February 26, 2020
Dear Campus Community:
As you are aware, we have been monitoring the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for several weeks. For a period of time, it appeared to be concentrated in several Asian countries, specifically China, but in recent days a new outbreak has been identified in northern Italy, with the number of diagnosed cases rapidly increasing.
We do not know how widespread this virus will become, but as more individuals are diagnosed, municipalities are moving to contain the virus by closing schools, public places, and in some cases suspending travel by train. Our first priority is the safety and security of our students, and over the past 48 hours we have become increasingly concerned that by continuing our program in Florence, we will not be able to assure an appropriate degree of safety or access to services. Further, we do not know when this situation will stabilize.
For this reason, we have made the painful decision to suspend academic operations at Gonzaga in Florence for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Along with a number of other American universities with programs in Florence, we are concerned that by remaining in Florence, our students are at risk for in-country quarantines, limitations on travel, and limited access to basic services.
We understand that this decision is a difficult one and presents an unexpected set of challenges to manage. Therefore, we will be working not only with our colleagues in Florence but asking members of our faculty, staff and student community for assistance as well, with the request that in this extraordinary circumstance we come together to support our Gonzaga in Florence students, families and colleagues.
Gonzaga values deeply the study abroad experience and appreciates your patience and understanding with this situation. We will continue to update our website with additional information as it becomes available (www.gonzaga.edu/coronavirus).
Deena J. González, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President