Student Travel Policy: International Locations


Fall 2021 semester study abroad programs are cautiously proceeding as conditions and travel restrictions allow on a case-by-case basis.

However, the College continues to prohibit other types of international College-sponsored student travel for the duration of the fall semester 2021. The International Programs Faculty Committee, Crisis Management Team and College executives will reevaluate this prohibition by mid-semester.

Examples of currently prohibited programming include:

  • Independent, non-credit "Global Projects" (Endeavor, Young, Davis Projects for Peace, URC-Richter ASP, Richter, Anderson, Schwartz, and Maes);
  • Any international student travel normally authorized and/or funded by Athletics, administrative or academic departments, or ASOC, DEB, and other student organizations.

Fall 2021 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 have not unilaterally canceled study abroad programs.

Occidental made an exception to our 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. The process will be adapted from the one developed for students abroad now in Iceland, France and Ghana. IPO will follow up with fall abroad students after finals.
  • Occidental reserves the right to cancel a program at any time if conditions warrant.

Background

Here are the factors that informed Occidental’s decision.

2021 DOS announced significant recalibration of its travel advisory system. At the same time, DOS’ Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) has 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.

Many of the world’s countries that are otherwise reasonably safe for student travel now rank Level 4 (“do not travel”) due to inclusion of CDC COVID ratings, not due to a change in overall health and safety conditions. 

Colleges and universities across the country have re-evaluated the impact of this changed rating system. Like many other institutions large and small, 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 they can operate. They will continue to analyze all relevant data and information on a site-specific basis. Just as we are continuing to adapt on the Eagle Rock campus, our partners are doing the same in their protocols, practices, policies and standards.