Since the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in northern Italy, ISI Florence has been working closely with the local authorities, our partner institutions in the US, and the American Association of Colleges and Schools in Italy (AACUPI). We continue monitoring the situation closely and any new developments will be promptly announced.
We are aware of the heightened concern by both students and parents. Please note that the health and well-being of our students is our top priority and we will continue to consult the local authorities and solicit expert advice to incorporate the best practices in response to this crisis.
Currently, advice and consultation from AACUPI and local governmental agencies and is that it is considered safe for schools and universities in Tuscany to remain open. We feel confident in this assessment. As a result, the Institute will continue to follow its normal semester calendar and schedule. If that advice or our policy changes, we will inform the ISI community immediately and communicate plans in response to the directive.
We are fortunate that this week marks the last day of midterm exams on Thursday, February 27th. Our semester break begins on Friday, February 28th and continue through March 8th. Although the Institute will remain open, no classes will be held during the 10-day break. At this moment classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, March 9th. If there is a change in this policy we will post updates on this news section of our website and communicate this information to students via email and the ISI App. We ask all students to check often for updates.
ISI FLORENCE’S RESPONSE
ISI Florence has taken a number of measures in response to the outbreak.
- We have established a response team to monitor and assess the situation continuously, coordinate communication with the ISI community, and determine response policies;
- We have postponed all student trips and group excursions until further notice.
- We have provided our students, staff and faculty with resources on obtaining official information and on the best practices to avoid contracting a virus;
- We have installed hand sanitizers throughout the Institute;
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms and public spaces in the Institute;
- We have met with Board of the American Association of Colleges and Schools in Italy (AACUPI) and have consulted collectively with the Directors of other US study abroad programs in Italy;
- We have required that members of the ISI community with symptoms of cold or flu to notify us immediately, if so advised, to stay home until they are symptom-free;
The ISI response team will continue to closely monitor the situation (24/7). At this time we are confident that our response plan is prudent. However the situation is fluid and updates are coming in by the hour. We are processing all this information and will follow advice and instructions of the national government and local authorities in the Florence area. In addition, we are also working closely with our partner colleges and universities to determine the best course of action should there be an escalation of the outbreak.
If you have any questions or concerns please write to our Health and Safety Officer, Miranda McDaniel at [email protected] and leave your contact information and we will do our best to reply immediately. We thank our students, parents and the community at large for their understanding and cooperation during this difficult time.
Stefano Baldassarri, Ph.D.
Director, ISI Florence