Coronavirus shutting down study abroad programs

The coronavirus outbreak is affecting law schools, particularly when it comes to study abroad programs that take place in China. A number of U.S. law schools have canceled such trips as the deadly virus continues to spread.

St. Mary’s University School of Law has canceled an annual five-week summer abroad program. A professor at the San Antonio school takes about 20 students to visit Beijing.

"Some of our students were disappointed because they were all geared up for this summer but we told them, look this is really for the safety of everybody involved," the professor, Robert Hu, told a local TV station. 

A host of undergrad universities have canceled upcoming spring study abroad programs. Some operate campuses in the Asian nation in partnerships with Chinese universities. 

Five U.S. law schools, in addition to St. Mary’s University, have extensive summer aboard programs in China. Most are slated to start in May. At least one other has been canceled.

Brooklyn Law School, on its website, says: “The BLS Beijing Summer Abroad Program has been suspended this year due to health concerns. The Program will resume in 2021.”

Significant travel cautions are in place. The Centers for Disease Control is recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.

Foreign nationals entering the U.S. from China are being denied entry temporarily. And U.S. citizens returning from Hubei Province, where the virus started, must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Health officials have not been able to stop the virus’ spread. Nearly 92,000 cases have been reported worldwide, which have caused more than 3,200 deaths.

There are also concerns over how the virus will impact Chinese students who study in in the U.S. Nearly 370,000 Chinese students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. 

One survey found that the “the epidemic has invariably caused 40%  to 60% of students to be directly blocked in college application, visa and entry and exit,” to foreign schools.

For instance, the March Toefl English exam has been cancelled in China.