COVID-19 Coronavirus: A Message to Students Studying Abroad and Parents (Mar. 2, 2020)
For the most up-to-date information, please see Denison’s primary COVID-19 Coronavirus information page.
March 2, 2020
Dear Study Abroad Student,
As you know, the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus is now impacting countries around the world. Please know that we are monitoring the situation in all 34 countries where we have students studying away, and are in close contact with the program providers and host universities serving the 130 students who are participating in off-campus study.
We understand that you may have questions about studying abroad during this unpredictable time. We hope you find the below information helpful and want to remind you that Denison’s Office of Off-Campus Study is available to answer questions. Denison has also established a COVID-19 website to provide information and updates regarding the virus and any impacts to university operations. We encourage you to review that website on a regular basis for updates.
Our priority is with ensuring student health and safety, as we continue to support you in academically and personally rewarding study abroad experiences. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops and encourage you to reach out to us with any questions. Your parents will receive a copy of this information, but we encourage you to forward it to them as well.
Determining Suspension Thresholds of Study Abroad Programs
Denison does not directly administer any study abroad programs and relies on its partners (program providers and host universities) to work with their local networks and governments to determine emergency crisis plans.
We are tracking advisories from the U.S. State Department and the CDC. However, the situation is fluid and we are responding to fast-breaking changes around the world. When the CDC and the State Department announce a Level 3 warning in a country, our policy is to advise our students to come home. We are finding that most of our providers are following this standard. In situations where this threshold is not met, we currently are not advising students to come home. They should continue to monitor and heed the communications from their program providers.
Our providers are in regular communication with program participants and our Office of Off- Campus Study to share updates specific to their program, city, and region. Our study abroad providers have feet on the ground in the countries where our students are, and they are best able to make these determinations. They are skilled and experienced in adapting to circumstances as they evolve.
Most providers who have suspended programs are providing the opportunity for students to complete their coursework remotely. We anticipate that practice to continue. Denison supports your completion of the academic program remotely with the oversight of the study abroad provider.
Any courses in which you are currently enrolled and which have already been approved by the Office of the Registrar will receive Denison credit. Questions about any other courses should be directed to Catherine Dollard in the Provost’s Office. We encourage you to be sure to save all of your academic work completed to date as you make the transition home.
In the unlikely event that providers are not able to support academic completion, we will work with our off-campus partners and host universities to try to support your completion of work with that program. Awarding of academic credit under those circumstances necessarily will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed. The details will be determined by the unique conditions of each situation, including the timing in the semester. Questions about any other courses should be directed to Catherine Dollard in the Provost’s Office.
Voluntary Withdrawal From a Study Abroad Program
If you choose to voluntarily leave a program and return home, you should contact the Office of Off-Campus Study as soon as a decision has been made. We will work with our off-campus partners and host universities to try to support your completion of work with that program, but awarding of academic credit will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed. The details of plans will be determined by the unique conditions of each situation, including the timing in the semester.
Returning From a Study Abroad Early
Be advised that you should return to your home and not immediately to campus. We understand that students whose programs are suspended or who voluntarily leave their study abroad program might want to reconnect with their friends on The Hill as soon as possible. Nevertheless, home will be the best place for you to complete any self-quarantine expectations or receive medical treatment in the unlikely event that you experience symptoms. Finally, it also will be important to establish a routine at home by which you will be able to complete remaining coursework.
If you have recently traveled from a location with a significant outbreak of COVID-19 or have had contact with someone who may have the Coronavirus and have respiratory symptoms, please contact the Wellness Center at 740-587-6200 for guidance.
Status of Current Study Abroad Programs
Two programs in Rome and Perugia, Italy were recently suspended by the program providers/host universities following the decision of both the CDC and the State Department to elevate Italy to a Level 3 warning. Denison has advised students in those locations to follow the departure instructions as indicated by the program provider for their safe return home. At this time, all other study abroad programs are continuing uninterrupted.
Regarding Next Year’s Housing Selection Process
Regarding next year’s housing selection process, students who are currently studying away will be included in the normal selection process.
Questions About Changes Impacting a Student Visa
Students with questions about their visas should contact Dorota Kendrick.
Independent Travel While Studying Abroad
We have provided the information below and recommendations to all students currently studying abroad.
The CDC is providing guidance on travel to areas impacted by outbreaks. The College strongly recommends that everyone limit and reconsider personal travel, especially to countries with a CDC Warning Level 3 or US State Department Travel Advisory Level 4 regarding the risks of COVID-19. Students are also strongly advised to follow the regular updates and recommendations of program providers and host universities regarding personal travel, which are best equipped to advise about local health considerations, resources, and additional precautions. We also encourage you to monitor developments through the US State Department and CDC websites. Students who are traveling should, in addition to taking recommended measures to prevent illness, take basic precautions to prepare for potential travel disruptions:
- Students should register independent travel with their program staff. The program staff’s ability to help in case of difficulty is increased by knowing students’ plans in advance.
- Students should keep cell phones fully charged and operational and check their email at least daily.
- Students should travel with all key documents, including their passport and insurance documents.
- Students should travel with a full supply of any regular medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications should be packaged in their original containers.
- All students studying abroad are provided with the AlertTraveler App. Students should have this available to them and be familiar with its use during their entire time outside of the U.S.
- Students who experience these symptoms should seek medical assistance and notify program staff as soon as possible of their condition and location.