March 11 Message to Students Currently Abroad for Spring Semester 2020: Coronavirus Travel From Europe Suspended - Request to Return to the USA

To Our Study Abroad Students:

I write with deep regret to share that Case Western Reserve is immediately recalling all of you from your locations across the world.

This decision comes after a series of developments late Thursday, among them:

  • 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.

As always, our first priority is the health and safety of all of our students. This news Thursday night, coupled with this week’s pace of COVID-19 spread and increasingly aggressive government responses, requires that we act now. 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 you may not be able to return to the U.S., or that you will be subject to quarantine or other restrictions, are simply too high to support your continued stay overseas.

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

Our Office of Education Abroad will do all that it can to assist you in making arrangements. Given the deadline of the president’s order, we have started with outreach to foreign nationals studying abroad in hopes of securing their arrival in the U.S. before midnight Friday. We shortly will be contacting all other students abroad with additional guidance.

For now, we recommend you follow the instructions below to begin the process.

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 you have difficulty changing your flight—contact the Office of Education Abroad at studyabroad@case.edu for assistance.

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

Your destination should be your permanent address rather than our university campus. (As you may have read, Case Western Reserve transitions to remote delivery of education on March 18, and will continue that model through at least April 6.)

Academic Plans

We will do all that we can to help you 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 regarding their contingency plans for students who must leave prior to the end of classes.

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

Financial Aid

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

More to Come

We know we will need to work with you regarding other details to address. For now, please concentrate on returning home in the safest and most expeditious manner possible. From there we will collaborate with you and your family to identify how we can support your continued academic progress and also assist in the financial aid process.

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

David Fleshler
Vice Provost for International Affairs