University of South Florida: Students studying abroad in Italy, Japan asked to return to U.S.

A semester in Japan and Italy is being cut short for University of South Florida students as the number of coronavirus cases increase.

Seven students were studying in Florence, Italy during the spring semester and two students were in Japan. Now, the school is asking for them to return, said Adam Freeman, a USF spokesperson.

When they are back in the U.S., those students must self-quarantine for 14 days, which is state-mandated. Their classes won’t be canceled. Instead, they can complete the program online.

On Monday, Steven Currall, the USF president, announced all students, faculty and staff members are prohibited from traveling to destinations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers as “nonessential.”

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According to a USF statement: 

“The Florida Board of Governors has asked universities to cancel all university-sponsored travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. All faculty, employees and students who have traveled to these countries are being asked to return home and self-quarantine away from campus for 14 days.”

Two study abroad programs in South Korea were scheduled to host a handful of students, but those programs were canceled. The study abroad programs for the summer semester have not been canceled. The university is providing updates on its response to the coronavirus on the USF website.

Earlier this week, health officials in Florida announced the state's first two coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, the public learned there was a third presumptive case. Two women in Hillsborough County represent two of the three patients. Both are in their 20s. Both recently returned from a trip in Italy.  

The third patient is a man in Manatee County who remains hospitalized. 

If you feel sick

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.