March 2 Message to Students Scheduled to Participate in a Spring Break Study Abroad Program: Spring Break Study Abroad Program Cancellation

To Our Students Scheduled to Participate in a Spring Break Study Abroad Program:

As you are aware, 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. Our office has assisted in the return of students participating in programs in China, and more recently ensured that a student in a program in Italy quickly departed that country.

Unfortunately, the widening spread of the outbreak, coupled with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now require much broader protective measures.

Specifically, the university is cancelling all 2020 Spring Break Study Abroad programs.

This decision is one none of us wanted to make. University officials waited as long as possible to act, in hopes that you still would be able to participate in the exceptional academic and life experiences each of your programs provide.

But when the CDC explicitly urged that we consider cancelling or postponing programs, adding that “students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad,” the choice was clear.

We are deeply sorry for the disruption this news creates for you on so many levels: academic, financial, and logistic are just a few. Most of all, though, we regret the immense disappointment you must feel after preparing for this opportunity for months.

With regard to the other issues, below is information regarding those three other areas:


We know you are concerned about the specific courses in which you were enrolled.  Your faculty program leaders are working now on alternative approaches for you to be able to meet the academic requirements required for credit.

Your faculty program leaders will be in touch with you by the end of the week to share their specific approaches for your 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 you as soon as possible.


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

If you paid your deposit by credit card, your deposit will be credited back to your credit card. If you were enrolled in MGMT 458, you will receive separate information regarding refunds.


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

The CWRU travel office is reaching out to airlines to determine what they may be willing to do to help students.

If we have any further information about those conversations, we will update you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we encourage each of you to reach out separately to your respective airlines regarding refunds or other options they might be willing to provide.

Again, we deeply regret that global developments required this decision. 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 next week. That said, given the information available at this time, we felt a responsibility to do all that we can to protect 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

David Fleshler
Vice Provost for International Affairs

Molly Watkins
Assistant Provost for International Affairs