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.
March 3, 2020
We are closely following COVID-19 developments and have reviewed the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recent public statement regarding students traveling abroad to study.
After carefully considering the message and reviewing additional guidance from organizations like PULSE and the Forum on Education Abroad. ISA, along with WorldStrides and other organizations that are part of the WorldStrides family, is not suspending any programs currently on the ground, with the exception of previously suspended programs in Italy, South Korea, and China.
The health and well-being of our students and staff are of utmost importance. We’re continuing to monitor all program locations regarding the spread of COVID-19 daily and are working closely with staff both in the U.S. and on the ground in host countries to communicate any additional guidelines that are developed in conjunction with our medical director. Should a situation change within a program host country, we have processes in place to respond quickly and will directly communicate with you, students on our programs, and their emergency contacts.
In the meantime, ISA will support program participants following the guidance of their home university, as each institution has its own policies during this time.
February 29, 2020
On February 28th, the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory for Italy to a Level 3: Reconsider Travel due to an increase in the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly in northern Italy. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued its travel notice for Italy, encouraging all travelers to avoid nonessential travel to the country until further notice. In light of these developments, ISA has decided to cancel all Spring 2020 programs in Italy. The ISA resident staff in Milan, Florence, and Rome have communicated with all ISA students and will assist them in returning to the U.S. ISA is in contact with all host institutions in Italy to discuss the academic options available for students to complete their coursework from a distance. We will continue to communicate with students and our university partners regarding these options.
In Japan, new cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported in multiple regions across the country. Authorities in Japan are currently implementing measures to contain the virus, including some travel restrictions, closures of primary and secondary schools, and increased health screenings at airports. The ISA Spring program in Tokyo is scheduled to begin on March 22nd, and ISA will continue to provide updates to upcoming students regarding their program. At this time, neither the CDC nor the DOS recommend canceling travel in Japan for healthy travelers.
ISA continues to monitor the situation worldwide with the COVID-19 virus. We continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, the U.S. State Department, and our trusted security partners. We have communicated with all ISA students worldwide to inform them of the situation, remind them of standard health practices, and inform them of ISA’s travel restrictions for independent student travel to China, Korea, and Italy until further notice.
ISA will continue to closely monitor the situation and will update this Worldwide alert as necessary.
February 27, 2020
On February 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the novel coronavirus: COVID-19. Although most cases are still concentrated in Hubei Province, China, there have been a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in other countries, including the U.S.
ISA is closely monitoring developments on COVID-19. ISA Resident Staff are advising students across all ISA program locations on best practices to stay healthy while abroad and providing guidance on independent travel. With the exception of Spring 2020 programs in China and South Korea, all ISA programs are currently running as planned.
Please note developments in the following ISA locations.
Beginning Friday, February 21st, a new cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified in South Korea. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced there is sustained community spread occurring particularly in the Daegu and Cheongdo areas (approximately 235km southeast of Seoul). On Monday, February 24th, the CDC elevated their Travel Notice for South Korea to a Warning Level 3, advising travelers to avoid non-essential travel to South Korea. In light of these developments, ISA has cancelled all Spring 2020 programs in South Korea. ISA staff has communicated with all South Korea students regarding the cancellation of their program. ISA is working with affected students on returning to the U.S. and advising on alternative program options.
On Monday, February 24th, the CDC issued an Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions in Italy due to a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in northern Italy (mostly Lombardy and Veneto regions). The CDC notice does not recommend cancelling or postponing travel to Italy, but at this time, ISA does recommend against traveling to areas and townships that are under quarantine in the Lombardy and Veneto regions. Following precautionary guidance from the local government, ISA’s two host institutions in Milan, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) and Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, announced that all campus activities and classes would be suspended from February 24rd through 29th. This announcement is due to an abundance of caution, and ISA is not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases on either host university campus. Classes at both institutions are expected to resume on Monday, March 2nd. The ISA Milan resident staff has communicated with all students regarding canceled classes this week, reminded students to keep up with assignments from professors, and encouraged them to stay in contact their families in the U.S. Classes on campus at ISA host institutions in Rome and Florence continue to run.
On Saturday February 22nd, the U.S. Department of State raised its Travel Advisory for Japan to a Level 2, the second lowest on a four-tier system, and encouraged travelers to exercise increased caution due to the new cases of COVID-19. Additionally, on Monday, February 24th, the CDC issued an Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions in Japan. The updated travel advisories remind travelers that many cases of COVID-19 are individuals who have recently traveled to China or had contact with someone who had recently traveled to China, but sustained community spread is occurring in some areas. Neither the DOS nor the CDC recommend cancelling travel to Japan. The ISA Tokyo Spring 2020 program will begin March 21st and is scheduled to run as normal.
ISA will continue to monitor the situation closely, communicate with students and university partners, and update this WWA accordingly.