Minnesota State University system bans international travel due to Coronavirus concerns
Some MSUM students are frustrated with the ban officials say is put in place for their own safety
MOORHEAD, Minn. — MSUM student Lizzie Powell grew up wanting to be a marine biologist.
In just a few days, she was expecting to embark on the trip of a lifetime with her class to Costa Rica that would help her decide if that’s the right path.
“For me, this trip was going to help me decide what career I wanted. If I wanted to work in conservation and now, I’m going to be halfway through my college without any idea. I won’t have had the opportunity to try it out.”
Effective February 28th, the Minnesota State University system cancelled all study abroad trips for students and staff due to Coronavirus concerns.
“I would be incredibly frustrated if I was all set to travel later this week and then found out that I couldn’t, so I think their concerns are understandable. The reality is this is the guidance we’ve received and so, our goal is just to work with the students as best we can to help,” says MSUM Dean of Students Kara Gravley-Stack.
But the students say their concerns are about more than just a cancelled trip.
It’s still unclear whether or not they will be fully reimbursed.
If not, they’ll each be out nearly $3,000.
They also say it’s frustrating Chancellor Devinder Malhotra hasn’t cancelled domestic trips where student athletes are traveling to states with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“I’m sure there’s some higher risk with having students outside of the country because we could be not allowed to come back in, but I do know a lot of people are quite frustrated that there’s been picking and choosing of who’s worth sending out for travel and who’s not,” says Powell.
“That’s probably something that we’ll continue looking at and monitoring. We’re going based on the guidance from Chancellor Malhotra about the outbound international travel at this point,” says Gravley-Stack.
Although Powell may not get to go on the trip of a lifetime, at the very least, she says she hopes to be refunded for the missed opportunity.