Global Engagement at the University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi – Office of Global Engagement

COVID-19 and Study Abroad

Posted on: March 8th, 2020 by blair

Study Abroad FAQ and COVID-19

The below FAQ resource is for students who are currently studying abroad in spring 2020 or plan to study abroad in summer 2020.  Communication to participants and applicants about specific programs will continue to be made via email directly to students.  Please feel free to contact the Study Abroad Office at abroad@olemiss.edu should you have additional questions.

  1. How does the University of Mississippi make decisions about its study abroad programs? In order to evaluate the status of a specific program, UM will weigh criteria that include the following:
    • Department of State travel advisory level
    • Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 advisory level
    • Potential of quarantine policy in the host country to disrupt program activities/impact students (Is there significant potential for U.S. participants to be quarantined?  What is the quality of care provided in quarantine?)
    • U.S. university policies for students in program’s host country (Are U.S. universities with similar in-country partners/presence requiring that their students return from host site or nearby sites? Are they prohibiting travel to the host country or canceling other programs in the host country?)
    • Local university policies and status (Are classes suspended or canceled? Are campuses closed?)
    • Overall quality of medical services available in host country
    • Potential for disruptions in local economy, infrastructure, medical service, markets
    • Potential for travel complications that could prevent departure from host country
  1. What is the current status of study abroad programs for spring and summer 2020? Spring and summer 2020 study abroad programs have been canceled effective March 12, 2020. Students in programs affected by the restriction have been contacted directly.
  2. What happens if a UM study abroad program is suspended or canceled? UM works closely with our academic partners who provide study abroad programs with the goal of mitigating potential impacts on students’ academic progress. For information on a specific program, please email the Study Abroad Office at abroad@olemiss.edu or email your study abroad advisor.  Many programs have already moved to online coursework that can be completed in the United States.
  3. Are refunds available to students whose programs are canceled? We understand that the cancellation of a program is not only disappointing to students but may cause unexpected expenses.  A committee will review refund requests on a case-by-case basis.  You should make arrangements to depart as cost-effectively as possible.  Please keep all receipts for airfare change fees and/or other unexpected costs associated with your early departure so that a refund committee can review them after return to your home country.  Program fee refunds will also depend on the program provider’s refund policy due to COVID-19.  If you wish to seek any reimbursement from the committee, please submit your receipts to abroad@olemiss.edu.
  4. Does the University of Mississippi have any recommendations for students traveling independently while on study abroad? The university strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with any of the following advisories due to COVID-19:
    • CDC Alert Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions), or
    • CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel), or
    • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), or
    • U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 4 (Do Not Travel).

Students who are traveling should, in addition to taking recommended measures to prevent illness, take basic precautions to prepare for potential travel disruptions:

  • Students should register independent travel with their on-site program staff. The program staff’s ability to help in case of difficulty is increased by knowing students’ plans in advance.
  • Students should keep cell phones fully charged and operational, and check their email at least daily.
  • Students should travel with all key documents, including their passport and insurance documents.
  • Students should travel with a full supply of any regular medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications should be packaged in their original containers.
  1. What changes has the University of Mississippi made to its study abroad programs in light of the COVID-19 outbreak? UM has canceled all University study abroad programs in spring and summer 2020, as have many US higher education institutions. Decisions about fall semester programs and travel will be made as the situation is monitored throughout the spring. We encourage you to visit UM’s dedicated webpage for the latest information: https://provost.olemiss.edu/covid-19update/.
  2. Who will UM contact with updates? UM will directly contact students abroad with updates and changes to their programs, if any. Students may be requested to return to their home countries if the CDC advisory levels trigger a cancellation or suspension.  UM reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the UM community can find updates at https://provost.olemiss.edu/covid-19update/.
  3. I’m on financial aid.  What impact will the spring cancellation have on my aid this semester?  Every student’s financial aid package is different.  We have been in touch with the Financial Aid Office and will evaluate the best course of action for your particular aid package once we know the academic contingency plan for your program.  What we can confirm is that if you do not earn any credit for the semester, any scholarships you have this semester will be available in future semesters.
  4. What is required upon my return to the United States?  As you make preparations to return the U.S. we ask that you do the following:
    • Contact your family and make them aware of your updated travel plans.  Please communicate with your parents!
    • Contact your program (host university, program provider, etc.) and follow any instructions that they give to you.
    • Complete the return information form here: https://go.rebelsabroad.com/return-info.
    • Complete the UM Travel Self-Reporting Form.

    Also, UM guidelines state that any student, faculty or staff member returning to campus from international travel is required to self-quarantine and self-monitor at their home, complete the online Travel Self-Reporting Form, and follow the CDC recommendations for what to do for a minimum of 14 days.

    • Students who traveled internationally should contact Student Health at 662-915-7274.

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