Guidance for Study Abroad Decision-Making During COVID
The decision to study abroad in spring 2022 is very much tied to COVID-19 pandemic trends in host countries, as well as host country and host institution/organization responses to them.
The pandemic is clearly not over; some countries are experiencing new pandemic waves. Where the pandemic is seemingly under control, restrictions on entry may be in place to limit the possibility of a resurgence. In countries where study abroad students are welcome, classes may be delivered online when pandemic conditions warrant this. Or, in contrast, the study abroad experience may be little altered from previous years’. In short, the picture is mixed.
Students and guardians are strongly encouraged to review the following resources and make an informed decision about participation.
Students planning to studying abroad in Spring 2022
Students and guardians are expected to read this this form and submit a signed copy to the Office of International Education before December 1.
Beloit College’s study abroad partner universities and organizations now are experienced in helping to ensure educational continuity and safety under the pandemic. Many post and regularly update information about the measures they are taking on their websites.
Study abroad organizations have done extensive research and analysis to understand the conditions under which study abroad can be expected to be reasonably safe.
Students who study abroad will have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, reducing risk to them, although if careless, they could infect others. However, students who study abroad will be skilled in complying with COVID-19 safety protocols, such as social distancing; wearing face masks indoors and, where social distancing is not possible, outdoors; washing hands; and avoiding large gatherings and crowded areas.
Study Abroad Risk Analysis
CIEE is a study abroad organization that is providing health risk assessment to the U.S. study abroad community. Higher numbers means more risk; lower numbers means less risk.
Most are identical to CDC levels. However, DOS is beginning a new round of analysis to take into consideration safety and security in host countries and factors such as quality of health care and health care capacity.
The DOS advisory level numbers are intended to signal viewers to read the actual advisories. The safety & security section and the health section are particularly pertinent to study abroad. Therefore, please regularly review the advisories applicable to your program for current information.
Questions to Consider
You should register for classes at Beloit College for the spring 2022 semester even if you plan to study abroad. If you are able to study abroad, your registration can easily be changed at a later date with no penalty, as long as you will still be registered as a full-time student.
Track information on COVID-19 travel regulations for your intended host country. This interactive map, updated regularly, makes this easy to do.
In most if not all cases, you will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test shortly before departure for your intended host country or documentation from a licensed physician indicating you recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days before departure.
Yes. Beloit College requires that you be fully vaccinated before studying abroad, even if vaccination is not mandated by the host country and/or by the host university or program.
Specific information in US State Department Travel Advisories can help potential travelers understand risks specific to the country at the time the advisory level was assigned, as well as evaluate the personal tolerance of risk. The advisory numbers are meant to alert travelers to look at the advisory text, and in particular, the sections devoted to safety and security and to health.
DOS acknowledges that its new classification system is confusing, and that its advisories are just that: advisory, but neither prescriptive nor binding. However, DOS is slowly beginning to do new analysis. In the meantime, further confusing the picture, seemingly disparate countries have been assigned the same level. Or, a country widely considered unsafe for travel, such as Sudan, is classified as Level 3, while a country generally considered safe for travel and known for the quality of its health care, such as Finland, is classified as Level 4. To “unpack” advisories, consider the information on safety & securing and on health for Finland and Sudan.
CDC advisory levels do not yet take into consideration vaccination rates in the country destination, nor quality of healthcare and healthcare capacity.
Beloit College will therefore continue to use DOS and CDC travel advisories as guides, but will also consult information from other sources, including those listed under number 3 above, as well as COVID-19 analysis undertaken by trusted study abroad partner organizations and host institutions/countries.