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Study Abroad Office

Study Abroad COVID-19 FAQ and Communications

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Learn about how the university is changing to mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus and what you can do to help.

 

Frequently Asked Questions: Coronavirus and Study Abroad Programs

 

1. Will UofSC support Spring 2021 semester-long education abroad programming?

The University of South Carolina will allow students to participate in Spring 2021 education abroad programs in countries that are under a U.S. Department of State (DoS) Travel Advisory of Level 3 or lower. 

However, students should be aware that the DoS continues to urge against most non-essential international travel.  Because of the wide-reaching and unpredictable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel can carry significant risk this upcoming spring.  As a result, students must approach their education abroad experiences with significant thought, preparation, and flexibility.  

2. I have signed up for a Spring 2021 education abroad program in a country that is currently under a DoS Level 3 advisory or lower. What should I be doing?

UofSC currently plans to support your travel as long as your destination remains under a DoS Level 3 advisory or lower AND your COVID-19 Travel Safety Plan is approved.  Here are your next steps:

  • October: Please continue working on your UofSC education abroad application materials, as well as the required application materials for your program.
  • November 1: Submit your COVID-19 Travel Safety Plan by this date, along with all other UofSC education abroad application materials.
  • November: Please plan to attend UofSC the pre-departure workshops and watch the online videos – you will receive updates via Blackboard.
  • December 1: We have recommended that you work with your academic advisor to register for back-up classes at UofSC. If you are enrolled in Spring 2021 classes at UofSC, please plan to drop these classes by December 1 so we can enroll you in the education abroad placeholder course.

3. What can I expect when going abroad in Spring 2021?

While it is difficult to predict the future, it is clear that your education abroad experience will look quite different than those of past students. 

It is likely that as you begin your education abroad experience, you will need to quarantine for the time period specified by your destination country's government.  You might also have to show proof of a negative COVID test to gain entry into the country.  

You should monitor local media in our destination country to gain a better understanding of what daily life will look like.  Based on reports from our international partners, regardless of your destination, you may complete your coursework with a mix of in-person and online class meetings.  Indoor dining may be restricted in your host city, so you might find more outdoor social activities.  It is likely that large gatherings will be limited.  You will likely be expected to wear a mask in public, including on public transportation.  Additionally, you might find that regulations and recommendations change over the course of your semester abroad based on case trends in your area.  You should be prepared to adapt to these new recommendations.

We do not recommend traveling outside of your destination country on weekends or school breaks, as you might face challenges in re-entering your host country or be required to quarantine again for a period of time.

4. I have signed up for a Spring 2021 education abroad program in a country that is currently under a DoS Level 4 advisory (e.g. Argentina, Brazil, Peru). What should I do now?

At this point, the Education Abroad Office recommends that you move to your Plan B for your Spring 2021 semester.  Please complete this survey to let us know what your Plan B is, so we may better support you in this transition.  The Education Abroad Office has reached out to all students who registered for travel to a country that is subject to a DoS Level 4 advisory or where it is unclear whether U.S. students would be allowed entry.

If you wish to “wait it out” with your original program choice, it is very unlikely that the Education Abroad Office will be able to find an alternative physical study abroad program for you for the Spring 2021 term, as most program deadlines are quickly approaching.  If your original program choice is still not feasible by December 1 (i.e. the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory remains Level 4), the Education Abroad Office will cancel your education abroad application so you can enroll in classes at UofSC.  If your education abroad plan changes at any point before December 1 (e.g. you decide to attend a program virtually, switch to a different program, etc.), please contact our office.

5. I have signed up for a Spring 2021 education abroad program in a country where it has not been confirmed that I will be able to enter (e.g. Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Finland, Japan, Morocco, Uruguay, and Vietnam). What should I do now?

At this point, the Education Abroad Office recommends that you move to your Plan B for your Spring 2021 semester.  Please complete this survey to let us know what your Plan B is, so we may better support you in this transition.  The Education Abroad Office has reached out to all students who registered for travel to a country that is subject to a DoS Level 4 advisory or where it is unclear whether U.S. students would be allowed entry.

If you wish to “wait it out” with your original program choice, it is very unlikely that the Education Abroad Office will be able to find an alternative physical study abroad program for you for the Spring 2021 term, as most program deadlines are quickly approaching.  If your original program choice is still not feasible by December 1 (you are still not able to enter the country as a U.S. resident traveling for study), the Education Abroad Office will cancel your education abroad application so you can enroll in classes at UofSC.  If your education abroad plan changes at any point before December 1 (e.g. you decide to attend a program virtually, switch to a different program, etc.), please contact our office.

6. Should I purchase a trip interruption insurance plan?

The Education Abroad Office recommends considering a “Interrupt for Any Reason” insurance plan or a “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance plan.  Here are some options from our insurance company, CISI.  Not all plans will cover all costs associated with a program – please contact CISI or your chosen insurance provider directly for confirmation of what expenses would be covered.

7. What would cause UofSC to revoke its approval of my education abroad program?

If your destination country becomes subject to a DoS Level 4 advisory at any time prior to your departure, UofSC will not support your travel.  In this case, you would like need to enroll in UofSC classes or a virtual education abroad program for the Spring 2021 term, as it will be difficult to switch to a new physical education abroad program at a later date.

Please note that UofSC reserves the right to revoke approval based on other factors as well, aside from the DoS advisories.  UofSC monitors the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DoS, South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, and our international security provider.  When making decisions about specific programs, we consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.

8. Who will UofSC contact with updates?

UofSC will directly contact students abroad with updates via their UofSC email accounts.

9. Who can I contact about study abroad and the COVID-19 situation?

For health and medical-related questions and concerns, please contact Student Health Services. For logistical and programmatic questions and concerns, please contact the Study Abroad Office.

Archived Emails about COVID-19 & Study Abroad

The below message was sent to students who had applied to study abroad in Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Morocco, Uruguay, and Vietnam.  We have since learned that it does appear Costa Rica will accept U.S. students -- our Costa Rica applicants were notified of this change on 10/16/2020.

Dear Global Gamecock,

You are receiving this email because you are registered to study abroad in the Spring 2021 term in a country where the Education Abroad Office has not been able to confirm that you will be able to enter as a U.S. resident traveling for study.  While many countries are still banning U.S. residents from entry, there are some that are allowing exceptions for U.S. residents.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to confirm that your destination country will allow you entry.

At this point, if your Plan B is to study abroad in an alternative location, the Education Abroad Office recommends that you move to that alternative program now.  Should you wait to change to an alternative program, we cannot guarantee that your alternative program will still be accepting applications or that you will have time to obtain the appropriate student visa.  For these reasons, we feel that now is the time to switch so you have the best opportunity to select an alternative program. 

Please complete this survey to let us know what your Plan B is and so we may better support you in this transition.

The below message was sent to students who had applied to study abroad in Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.

Dear Global Gamecock,

You are receiving this email because you are registered for a Spring 2021 education abroad program in a country that is currently subject to a U.S. Department of State Level 4 Travel Advisory.  We know this news brings disappointment, but as discussed in the previous email from our office, the University of South Carolina will not support education abroad programs in Level 4 destinations.

At this point, the Education Abroad Office recommends that you move to your Plan B for your Spring 2021 semester.  Please complete this survey to let us know what your Plan B is and so we may better support you in this transition. 

Dear Global Gamecock,

You are receiving this email because you are registered for a Spring 2021 semester education abroad program.  The Student International Travel Oversight Committee (“SITOC”) has reached a decision about how Spring 2021 education abroad programs will be handled.  The University of South Carolina will allow students to participate in Spring 2021 education abroad programs in countries that are under a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory of Level 3 or lower. 

As you know, the U.S. Department of State continues to urge against most international travel.  Because of the wide-reaching and unpredictable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel can carry significant risk this upcoming spring.  As a result, students must approach their education abroad experiences with significant thought, preparation, and flexibility.  

Please note that if the U.S. Department of State increases the Travel Advisory for your destination country to Level 4 at any point between now and your departure date, UofSC will not be able to support your education abroad experience.  No student will be permitted to participate in education abroad activities in a Level 4 country.

Next Steps

  1. If you have not already done so, please ensure you have acknowledged and accepted the COVID-19 Waiver in your online education abroad application with our office.
  2. To ensure that you have familiarized yourself with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your destination country, all Spring 2021 applicants are required to complete the COVID-19 Travel Safety Plan by November 1. This plan will be reviewed by the Education Abroad Office and SITOC for final approval.
  3. The Education Abroad Office also recommends considering a “Interrupt for Any Reason” insurance plan or a “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance plan. Here are some options from our insurance company, CISI.

If your destination is currently under a U.S. Department of State Level 4 Travel Advisory, you will receive another email shortly with more guidance on next steps.

It is also important to keep in mind the challenges brought on by some countries’ entry restrictions and border closures.  If you have applied to study in a country where the Education Abroad Office has not been able to confirm you will be able to enter as a U.S. resident traveling for study, you will receive another email shortly with more guidance.

Please note this email pertains to spring semester programming only – a decision about Spring Break programming has not yet been made.

You can always stay up-to-date on our office’s latest announcements related to COVID-19 on our webpage here.

Dear Global Gamecock Student, 

We hope you are off to a good semester and staying well.  You are receiving this email because you have registered with the Education Abroad Office (EAO) for a Spring 2021 program.  Please read on for instructions on two requirements to continue planning for a Spring 2021 education abroad experience and a recap of the most recent Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) meeting. 

Next Steps 

One of our main priorities is to ensure you have taken steps to familiarize yourself with the challenges of international travel at this time, as well as how your destination country has been impacted by the pandemic.  With this goal in mind, each Spring 2021 applicant will be required to complete a COVID-19 acknowledgement form and a personal travel safety plan as part of your education abroad application. 

  1. At your earliest convenience, please log back into the Mobility application system and complete the application step called “Complete the COVID-19 Waiver.”  Your application steps may look a bit odd when you first log in, but everything should look normal again once you complete this new step. 
  2. By November 1, complete the COVID-19 Travel Safety Plan.  Instructions and more information are on our website here.  

SITOC Recap 

SITOC met last week to continue planning for spring travel.  As you know, SITOC’s spring travel decisions will be announced on October 15th.  The committee is monitoring a variety of country-specific indicators including U.S. Department of State (DoS) Travel Advisories, CDC Travel Notices, Harvard Global Health Institute’s case number metrics, and test positivity rates.  SITOC is also monitoring other factors including the availability of essential and nonessential services in each country and whether U.S citizens on student visas are currently allowed entry under each country’s border regulations. 

At this point, it is expected that spring travel decisions will be made on a country-by-country basis.  Countries that are subject to DoS Level 4 advisories are not likely to be approved.  We encourage all students to have a back-up plan in mind to ensure their academic progression is not interrupted, but especially students who are currently slated to travel to any country currently under a DoS Level 4 advisory.  Please also remember that it will be especially important to remain flexible throughout a Spring 2021 international travel experience, as circumstances surrounding the pandemic can change quickly.

Please do not hesitate to respond to this email with any questions.  You can also Livechat us on our website during most business hours and "drop by" during our drop-in advising hours on Zoom from 12pm-2pm Monday-Friday (password: TRAVEL). 

Dear Student,

We hope this finds you and your families staying well during these unusual times.  You are receiving this email because you applied to travel internationally for a university-related purpose during the Fall 2020 semester.  First, we would like to thank you for your interest in international education.  In today’s fragmented yet interdependent world, a commitment to understanding and appreciating other cultures is more important than ever.

In light of continued travel restrictions around the world, the advice of the U.S. Government that continues to advise against international travel, and other global uncertainties related to the trajectory and impact of the coronavirus pandemic, UofSC’s Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) has reached the decision to cancel international programming for the Fall 2020 semester.  This decision applies to all study abroad programming including Global Direct, Global Exchange, Global Partner, and Global Classroom programs, as well as graduate student travel. 

IF APPLICABLE, PLEASE COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING STEPS:

  • If you applied to a Global Partner or other third-party program, you must contact your program to cancel your application with that program.
  • If you applied to a Global Exchange or Global Direct program, your Study Abroad Advisor will notify your host institution of this decision.  If you made independent housing arrangements in your host country, you must contact the housing provider to cancel those arrangements.

 Please also keep the following in mind:

  • Your application with the UofSC Study Abroad Office will be automatically withdrawn.
  •  If you paid the $150 undergraduate study abroad fee, this fee has already been refunded to your UofSC student account.
  • We are preparing a catalog of virtual Fall 2020 study abroad opportunities and will send it to you when it's available shortly.  If you are interested in learning more about a virtual study abroad experience in the meantime, please contact your Study Abroad Advisor.
  • Per our guidance in our 4/16/2020 email, we trust that you have already registered for UofSC courses for the fall semester.  If you have questions regarding your UofSC courses, please reach out to your academic advisor.
  • SITOC will continuously evaluate conditions and plans to reach a decision about international travel during the Spring 2021 term by October.  If you are interested in deferring your study abroad semester or university-related travel to Spring 2021, please contact your Study Abroad Advisor.
  • If you are a foreign national and are planning to stay in your home country to complete coursework or a degree requirement during the Fall 2020 term, please contact your Study Abroad Advisor. 

We thank you again for your interest and know this is very disappointing news.  We hope that we can support your international experience in a future term. Stay well in the meantime.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on April 28, 2020
This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on April 21, 2020.

Dear Fall Study Abroad Applicants,

We hope this finds you and your families staying well during these unusual times.  First, we would like to thank you for your interest in studying abroad this fall.  In today’s fragmented yet interdependent world, a real commitment to understanding and appreciating other cultures is more important than ever.

The Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) met yesterday for further discussions about upcoming study abroad programs.  Given the rapidly evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the fact that fall programs do not begin for several months, it is too early for SITOC to decide whether UofSC can support study abroad programming this fall.  The deadline set for a decision on fall study abroad programming is June 15th, though SITOC will continue to evaluate global conditions over the next two months.  

We recognize that you need to start making some plans about your fall semester.  While a decision is pending, we recommend that fall applicants prepare for both scenarios.  We recommend that you complete study abroad-related applications with the Study Abroad Office and your program.  We also recommend that you work with your academic advisor to register for on-campus classes at UofSC to ensure you can continue your academic progress if fall study abroad programming is ultimately cancelled.  We strongly recommend against committing any non-refundable funds to your study abroad experience before the June 15th decision, including housing payments in your host country and airfare.  

Please see the attached manual for additional guidance.

If you have any questions about your fall program, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Study Abroad Advisor.  The Study Abroad Office staff is working remotely and continues to support our students. 

We thank you again for your interest in study abroad and hope that conditions allow us to support your international experience soon.  Stay well in the meantime.

Sincerely,
Global Carolina Staff

We appreciate your concerns, and we especially value your enthusiasm for global education.  In today’s fragmented yet interdependent world, a real commitment to understanding and appreciating other cultures is more important than ever.

We should first say that no decision has been made yet about Study Abroad in the fall.  It is simply too early, and the situation is changing too rapidly.  UofSC has taken a data-driven approach, and while we recognize that students need to be able to make plans and we cannot wait till the last moment, we believe that we do not yet know enough about the fall to make a decision.

With that said, let us tell you what will drive our decision.  First is the State Department.  Right now the State Department has designated the entire world Level 4, “Do not travel.”  If that continues into the fall the UofSC will not support student travel.  Level 4 not only means that the State Department considers travel unsafe, but it means that its consular services may not be able to support you when you travel.  That means if you become sick, are the victim of a crime or a terrorist attack, or just simply lose your passport, the normal services we all rely on when we travel as American citizens may not be available to you.  The UofSC cannot responsibly sanction normal international student travel under such circumstances.

The second criterion is the Centers for Disease Control’s designation of the country.  Right now the whole world is a CDC level 3, “Avoid nonessential travel.”  The vast majority of student travel is nonessential (if you were a PhD student doing research in virology that could lead to a cure of coronavirus, that might be considered essential).  The UofSC cannot responsibly sanction normal international student travel under such circumstances.  For countries that become individually designated CDC level 3, the highest CDC designation, we strongly recommend that students leave those countries and return home.  For countries that become individually designated CDC level 2, “Employ enhanced precautions,” we strongly discourage new travel.
 
Other factors we consider are, what level of support can the partner institution or third-party provider ensure for the student. Many of our providers around the world have closed their operations owing to the pandemic.  Many of our partner universities no longer have face-to-face classes and can offer only limited support to our students. In these situations, the UofSC cannot responsibly sanction normal international student travel.

It is possible for students to petition to be allowed to travel to a destination of higher risk. These petitions are evaluated by the Student International Travel Oversight Committee made up of competent faculty and staff. Successful petitions demonstrate that the student has an academic need for the travel, has a support structure in country, has a well thought out plan to deal with the specified risks, and has the maturity and judgment necessary to support themselves in a higher risk environment.

We do not take these decisions lightly.  We hope to be able to make recommendations concerning the fall by mid-May. Please be in touch with the Study Abroad Office for information about specific destinations, deadlines, and decisions.

 This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on April 13, 2020.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on April 6, 2020.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 30, 2020.

On Friday, March 27, our students currently studying abroad or recently returned home received the following message: 

You are receiving this message because today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published a worldwide Warning, Level 3.  Level 3 is the highest level on the CDC’s travel advisory scale.  The notices urge travelers to avoid all nonessential international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

We wanted to ensure you were aware of this advisory change, though we know most of you have already returned home.  Please review the notice and make sure you are complying with the CDC’s advice to those who have recently returned from international travel.  As you know, UofSC has already urged all travelers to return to their home countries.  This advice has not changed. 

On Wednesday, March 25, our students currently studying abroad in Russia received the following message: 

You are receiving this message because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently issued a Warning, Level 3 for Russia.  Level 3 is the highest level on the CDC’s travel advisory scale.  The notices urge travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Russia. 

We wanted to ensure you were aware of this advisory change, though we know you may have already departed Russia.  As you know, UofSC has already urged all travelers to return to their home countries.  This advice has not changed.  As a reminder, when you have made your travel arrangements, please update UofSC via the travel survey here.  

On Tuesday, March 24, our students currently studying abroad in Ecuador, Singapore, and South Africa received the following message: 

You are receiving this message because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently issued a Warning, Level 3 for the country where you are studying.  The new “CDC Level 3” countries added this afternoon include Ecuador, Singapore, and South Africa.  Level 3 is the highest level on the CDC’s travel advisory scale.  The notices urge travelers to avoid nonessential travel to these countries.

We wanted to ensure you were aware of this advisory change.  As you know, UofSC has already urged all travelers to return to their home countries.  This advice has not changed.  As a reminder, when you have made your travel arrangements, please update UofSC via the travel survey here.  If you are pursuing the higher risk petition process, you will receive further instruction from UofSC on Wednesday.  If you submitted a petition last week, but have since decided to return home instead, please email morganli@mailbox.sc.edu and also complete the travel survey.

On Monday, March 23, our students currently studying abroad in Chile, Thailand, and Turkey received the following message: 

You are receiving this message because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently issued a Warning, Level 3 for the country where you are studying.  The new “CDC Level 3” countries added this afternoon are Chile, Thailand, and Turkey.  Level 3 is the highest level on the CDC’s travel advisory scale.  The notices urge travelers to avoid nonessential travel to these countries. 

We wanted to ensure you were aware of this advisory change.  As you know, UofSC has already urged all travelers to return to their home countries.  This advice has not changed.  As a reminder, when you have made your travel arrangements, please update UofSC via the travel survey here.  If you are pursuing the higher risk petition process, you will receive further instruction from UofSC on Wednesday.  If you submitted a petition last week, but have since decided to return home instead, please email morganli@mailbox.sc.edu and also complete the travel survey.

On Monday, March 23, our students currently studying abroad in Brazil, Israel, Canada, Japan, and Australia received the following message:

You are receiving this message because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) recently issued a Warning, Level 3 for the country where you are studying.  The new “CDC Level 3” countries are Brazil, Israel, Canada, Japan, and Australia.  Level 3 is the highest level on the CDC’s travel advisory scale.  The notices urge travelers to avoid nonessential travel to these countries.

We wanted to ensure you were aware of this advisory change.  As you know, UofSC has already urged all travelers to return to their home countries.  This advice has not changed.  As a reminder, when you have made your travel arrangements, please update UofSC via the travel survey here.  If you are pursuing the higher risk petition process, you will receive further instruction from UofSC on Wednesday.  If you submitted a petition last week, but have since decided to return home instead, please email morganli@mailbox.sc.edu and also complete the travel survey.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 23, 2020.

On Friday, March 20, our students currently abroad received the following message:

Last night, the U.S. Department of State announced that its Worldwide Global Health Advisory has been raised to Level 4, “Do Not Travel.” This message serves as guidance to U.S. citizens and permanent residents to avoid traveling abroad. The advisory recommends that "in countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period."

If you have chosen to remain abroad, we strongly recommend that you discuss your decision with your family carefully. This warning means that the U.S. Department of State may not be able to provide diplomatic services, including assistance with travel or other difficulties overseas. Other practical outcomes could include unpredictably disrupted transportation networks, access to local healthcare systems may be reduced, and day-to-day services like banking and grocery could be limited. UofSC’s ability to support you or to assist you in leaving the country will be very limited.

It is not clear how long this warning might be in effect, but it could potentially be in place for several months. UofSC again strongly advises that all students return to their homes or permanent residences, where you will be within reach of your personal support networks, in a familiar health system, and in a place where you are less susceptible to ongoing immigration and transportation disruptions.

Once you have made travel arrangements, please update UofSC with your travel information here. Even if you are already home, it is important that you update us. Many U.S. and international airlines are offering free flight changes so if you already had a return flight booked, we recommend working with the airline to change your return date. Please reach out by email (globalcarolina@sc.edu) if you have questions or concerns.

 On Thursday, March 19, our students currently enrolled in summer programs received the following message:

Due to the increased travel restrictions and rise of travel advisory warnings worldwide, the UofSC Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) has made the decision to cancel all summer programs that run during the months of May and June. Programs with start dates in July will be evaluated on April 15; you will hear from our office regarding the decision that is made at that time. This applies to Global Direct Programs, Global Partner Programs, and Global Classroom Programs.

If you are a foreign national and have plans to return to your home country over the summer to complete coursework, please email Chrissie Faupel at faupel@mailbox.sc.edu. She will need to discuss your study abroad plans with you in more detail.

As these programs close, please consider the following:

  • Your application for your summer study abroad program in Symplicity will be automatically withdrawn.

  • If you paid the $150 application fee, you will be refunded shortly. Additional communication will be forthcoming specific to your application fee refund, including the timeframe.

  • If you need a course during the summer, please reach out to your academic advisor about relevant on-campus options for the summer term. Enrollment for summer will begin in mid-April, and the first add/drop deadline for a full refund is May 12th.

If you have any questions about your summer program, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Study Abroad Advisor. We are all working remotely so that we can continue to offer support to our students.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 18, 2020.

On Wednesday, March 18, our students currently enrolled in Global Classroom programs received the following message:

You are receiving this email because you are currently enrolled or have been identified as enrolled in a Maymester Global Classroom scheduled to run during May and/or June 2020. 

Due to the increased travel restrictions and rise of travel advisory warnings worldwide, UofSC’s Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) has made the decision to cancel all Maymester programs. This includes any program that has a start date in May and runs through June 30th. Please note that programs with start dates in July will be evaluated on April 15th, and you will hear from our office and your faculty leader about your July program soon after the April 15th meeting.

As these programs close, please consider the following:

  1. Your application for Maymester in Symplicity will be automatically withdrawn.
  2. If you paid the $150 application fee, you will be refunded shortly. Additional communication will be forthcoming specific to your application fee refund, including the timeframe.
  3. Your faculty leader may decide to move your program to July or early August. Please look for emails from them if that is the case.
  4. If you need a course during Maymester, please reach out to your academic advisor about relevant on-campus options for the Summer term. Enrollment for Summer will begin in mid-April, and the first add/drop deadline for a full refund is May 12th.

If you have any questions about your Maymester program, please do not hesitate to reach out to your faculty leader or Study Abroad Advisor. We are all working remotely so that we can continue to offer support to our students.
 
We wish you a healthy few weeks at home.

Late last week, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) issued a global Level 3, Reconsider Travel advisory. This is the third highest of four levels that DoS uses. Additionally, the U.S. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued a global Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions. This is the second level on the CDC’s three-tier scale. 

Based on the global DoS Level 3 advisory, UofSC strongly advises that you return to your home country. We recommend returning as soon as you are able to arrange a flight, which we understand may take up to a week or, in some cases, longer. Next steps are:

  • If your program has already offered you a remote coursework option, please be sure to complete the necessary steps to continue remotely. 
  • If your program has not already offered you a remote coursework option, check in with your on-site program to ascertain what remote learning options are available so that you can continue your coursework remotely. Please also reach out to your UofSC advisor.
  • Once you have made your travel arrangements, please complete this survey so we can track your travel.

If you believe you are in a special situation that warrants an exception to this advisement, and that you can safely mitigate the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic where you are, you may submit a higher risk safety plan. Please note this process is a review process and there is no guarantee that your petition will be approved.

Please note that the pandemic has increased travel-related risks, as local and international transportation can be disrupted or stopped with short notice. Travelers may find themselves unable to leave their current location. We also feel that you are better able to navigate the coronavirus pandemic from your home country, where you have a network of support from friends and family, are more familiar with the healthcare infrastructure, and are less susceptible to travel restrictions. 

If you have questions about this decision, please email them to globalcarolina@sc.edu. We will respond to all queries as quickly as possible and in the order they are received.  

We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we all have worked through this difficult situation. As international education professionals, it is our fundamental mission to support students in their study abroad experiences, and we are incredibly disappointed that circumstances have brought us to this difficult decision.

On Tuesday, March 17, our students currently studying abroad received the following email message:

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, or you have tested positive, please email Morgan Inabinet at morganli@mailbox.sc.edu in the Study Abroad Office as soon as possible so we can open a case with our international insurance provider, CISI.  Although many COVID-19 cases can be treated at home, your CISI coverage remains active should you need medical care in your host country.  The Study Abroad Office will alert UofSC Student Health Services as well.  Please also be in touch with your on-site program, as they are in the best position to offer guidance on appropriate reporting protocols domestically.

On Saturday, March 14, our students currently studying abroad in the Ireland received the following email message:

You are receiving this message because you are studying abroad in Ireland.  Today, the U.S. administration announced that Ireland would also be included in the Europe travel restrictions announced earlier this week.  Individuals traveling from Ireland who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be prohibited from entering the United States effective at midnight EST on Monday, March 16.

What does this mean for you?

  • We strongly recommend that you return home.
  • Once your return travel is booked, please share it here.
  • Check in with your on-site program to ascertain what remote learning options are available so that you can continue your coursework remotely.

If you feel you have extraordinary circumstances that merit an exception to UofSC’s strong advisement to return home, you may submit a petition for consideration. Note that we cannot guarantee it will be approved. In order to submit a petition, please complete the following steps within the next 48 hours:    

Please know that the Study Abroad Office is here to support you as you navigate this transition. For a complete record of all correspondence sent to our students, along with a resourceful FAQ, please visit our website.

On Saturday, March 14, our students currently studying abroad in the United Kingdom received the following email message:

You are receiving this message because you are studying abroad in the United Kingdom.  Today, the U.S. administration announced that the United Kingdom would also be included in the Europe travel restrictions announced earlier this week.  Individuals traveling from the United Kingdom who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be prohibited from entering the United States effective at midnight EST on Monday, March 16.

What does this mean for you? 

  • We strongly recommend that you return home.
  • Once your return travel is booked, please share it here.
  • Check in with your on-site program to ascertain what remote learning options are available so that you can continue your coursework remotely.

If you feel you have extraordinary circumstances that merit an exception to UofSC’s strong advisement to return home, you may submit a petition for consideration. Note that we cannot guarantee it will be approved. In order to submit a petition, please complete the following steps within the next 48 hours:    

Please know that the Study Abroad Office is here to support you as you navigate this transition. For a complete record of all correspondence sent to our students, along with a resourceful FAQ, please visit our website.

On March 11, in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis, President Trump announced a travel ban for all non-US citizens and permanent residents coming from Europe effective 11:59 PM Friday, March 13. At the same time, the CDC moved to raise all of Europe to a Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel). This will require all travelers from Europe to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine upon their return to the United States.

The University of South Carolina has already contacted all students on short-term study abroad travel in Europe. We are currently prioritizing those who would fall under the terms of the travel ban and must leave immediately.

Within the last 48 hours, the University has been in touch with all UofSC students in Europe whose classes have been moved online by our partners and given them options for returning home.

For students on semester-long programs who are not affected by the travel ban, and whose programs remain ongoing, we will continue to monitor the situation and communicate regularly. All our previous communications are archived on this page below our FAQs. All further relevant updates will be emailed and archived on this page, as well.

Please note that the university has issued new guidelines for faculty and staff travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The UofSC Student International Oversight Committee (SITOC) is continuously meeting and assessing the health and safety of each region that students are studying abroad in. SITOC relies on information from professionals on- and off-campus, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Department of State (DOS), to name just a couple.

If you are currently studying abroad and have any questions about your program or university at your location, please reach out to your Global Partner provider’s regional director or instructors.

If you have questions pertaining to UofSC study abroad operations, please reach out to our office through LiveChat on our website Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, email, or phone (803-777-7557).

If you have health-based questions, please visit the FAQs from Student Health Services.

Please be sure to notify the UofSC Study Abroad Office of any and all travel plans. You can share your upcoming travel information HERE.

On Thursday, March 12, our students currently studying abroad in the Schengen region received the following email message:

You are receiving this because you are studying abroad in a country that was recently elevated to a CDC-designated Level 3.

What does this mean for you?

  • We strongly recommend that you return home.
  • Once your return travel is booked, please share it here.
  • Check in with your on-site program to ascertain what remote learning options are available so that you can continue your coursework remotely.

If you feel you have extraordinary circumstances that merit an exception to UofSC’s strong advisement to return home, you may submit a petition for consideration. Note that we cannot guarantee it will be approved. In order to submit a petition, please complete the following steps within the next 24-hours:   

Please know that the Study Abroad Office is here to support you as you navigate this transition.

Please also refer to the attached email, which was sent to travelers worldwide, for additional information.

On Thursday, March 12, our students currently studying abroad worldwide, received the following email message:

As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop worldwide, we wanted to reach out and update you about UofSC’s facts and policies regarding your study abroad program. At UofSC, we have extended our own Spring Break until March 22nd and suspended face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars, and other similar classroom settings;  we will be moving to online instruction from March 23rd to April 3rd.

Our Student International Oversight Committee (SITOC) is continuously meeting and assessing the health and safety of each region students are studying abroad in. SITOC relies on information from professionals on- and off-campus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of State (DOS), to name just a couple.

While you may have already received some messaging from our office, especially if you are in a COVID-impacted region, we wanted to reiterate relevant information to clarify the steps to take should various situations arise due to COVID-19.

Should your program transfer courses online and/or close your campus, reach out to your program, as well as your UofSC academic advisor to discuss your academic progression.

With many universities and courses going remote, please update us with your travel plans here.

Additionally, if you have not already, please register with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate through STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). We suggest that you do not partake in additional travel outside of your study abroad program as travel restrictions are unpredictable.

UofSC strongly recommends that you return home when one of the following conditions is met:

  • CDC issues a travel warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
  • DOS issues a travel warning Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or higher 

If you have any questions about your program or university at your location, please reach out to your on-site program. If you have questions pertaining to UofSC study abroad operations, please reach out to our office through LiveChat on our website Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, email, or phone (803-777-7557). If you have health-based questions, please visit the FAQs from Student Health Services.

 

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 12, 2020.

On Wednesday, March 11, our students currently studying abroad on Spring Break Global Classrooms received the following email message:

As you may have heard by now, President Trump announced a 30 day suspension of travel from all European countries, except the UK.  This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020 and the full script can be accessed here.  Please note that the travel restriction will not apply to any lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

We are aware that your Global Classroom returns after March 13th.  If you are uncomfortable with your travel dates, we ask that you please speak with your faculty leader, copied here, to make any arrangements.  We understand that many airlines are waiving change fees.

Additional information regarding the Presidential Proclamation and how it might affect our travelers is still forthcoming.  We will send updates as they become available.

On Wednesday, March 11, our students currently studying abroad in Spain received the following email message:

As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop worldwide, we wanted to reach out and update you about UofSC’s facts and policies regarding your study abroad program. At UofSC, we have extended our own Spring Break until March 22nd and suspended face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars, and other similar classroom settings, and we will be moving to online instruction from March 23rd to April 3rd.

Our Student International Oversight Committee (SITOC) is continuously meeting and assessing the health and safety of each region in Spain that students are studying abroad in. SITOC relies on information from professionals on- and off-campus, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of State (DOS), to name just a couple.

Should your Global Partner (for example, SAI, ISA, CIEE, etc) or exchange university transfer courses online and/or close your campus, please do the following:

  1. Reach out to your program provider or university instructors, as well as your UofSC academic advisor (copied here) to confirm continuity of academic progression.
  2. With many universities and courses going remote in Spain, please update us with your travel plans here.
  3. Additionally, if you have not already, please register with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate through STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).
  4. We suggest that you do not partake in additional travel outside of your study abroad program as travel restrictions are unpredictable.
  5. Finally, check our FAQs for previous emails sent, announcements, and answers to general questions about COVID-19 and study abroad.

UofSC will not require that you return home from Spain unless at least one of the following conditions is met:

  • CDC issues Spain a travel warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)
  • DOS issues Spain a travel warning Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or higher
  • OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) issues a travel advisory for Spain that restricts the ability to leave your country

If you have any questions about your program or university at your location, please reach out to your provider’s regional director or instructors.

If you have questions pertaining to UofSC study abroad operations, please reach out to our office through LiveChat on our website Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, email, or phone (803-777-7557).

If you have health-based questions, please visit the FAQs from Student Health Services.

This is a monitored UofSC email account.  If you have questions, please know that we will reply.

On Tuesday, March 10, our students currently studying abroad in the Austria received the following email message:

We are aware that on March 10, the Austrian government gave a press conference on measures to be taken to fight coronavirus. We understand that as of March 16th, there will no longer be any classes on campus of universities and universities of applied sciences nationwide. Instead, classes will be held online whenever possible.

Currently, both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) and DoS (Department of State) have not raised the travel advisory warnings for Austria.

We recognize that many students may wish to return home.  Therefore, if you are currently participating on a Global Partner Program (third-party), please follow up with your Onsite Director and/or designated Global Partner contact directly for appropriate arrangements at this time.

If you are currently participating on a Global Exchange/Direct program, please contact your USC Academic Advisor for follow up specific to your academic progression this semester.  They are also copied on this email.

Please be sure to notify the UofSC’s Study Abroad Office of any travel plans.  You can share your upcoming travel information here.

You can always reply to this monitored email with any questions you may have.

On Tuesday, March 10, our students currently studying abroad in the Czech Republic received the following email message:

We are aware that on March 10th The National Security Council has decided to indefinitely close all primary, secondary schools and universities in the Czech Republic as of Wednesday, March 11. We understand that kindergartens and pre-schools will remain open, as will restaurants and shops. We are also aware that there is a ban on public events of over 100 people and other new measures will also be put in place. Please pay attention to any new in-country reports that are sent your way.

Currently, both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) and DOS (Department of State) have not raised the travel advisory warnings for the Czech Republic.

We recognize that many students may wish to return home.  Therefore, if you are currently participating on a Global Partner Program (third-party), please follow up with your Onsite Director and/or designated Global Partner contact directly for appropriate arrangements at this time.

If you are currently participating on a Global Exchange/Direct program, please contact your USC Academic Advisor for follow up specific to your academic progression this semester.  They are also copied on this email. 

Please be sure to notify the UofSC’s Study Abroad Office of any all travel plans.  You can share your upcoming travel information here.

You can always reply to this monitored email with any questions you may have.

On Tuesday, March 10, our students currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain received the following email message:

On March 9th, the Spanish government announced the suspension of classes across universities in Madrid for two weeks as a precautionary effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region. The suspension of classes is currently temporary, and the situation in Madrid is being monitored by health professionals on and off campus, as well as by Spain's Ministry of Health. In the meantime, impacted universities in Madrid are working on remote options for students. The directive has been issued for Madrid alone, and other regions of Spain are largely unaffected at this time.

We have reached out to our partners in Madrid to determine how students will be supported during this time. Currently, both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) and DOS (Department of State) have not raised the travel advisory warnings, even in Madrid itself. The decree is a preventative measure and is considering the health and safety of students and residents in Madrid.

We recognize that many students may wish to return home.  Therefore, if you are currently participating on a Global Partner Program (third-party), please follow up with your Onsite Director and/or designated Global Partner contact directly for appropriate arrangements at this time.

If you are currently participating on a Global Exchange/Direct program, please contact your USC Academic Advisor for follow up specific to your academic progression this semester.  They are also copied on this email.  

Please be sure to notify the UofSC’s Study Abroad Office of any all travel plans.  You can share your upcoming travel information here.

You can always reply to this monitored email with any questions you may have.

On Tuesday, March 10, our students currently studying abroad in France at ABSP (American Business School - Paris) received the following email message:

We are aware that on March 9th, the ABSP contacted all enrolled students to inform them of changes to their upcoming class schedules. We are aware that classes this week will continue to meet, and students are expected to attend and complete assignments as normal. All classes held after this Friday March 13th, will be delivered online. Next week (March 16-20), students will not have class due to their pre-scheduled Spring Break. After Spring Break, students will be contacted by their professors to explain how classes will be organized moving forward. The campus at ABSP will remain open during this time.

Currently, both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) and DOS (Department of State) have not raised the travel advisory warnings. This accommodation is a preventative measure and is considering the health and safety of students.

We recognize that many students may wish to return home.  Therefore, if you are currently participating on a Global Partner Program (third-party), please follow up with your Onsite Director and/or designated Global Partner contact directly for appropriate arrangements at this time.

If you are currently participating on a Global Exchange/Direct program, please contact your USC Academic Advisor for follow up specific to your academic progression this semester.  They are also copied on this email.  

Please be sure to notify the UofSC’s Study Abroad Office of any all travel plans.  You can share your upcoming travel information here.

You can always reply to this monitored email with any questions you may have.

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 9, 2020.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, our students currently studying abroad in Japan received the following email message: 

UofSC’s Student International Travel Oversight Committee (“SITOC”) met on Friday to discuss student travel in Japan. Last week, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) increased its Travel Advisory for Japan to Level 2, Exercise Increased Caution. This is the second highest of four levels on the DoS scale. Additionally, the U.S. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions for Japan. This is the second highest of three levels on the CDC’s scale. The notice indicates that Japan is experiencing sustained community transmission, which means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing. Both advisories urge travelers to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol
  • Reconsider postponing nonessential travel if you are an older adult or have a chronic medical condition

UofSC recommends that you be mindful of the fact that global developments related to COVID-19 are being announced constantly.  We want you to be prepared to navigate this situation that is changing so quickly. At this time, UofSC is not urging students to change their study abroad plan in Japan. However, this can change with little notice, particularly if DoS or CDC escalates their travel advisories in the future or other circumstances change. 
 
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your semester in Japan. Beginning today, you will receive a weekly newsletter so you can stay updated on COVID-19-related news. The Study Abroad Office also has a COVID-19 webpage, which you can find at sc.edu/studyabroad.

On Tuesday, March 3rd, our students currently studying abroad in Italy received the following email message: 

This is an update to the communication all UofSC travelers in Italy received on Saturday, 2/29.  UofSC continues to request all travelers in Italy to leave Italy.

When you have made your travel arrangements, please complete this survey so we can track your travel and assist those who need our support in requesting academic continuity arrangements.  UofSC is asking all travelers returning from a CDC Level 3 country (including Italy) to self-quarantine away from UofSC’s Columbia campus for 14 days from the date of return to the United States.  Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms or you are traveling from a region of Italy that has not experienced a high number of cases, UofSC asks that all UofSC students, faculty, and staff take temporary steps to promote the health of all community members.  This involves self-isolating in your permanent residence.

Since Saturday, nearly all of our partner programs have cancelled programs in Italy. UofSC cannot support a study abroad student in Italy whose program no longer exists.  If your program has been cancelled and you decide to stay, the implications of that decision are:

  • No travel support from UofSC
  • No on-site support from your program
  • No housing that has been vetted by a UofSC partner
  • Potential for complications to your student visa status, particularly if you applied for your visa through a program provider
  • We cannot guarantee that you will remain enrolled in UofSC’s international health and safety insurance

If you feel you have extraordinary circumstances that merit an exception to UofSC’s strong advisement that you return home (e.g. you are an Italian citizen and Italy is your home), please complete the following steps by Friday, March 6th.   

**Please respond specifically to the attached emergency preparedness CDC checklist.

Please note that we cannot guarantee acceptance of your safety plan, especially if your program has been cancelled.  If you have questions, please email them to globalcarolina@sc.edu.  If you would like to talk by phone, please call the Study Abroad Office's main line at 1-803-777-7557.  We will respond to all queries as quickly as possible and in the order they are received.  

We appreciate your flexibility and patience as we all have worked through this quickly evolving situation. 

This newsletter regarding COVID-19 was sent out on March 3, 2020.

On Saturday, February 29th, our students currently studying abroad in Italy received the following email message:

UofSC’s Student International Travel Oversight Committee (“SITOC”) met yesterday afternoon to discuss the safety of our students in Italy. Last night, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) increased its Travel Advisory for Italy to Level 3, Reconsider Travel. This is the third highest of four levels that DoS uses. Additionally, the U.S. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (“CDC”) increased its Travel Notice for Italy to Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. This is the highest level on the CDC’s scale. As a result of these advisory changes, Italy is automatically considered a Destination of Higher Risk as defined by University policy ACAF 2.09.

After yesterday’s discussion among the members of the Student International Travel Oversight Committee and based on the increase in both the DoS and CDC notices as well as our concern for your well-being, UofSC strongly recommends that you return home to the United States.

If you elect to remain in Italy, even if you are not exposed to the virus, you may at a later date be unable to leave the country or the region in which you now reside. You may also be subject to a 14-day quarantine in place. We also recommend that you restrict travel as many countries are beginning to impose quarantines on travelers arriving from Italy. Many of you have been offered the opportunity to complete your coursework online or remotely. If you have not already been offered such, you should inquire from your host university about the accommodations they are able to make. Should you need to enroll in courses on campus at UofSC after your return, you should contact your academic advisor concerning the feasibility of enrolling for the Spring 2 term (8-week courses).

If you would like to remain in Italy, you will need to submit the attached waiver and CDC travel safety plan by Friday, March 6th. The safety plan will be emailed to you on Monday. We also require that you review the DoS’s Travel Advisory and the CDC’s Travel Notice. Please be aware that as circumstances change quickly, UofSC may not be able to honor your wish to stay in Italy.

We realize this is a fast moving and unprecedented situation, and certainly not what you imagined when you enrolled in your program in Italy. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us or your on-site staff. We are all here to support you.

On Friday, February 28th, our students currently studying abroad in South Korea received the following email message: 

I hope this finds you well.  As I noted in my email yesterday, UofSC’s Student International Travel Oversight Committee (“SITOC”) met today to discuss student travel to South Korea.  This week, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) increased its Travel Advisory for South Korea to Level 3, Reconsider Travel.  This is the third highest of four levels that DoS uses.  Additionally, the U.S. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (“CDC”) increased its Travel Notice for South Korea to Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel.  This is the highest level on the CDC’s scale.  The South Korean government has reported cases of the COVID-19 in the country and has upgraded its response level to “grave”, its highest response level.  As a result of these advisory changes, South Korea is automatically considered a Destination of Higher Risk as defined by University policy ACAF 2.09

After today’s discussion among the members of the Student International Travel Oversight Committee, UofSC strongly recommends that you return home to the United States.  Your academic advisor is copied on this email to help provide guidance on your academic progress.

Please note that if you elect to stay, even if you are not exposed to the virus, you may at a later date be unable to leave the country or the region in which you now reside.  You may also be subject to a 14-day quarantine in place. 

If you would like to remain in South Korea, you will need to complete the following items by Tuesday, March 3rd

I’ve also attached two reports that may help as you formulate your safety plan.  While they do not address the coronavirus situation specifically, they do offer information about the routine health and safety considerations of traveling in South Korea.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  I know we were not expecting to navigate this situation when you selected South Korea for your study abroad experience.

1. How is UofSC monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?

A team of university officials, including Study Abroad’s Assistant Director of Global Health, Safety, & Security, Student Health Services, the Provost’s Office, and the Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC), are 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, news reports, reports from UofSC’s international security provider, professional health and security organizations, and more. The University has created a Coronavirus webpage that is consistently updated with the most recent available information including an FAQs that focus on health-related information. The Study Abroad Office is also sending a weekly newsletter with coronavirus-related updates.

2. How does UofSC make decisions about its study abroad programs?

The University of South Carolina takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental control, and our international security provider. When making decisions about specific programs, we consider local conditions as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.

3. What are the current DOS and CDC travel advisories?

DOS Travel Advisory

  • Level 4 Advisory (Do Not Travel To): All countries
  • Level 3 Advisory (Reconsider Travel)
  • Level 2 Advisory (Exercise Increased Caution)
  • Level 1 Advisory (Exercise Normal Precautions)

CDC Travel Advisory

  • Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel), with restrictions on entry into the U.S. for foregin nationals: China, EuropeIranUnited Kingdom & Ireland
  • Level 3 Travel Health Notice (Avoid Nonessential Travel): All countries not mentioned above
  • Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions)
  • Level 1 (Practice Usual Precautions)

The advice from CDC in all affected ares is to "avoid contact with sick people; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at 60%-95% alcohol."


4. What would happen if a UofSC study abroad program was suspended?

UofSC works closely with our academic partners who provide study abroad programs with the goal of easing potential impacts on students’ academic progress. Some examples of these academic modifications from select institutions have been delayed start times in term dates and online coursework in place of in-person classes. For information on a specific program, please email the Study Abroad Office at studyabroad@sc.edu and contact the on-site staff for your program.

5. If a student chooses to leave a study abroad program that has not been suspended by their host or home institution, how might that impact students’ academic credit?

UofSC recognizes that personal tolerance for risk may vary and that final decisions will be made between a student and their family. Students who choose to end their programs early should contact the Study Abroad Office and their program’s coordinators for assistance in financial and academic processes. As we work with our partners to support all students’ decisions, each student will be responsible for reaching out to their on-site support staff and their UofSC academic advisor to secure their next steps abroad and at home.  UofSC cannot guarantee that students who voluntarily withdraw from a program will receive credits for the academic term, though we will strive to support students in their academic progress to the fullest extent possible.  Additionally, UofSC cannot guarantee that students who voluntarily withdraw from a program will receive a refund for program or travel expenses. If you are studying with a program that has offered a remote coursework option, please see question #6 for guidance.

 

6. My program has given me the option to complete coursework remotely.  What are the implications if I do?

UofSC generally does not suspend a study abroad program unless the CDC or DOS advises against travel to the region.  However, we understand that some programs have acted out of caution and offered a remote option for students who do not feel comfortable remaining abroad while the coronavirus is spreading globally.  We respect any student’s decision to take that choice.  As long as the program will still provide an official transcript with graded coursework, the UofSC Registrar does not anticipate any credit transfer issues for students who have been given the option by their program to complete coursework remotely and choose to take it.  UofSC is not able to offer financial compensation for program fees for students who choose a remote option. 

7. What changes has UofSC made to its study abroad programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?

The University of South Carolina has suspended all University student travel to China through the summer. Determinations for the fall will be made in the coming weeks. We are continuing to monitor all of our programs around the world and in this world of fast-moving information, we understand that inaccurate information does sometimes emerge. We encourage you to visit UofSC’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the latest information. UofSC community members who have questions may contact the Study Abroad Office via email (studyabroad@sc.edu) or phone (803-777-7557).  The Study Abroad Office will also be sending a weekly newsletter with coronavirus-related updates.

8. Does UofSC have any recommendations for students traveling independently?

The university strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with a CDC level 2 or 3 and/or a State Department Level 3 or 4 advisory based on the novel coronavirus. We encourage you to monitor developments through the State Department and CDC websites. Students who are traveling should, in addition to taking recommended measures to prevent illness, take basic precautions to prepare for potential travel disruptions:

  1. Students should register independent travel with their program staff. The program staff’s ability to help in case of difficulty is increased by knowing students’ plans in advance.
  2. Students should keep cell phones fully charged and operational, and check their email at least once a day.
  3. Students should travel with all key documents, including their passport and insurance documents.
  4. Students should travel with a full supply of any regular medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications should be packaged in their original containers.
  5. Students should be aware that if they choose to travel outside of their program, they may experience difficulty returning to the city or country their program is located in.

9. What happens if I get sick while abroad or experience symptoms of COVID-19?

As a student, you are automatically enrolled in Study Abroad's CISI health insurance for the duration of your program. Should you feel ill in any way, this insurance covers healthcare provided in-country. Check your myCISI app or contact your Team Assist provider here. If you have any questions about your policy, you can contact CISI for more information.

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respitory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, please contact a healthcare provider immediately. If you are abroad, your CISI insurance will cover you for any healthcare you receive, which includes visits associated with COVID-19.

If you are a returnee student in the U.S. and have questions about COVID-19, please visit the Health Service's website and find the "COVID-19 Questions" form on the righthand side of the page, and submit your question. If you feel you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, please call the Health Service's phone bank at 803-576-8511. A healthcare provider can also be located at Aetna Passport to HealthCare.

 

10. What should I expect upon return to the U.S. if I am currently abroad and planning on coming home?

Students, faculty or staff traveling to a country with a CDC Travel Warning - Level 3 or an area experiencing widespread or sustained transmission of COVID-19 will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return at their permanent residence before they can return to campus.

Travelers could also be subject to assessment by federal health officials at airports upon re-entry into the U.S. or restricted travel within your community by South Carolina health officials. For more information, visit UofSC's website on COVID-19 updates.

 

11. Who will UofSC contact with updates?

UofSC will directly contact students abroad with updates via their UofSC email accounts. Outside of urgent circumstances, coronavirus updates will be issued on a weekly basis via our newsletter (see above for archived versions).  

12. Who can I contact about study abroad and the coronavirus situation?

For health and medical-related questions and concerns, please contact Student Health Services. For logistical and programmatic questions and concerns, please contact the Study Abroad Office.

 

On Monday, February 24th, our students currently studying abroad in Italy received the following email message: 

The University of South Carolina is working closely with our partners in Italy following the announcement of an uptick in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases there (currently at 219).  With the bulk of these cases being confirmed in the northern part of the country, we are aware that classes have been canceled for the week in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont regions.  We are also aware that some towns in these regions are under additional preventive restrictions through early March, including the cancellation of large gatherings and the closure of cultural sites.  We do not have programs in the towns where these additional preventative restrictions have been mandated, though it would not be surprising if other areas of Italy act out of an abundance of caution and choose to cancel large gatherings this week.

Academic Concerns: With the news of the class cancellations this week in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont regions, we have received a number of questions about what this means for the semester schedule and your academic progress.  For those on exchange, we have reached out to your host institution to ask about any possible changes to the semester dates and will update you as soon as we receive more information.  For those studying with Global Partner programs, your on-site staff should be in touch about how you can stay on top of your coursework this week.

Health Concerns: The CDC’s current travel advisory level for Italy is “Level 1 – Practice Usual Precautions.”  Our office has been working with UofSC Student Health Services since January so we can stay updated on any health precautions that we should pass on to our study abroad students.  The best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is follow the same basic precautions that we included in the attached FAQs that we first sent to all study abroad students last month.  Since we last sent this FAQs page, we have added a few additional resources to it.  While we are not health professionals, we have collected this information from reliable sources and the medical staff in UofSC Student Health Services.  I also want to highlight that the outbreak of any new strain of virus is dynamic.  The attached information may change as health professionals and authorities learn more. 

Additionally, we are in touch with the U.S. State Department and are connected to other U.S. universities and companies that operate internationally.  Based on the information we’ve compiled over the last month, from a risk analysis standpoint, the evidence still suggests that the risk of infection is low when compared to the size of the populations involved.  Additionally, the risk associated with infection is low for travelers who are otherwise healthy.  As more cases are confirmed outside of China, we are encouraging all travelers, no matter their destination, to wash their hands frequently (and properly) and to avoid touching their faces. 

Please don’t hesitate to ever reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your health and safety while you’re studying abroad.  We’re here to support you. 

On Monday, February 24th, our students currently studying abroad in unaffected areas received the following email message: 

I hope this finds you well.  You are receiving this message because you’re registered for university-related travel this spring or spring break.  Our office has been working with UofSC Student Health Services since January to monitor the outbreak of the new coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) that first appeared in Wuhan, China.  We know that the news of an uptick of cases in Italy, where 219 cases have been confirmed to date, has caused some concern, particularly for those traveling in Europe.  As more cases are confirmed outside of China, we are encouraging all travelers, no matter their destination, to follow basic precautions to promote their health. 

The best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is follow the same precautions we included in the FAQs that we first sent to all spring study abroad students last month.  Please find the most recent version attached.  While we are not health professionals, we have collected this information from reliable sources including UofSC Student Health Services.  I also want to highlight that the outbreak of any new strain of virus is dynamic.  The attached information may change as health professionals and authorities learn more, so we will keep you updated if there are any major changes to it.

Additionally, we are in daily contact with the U.S. State Department and other U.S. universities and companies that operate internationally.  Based on the information we’ve compiled over the last month, from a risk analysis standpoint, the evidence still suggests that the risk of infection is low when compared to the size of the populations in the countries where cases have been confirmed (including the United States).  Additionally, the risk associated with infection is low for travelers who are otherwise healthy.  That said, please don’t hesitate to ever reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your health and safety while you’re studying abroad, or just want to chat more.  We’re here to support you. 

On Thursday, January 30th, our students planning to study abroad received the following email message: 

You are receiving this message because you’re registered for university-related travel this spring.  No matter where you’re studying, you likely have seen many news reports about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  We know it can be difficult to keep up with all the information that is released daily about this new strain of coronavirus.  We hope the attached FAQs will help answer some questions you might have.  While we are not health professionals, we have collected this information from reliable sources and been in close touch with UofSC Student Health Services. 

I also want to highlight that the outbreak of any new strain of virus is dynamic.  The attached information may change as health professionals and authorities learn more.  We will make sure that we keep you as up to date as we possibly can.  You can also stay up to date by following Student Health Services’ website on the coronavirus outbreak.

Please don’t hesitate to ever reach out if you have any questions or concerns about your health and safety while you’re studying abroad.  We’re here to support you.


This page was last updated at 2:45PM EST on 10/15/2020.  


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