Subject: Possible return information for students in off=campus programs
Date: March 12, 2020
Dear students and family and friends of students studying abroad,
As you all know, we have been monitoring the global outbreak of COVID-19 and planning for a variety of contingencies as the virus has spread. Our highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of every member of the Calvin community. The decision has been made to move our in-person classes here in Grand Rapids to online instruction until April 14, and some of our partner institutions abroad have instituted similar actions at their universities.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department, none of our study abroad locations has escalated to a Level 3 designation, which is our trigger point requiring students to return to the U.S. Thus, we are not mandating any students or groups to return to the U.S. at this time. However, because of the changing situations and the lack of clarity on how world travel restrictions will progress, any student who wishes to stop their program abroad and come home will be assisted in doing that. Please recognize that if the situation in their country changes, the option to return to the U.S. later may become more complicated.
For us to facilitate travel, we will need to know the students’ decisions as soon as possible. Program directors will be checking with each student to learn how they would like to proceed. Students should consult with their families and then let their program directors know what they have decided. Once we have that information, we will begin working on the logistics of the return.
As per U.S. Government regulations, it appears that anyone entering from abroad will be screened at the airport of entry and required to submit to a 14-day quarantine. This quarantine would have to occur at the student’s home, not at the Calvin University campus. We will do all we can to help the students continue their instruction in an online format upon their return to the U.S.
Students who decide to remain on-site will have to follow the recommendations of their local host institution with respect to face-to-face vs. online class attendance. Calvin-taught classes will also follow the format recommended by the local institution. In most cases, group travel will be limited or restricted, and individual travel should occur only according to the guidelines in place at the hosting location.
Each student is required to respond with their current intentions to the on-site program director by tomorrow, at 9:00 a.m. local time. Students on a non-Calvin sponsored program should respond directly to the Off-Campus Programs office.
We know this world situation is causing added stress and anxiety, and the path ahead is not entirely clear. But we remain committed to doing all we can to help you navigate this unusual situation.