Update regarding off-campus study and coronavirus - March 2, 2020
Dear students abroad and their families,
Yesterday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a statement regarding U.S. study abroad students.
This statement includes the following recommendations:
Given the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) institutes of higher education (IHE) should consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs. IHE should consider asking current program participants to return to their home country. Those overseeing student foreign exchange programs should be aware that students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad…IHEs should consider asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States.
Skidmore College has been monitoring the situation closely and, based on information from the CDC, Department of State, and our on-site partners, we have decided that we will not cancel programs or ask students to return home at this time. Additional decisions will be made as conditions warrant.
We have asked students in South Korea and Italy, where study abroad programs have been suspended and where the CDC has issued a Level 3 warning and for which the Department of State has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, to return to the U.S. We are working with students, their families and their programs to support the transition.
Students returning from South Korea and Italy
Most of the affected students have been offered the opportunity to complete their coursework and credits remotely, whether online from their homes or on the host program’s U.S. campus. There are no plans to have these students return to Skidmore’s campus to complete their coursework. We encourage students to take precautions and consider self-isolation for the recommended 14 days. During that period, to the extent possible, we told student that they should avoid crowded spaces and other public areas, including the Skidmore campus.
Immediate actions for students studying abroad
- As travel across the globe is becoming more restricted, we strongly urge you to remain in your host location and comply with any travel restrictions imposed by your program or your local government. These restrictions are serious and must be followed because there is a risk of being stopped while traveling or being stranded with no way to return to your host city. Always follow program protocols for your safety and well-being.
- 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.
- Before traveling or when looking for updates, refer to the following web sites for ongoing updates and precautions that will help you stay safe:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel unwell.
If there are changes to your program, we will be in touch as soon as we have new information. Please check the Skidmore webpage for updates and links to helpful information.
Because the arrangements for each program are different, and students and families may have specific questions, we are addressing individual concerns on a case-by-case basis. Please do not hesitate to contact OCSE at email@example.com or 1-518-580-5355 with any questions or concerns.