Update on Study-Abroad and Exchange Programs in the Schengen Treaty Area of Europe (excluding Croatia, Ireland, and U.K.)

This is an important update with regard to your study-abroad and exchange programs in the Schengen Treaty area of Europe. The Schengen Treaty Area comprises the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. You are receiving this message because you are enrolled currently in a program in one of these countries.

What was announced on Wednesday night?

On the evening of March 11, the President announced new restrictions for 30 days on travel from the above listed countries to the United States, beginning at 11.59 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 13, 2020. You can find the full text of the Presidential Proclamation here. These entry restrictions do not apply to US Citizens and Permanent Residents, but after March 13, 2020, travellers returning to the US may be subject to additional health screenings and may have to travel through specific airports. The Department of Homeland Security has not yet released details on how these restrictions will be implemented. We will share this information as it becomes available, but the important thing to note is that unless you are an international student, you will be able to travel back to the United States even after tomorrow. So please do not panic.

If you are an international student at UMass studying abroad, please book your return ASAP.  Please note that the Presidential Proclamation does not apply to you if you will be aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.

Additionally, on the evening of March 11, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also raised the travel health warning for the Schengen Area countries listed above to Level 3 (Avoid Non-Essential Travel).

What is UMass’s Decision?

Based on this guidance, UMass is now suspending all study-abroad and exchange activities in the Schengen area until further notice. We are asking that all students make arrangements to leave the Schengen Area Countries as soon as possible for a return to the United States. 

UMass will provide up to $500 assistance to every student for flight change or rebooking costs if your airline does not provide you with penalty free changes. You will receive information about how to access this assistance soon.

Please complete the Google Form found here to update UMass about your travel details. Log out of your personal Google account and into UMass Apps to access the form.

  • Complete this form even if you have already left your host country.
  • Complete this form even if you have already forwarded us your flight itinerary.
  • Non-UMass students: forward your flight itinerary to abroad@ipo.umass.edu.

As you will be aware, next week is Spring Break and after that all classes at UMass will be moved online until April 6. UMass is asking you to return to your permanent home address upon your return from Europe. Please note also that in common with guidance for all UMass travellers returning from a CDC Level 3 country, you should observe a self-quarantine of 14 days and monitor your health. You can find guidelines for travelers returning from high-risk countries from the CDC here and some helpful tips from UMass Health Services here.

If you will require housing accommodations on campus for any reason (e.g., you are a returning international student), please complete this form so we can try to assist you.

Courses, credits, financial aid?

Some of your study-abroad programs have already made the decision to suspend or cancel their program activities or move their teaching and courses online. Other programs and universities are still making these arrangements. We know that most of you will have questions about your courses and the credits you will receive. We will be working with our partners to gather this information as soon as they can provide it.  Please bear in mind that this is an unprecedented and fast evolving situation that we are all having to deal with, and some of these details will take time to sort out. We are optimistic that in the vast majority of cases, our partners overseas will be able to allow you to complete your academic semester remotely.  Please know that in the meantime, there will be no adverse impact on your financial aid or registration status.

If you have questions about partial refunds for your program, these questions are best addressed to your program provider, unless you are on a UMass Exchange program. IPO will be happy to help with addressing these questions with providers in due course but our priority will be to secure answers about academic continuity and completion.

I have more questions.

IPO staff is working as quickly as possible to counter this enormous disruption and disappointment for nearly 600 students all over the world. We will try to provide answers to generally applicable queries as rapidly as we can but please bear in mind that responses to complex or individual questions will take some time to resolve. Again, our priorities will be to assist the safe return of students followed by resolving academic questions and issues. We will be working through the upcoming weekend so please send your questions to abroad@ipo.umass.edu.

We will be sharing this and all future updates with your families (for those students who have provided us with e-mails) but please also share/forward this and future communications to anyone who you feel is appropriate.  All information and updates will also be shared to the UMass Coronavirus response website.

Sincerely,

Mark Eckman
Director of Education Abroad

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
International Programs Office
University of Massachusetts Amherst