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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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