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Skidmore College

Message regarding Off-Campus Study and the Novel Coronavirus – Feb. 26, 2020

Dear Skidmore students abroad,

As you are aware the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a virus that originated in China, has resulted in daily announcements about precautionary practices and, most recently, travel restrictions from governments and health authorities. Skidmore College and the Office of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges (OCSE) has been closely monitoring the situation.

Yesterday, several study abroad programs in South Korea and Italy were suspended due to concerns about the virus. In Italy, students are facing restrictions on travel and general movement. In addition, there has been a reported case in the island of Tenerife in Spain.

Skidmore is committed to supporting students who are affected by program changes due to COVID-19. We are in constant contact with our program partners, and we are also in direct contact with students who are in the affected areas and their parents.

Because the arrangements for each program are different, and students and families may have specific preferences, we are addressing individual concerns on a case-by-case basis. Please do not hesitate to contact OCSE at or 1-518-580-5355 with any questions or concerns.

If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19 or you feel unwell, tell your program staff immediately. Each program location will have different protocols for treatment; follow your program’s protocols carefully. You can also contact OCSE at if you feel unwell.

OCSE continues to monitor the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay informed of new developments. At this time, we offer the following precautionary guidelines for our students.


COVID-19 can cause respiratory illness. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • General feeling of being unwell

At this time, the incubation period from exposure to illness is believed to be 14 days.


There are no specific treatments for human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus recover on their own. However, if you are concerned about your health, contact your program staff immediately. They will inform you about the appropriate response steps for your specific city. Follow your program’s protocols.


In general, practicing routine hygiene etiquette is the best way to prevent the spread of the infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice coughing and sneezing etiquette by sneezing/coughing into your elbow.
  • After using a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If sick, contact your program staff and follow your program protocols for treatment, especially if you have a fever.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, especially bathrooms and kitchens.


Please be aware that travel across the globe is becoming more restricted. We strongly urge you to stay in your host location rather than traveling outside of that area. We also require that you understand and comply with any travel restrictions imposed by your program or your local government. These restrictions are serious and must be followed. Please do not risk being stopped while traveling or being stranded with no way to get back to your host city. Always follow program protocols for your own safety and well-being.

Before traveling or when looking for updates, refer to the following web sites:

As OCSE always recommends, U.S. students should enroll in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.). Enrollment will allow embassies to provide information about safety conditions in your destination country, as well as contact you in an emergency. International students should use their home country’s registry.

This is a rapidly developing situation that we are closely monitoring. If there are changes to a program, we will be in touch as soon as we have information. We also have a new webpage where we will be posting updates and links to helpful information.

As always, please contact OCSE with any questions or concerns.


Cori Filson
Director, Off-Campus Study & Exchanges