MARCH 16, 2020

IFSA has been monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its impact around the world. Unfortunately, the uncertainty of the situation escalated dramatically recently, causing disruptions and restrictions to travel and a level of ambiguity and unpredictability unlike any we have seen before. Therefore, we have determined that the best decision for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students and staff around the world is to suspend operations of all IFSA programs worldwide, effective immediately.

Key Dates and Information

  • Students will be asked to adjust their flights home immediately. Our IFSA onsite staff are prepared to assist students as needed.
  • We ask that students arrange flights to depart by Friday, March 20.
  • Students can remain in their current housing until their travel is arranged.
  • IFSA student insurance through CISI will terminate at midnight on the date of the student’s departure home.
  • Students who have difficulty arranging for travel in the timeline outlined should discuss those circumstances with the IFSA onsite staff so we can extend your accommodations and CISI insurance for a short time. We will provide all the support necessary for students dealing with this difficult situation.

Academics

Students enrolled in IFSA courses will complete those classes remotely. IFSA will have a small selection of online classes, to encompass at least 12 credits, available to begin on or around March 25. We will have additional information about this offering shortly.

We are committed to working with our host institution partners around the world to allow students the opportunity to continue their academic coursework remotely, wherever possible. All of our partner institutions have different philosophies and capabilities when it comes to online or remote learning, and students should keep instructors informed of their situation. Visit our Country and Academic Updates webpage [no longer available] to explore the details we know about each institution. We will keep this page updated as we learn more from our overseas partners. In all cases, IFSA will advocate on behalf of all IFSA students to award credit earned, even if it is partial credit.

Finances

We are actively evaluating whether we can recover a portion of unused costs in order to refund students or institutions as appropriate. This outcome may be different depending on your program structure and timing; however, we will notify you once we have had an opportunity to fully evaluate any recoverable costs.

We deeply regret that our students’ study abroad experience is cut short due to the pandemic. This is not the outcome that any of us would have chosen; however, it is the right choice for all involved. IFSA’s primary goal is to keep our students, staff, and host communities as safe as possible, and we believe that this action is in alignment with that mission.

MARCH 13, 2020

ONLINE COURSE UPDATE FOR ARGENTINA, CHILE, AND PERU

Currently, we are continuing our onsite operations in Argentina, Chile, and Peru. However, we recognize that this situation is continuously evolving and that an individual’s risk calculus or requirements of a partner institution may lead students to depart early.

  • For students who depart early, IFSA is working to develop an online option for IFSA sponsored program classes. Student choices will be limited, but we will offer at least 12 credits online.
  • Online classes will begin on 25 March.

Finances

We are committed to returning recoverable costs to students or institutions as appropriate. Once we have an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the recoverable costs for your program, we will notify you.

Communications 

To be able to respond to you in a timely manner, we recommend the following:

  • Students communicate directly with local IFSA staff and home schools for guidance on continuing the program.
  • Parents review Student Life & Wellness team emails and our FAQs and updates on the website at ifsa-butler.org/coronavirus.
  • Advisors reach out to their IFSA Field Director if they have additional questions. We will continue to send email updates with additional resources on our website.

 
IFSA’s primary goal is to keep our students, staff, and host communities as safe as possible. Thank you for your support during these challenging times.

MARCH 12, 2020

IFSA EUROPE, U.K., AND ISRAEL PROGRAMS CLOSE EARLY, ALL OTHER PROGRAMS TO CONTINUE

We have made the measured decision to close our programs in Europe, to include the United Kingdom and Ireland effective Sunday, March 15. Additionally, we will close our programs in Israel, effective Friday, March 20. These decisions were based on many factors, to include:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel watch to a level 3 for Europe.
  • A U.S. State Department global health travel advisory at level 3.
  • The continued evolution of U.S. and foreign government actions and travel restrictions that may complicate students’ return home.
  • The risk management policies and priorities of our valued partners.

As of today, our programs in Australia, New Zealand, India, and Latin America will continue to operate; however, we will facilitate early departures as needed and requested. We understand that each family and institution have different tolerance levels for responding to the minute-to-minute changes in COVID-19 cases in the countries in which we operate. We want to respect these differences and support our students and families in their decision-making process.

Key Dates

  • IFSA will close our operations in Europe and the U.K. effective Sunday, March 15. Students will be asked to coordinate travel home immediately and notify IFSA onsite staff of those plans.
  • IFSA will close our operations in Israel effective Friday, March 20. Students will be asked to coordinate travel home immediately and notify IFSA onsite staff of those plans.
  • IFSA student insurance through CISI will terminate at midnight on the date of the student’s departure home.

Academic Implications

IFSA is working with our host institution partners around the world to allow students the opportunity to continue their academic coursework remotely where possible. Students studying in Barcelona, Prague, Jerusalem, and Rome will continue classes remotely. In all cases, we are working with students to support them in securing academic credit for the work they have completed.

Refunds

We are actively evaluating whether we can recover a portion of unused costs in order to refund students or institutions as appropriate; however, due to the timing of this event and the nature of our obligations to overseas partners, costs may not be recoverable.

IFSA’s primary goal is to keep our students, staff, and host communities as safe as possible. Thank you for your support during these challenging times.

MARCH 10, 2020

IFSA BARCELONA PROGRAM CLOSES EARLY

Today, after careful evaluation, we made the difficult decision to close our 2020 Spring program in Barcelona, effective April 3, 2020. Students will complete the academic portion of the program remotely.

The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students is our top priority. We made this decision based on the following:

  • The continued rise in COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in Spain to levels that make it among the most vulnerable.
  • Our academic partner institution, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), decided to suspend in-person classes as of April 3.

While we deeply regret that our students will have a shorter immersive experience in Barcelona than planned, we are pleased to be able to support their academic needs by delivering their classes remotely through the end of the semester. Students will receive detailed information about this in meetings with our onsite staff this week.

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and a new scenario for everyone, so we appreciate your patience as we support students in this unusual situation.

MARCH 9, 2020

WEEKLY UPDATE

We continue to monitor the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation at our program locations around the world and in the United States.

At this time, all of our Spring 2020 programs except those in China and Italy continue to operate. We are monitoring a variety of government and public health sources, nationally and internationally, and we are meeting daily to discuss the situation in each of our program locations.

We will continue to message students weekly. In addition, students receive periodic location-specific information from our IFSA onsite resident staff, including an offer of additional personal support.

Changing times demand flexibility, and this situation has certainly tested everyone’s ability to remain agile. We will continue to update our students and partners as we learn more. Throughout all of this, we greatly appreciate your collaboration.

FEBRUARY 29, 2020

IFSA ROME PROGRAM CLOSING EARLY

Today, after careful evaluation, we made the difficult decision to close our 2020 Spring program in Rome, effective March 4, 2020. IFSA will facilitate the academic portion of the program with students completing their coursework remotely.

We made this decision based on the following:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) raised its advisory to a Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel to Italy.
  • The U.S. State Department also raised its travel advisory for Italy to Level 3, Reconsider Travel.
  • We coordinated with the risk management policies and procedures of our highly valued partner institutions.

While we deeply regret that our students had a shorter immersive experience in Rome than planned, we are pleased to be able to support their academic needs by delivering their classes remotely through the end of the semester. Students will receive detailed information about this in meetings with our onsite staff prior to their departure this week.

Student health, safety, and wellbeing are of utmost importance to us. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is rapidly evolving and a new scenario for everyone, so we appreciate your patience as we support students in this unusual situation.

JANUARY 28, 2020

IFSA CHINA PROGRAMS CLOSE

After a complete evaluation of the current situation in China, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the IFSA China programs for Spring 2020.

We appreciate your patience with the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation in China and related program adjustments. Overnight, two U.S. government bodies raised their warnings with regard to travel to China:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) raised its advisory to a Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel to China.
  • The U.S. State Department also raised its travel advisory for China to Level 3, Reconsider Travel.

In addition to these critical changes in key indicators, reports this morning indicate that Shanghai continues to face delays in the opening of universities and schools and a general shutdown of nonessential businesses. We recognize that many students were looking forward to studying in Shanghai, and we have taken this decision very seriously, placing priority on student health and safety.