Romers will not go to Greece this year—at least not as part of the university’s organized trip for Rome students.
Italy has decreed and notified the University of Dallas as of this 7:44 p.m., central European standard time, that all field trips from any kind of institution are banned, according to an email sent to Rome students and their parents from the UD Rome office.
As a result, the class trip to Greece, scheduled for March 1, has been canceled.
Rome program Dean and Director Dr. Peter Hatlie and the Due Santi campus considered multiple options in response to the spread of the virus, according to a letter sent to Rome students and their parents this morning, Feb. 26.
The first was to go to Greece as planned, by either plane or boat, depending on further COVID-19 developments. The second was to offer students the choice to opt-out of visiting Greece and receive a $920 refund and go back to the US and complete courses online. Other students could choose to travel to Greece as planned. Should the virus have become more serious and Italy closed its borders, those students would be sent back to the US from Greece.
Since this morning, the Greece trip has been dropped altogether.
The Italian government decreed that school trips and other visits are suspended throughout Italy, effective to Mar. 15. Officials will follow up with a further decree the same day, according to Agenzia Italia.
According to an article published today in The New York Times, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy has risen to over 300, primarily in northern Italy near Milan. As of Sunday, 10 towns outside of Milan have been locked down and placed under quarantine by Italian officials.
According to Junior and current Rome student Natalie Villafranca, there have been 135 new cases today, bringing the total of confirmed cases in Italy to 458. (Villafranca also has written on the Rome Program for The University News.)
The UD Rome office has declined to comment.
Hatlie described a long term plan for the Rome program in his letter, including reimbursements for students’ room and board and field trip costs, should they opt-out of trips or the Rome semester entirely.