blog posts Study Abroad Early Departure (March 2) Mar 2, 2020 1:00 pmAlthough students in Italy and Korea have received similar messages, you should read this message closely for updated guidance, particularly for travel arrangements. This is the latest communication sent to students. The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance to U.S. higher education institutions that in light of the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), universities should “consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs.” In light of this guidance and out of an abundance of caution, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is offering all students on Study Abroad (SA) programs this semester the opportunity to leave your program and return to the U.S. or to your home country, if you wish to end your program at this time. We will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues, and other challenges that might arise from this decision. Study abroad educational experiences are life-long and life-changing. However, our top priorities are to take any necessary steps to ensure your academic success and provide for your personal health and safety. The University’s decision addresses both of these priorities. We are monitoring developments surrounding the coronavirus globally and working with campus administrators and partners to make decisions in the best interest of our students abroad as well as for those on the Urbana campus. We already have communicated with your peers in China, Italy and South Korea, who have been resilient (and are included on this email) in the face of a fluid situation. Anyone is able to see our most recent communications at International Safety & Security Announcements. In making this offer, we are committed to assisting you in your return. Your college and the campus administration will work closely with you to offer alternatives and assistance. But we will need you to make a decision quickly and to inform us of the choice you will make. Before you make this decision, we want to make sure you have some important information about what to expect if you end your program early. Travel Arrangements. First, we encourage you to contact your airline carrier or travel agent who booked your ticket and request a change. Most major airlines are waiving change fees but be sure to ask. If you cannot rebook your ticket from your original ticketing party or if you do not have a return ticket, please contact Corporate Travel Planners at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 210-524-3317 during business hours. After 7pm CST, contact 1-303-801-2331 and select the business option. Reference “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Study Abroad Evacuation” when calling. Information related to expenses and reimbursements will be forthcoming on our Coronavirus page at https://safetyabroad.illinois.edu/incident-response/updates/coronavirus.html. Academics. The academic options and recommendations will vary by program and student. Options might include completing your current studies through the study abroad provider remotely or taking second eight-week courses through the University. The University will attempt to keep your academic plan on track but can make no guarantees. Housing. Returning to campus may create possible challenges related to housing. University Housing will similarly assist you to find residential accommodations on campus if you need them. The tuition and fees you paid when entering the program this semester will not be adjusted in any way that may negatively affect you or your financial aid. The Illinois sponsor of your program will work directly with your host program to mitigate, as much as possible, other logistic or financial issues that might be related to your departure. Possible Quarantine: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is designating some countries as Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions, Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, or Level 3, Avoid Non-Essential Travel. A full list CDC travel advisories can be found here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices. CDC updates this list as changes occur. Students who traveled to countries under CDC travel advisories of Level 2 or 3 who choose to return to the campus to resume activities will be required to provide proof of a 14-day self-quarantine. This is especially important if you are interested in being on campus and enrolling in courses during the second-eight weeks of the semester, which begins March 23. If you are returning from a CDC Level 2 or 3 country and do not have permanent home in which to self-quarantine, please contact the Emergency Dean at +1-217-333-0050 as soon as possible for assistance. Please note that you may still be tested and quarantined by federal health officials upon your arrival at various U.S. airports. We encourage you to share this information with your emergency contacts and discuss your plans with them. The University will also send a copy of this message to any email addresses for other contacts you provided in your study abroad application. In order to make necessary arrangements to assist your return, we will set deadlines by which to inform us of your decision. We will explain the information and deadlines to you by e-mail no later than Tuesday, Mar. 3. To expedite our response to any of your questions, please contact your sponsoring college’s study abroad office. Contact information for all of these offices can be found on the International Safety & Security website. If you reply directly to this e-mail, you may not receive a timely response. Students who are coming from countries under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisories of Level 2 or 3 who choose to return to the campus to resume activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Illinois Human Resources and McKinley Health Center (link to McKinley website) will be working with returning travelers to ensure compliance with the 14-day self-quarantine protocol. A full list of CDC travel advisories can be found here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices. If you choose to travel to another country before returning to the United States, please note that we do NOT advise traveling to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea at this time. The University will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates appropriately to students through your University e-mail as the situation develops. Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we continue to make decisions and develop plans to protect all of our students, faculty and staff on a constantly evolving issue.