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First U.S. Colleges Close Classrooms as Virus Spreads. More Could Follow.


But students and professors said it was hard not to think that spring break could be a turning point.

“Spring break is actually what’s making the timing of the spread especially alarming, because everyone’s leaving,” said Kahlil Greene, Yale’s undergraduate student body president. “Everyone’s dispersing and then everyone’s coming back together. In many people’s minds, that makes it more likely that something is going to happen on campus.”

Some colleges are encouraging students not to travel. Schools like Duke, New York University and the University of Chicago are asking students and faculty to register their travel plans, even locally, on a web-based form developed for emergencies like earthquakes and terrorist attacks. And many universities have canceled school-sponsored spring break trips abroad.

The University of Chicago, Fordham and others sent email messages to families in recent weeks saying they would support students who wanted to remain in the dorms over spring break, to avoid the risks of traveling. The University of Pennsylvania is adding extra dining hours for students who want to stay.

Many universities are also discouraging trips to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan, where the infection is more severe, and asking students and faculty members to isolate themselves for two weeks if they return from those countries.

Syracuse University said on Friday that it was watching travel warnings from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention closely, and would re-evaluate whether to continue study abroad programs in places like the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Chile.

Alexandra Lupo, a junior at Fordham, had been in Italy for about two months studying in Florence, a popular destination for study abroad students interested in art and culture, when she learned that her program was being shut down.



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