Dickinson College has suspended all study abroad programs due to the coronavirus, and has asked students to depart their host countries for the United States by March 21. This announcement comes as the college suspends all May and summer 2020 study abroad programs also due to coronavirus.
In an email sent to students who were studying abroad for the spring 2020 semester, Director of Education Abroad at the Center for Global Study and Engagement (CGSE) Katie DeGuzman an-nounced the study abroad suspension, which is inclusive of partner programs which otherwise re-main operation. DeGuzman explained that the decision was made “in the interest of the health, safe-ty, and security of all of our Dickinsonians.”
Students currently abroad were asked by CGSE to leave their host countries no later than March 21, noting that students returning may face difficulties in reentering the United States due to the imposition of travel restrictions. DeGuzman noted that students returning from abroad are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Students are expected to remain in contact with their abroad institutions in order to complete academic courses. In an email sent to returning students on March 17, DeGuzman explained that indi-vidual institutions will be contacting students individually to advise as to how coursework will be completed. Students returning from abroad will also receive a prorated refund on their room and board for the semester.
Students expressed sorrow about the cancellation of their semesters abroad. “My program shut down on Wednesday night, two hours before the travel ban, and before Dickinson [College] closed all study abroad” said Claire Jeantheau ’21, who had been studying in Copenhagen Denmark, “get-ting through the airport in Copenhagen before Friday night was definitely the most intense abroad experience I’ve had. While I’m sad I won’t get to spend the full spring abroad, I’m more thankful that I’m safe at home with my family.”
May and summer study abroad programs have also been cancelled due to the coronavirus. Howev-er, study abroad plans for fall 2020 remain in place. According to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on the Dickinson College website, CGSE intends to operate all regular study abroad offerings in the fall. However, whether programs will operate or not remains unclear, according to the FAQ page. Uncertainty regarding for how long the coronavirus may persist, and the possibility of further travel restrictions, means that programs for the fall remain subject to cancellation. The college will monitor information provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), United States Department of State, and the World Health Organization in evaluating whether to suspend programs.