August 20: CGE Spring 2021 Program Updates

Dear Spring Study Abroad Students, Parents, and Guardians,

We look forward to welcoming you back for the new academic year.  While the beginning of the new school year is an exciting time, we also know this year is filled with many questions.  Specifically, we know you have questions and concerns about COVID-19 as you look ahead to a potential spring semester abroad.  While we do not have answers to all of the questions, the goal of this e-mail is to give you insight into how the Center for Global Education (CGE) is evaluating and making decisions about spring 2021 programs.  This is a long e-mail, but we encourage you to read all of it as it will address:

  • The CSB/SJU Global Travel and Health Assessment graph
  • Questions about this assessment process
  • CGE Town Hall via Zoom

CSB/SJU Global Travel and Health Assessment

CGE’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff abroad.  We continually monitor the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and governmental health ministries to guide our programmatic decisions.  While risk can never be eliminated, we recognize that COVID-19 continues to present unique challenges for global travel.

CGE has developed a global travel and health assessment for each spring study abroad program site.  This assessment will be updated on a weekly basis on CGE’s website ( https://www.csbsju.edu/global/covid), and each country has a link to their U.S. Embassy should you wish to reference specific country information.   This assessment is based on seven key requirements that need to be met for global student travel to be permitted at CSB/SJU.  Each of these requirements are coded either red, yellow, or green.  As general guidance, the color coding follows the rules of a stoplight: 

Red = Stop 

Yellow = Caution 

Green = Go 

These requirements are the minimum requirements that must be met for travel to proceed.  (Please see CGE’s website https://www.csbsju.edu/global/covid for an explanation of each of these requirements).  For travel to occur, at a minimum, a country cannot have any red squares.  In addition to these minimum requirements, we are also in consultation with local country partners to assess their specific COVID-19 site protocols.  Partner site protocols will also be a factor in determining if a program can run.

Here is the current global and travel health assessment: 

**Guatemala and South Africa are cancelled for Spring 2021

Questions about assessment process

What is the timeline for making program decisions? 

At a minimum, for a program to run, a program must not have any red square indicators by Monday, October 19.  The reason for this timeline is because on-campus registration for spring courses begins in early November.  In making a program decision by October 19, students will still have time to register for spring on-campus classes.  Please note, depending on circumstances at the local program site, we may have to cancel some programs before October 19

Due to specific COVID-19 related circumstances in Guatemala and South Africa, CSB/SJU have already canceled these spring programs and these students are receiving specific communication about their program cancellation.  Similarly, in the event that your program is canceled, CGE will contact you directly to explain the reason for cancellation and discuss next steps. 

What are my options if a program is canceled?  

If your program is canceled, you will have the option to completely withdraw from study abroad and you will receive a full refund of your application fee.  In the event of a program cancellation, your CGE program manager will explain all the available options to you.  In most cases, you will have the option to defer to the same program in the spring 2022 semester.  Additionally, you might opt to apply for a short-term study abroad program (May or summer 2021) or apply for another semester program during the 2021-2022 academic year.

I am uncomfortable studying abroad in 2021.  What if I want to withdraw from the program before October 19?

You can cancel and withdraw from the program at any time.  Click here to review our CGE spring 2021 cancellation policy.  Please contact you CGE program manager if you have questions about unrecoverable expenses for your program.

What if I am awarded a CSB/SJU Study Abroad Scholarship and my program is canceled, or I choose to defer my program? 

If you receive a CSB/SJU Study Abroad Scholarship you can defer this scholarship to a future program. 

What if my program has some green squares?  Can I still go? 

While a country may have some green or yellow indicators, it must have no red indicators for a program to travel.  Even though some requirements might be favorable, a red indicator still points to an overall health or travel risk.  Even if there are no red squares, there may still be some situations where a program does not run.  In other words, CSB/SJU might decide that even if a country has no red squares, conditions may exist that might make us decide to still not run the program. (For example, universities might remain closed at our international program site, or there may be insufficient housing or medical infrastructure in the event of a surge in COVID-19). 

If my program is approved for travel, are you 100% sure that I will be able to travel in January? 

Unfortunately, there are no 100% guarantees that if travel is approved to move forward that it will not be cancelled before January.  We will continue to watch health and travel requirements, and if the requirements “turn red” after October 19, CSB/SJU might have to cancel the program.  In the event that CSB/SJU cancels the program prior to departure, you will be refunded your application fee and you will not be charged cancellation or unrecoverable fees.  Please reference our spring 2021 cancellation policy for more information.

Should I still apply for a U.S. passport? 

CGE is still recommending that students  apply for U.S. passports (if you don’t currently have a U.S. passport). There is a very long backlog of U.S. passport applications and so it is still advisable for students to apply for U.S. passports.  Even if a student cannot travel on a semester program, the passport is valid for 10 years. 

CGE Town Hall

CGE will be hosting a Town Hall on Zoom at 7:00pm on Monday, August 24 th.  The purpose of this Zoom meeting will be to discuss our approach to program assessment and answer any questions you might have regarding this approach.  Please register here if you would like to attend the CGE Town Hall.  We will also be posting a recording if you are unable to attend the meeting.

We will continue to update the CSB/SJU Global Travel and Health Assessment graph weekly on our CGE website (https://www.csbsju.edu/global/covid)   As always, please feel free to contact our team at [email protected] if you have further questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kevin Clancy, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Global Education