Grand Strand, NC colleges change, cancel study abroad plans in response to coronavirus outbreak

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Although there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in South Carolina, there’s been one confirmed case in North Carolina, and two in Georgia, prompting local area colleges to make changes to their study abroad programs.

“We want to be sure that everyone that’s associated with us, that we want them to be safe, and that we’re taking any precautions we can, as much as possible,” said Dr. Marilyn Fore, President of Horry Georgetown Technical College.

HGTC has plans for their culinary arts students to travel to Paris at the end of March, but they’re talking with students this week to delay that trip.

“We’re taking care of the travel, we’re reimbursing students for any of their expenses, so the conversation’s just going on that we just want them to be safe,” said Dr. Fore. “We want to reschedule another time because it’s a wonderful opportunity for students to study abroad.”

Coastal Carolina University cancelled all study abroad trips, Francis Marion University cancelled its spring break trips, and University of North Carolina Pembroke banned students from traveling to China.

FMU, UNC Pembroke and HGTC tell News13 they’re also looking at any pre-approved study abroad plans on a case-by-case basis to keep everyone safe from the virus.


Coastal Carolina University Statement

Effective immediately, all CCU travel abroad trips that have not already departed are canceled until further notice. This affects a few different University-sponsored education abroad programs, a program sponsored by CCU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and individual faculty travel. The University is in the process of notifying all individuals who are affected.

The University has strongly recommended that CCU students returning from areas designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as level 3 or higher self-isolate for 14 days. We are urging our students returning from abroad to travel to their homes and self-isolate for 14 days. For those who are unable to return home and therefore require accommodations, CCU is making available space on campus. 

Late last week, all CCU students studying abroad for spring semester in areas not designated as Level 3 by either the CDC or Department of State were offered the opportunity to return to campus. CCU will make accommodations for them to return to campus and complete their academic programs for the spring.

You can find live updates on CCU’s advisories by clicking on this link: coastal.edu/advisory.


Horry Georgetown Technical College Statement

As HGTC continues to closely monitor and assess the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on programs and other activities our community members are engaged in, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remains our primary concern.

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by the newly identified coronavirus with symptoms consisting primarily of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  Less common symptoms include sore throat, chills, muscle aches, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing kits for COVID-19 that state public health laboratories will use for testing through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). 

As Spring Break approaches with the evolving spread of the COVID-19, whether you are personally staying local, traveling within the US, or traveling abroad, the CDC and SC DHEC recommend using these precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid contact with respiratory secretions.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Self-isolate if you become sick.

Please note that the College will adhere to the guidance of the CDC, SC DHEC, and the World Health Organization in determining whether student and/or employee travel will be deemed essential.

Communicable Diseases and Pandemics are specifically addressed in HGTC‘s Emergency Response Manual (on page 35).  All employees have been made aware of and/or provided copies of this manual, and a copy is also available on our website.

In preparation for flu season and in response to prior epidemics, HGTC has taken extensive precautionary measures to minimize the spreading of germs/diseases. We continue to encourage our community to take the necessary precautions and exercise good health practices.

To learn more about preventive health practices, please refer to the CDC and SC DHEC websites.  To receive College updates on the impact of COVID-19 outbreak, please regularly monitor HGTC email, social media, and www.hgtc.edu for any changes in operations. 

You can find live updates on HGTC’s advisories by clicking on this link: https://www.hgtc.edu/current_students/covid-19.html.


University of North Carolina Pembroke Statement

In January 2020, UNC Pembroke issued a ban on university-sponsored travel to China through the Spring semester. The university is currently evaluating timing and destination of planned study abroad and university-sponsored travel to other locations to determine if necessary action is required and will continue to monitor closely in coordination with health officials. 


Francis Marion University Statement

The University has cancelled all spring break trips abroad involving FMU students. We are reassessing study abroad trips scheduled for late spring and summer on a case-by-case basis.

You can find live updates on FMU’s advisories by clicking on this link: https://www.fmarion.edu/healthadvisory/.

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