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Students Stunned by University Travel Plans Being Canceled Due to New Coronavirus

by Rosaria Lo Presti

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) has officially reached New Jersey with a total of 23 positive cases and as a result, student travels at Montclair State University have been affected.

The university has extended spring break to March 22 and will be switching to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. Additionally, all planned trips to study abroad have been canceled, including all trips in the United States.

Brianna Cortez, a senior communication and media arts major, was supposed to study abroad in Italy over spring break from March 7 to March 15, but that trip has been canceled. Instead, Cortez is receiving work online to complete over spring break.

“Friday, Feb. 28: After the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] raised Italy to a Level 3 [travel health notice], we then received an email that our trip had been officially canceled,” Cortez said. “I was really upset about the trip being canceled because I’ve always wanted to study abroad. I can’t say that anymore or have the opportunity to study abroad during another semester because I’m graduating in May.”

There were 11 students who recently came back from studying abroad in Italy and those students are currently quarantined. The CDC advises all travelers to avoid all travel to Italy as the Italian government prohibited everyone who is currently in Italy from going out in public places.

Students at Montclair State who are taking the course “Special Studies in Television and Digital Media” had a planned trip to New Orleans that has also been canceled. Kevin Doyle, a junior journalism major, was looking forward to the experiences he would have over spring break.

Kevin Doyle

Before the trip was canceled Kevin Doyle had planned to go to New Orleans to write about Native Americans living along Louisiana’s coast.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Doyle

“I had prepared for this trip for months and was excited to finally record and write my story on Native Americans living along Louisiana’s coast. And a day before we were supposed to leave, it all came crashing down because of this virus,” Doyle said. “It’s really disappointing. I was really looking forward to getting some real field experience. I think we still should’ve been allowed to go on the trip at our own risk.”

Alex Grabiec

Sophomore television and digital media major Alex Grabiec had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the New Orleans trip that was canceled.
Photo courtesy of Alex Grabiec

Alex Grabiec, a sophomore television and digital media major, is also in the class and is frustrated with his trip to New Orleans being canceled.

“It was a frustrating decision,” said Grabiec. “We spent all that time sending countless emails and multiple phone calls to get the right people for my field report. I had to change reports twice. All that work going to waste, all due to the cancellation.”

The virus was officially declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday, March 11. As the virus still develops, it will continue to be updated as news.

Contributions to this article made by Jeremy Wall.

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