Wednesday, February 26, 2020 2:25AM EST

Kent State University continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Florence. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff at our Florence campus is our foremost priority. The university is working directly with the Consul General of the United States, the municipality of Florence and the chief of city police. The university will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by U.S. and Italian agencies.

Currently, there are several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florence. The CDC has raised Italy to a Watch Level 2 status, recommending the postponement of travel for older adults or those who have a chronic health condition. Out of caution, we are preparing for the potentially rapid increase in cases which may lead to a government-issued containment or quarantine.

Please be assured, we are here to support and assist you during a quarantine situation. Should containment restrictions or quarantine occur, you may be directed to remain indoors in your housing location. We are fully prepared to continue with classes remotely during this time. There will be no disruption in your coursework. In addition, we are coordinating closely with city officials in Florence to ensure access to food, water and other necessities that otherwise may be difficult to procure during a quarantine situation. Our priority is to keep you healthy and safe as you continue with your studies.

We will provide updates regularly through email and text as we continue to monitor local, national and international alerts. If you have not done so, please register for text alerts here.

Should you have additional questions, please call the Kent State Florence emergency number at +39-3711635353 (available 24 hours a day) or contact Kent State’s Office of Global Education at 330-672-7980.

Important information about COVID-19:

How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

Coronavirus disease 2019 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within 6 feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. Symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and difficulty with breathing. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization.

How can I prevent it?

The CDC recommends typical infectious disease precautions, just as those used to prevent cold or flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Cover coughs/sneezes with your arm or a tissue.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are ill (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The CDC does not recommend the routine use of face masks by the general public to prevent respiratory illness and is not recommending their use at this time for the prevention of COVID-19.

If you feel ill with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:

  • Dial telephone number 1500 and follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health Care.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

For more information: