SVSU students prepare for China trip amid coronavirus news

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (1/24/2020) - Health officials have said the risk of contacting coronavirus in the U.S. is incredibly low.

Patients in Macomb and Washtenaw counties are being tested for the coronavirus. (MGN Image)

But what about people who have planned a trip overseas?

Nursing students at Saginaw Valley State University have been going to China for many years to learn how different cultures apply their medical skills.

Another group of students and professors are supposed to go back in May, but the coronavirus could change their plans.

Nursing Professor Andrea Frederick said the situation may affect their trip.

"At this point, I'm taking a wait-and-see-type of approach. Daily checking what CDC has to say, so that we make an informed decision on whether to go to China or not," Frederick said.

While educators search for clues and answers on what the impact might be as plans for their trip evolve, they are using this developing disease as a learning tool.

"We've added it actually in my lecture class. We've added information coming up this next week to talk about what correct personal protective equipment or PPE is to wear," Frederick said.

The good news is the city where SVSU nursing students are going is 600 miles away from where the center of the virus outbreak is in Wuhan. That's just a little less than the distance between Flint and Atlanta, Ga.

While there is concern, there is also optimism the virus won't spread.

"Provided there is no significant health risk to them, it could be a great learning opportunity for them to go to another country and learn about how they handle a new virus outbreak," said SVSU spokesman J.J. Boehm.

SVSU officials said canceling the trip would be a last resort and would only happen if the coronavirus becomes a danger to both students and staff.

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