Coronavirus Updates - March
March 21, 1pm PDT
A Note of Support to USAC Participants
Thank you for following the mandated two-week quarantine upon return. We know this isn’t easy on you and your family, especially as you cope with leaving your new international life, program, and friends so abruptly. However, according to the CDC, self-isolating is of utmost importance to protect you and your loved ones.
If you develop symptoms during this time, contact your doctor and follow the advice of your local health authorities and the CDC. Unfortunately, this is our society’s “new normal” -- no matter where you live --as we all navigate and try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
We at USAC are sending positive thoughts of health and wellness to everyone. Please reach out to USAC’s Health and Safety Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional health-related questions or concerns.
March 16, 3pm PDT
Summer Session I Cancelled
We have made the difficult decision to cancel the USAC Summer Programs which were scheduled to begin in May and early June 2020. Since there are too many to list here, please refer to individual program web pages on usac.edu for specific closure information.
Additionally, all Summer Session II programs are proceeding as scheduled. Decisions regarding Summer Session II will be made on or before April 15, 2020.
Impacted students should respond directly to the email sent by their Enrollment Specialist to indicate which of the following options they wish to pursue:
- Option 1: Transfer your application to Summer Session II or defer to a future term. Payments you have made will be applied to the new term.
- Option 2: Cancel your application. You will receive a full refund of the application fee and any deposit paid (where applicable).
Please note that our normal refund processing time of 6-8 weeks has been extended to 10-12 weeks due to the size and magnitude of this unprecedented event. We appreciate your understanding and patience as our response times may be delayed during this time.
March 14, 5:45pm PDT
A Special Message from Alyssa Nota, Ph.D., USAC President/CEO
We know that our decision to close all USAC programs worldwide is heartbreaking news for students who have planned for years to study abroad. However, student safety and academic continuity are our top priorities, and we are hopeful that with the contingency plans in process that students will finish the semester successfully.
While this has been a challenging time and disappointing outcome for everyone involved, the USAC staff (both overseas and in the Central Office) has enjoyed getting to know students and helping them grow personally and professionally. Study abroad teaches one to be resilient and flexible, and therefore, we will take our own advice. This too shall pass, and until it does, we will look to the future, build upon this experience, and create ways to make the study abroad experience even more rewarding and fulfilling.
March 14, 5:30pm PDT
Program Closures Worldwide
Due to the escalation of travel restrictions and potential for border closures in response to the U.S. Department of State Level 3 warning, we have made the difficult decision to close all USAC programs worldwide effective immediately. This means we have begun the process of bringing home all spring/yearlong students immediately. All impacted students, families, and universities have received further instructions in an email sent earlier today.
RE: Flights Home
We encourage everyone to return home on the next available flight. It is essential that you share your return flight itinerary with your USAC Program Advisor who is listed in the email sent earlier today, and also listed below. Here’s a link to international phone numbers for major airlines. Also check if changes can be made directly on the airline website.
RE: Other Details
Assisting students to return home is our first priority, and therefore, academic and financial information will be sent next week.
March 13, 6pm PDT
Booking return flights to your home country
Frosch Student Travel is assisting students on the group flight. These students need to email email@example.com and include a preferred date of departure. As you can imagine, Frosch has a very high volume of requests they are processing, and response time may be delayed. An alternative is to call the airline directly to rebook your fight. Here’s a link to international phone numbers for major airlines. Also check if changes can be made directly on the airline website.
Additionally, it is essential that you share your return flight itinerary with USAC. Once you’ve booked your flight, send your departure itinerary ASAP to your Program Advisor (see contact list below). Please make sure that your itinerary includes the following information:
- Departure date, time, city/airport, airline, and flight number
- Arrival date, time, city/airport, airline and flight number into US/home country and each
- stop to your final US/home country destination
USAC Contact List
The following are Program Advisor and Accounts Receivable staff emails for each country where programs have closed.
Spain (Alicante, Madrid)
Spain (Bilbao, San Sebastian, Valencia)
Update March 12, 7pm PDT
USAC Europe, Japan and Israel Program Closures
Due to overseas host university closures, CDC’s increase to level 3, and several other factors, we are closing our Spring onsite program operations in the following locations: Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Sweden.
Specific instructions and details for impacted students, parents, and universities were emailed earlier today. Please check your email junk folder if you did not receive this communication.
All impacted students, parents, and universities
- USAC Specialty Program students in Europe - All students are strongly advised to return home as soon as possible and no later than the program closure date of March 26. More information to follow re: US-based online courses.
- USAC Partnership Program students in Europe - All students are strongly advised to return home as soon as possible and no later than the official program closure date of March 26. We are collaborating with our partner institutions in all these countries to determine whether course completion options can be accommodated for each impacted student. More details regarding your academic options will be provided in the next week.
- Japan Students:
- For yearlong students currently in Japan – please depart Japan and return home as soon as possible and no later than the program closure date of March 20.
- For students still in the U.S. – immediately contact your airline to cancel your flight for Japan. Do not travel to Japan at this time.
- Israel Students - All students are strongly advised to return home as soon as possible and no later than the program closure date of March 26. We are collaborating with our partner institution to determine whether alternative course completion options can be accommodated for each impacted student. More details regarding your academic options will be provided shortly.
We are saddened that the impact of the coronavirus around the globe does not allow us to continue our programs as planned. The decision to cancel a program is never taken lightly, however safety and academic continuity are top priorities. We are hopeful that with the contingency plans, students will finish the semester successfully.
As you can imagine, the magnitude of these closures and the number of students impacted is challenging for all. Thank you for your patience with USAC staff during this time.
Update March 11, 9pm PDT
Late today, March 11, the Trump Administration released a statement that caused much confusion re: entry into the U.S. from Europe. Following is a clarification that was sent afterward from Homeland Security. Bottom line, this does not affect U.S. citizens. Other details from Homeland Security message below:
"Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation."
Additionally, we are aware that levels for the Centers for Disease Control and US Department of State have risen for European countries. Due to this sudden announcement, the USAC Crisis Management Team is working on next steps and will provide more information by end of day March 12 (US PDT time zone).
Spring Spain program students should follow the communication from March 11; those directions are still in effect.
Thanks for your patience and cooperation.
Update March 11, 3pm PDT
Spain Programs Spring 2020 Closure and Transition to Online Coursework
As you are aware, USAC has been closely monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak in Spain and throughout the world. Universities in Madrid have closed, and we anticipate other universities in Spain will soon follow. These developments, along with our concern for your safety and our ability to ensure academic continuity, has prompted USAC to make the difficult decision to close our programs in Spain (Alicante, Bilbao, Madrid, San Sebastián, Valencia) effective March 18, 2020, and to move courses online, where possible. You are covered for travel outside of the United States through CISI insurance through March 21, 2020 (3 days after the program closes). Talk with your family and contact your personal health insurance provider about reinstating your personal health insurance policy before this date.
Next Steps: Specific details for impacted students, parents, and universities were sent in a communication today from firstname.lastname@example.org, which includes an FAQ. (Please check your email junk folder if you did not receive this communication.)
We are saddened that the developing situation in Spain does not allow us to continue our programs as planned. The decision to cancel a program is never taken lightly and is only reached as a last resort. We are hopeful that with the contingency plans we are putting in place, you will finish the semester successfully.
Update March 10
We continue to monitor the coronavirus status around the globe. If a situation changes at a program location, we will contact impacted students, parents and universities directly. Our Health and Safety Managers and Crisis Management Team continue to monitor each program location and base decisions on multiple criteria including, but not limited to:
- Advisory Levels and Advice (CDC, U.S. State Department, WHO)
- Host university closures or campus access restrictions
- Travel restrictions (airline, train, quarantines)
- Limited local resources, e.g., business closures/restricted hours
- University policies and decisions (U.S. and overseas)
- Technology resources / limitations for academic continuity
- International higher education resources (Pulse, Forum, NAFSA, OSAC)
Update March 3, 6pm PST
Status of 2020 Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020 Sessions
We continue to monitor the coronavirus status throughout the globe. If the situation changes for any of USAC's program sites, we will contact impacted students, parents and universities.
USAC is proceeding as scheduled with the following programs and terms:
- Spring 2020 programs are proceeding, excluding China, South Korea and Italy which have been cancelled.
- Summer 2020 sessions are proceeding, excluding China Summer Session I which is cancelled.
- Fall 2020 programs are proceeding as planned in all locations.
Please check this web page for regular updates.