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Columbia University bans 70 MBA students from classes after COVID-19 travel violation

University library, NY


(NEW YORK) — Students at New York’s Columbia Business School who recently violated the university’s COVID-19 travel policy are temporarily prohibited from attending in-person classes.

The group of 70 MBA students had traveled to the island of Turks and Caicos on a trip that was not school-sponsored. None of the students have been suspended.

“An important part of Columbia’s public health protocols is that there are consequences for community members who violate the university’s health compact,” a Columbia Business School spokesperson told “Good Morning America.”

In its COVID-19 travel restrictions listed for the fall 2020 semester, the Columbia University website states, “All academic or work-related travel, domestic or international, is suspended.”

“Columbia faculty, staff and students are required to follow local, state and federal travel restrictions, and should consult with CDC guidance,” the website states.

On Sept. 29, the CDC released a report revealing there was an increase in COVID-19 infections from August to September among people ages 18 to 22 as some colleges and universities reopened in the United States. According to a recent New York Times survey of more than 1,700 American colleges and universities, there have been more than 320,000 cases and at least 80 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Cases across the U.S. now top more than 12 million, and more than 68,000 cases have been reported at colleges since early November, according to The Times tracker.

In the state of New York, there have been more than 596,000 cases and at least 34,319 deaths as a result of the novel coronavirus.

Columbia’s MBA students who violated the international travel suspension are banned from campus until Dec. 1. They must fulfill their academic obligations by taking their courses remotely.

With Thanksgiving approaching, colleges and universities are strategizing game plans to minimize the spread of the virus if students travel home.

Dr. Anita Barkin, co-chair of the American College Health Association COVID-19 Task Force, spoke with “Good Morning America” as health experts urge students to either remain on campus or follow specific protocols in an attempt to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus.

“We would encourage students not to go home, and the reason is that we know with travel comes risk of exposure,” Barkin said. “So we would prefer students stay on campus and do a virtual Thanksgiving with their family.”

Barkin shared tips with “GMA” on what families and students need to consider as many head home for the holidays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of her advice includes reducing the number of stops on a car trip and avoiding kissing, hugging and shaking hands.

Read more of Barkin’s expert tips here.

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