In a March 11 forum held regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, all students currently studying abroad at Harlaxton College learned they will be removed from the manor by March 18 and were highly recommended they return to their homes in the United States.
COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has made waves at both Baker University and Harlaxton. Prior to the coronavirus being declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization and an increase in cases, Harlaxton College prohibited students from traveling to infected countries. After it was declared a global pandemic, Harlaxton College ceased in-person instruction. All Harlaxton students will be completing their classes online.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O’s director-general, has called for people to act together against a common threat.
Although this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, “we also believe that this is the first pandemic that is able to be controlled,” Ghebreyesus said.
With many American colleges and universities reverting to online classes, Harlaxton College has chosen to follow the U.S. policy and cancel classes to protect the health of students and prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Junior Maddie Lutgen is currently spending the semester studying abroad at Harlaxton College located in Grantham, England. With the remainder of her semester being canceled, Lutgen is disappointed that the life-changing experience was cut short, despite recognizing the decision was made to preserve public health and safety.
Before Lutgen and the other students were restricted to the manor, the college had placed travel bans on countries ranked as two or three. “If we were to go to those locations, we would not be allowed back,” Lutgen said.
According to an official press release from Harlaxton College, written by President of Evansville University Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, “by March 18, 2020, all Harlaxton students should plan to leave the manor and continue their courses online.” Classes for the Harlaxton students will resume online on March 23.
Many Harlaxton students are worried about finances and receiving possible reimbursement from the college. According to the press release, “students will be refunded for any college-sponsored travel that has been canceled as a result of this change. We will provide additional information as soon as available.”
Lutgen herself believes that although it is an unfortunate situation, “Harlaxton has taken appropriate precautions and done what was necessary to prevent the potential spread of the virus.”
On March 11, a group of Baker students left for Ethiopia through Fellowship Bible Church in Baldwin City. Although the students going to Ethiopia are not traveling through the school, some have a concern about the well-being of the students traveling.
While the trip to Ethiopia is underway, a student trip to Scotland set for spring break was canceled due to the threat of COVID-19.
Freshman Lauren Koerner was one of the students set to accompany Dr. Robyn Long, associate professor of psychology and the director of study abroad, on the trip to Scotland.
Although Koerner understands why the trip was canceled, she is disappointed to have the experience taken away.
“It was going to be my first out of the country experience and I had been saving up money for months,” Koerner said, “Dr. Long made the choice that was best for her and for us… she would not have made such a big decision if she did not have our best interests and our safety at heart.”
Long has had more contact than usual with parents of students who are currently abroad. Long believes that students should judge their travel situations based on their values. “We’re encouraging students to value if their anxiety outweighs everything else,” Long said.
Along with the 10 students returning home from Harlaxton, there is one student currently in New Zealand and two students in Spain.
According to President Trump in an announcement, the United States will suspend all travel from Europe over the next 30 days, this does not include the United Kingdom.
For more information about COVID-19, please use the links below:
John Hopkins University COVID-19 map
New York Times: “Coronavirus Has Become a Pandemic, W.H.O. Says”
Center for Disease Control