UW-Stout is working to bring back to the U.S. five of its students who recently traveled to South Korea in a study abroad program, in light of the spread of coronavirus in the country, said Doug Mell, executive director of communications and external relations.
Interim Chancellor Patrick Guilfoile on Wednesday approved the suspension of the university’s South Korea study and travel abroad program, “based on our concern for the students who are participating in the program,” Mell said.
Eight UW-Stout students are enrolled in the South Korea study abroad program, and five are currently in the country.
The university has contacted all but two of those students, and "we expect we will be able to confirm their return shortly," Guilfoile said.
The university is evaluating its other study abroad programs in other places, Guilfoile said: "The health and safety of our students, whether on campus or abroad, is our tantamount concern ... For now, South Korea remains the only program that is impacted."
South Korea has seen 1,261 cases of COVID-19, or the 2019 novel coronavirus, a respiratory virus that’s infected over 81,000 people worldwide as of Wednesday. South Korea has seen 12 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering database.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for South Korea.
The recommendation to suspend the program came from Sandi Scott, dean of students; Scott Pierson, director of the Office of International Education; and Jim Uhlir, director of safety and risk management, Guilfoile said.
This story will be updated.