The Guardian, Coronavirus live updates

With travel restrictions in place, dozens of American universities based in Italy could close their doors for good, leaving hundreds of professors jobless unless US students are allowed to return to Europe, Lorenzo Tondo reports.

According to the Open Door report, more than 35,000 students enrolled in American universities in Italy may not return, given the restrictions put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“It is a very dramatic situation in which almost all in-person summer study sessions have already been cancelled,” says Matteo Duni, president of ASAUI, the Association of Scholars at American Universities in Italy. “Some small- and medium-sized institutions risk closure for lack of enrolments, and other American universities with programmes in Italy could decide to keep their students in the States.”

There are more than 160 American institutions of higher learning in Italy, among colleges, summer schools and universities, the majority of which are based in Rome and Florence. Among the most famous are Syracuse, New York University, Kent State in Florence, and Cornell, Notre Dame, and Temple University in Rome. With the onset of the coronavirus emergency in Italy, between the end of February and early March, all American students in Italy were sent back to the US by their home campuses. It is by no means clear when students may return to Italy.

“This is not just an Italian problem,” says Duni. “Other European countries, like France and Spain, are also affected because they, too, host hundreds of American institutions.”

Most US visitors are set to remain banned from entering the European Union because of the country’s rising infection rate.

Universities are studying various solutions, among which the possibility of European students enrolled in the US, if not allowed to return there, to attend classes in American universities based in Europe.


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