NUS suspends Italy exchanges, recalls students

A circular to staff and students said NUS was in the process of contacting all its students based in Italy, and arrangements were being made for them to return to Singapore.
A circular to staff and students said NUS was in the process of contacting all its students based in Italy, and arrangements were being made for them to return to Singapore.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - The National University of Singapore (NUS) has suspended with immediate effect all exchange programmes sending students to Italy.

In a circular to staff and students on Monday (March 2), NUS senior vice-provost Bernard Tan said the decision was made in the light of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections in Italy.

It was not stated how many NUS students are currently there.

But the circular, seen by The New Paper, said NUS was in the process of contacting all its students based there, and arrangements were being made for them to return to Singapore.

There have been at least 34 deaths and about 1,700 confirmed cases in Italy.

Schools and universities in the northern Italian regions have been closed for more than a week, and are expected to remain closed indefinitely.

At least 20 football matches scheduled over last weekend were also postponed.

It remains unclear what measures other universities here will be taking regarding such student exchanges.

TNP understands that the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Singapore Institute of Technology do not have any exchange students in Italy.

But it is believed there are about 20 students from the Singapore Management University (SMU) currently there on exchange.

According to SMU's website, the school has exchanges with at least five universities in Milan, Rome and Castellanza.

LOMBARDY

Both Milan and Castellanza are in the Lombardy region, where almost 1,000 of the confirmed cases in Italy are.

More than 100 cases in that region are in critical condition and in intensive care.

TNP has reached out to all the local universities here for comment.

Local universities suspended exchange programmes sending students to South Korea last week after the country's alert level was raised to its highest.

Students were reportedly in limbo as the schools attempted to help them find alternative arrangements.

Those unable to find such arrangements have been advised to take a semester's leave of absence from school, pushing back their graduation.

The students are also being advised by the universities regarding insurance claims.

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OSMOND CHIA