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Coronavirus Updates - February

Most recent updates

Update Feb. 28, 7pm PST

 Italy Spring Programs Cancelled

Effective immediately, USAC Italy programs in Reggio Emilia, Torino, Verona, and Viterbo are cancelled due to the U.S. Department of State and CDC raising their travel advisories for Italy to Level 3. The official program end date is March 8 to allow time for you to make departure plans. Your study abroad insurance with CISI will end on March 10; if you plan to travel after this date, you will need to purchase your own travel insurance.

Next Steps:

For impacted students, parents, and universities, please refer to the communication sent today, Feb. 28 at 6pm PST from safetyabroad@usac.edu. (Please check your junk email folder if you didn't receive that communication.)

  • Re: Coursework - we are actively working with our Resident Directors and faculty at each site to enact our academic contingency plan for teaching as many courses as possible online so that students may complete the semester. Please see the email for details.
  • Re: Departure Flights - Please contact your airline as soon as possible to make arrangements to depart Italy. Your Resident Directors and Program Advisor are available for support, including changing your flight and arranging your return home. Frosch Student Travel is assisting students on the group flight and may be able to advise others as well. Contact Frosch at studentgroups@frosch.com and one of their representatives will help you. Once you’ve booked your flight, send your departure details to Program Advisor Karolyn Kaseberg by Wed., March 4. Her email is karolyn.kaseberg@usac.edu.

USAC will reimburse you for flight cancellation or change fees you incur up to $500. You are encouraged to ask for a “change fee waiver” which some airlines are granting under these circumstances. You will be required to submit your receipts and the flight itinerary for your return flight for the reimbursement to be processed. Submit receipts to Sandra Torres, Accounts Receivable Specialist, at sandra.torres@usac.edu.

Financial Questions - more details regarding any program-related refunds are forthcoming next week. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

We are saddened that circumstances in Italy do not allow us to continue the program as planned. The decision to cancel a program is never taken lightly and is only reached as a last resort while considering students’ health and safety, which is our top priority. We are hopeful that with the contingency plans we are putting in place, students will finish the semester successfully. Students should work with their on-site Resident Director as the main point of contact until their departure. Elizabeth Rice, Health and Safety Manager, is also available to assist you with any questions during this time of transition. She may be reached at safetyabroad@usac.edu.

Update Feb. 28, 5pm PST

China Summer Session 1 Cancelled

USAC has decided to cancel the China Summer Session 1 since there has been no change to the U.S. Department of State and CDC levels. We are continuing to monitor the coronavirus status and will make a decision regarding Summer Session II at the end of March. Summer Session II programs in Chengdu and Shanghai are not scheduled to begin until July.

We recognize that this decision will be a great disappointment and have identified a couple of alternatives for consideration. Please consult with your home university to determine which option best fits with your academic plan.

#1 – Defer your participation in the China program to a later term - You may choose to defer your participation to Summer Session II, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021. We will transfer your application and apply the payments you have already made to USAC to the new term.

#2 - Transfer your application to another summer program - We will transfer your application and apply the payments you have already made to USAC to the new program. Programs listed below are ones that may be of particular interest. Jana Arnold, China Enrollment Specialist, is available to assist you with exploring these or other options. She may be reached at jana.arnold@usac.edu or 775-682-9763.

Options for Chinese Language, Business, and Asian Studies:

Options for Asian Studies:

Re: Refunds - If these options will not work for you, USAC will provide a full refund of the $500 enrollment confirmation deposit and $100 application fee. Normal processing time is 6-8 weeks, but we will do our best to process refunds as quickly as possible. Please direct questions about refunds to Schyler Tune, China Accounts Receivable Specialist at schyler.tune@usac.edu.

Update Feb. 27, 1:30pm PST

Korea Spring 2020 Session Cancelled

Due to the U.S. Department of State raising its travel advisory for South Korea to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel,” USAC has made the difficult decision to cancel all USAC programs in South Korea for Spring 2020 effective immediately, with the official end date of March 7. We recognize that this decision will be a great disappointment to students and families. 

Next Steps: For impacted students, parents, and universities, please refer to the communication sent today (Feb. 27), which contains more details and includes the following instructions.

  • For students currently in South Korea - please make arrangements to depart Korea as soon as possible. Please send Program Advisor Rylie Mansuetti your departure flight details by Monday, March 2. Her email is rylie.mansuetti@usac.edu
  • For students still in the U.S. – immediately contact your airline to cancel your flight. Do not travel to South Korea.

Because the host universities are unable to provide options to complete the courses remotely, we have identified a couple of alternatives for consideration. Please consult with your home university to determine if either option will fit with your academic plan.

#1 – Defer your participation in the Korea program to a later term. You may choose to defer your participation to the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semester, and USAC will apply the payments made to USAC to the new term. We will honor your USAC program fee for the Spring 2020 rate for the new term.

#2 - Transfer your application to a summer program in another location. We have several locations where you may complete 12 credits over the summer at USAC Specialty programs in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Spain, and Thailand. Although these programs differ from what you were expecting in Korea, they provide an opportunity to study abroad and continue your academic progress toward graduation. We will apply the payments you have already made to USAC to the new program. Stacey Arnsdorff, Enrollment Specialist, is available to assist you with exploring these two options. She may be reached at stacey.arnsdorff@usac.edu.

Re: Refunds -- If neither of the options listed above work for you, USAC will provide a full refund of your spring semester program fee plus any recoverable costs for program housing and other USAC program-related expenses paid directly to your host university.  USAC will reimburse you for flight cancellation or change fees you incur up to $500. Students are encouraged to ask for a “change fee waiver” which some airlines are granting under the circumstances. You will be required to submit your receipts and the flight itinerary for your return flight for the reimbursement to be processed. Submit receipts to Jason Connolly, Accounts Receivable Specialist, at jason.connolly@usac.edu. 

RE: Scholarships and Financial Aid - USAC will allow you to retain USAC scholarships you have received; please speak with your home university financial aid office and/or outside scholarship sponsor regarding their refund policies in this type of situation.

We are saddened that circumstances in South Korea do not allow us to continue the program as planned. The decision to cancel a program is never taken lightly and is only reached as a last resort while considering students’ health and safety, which is our first priority. Christine Sieben, our Health and Safety Manager, is available to assist you with any questions during this time of transition. She may be reached at safetyabroad@usac.edu.

Update Feb. 24, 6pm PST

USAC continues to monitor the world health situation closely using trusted information sources such as the CDC, US Department of State, WHO, and our on-site program staff. As application and departure deadlines approach, we are assessing programs on a case-by-case basis and are communicating directly with impacted students, parents and universities about next steps.

Re: students who are currently studying abroad - The on-site staff have regular communication with students about their well-being and keep them apprised of safety and academic updates. USAC has shared the CDC’s flu and virus prevention tips and requested that students follow all local, national and international public health instructions.

Re: upcoming summer and fall sessions  - Currently, summer sessions for all programs are proceeding as scheduled. However, a decision re: both China programs, which remain at a State Department Level 4: Do Not Travel, will be made in early March.

Deadline extension for specific programs

Due to student and university concerns re: coronavirus in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Italy, USAC is extending the confirmation deposit refund deadline for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 programs. For these programs only, this confirmation deposit will be refundable up until the balance due deadline. This allows applicants time to apply and monitor the situation for the next few months without fear of losing this deposit. The application fee remains non-refundable.

For more information

If you have specific questions re: students who are currently overseas, please email USAC’s Health and Safety Team at safetyabroad@usac.edu.

For the following programs (for which we are receiving several inquiries), contact the following USAC staff:

Asia Programs

EU Programs

Update February 13, 12pm PST

South Korea Programs – Spring 2020

Yonsei University – has modified its Spring 2020 schedule. Orientation is cancelled and classes have been delayed until March 16, but Yonsei is allowing students to move into housing between February 21 and March 15. There are three arrival options – please refer to the Feb. 13 email from USAC for pertinent details. Additionally, the program calendar has been updated with this information.

Kookmin University – has modified its Spring 2020 schedule. Classes will now begin on March 16 and will likely end June 26. You must arrive on February 29 OR March 15 -- these are the only two arrival days that Kookmin University will allow. We are awaiting details re: orientation. Please review other pertinent details sent in the Feb 12 email from USAC. Additionally, the program calendar has been updated with this information.

Chonnam National University - Arrival and orientation dates have remained the same, however, classes will now begin on March 16 and end June 26. Please review other pertinent details sent in the Feb 12 email from USAC. Additionally, the program calendar has been updated with this information.

If you have further questions re: Korea programs, please contact USAC Program Advisor Rylie Mansuetti at rylie.mansuetti@usac.edu.

Update February 7, 4:30pm PST

We have confirmed that all students in our Chengdu and Shanghai programs have departed China as of Feb. 4. USAC China staff and students are still healthy with no indication of exposure to the virus. We are thankful for the students, parents, universities, and USAC China staff who worked with us to ensure the quick and safe transition of all students. For those who have been impacted by the coronavirus, we join the international education community in wishing for the best possible outcome.

Other program updates:

  • We will confirm the status of the China 2020 Summer Sessions by early March, and we will continue to monitor the situation for future sessions.
  • Regarding the status of South Korea Partnership programs:
    • Yonsei University has modified the schedule and delayed the start of courses to March 16; we’ll provide updates as we receive further details.
    • Kookmin University – awaiting further details
    • Chonnam National University - awaiting details
  • Regarding the status of the Japan Partnership programs, they are set to commence as scheduled. We are in contact with our overseas partners and will continue to provide updates as we receive them.

Update February 4, 3:30pm PST

We’ve confirmed that all students in our Chengdu and Shanghai programs have departed China. We are thankful for the students, parents, universities, and USAC China staff who worked with us to ensure the quick and safe transition of all students. For those who have been impacted by the coronavirus, we join the international education community in wishing for the best possible outcome.

Previous updates

January updates