ISA Worldwide Alerts
The following alerts are to the best of ISA's knowledge gathered from direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council reports, CDC and WHO guidance, and expert consultation. Information is subject to change.
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.
Santiago, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
November 13, 2019
This afternoon, November 13th, the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) announced that today will be the last day of classes at the university for international students due to continuing demonstrations throughout the city. Classes were originally scheduled to end Friday, November 22nd, and students have been instructed to coordinate with their professors to complete all coursework. The PUCV will work with international students who elect to return home early so they can complete their coursework from a distance.
The Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI) announced today that classes will be canceled tomorrow, November 14th and, as normal, no classes are held on Fridays. At this time, the UAI has not made any announcement regarding classes next week, and ISA anticipates UAI classes will resume as normal on Monday, November 18th. The UAI continues to offer students the option to complete the rest of their semester remotely if they decide to return home before the program end date of November 23rd.
ISA has informed students of changes to the PUCV Fall 2019 academic calendar and the UAI's cancellations this week. ISA will help facilitate course completion with any student who elects to return home prior to the scheduled end date of their program. ISA will also arrange airport transportation for any student who wishes to return home early. The ISA Chile Resident staff continues to communicate with students and their host families regarding scheduled protests and safety information. The resident staff remain available 24/7 and will continue to share relevant information with students. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.
November 12th, 2019
Today, November 12th, country-wide strikes occurred across Chile as part of ongoing demonstrations. In Valparaíso, public transportation services were suspended due to the strikes, including the metro commuter rail system. Metro services are expected to resume tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13th. As demonstrations continue, some protesters have set up road blocks on the main highway between Valparaíso and Santiago.
Due to the transit disruptions and planned demonstrations, the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) canceled classes today for international students. Afternoon classes were also canceled at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI). The UAI and PUCV have communicated these decisions directly to students and classes at both institutions are expected to resume tomorrow, November 13th. The PUCV and UAI have confirmed that students can complete the rest of their semester remotely if they decide to return home before the program end date of November 23rd. Students who choose to depart the program early should plan to work directly with their professors to confirm expectations for completing assignments and exams from home.
The ISA Chile resident staff continues to communicate updates to students and inform them about demonstrations and changes to their academic schedules. ISA continues to monitor events in Chile and update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.
November 5th, 2019
Yesterday, November 4, large demonstrations took place in several cities, including Viña del Mar and Santiago. Most demonstrations were peaceful, though some clashes between protesters and law enforcement occurred. Additional protests have been announced for today, November 5, in Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. Transportation disruptions are expected around protest areas.
Classes for international students at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) are scheduled to run normally at an alternate location this week. Afternoon and evening classes at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI) have been suspended today beginning at 1:35 PM as a precautionary measure due to planned demonstrations in Viña del Mar. UAI classes are currently planned to resume as normal tomorrow morning. PUCV and UAI have confirmed that students will be able to work with professors complete their academic program by the scheduled end date.
ISA has informed students of any course cancellations and scheduled protests. Students are advised to avoid areas with demonstrations and to work with their professors for specific academic updates. The ISA Chile resident staff remains available 24/7 and will continue to share relevant information with students. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.
October 30th, 2019
On Monday, October 28th, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera lifted the state of emergency in the country and lifted all imposed curfews, though demonstrations have continued throughout the country. While largely peaceful, there have been some reports of clashes between protesters and law enforcement. In Valparaíso, demonstrators have caused intermittent transportation disruptions around the city and along Route 68, the main highway between Santiago and Valparaíso.
ISA host institution, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI), resumed classes on Monday, October 28th. Another ISA host institution, Ponitifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (PUCV), intends to resume classes for international students on Monday, November 4th. Courses offered to PUCV international students with Chileans remain suspended. ISA has informed students enrolled in courses with locals at PUCV that they should coordinate work directly with their professors to complete any assignments. No classes will be held tomorrow, Thursday, October 31st, and Friday, November 1st, at either institution due to annual public holidays. ISA continues to update students and has informed them that classes will resume for all students at UAI and PUCV on Monday, November 4th.
At this time, the status of Fall 2019 ISA programs in Chile remains unchanged. ISA anticipates that students will be able to complete their courses successfully by the scheduled program end date and will continue communicating with students regarding demonstrations, transportation disruptions, and changes to class schedules. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.
October 25th, 2019
Protests continued today across Chile, including in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. A large demonstration took place along the Avenue Argentina in front of the Congreso Nacional de Chile in Valparaíso, causing traffic disruptions. Truck drivers on strike also set up road blocks in several areas in Santiago and Valparaíso areas. Most demonstrations remain peaceful. Another curfew is set to begin in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar tonight, Friday, October 25 at 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Saturday, October 26.
ISA academic host institutions, the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) both made announcements regarding academic schedule for next week, October 28th-November 1st. The UAI will resume classes on Monday, October 28th on a condensed schedule. The PUCV will remain closed as their campus is situated near key protest areas.PUCV will evaluate the decision to resume courses again on Monday, November 4th. These updates have been communicated to students.
At this time, ISA has not made any changes to the program status in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. ISA has reminded student to stay in communication with their families and avoid all protests and demonstrations. ISA will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary to students, parents, and university partners.
October 23rd, 2019
Peaceful protests and a general strike across Chile took place today, Wednesday, October 23rd, despite President Sebastian Piñera’s announcement yesterday to make several social reforms in response to the demonstrations. Most protests remain peaceful, but some sporadic incidents of vandalism and clashes between protesters and law enforcement have continued.
A curfew remains in effect in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening until 6 a.m. on Thursday, October 24th. Local authorities will announce additional curfews on a daily basis. Metro services in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are operational but remain limited. A heightened police presence continues around the city, particularly at metro stations and supermarkets. As a precaution, ISA host institutions in Chile decided to cancel classes for the remainder of the week. ISA will communicate with host universities regarding the impact of class cancellations on student coursework.
ISA Chile resident staff continue to communicate updates and advise students on the situation, including curfew hours and to avoid all protests. The ISA Valparaíso office will be open Thursday and Friday, October 24-25 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but resident staff will continue to be available 24/7. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.
October 21st, 2019
Protests continued on Monday, October 21st, in Santiago, Valparaíso, and other regional cities throughout Chile in response to various social issues including rising costs of living, inequality, healthcare, and education. Most protests were peaceful, though some resulted in clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. A curfew is in effect in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar beginning at 6:00 p.m. Monday evening and will be lifted at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, October 22nd, local time. Curfew schedules are announced daily by the government. ISA host institutions in Chile have canceled classes for Tuesday and will evaluate additional cancellations on a daily basis. As a precaution, the ISA Chile resident staff have also canceled upcoming cultural activities.
The ISA Chile resident staff have accounted for all ISA program participants. The staff has advised students to remain close to their homes, check in with their families in the US, and avoid all demonstrations. Students are also advised to follow local news and monitor their emails for important updates from the ISA resident staff. ISA will continue to monitor the situation, check in with students, and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.
October 20th, 2019
On Friday, October 18th, Chile's president declared a State of Emergency after protests in Santiago in response to the announcing of an increase in public transportation prices. Protestors clashed with police, set fire to a number of Santiago metro stations, and burned public buses. On Saturday, October 20th, protests expanded to areas outside of the capital, including Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, where protestors similarly set fire to public transportation infrastructure.
On Saturday, a curfew was announced for some cities, including the Santiago Metropolitan Region, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The curfew was in effect between the hours of 10 p.m. on Saturday, the 19th until 7 a.m. on Sunday, the 20th for Santiago; and 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. More protests are anticipated on Sunday and Monday, the 21st. ISA host institutions in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have canceled classes for Monday, October 21st, and the ISA Valparaíso office will be closed due to disruptions to public transportation.
The ISA Chile resident staff has been in communication with students throughout the weekend, notifying them of class cancellations, planned protests, and instructing them to stay at home and avoid any demonstrations. ISA resident staff will also encourage students to check in with their families back home and follow the direction of local authorities. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.