Study abroad updates regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus )
NEW: Cancellation of Fall 2020 Study Abroad Programs
Due to the continued risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, VCU has made the difficult decision to cancel all study abroad programs for fall 2020. This decision was also made in light of the U.S. Department of State's current Level 4 (Do Not Travel) global health advisory level. VCU has taken the proactive measure to cancel programs now to provide students with time to identify housing options and academic plans at VCU for the fall semester. This cancellation applies to all program types (exchange, direct enroll, provider programs) for the fall 2020 semester.
The Global Education Office will provide students with refunds for any application fees paid to VCU, which may include the $150 GEO fee. These refunds will be issued to your original form of payment and will be available in the next 30 days.
NEW: Keep on Studying Abroad
During this time of disruption, study abroad remains a valuable part of any student's educational experience. Even as we navigate COVID-19, there are steps that students can take to maintain momentum in planning their study abroad experience. The new Keep on Studying Abroad website offers tips for students to time their study abroad in light of COVID-19, connect virtually with a study abroad adviser, explore funding options and consider virtual internships and online classes.
Summer 2020 Study Abroad Programs Canceled
VCU has decided to cancel all upcoming study abroad programs for summer 2020, regardless of destination, due to the risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. The health and safety of our students and faculty is our number one priority. VCU has evaluated the risks associated with choosing to maintain its programs abroad and determined that it is in the best interest of all involved to cancel all upcoming programs in summer 2020.
VCU has taken the proactive measure to cancel programs now to provide both our faculty and students with sufficient time to identify alternative summer plans. The decision also reflects a response to recent recommendations from the CDC to institutions of higher education in the U.S. to consider cancelling outbound education abroad programs due to the expectation that the outbreak will continue to grow and that students "may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad." This decision was also made in light of the U.S. State Department's recent raising of the global health advisory level to a 4 (Do Not Travel).
The Education Abroad office will be informing students of this decision today and providing full refunds of deposits and application fees. Please be assured that we remain committed to providing global education experiences to our students and will work even more diligently to continue to grow our programs into the future. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at this time.
Summer 2020 study abroad programs to Japan, S. Korea, Italy, and China canceled
Out of an abundance of caution, VCU has decided to cancel all study abroad programs to Italy, S.Korea, and Japan for summer 2020, due to the risks associated with traveling abroad during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19. These countries currently have Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Level 2 or above travel advisories (due to COVID-19). The health and safety of our students and faculty is our number one priority. VCU has evaluated the risks associated with choosing to maintain these programs abroad and determined that it is in the best interest of all involved to cancel.
Spring 2020 study abroad programs recalled
VCU has mandated that all students studying abroad during spring 2020 return to the U.S. as soon as possible. Students have been instructed to work with their host institution to determine if online coursework is available. If this is not an available option through programs or host institutions, students have been instructed to inform their study abroad advisors immediately so that they can assist in connecting students with the appropriate offices at VCU that will work to ensure students' continued full-time enrollment at VCU for the remainder of the spring semester.
On March 19, 2020 the US State Department has raised the Global Health Advisory to a level 4 (Do Not Travel) and is urging U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States to work with their airlines immediately to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.
This State Department advisory also states that "U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period", and that "on March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification. These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens."
Students returning from travel abroad
Students who have returned from a country that is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Level 3 Travel Advisory or above are required to self-quarantine (avoiding close contact with others) and stay away from campus for 14 days. If experiencing symptoms, they should also telephone their healthcare provider or the local public health department, giving them details of their recent travel and symptoms. Following the self-quarantine period, they should be cleared for return by a qualified health care professional or by Student Health in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Health.
Students who have returned from a country that is classified by the Centers for Disease Control as a Level 2 Travel Advisory for COVID-19 are cautioned to monitor their own health and limit their interactions with others.