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Syracuse University calls home students from Hong Kong, cancels two summer programs in mainland China amid health concerns over Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Syracuse University calls home students from Hong Kong, cancels two summer programs in mainland China amid health concerns over Severe Acute Respiratory SyndromeApril 01, 2003Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
Syracuse University has shortened its spring semester program in Hong Kong and has canceled two upcoming programs in mainland China in response to health concerns about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
SU’s Hong Kong program is based at the City University of Hong Kong, where a suspected case of SARS infection was detected late last month, prompting the temporary closure of the university beginning March 29. That individual has since been cleared, but another individual at City University has now been confirmed with SARS.
Hong Kong has had more than 600 SARS cases and 15 deaths attributed to the syndrome. More than 1,600 cases worldwide have been confirmed.
Thirty-one students registered through SU’s Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) have been studying in Hong Kong this semester. Fifteen are from SU; the remainder are from other U.S. institutions.
DIPA administrators have advised students in the program to leave Hong Kong and have arranged for travel aboard two Cathay Pacific Airways flights leaving today. Thirteen students are booked on the CPA flight to New York City, and two students are booked on the CPA flight to Los Angeles. Other students are making their own travel arrangements, and five have not confirmed travel intentions. DIPA has advised the five that they remain at their own risk.
Special health precautions are in effect at Hong Kong Airport and on all flights leaving the island.
None of the SU students are expected to return to Syracuse. DIPA staff will work with all of the Hong Kong students to complete any final academic requirements of their program.
“The semester program is taught in self-contained modules,” says DIPA Associate Director James Buschman. “Classes for the main module were to conclude this week. Professors will send out exams from Hong Kong, and students can complete them electronically or by mail. Students will miss the final module-a three-credit internship or independent study-but will be given the chance to make up for the lost credit.”
Twenty-one students were planning to participate in the May short-term program in mainland China, The Culture & Art of China, to be led by SU College of Visual and Performing Arts faculty members Zhuang Liu and Joseph Downing. The students will receive full refunds of all monies paid to DIPA, including their application fee.
Eleven students had expressed interest in the Law and Business summer program in Shanghai. They are being offered the opportunity to take part in another summer program or may have their monies refunded.
Syracuse University has closely monitored the situation in Hong Kong through information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, SU Health Services, the New York State Department of Health and medical officials in Hong Kong. DIPA administrators’ decision to curtail the spring semester program and to cancel the two summer programs was based upon this accumulated information, as well as a March 28 CDC advisory urging those planning nonessential travel to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam to postpone their travel until further notice.