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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The CIS Abroad Risk Management Team