ISA Worldwide Alerts
The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
Sydney, Newcastle, Gold Coast, Brisbane
January 3, 2020
As of January 3rd, bush fires continue to impact areas of Australia, particularly in parts of the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria. Although no ISA program locations have been directly threatened by the current fires, smoke continues to bring the potential of poor air quality and reduced visibility in some cities including Sydney and Melbourne. Air quality has varied and been dependent on day-to-day weather conditions. ISA students with pre-existing respiratory conditions are advised to take necessary precautions by minimizing exercise and strenuous activity outdoors.
ISA does not anticipate any changes to students' academic or program calendars as a result of the fires. The ISA Australia resident staff will be available to support and advise students regarding any questions they may have once arriving in the country. ISA continues to monitor the situation and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.
December 13, 2019
ISA continues to monitor the safety of our Australia program locations in response to ongoing seasonal bush fires. Although the fires have not posed a direct threat to ISA accommodations and universities, smoke has impacted visibility and air quality in Sydney and surrounding areas. Poor visibility resulted in periodic suspension of ferry and boat services in Sydney Harbor; however, Sydney's main airport has remained operational. With regards to air quality, high pollution levels during the week of December 9th did prompt local officials to advise residents to take precaution to protect their health. Pollution levels have been fluctuating daily, but are expected to improve in the coming days due to shifting coastal wind.
Activities and classes at ISA host universities in Australia have continued as planned. ISA resident staff in Australia have provided frequent updates to students since the start of the bush fire season, advising on safety precautions, including areas to avoid and limiting exercising and time spent outdoors when air pollution levels are high. Students are aware that they can reach out to ISA staff with any questions or concerns.
All ISA students in Australia are scheduled to complete their fall programs as scheduled. No changes are expected to ISA spring programs beginning in January and February of 2020. ISA will continue to monitor the situation, communicate with fall and spring students, and update this Worldwide Alert as needed.
November 11th, 2019
On Monday, November 11, a state of emergency was declared in New South Wales due to ongoing bush fires around the state. Local authorities have raised the fire risk warning to the highest level for several locations, including the Sydney metropolitan area. Additionally, fire crews are responding to several bush fires in the state of Queensland. While urban areas remain safe for travel, poor air quality is expected in the coming days for cities including Sydney, Newcastle, Gold Coast, and Brisbane. No ISA student residences are near areas with bush fires.
The ISA Australia resident staff have informed all students about the current situation and advised them to not travel to any fire-prone areas, follow local news for updates, and to check in with their families back home. As a precaution, one of ISA’s host universities, the University of Newcastle, has suspended classes for tomorrow, Tuesday, November 12. At this time, no other ISA host institution has canceled classes. Students attending the University of Newcastle have been informed of canceled classes and makeup schedules. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and will advise students and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.
November 29th, 2019
On Friday, November 29th, at approximately 2:00 p.m. (local time) London police responded to a knife attack at London Bridge. Local authorities quickly arrived on the scene and neutralized the suspect. Police are treating the situation as a terror incident. The London Bridge station of the London Underground has been closed as police continue with their investigation.
ISA London staff has communicated with students to make them aware of the incident, advise them of areas to avoid, and instruct them to follow directives of local authorities. Students have been asked to check in with their families back home and let them know they are safe. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.