Rome, Italy, Sep 16, 2020 / 11:00 am
At a time when many universities in the U.S. are only offering online classes this fall, American students from two Catholic colleges arrive in Rome this week to study abroad.
The University of Dallas and Christendom College are among the few schools to resume their study abroad programs after the global coronavirus pandemic brought most international travel to a standstill.
Administrators and professors at these Catholics colleges have had to get creative in order to balance an academic program that ensures the health and safety of their students without sacrificing the aspects that make studying abroad intellectually and spiritually enriching.
“We have a really bad joke going around campus that the semester is always really ‘intense,’ but this semester is really ‘in tents,’” Dr. Peter Hatlie, the director of University of Dallas’ Rome program, told CNA.
The 78 students who arrived at the University of Dallas’ Due Santi Campus in the Alban Hills outside of Rome on Sept. 13 immediately entered a “quarantine zone” on the campus (pictured below) where they have begun outdoor classes under a big tent that is 10 to 15 feet distant from a separate tent where the professor lectures.
Italian law currently requires all people entering the country from the United States to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. In light of these requirements, the University of Dallas has its newly arrived students in what Hatlie calls a “collective quarantine.”
“We have an incredible design,” Hatlie said. “We have taken our campus, which is an 11-12 acre campus and we have established three different areas. One for non-quarantined people. One for quarantined people, and then an eventual hospital/isolation center in the event that somebody along the way tests positive.”