Study Abroad Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Case Western Reserve University leaders have been closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) since early January—all with a primary focus on the health and safety implications for members of our campus community.

The pace of COVID-19 spread and increasingly aggressive government responses require that we take action regarding our study abroad programs. 

The university has recalled all students studying abroad on Spring Semester 2020 and Academic Year 2019-2020 programs and cancelled all programs for:

  • Spring Break 2020
  • Spring May Abroad 2020
  • May Term 2020
  • May and Summer 2020 Faculty-Led Programs

We cannot predict where the next large outbreak may take place, nor do we know what additional travel limitations other countries may impose. The risks that our students may not be able to return to the U.S., or that they will be subject to quarantine or other restrictions, are simply too high to support their continued stay overseas.

As the university continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation, we are currently evaluating our other upcoming study abroad program terms and information on each can be found below. 

You can find Case Western Reserve COVID-19 updates here.

Updates by Program Term

All Spring Break 2020 study abroad programs were cancelled based on guidance from the CDC, which explicitly urged universities to consider canceling or postponing programs, adding that “students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad.”  

We are deeply sorry for the disruption this news creates for our students. 

Here is some information about the academic, financial and travel implications of the cancelation. 

Academics

The faculty program leaders are working now on alternative approaches for students to be able to meet the academic requirements required for credit.

Faculty leaders will be in touch with students in their program to share their specific approaches for their course.

Please keep in mind that these faculty themselves just received formal notice of their programs’ cancellation. While most were aware such a step was a possibility, they still will need some time to develop new ways for you to meet the academic goals of the course. Please keep these points in mind, and know that they will contact their students as soon as possible.

Finances

All students will receive full refunds on program fees and deposits. If a student's program fees were paid through their student account, they will see the program fee credit on their account as soon as we can complete processing it. Given the number of students affected by this change, we ask for patience as we work through each account.

If a student paid their deposit by credit card, their deposit will be credited back to their credit card. If they were enrolled in MGMT 458, they will receive separate information regarding refunds.

Flights

Most of our programs require students to purchase their own flights.

The Case Western Reserve Travel Office has reached out to airlines to determine what they may be willing to do to help students. Please see: Airline Accommodation for COVID-19 Impacted Travel.

If students booked through an airline not listed on this document, we encourage them to reach out separately to their respective airlines regarding refunds or other options they might be willing to provide.

All Case Western Reserve University students who are currently studying abroad for Spring Semester 2020 and Academic Year 2019-2020 were recalled from their host countries around the world. 

This decision was made based on several factors including:

  • President Trump’s ban on the entry of foreign nationals and other non-U.S. citizens who have been in Europe within the past 14 days. The order—which takes effect at midnight Friday, March 13 — except those travelling from the United Kingdom;
  • the U.S. Department of State’s Level 3 Global Health Advisory advising citizens to reconsider all travel abroad; and
  • notice from one of our European partner institutions that it is closing and that all study abroad students must leave.

Our first priority remains the healthy and safety of all of our students and these developments coupled with the recent pace of COVID-19 spread and increasingly aggressive government responses, require this action.

All students participating in an education abroad experience must immediately take steps to return home.

The Office of Education Abroad will do all that it can to assist students in making arrangements. All students will be contacted with additional guidance, but for now, it is recommended they follow these instructions:

Travel Logistics

Contact your air carrier immediately.

Many airlines are working with students and other travelers to waive change fees. If costs become an issue—and/or any students have difficulty changing their flight—they should contact the Office of Education Abroad at studyabroad@case.edu for assistance.

If a student has not yet purchased a return flight and would like help in making a reservation, please contact studyabroad@case.edu for assistance.

The student's flight destination should be their permanent address rather than our university campus (as you may have read, Case Western Reserve providing remote delivery of education from March 18 through at least April 6).

Academic Plans

We will do all that we can to help students complete this academic semester successfully. Staff in Undergraduate Studies and Student Success have been working together to determine the best ways to achieve that goal; we also are communicating with our partner institutions abroad regarding their contingency plans for students who must leave prior to the end of classes.

Navigators and/or Undergraduate Studies staff will contact students individually to determine how they can best assist them with this unexpected transition. 

Financial Aid

Each student has a unique financial circumstance, and our Office of Financial Aid is reviewing that information now. Students will soon hear from a financial aid representative whose goal will be to help them determine what resources they now have and how the office might assist in finding additional support for them.

If students have any questions or concerns, please reach out to studyabroad@case.edu. We are here to help you.

All Spring May Abroad and May Term study abroad programs have been cancelled as a result of the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is information regarding immediate areas of concern for students impacted by the program cancellation:

Academics

Faculty program leaders are working now on alternative approaches for students scheduled to participate in these programs to be able to meet the academic requirements required for credit.

The faculty program leaders will be in touch with students to share their specific approaches for their course.

Please keep in mind that these faculty also just received formal notice of their programs’ cancellation. While most were aware such a step was a possibility, they still will need some time to develop new ways for you to meet the academic goals of the course. 

Please know that they will contact their students as soon as possible.

Finances

All students will receive full refunds on program fees and deposits. If a program fee was paid through a student account, the student will see the program fee credit on their account as soon as we can complete processing it. 

Given the significant number of students affected by this change, we ask for patience as we work through each account.

If the deposit was paid by credit card, it will be credited back to the credit card. 

Flights

Most of our programs require students to purchase their own flights. If a student has purchased a flight, contact the flight carrier as soon as possible to inquire about refunds and changes to the ticket.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your course instructor or to the Office of Education Abroad at studyabroad@case.edu.

All May and Summer 2020 Faculty-Led study abroad programs have been cancelled as a result of the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is information regarding immediate areas of concern for students impacted by the program cancellation:

Academics

Please work with your Navigator to find an alternate course, if needed.

Finances 

All students will receive full refunds on program fees and deposits paid. Fees paid by credit card will be credited back to the credit card that was used to make the payment. Please allow a minimum of one week for processing.

Flights 

Most of our programs require students to purchase their own flights.  If you have already purchased your flight, contact your carrier as soon as possible to inquire about refunds and changes to your ticket.  See Updated Flexible Airline Policies for guidance.

We are deeply sorry that this pandemic demands that we cancel these programs out of profound concern for your health and safety. We believe strongly in the academic and personal value of every one of these programs, and very much wish you could have participated in them. Given the information available at this time, we felt that canceling the programs now gives priority to protecting your health and safety.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your course instructor or to the Office of Education Abroad at studyabroad@case.edu.

At this time Summer 2020 programs will run as scheduled.  

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 regularly and keep students informed of any changes related to their programs.

In the meantime, we advise that students do not yet purchase airline tickets and/or make certain to follow the Office of Education Abroad's advice to purchase refundable airline tickets. 

While students are abroad they should avoid travel to areas with CDC level 3 travel advisories, and take careful measures to protect themselves and others.  

If students are returning to campus from a level 3 area, and/or suspect that they might have been in contact with COVID-19, please follow the guidelines for returned traveler reporting by University Health & Counseling Services. 

It is still very early to determine how COVID-19 will evolve in the coming months. At this time, Fall 2020 and Academic Year 2020-2021 programs will run as scheduled, provided that the travel warning for a host country is not level 3.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 closely and keep students informed if the travel advisories increase to level 3.

Information for Parents

Updates from Case Western Reserve on COVID-19 can be found here.

We will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 regularly and keep students informed of any changes to their program. 

If a student is studying abroad in a country that is classified as a level 3 by the CDC, they will need to return home or avoid travel to those areas, and take careful measures to protect themselves and others.  

If a student is returning to campus from a level 3 area, and/or suspect that they might have been in contact with COVID-19, they should follow the guidelines for returned traveler reporting from University Health & Counseling Services.

If parents have any questions, the Office of Education Abroad is ready to assist them. Simply email us at studyabroad@case.edu.

Study Abroad Communications

The Center for International Affairs has provided information and resources to study abroad students via email related to COVID-19. The emails are available to review below (listed in reverse chronological order):