The BOSSA report, published on March 23, includes responses from almost 9,000 students studying outside of China.

“How educators respond during this time matters more than any other”

The majority of interviewees were doing courses in the US (30%) and the UK (27%). Students in 20 countries were included in the survey, of which just over half were undergraduates and 11% were under the age of 18.

Like many students, their top concerns were getting infected, the impact of coronavirus on their studies and being unable to return home.

Almost nine out of 10 are in countries where the number of cases is considered “moderate” or “severe”.

“How educators respond during this time matters more than any other. Choosing not to enrol next semester is now an option being heavily weighted by some students and parents,” BOSSA spokesperson Jon Santangelo told The PIE News.

Educators should be proactive in reaching out to their Chinese and international students.

“They need to ensure these students have all their essentials or see if they require assistance, from help in finding a flight back home or an apartment if student housing isn’t an option, to psychological counselling.”

Chinese state media has been documenting the work of embassies in providing support for students in a number of countries, including in the UK where more than 8,000 students have received epidemic guides and medical kits.

The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said that the embassy was in contact with more than 150 universities hosting Chinese students.

Some 13% of students in the report being told to take surgical masks off, with one case in the UK where a student was told to either take his mask off or leave the school, which resulted in the student leaving.

For students that wish to return to China – although half aren’t planning to – 94% say they are prohibited by the cost and shortage of flights.

Fares have risen drastically and routes can now require changing in as many as three different countries. A flight next week to Beijing from London currently costs over £800, while one from New York to the Chinese capital weighs in at £1,500.

Others say they worry about being able to return to study if they choose to leave and the impact it would have on their education.

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