March 4, 2020 Coronavirus and UT Study Abroad


Please refer to UT’s coronavirus website for the most updated information about UT’s preparation for and response to COVID-19. The information below provides updates on the college’s study abroad programs.

(The information below was originally posted March 4; updated March 5; updated March 10; updated March 12)


What is coronavirus?

According to the UT Health Science Center website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19, the novel coronavirus causing the outbreak, is a virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Did coronavirus close our study abroad program in Rome, Italy?

On Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, all UT study abroad programs in Italy in spring 2020 were suspended after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning against non-essential travel to Italy.  Our college had 10 students studying in Rome, who were asked to immediately book flights home. UT is covering the costs of the return flights. All students have now returned to the U.S.  Many UT offices and our college are working quickly and thoughtfully to ensure the students’ financial and academic needs are addressed.

What is the status of the college’s spring 2020 programs in other countries?

As of March 5, 2020, no other spring 2020 study abroad program in our college has been suspended.

[March 12]: On March 12, 2020, the CDC activated a Level 3 warning for several European countries, including Germany and Poland, in which we have spring 2020 study abroad programs. These programs, along with others, were cancelled, and students were instructed to immediately book flights home. UT is covering the costs of the return flights. Students will follow CDC recommendations and self-isolate at home for 14 days. President Trump’s restrictions on travel from Europe does not apply to U.S citizens, so the restriction does not apply to our students. As with students who returned from our Rome study abroad, we are working to ensure students’ financial and academic needs are addressed.

Will there be changes to study abroad programs this summer or fall?

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are actively working with the UT Center for Global Engagement and others to closely monitor recommendations from the CDC. Should UT cancel additional programs, we will quickly share the information via e-mail, sketchbook, website or other appropriate means. UTK-sponsored mini-term and summer programs are suspended, meaning no decision has been made but students have been alerted about the potential for cancellation as the situation continues to evolve. Read more details about coronavirus and UT study abroad programs.

What else has UT done to monitor or take action?

Visit UT’s coronavirus website for all updated details.

What else should I know about coronavirus?

As of March 11, UT has received no reports of coronavirus cases. On March 5, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the state’s first confirmed case. To stay healthy, follow these tips from the CDC. Do not share rumors. Use reliable resources like these to stay up to date:

If you or other members of the UT family need to speak with someone about the situation, UT can help:

  • 865-974-HELP (students)
  • 865-946-CARE (faculty and staff)