back from Spring Break on Monday, and school officials say some students and staff will be asked to self-monitor off campus. The isolation requirement will apply to students returning from areas with a warning level 3 or higher from the CDC due to a COVID-19 outbreak: Italy, Iran, South Korea and China.

“These individuals will be required to self-monitor at home for a period of time before returning to campus. We will work with these individuals to address concerns around their continued participation in academic programs or their work,” an email from Bellarmine reads.

Bellarmine University spokesman Jason Cissell said the university is also ramping up disinfection and cleaning of key areas on campus and pushing out information about how to prevent infection.

“Really the biggest deal for us is just encouraging people to take reasonable precautions and practice good hygiene,” he said.

There are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Kentucky. But Bellarmine is among many colleges and universities that are preparing for the possible spread. Cissell said Bellarmine is developing a response plan out of an abundance of caution.

“That plan is in development, but would include things like the need for people to self-quarantine, what to do if the virus actually shows up on campus, all the way to if schools and universities in the area were ordered to close,” he said.

The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky have both suspended all university-related travel to countries with active COVID-19 outbreaks.

“The University of Louisville recognizes that its employees may possess valuable expertise that is needed to assist with the resolution of the crisis; however, no travel on behalf of U of L will be permitted for faculty or staff to areas that have confirmed active COVID-19 cases without Provost’s approval,” a U of L website reads.

UofL’s Spring Break is Mar. 9-15. If U of L students or staff do visit a country with an active outbreak, the school says they will be required to stay off campus for 14 days from the day of departure from the outbreak zone.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto sent out an email Monday saying the university is working to bring home students studying abroad in affected countries.

UK spokesman Jonathan Blanton said in an email to WFPL that the university has asked those students to buy tickets home before the end of the week, and that many have already returned to the U.S. Those returning will be required to self-isolate off campus.

“Every returning student is continuing their coursework remotely. The host universities in Italy are delivering the coursework in different ways, whether through Zoom or online, among other platforms. Their program of study is continuing,” Blanton wrote.

UK’s Spring Break is Mar. 16-21. The university has asked students to “review the CDC and Department of State guidance for their destinations.”

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.