Fall 2022 Semester Abroad Travel Update


College policies and student guidelines related to Fall semester international travel. 

The Summer Travel Policy remains unchanged.

Fall 2022 Semester Abroad

Occidental’s Statement of Location Safety calls for us to consider a complex, nuanced and site-specific set of information about health and safety and our partner’s capacity to deliver student services and academics. When we have site-specific assurances, our policy allows for exceptions to our student Travel Policy. As such, Occidental and our trusted global partners are able to offer safe and meaningful semester abroad programs in locations listed Level 4 rating due to pandemic conditions. See “Background,” below.

Occidental continues our exception to the current student Travel Policy to allow for the following:

  • Students and families will have agency in their decision to study abroad.
  • They may follow the standard process to request an exception to policy for level 3 and 4 locations due to COVID only, not other extreme safety conditions. Students complete the waiver process as part of their pre-departure procedures.
  • The proven record of our partners to appropriately manage changing pandemic conditions and at the same time provide meaningful academic and cultural experiences.
  • Occidental reserves the right to cancel a program at any time if conditions warrant.

Background

In spring 2021 in light of the U.S. Department of State (DOS)’s updated travel advisory levels, College leadership, the International Programs Crisis Team and Faculty Advisory Committee reviewed College policy and student travel guidelines. 

Because the DOS recalibrated its travel advisory system, the majority of the world’s countries now rank Level 4 (“do not travel”) due to inclusion of CDC ratings, not due to a change in local conditions such as civil unrest, war, terrorism, natural disaster, etc.  At the time of the rating changes, the DOS’ Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) clarified to the higher education community that these new ratings were not designed to target or single out new risks in specific countries and should not be viewed as the sole criteria to evacuate students or cancel programs.

Colleges and universities across the country re-evaluated the impact of the changed rating system. Occidental’s established approach considers the new DOS methodology and advisories alongside other indicators and factors. These factors center on our partner’s capacity to deliver a safe and meaningful academic and cultural experience. In line with OSAC advice, our trusted, longstanding global partners will continue to utilize a holistic approach to determining whether and how they can operate. They will continue to analyze all relevant data and information on a site-specific basis. Just as Occidental continues to adapt on the Eagle Rock campus, our partners are doing the same in their protocols, practices, policies and standards.