NYU Florence is closing the campus due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, where more than 220 people have been infected and 7 killed.
Following the Shanghai campus, NYU Florence became the second NYU campus that stopped on-site teaching due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The school made the announcement on February 25th, shortly after the number of confirmed infections in Italy rose from 3 last Friday to more than 200 by Monday.
“The campus will suspend all in-person operations beginning at 12 pm on Thursday, February 27, with an anticipated reopening date of Sunday, March 29,” according to the email that NYU Florence sent to the students, “Classes for the remainder of this week, February 25 through February 28, will be canceled.”
Florence, a city in central Italy where NYU launched its campus on a graceful and tranquil manor, has reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19. But the Italian government has announced “sweeping closures” in the north of the country, including the cancelation of public events and shutting-down of the railway.
The sudden closure of the campus is forcing students to depart immediately, no matter if they are living on-campus or off-campus. Starting from March 2nd, all classes at NYU Florence will resume via the Zoom online platform, which is currently being used successfully for students taking courses at NYU Shanghai.
With the shut-down of Shanghai campus, the closure of NYU Florence could be especially devastating to students who switched from NYU Shanghai to NYU Florence, hoping to seek a safe and comfortable study place.
“Within 30 minutes of the announcement to leave Florence flights went up to thousands of dollars.” Nadien, an American student from NYU Shanghai class of 2022 shared her feeling during the horrific moment at NYU Florence, “Masks and hand sanitizers [are] mostly sold out and one normal mask is 30 euros.” Nadien was up until four in the morning figuring out what to do. She claimed that many students are sad to see this happen and in fact most of the students in Florence are still hoping to come back at the end of March.
Despite the immediate departure ordered by NYU Florence, the university is trying to provide as much help as it can to assist students to leave the country.
“NYU Florence offered financial assistance with returning home”, said Adam, a Polish student from NYU Shanghai class of 2022 who switched to NYU Florence to avoid coming to study in China in early February when the number of those infected by the coronavirus was skyrocketing. Adam is now returning home as he thinks nowhere is safe. But in general he feels appreciative of the quick response and help provided by NYU.
Some students are facing the question of where to go at this particular moment. “From what I know, there haven’t been any strict actions taken to control the outbreak in Florence now”, said Nina, a Chinese student from NYU New York class of 2022, “I have to go back to New York because I’m not sure if it is safe to go back to China and I’m worried that I won’t be able to visit other countries if I return to China now.” Nina also told us that many major events in Florence were canceled and some of the NYU professors are still stuck in Milan, a city in the north of Italy where stricter measures are being adopted to control the outbreak.
“As is mentioned in the email, NYU Florence is still discussing about the arrangement to students who are not able to return to their home country,” Nina shared this as she was hastily preparing for her flight to New York the next morning, “Given the situation, I don’t think the outbreak could be totally controlled in one month.”
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has reached most countries around the world. South Korea is now second to China in terms of the severity of the outbreak as the confirmed number of cases rose to nearly 1000 with 10 reported deaths. In addition, Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, each of which has an NYU campus, have also reported confirmed cases of infection.
Fortunately, there hasn’t been any reported cases of NYU staff or students being infected by the coronavirus. While the number of infections is dropping sharply in China and the students anticipate returning to NYU Shanghai this semester, the news from Italy is certainly discouraging.
NYU Florence’s closure has left many wondering whether the outbreak of COVID-19 will impact more NYU campuses. If so, how should the students and staff react to sudden changes if another NYU campus is closed?
This article was written by Sicheng Fan. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Instagram, AP News – https://apnews.com/3ff698881c3cf741f0762a9d5c76031a, Business Insider – https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-italy-spread-death-toll-tries-to-control-5-2020-2