Campus Sees Waves Of Cancellations Amid Coronavirus Concerns

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Photo by: Illustration courtesy of JunGSa from Noun project

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, presents flu-like symptoms.

Story By: Hannah Lanier, News Editor

Study abroad programs, championships games and events at Fresno City College have either been canceled or postponed amid concerns about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a rapidly spreading respiratory illness.

The State Center Community College District (SCCCD) International Educational Program has canceled the Italy Study Abroad Program for summer 2020. 

As of March 10, Italy is the second country most affected by COVID-19 with 9,172 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization. China, where the virus originated, has 80,924 confirmed cases.

“We are monitoring the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. We’re looking very carefully at what the authorities are recommending but we make the decision with the Board of Trustees and the chancellor’s office on which programs go and don’t go,” said Margaret Hiebert, coordinator of international education for SCCCD.

While the cancellation of the program was not ideal, it was necessary.

Still, Hiebert encourages students to participate in global education through study abroad programs. “International education is a very important part of their development as global citizens and as part of the global workforce,” said Hiebert. “We fully intend to continue our programs as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The California Community College Forensics Association State Championship set for March 13 through March 15, was also canceled.

The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) announced on March 10 that the upcoming women’s and men’s basketball championship tournament at West Hills College Lemoore would be limited to athletes and authorized staff only—no media or spectators will be permitted attendance.

The FCC men’s basketball team is still scheduled to compete. 

The decision was made after collaboration between West Hills College Lemoore, West Hills Community College District leadership, the CCCAA, the men’s and women’s basketball coaches’ associations and upon information and recommendations from the Kings County Department of Public Health,” said CCCAA in a press release.

The campus health services are not sure if FCC will close the campus out of precaution. Students have begun to speculate about canceled classes or a closed campus, but there has been no confirmation of classes being canceled. 

Health Services is working on a day-to-day basis to “wait to see what the CDC, WHO, and other health organizations advise,” explained Lilli Goishi-Bessy, health services coordinator at FCC.

So far, the coronavirus has been reported in 110 countries and territories, with over 113,000 confirmed cases as of March 10 from the World Health Organization.

On March 8, Fresno County had its first confirmed travel-related case: no relation to Fresno City College. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shared ways to “help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COIVID-19,” in the hope of using education to diminish a widespread panic. Most importantly, the CDC advises that anyone who is sick to stay home.

FCC’s administration is paying close attention to the development of the disease and is sending out information to faculty and students as quickly as possible. 

Students are encouraged to constantly check their college provided email for updates.