Update: March 16, 2020
During this rapidly evolving global pandemic, the health, safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority. ISEP strongly advises students to return to their home country, unless they feel that it is not safe and appropriate to do so. We ask that all students consider guidance from their home institution, family, and local health officials when making this decision. For some students, we understand there may be greater risk at home or underlying health conditions that make it safer to remain in place.
As the United States and nations around the world limit inbound and outbound travel, and airlines reduce their flight schedules, we recognize that travel may be difficult at this time. If approved by their home institution, students may choose to remain on site. Students and their families should be aware that it may be more challenging to return home in the future as flights may become more limited and governments may institute new travel restrictions.
We are continuing to work with our member universities worldwide to provide academic continuity for as many of our students as possible. At this time, most of our member universities have implemented or are in the process of implementing opportunities for students to complete their courses remotely with the goal of providing as much academic credit as possible.
We will continue to keep our students and families informed as the situation develops. Thank you for your understanding during these unprecedented times.
Update: March 13, 2020
In response to the spread of the virus and increased travel advisories globally, ISEP would like to offer the following guidance for our students and member universities:
We ask that all students consult with their families and home institutions about whether it is best for them to stay at their host institution or return home. ISEP respects the decisions of our member institutions and students, and asks that students follow the protocols of their home institution and the advice of their families.
We understand it may be most appropriate for ISEP students to stay at their host institutions. ISEP is working closely with all member institutions to ensure that students who remain at their host university have access to their ISEP benefits, including housing and meals. If students remain abroad, they will continue to be covered by ISEP health insurance.
ISEP is working with our member universities worldwide to provide academic continuity. Most ISEP institutions have implemented, or are in the process of implementing opportunities, for online or distance learning.
We will continue to support ISEP students for the duration of their program, whether they return home and continue their coursework online or choose to remain at their host institutions.
We are disappointed that the spread of COVID-19 has rapidly changed the experience of all ISEP participants. We wish for good health and safe travels for all our members, coordinators, students, and their families.
At this time, ISEP plans to proceed with our summer and fall programs, and we look forward to providing immersive cross-cultural experiences in partnership with our members later this year.
Update: March 11, 2020
ISEP is aware the Trump administration has limited entry into the United States for foreign nationals from certain European countries in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. We understand this travel suspension does not apply to legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens, and that U.S. residents and citizens returning from the specified countries in Europe must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.
Our students’ health, safety, and well-being is our number one priority. All ISEP programs in Europe with the exception of those in Italy remain open, and ISEP and our member universities continue to fully support our students in those programs.
The US government has provided a list of frequently asked questions that you can review here: Link to OSAC website
Update: March 4, 2020
After careful consideration and review of current health guidance and the joint statement from the Forum and Pulse, we can confirm that we will continue all spring 2020 ISEP programs, except those in South Korea and China. We have also suspended on-site activities in Italy. Currently, all other spring 2020 ISEP programs are operating normally, and our member institutions are providing high-quality instruction and support for ISEP students abroad. Additionally, we are proceeding as scheduled with all our summer and fall programs. The health and safety of ISEP students remains our number one priority, and we will continue to monitor and evaluate the safety of our programs and provide additional program updates should the situation change.
Update: February 29, 2020
Following elevated alert levels issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. State Department, ISEP has made the difficult decision to cease on-site programming at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Università degli Studi di Pavia. All students should depart Italy as soon as possible.
Update: February 28, 2020
ISEP continues to monitor COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) developments globally, and is providing additional guidance and information for students, families, and member institutions.
As you are likely aware, confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus have increased worldwide. Authorities in impacted regions have taken decisive steps to halt the spread of the virus. Their unprecedented efforts include delaying the start of classes, instituting quarantines, screening international travelers, and reducing flights from affected regions.
Our primary priority is the health, safety, and well-being of ISEP students. We rely on the advice of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State, regional governments, and our member institutions to evaluate the risks posed to our students. In addition to ensuring students’ safety, we also want to be assured that we are providing high-quality international experiences and excellent academic opportunities. All of these considerations guide our decisions.
In response to the heightened travel advisories, and both the real and perceived threat of the virus abroad, ISEP and our member institutions have implemented a number of precautionary measures.
Students from COVID-19 Affected Countries
We have reached out to our students from China, Italy, and South Korea who are currently abroad to offer support and guidance, as we understand that they may be anxious about friends and family. We are grateful to our member institutions, many of which have identified appropriate counseling and support services on-site. We greatly respect the support our members have provided to all their international students. ISEP is a truly global network, and it is heartening to know we are working together, across 50+ countries, to support our students.
Students Studying in Europe
ISEP has provided additional guidance to all students studying in Europe this spring. First, we recommend that all students follow the guidelines provided by their home and host institutions regarding travel and health abroad. Secondly, we cautioned students to be aware of additional restrictions and precautions they may face if they choose to travel within Europe. Finally, we provided guidance on preventing the spread of respiratory viruses from the World Health Organization.
We will continue to work with our members and follow the guidance of medical authorities as we monitor the repercussions of COVID-19. We are in regular communication with all current ISEP participants. We will continue to provide updates and health and safety recommendations for students and their home coordinators.
To Our Community
We would like to express our concern and sincere appreciation for our ISEP coordinators at member institutions in affected regions. We hope you, your family, and your friends are safe and healthy. On behalf of the network, we know this is a stressful and challenging time, and we want to reaffirm our commitment to support you, not only in times of growth, but also in times of unease.
We know the situation is still evolving. While we cannot forecast the spread of COVID-19, we are prepared to respond to elevated threat levels, additional restrictions, and increased precautions for our students currently on programs.
Update: February 25, 2020
On February 25, 2020, the CDC issued an elevated warning for South Korea and advised that “travelers avoid all nonessential travel” due to “widespread community transmission.” Based on the CDC guidelines, the increase in COVID-19 cases in the region, and in anticipation of increased travel restrictions, ISEP suspended its spring semester programs in South Korea and immediately notified impacted students. In the following days we have worked directly with affected students and their home universities to ensure a safe return home. We are now coordinating alternative program arrangements and academic opportunities.
ISEP is committed to ensuring that the financial impact for students planning to study in South Korea is minimized. In accordance with our policies, ISEP students on spring 2020 programs in South Korea will receive a full refund of program fees paid to ISEP, including the application fee. In addition, ISEP Direct students are eligible for a single-use voucher of $500 for ISEP Direct Summer Programs or $1000 for ISEP Direct Semester Programs. We will also waive application fees for affected ISEP Exchange students and offer priority exchange placement for future terms.
Update: February 23, 2020
On February 23, 2020, Italian authorities took the precautionary step of delaying on-campus classes for one week in the departments of Lombardy and Veneto. Classes were cancelled until March 2 at ISEP member institutions Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Università degli Studi di Pavia. Currently, the CDC has recommended practicing enhanced precautions for high risk travelers. The CDC has not recommended suspending nonessential travel. ISEP is following these guidelines. We are currently maintaining our programs in Italy.
Our member institutions in Italy are instituting short-term contingency plans that have been communicated to students. While we are confident courses will begin at both institutions on March 2, if in-person courses are still restricted, most will be offered virtually until the campus reopens. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and are in regular communication with our member institutions. Should the CDC, WHO, or U.S. Department of State elevate their advisories from current levels, ISEP is prepared to take steps to ensure the safety and well-being of students. ISEP students and their home university coordinators should expect frequent communication moving forward via email. We have asked students to regularly check their email, respond when requested, and share communications with family as appropriate.
Update February 14, 2020
Coronavirus Update: ISEP Suspends Programs in China and South Korean Universities Delay Start of Classes
Following the recommendations of the South Korean Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs, institutions in South Korea have delayed their start dates to ensure the health and well-being of incoming students and residents of South Korea.
Update January 31, 2020
On January 31, 2020, ISEP suspended its spring 2020 programs in Shanghai, China. We are grateful to ISEP member Providence University in Taiwan for accepting students planning to enroll at Shanghai University for the spring term.