Bologna Program Cancels Classes Amid Coronavirus Scare

Jacob DeCarli ‘22, Managing Editor

The spread of Coronavirus in Northern Italy has led the Dickinson Center at the University of Bologna to postpone classes through the next week. 

The University of Bologna announced cancellations of all classes from Monday Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 29. Katie DeGuzman, dean and director of education for the center for global study and engagement (CGSE), sent a letter to families of students in Bologna on Sunday, Feb. 23. She explained current procedures at the University of Bologna and the Dickinson Center. “We ask that all students stay in Bologna this week and do not travel outside of that area,” according to DeGuzman in the letter. 

Fears of Coronavirus started in Europe as Italy reported over 150 infections in the northern regions. According to a New York Times article published on Feb. 23, only five infections erupted in Italy the previous Thursday, Feb. 20. A majority of those infected with the virus live in the Lombardy region, and business and schools have shut down in major cities like Milan. Nearby, Venice postponed all activities planned for the annual Carnivale celebration. 

On Monday, Feb. 24, DeGuzman sent another letter to families of Bologna students in abroad to share clarifications of suspension procedures. DeGuzmen said that the Dickinson Center would suspend the program if other Italian institutions did the same. “At this point in time, based on the guidance of the CDC [Center for Disease Control], WHO [World Health Organization] … Dickinson College is not conducting an evacuation or termination of our program in Bologna,” she stated. 

Media attention towards the Cornavirus in Italy circulated around the world as the country started to take precautionary measures to contain the virus. President Margee Ensign addressed the greater Dickinson community on Tuesday, Feb. 25 to explain the current situation at the Dickinson Center in Bologna. According to the letter, some students will return to the U.S., and the partner program in Florence has been suspended. “[…] Dickinson College is not conducting an evacuation or termination of our program in Bologna,” Ensign said. 

Students at the Dickinson Center in Bologna could not be reached for comment. 

The program had not been suspended as of print time.