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Coronavirus Updates - January

Most recent updates 

Update January 31, 3pm PST

  • Extended Deadline for Montevideo, Uruguay Program Transfer - Although the deadline for students to change programs is January 31, we will consider late requests for Montevideo through February 3. This allows students who have returned home to discuss Spring term options with families. As a reminder, Chinese language courses may be possible as an independent study with Chinese language faculty at our host university; other courses being offered include agribusiness, gender studies, Latin American studies, Spanish, International Marketing, Marketing Principles, and/or International Financial Management. Please review the requirements of transferring to the Montevideo program by referencing the email sent on Jan. 29.
  • Online/Distance Learning Options - We regret that we are unable to offer students the option to complete their USAC courses in an online format. After researching a variety of options, we concluded that the technology and expertise necessary to offer a quality academic program online in multiple U.S. time zones on such short notice makes this option unrealistic. Students interested in pursuing online courses are encouraged to consider existing options offered through their home universities or other U.S. institutions. Additionally, this allows us to focus on providing a smooth transition for those students transferring home or to Uruguay.

Update January 30, 3pm PST

Impacted Students - Important Deadline Information

  • Students interested in transferring to a USAC program in Uruguay, Australia or New Zealand (see information below) must contact kara.bingham@usac.edu no later than the end of the day (in China) on Friday, January 31.
  • For students who have chosen to transfer to Uruguay, we ask that you arrive in Montevideo as soon as possible and preferably no later than Feb. 4 or 5.
  • Please reference specific details that were in an email sent earlier today.

Status of future programs

  • USAC China summer and fall sessions: As of now, future sessions for China are continuing as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as we approach key program deadlines.
  • USAC Korea and Japan spring programs (departures occurring in late Feb -late March respectively): These programs are continuing as planned. If plans change, we’ll contact impacted students, universities, and parents.

Useful web links

For easy reference, below are web links to sites that provide useful China travel advisories and alerts.

Update January 29, 5:15 pm PST

We have confirmed outbound flights or alternate plans for all students on both programs; the majority of students are leaving China by Jan. 31. The students and staff remain healthy, and students are receiving full support from onsite staff and the USAC Central Office.

Additionally, we have arranged the following program options, all of which have the potential for Chinese language study:

As for the availability of other program locations, unfortunately, many other overseas partners were unable to accommodate our request for various reasons. However, we are still researching the option to offer online learning options and expect to have an update by Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

For impacted universities and parents, please refer to the detailed information included in the email sent today from safetyabroad@usac.edu.

Update January 28, 1:20 pm PST

USAC continues to closely monitor the situation in China, and as communicated yesterday, we are closing our Spring 2020 sessions in Shanghai and Chengdu. The safety of our students is our #1 priority and we are currently assisting students to return to the US as soon as possible.

For students who have asked about transferring to another USAC program, the options are very limited due to logistical limitations of visas, course availability, program start dates, immigration controls, etc. We are waiting for information from our overseas partners and hope to provide an update in the next 24-48 hours.

If you have further questions, contact safetyabroad@usac.edu, and return to this web page regularly for additional updates.

January 27, 2020

As mentioned in last week’s communication, the USAC China Programs Resident Directors and Christine Sieben, Health and Safety Manager, have been monitoring China’s coronavirus situation very closely, and USAC students are still doing well with no indication of any exposures to the virus.

However, with students’ health and safety top of mind, and to be proactive, we are placing both China programs on hold for Spring 2020. We are currently working on the logistics to do so, and the RDs have already started to reach out today to the students to communicate this and to help arrange their return home.

USAC is offering a full program refund (with the option to return for a different term), flight change fees up to $500, logistical support assisted by China program staff, and flight assistance by our travel provider Frosch Travel for those students on the group flight. Students not on the group flight should contact their airline to change their travel arrangements, and are encouraged to ask for a “change fee waiver” which some airlines are granting for this situation.

Additionally, we are researching alternatives to help students with their academic progress, e.g., online courses, especially for those who are unable to enroll with their home university for the Spring 2020 term. We’ll keep you posted as information becomes available.

The decision to cancel the Spring programs was made after discussing many alternatives. Having students return to the US seemed the wisest choice, especially in light of receiving information about campus access restrictions, business closures, and the latest US State Department and CDC updates, which are now at Level 3. As for the upcoming 2020 Summer sessions, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as deadlines approach.

Finally, we extend our thanks to you for placing your trust in USAC. We were grateful for the chance to get to know your students, and it’s unfortunate that this time was cut short. We hope there is a future opportunity for them to return to China. We’re here to support a smooth transition home. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.