COVID-19: Will the focus on Springfield affect international students’ return?

Local News

The news of Springfield being the “COVID hotspot” of the United States has spread internationally.

President of Missouri State University Clif Smart and some students are concerned about international students’ return to campus.

“The biggest challenge right now though, guys, we’re making world news,” said Smart. “Our partner universities in china know that Springfield, Missouri is leading America in terms of covid infections, which makes it frankly less likely for many of those students to want to choose Missouri State, Drury, Evangel, OTC, to come.”

Smart expressed his concern about international students at a press conference last week.

A concern shared with Lauren Jackson, a Missouri State University student with many international student classmates.

“The majority of students in our department are from Malaysia. Taiwan, Korea,” said Jackson. “I feel like them trying to come back here over the summer, or trying to be safe, coming back to this environment where the majority of people are not vaccinated, is instilling a bit of fear into most of my friends. I’m afraid what will happen if the large majority of those students don’t come back, then the level of competition and good spirits that they bring into the piano studio, into our program in general, will just be heavily decreased, it’s very sad.”

The good news is, Brad Bodenhausen with Missouri State University’s international office said they haven’t seen hesitancy yet.

“So far, we haven’t had any concern expressed by international students, coming to Missouri state, in fact, we’ve had a very strong interest,” said Bodenhausen.

And he said many international students are eager to get vaccinated upon their arrival to campus.

“Internationally, students and others may have to wait a year or more from now to get access to the vaccine,” said Bodenhausen. “So for them coming here, that’s a bonus they’re really looking forward to.”

“We’re confident that any student that is not vaccinated will be vaccinated upon their arrival to America, and our campus, they seem to have significantly less vaccine hesitancy,” Smart said.

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