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CU Boulder Education Abroad Coronavirus FAQs

UPDATED: 6/24/2020
  
Most Fall 2020 programs have been suspended due to health and safety concerns, border closings, and travel restrictions. Education Abroad is continuing to monitor the virus and its effect on the remaining fall 2020 programs.


Spring 2021: Students are invited to continue to apply for spring 2021 programs. Education Abroad is continuing to monitor the coronavirus and its effect on all future programs and will share updates with impacted students and on this page.  At this time, Education Abroad has not suspended any programs for the spring 2021 term due to concerns related to the virus. 
How is CU Boulder monitoring the coronavirus situation worldwide? 
A team of university officials is monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 worldwide. To assess risks related to study abroad travel, the university uses a number of resources, including governmental agencies (U.S. Department of State, Center for Disease Control), the World Health Organization, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), CU’s international security provider, professional health and security organizations, assessments by university partners abroad, U.S. Embassy country COVID-19 information, news outlets, and more. University updates can be found on this web page: CU’s Coronavirus Updates and Resources
How does CU Boulder make decisions about its education abroad programs? 
In making decisions about the impact of COVID-19 on education abroad programs, CU Boulder takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization, and all of the COVID-19 resources and expert information sources mentioned above. The policy on the suspension of programs abroad can be found here
What decisions has CU Boulder made to suspend programs in response to the novel coronavirus?   
Most Fall 2020 programs have been suspended due to health and safety concerns, border closings, and travel restrictions. Education Abroad is continuing to monitor the virus and its effect on the remaining Fall 2020 programs.

Earlier this year, CU Boulder suspended all Education Abroad programs for Spring 2020, due to the CDC issuance of Global Warning Level 3, Avoid Non-essential travel, and the U.S. Department of State issuance of a Global Health Advisory Level 4:  Do Not Travel. Additionally, all on-site Summer 2020 program were suspended in anticipation of continued health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Education Abroad is administering online Summer courses in lieu of an on-site option. 
What should students expect when studying abroad during the coronavirus pandemic? 
Students should anticipate that experience abroad could be different than they may have originally imagined. Students should keep in mind the following as they set expectations for a term abroad:
 
  • Independent Travel: independent travel outside of the city and/ or country you are studying abroad in may be limited. Country borders may be closed, quarantine measures may remain in place, and there may be sudden changes to countries entry and exit requirements. Do not make plans for travel outside of your host country.
  • Quarantine: your semester abroad may include a 2-week quarantine in the event that you or another student (faculty or staff) are exposed to the coronavirus.
  • Academic Experience: many programs and universities are implementing a hybrid online/ in-person format for the upcoming semester. Be familiar and comfortable with both formats. There may be sudden changes to the academic format of your program and additional rules / restrictions may be put in place within the classroom spaces.
  • Program Excursions and Activities: if your program typically offers excursions or activities, these may be more limited than in previous years. Excursions may be altered or canceled while you’re on-site to adjust to current health and government recommendations. 
What decisions has CU Boulder made regarding Spring 2021 programs?   
Students are invited to continue to apply for spring 2021 programs. Education Abroad is continuing to monitor the coronavirus and its effect on all future programs and will share updates with impacted students and on this page.  At this time, CU Boulder Education Abroad has not suspended any programs for the spring 2021 term due to concerns related to the virus. 
 
Students applying to study abroad the spring term should be aware that the program dates and advertised excursions and activities may be altered based on each program and universities response to the coronavirus. Education Abroad will provide students with further information related to any programmatic changes or possible expectation changes as necessary. 
What happens if a CU Boulder education abroad program is suspended? 
Safety:
Student health and safety is our top priority. Should a program be suspended while students are on-site, CU Boulder will inform students and their emergency contacts and students would be advised to depart immediately from their program and to return home. We will provide as much support as we can to ensure the students’ ability to expeditiously depart from their program and return home.

Academics:
CU Boulder is committed to supporting students’ academic success. CU Boulder works closely with our academic partners who provide education abroad programs with the goal of mitigating potential impacts on students’ academic progress.  Note that in some instances when students are directly enrolled in a host institution abroad, or if students are taking lab or studio courses, the option to continue coursework remotely might not be possible.  Education Abroad will work with students whose programs are suspended mid-semester on a case by case basis to explore all possible solutions. For more information, please see the CU Boulder Education Abroad Academic FAQs.

Program Fee Adjustments:
If the program is suspended before the program’s official start date, students will receive a credit adjustment of the deposit and program fees that have been paid. Education Abroad will only be able to refund recoverable costs paid directly to CU Boulder should a program be suspended. If a program is suspended after its official start date, credit adjustments vary, based on a number of factors.  Credit adjustments for spring 2020 have been completed.

Other Non-Refundable Fees:
Education Abroad recommends holding off on paying any program or housing deposits (including independent housing leases), visa fees, flights, etc. until we pass the decision date for your program and notify you that you can move forward with your plans in accordance with our decision timeline published above. Education Abroad will only be able to refund recoverable costs paid directly to CU Boulder should a program be suspended or if you choose to withdraw from the program.
 
What would happen if a student withdraws from a future Education Abroad program out of concern for COVID-19?
CU Boulder understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions may be made between a student and their family. If a student chooses to withdraw from a future Education Abroad program, the student will be subject to the terms of the applicable Education Abroad Withdrawal Policy as outlined on program cost pages. For Fall 2020 programs, the Education Abroad program deposit is refundable through July 1 should a student decide not to participate on the program or if the program is suspended. Education Abroad will only be able to refund recoverable costs paid directly to CU Boulder should a program be suspended.
What happens to my financial aid if my program is suspended and I choose to withdraw? 
In order to minimize academic disruption and any negative impacts to your financial aid, you are expected to continue your coursework through your program. If you’re considering withdrawing from your program, your financial aid may be reduced or cancelled, so it is vital that you are speaking with a financial aid counselor before making that decision.
Should Education Abroad students purchase trip cancellation insurance and/or refundable airfare?
Education Abroad recommends waiting to purchase your flight until 30 days prior to the start of the program, or at the very least, until we pass the decision date for your program and notify you that you can move forward with your plans in accordance with our decision timeline published above. Students should consider purchasing “Any Reason” trip cancellation insurance to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellation. It is important to read the fine print of these policies to see what exclusions might apply.  Many policies, for instance do not include coverage for pandemics or global health threats.  Education Abroad assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.

As mentioned above, Education Abroad will not refund these fees in the event the program is suspended or if you choose to not continue with your plans to study abroad.
Who will Education Abroad contact with updates? 
CU Boulder Education Abroad contacts students directly with updates, and also informs the student's designated emergency contacts when a decision is made to suspend a program should the student already be abroad.  We ask students to share all updates with their emergency contacts. Education Abroad updates this website on a regular basis. All members of the CU Boulder community can also find updates at CU’s Coronavirus Updates and Resources.
How will I know if my program is suspended?
Education Abroad will directly contact students with updates via email. Ed Abroad reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations. All members of the CU Boulder community can find updates related to COVID-19 on this page, and on the CU Coronavirus website.
What precautions should students take upon returning to the US from their program abroad? 
Per the CDC Guidelines, anyone returning from international travel should stay home for 14 days from the time they returned home. Please note that several states, counties, and towns have implemented stricter restrictions on residents. Contact your local public health office for further information and guidance.

Due to the continued fluidity of this situation and global response to COVID-19, we recommend continuing to consult the CDC website and contact your local medical provider and public health office for further information and recommendations. Review the additional advice for travelers related to the coronavirus on the CDC’s FAQs. If you have symptoms and/or are concerned that you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your medical provider.
Who can I contact about study abroad and the coronavirus situation?
For questions related to a specific study abroad program or student, contact Education Abroad. For questions related to the campus response to the coronavirus, please see the CU Coronavirus website, which includes a link to submit questions.