Local colleges discuss plans for international students - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Local colleges discuss plans for international students

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According to the CDC, the African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria are all fighting the killer virus. (Source: MGN) According to the CDC, the African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria are all fighting the killer virus. (Source: MGN)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - According to the CDC, the African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria are all fighting the killer virus. WAFF 48 asked major Alabama colleges and Universities if they have a plan for international students coming from Ebola plagued countries for the upcoming semester.

WAFF 48 News crews spent the entire day reaching out to all the major schools in North Alabama as well as Auburn University and the University of Alabama.

Here's a breakdown. Auburn has 17 students from those countries. They've already screened one student from Liberia. The other 16 will have to do medical screenings before coming to campus.

Alabama reports having multiple students that will be on campus. However, school officials said they don't believe any of those students were overseas when the outbreak hit. The University of Alabama released an official statement on Friday afternoon.

"The University of Alabama has been monitoring the Ebola situation and has reviewed our emergency preparedness plans so that we are ready to respond, if necessary. At this point, there is no reason for concern or to take action. While UA does have current students on campus from the affected countries, none are known to have traveled to the impacted countries during the past several months. The screening processes that occur before anyone leaves Africa and once they arrive in the United States offer reasonable assurance that travelers are not at high risk. And, we are confident that medical professionals will be prepared to care for any student who shows potential symptoms after arriving on campus."

UAH said they have one student coming from Nigeria. UNA and Oakwood don't have any international students from those African countries. We're still waiting to hear back from Alabama A&M.

UNA released an official statement saying, "In the event of an Ebola outbreak on campus, the University of North Alabama would contact the local health department and follow their protocol."

However, as we researched this, we did discover Alabama A&M has multiple international partnerships with schools and programs in Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. We're still trying to confirm if that means the school is sending students there, or if students from those areas will attend school here in Huntsville in the fall.

The CDC hosted an online chat about Ebola on Twitter on Friday afternoon. WAFF 48 asked what should colleges and universities do with international students returning from Ebola plagued countries to the United States for the upcoming semester. The CDC responded by saying they're advising students to watch their health for the next 21 days after returning and seeking care immediately if they're sick. They're also developing Ebola guidance for universities and will be posting that information soon.

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