Home Campus Coronavirus anxiety intensifies as Japanese exchange students move into previously vacated Wray House

Coronavirus anxiety intensifies as Japanese exchange students move into previously vacated Wray House

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Wray House. Photo by Bo Kuhn.

Several Japanese exchange students from Chubu University were moved into Wray House, a previously vacated dorm on South Green, when they arrived to campus from Japan on Saturday, according to multiple students familiar with the circumstances.

Chubu University is located just outside Nagoya, a major Japanese city, where the government confirmed Monday at least five cases of coronavirus, according to Reuters.

The university confirmed Thursday that the student exchange group is being housing together temporarily, “out of an abundance of caution,” Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said in a statement provided to The New Political.

“Managing the coronavirus is a dynamic situation that requires fast-paced adjustments and decision-making,” she said.

An Ohio University student intimately familiar with the circumstance described the exchange students’ living arrangements as a “quarantine.” However, the students are “actively participating in their program” and no students, faculty or staff are currently under quarantine, meaning they are able to freely leave the residence hall, according to Leatherwood.

Ohio U on Monday, after the students arrival, canceled all inbound travel from countries with level 2 and 3 travel warnings assigned by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Japan has a level 2 travel warning, according to the CDC.

The Ohio U students assigned to live with the exchange students for the duration of the semester were informed Tuesday via email that they will not be receiving a roommate, according to a student who was set to get a roommate from the Chubu University cohort.

Wray House was closed at the end of fall semester 2019 because of a lack of students electing to live there and was originally scheduled to reopen for fall semester 2020, according to a February report by The Post.

Chaden Djalali, the executive vice president and provost of Ohio U, mentioned Tuesday the possibility of the university shutting down in the event of a local outbreak of the virus.

“We are trying to plan,” Djalali said. “Hopefully, we don’t come to the point that we have to close the university. But we’ve been asked … to plan for that. Hopefully we’re not going to get there.”

The Athens City-County Health Department released a statement Monday that the city’s preparedness plans for a coronavirus outbreak would be similar to what was in place during the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

Maggie Prosser contributed to this report.

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