Study Abroad COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update | Study Abroad | Yale University
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Study Abroad COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

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Students’ health and safety abroad is our top priority, and we aim to partner with students to make well-informed decisions about studying abroad. We are closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus situation and have compiled the latest information, policies, recommendations, and resources below. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available, so check back regularly. Should you have any questions after reviewing this page, please do not hesitate to write to us at studyabroad@yale.edu.

This page was last updated on March 20th, 2020 (4:36 p.m.)

Note:On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Health Advisory at a Level 4: Do Not Travel due to the global impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This advisory, which informs the Yale College Travel Policy, is in line with Yale University’s current prohibition of all university-sponsored international travel for undergraduate students.

Students currently abroad should continue to follow the guidance from our office communicated directly via email. Study Abroad staff, along with other colleagues in CIPE, are working individually with each student depending on their activity, location, and circumstances.

A decision about Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Full Year 2020-2021 international travel has not yet been reached. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will update summer and term-time applicants accordingly. Please read below for additional information.

TOC:

Yale Students Currently Studying Abroad (Full Year 2019-2020 and Spring 2020)

FAQ: Additional information and resources sent on March 19.

We are very sorry that your semester abroad has been impacted so drastically by the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak. These truly are unprecedented times and the current circumstances doubtless have put unusual stress on you, your friends, and your family. While this is clearly not the study abroad experience that you had planned on having, we thank you for the good communications, patience, and resiliency that you have shown in response to this situation.

Along with our office, all of Yale’s various teams—including the Yale College Dean’s Office, Student Financial Services, the Residential College Heads and Deans, and many others—have been dedicated to addressing the myriad challenges that such a large-scale disruption is causing. We all think first and foremost about how best to support the well-being of Yale students whether currently abroad or in the United States.

In that spirit, this message aims to provide you with additional guidance, some of which you may already have on your radars and some of which might be new or useful to review now. We thank you for reading this message in its entirety.

As of today, March 19, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Health Advisory at a Level  4: Do Not Travel. Travel may become increasingly difficult, as new travel restrictions are put in place each day.

For those who have booked flights home, please be sure to confirm your flight details with the airline(s), expect delays, and contact studyabroad@yale.edu if you encounter complications. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided some guidance for travelers returning from locations experiencing a large-scale outbreak, but you may find it helpful regardless of where you are traveling from.

If you choose to remain in your host country, you should prepare to stay indefinitely. With many embassy staff also returning to the U.S., in-country support will vary. Given the unpredictable nature of the outbreak and various governments’ approaches to it, be sure to stay updated on the COVID-19 outbreak and any resulting developments in your host country and at home (see Health Resources below).

With this in mind, Yale’s policy remains unchanged – Yale University is not currently requiring any Full Year 2019-2020 or Spring 2020 Term Abroad students to return home. However, we strongly encourage you to consider doing so.
 

For Those Who Plan to Stay in Your Host Country
  • Continue to keep Yale Study Abroad updated of plans by writing to studyabroad@yale.edu. This information is very important as we are keeping close track of everybody’s current locations in case additional support might be necessary. 
  • As a reminder, you continue to have access to International SOS (ISOS).
For Those Who Are in the Process of Returning Home or Who Have Returned Home
  • If you have not already, please confirm your plans with Yale Study Abroad and send confirmation of your arrival home to studyabroad@yale.edu. This information is very important as we are keeping close track of everybody’s current locations in case additional support might be necessary.
    • Financial assistance with flights and other unexpected expenses may, depending on your individual financial aid status and the circumstances, be possible on a case-by-case basis. 
    • If you receive financial aid, you may send your flight receipt directly to your Head of College.
  • For questions about financial aid, contact Nicole Rothfuss in Student Financial Services.
  • To reduce the spread of COVID-19, we recommend that students returning from a study abroad experience act out of an abundance of caution in the days following their arrival home. The suggested guidance is to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following self-quarantine guidance.
Health Resources & Recommendations
  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • Yale Health recommends the following steps for the entire Yale community to self-monitor daily:
    • Take these steps to monitor your health:
      • Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening—to monitor for low-grade temperature elevation (>99.9°F, >37.7°C).
      • Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to list a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) as a criterion for suspected COVID-19 infection, but low-grade fevers are frequent in the early stages of illness. 
    • Watch for the following symptoms to increase detection of possible COVID-19 infection:
      • Cough OR
      • Trouble breathing OR
      • Fatigue or malaise OR
      • Muscle aches (myalgia)
    • If you have any of these symptoms, you should stay home and avoid interactions with others. Consult Yale Health’s website for recommendations about managing your symptoms and deciding whether to contact your healthcare provider.
  • In addition to protecting your physical health, it is also important to monitor your mental health. As a starting point, we recommend this Yale Medicine resource on managing anxiety related to COVID-19 and this CDC resource.
Academics
  • Completing Courses Remotely
    • Many of you will be completing your study abroad courses online. As long as you remain enrolled in a full course load and our office receives your official transcript (and you earned a C- or higher in each class), we will be able to transfer Yale graduation credit as usual.
    • We are aware that, in some cases, your program might not yet be offering a remote completion option. We will continue to work with you on all of your academic options.
    • As a reminder of how credit works for study abroad courses, you must earn a C- or higher in order to receive credit, but your grades do not appear on your Yale transcript and won’t be factored into your GPA.
  • Taking a Personal Withdrawal
    • If you are unable or choose not to complete your courses remotely, you may take a personal withdrawal for the term.
    • The Yale College Dean’s Office and the Yale Committee on Reinstatement have assured our office that you would be approved for an early reinstatement to be able to return to Yale in the fall 2020 semester. Please contact your study abroad adviser to discuss this option further.
Next Steps

If you take anything from this message, please remember that Yale Study Abroad will continue to support you as best as we can – wherever you are. We will provide additional updates as the situation progresses, and you can always write to studyabroad@yale.edu or your study abroad adviser with any questions, concerns, or issues. Again, we have been truly impressed at how well all of you have been handling a very difficult set of circumstances.

FAQ: In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, is Yale requiring me to return home?

Yale University is not currently requiring any Full Year 2019-2020 or Spring 2020 Term Abroad students to return home. This includes students in locations in which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level 3 warning.

However, as this is a continuously evolving situation, it is important to assess your (and your family’s) comfort level with remaining in your host country. Although Yale is not requiring you to leave, we recognize that some of you may not ultimately feel comfortable remaining in your host country due to concerns about your health and/or potential travel restrictions determined by your host country.

While we cannot predict how the situation in your host country will unfold, we ask that you weigh these options:

  • If you feel comfortable staying in your host country for now but would like to know your options should you choose to leave later, then it would be reasonable to start gathering information, such as speaking with your program about their decision-making processes and refund policies. You should also be in touch with your program about policies related to independent travel outside of the program location.
  • If you decide that you would prefer to return home while your program is still operating, then it will be up to your program to determine if you can complete your courses remotely. If it is not possible to guarantee your credits, then you may choose to take a personal withdrawal for the term. If you choose to take a personal withdrawal, the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Yale Committee on Reinstatement have assured our office that you would be approved for an early reinstatement to be able to return to Yale in the fall 2020 semester. Please contact our office if you are seriously considering this option.
  • If your program will indefinitely operate with remote courses and provides the option for completing the term at home, then you may choose to leave the country while finishing your courses. At that time, we will confirm the parameters of these arrangements and work with you to ensure credit transfer eligibility.
  • If your program suspends operations, then we will work with you and your program to determine if it will be possible for you to complete any courses for credit.

If you intend to make any changes to your study abroad plans, please contact your study abroad adviser in advance. As part of Yale's management of the coronavirus outbreak, it is critical that we know if you decide not to remain in your host country. Your study abroad adviser also can help you consider these options if you are unsure of how to proceed.

FAQ: How will I be kept informed of Yale’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak?

In addition to the messages sent to the entire Yale community, Yale Study Abroad sends messages directly to students who are currently abroad. Please refer to these emails for information and guidance. We will continue to contact you directly with any relevant updates. 

Yale Summer Session (YSS) Programs Abroad (Summer 2020)

FAQ: Will my program be running? What timeline will Yale use to make that decision?

The Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE), which includes Yale Study Abroad and Yale Summer Session who both oversee YSS Programs Abroad, adheres to the Yale Travel Policy. As the situation is fluid, decisions will follow the timeline outlined below. Decisions primarily will be based on the on-site capacity to continue supporting the program and whether the host country has a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Level 3 rating or a Department of State Level (DoS) Level 4 rating.

April 6*: If the program's host country is listed as either CDC Level 3 or DoS Level 4 as of April 6, we will cancel the program.

Between April 6 and Program start date*: If the program's host country reaches either CDC Level 3 or DoS Level 4 after April 6 but before the official program start date, we will cancel the program.

After Program start date*: If the program's host country reaches either a CDC Level 3 or DoS Level 4 after the program has begun, we will evaluate the situation to determine if the program will continue to run and if credit can be earned.

*NOTE: As a matter of concern for students' health and safety, Yale College reserves the right to cancel a program at any time.  

FAQ: When should I book my flights?

Consider booking your flights after April 6th given the timeline above.

Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance when you book your airline ticket. You should be seeking a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy, as most general trip cancellation policies will not apply to cancelling due to coronavirus concerns.

FAQ: What happens if my YSS Program Abroad is cancelled?  What other options would I have for the summer?

  • Please work on a backup plan now if you have not already done so, including a domestic option in your home country.
  • Only if your YSS Program Abroad is cancelled: On a first-come, first served basis, you will be given the opportunity to take an open spot, if any, in a YSS Program Abroad that has not been cancelled. We cannot guarantee this option will be available. More information will be provided if your program is cancelled.
  • Only if your YSS Program Abroad is cancelled: Even if you did not previously do so by the March 1 deadline, you will have the opportunity to submit a Credit for Non-Yale Summer Abroad application to attend a Non-Yale Summer Abroad program. We encourage you to select a program that is already on the designated list, but you can also contact a study abroad adviser about petitioning for a new program. You must also apply separately and be accepted to the program itself.     
  • Yale Summer Session courses in New Haven and Online: See Yale Summer Session for options.
  • Students completing a domestic summer program are also eligible to receive up to two general graduation credits upon completion of the program. Note that the credit transfer limit outlined here still applies and that there is no separate credit application for domestic program. Please see the Yale College Programs of Study for full details on Yale’s policy for transferring credit from other U.S. institutions.
  • Internships (domestic or abroad): Contact the Office of Career Strategy for guidance.

FAQ: What is the refund policy if my YSS Program Abroad is cancelled?

You would be refunded any charges that YSS directly billed to you, including the program deposit and administration fee. YSS is unable to reimburse unbilled expenses, including airfare. As noted above, we recommend waiting to book flights until after April 6. We also encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance at the time of booking your flight.

FAQ: What is YSS’s refund policy if my program runs, but I decide to withdraw?

Please see the Paying for Study Abroad page to view the detailed refund policy.

FAQ: What if I am using an International Summer Award (ISA) and my program is cancelled?

As YSS will refund any billed charges for cancelled programs, you will be able to use the ISA for another qualifying experience prior to graduation (including summer 2020).

Please check back for more information about ISA policies if you used the funding for unbilled expenses or if you choose to withdraw.

Non-Yale Programs Abroad  (Summer 2020)

FAQ: Does the Yale Travel Policy apply to my participation in a Non-Yale Summer Abroad program?

Yes. Yale College students are not permitted to travel to any country that meets the criteria outlined in the Yale Travel Policy. This policy applies up until the time of departure. If circumstances change in your host country after arrival, you will be notified directly of Yale’s response, which may include requiring you to leave the country.

FAQ: When should I book my flights?

Discuss with your program their timeline for finalizing a decision about running the program.

Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance when you book your airline ticket. You should be seeking a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy, as most general trip cancellation policies will not apply to cancelling due to coronavirus concerns.

FAQ: What happens if my Non-Yale Summer Abroad program is cancelled?  What other options would I have for the summer? 

  • Please work on a backup plan now if you have not already done so, including a domestic option in your home country.
  • If your Non-Yale Summer Abroad program is cancelled: You will have the opportunity to apply for another Non-Yale Summer Abroad program. We encourage you to select a program that is already on the designated list, but you can also contact a study abroad adviser about petitioning for a new program. You must also apply separately and be accepted to the program itself.     
  • Yale Summer Session courses in New Haven and Online: See Yale Summer Session for options.
  • Students completing a domestic summer program are also eligible to receive up to two general graduation credits upon completion of the program. Note that the credit transfer limit outlined here still applies and that there is no separate credit application for domestic program. Please see the Yale College Programs of Study for full details on Yale’s policy for transferring credit from other U.S. institutions.
  • Internships (domestic or abroad): Contact the Office of Career Strategy for guidance.

FAQ: What is my Non-Yale Summer Abroad program’s refund policy?

Contact your program directly for complete information about their refund policy if the program is cancelled or you choose to withdraw.

FAQ: What if I am using an International Summer Award (ISA) and my program is cancelled?

Please check back for more information about ISA policies if you used the funding for unbilled expenses or if you choose to withdraw.

Students Applying for Fall or Full Year Abroad (Fall 2020 or AY 2020-2021)

FAQ: Should I still consider studying abroad during fall 2020 or academic year 2020-2021?

  • We encourage you to move forward with your planning as usual!
  • Your study abroad adviser will help you to determine a backup plan; whether that be another study abroad program or returning to the Yale campus for the term. Please note that it is possible to cancel your fall 2020 term or academic year 2020-2021 abroad and enroll in Yale courses as long as you inform Yale of your decision to return to campus before the start of the fall 2020 Yale semester.
  • Contact your program directly for complete information about their refund policy if the program is cancelled or you choose to withdraw.

FAQ: Does the Yale Travel Policy apply to my participation in a Year or Term Abroad program?

  • Yes. Yale College students are not permitted to travel to any country that meets the criteria outlined in the Yale Travel Policy. This policy applies up until the time of departure. If circumstances change in your host country after arrival, you will be notified directly of Yale’s response, which may include requiring you to leave the country.
  • If the country where you are interested in studying is currently restricted by the Yale Travel Policy, contact us at studyabroad@yale.edu to discuss your options.

Recommendations

  • Have a backup plan!    
  • Discuss your plans with your family and your study abroad adviser, as needed, to determine your personal comfort level with international travel at this time. 
  • Be prepared for travel restrictions to impact your plans. This will not be the time to tour different countries. You should expect to spend the majority (if not the entirety) of your experience abroad in your host country due to government-mandated travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, and/or airline route cancellations.  
  • Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance when you book your airline ticket. You should be seeking a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy, as most general trip cancellation policies will not apply to cancelling due to coronavirus concerns.
  • Look into STA Travel’s options for booking flights.

Resources

Yale University

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

International SOS (ISOS), Yale’s Travel Assistance Provider

The World Health Organization (WHO)

 Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)