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CEA Health Abroad Update

Healthy

Everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.


For more information please visit the following sites:


CEA Study Abroad

2021 Program Updates
& COVID-19 Protocols

CEA plans to welcome students abroad for the Summer and Fall 2021 terms. We have developed and continue to refine our COVID-19 protocols, and are actively monitoring the global health landscape to support the safety of our students and staff.


From the CEO

CEA Study Abroad Statement on COVID-19

CEA’s number one priority is the health, safety and security of its students, staff and faculty. Understandably, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is likely causing anxiety and raising questions for students and their families, especially considering the recent pandemic announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO). CEA has and will continue to make informed decisions that prioritize the safety and health of its students and the communities in which it operates. The situation remains incredibly fluid; CEA considers a vast amount of information, including hourly monitoring information, that shapes, with cautious and measured action, decisions that prioritize safety and health.

Study abroad, the field of international education and U.S. higher education as a whole, are dealing with unprecedented issues. CEA urges calm, clear communication and thoughtful decision-making, understanding that each institution, family and student will evaluate and exercise judgment consistent with a number of factors, including their own tolerance for risk. As seen in CEA updates, we have adapted to various changing local environments and considered numerous scenarios, all while providing students with updates and options that align with local, state and official guidance during this evolving situation. This highlights CEA’s continued responsiveness and desire to provide options to students, families and university partners.

CEA’s local expertise and extensive knowledge network are at the strength and core of CEA, the vast CEA community allows for ongoing support and care of our students and community members. Staff and faculty are trained in assisting students for an incredible array of situations and emergencies. As an active member of the Forum on Education Abroad, CEA recognizes the importance of the Forum’s Standards of Good Practice, and Standard 8 that specifically guides CEA to “prioritize the health, safety, and security of its students through policies, procedures, advising, orientation, and training.” Additionally, the joint statement released by the Forum and Pulse, provides salient advice and guidance for all institutions of higher education to consider.

CEA pledges continuing close monitoring of the most up-to-date information and data including, but not limited to, health statements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as well as consulting with a variety of other reputable sources and experts. We continually review all these resources while working with state and local public health officials to provide the most up-to-date information to the CEA community.

According to leading epidemiologists and top U.S. Federal officials, COVID-19 “is going to get worse” in the U.S. The CDC states on its website that “it’s likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur.” New and emerging statements from WHO and others regularly advise on containment measures by urging individual advice that states, “every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system.” What guidance do we as educators provide to our students during this time to mitigate health and safety issues of our entire CEA community? Do we as an organization want to force students to return to the U.S. where there may be more localized cases of Coronavirus than where they are currently studying abroad? CEA deals with these questions and others while it considers all available information when making informed decisions that may impact the wellbeing of our students and the communities in which they engage.

Consistent with CEA’s priority of safety and wellbeing, CEA has enacted contingency planning to allow for academic alternatives in the form of remote/distance learning using existing platforms such as Moodle and Zoom. These actions ensure academic delivery of coursework while providing options for students that minimize the potential impact and exposure of the Coronavirus to our students, staff, faculty and local communities. As a community of students, scholars and practitioners, CEA continues to consider all options for each location and specific context to offer academic contingency options for students. It is important for CEA to maintain delivery of high quality experiences for our students, so we must continue to proceed cautiously, even under pressure to move quickly in these circumstances. CEA’s academics and curricula are designed to emphasize experiential learning, and incorporate activities to help students connect their experiences outside the classroom with the content they learn in class. This cannot be fully achieved through remote/distance learning alone, however, and we recognize these are not usual circumstances.

We know and understand that students have planned for many months, sometimes years, in preparation for this spring 2020 term abroad. CEA is committed to working with each student and their home institution to offer credit for their term abroad, and ensure their academic success. CEA pledges to continue prioritizing student health, safety, and wellbeing, while never compromising academic quality of programs. We approach each situation cautiously and uniquely, to critically assess the best course of action for our students and university partners. This approach is crucial in times like these when we must balance student wellbeing with providing the academic quality students, families, and our university partners have come to expect from CEA.

Thank you for your support, patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together. For any questions, we urge students to reach out to their onsite CEA contacts about any questions they may have now and moving forward.

Sincerely,

Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO
CEA Study Abroad


Tuesday, 4:40 PM

March 24, 2020

A Message from CEA

We would like to express our thanks for your patience as CEA has navigated the return of all students to the United States over the past few weeks. We are grateful that students have returned home safely and have begun their remote course work with as little disruption as possible under these unusual circumstances. Your support in encouraging students to make their travel plans demonstrates the valuable partnership CEA strives to maintain with our university partners and families.

Understandably, we have all been under considerable stress due to the increase in COVID-19 cases around the world. We know that students will be challenged as they transition back to their U.S. lifestyles. While they may feel overwhelmed by the unprecedented actions and changes occurring locally and nationally, they will benefit from a focus on their remote studies. Please remind students to stay engaged in their coursework and communicate with their onsite CEA Academic team, as well as their contacts and faculty as if they were enrolled at a partner institution while abroad. Students have the ability to continue their learning and earn credits as planned, despite the unforeseen changes to their program. We also encourage students to stay in touch with the local culture of their host location through the CEA Instagram and Facebook groups.

Presently, CEA is focused on assisting students with accessing their course work remotely – and with as little disruption as possible. We also have been fielding inquiries about possible partial program refunds. It is important to note that the entirety of our students’ program fees have been paid out in the preparation and reservation of all program inclusions such as tuition, housing, excursions, and activities. We are currently negotiating with our vendors in the hopes of recouping some of these fees. However, as most countries across Europe are under lockdown, this process is very slow, and we are not guaranteed to recover any costs. Should we determine in the near future that the financial situation has changed, we will provide another update.

Lastly, CEA observes best practices in respecting the privacy of the personal health information of CEA students and will not share diagnosis or illness information. CEA urges any students who test positive for COVID-19 in the coming weeks to communicate directly with their roommates, friends, host families or anyone with whom they may have had close contact prior to their diagnosis. Per the CDC, some people who test positive may be asymptomatic and unknowingly exposed others. In the interest of public health, CEA encourages students to practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently and follow the directives of local authorities regarding mandatory reporting of travel and illness.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this unprecedented time.

 

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Tuesday, 12:56 PM

March 17, 2020

CEA Study Abroad Statement on COVID-19

The situation around the world has been rapidly changing in response to COVID-19, and we’ve seen some significant and drastic measures taken by governments across Europe and Latin America in the past few days. In the past 24-48 hours, several countries, including France, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, amongst others, have announced land border closures, shut down restaurants and social gathering venues, and imposed confinement periods upon their residents to stem the tide of this illness. In some cases, residents are restricted from leaving their homes except to buy food or medicine, travel to airports, and are required to carry a special permit or risk hefty fines.

What Does This Mean for CEA Study Center Programs?
CEA has already announced suspension of in-class instruction, and the move to remote/distance learning course instruction for all our Study Centers in Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, Seville, Dublin, and Buenos Aires. Students have or will receive additional details from their professors, and will be able to access course content, including any pre-recorded lectures on Moodle. These actions are meant to ensure academic delivery of coursework while providing options for students that minimize the potential impact and exposure to our students, staff, faculty and local communities.

What about Courses at Local Partner Institutions?
The above information specifically relates to CEA Study Center programs. For students enrolled at partner universities at most CEA locations, these institutions have already announced the move to distance learning course delivery, and have communicated or will communicate their course delivery plans, assignments, and means of assessments to students in the coming days and weeks. In most cases, lectures delivered remotely are asynchronous, meaning students do not have to attend them in real-time, but can watch recordings in their time zones. There are some exceptions, and CEA is working closely with these particular university partners on solutions that do not cause undue burden on students.

There are some local partner universities who have yet to announce plans for remote distance learning as they look to their governments to impose measures to combat COVID-19 in their communities. CEA is also working closely with these universities to drive a decision soon, and we will communicate updates as they become available.

Should Students Stay or Leave Their Program Location?
At this time, all students across all CEA locations have been asked to return to the United States as quickly as possible. The request to return home is necessary as governments across CEA locations in Europe and South America close land borders, restrict movement, and impose confinement measures for their citizens. Additionally, airlines around the world are reducing their services, limiting routes, with the United States restricting inbound international flights to only a handful of airports. Most students have complied with this request, and we are urging those remaining to do so as soon as possible.

Given these conditions, CEA staff are unable to offer students the same level of services and support we pride ourselves on providing, and that students, parents, and university partners expect. CEA staff across Europe are under the same confinement measures described above, and in most cases would not be able to assist students if they need assistance with routine issues or a health and safety emergency.

What about My Housing?
In most locations, students have been given a deadline by which they should return to the United States, after which their housing will no longer be available to them. However, we also understand that due to limited flight schedules and frequent cancelations, some students may not be able to leave their program location by the given deadline. We will work with each impacted student on a case by case basis, provided students book their return flights within the coming week to avoid further travel restrictions.

Will the Study Center Stay Open?
Due to restrictions imposed by local governments, most CEA Study Centers and offices are now closed. CEA staff are working remotely from their homes, and available by email to students. In case of emergency, students are urged to call the emergency phone number provided by our CEA onsite staff for immediate assistance.

Are There Any Refunds Available?
At this time, we are focused on assisting all CEA students to return home, and ensuring they access their course work remotely and with as little disruption or issues as possible. We will be turning our focus to all the inquiries from students and families about any possible refunds in the weeks to come.

However, it is important to note that at this time the entirety of our students’ program fees have been paid out in the preparation and reservation of all that their program includes (tuition, housing, excursions, activities). Should we determine in the near future that the financial situation has changed, we will follow up with another update.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation. This pandemic has impacted all operations, every vendor, every business large or small, and we simply do not have all the answers at this time. Our focus is to assist the remaining students on site to return home, and enable our faculty and partner universities to deliver courses remotely to ensure that students receive their academic credit for the semester.

What If I Have Other Questions?
We anticipate that you will likely have many other questions. Students will continue to receive updates from our onsite staff with many more details and logistics regarding their remote/distance learning coursework. We ask that you urge your students to reach out to onsite CEA staff for specific questions regarding their individual situation. However, please do not hesitate to reach out to the CEA US Headquarters staff for any general questions. Please note that CEA is unable to provide assistance with booking return flights to students, or advising on any travel plans students or their families may have.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together.

Sincerely,

Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO
CEA Study Abroad


Thursday, 12:25 PM

March 12, 2020

CEA Update on European Travel Suspension

In light of President Trump’s announcement last night, and the ensuing raising of alerts in Europe to Level-3 by both the U.S. Department of State, and the CDC, CEA has suspended all Study Centers in-class instruction, and will be moving to remote distance learning platforms for course delivery starting the week of March 16th.

What Does This Mean?
CEA has already announced suspension of classes and the move to distance learning course instruction for our Study Centers in Florence, Rome, Barcelona, and Paris. Following the latest developments, our Study Centers in Seville, Dublin, and Buenos Aires will also now move classes to distance learning course delivery, and suspend all in-class instruction starting the week of March 16th.

What about Courses at Local Partner Institutions?
The above information specifically relates to CEA Study Center programs. However, for all students enrolled in a partner institution at any CEA location, we are coordinating with these institutions on the best available options for students to complete their academic course work through distance learning.

We are happy to report that most institutions have already expressed that they are making arrangements for remote/distance learning options in one form or another available to students. Since updates are coming in rapidly and onsite CEA staff have the most up-to-date information, we ask that students reach out to their local CEA Program Director for additional information on the specific plan for each partner institution.

Should Students Stay or Leave Their Program Location?
CEA strongly urges all students to follow the policies and directives of their home institution, and to consult with their university advisors and families to make the best decision about whether to stay or return to the United States.

Regardless of the decision, students at CEA Study Centers will have the same access to all their course work, and will receive academic credit for their courses as planned, absent any mitigating circumstances related to internship credit. CEA’s academic integrity is central to our organization, and we will ensure that all students continue to receive the same high quality academic instruction and support through our remote/distance learning platform.

Students enrolled at CEA partner institutions should verify the availability of distance learning options as they make their decisions to stay in country or return to the United States. CEA will continue to advocate for students with our partner institutions to make distance learning options available to students for the remainder of the semester.

What about Internships?
For students enrolled in the internship program, CEA is coordinating with the placement hosts on options for students who opt to return to the United States at this time. If our team is able to secure a remote working option with the student’s employer, students may continue that arrangement through the end of their internship concurrent with their courses. All internship hours will be tracked and defined as “in-person” or “remote” hours in a report back to the student’s home institution.

What about My Housing?
Student housing is unaffected by the decision to move academic course work to a remote platform. Once again, we strongly urge all students to discuss with their home institutions and families whether to stay in country or return to the United States.

All students are welcome to remain in their CEA arranged housing for the time being, until they arrange their return flights, or if they choose to, for the remainder of the semester. However, should circumstances change in the particular country, and should there be any restrictions on the freedom of movement or access to resources and basic services, then students will be asked to the return to the United States.

Students are still not allowed to have overnight guests stay in CEA arranged housing, and CEA’s Code of Conduct and housing rules still apply and will continue to be enforced.

Will the Study Center Stay Open?
Until otherwise noted, or pending any restrictions imposed locally, CEA Study Centers will remain open for the remainder of the semester, but will not hold any in-class instructions. Should any student, after consultation with their home institution and family, opt to stay in country, they are welcome to come to the center, meet with staff, and use center resources available to them. We ask students to make appointments if they wish to meet with staff as they would have done normally.

Should the situation in a specific location change, and CEA decides to close the study center, we will send out information to all students impacted. CEA staff will remain available by email and phone to provide information and assistance to students as needed.

What If I Have Other Questions?
We anticipate that you will likely have many other questions. Students will receive a separate email from our onsite staff with many more details and logistics. We ask that you urge your students to reach out to onsite CEA staff for specific questions regarding their individual situation. However, please do not hesitate to reach out to the CEA US Headquarters staff for any general questions. Please note that CEA is unable to provide assistance with booking return flights to students, or advising on any travel plans students or their families may have.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns, and we will do our best to provide additional clarity in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO


Wednesday, 8:50 PM

March 11, 2020

Response to Announcement of European Travel Suspension

A short while ago President Trump announced the suspension of all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. Per the Department of Homeland Security, this Presidential Proclamation, “which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States… does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.” This suspension does not apply to flights out of the United Kingdom.

In light of tonight’s unprecedented announcement, students and their families wishing to return to the United States before this Friday should contact the airlines to arrange a return flight. CEA will provide as much assistance as we can, but are unable to give any guidance regarding flight bookings, flight routes or schedules.

Students who decide with their families to remain in Europe during the 30 day travel suspension in their program location can remain in their CEA arranged housing without interruption, and remain covered by CEA’s health insurance through CISI for the duration of the program. CEA onsite staff is available in person when possible, by email, and by phone to provide assistance and guidance that students remaining onsite may need.

CEA understands how distressing this announcement is for students currently studying in Europe. Earlier this week we announced that CEA Study Center programs at our European locations are moving to a remote/distance learning platform. Additionally, several European partner institutions have made similar provisions to move their courses to distance learning platforms. These contingency plans assure the continuity of students’ academic programs whether they stay in Europe or return to the United States. We continue to collaborate with the few partner institutions who have not announced their distance learning plans to date, and will provide this information as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, CEA staff have been providing students with information and guidance as they transition from in-class instruction to completing their academic program remotely.

We know that this announcement by President Trump has raised many questions and concerns, but please trust that CEA will continue do everything we can to support students during this time.

We appreciate your patience as we seek clarification of this announcement in the coming days.

Sincerely,

Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO


Wednesday, 8:50 AM

March 11, 2020

Update from CEA Paris: Academic Plan

CEA prides itself on prioritizing student health, safety, and wellbeing, while at the same time not compromising academic quality and delivery of our programs. We approach each situation cautiously, and critically to assess the best course of action for our students and university partners. This approach is crucial in times like these, when we must balance student wellbeing with providing the same academic quality students, families, and our university partners have come to expect from CEA.

Over the past several weeks we have been evaluating the situation in France, and listening to the concerns raised by students, families, and our US university partners. As of today, the U.S. Department of State and the CDC have not raised the advisory level for France to a Level-3. This is typically CEA’s threshold to enact our academic contingency protocols. However, in assessing the current situation, CEA has decided to move forward with our academic contingency plan and move all course work for the Paris Study Center to a remote/distance learning platform starting Wednesday, March 18th for the remainder of the semester.

What Does This Mean?
All course work and academic delivery will move to our Moodle platform starting March 18th. Classes will run normally at the Paris study center on Thursday, March 12th. No classes will take place on Friday, March 13th, or Monday and Tuesday, March 16th and 17th. Students will receive instructions from their professors, and will be able access course content, including any pre-recorded lectures on Moodle. No in-person classes will take place beginning March 18th. These actions are meant to ensure academic delivery of coursework while providing options for students that minimize the potential impact and exposure to our students, staff, faculty and local community.

Should I Stay or Leave Paris?
CEA urges all students to follow the policies and directives of their home institution, and to consult with their university advisors and families to make the best decision about whether to stay in Paris or return to the United States. Regardless of the decision, students will have the same access to all their course work, and will receive academic credit for their courses as planned, absent any mitigating circumstances related to internship credit. CEA’s academic integrity is central to our organization, and we will ensure that all students continue to receive the same high quality academic instruction and support through our remote/distance learning platform.

What about Internships?
For students enrolled in the internship program, CEA is coordinating with the placement hosts on options for students who opt to return to the United States at this time. If our team is able to secure a remote working option with the student’s employer, students may continue that arrangement through the end of their internship concurrent with their courses. All internship hours will be tracked and defined as “in-person” or “remote” hours in a report back to the student’s home institution.

What about Courses at Local Partner Institutions?
The above information specifically relates to CEA study center programs taking place in Paris. However, for all students in France enrolled in a French partner institution in Paris, Grenoble, Aix-en-Provence, or the French Riviera, CEA is coordinating with these institutions on the best available options for students to complete their academic course work through distance learning. Some institutions have already expressed that they are making remote/distance learning options available to students. We will provide more detailed information about these options in a separate update to the students impacted.

What about My Housing?
Student housing is unaffected by the decision to move academic course work to a remote platform. All students are welcome to remain in their CEA arranged housing for the remainder of the semester. Students are still not allowed to have overnight guests stay in CEA arranged housing, and CEA’s Code of Conduct and housing rules still apply and will be enforced.

Will the Study Center Stay Open?
The CEA study center will remain open for the remainder of the semester. Students who opt to stay in Paris are welcome to come to the center, meet with staff, and use center resources available to them. We ask students to make appointments if they wish to meet with staff as they would have done normally.

We anticipate that you will likely have many other questions. Students will receive a separate email from the Paris staff today with many more details and logistics. We ask that you urge your students to reach out to the CEA Paris (or in their specific study abroad location in France) staff for specific questions regarding their individual situation. However, please do not hesitate to reach out to the CEA US Headquarters staff for any general questions. Please note that CEA is unable to provide assistance with booking return flights to students, or advising on any travel plans students or their families may have.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns, and we will do our best to provide additional clarity in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
arefky@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Tuesday, 11:30 AM

March 10, 2020

Update on CEA Barcelona Program

CEA is aware of the increased containment measures issued by the Spanish government yesterday for the provinces of Madrid and Alava. While the alert levels in Spain, and by the U.S. Department of State and CDC remain the same, the responses to contain any COVID-19 spread has increased, and that has generated a sense of concern among the study abroad community. Several of you have reached out to CEA, and we are keenly aware of your concerns regarding this rapidly evolving situation.

After closely monitoring this rapidly developing situation over the past few weeks, and out of an abundance of caution, CEA feels that it is in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff to move all course work for students at the CEA Barcelona Study Center to distance learning platforms starting Monday, March 16th and until the end of the Spring semester.

CEA urges all students to follow the policies and directives of their home institution, and to consult with their university advisors and families to make the best decision about whether to stay in Spain or return to the United States. Regardless of the decision, students will have the same access to all their course work, and will receive academic credit for their courses as planned, absent any mitigating circumstances related to internship credit. CEA’s academic integrity is central to our organization, and we will ensure that all students continue to receive the same high quality academic instruction and support through our distance learning platform.

For students enrolled in the internship program, CEA is coordinating with the placement hosts on options for students who opt to return to the United States at this time. If our team is able to secure a remote working option with the student’s employer, students may continue that arrangement through the end of the semester concurrent with their courses. All internship hours will be tracked and defined as “in-person” or “remote” hours in a report back to the student’s home institution.

For students enrolled in Spanish partner institutions, CEA is coordinating with these institutions on the best available options for students to complete their academic course work through distance learning. All institutions have already expressed that they are making remote/distance learning options available to students. We will provide more detailed information about these options in a separate update to the students impacted.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns, and we will do our best to provide additional clarity in a timely manner.

Thank you,

Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
arefky@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Tuesday, 8:45 AM

March 10, 2020

Update on CEA Prague Program

Moments ago, the Czech government announced the suspension of classes at all schools until further notice. This is part of the government’s containment efforts, and is not an indication of an increased risk to students currently studying in Prague.

In accordance with the government’s directions, CEA’s academic partner, Anglo American University (AAU), has suspended in-class instructions and moved to remote/online platform for the time being. Students have already received information from CEA and AAU informing them of this decision, and additional information will be shared in the coming days as well. Students also enrolled in the internship program will receive additional information from our CEA internship staff specific to their portion of the program.

We would like to assure everyone that the CEA Prague Spring 2020 program is not canceled, and students should not make any plans for leaving Prague at this time. The Czech government has not indicated if school suspension will be lifted after a few days or weeks, and AAU has not made a decision about moving all their courses to a remote platform for only a limited time or for the rest of the semester.

Students with any specific medical concerns should reach out to the Prague staff to discuss their specific needs. CEA will work with AAU to discuss all specific needs for medical accommodations, and ensure students have options to complete their course work remotely should in-class instruction resume in the coming weeks.

In addition to the suspension of in-class instruction, the Czech government also put some restrictions in place. Specifically, all events of more than 100 people are currently suspended, and as such CEA is postponing all previously scheduled social and cultural activities. This restriction on crowd size does not impact gatherings at restaurants, pubs, or the use of public transit.

At this time student are asked to postpone all travel plans outside of the Czech Republic, and to complete the weekend Travel Survey for any travel within the Czech Republic. We also remind students all requirements of the CEA Code of Conduct and the Program Participation Agreement, as well as local university rules still apply, with the exception of attending in-person class meetings at AAU.

In the meantime, CEA is in close communication with Anglo American University, and we will continue to provide updates to students, families, and our university partners as more information becomes available.

Thank you,

Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
arefky@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Monday, 2:15 PM

March 9, 2020

Update on CEA Madrid Program

Moments ago, the Spanish government announced the suspension of classes at all schools in Madrid for two weeks. This is part of the government’s containment efforts to control the number of cases specifically in Madrid, which has the highest number of cases in Spain.

CEA staff is in close communication with our partner universities in Madrid, namely Nebrija University, and University Carlos III de Madrid about academic contingency options for students, including any remote or distance learning options should students choose to leave Spain and return to the United States.

Please note that this directive from the Spanish government only impacts Madrid. All other universities across Spain are operating normally, with in-class instruction, and no remote/distance learning options available at this time except for documented extenuating medical reasons.

We will send an update with additional information as soon as we learn more. In the meantime, we encourage students to reach out to our Madrid onsite staff with questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
arefky@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Monday, 11:30 AM

March 9, 2020

Update on CEA Programs in Italy and COVID-19 Response

On March 8th, the Italian government declared the entire Lombardy region a red zone, along with Milan and an additional 11 provinces. While the cities of Rome and Florence are not included in the impacted regions, the Italian government has also issued additional restrictions that impact all residents across Italy at this time. These restrictions include:

  • Closing all museums
  • Closing all pubs, gyms, clubs, and other gathering venues
  • Coffee shops and restaurants are closed, unless they ensure minimal distance of 1 meter (3 feet) between patrons
  • All public and private events are postponed until further notice
  • Schools will remain closed until March 15th
  • No relatives or visitors are allowed in visitor areas in hospitals or clinics
  • Religious gatherings are permitted only if the rules for distance between worshipers (3 feet) can be guaranteed. Additionally, funerals and weddings are not permitted
  • Anyone with compromised health should not leave the house and should avoid crowded places
  • Everyone should limit their own movements—travel only if absolutely necessary
  • Everyone should practice good sense to keep themselves healthy: wash hands; use alcohol based hand sanitizers when necessary; sneeze/cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow; etc.
  • Anyone with a fever (over 37.5C or 99.5F) should stay home and contact their doctor

Student safety and wellbeing continues to be CEA’s main priority. Unfortunately, these changes make it very difficult for CEA to provide the high level of support we’re committed to providing and which our students, parents, and university partners have come to expect. It is with this in mind that we are now advising all CEA students studying in Italy who had previously planned on staying there to return to the United States.

This week (March 9-13) is spring break for both the Florence and Rome programs. Students currently traveling in Europe who had planned to return to Florence or Rome after spring break are asked to adjust their itinerary return to the United States directly instead. Students who have already returned to the United States and planned to go back to Italy after spring break are asked not to do so and continue their CEA program through distance learning instead.

As communicated earlier, if students left their belongings in Italy, CEA staff will be able to pack up their belongings and ship them to the U.S. However, this may take some time, so we ask for everyone’s patience.

These developments will not have an impact on students’ academic program, and CEA will resume classes through remote/distance learning as planned on March 16th.

The CEA Florence and Rome staff remain available to answer any questions or concerns students may have. We ask that students reach out directly to staff in either location during normal office hours should they have any questions.

Thank you,

Ahmad Refky
Vice President of International Operations
800.266.4441
arefky@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Monday, 4:30 PM

March 5, 2020

Update on CEA Programs and COVID-19 Response

We appreciate your patience as we navigate the ongoing concerns associated with the COVID-19 situation. CEA continues to closely monitor developments across all our European locations, and our staff is in close communication with students, families, and universities on a regular basis.

We encourage students to heed the directives of their home institution, whatever those directives may be. We recognize that every institution, every family, and every student has their own tolerance for risk and a unique situation to consider. CEA remains available to support all students regardless of their decision to stay or leave, in collaboration with their family and home institution.

All course work and assignments for students studying at the CEA Rome and Florence Centers have been moved to a remote/distance learning format using Moodle and Zoom online platforms. We appreciate the tremendous efforts of our staff and faculty to adapt their curricula to these platforms mid-term. Students who have elected to continue with their studies are asked to remain engaged in their learning and stay in touch with their professors via email about course work and assignments.

As a reminder, students have the option to stay in Italy or return to the United States, continuing their course work and receiving academic credit without disruption whichever they choose. All coursework will be delivered in the same remote/distance learning format. Virtual office hours will be held for all students as well.

In all other CEA locations, CEA study center and partner university programs are operating normally, with no plans to postpone, suspend, or cancel classes at this time. However, CEA has contingency plans to extend distance learning alternatives to students studying at CEA Centers in France and Spain should CDC alert levels in these locations rise to match that of Italy. In the event that anything changes, we are also in close daily communication with our partner universities to discuss alternative forms of academic instruction wherever possible for those CEA students who are not based at a CEA Study Center. Please review your student’s program details with your student and ask that they share with you any foreign institution communications they have received.

In anticipation of upcoming Spring Breaks in several locations and St. Patrick’s Day, students have been asked:

  • To avoid and cancel their plans to attend AbroadFest
  • To refrain from making additional travel plans
  • If traveling, avoid Italy
  • Refrain from traveling if they feel at all unwell
  • Notify their local CEA staff if they feel ill, in order to see a doctor ASAP
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Practice good hygiene

Please remember all CEA students have health coverage through CISI. CEA staff are in regular communication with students and are available to provide advice and support as needed.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Monday, 4:20 PM

March 2, 2020

Update on CEA Programs in Europe Amid Travel Advisories

As we continue to closely monitor developments across all our European locations, our staff is in close communication with students and parents on a regular basis. Thank you for your emails and calls. We appreciate your patience as we address your concerns and questions.

CEA is aware of the recent guidance by the CDC issued on March 1st regarding study abroad programs, including the raised alert level for Italy to “Level-3: Avoid Nonessential Travel” and “Level-4: Do not travel” for the Lombardy and Veneto areas, approximately 200 miles north of Florence and 330 miles north of Rome. We are also aware the U.S. State Department raised their alert level to “Level-3: Reconsider Travel” to Italy.

The CEA Study Centers in Rome and Florence will remain open at this time; our programs in Italy have not be cancelled. However, students are asked to abide by their home institution’s directives on staying or leaving Italy. All course work and assignments for students studying at the CEA Rome and Florence Centers have been moved to an online learning format using platforms like Moodle and Zoom. By now, students should have received information from their professors via email about course work and assignments. Further details and information will continue to be shared by our staff and faculty in the coming days and through spring break (scheduled from March 9th-16th). Students have the option to stay in Italy, or return to the United States, and continue their course work and receive academic credit without disruption. All coursework will be delivered in the same remote/distance learning format, but onsite students, at this time, will have the option of in-person office hours with faculty, and virtual office hours for students that are outside of Italy.

Students should discuss the best option with their families, above all heeding the directives of their home university. CEA remains available to support all students regardless of their decision to stay or leave. Students are asked to notify onsite staff of their decision ASAP and complete any forms requested of them no later than March 5th.

For all other CEA locations, CEA study center and partner university programs are operating normally, with no plans to postpone, suspend, or cancel classes. As such, extending distance learning alternatives is not an option at this time. Our staff are communicating updates to students daily, and are available to provide advice and support as needed. In the event that anything changes, we are also in close daily communication with our partner universities to discuss alternative forms of academic instruction wherever possible.

Students in all CEA programs have health coverage through CISI. They should notify their onsite staff if they feel unwell, and CEA will arrange a doctor’s visit. As expressed in our daily communication with students, they should avoid unnecessary travel. For those students who still opt to travel, they are required to complete the travel survey to allow us to locate them in case of emergency.

Students should absolutely not travel for any reason if they feel unwell.

We realize this may be a stressful time for our students, their loved ones, and our university partners. Our staff in the US and onsite are available to address any questions or concerns, and ensure they receive the education and student services they have come to expect from CEA.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Saturday, 10:18 AM

February 29, 2020

Update on CEA Rome & Florence Amidst COVID-19

CEA is aware of the increased CDC alert level for Italy issued late on February 28th. CEA is also aware that students may be contacted by their home U.S. college or university directly and provided guidance, and students should adhere to their school’s instructions. Given the CDC has raised the alert level to “Level-3: Avoid Nonessential Travel”, and the U.S. State Department raised their alert level to “Level-3: Reconsider Travel”, CEA is also adjusting our actions. We understand the impact these upgraded alerts have on our students’ desire to continue their programs at the CEA Study Centers in Rome and Florence, and we are diligently working to provide students with alternate options to continue their academic instruction and complete their program successfully.

As communicated in earlier messages, out of an abundance of caution, course work and assignments for students studying at the CEA Rome and Florence Centers are being shared online until spring break starts on March 9th. Students should reach out to their professors via email if they have questions about their course work or assignments. Additionally, if students plan to depart Italy for the remainder of the semester, students must notify onsite staff ASAP and no later than March 5th. The CEA Study Centers in Rome and Florence will remain open at this time.

CEA will continue to support students who wish to return to the United States in light of the newly elevated alert level. In the meantime, we will continue to work with our Rome and Florence staff, faculty, and our School of Record, the University of New Haven, on academic contingencies allowing students to complete their course work remotely if they choose to depart Italy. We are exploring all options to provide our students academic credit, including moving academic modules online, or potentially independent study for certain courses and disciplines. For any students who elect to stay in Italy, their coursework will be delivered in the same online format, but will have the option of in-person office hours with faculty (and virtual office hours for students that are outside of Italy).

CEA’s academic integrity is central to our organization, so we must proceed cautiously, even under pressure to move quickly in these circumstances. CEA’s academics and curricula is designed to emphasize experiential learning, and incorporates activities to help students connect their experiences outside the classroom with the content they learn in class. This cannot be fully achieved through online course instruction alone, however, we recognize these are not the usual circumstances, and not during a situation like the COVID-19 cases we are currently experiencing.

There are many considerations and details we will work through in the coming days. We understand there may be unanswered questions regarding academics and online instruction if students return to the United States, as well as onsite office hours with faculty should students opt to remain in Italy. We will be working through these details and will send an update in the coming days.


Thank you for your patience as we continue to help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together.

Sincerely,

Brian Boubek
Chairman & CEO

 


Friday, 3:00 PM

February 28, 2020

Today’s Update on Student Health and Safety Amidst COVID-19

As this week comes to a close, and some students start their spring break, I want to share that all of us at CEA appreciate how stressful this situation is for you and your student. CEA understands your concerns for your student’s well-being and also academic success. Student safety is CEA’s top priority at all times, and we are doing all we can to support all students as they navigate this situation.

I want to briefly update you again on the COVID-19 developments in Europe, and specifically in Italy.

CEA’s onsite staff are continuing to advise students to do the following:

  • Review and limit their travel plans, particularly over spring break. Expect health screenings at transportation hubs and travelling between countries.
  • Use tissues when sneezing or coughing, throw them out immediately, and then wash your hands.
  • Reach out to CEA onsite staff with any questions or concerns they might have and,
  • Report their travel plans to staff in advance
  • Alert onsite staff if they begin to feel unwell and stay home. Most importantly, students SHOULD NOT TRAVEL, if they are unwell.

For students in Paris, CEA’s spring break begins the week of March 2nd. There are no travel restrictions for students studying in Paris, but we strongly advise them not to travel to Northern Italy to avoid unnecessary delays or screenings should they pass through the Lombardi region, and particularly Milan and Venice. Some French partner institutions are requiring any person who travels to Italy to undergo a self-quarantine at home for 14 days upon returning to France. For students this means they will not be allowed to attend class at a French university during the self-quarantine period. We encourage students in France with concerns to speak with our CEA onsite staff.

For programs in Rome and Florence, CEA’s spring break is scheduled for the week of March 9th. As communicated in earlier messages, out of an abundance of caution, course work and assignments for students studying at the CEA Rome and Florence Centers are being shared online until spring break starts on March 9th. Students should reach out to their professors via email if they have questions about their course work or assignments. CEA Center classes in Rome and Florence will resume in-person after spring break on Monday, March 16. Any student who has taken a Leave of Absence and intends to finish their Rome or Florence program should plan to arrive back in Italy in time to resume attending class. CEA’s university partners in Rome and Florence are continuing to hold class in-person at this time.

We are in close communication with partner institution in all CEA program locations, and to date none are canceling or postponing classes, and are operating normally. Therefore, all CEA Centers and programs in Europe continue running as planned until further notice.

If you have any questions or concerns that have not already been addressed, you may contact me via phone or email, and I will respond as promptly as I can. Please find additional updates regarding COVID-19 at the CDC, European CDC, and the CEA specific response on our website here.

Thank you for your patience as we help students navigate their study abroad experience under these circumstances together.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Tuesday, 10:15 AM

February 25, 2020

Update - CEA Study Abroad Response to COVID-19 Abroad

As communicated yesterday, CEA continues to closely monitor developments of the recent Coronavirus/COVID-19 cases in Italy, and the Italian government’s efforts in preventing the spread of infections. We are also aware of the increase in cases in Northern Italy, and the new cases in Florence and Tuscany.

While there is no evidence of urgent or imminent risk to students studying with CEA in Rome or Florence, our priority is the safety of our students and staff in all CEA programs. It is with this in mind that we have made the decision to implement alternate academic instruction for our Rome and Florence programs. Effective February 26th, all in-class activities will be suspended, and students will receive instructions from their professors to continue course work virtually, either using Moodle, Zoom, and via email. Our faculty are working closely with our CEA Academic and Center Directors on the revised course work, and will communicate clear plans and expectations to students in the coming hours and days. We anticipate in class instruction will resume as normal starting March 16th, 2020.

Between February 26th and March 16th, students have the option to either remain in Italy, or if they choose, can return to the United States. If students elect to leave Italy between February 26th and March 16th, they should plan to not leave any valuables behind in their housing. Our CEA staff will remain available to assist students should they reach out by email, phone, or would like to set up time to meet in person at the CEA Study Centers.

Out of abundance of caution, students who elect to stay in Italy are discouraged from traveling. We continue to advise students remaining onsite to use common sense hygiene practices to promote general safety and wellbeing. All students are still required to abide the Code of Conduct and all CEA policies.

The steps being taken in Italy are purely precautionary, and we would like to stress that that there is no cause for alarm. As messaged yesterday, we encourage you to remain calm regarding student health abroad, avoid alarmist news, and focus on reliable news sources. CEA will continue to follow the recommendations laid out by the Italian government and the European CDC, and are taking the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and healthy during this time.

We anticipate you may have questions in the hours and days head, so please do not hesitate to reach out by phone or email.

Thank you for your support, patience, and flexibility during this time. We will continue to update you as the situation in Italy and Europe progresses.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com


Monday, 12:17 PM

February 24, 2020

CEA Study Abroad Response to COVID-19 Abroad

CEA is aware of the recent Coronavirus/COVID-19 cases that have been reported in Northern Italy and want to touch base with you about how we’re safeguarding the health of our students. The Italian government is taking steps to address this public health concern and mitigate further transmission of the virus beyond currently affected areas. It is important to stay informed of the facts through reliable sources to avoid unnecessary panic and spreading misinformation.

Per the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80 percent of patients infected with the virus have mild symptoms (fever, sore throat, runny nose, achiness) and recover, while 15 percent have severe symptoms such as pneumonia. Around five percent of cases are considered critical. More information about Coronavirus/COVID-19 can be found at the following link: World Heath Organization

CEA staff across all locations in Europe are actively communicating with students and discouraging them from unnecessary travel and crowded areas as much as possible. Additionally, our CEA teams in Rome and our other sites in Italy are working with our faculty to revise academic activities originally scheduled to take place outside of the classroom. All field trips, colloquia, as well as extracurricular activities have been postponed to minimize the health risk to students and staff. Classes will continue to be held at the Rome and Florence Study Centers this week. Students who do not feel well or are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms have been advised to reach out to our staff immediately, and we will facilitate a visit to the doctor to assess their symptoms. During this time, a doctor’s note will be accepted to exempt students from attending class, and professors will work with students to make up missed class time and assignments.

All CEA students are being advised to avoid travel within Italy, specifically northern Italy, in compliance with recent government restrictions. While there are currently no restrictions on flights in or out of Italy, we are encouraging students to expect health screenings and possible travel delays or cancellations. All CEA students are required to complete the weekend travel survey so our staff knows where they are and can assist them as needed.

We are instructing students and CEA staff to practice good hygiene during this cold and flu season with the following recommendations:
  • Wash hands regularly. When you cannot do so, use hand sanitizer.
  • Use tissues when sneezing or coughing, throw them out immediately, and then wash your hands.
  • Don’t go to clubs or share drinks. Evening plans should avoid crowded places where germs are more easily spread.
  • Do not travel to places considered to be "red zones” in Italy: Codogno and Lodi.
  • Do not travel to places considered to be “yellow zones” in Italy: Venice, Pavia, Padova, Torino, and Milan.

We encourage you to remain calm regarding student health abroad, avoid alarmist news sources, and focus on the information we’ve provided in this message. CEA is following the recommendations laid out by the Italian government and the European CDC, and are taking the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and healthy during this time. We will continue to update you as the situation in Italy and Europe progresses.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out by email or phone.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kather
Director of Health, Safety & Student Affairs
480.375.2797
ekather@ceaStudyAbroad.com