Feb 1, 2020 - Health

College campuses on edge due to coronavirus outbreak

College classroom

Photo: Muntz/Getty Images

Students and staff on college campuses across the country are on edge as rumors swirl surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: University campuses can be breeding grounds for infectious and viral diseases. Illnesses can also spread quickly considering the close proximity in which students reside.

The state of play:

  • Two undergraduate students from Wuhan, China at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville were moved into a special dorm room and told to frequently take their temperatures.
  • A student-organized petition to cancel classes is circulating at Arizona State University after a confirmed case of the virus struck the campus.
  • Basketball games at Miami University in Ohio were postponed after two students reportedly showed possible symptoms.
  • Boston University postponed its study abroad program to Shanghai scheduled to depart in February.

Yes, but: Some students of Asian descent told the Times they've seen an uptick in xenophobic claims following the outbreak.

  • Some students have reportedly posted online that they are avoiding their Asian classmates.

The bottom line: "[C]ampus health officials are taking on two challenges: informing the public about the virus while managing exaggerated fears, and continuing to handle the flu viruses that typically spread this time of year," the Times writes.

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