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Notre Dame law trip to compete in Rome canceled due to coronavirus

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A chance to compete in Rome has been canceled for a group of Notre Dame Law students after the spreading coronavirus forced organizers to cancel the trip.

Five members of the Moot Court Board planned to compete in an international Moot Court Tournament in Rome, where law students from around the US and globally, would argue before judges and compete against other students.

“We were ready to go,” Jim Scales said, a 2nd year law student.

The group spent months working hard, researching and preparing for the international tournament.

“And all of a sudden things kind of just ‘poofed’ away,” Katherine Griffitts said, a 2nd year law student.

Just a week before the group was set to leave for Italy, the students received a notice that the entire trip was canceled due to the spreading coronavirus.

“For it to just kind of explode in that short time frame in Italy, we were really surprised,” Griffitts said.

“A lot of work went into preparing for this,” Rachel Palermo said, a 2nd year law student. “We spent a lot of time researching and preparing our briefs and also preparing our oral arguments and so we were disappointed that we weren’t able to perform them.”

The group also conducted all of the research and hard work during the midst of a busy law semester.

“It was like we had a whole other class load that we had to add on between researching and writing,” Scales said.

“Since we were already going to be in Italy, some of us had organized plans to travel around Italy and other parts of Europe,” Palermo said.

But due to the coronavirus, it was all canceled—including the post-tournament travel plans.

Ever since, the group has been attempting to get refunds from the travel arrangements made in Italy and around Europe.

Palermo even captured the attention of the Today Show after tweeting to Airbnb, hoping to receive a refund.

Airbnb has issued a refund, according to Palermo.

Still, the group is just hoping a solution can be found to help cure the coronavirus outbreak as it continues to impact people around the world.

“If it continues like this they wouldn’t be able to reschedule something like this in Italy or in other similar regions,” Palermo said. “So hopefully if that becomes under control we can do something similar to this next year, but who really knows what will happen.”

It is unclear what will happen moving forward with the tournament, but the team does know it is not going to happen this year.

The group is still working on receiving refunds from flights that they had booked for the trip.

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