Why colleges have had so many scares

White House considers ban on China flights amid coronavirus outbreak

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As fear surrounding the novel coronavirus spreads in the U.S., scares are popping up almost daily at college campuses. Administrators have canceled sporting events and travel to China. Some on campus have taken to wearing masks. Others have launched petitions to cancel class. 

The concern has some merit: Universities house a large number of students in high-density residence halls and apartment buildings, conditions ripe for spreading viruses. Many of them are international students, recently returned from places such as China, which sends more students to the U.S. than any other foreign country. Others are Americans coming home from semesters or January terms abroad, or just leaving for overseas — and considering making other plans as the virus spreads worldwide.

Just as significant as the battle to keep students healthy: maintaining calm on campus without stigmatizing anyone. 

The bulk of the nearly 8,000 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide are in China, where at least 170 people have died. So far, authorities have confirmed five coronavirus cases in the United States, including in Arizona, California, Illinois and Washington. A person with a connection to Arizona State University is one of the people infected in the U.S. More than 160 other cases are pending.

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