In response to the expanding global disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19, CIEE’s Health, Safety, and Security and program management teams have been continuously assessing and reassessing risk at all CIEE worldwide locations.
Uncertainty around travel restrictions has increased significantly across the globe in the last 48 hours. Since the response to the global pandemic has become increasingly unpredictable, ALL spring CIEE study abroad programs will be suspended with immediate effect.
We know that, for some, this end to ambiguity will come as a relief, and that for others this will be truly awful news. We, too, are disappointed that this semester must be cut short in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must put the safety and wellbeing of our students above all other concerns, and we believe that this is the best path forward at this time.
All students will now need to work with their airlines to alter their tickets to return home. CIEE staff at all locations worldwide are ready to assist any student who requires support. Local CIEE staff should be the first point of contact for students to obtain guidance and answer questions related to their particular situation and needs. CIEE staff will continue to support students in their current housing until travel can be arranged, but all students must arrange to depart by March 22.
Students who need special consideration for a short-term extension should discuss their circumstances with program staff. We are aware that students in certain locations may encounter specific difficulties due to flight restrictions and in those cases, we are working with governmental authorities to provide a resolution. We will work directly with these students and their parents to support them in their return to the U.S.
Courses delivered by CIEE
We announced on Friday that we are moving all CIEE-delivered courses for all programs worldwide to online delivery (with the exception of a very small number of field or experience-based courses for which online delivery is not feasible.)
Courses delivered by International Host Universities
Students taking courses with international host universities may be given the option to complete courses from home, at the discretion and per the policies of the host institutions. In this situation, students should keep their home institutions informed of the completion plans posed by their instructors. For students taking host university courses, where there is no plan available to complete courses at a distance, CIEE will evaluate coursework completed to date to determine if partial credit can be awarded.
Guidance for Returning Students
For returning students to avoid inadvertently spreading the virus, we want to repeat the following guidance:
Government regulations will likely require that you be screened upon entry to the United States and could face quarantine or restrictions on your movement in the U.S. for 14 days. Students should connect with their family or school about how best to prepare to come into their living situation. Depending on individual circumstances, there may be local guidance available for returning travelers in addition to what the CDC has posted on their website.
Students who show symptoms:
If you were in a country with a COVID-19 outbreak, and if, within 14 days of leaving, you feel sick with fever or cough, or you have difficulty breathing, you should:
- Seek medical advice, calling ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others (self-isolate).
- Not travel on public transportation while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
As a follow up to this communication, students will receive an email from their local Center Director with more specifics on how course credit may be obtained, as well as details regarding refunds, as applicable.
In these unprecedented, challenging days, we will do our very best to continue to provide our students and partner institutions with the highest level of safety, support, and stability. This global pandemic, as stressful as it is to every one of us, also reminds us of the importance of being able to collaborate and work together as a global community to meet our biggest challenges.