UNK cancels South Korea programs amid coronavirus concerns



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UNK international programs are facing extreme challenges as the global coronavirus situation continues to rapidly evolve. Student travel abroad has been cancelled in some circumstances, presenting uncertainties for these programs.

For University of Nebraska officials, this issue is one with far-reaching consequences.

“University of Nebraska policy prohibits student travel to countries that are under CDC level three travel warnings,” said Tim Burkink, assistant vice chancellor for international affairs.

In accordance with Executive Memorandum No. 25, the university has restricted travel for students, faculty, and staff to any country with a level three advisory warning assigned by the United States Center for Disease Control.

As of Tuesday, March 3, these countries are China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

“As a result, we have cancelled programs in South Korea,” Burkink said.

On campus, at least two students thus far have had upcoming programs in Korea cancelled.

Hannah and Rebekah Petersen were in San Francisco when they received an email hours before their flight saying their trip had been cancelled.

“It’s good that they’re being proactive about this and not wanting us to get sick,” said Hannah Petersen, a sophomore majoring in musical theater and vice president of UNKpop, a club that promotes Korean pop style dance. “When we first found out, of course we cried a lot, because we were so upset after planning this for a long time. I’ve gotten lots of emails about people feeling sorry that I couldn’t go on this trip because I was looking forward to it.”

Officials expressed their disappointment as well.

“I’m disappointed for them,” Burkink said.

University officials continue to remain committed to the health and safety of UNK students as the situation changes.