AUSTIN, TX — Hundreds of University of Texas at Austin students traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico over spring break — and 49 have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the school.
The university is now aware of 211 students who traveled to Mexico between March 14 and 19, including 178 students who organized their trip through JusCollege, a travel vendor. The trip included many additional students from other colleges and universities, but according to the release, UT-Austin is not aware of how many students from other schools also attended the trip.
A representative from JusCollege could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.
“This incident is an urgent reminder of the responsibilities students have to their communities, each other and themselves,” said Soncia Reagins-Lilly, the university’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We are deeply concerned for the health of the students affected and for their broader impact on the communities where they live.”
The number of confirmed cases among the students has grown this week, with 28 students reportedly testing positive on Tuesday and 44 testing positive on Wednesday.
Health officials directed all students — both those who had positive and negative test results — to self-quarantine according to public health protocols.
When students traveled to Mexico, the country was not yet under a federal travel advisory, but per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, Austin Public Health advised all nonessential international travel to be avoided. The school had also prohibited university-sponsored programs from planning international travel.
The number of confirmed cases may continue to rise in upcoming days as more students are tested, but almost all students from the UT Austin cluster who traveled to Cabo San Lucas have been tested, according to the report.
The university had already extended spring break and begun moving all classes online to prevent the spread of the virus before the students left for Mexico.