The International Studies Office will decide its travel policies for the fall semester based on the recommendations of the University’s Fall 2020 Committee and the University’s policy on international travel by June 30. Summer study abroad programs have already been canceled, and spring study abroad programs were suspended March 12.
A few universities, including Georgetown University, Trinity University and Emory University, have already canceled some fall study abroad programs. However, other universities are waiting to decide on the fate of their study abroad programs, including Vanderbilt University, Cornell University and the University of North Carolina.
A statement from the ISO to The Cavalier Daily outlined the policies and travel recommendations that would be considered in choosing whether to allow study abroad.
“The University has a policy on student international travel, PROV-010, which guides decisions,” the statement read. “The ISO employs data from a variety of expert sources and resources to inform institutional decisions on student international travel for University-related purposes.”
According to the University’s policy on international travel by students, any travel for explicitly University-related purposes to a region with a Level 3 or 4 Department of the State warning or a Level 3 Centers for Disease Control warning is prohibited.
For example, study abroad in Spain would not currently be permitted because, while Spain is only classified as a Level 2 travel advisory by the DOS, it is classified as a Level 3 warning by the CDC.
The statement from the ISO also enumerated what information students planning to study abroad have received from the ISO thus far and the timeline for when decisions on the status of fall studies abroad will be reached.
“Students … have been advised to enroll in fall classes on Grounds and make plans for University or local housing as a back-up in the event outbound mobility is suspended for the fall semester,” the statement read. “June 30 is the target date for decisions on fall 2020 education abroad.”
First-year Engineering student Lili Gomez, who had been planning to travel to Valencia in the fall, spoke with The Cavalier Daily about how her plans have changed since getting this information from the ISO.
“It’s kind of tricky because we’re preparing for both a fall at U.Va. and in Valencia,” Gomez said.
First-year Engineering student Alicia Land, who had also signed up for a study abroad in Valencia the fall, described how she’s tried to navigate maintaining her activities on Grounds while still allowing for the possibility of traveling in the fall.
“I’m applying for different positions,” Land said. “I've let them know that I might not be there and everything, but … I’ve just been acting like I’m going to stay.”
First-year Engineering student Brittany Sandoval-Rivera, who also had signed up for the Fall 2020 Valencia program, spoke about whether she might study abroad another time after the fall semester if the trip to Valencia — a program specifically tailored to the requirements of the University’s Engineering students in their third semester — is canceled.
“I think I could do a different program, but it would be transfer credit and not direct credit,” Sandoval-Rivera said. “I don’t know if I would do a semester, but maybe a summer, because I don’t want to change my courses or my GPA too much.”
The ISO plans to provide definitive information to students like Gomez, Land and Sandoval-Rivera about the condition of study abroad programs by June 30. Along with Valencia, programs planned for Fall 2020 include studies abroad in Venice, Shanghai and Lyon.