ELON, N.C. — Elon University will suspend its study abroad program in Florence, Italy due to coronavirus concerns.

That’s after a growing number of cases in northern Italy. The University said 21 students and one faculty member will return to their homes from Florence this week. The University made the decision after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased to more than 300 within a matter of days in Italy.

“This was a difficult decision for the university to make, given that these students were already immersed in these important global experiences,” said Woody Pelton, dean of global education. “However, the health and safety of students is our top priority. Given the uncertainty about the spread of the virus and its anticipated impact on travel and our academic program in Florence, we decided it was best to bring these students home as soon as possible.”

The University said it will continue to monitor the spread of the coronavirus in countries where Elon students and faculty are studying.

Got questions about the coronavirus? Text keyword VIRUS to 336-379-5775 to find out how you can talk to someone with North Carolina's coronavirus hotline. 

OTHER RELATED STORIES

RELATED: Can wearing a face mask protect you from the new coronavirus (COVID-19)?

RELATED: Study begins in US to test possible coronavirus treatment

RELATED: CDC warns spread of coronavirus in US appears inevitable

RELATED: Drugmaker Moderna ships possible coronavirus vaccine for testing

RELATED: White House readying coronavirus response request

RELATED: Italy battles historic virus outbreak

RELATED: How to stay healthy when traveling on a plane

RELATED: How the CDC is preparing for possibility of a coronavirus pandemic

RELATED: Coronavirus death toll hits 2,100 in mainland China

RELATED: VERIFY: Is COVID-19 more deadly than the flu?

Stay connected to local, national and breaking news: Download the new WFMY News 2 app. 

Text the word APP to 336-379-5775

DOWNLOAD FOR IPHONE HERE

DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID HERE

►For the latest weather conditions and forecast text the word WEATHER to 336-379-5775

►For traffic alerts text the word TRAFFIC to 336-379-5775