How Penn State and students are handling coronavirus fears

  • By Brannon DeWolf/WPSU
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(State College) — As director of Global Programs, Jennifer Campbell oversees Penn State’s international community. She says her office has helped Penn State’s Chinese students by giving deferments to incoming students, assisting in buying medical equipment and by translating press releases about the disease to ensure correct information is spread.

“It’s when misinformation, disinformation happens I think that causes fear or panic that’s when you can kind of have more concerns than just the actual virus,” she said.

Queenie Fan is the President of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, or CSSA. The CSSA and Office of Global Programs recently bought 1000 hygienic masks to ship to Wuhan. Despite help from the university, Fan said some Chinese students still experience stigma because of the disease.

“I heard one of my friends, while she was wearing the mask, she went to the class. But it’s not because she got the coronavirus. [It’s] because she got the flu. And she just coughed like constantly in class and five American students just reached [out] to the professor and asked the professor to ask the student if she has the coronavirus,” Fan said.

Students of Asian descent have reported cases of disease-related prejudice at schools like ASU, UC Berkley and others.

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