This page solely addresses questions related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and study abroad. For information unrelated to study abroad, please see UVM’s website on COVID-19.  If you have questions related to international students and visiting scholars, please contact our students and scholar services teams as appropriate.

 

  • June 2, 2020: An email announcing and explaining UVM's decision to cancel Fall 2020 study abroad (including the first semester of Academic Year 2020-2021) went out to all Fall/Academic Year 2020 students and their emergency contacts.
  • March 30, 2020: An email updating Fall 2020 and Academic Year 2020-2021 study abroad students on the status of Fall semester abroad, recommendations, and UVM housing policies went out to all students applying for UVM approval to study abroad in these terms.

  • March 22, 2020: Summer 2020 study abroad has been canceled. A decision about Fall 2020 study abroad will be made prior to July 1 2020.

  • March 19, 2020: The US Department of State has issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory, recommending that "In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period." UVM STRONGLY recommends that all UVM students return to the US as soon as possible.

  • March 12, 2020: The University of Vermont recommends that all students abroad, regardless of location return to the United States as soon as is practical. Please refer to this recent communication for more information. (see page 3 addendum here: airport screening information)

 

Below FAQs updated: 11:32AM EDT June 2, 2020

I STUDIED ABROAD IN SPRING 2020

  • My program was canceled, but I want to stay abroad. Will UVM still support me?
    • No. If your program is canceled and you choose to not depart or decide to go to another country, UVM cannot assist you if the situation in your location deteriorates, and you will not have International SOS coverage.
  • My program is not canceled. Will UVM make me come home?
    • UVM strongly encourages all study abroad students to return to the US at this time, but we cannot require you to do so. UVM recognizes that each individual and their family have their own risk tolerance and must do what is personally best for them. However, if your program is canceled in the future, and you choose to not depart or decide to go to another country, UVM cannot assist you if the situation in your location deteriorates.
  • Why should I leave my host country if everything seems fine now?
    • Inability to predict the availability of medical care in your host country: Many countries in which our students are studying do not have the same or better quality of medical care as we have in the U.S. This is during normal times. The World Health Organization has determined that the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now a pandemic, and the virus continues to spread globally without any indication of halting. UVM’s global security and medical risk provider lists Italy, for example, as a “low” medical risk. And yet even with their advanced medical system, Italy’s health care system is being strained.
    • Inability to predict travel restrictions, legally-imposed quarantines, and ease of access to the U.S.: As we saw Wednesday evening here in the U.S., federal governments (and sometimes local and regional governments) are imposing significant travel restrictions. These cannot be predicted as this situation evolves. In addition, in some countries airlines are halting flights to the U.S. 
    • No to limited in-country support: If you are on an external program, you will no longer have staff on site. If you are directly enrolled or on exchange, your host university staff may be pulled in many different directions, including caring for their own families, In addition, you will have no access to International SOS services. 
  • If my program is canceled, will I get my money back?  
    • Students studying abroad on external/direct programs should consult their provider/host institution regarding financial implications. Many program providers have been able to offer partial refunds. Students studying abroad on a bilateral exchange program should consult their host university regarding housing and food refund policies.
  • I left my housing. Can I get a housing refund?
    • If you were on a UVM bilateral exchange or an external program (ISEP Direct, Direct-Enroll, or with a program provider) you should contact ISEP/your host university/your program provider for information about their refund policies. Some program providers and host institutions have been able to grant refunds. If you were on an ISEP Exchange, at this time, refunds for room and board are not available. The UVM Office of International Education will notify you if this changes.
  • Why hasn't UVM required me to return to the US?
    • UVM strongly recommends that all students studying abroad return to the US. UVM follows the travel recommendations set by the CDC and the Department of State. We also monitor information made available by the World Health Organization, International SOS (UVM’s medical/security information and emergency services provider), and other countries’ ministries of foreign affairs. We also benchmark with other U.S. institutions, through national professional associations, and we are an active member of the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council Academic Working Group. In addition to consulting these resources, we also rely on our partners abroad to apprise us, our students, and their families of circumstances which will jeopardize student health and safety.
    • UVM cannot cancel programs not run by UVM, and cannot require students to return to the US from programs not run by UVM. Most program providers will also follow the CDC and Department of State travel recommendations, and will cancel programs when their host countries reach CDC level 3. In the COVID-19 situation, for students already abroad in most locations, UVM has no way to guarantee that they will be physically safer by traveling back to the U.S. than by staying where they are. Nor can we guarantee that a student will be safer traveling home domestically over spring break than they would be traveling internationally. If UVM’s cancelation thresholds (see below) have not been reached, UVM informs students and their emergency contacts of relevant information, and allows them to make informed decisions.  Those decisions should be based on the student’s individual medical conditions, and student/family risk tolerance and financial considerations. 
  • Will I be able to complete my classes? 
    • For students enrolled on external programs, your program provider (AIFS, API, CIEE, IES, Syracuse, Arcadia, etc.) will address these questions. Students directly enrolled at a university can get details from their host university (or ISEP, if you are directly enrolled through ISEP). For students on bilateral exchange programs, information will come in combination from your host university and UVM; contact your study abroad advisor or studyabroad@uvm.edu .
  • Can I take my courses from abroad pass/fail?
    • UVM has made an exception to their requirement that all students receive a letter grade equivalent to a C or better to receive transfer credit, and for Spring 2020 only, will allow students to transfer in a "pass" grade.
    • It is important that you think carefully whether or not to choose the Pass/Fail option.  Courses will be eligible to be considered for transfer credit to UVM for Spring 2020 if you receive a grade of “Pass.” However, whether those credits will count toward degree requirements differs for each student. 
    • Please CAREFULLY review the information for your School/College on the P/NP FAQ website. Students should make their decision based on the guidance in the FAQ or after further consultation with their School/College Student Services Office.
  • If my program/host university allows me to take my classes remotely, will my credits still transfer?
    • Provided that your program provider and/or host university is/are arranging for you to complete your courses remotely and you receive an official transcript from an accredited university, UVM will evaluate your courses for transfer normally. If remote instruction is offered by your program or host university, you are required to complete your coursework in that way in order for your transfer credit to be evaluated and awarded for this semester. If you are not clear on your program provider’s plan, please consult them after returning to the U.S.
    • If your host institution/program abroad does not provide an option, UVM will develop a path for you to complete the term with full academic credits. We hope that you will understand that this path will not be an exact replica of your intended course of study this semester, but we will ensure degree progress. You must bring home your syllabi; any course materials (notes, work, submitted assignments); and any graded materials up until this point to help facilitate that process.
  • I cannot take my study abroad courses remotely and I need UVM's help with getting credit for Spring 2020. What should I do?
    • Please do not reach out to your academic advisor. Please instead contact studyabroad@uvm.edu to let us know more about your specific situation, and how many credits you will be able to complete.
  • Who pays for my return flight home?
    • Many airlines are being flexible in their ticket change policies due to the unique nature of this situation. Contact your airline directly regarding re-booking process and fees.
  • I thought International SOS helps with my return flight.
    • International SOS’s evacuation coverage of UVM travelers in a widespread viral/disease situation is only activated when their internal guidelines are met, which include the inability of travelers to exit by typical commercial means; as of early March, those guidelines had only been met for travelers in China. Normal medical and security evacuation services continue; for example, if a student contracts COVID-19 and is unable to be cared for in their location according to International SOS.
  • Should I be self-isolating now that I'm back in the US?
    • If you are returning from a country with widespread sustained transmission, you should self-isolate for 14 days. The CDC recommends that you:
      • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
      • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
      • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
      • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
      • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).
      • In general in the US, everyone in the US should be practicing social distancing to keep themselves and others safe.
  • Can I enroll for classes still at UVM? 
    • Enrollment in standard UVM spring semester courses is not possible given that more than half the term has elapsed.
    • If your host institution/program abroad does not provide an option to take courses remotely, UVM will develop a path for you to complete the term with full academic credits. We hope that you will understand that this path will not be an exact replica of your intended course of study this semester, but we will ensure degree progress. You must bring home your syllabi; any course materials (notes, work, submitted assignments); and any graded materials up until this point to help facilitate that process.
  • Can I return to UVM to live on campus for the rest of this semester?
    • No. Because you were not previously living on the UVM campus this semester, we regret that we are not able to accommodate you in our residence halls.
  • Will there be a screening process or quarantine when I return to the United States?
  • How can I contact OIE while UVM classes are offered remotely?
    • You can still call or email OIE the same way you normally would, our office is still open. We may not be in our physical office, but we have updated our website contact info with our Google Voice number that will allow you to reach a live staff member.
  • How has UVM been monitoring this situation?
    • UVM follows the travel recommendations set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Department of State. We also monitor information made available by the World Health Organization, International SOS (UVM’s medical/security information and emergency services provider), and other countries’ ministries of foreign affairs. We also benchmark with other U.S. institutions, through national professional associations, and we are an active member of the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council Academic Working Group. In addition to consulting these resources, we also rely on our partners abroad to apprise us, our students, and their families of circumstances which will jeopardize student health and safety.
  • Can the US State Department help me?
    • A nearby embassy or consulate in your host country may be able to provide you with limited assistance and advice, depending on the situation. Any US citizen or permanent resident abroad should make sure they are registered with STEP to receive updates and information from the appropriate embassy/consulate. Generally in the COVID-19 outbreak, the State Department has not been evacuating US citizens and students returning to the US will need to purchase their own travel. When an official State Department evacuation occurs, those evacuated need to pay the costs of their own evacuation. See the State Department's website describing what they can and can't do in a crisis, and also the State Department's country-specific information for the COVID-19 pandemic for more information. 

I APPLIED TO STUDY ABROAD IN FALL 2020

  • I have applied to an academic year or fall 2020 program. Will I be able to participate?
    • No. UVM is not approving Fall 2020 study abroad because the global conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic remain problematic. 
  • Why did UVM decide to cancel Fall 2020 study abroad?
    • At this time, the US Department of State Global Health Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel is still in place, recommending against all international travel. This advisory is due to the following:
      • Significantly reduced commercial airline flights for departure from many countries;
      • Many countries have implemented travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closed borders, and are prohibiting non-citizens from entry;
      • Reduction of U.S. consulate and embassy staff in some locations which will inhibit the ability of the U.S. government to assist foreign nationals in those locations.
    • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control maintains a Level 3 global warning to avoid nonessential travel due to the following reasons:
      • People with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease;
      • There may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas;
      • U.S. citizens and residents may have difficulty returning to the U.S.
    • Many consulates globally remain closed, and therefore it is not possible to apply for visas.
    • Airline flight availability remains limited, reducing travel opportunities.
  • Will I still be charged the study abroad fee even though Fall study abroad is canceled?
    • Students will not be charged the study abroad fee for Fall 2020.
  • I've applied to an academic year/fall 2020 program. Should I register for UVM classes?
    • We advised all Fall and Academic Year study abroad students in March to enroll in UVM courses for Fall semester to prepare for the possibility of cancelation of Fall 2020 study abroad. If you have not yet done so or need additional guidance in registering for UVM classes, please reach out to the student services staff of your UVM School/College.
  • How should I inform my program provider or host university that I will not be attending?
    • Please reach out to them directly via phone or email. We will be informing exchange partners, ISEP, and the Buckham program of the cancelation of Fall study abroad and will solicit their input on whether deferring to a future term is possible.
  • I wish to defer my study abroad plans to Spring 2021 or another term. How can I do that?
    • Please alert your UVM Study Abroad Advisor and your program provider, host university, and/or ISEP as applicable to your study abroad plans. We are happy to help and will guide you on next steps.
  • I do not yet have housing in Burlington for Fall 2020. Will I be able to live on campus at UVM?
    • Students who have completed their on-campus residency requirement are not required to live on campus, but they may request it. To request on-campus housing, students need to complete a housing request at housing.uvm.edu. If space permits, Residential Life will offer you a housing & meal plan contract and give you a room assignment.
    • Students who have not completed their on-campus residency requirement are required to live on campus in the residence halls if their program is canceled. In general, the on-campus residency requirement is 4 semesters for students who enter UVM as first-year students and 2 semesters for students who transfer to UVM before the age of 20. Students required to live on campus when not studying abroad should go to housing.uvm.edu now to sign up for on-campus housing and email ResLife for access to the housing and meal plan contract and a room assignment. 
    • If Residential Life is not able to offer students housing or they prefer to live off campus, students are encouraged to pursue options listed under Off-Campus Living, including Affiliate Housing and the UVM Off-Campus Housing Service
  • How can I meet with study abroad advisors while I am off campus?
    • We can meet with you over the phone or in a virtual meeting through Microsoft Teams where we can share our computer screen with you and talk you through program options, application processes, and any other study abroad-related questions. You can still schedule appointments with study abroad advisors by calling 802-664-0053. This is separate from our main office line since we are working remotely, and you will reach a live OIE staff member by using this number. 

I WANT TO STUDY ABROAD IN SPRING 2021 OR BEYOND

  • I’m thinking about studying abroad sometime in the future but am worried about the news. Should I still be starting the process?
    • Yes! We encourage you to continue planning your study abroad experience. Students should think about multiple location options for maximum flexibility.
  • How can I meet with study abroad advisors while I am off campus?
    • We can meet with you over the phone or in a virtual meeting through Microsoft Teams where we can share our computer screen with you and talk you through program options, application processes, and any other study abroad-related questions. You can still schedule appointments with study abroad advisors by calling 802-664-0053. This is separate from our main office line since we are working remotely, and you will reach a live OIE staff member by using this number.

GENERAL

  • How do I keep myself and others safe?
  • How does UVM make decisions about its study abroad programs? 
    • UVM follows the travel recommendations set by the CDC and the Department of State. We also monitor information made available by the World Health Organization, International SOS (UVM’s medical/security information and emergency services provider), and other countries’ ministries of foreign affairs. We also benchmark with other U.S. institutions, through national professional associations, and we are an active member of the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council Academic Working Group. In addition to consulting these resources, we also rely on our partners abroad to apprise us, our students, and their families of circumstances which will jeopardize student health and safety.
  • What changes has UVM made to its study abroad programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?  
  • Why hasn’t UVM sent more communications to my student?
    • Generally speaking, our students have been getting frequent communications from their program providers and/or their host universities. It is important to UVM that students follow guidance from the people closest to the situation.  We have therefore been judicial in the frequency of UVM communications, relaying only new and critical information. 
  • I’m traveling internationally for personal reasons. Should I cancel my plans?
    • This is a personal decision. UVM does not recommend travel and advises people to follow CDC guidelines. Should you choose to travel, you may face delays at airports for screening, and other unknowns which could include travel restrictions, exposure to COVID-19, or quarantine measures. These could have financial and academic implications. Presently there may be no indication that such travel restrictions or quarantine measures are planned for your destination, but is impossible to predict how different national, regional or local governments may choose to respond – sometimes without notice -- as the situation shifts. Please consult your state or local health department for instructions on what to do if you return from an affected area.
  • What if I have booked my flight for international travel and my program is canceled?
    • Consult your airline directly regarding refunds or rebooking.
  • Can the US State Department help me?
    • A nearby embassy or consulate in your host country may be able to provide you with limited assistance and advice, depending on the situation. Any US citizen or permanent resident abroad should make sure they are registered with STEP to receive updates and information from the appropriate embassy/consulate. Generally in the COVID-19 outbreak, the State Department has not been evacuating US citizens and students returning to the US will need to purchase their own travel. When an official State Department evacuation occurs, those evacuated need to pay the costs of their own evacuation. See the State Department's website describing what they can and can't do in a crisis, and also the State Department's country-specific information for the COVID-19 pandemic for more information. 
  • How can I meet with OIE staff while not on campus?
    • We can meet with you over the phone or in a virtual meeting through Microsoft Teams where we can share our computer screen with you and talk you through program options, application processes, and any other study abroad-related questions. You can still schedule appointments with study abroad advisors by calling 802-664-0053. This is separate from our main office line since we are working remotely, and you will reach a live OIE staff member by using this number.