UMD: A Globally Connected University

Coronavirus and Study Abroad Updates

Coronavirus and Study Abroad Updates

As of June 10, 2020, the UMD incoming exchange program for the fall 2020 semester is canceled.

As of May 19, 2020, ALL face-to-face study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester are canceled.

As of March 14, 2020, ALL spring semester 2020 study abroad programs have been suspended. This includes programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Latin America (Central and South), the Middle East, New Zealand, as well as those programs that involve multiple countries. This does NOT apply to international exchange students studying at the University of Maryland campus in College Park. Please read below for more details.

As of March 11, 2020, spring semester programs have been suspended for all countries in Europe, as well as Japan, China and South Korea. Please read below for more details.

As of March 3, 2020, the University of Maryland has cancelled all Education Abroad programs for spring break 2020 and for summer session 2020.

May 20, 2020: Update on Status of Fall 2020 Study Abroad Programs (Office of International Affairs)

May 20, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

In light of the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to cancel all face-to-face study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester. This decision was made to prioritize the health and safety of our students, in coordination with the International Risk Management Committee and the provost.  

While we are not able to support study abroad for fall 2020, we are working with academic units to design virtual opportunities for students to advance learning as global professionals, citizens, and humanists, while continuing to advance them toward graduation. We will be adding an expanded list of global learning resources and opportunities here: go.umd.edu/stayglobalumd. I welcome further engagement from members of the campus community in program development.

For now, students have been invited to explore summer internships and courses with UMD’s global partners or to enroll in one of UMD’s engaging Global Classrooms courses, through which they can work on impactful projects with international peers. Faculty members who are interested in learning more about Global Classrooms can contact Raluca Nahorniac at raluca@umd.edu.

Now more than ever, we need individuals who are actively involved in solving global problems and bringing out the best of humanity.

Thank you for your support.

Best,

Ross Lewin
Associate Vice President for International Affairs

March 14, 2020: All UMD Spring 2020 Study Abroad Programs Suspended (Provost)

March 14, 2020

Dear University of Maryland Study Abroad Students:

With the announcement of further travel restrictions and university closings in UMD study abroad locations around the world, I am today suspending all UMD Education Abroad programs for spring 2020 in all locations immediately and requiring all students to return to their home of record as soon as possible.

Students will be receiving additional guidance immediately from the Education Abroad Office regarding travel and other assistance. UMD’s travel agencies are also available to help book return flights and deal with travel restrictions. You can email travel@umd.edu or call either of the following agencies’ 24/7 emergency assistance lines:

  • Omega World Travel: 1-800-285-6342
  • Globetrotter: 1-800-639-9278

Please note that travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad are asked to both “self-monitor” and “self-isolate” for 14 days upon return. Please seek medical help should you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, which you may review at https://umd.edu/virusinfo.

I want to emphasize that we have reached the decision to suspend all study abroad programs out of deep and growing concern for the health and safety of our students. We require you to act immediately and cooperate with the Education Abroad staff to come home as soon as possible to avoid additional health risks, further unanticipated travel restrictions, and other serious problems.

We ask that you notify Education Abroad once you have booked your ticket home, as we want to account for every student.

If you are concerned about traveling home due to health concerns, please contact our study abroad insurance provider at CISI via AXA Assistance at (01-312) 935-1703 or medassist-usa@axa-assistance.us. Collect calls are accepted. Your UMD CISI policy number is GLMN 04965887.

Please follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures. We continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice measures to prevent infection. For the latest information and updates from the university, visit: umd.edu/virusinfo.

I am copying this letter to the parents and guardians whom you have identified as your emergency contacts.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Rankin

Senior Vice President and Provost

March 11, 2020: Spring 2020 Europe Programs Suspended (Provost)

March 11, 2020

Dear University of Maryland Study Abroad Students:

As you may know, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic, meaning that it is very widely disseminated and cases are spreading rapidly through communities around the world. Today the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared all of Europe to be at Warning Level 3 [1] for COVID-19. This evening President Trump announced significant new restrictions on travel to the US from Europe beginning Friday, March 13 at 11:59 pm.

In light of these disturbing developments the University is suspending all Education Abroad programs in Europe for spring 2020 immediately and requiring all students to return to their home of record as soon as possible.

We are working with study abroad providers to develop alternative education pathways to enable completion of your interrupted coursework wherever possible and will be in touch with you as soon as we can with further details regarding these options.

Students in all study abroad programs in Europe will be receiving additional guidance immediately from the Education Abroad office regarding travel and other assistance.  UMD’s travel agencies are also available to help book return flights and deal with the new travel restrictions. If you are not a U.S. citizen, we especially urge you to make flight arrangements immediately. You can email travel@umd.edu or call any of the following agencies’ 24/7 emergency assistance lines:

  • Omega World Travel: 1-800-285-6342
  • Globetrotter: 1-800-639-9278

Because COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and these locations have been designated CDC Warning Level 3, all travelers returning to the US from European destinations will be required to both “self-monitor” and “self-isolate” for 14 days upon return. Please seek medical help should you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, which you may review at https://umd.edu/virusinfo.

Please know that we have reached the decision to suspend European study abroad programs out of concern for your health and safety.  We urge you to act with all dispatch to avoid additional health risks, further unanticipated travel restrictions, or other problems.

I remind students studying abroad in countries outside of Europe to be alert to notices from the study abroad office and prepared to return to the U.S. should the alert level for that country increase to level 3. Please follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures. We also urge students studying abroad to limit additional travel as much as possible.

It is important to restate that the university is ready and willing to work individually with any student studying abroad who wishes to return home, particularly anyone with a chronic health condition or who is immunocompromised. We continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice measures to prevent infection. For the latest information and updates from the university, visit: uumd.edu/virusinfo.

I am copying this letter to the parents and guardians whom you have identified as your emergency contacts.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

[1] The CDC categorizes travel advisories into three categories: Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel); Alert Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions) those with chronic medical conditions and older adults should consider postponing travel; and Watch Level 1 (practice usual precautions).

March 3, 2020: Latest Travel Guidance on Coronavirus (Provost)

March 3, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The University continues to actively monitor the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak and provide regular updates to our community. In addition, university administrators are aware and taking into account the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019, which was updated yesterday. Currently there continues to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection at UMD or in the State of Maryland.

In the last communication on February 28, 2020, we notified our students studying abroad in Italy that the CDC alert level for that country had upgraded to Warning Level 3 and that we were therefore suspending our study abroad programs in Italy. Students were asked to return home, rather than to the UMD campus, and to “self-monitor” and “self-isolate” for two weeks to reduce the risk of spread of infection upon return to the U.S.

New Guidance on Self-Isolation

The University System of Maryland has also issued a statement on self-isolation of students, faculty and staff returning from international study and personal travel due to COVID-19. The CDC defines self-monitoring and self-isolation on its website.

I must emphasize the importance of not returning to campus and refraining from non-essential contact with others during the two-week self-isolation period. Members of the campus community may want to visit friends on campus, but we insist that travelers from Level 3 countries avoid doing so for 14 days. We all need to work together to limit the possible spread of this infection.

New Announcements on Education Abroad

The CDC issued new travel guidance in light of the continued spread of COVID-19. It says that institutions of higher education “should consider asking current program participants to return to their home country.” We continue to closely monitor the situation and are taking seriously the CDC’s guidance. Indeed, the University strongly suggests that any student abroad who has a chronic health condition or who is immunocompromised return home. Our Education Abroad staff stands ready and willing to assist. We are working with our education partners abroad to develop online learning solutions wherever possible should students wish to depart a program early.

As stated in the last communication, we will take further action to close programs if warranted by an elevation of a country’s travel warning status to Level 3. We rely on information provided by the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts to guide decisions concerning locations around the world where our students are studying abroad. The University’s Incident Response Team is actively involved in decision making.

I remind students studying abroad in countries with an Alert Level 2 (currently our students in Japan) that they should check daily for notices from the UMD Education Abroad office, and they should be prepared to return to the U.S. should the alert level for that country increase to Warning Level 3.

We have decided to cancel all Education Abroad programs for spring break 2020 and for summer session 2020. You may contact the UMD Education Abroad Office for more details. The University is currently looking into other student-led international trips over spring break that are not organized through the Education Abroad office.

Limiting International Travel

We ask that all members of the University community limit non-essential international travel. The University is suspending authorization for travel using institutional funds to or from any country with a CDC Warning Level 3 status for COVID-19. Any exceptions must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

We Need The Cooperation of Every Member of Our Community

  • We ask any UMD faculty member, staff member or student returning from a country currently at Warning Level 3 status to stay away from campus, self-monitor and self-isolate for two weeks post return.
  • We continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice prevention behaviors and hold each other accountable in following safe and healthy practices. If you know of a fellow student, colleague or coworker who has traveled to a Warning Level 3 country, please discourage them from coming to campus.
  • For the latest updates, visit umd.edu/virusinfo.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the UMD community who has been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

Feb 28, 2020: Coronavirus and Update on Italy (Provost)

February 28, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The University continues to actively monitor the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak. At this time, there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Maryland or in the State of Maryland.

Since our last communication, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new travel guidance for Italy. The CDC categorizes travel advisories into three categories: Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel—widespread community transmission); Alert Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions—those with chronic medical conditions and older adults should consider postponing travel); and Watch Level 1 (practice usual precautions).

This evening the CDC moved Italy from Alert Level 2 to Warning Level 3. In light of this change the university is hereby suspending Education Abroad programs in Italy for spring 2020. Students in these programs will be receiving guidance immediately, directly from the Education Abroad office, regarding return to the U.S. and possible online study options. As most students will be completing their work online, we are requesting that they return to their homes away from campus and follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days and seek medical support and advice as needed.

We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation world-wide, and will take further action if warranted. We rely on information provided by the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts to guide decisions concerning where we operate study abroad programs in the world.

I remind students studying abroad in countries with an Alert Level 2 (currently our students in Japan) that they need to be alert to notices from the Education Abroad office and prepared to return to the U.S. should the alert level for that country increase to Warning Level 3. Decisions to suspend a program and instructions on next steps will be communicated directly to students, and their emergency contacts, in the appropriate program immediately should the change in CDC warning status occur. Future updates on changes to education abroad programs will also be posted to umd.edu/virusinfo.

I am reminding our students abroad to follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures. We also urge students studying abroad to limit additional travel as much as possible.

It is important to restate that the university is ready and willing to work individually with any student studying in a country with a current Alert Level 2 advisory who is concerned about continuing study abroad; or any student abroad with a chronic health condition or who is immunocompromised. We continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice measures to prevent infection. For the latest information and updates from the university, visit: umd.edu/virusinfo.

Our thoughts are with our students and everyone in the UMD community who has been directly or indirectly affected by this virus.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

Feb 26, 2020: Coronavirus and Study Abroad Updates (Provost)

February 26, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The University continues to actively monitor the novel Coronavirus ("COVID-19") outbreak. We are staying up to date on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and being proactive in implementing measures to keep our community safe. The University's Incident Response Team, International Risk Management Committee, Campus Infectious Disease Management Committee, Student Affairs leadership and Council of Deans are meeting regularly to evaluate the current situation and make decisions to safeguard the health of our community. At this time, there are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Maryland or in the State of Maryland.

Since our last communication, the CDC has issued new travel guidance. The CDC identifies three levels of travel advisories: Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel); Alert Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions---those with chronic medical conditions and older adults should consider postponing travel); and Watch Level 1 (practice usual precautions).

There are currently two countries with Warning Level 3 advisories for COVID-19: China and South Korea. The university previously announced that it is not authorizing travel to China, and has suspended Education Abroad programming in China for spring 2020. In light of the CDC's change to Level 3 for South Korea, the University has suspended Education Abroad programs in South Korea for spring 2020. Students in these programs have received direct communication and additional guidance from the UMD Education Abroad office. We are closely monitoring the situation in Italy and Japan (both Level 2), and other parts of the globe affected by COVID-19. The University is also notifying individuals of cancellations of some spring break and summer programs.

The University will immediately suspend Education Abroad programming for any country that is upgraded to a Warning Level 3 advisory by the CDC. Students studying abroad in countries with an Alert Level 2, currently UMD programs in Italy and Japan, should be prepared to return to the U.S. should a CDC designation change occur or other circumstances change. Decisions to suspend a program and instructions on next steps will be communicated directly to students and their parents in the affected program.

We rely on information provided by the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts to guide decisions concerning where we operate study abroad programs in the world.

We encourage students abroad to follow the precautions issued by the CDC and the advice of their program providers regarding health and safety measures. We also urge students studying abroad to limit additional travel as much as possible.

The university is ready and willing to work individually with any student abroad with a chronic health condition, who is immunocompromised, or who is otherwise concerned about continuing their studies abroad. We are working with our education partners to evaluate online learning solutions should students have to depart a program early.

Lastly, we continue to urge all members of our community at home and abroad to practice preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. For the latest information and updates from the university, visit umd.edu/virusinfo. If you have questions specific to coronavirus, please contact healthconcerns@umd.edu.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Rankin
Senior Vice President and Provost

For the latest information and updates from the university, visit umd.edu/virusinfo.


Frequently Asked Questions: Education Abroad and COVID-19

What is the University of Maryland doing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?

The university continues to actively monitor the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak. We are staying up to date on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and being proactive in implementing measures to keep our community safe. The university’s Incident Response Team, International Risk Management Committee, Campus Infectious Disease Management Committee, Student Affairs leadership and Council of Deans are meeting regularly to evaluate the current situation and make decisions to safeguard the health of our community. 

Visit https://umd.edu/virusinfo for the most up-to-date information regarding the university’s response to COVID-19.

What is the UMD Education Abroad Office doing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic, meaning that it is very widely disseminated and cases are spreading rapidly through communities around the world.

The university suspended all Education Abroad programs for spring 2020 and required all students to return to their home of record no later than March 24. All spring break and summer 2020 programs were canceled.

All travelers returning to the U.S. from locations designated CDC Alert Level 3 were required to both “self-monitor” and “self-isolate” for 14 days upon return.

On May 19, all face-to-face study abroad programs for fall 2020 were canceled.

How can I stay globally engaged?

Staying globally engaged is more important than ever. You can explore summer internships and courses with UMD’s global partners or enroll in one of UMD’s exciting Global Classrooms courses, through which you can work on impactful projects with your international peers. 

 

If you are interested in participating in a virtual global program in the fall, send an email to your EA advisor. EA is continuing to develop and expand our list of global learning resources and opportunities available at go.umd.edu/stayglobalumd.

Can I transfer my Fall 2020 study abroad application to a future semester?

Students who applied to Fall 2020 programs have the opportunity to transfer their application to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021. If you are interested in transferring your Fall 2020 study abroad application, please email your EA advisor.

Will I be refunded for my Fall 2020 application and EA fee?

Yes. EA fees will be issued to the student's testudo account and application fees will be refunded back to the card used in the initial transaction. Please check back here for updates on timeline as we work to process these refunds.

Can I study abroad through non-UMD programs in the fall?

The University of Maryland will not endorse or approve any participation for Fall 2020 that involves face-to-face programming. Students who participate in study abroad programs without UMD endorsement will not have UMD student status. Not only will you risk your health and safety, but non-student status consequences may include:

  • Ineligibility for financial aid/scholarship
  • We can’t confirm if/how coursework will transfer back to UMD
  • UMD will not provide any support or advising throughout the process

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Does the cancellation of Fall 2020 study abroad programs include incoming exchange?

Yes. The incoming exchange program is canceled as of June 10, 2020. UMD will not be hosting incoming exchange students for the Fall 2020 semester.

What university resources are available for Education Abroad students experiencing emotional duress during these difficult circumstances?

The Division of Student Affairs' Counseling Center is more than happy to provide consultation to students who are experiencing distress regarding the cancellation of their study abroad programs. While they cannot conduct therapy by phone, the counseling staff can provide support and suggestions to help students cope with the situation.

Students may call the Counseling Center at (301) 314-7651. They should identify themselves as study abroad students who returned home due to the suspension of their programs. If they do not reach a live person, they should also provide a callback number in leaving a voicemail. A counselor on duty will return the call as soon as possible to provide support, consultation and coping suggestions.

If the student lives near the university, the counselor on duty will inform the student that in-person counseling is available at the Counseling Center after their self-isolation is completed and they show no signs of infection. Appointments can be scheduled by phone.

Please visit counseling.umd.edu for updated hours of operation.

When and how does UMD make the decision to cancel or suspend a program, and what resources are informing these decisions?

The health and safety of our students is our primary concern as we plan and execute our academic programs abroad. When emergency situations arise, EA will make decisions that are based first and foremost on the health and safety of our students.

We rely on information provided by the CDC, WHO, the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, on-campus public health experts, and our partners and contacts on-site to guide decisions concerning where we operate study abroad programs in the world.