We are closely monitoring Coronavirus. Updates here.

Global Alerts & Updates

Our Risk Management Team uses this section for periodic updates of world events – natural disasters, political situations, disease outbreaks – that are currently affecting or could affect our programming locations and the participants that are or will be on site.

CIS Abroad is monitoring the Coronavirus closely and carefully.

FOR ALL CORONAVIRUS-RELATED UPDATES, PLEASE SEE OUR COMPREHENSIVE PAGE. 


 

CIS Abroad Global Update

March 23, 2020

On March 19, the State Department issued a new Global Level 4 Health Advisory. The Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory “advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

“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,” the alert said. “Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” it said.

Due to the elevated travel advisory and the global pandemic, we have cancelled all programs and are urging all students to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.  

The majority of our students have already departed, or have flights scheduled. In locations, where commercial flights are still available, we have been in touch with students directly and urged them to act quickly and return to the U.S. so they don’t find themselves in a situation where it is not possible to return for some time. For students in countries with border closures, we are communicating with government officials to understand the evolving situation, and working around the clock to understand departure options. CIS Abroad students that have voluntarily chosen to withdraw and remain on site have also recived communication advising that they return to the US.

As students return home and settle into remote coursework options when possible, we are still strongly committed to our mission. We believe in the power of international education to create more resilient humans, stronger teams in the workplace, and more innovative problem solving. We believe that, at its best, living abroad expands our human community. We believe it creates a more connected and compassionate world. We remain boldly committed to that vision. See a message of solidarity to the field of international education from our leadership team. #strongertogether

U.S. State Department Global Level 4 Health Advisory

March 19, 2020

We are aware that the State Department issued a new Global Level 4 Health Advisory. The Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory” advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.”

“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,” the alert said. “Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” it said.

While our top priority is always to support the health and safety of all participants, our hearts still hurt for the participants’ whose onsite experiences have been shortened.  At CIS Abroad, our lives were changed through international experiences. Every day, we strive to create a more connected and compassionate world, one student at a time. As our students return home, we will do our best to ensure academic continuity and hope our students will continue to grow as global citizens.

Program Cancellation in Thailand

CIS Abroad has cancelled spring programs in Thailand. The situation around the world relating to the spread of Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 Disease, is rapidly changing. In recent days, many countries including New Zealand and Australia, have increased their global alerts, and have called all of their citizens home. Many major airlines have seen the demand for travel drastically decrease in the past two weeks. This will result in far fewer flights and options to depart Thailand. Moves to close borders have become increasingly common to stop the spread of the virus . It is likely that Thailand will soon restrict movement within Thailand, and they may follow other countries by locking down their borders to protect their citizens. Due to this, and with great sadness and care, CIS Abroad is cancelling our programs in Thailand.  Students and their emergency contacts have been notified and student should work to return home by Monday, March 25th.

Program Cancellation in Australia

March 17, 2020

The situation around the world relating to the spread of Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 Disease, is rapidly changing. Today, the Australian government has raised their travel level to Level 4 (the highest level), advising all Australians to not travel overseas. This will result in far fewer flights and options to depart Australia. Due to this, and with great sadness and care, CIS Abroad is cancelling our programs in Australia. Students and their emergency contacts have been notified and should work to return home by Monday, March 23.

Program Cancellation in Argentina

March 16, 2020

The situation around the world, relating to the spread of Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 Disease is rapidly changing. We are in an unprecedented time, and it is with a heavy heart that we share we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our spring study programs in Argentina, Ecuador and South Africa. We have been in touch with the students and their families for whom this decision impacts.

Program Cancellations in England, Scotland and Ireland

March 15, 2020

The below email was sent to all students and their emergency contacts who are enrolled in programs in the UK and Ireland for spring.

Dear Students & Families

The situation around the world, relating to the spread of Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 Disease is rapidly changing. The CDC raised its alert level to 3 “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” for mainland Europe on Friday, March 13th, and this alert now includes Ireland and the United Kingdom as of today, March 15th. We are in an unprecedented time and have made the very difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our Spring 2020 Europe programs in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. (CIS Abroad suspended its Czech Republic, France, Greece, and Spain programs on March 13th, and its Italy Programs on the 29th of February).

We know this is a difficult time for families; we, too, have had our own children’s schools and universities close and have had to bring colleagues and family home.

We are aware that some of you are already in the process of leaving and others have been asked to return by your home university.  For those of you who have remained, programs will be ending on Monday, March 23rd, so please book your flights to depart before this date. If you need to check out at a later date, for any reason, please coordinate with your on-site staff.  They will do everything they can to assist you. Once you have your return flight information, please fill out this form.

We anticipate you may have to go through additional screenings upon entry, and depending on when you return you may be redirected through one of 13 airports to undergo health screening. Please reference the CDC’s Travel Information and continue to check your flight details up until you depart for potential changes to your itinerary. If your flight is cancelled, please follow our suggestions below to find a new flight.

We are aware that it may be hard to get out on a flight and we are here to help.

Here are recommendations for rebooking a flight:

  • Take action as soon as possible – airlines and travel agents are experiencing a high volume of calls. You may need to wait on hold for an hour or more to speak with an agent. When possible, try to make changes online to expedite the process.
  • Make changes directly on your airline website, or call them directly, rather than changing your flight on a third party website such as Expedia.
  • Ask your airline if they are offering an updated flight change policy – many airlines are waiving extra fees and charges for flight changes, especially for travel to/from regions affected by Coronavirus.
  • Change your flight rather than cancelling it. This can possibly avoid fees.
  • General Safety Tips while traveling – wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick, etc. And cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze! Use your elbow or a tissue.

While we cannot change flights for you, we are happy to talk with you about rebooking flights. Email flightassist@cisabroad.com for assistance and someone from our team will be in touch as soon as possible to talk you through the process.

Many US universities have their own policies that students and families should follow and be aware of.  Some of our European universities have now closed their campuses and are discontinuing or suspending traditional classroom teaching for the time being. Institutions are putting plans in place to enable the delivery of course materials through online platforms at this time. We will communicate with you directly, and update our Academic Resources webpage, as we learn of these specifics.

Refunds are a common question once students return home. We will be attempting to recover any costs possible and pass those on to you. This will differ by program, but for the most part, all program funds (tuition & housing) have been committed abroad. We will be in touch if there are any recoverable costs, but our first priority is to help students return home safely and make sure online courses can be completed so academic credit transfers.

Though our program officially ends on March 23rd, we will ensure students have housing in all extenuating circumstances. Our site directors are on-site and on call; our student CISI health insurance stays intact for 30 days after you return. Again, please complete this short form once you have your return flight details.

We appreciate your understanding and willingness to help us as we work hard to support the health and safety of all participants, and our global community at large.

Sincerely,

The CIS Abroad Risk Management Team

Remote learning resources for students in canceled programs

March 13, 2020

We are actively working with all of our overseas partners on their remote learning opportunities, prioritizing the following countries: France, The Czech Republic, Spain and Greece, since we canceled their programs this week. Some of our overseas partners have announced that they are moving to an online learning platform temporarily. As we learn of these specifics, we will continue to update our Academic Resources page.

Program Cancellations in Czech Republic, France, Greece, and Spain

March 12, 2020

The situation around the world, relating to the spread of Coronavirus, and the COVID-19 Disease is rapidly changing. The CDC has raised its alert level to 3 “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” for our programs in Europe, excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom. We are in an unprecedented time and have made the very difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our Spring 2020 programs in the following European countries: Czech Republic, France, Greece, and Spain. (CIS Abroad suspended its Italy Programs on the 29th of February)

We are asking students to book travel back to the United States as soon as possible, especially if they are not a US passport holder, as President Trump’s proclamation has different restrictions for non-US passport holders.

We strongly recommend leaving by Friday, March 13th at midnight for non-US passport holders. We strongly recommend leaving as soon as possible, or by Thursday, March 19th for US passport holders. If students need to check out at a later date, for any reason, they should coordinate with their on-site staff, who will do everything they can to assist every student. Once students have their return flight information, we are asking them to fill out this form.

We anticipate students may have to go through additional screenings upon entry, and depending on when they return they may be redirected through one of 11 airports to undergo health screening. We are asking students to reference the CDC’s Travel Information and continue to check their flight details up until departure for potential changes to their itinerary. If their flight is cancelled, we recommend that they follow our suggestions below to find a new flight.

We are aware that it may be hard to get out on a flight and we are here to help. Here are recommendations students have received for rebooking a flight:

  • Take action as soon as possible – airlines and travel agents are experiencing a high volume of calls. You may need to wait on hold for an hour or more to speak with an agent. When possible, try to make changes online to expedite the process.
  • Make changes directly on your airline website, or call them directly, rather than changing your flight on a third party website such as Expedia.
  • Ask your airline if they are offering an updated flight change policy – many airlines are waiving extra fees and charges for flight changes, especially for travel to/from regions affected by Coronavirus.
  • Change your flight rather than cancelling it. This can possibly avoid fees.
  • General Safety Tips while traveling – wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick, etc. And cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze! Use your elbow or a tissue.

While we cannot change flights for our students, we are happy to talk with them about rebooking their flights. Students should email flightassist@cisabroad.com for assistance and someone from our team will be in touch as soon as possible to talk them through the process.

We are also communicating to students that many US universities have their own policies that students and families should follow and be aware of.  Some of our European universities have now closed their campuses and are discontinuing or suspending traditional classroom teaching for the time being. Institutions are putting plans in place to enable the delivery of course materials through online platforms at this time. Please stay tuned for what we can do to maintain academic continuity.

Our housing will remain open until the last student departs; our site directors are on call; CISI health insurance stays intact for 30 days after return. Again, students are asked to please complete this form once they have their return flight information.

We appreciate your understanding and willingness to help us as we work hard to support the health and safety of all participants, and our global community at large.

The CIS Abroad Risk Management Team

U.S. travel restrictions from EU announced

March 11, 2020

As reported by the Department of Homeland Security, “Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

CIS Abroad will continue to monitor how this may impact students returning from faculty-led programs in the coming days, as well as students who have been recalled by their home universities in the last few days who might not yet be returned. We understand there are likely to be additional screenings in place for citizens returning home, although the ban “does not apply to any lawful permanent resident of the United States“. Read the full proclamation here.

Update on Coronavirus – Spain

March 9, 2020

Earlier this afternoon, CIS Abroad learned that Spain’s Health Minister confirmed that the region of Madrid would suspend all school and university activity for two weeks, beginning Wednesday, as the authorities raised the level of coronavirus transmission risk. We will be working with our students and site director throughout the day tomorrow to make sure they understand what to do.