How does the College make decisions regarding program cancellations?
International and Off-Campus Education (IOCE) is continually monitoring the following for changes in advice and elevated risk warnings:
- Department of State
- On Call (our international travel assistance partner)
- Consultation with the leadership of peer institutions and program providers
- Advice from local host governments
IOCE meets regularly with the College’s International Risk Committee and the Incident Action Group to evaluate information, plan for changes, and make decisions when necessary.
Are winter interim and summer 2021 study abroad programs running?
Unfortunately, due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the short duration of these programs, logistical complications, and timelines for financial commitments, no winter interim programs are being offered by the College in January 2021. Students interested in exploring external program options should visit our website for more information.
At this time, we do plan on offering about a half dozen programs during summer 2021.
Information on the programs and registration information for summer 2021 programs will be available by the end of July.
Will spring 2021 study abroad programs run?
At this time, we are intending to run spring 2021 Lafayette Engineering programs and approve participation in affiliated programs. However, students should expect to approach the spring semester with a great deal of caution and flexibility. Not all affiliated programs will be offered by our partners, and some may have substantial structural changes in terms of courses and other aspects of the program. Some excursions may be eliminated or modified, and this may not be known until the semester is underway.
How might the experience of going abroad be different from past years?
A study abroad experience depends largely on the individual. We always encourage students to set goals before they go abroad and to consider the ways that they might be achieved. Students shouldn’t expect their abroad experience to resemble that of their friends, parents, etc., and there are some very tangible differences that we can tell students to expect.
Programs are likely to have requirements for testing and possibly for quarantine upon arrival. Programs and/or local governments may impose restrictions on travel that students will be expected to follow. Therefore, it is unlikely that students will engage in much, if any, international travel during their semester abroad.
During the semester, individual courses or the entire program may go online for a temporary period or permanently.
What should I be considering from a financial perspective?
Most programs require a non-refundable deposit for students to commit their participation. Students will want to understand the terms for those deposits before commiting. Students should also understand the program’s refund policies. If courses are able to be completed online, there is usually no refund for tuition. Refunds for non-tuition costs will vary by program. In some cases, programs will pass along recoverable costs, if there are any. It is important that students read and understand the fine print when they commit to their programs.
What if a semester program in progress is canceled before it has completed?
If a program is suspended prior to completion, every effort is made by the partner institutions to provide a continuation of studies, usually by remote means, so that the student can successfully complete the academic component of the program and receive credit. Lafayette will support students through the transition.
What if a program isn’t suspended but a student still wants to leave it?
Participation in study away is voluntary, and students may choose to leave at any time. Every student and family has their own level of comfort with risk. However, if students elect to withdraw from a program and therefore not complete their studies, they should ensure that they understand whether they will receive any credit. Typically, our affiliated programs will make every effort to accommodate students, and would consider each case individually.
Can students return to Lafayette if their program in progress is canceled or they leave the program early?
In most cases, students may not move back into campus housing. Students may only move back to campus if they have a strong academic rationale for doing so. However, it is too late in the semester for students to join Lafayette courses in progress.
What can families do to prepare and support their student?
It is always a good idea for families to plan ahead for potential changes in a student’s program of study, including for the potential of a return home. Families should monitor the sites we reference above, as US news coverage of international events is often incomplete.
Students and their families should also follow communications from their programs in response to COVID-19.
What is the status of spring 2021 study abroad programs?
We currently expect Spring 2021 programs to run. However, the situation is constantly evolving and this could change. Students are advised to pay close attention to the websites of affiliate programs, as many are making modifications to their offerings in order to account for the unpredictable nature of the current crisis.
What steps can a student abroad take to stay well?
Students abroad should take the same precautions they would on campus:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve.
- Clean surfaces, door knobs, keyboards with germicidal wipes.
- Stay out of class/work when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Additional recommendations specific to your status as an international traveler include:
- Registering all travel with the Department of State (travel.state.gov) or your country of citizenship’s equivalent (U.S. citizens enrolled in Lafayette programs in Bonn and Madrid are already registered for their time in those cities, but should register any travel plans independent of the programs.)
- Reporting any travel outside of your host city to your program.
- When traveling independently, monitor travel conditions through sites such as the CDC and WHO.
- If you do present with symptoms, you should let your program know immediately, so that they can assist with medical care. If this happens during independent travel, you should contact On Call to make arrangements.