Information from the International Programs office for students currently studying abroad and how the virus might impact their experience.
On behalf of IPO and College officers, I write today as the widening spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased concerns around the globe. We regret that these global conditions outside Occidental’s control are impacting or may impact your experience abroad and at home. Please consider the following:
Your in-country program/university staff, our trusted, contracted partners have the best information about local conditions, resources and how changes may impact your experiences, including academics. For more general information, regularly check the Emmons website.
- Young people - the college age population - are currently not seriously impacted by COVID-19 according to the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, students may wish to consult with a medical provider if they have an underlying medical condition.
- Relentless handwashing and not touching your face (and eating well and getting enough rest!) and avoiding contact with sick people help avoid illness, according to the CDC.
- Consistent with Occidental’s travel policy and the semester abroad Agreement to Participate (signed by students in the portal), study abroad programs may be reasonably modified by our trusted partners abroad to adjust to local conditions. As such, return to Occidental is not viable or reasonable at this time.
- Our partners’ support systems and infrastructure far exceed Occidental’s capacity. Offering classes by remote learning during local quarantine is one example. Reasonable program location-change is another possibility.
- If the CDC issues a Level 3 travel alert for a country or the U.S. Department of State increases its travel advisory for that country to Level 3 or 4, we will collaborate with our Risk Management Committee, host institution and program leaders to work to ensure students’ safety.
- Back in Eagle Rock we have closely followed news relating to Covid-19 since early January and adjusted accordingly. For example, China programs were cancelled in time for three students to return to for spring semester and this week we focused on program modifications for eight students in Italy to successfully complete their academic programs.
- Student safety and well-being and academic completion are among our highest concerns.
- We continue to communicate directly with students (and some parents) as developments warrant.
Robin Craggs, Executive Director, International Programs