Spring 2020 Study Abroad

The information on this page is no longer being updated. Please refer to this page for updated information after April 22, 2020.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) globally. This page includes updates and FAQs relevant to students on study abroad programs and individuals abroad on University business.

All students are required depart their study abroad sites immediately. Please complete the Departure Planning & Intake Form by March 20 so that we can better assist you in your return. If your travel or academic plans change at any time, please complete a new form.

You may also review March 11 messages from President Killeen, MASSMAIL - COVID-19 Policies, and Chancellor Jones, MASSMAIL COVID-19: Post-spring break information for students, faculty, and staff as well as our March 11 message to students for additional details.

Review the latest communication and updates:

FAQs

Yes, all students are required depart their study abroad sites immediately. Please review President Killeen’s MASSMAIL - COVID-19 Policies and Chancellor Jones’ MASSMAIL COVID-19: Post-spring break information for students, faculty, and staff as well as our March 11 message to students for additional details.

Note that our concern is more than contracting the virus. The Department of State has elevated the global travel advisory to Level 4, Do Not Travel. Travelers abroad may be unable to return home later in the event of a family or other emergency. Likewise, your family may be unable to join you in the event of a personal emergency. By returning home, you will be in a familiar support network, health system, and in a place where you are less susceptible to immigration and transportation disruptions.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has canceled all study abroad for spring semester 2020 and directed students to return home. The University is concerned enough that it is also prohibiting faculty and staff travel abroad. At the same time, weknow there are significant academic questions that impact your decision. The University of Illinois, the Chancellor, the Provost, and the College Deans are committed to assisting you as much as possible through various options regarding academic credit and plans. The options for every student will vary by academic plan and study abroad programs but the colleges will be communicating with you.

There is no waiver or exemption to remain abroad. However, the University cannot compel your departure. If you refuse to depart, the University can no longer fully guarantee the assistance that is currently being provided. This includes travel arrangements, reimbursements, and full academic support. Additionally, you will be assuming responsibility for your well-being. However, your international insurance will be continued for the original dates of your program. There is a comprehensive Acknowledgement of Risk and Release of Liability that identifies these concerns more fully.

If you refuse to depart, the University will keep you enrolled as a student (there is no disassociation) and accept academic credits from your program per the normal course articulation process.

We ask you to consider that although some international partners are still running programs, the situation is fluid and they may cancel future classes. In that instance, academic options from the University will be significantly curtailed after add/drop deadlines for the second eight weeks. Additionally, as the demand for air travel diminishes, the availability of flights will also decrease as airlines cease flying normal routes to save money.

We encourage you to consider these issues and make an informed decision. If you refuse to depart, you must sign the Acknowledgement of Risk and Release of Liability. Please contact your college study abroad office to request this form.

Before arriving in C-U, the Department of Homeland Security should screen you upon arrival at the first U.S. airport. You will complete a survey and if symptomatic, they will guide you through next steps. However, assuming you are asymptomatic, they will provide information related to self-monitoring for 14 days and general practices. The state of Illinois is now under a “shelter-in-place” order so the same rules generally apply to everyone.

Given the suspension of in-person classes, you may consider travelling directly home rather than back to campus. However, if you are unable to return home or do not have adequate computer or internet access at home you are welcome to return to the campus. The University of Illinois can provide financial assistance to support your expedited travel home.

First, we encourage you to contact your airline carrier or travel agent who booked your ticket and request a change. Most major airlines are waiving change fees but be sure to ask and confirm. If you cannot rebook your ticket from your original ticketing party or if you do not have a return ticket, please contact Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) at uofi@ctp-travel.com or by phone at 210-524-3317 during business hours. After 7pm CST, contact 1-303-801-2331 and select the business option. Reference “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Study Abroad Evacuation” when calling. Outside of office hours, email is the best method to contact CTP. Students must make their purchases through CTP by March 16 at 11pm CST with a goal of flying out by March 20 to allow time to arrange flights.

The University is willing to reimburse reasonable expenses directly related to your travel from your evacuation site to campus or home. If you choose to travel home, you will be responsible for covering your expenses to return to campus. The University is unable to reimburse program-related expenses. Please contact your sponsoring unit/college for additional support.

If you purchased a one-way ticket to your study abroad location, please work with Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) to purchase a return ticket. The University will pay CTP up front but will recoup part of the cost of the return ticket. The reason for recouping costs is because you would have purchased a return ticket under normal circumstances.

In accordance with the travel regulations established by the state of Illinois, all travel must be by the most direct route, using the most economical mode of transportation. Travelers are expected to purchase the least expensive logical fare via the most direct route.

You can contact Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) at uofi@ctp-travel.com or by phone at 210-524-3317 during business hours. After 7pm CST, contact 1-303-801-2331 and select the business option. Reference “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Study Abroad Evacuation” when calling. Outside of office hours, email is the best method to contact CTP. Students must make their purchases through CTP by March 16 at 11pm CST with a goal of flying out by March 20 to allow time to arrange flights.

The reimbursement form, receipts, and supporting documentation must be submitted within 30 days from the day of departure.

COVID Evacuation Expense Reimbursement Form

The reimbursement form includes a place to upload receipts and any supporting documentation. Please upload a PDF of ALL receipts, travel itineraries, and supporting documents. Please only use one form for your reimbursement and upload all receipts related to this reimbursement.

Reimbursement typically takes 4-6 weeks after all required documentation is received, and will be made directly to your bank account. Reimbursements to parents will be sent via check in the mail.

You will receive an acknowledgement from iip-fin@illinois.edu once your reimbursement has been submitted for processing.

If participating in distance learning, the international insurance will continue for the remainder of the original dates while outside your home country. Those dates are found in the insurance verification letter provided at time of enrollment and correspond to the original dates of your program.

If not participating in distance-learning, your insurance coverage will be terminated on March 23. In that case, you are responsible for obtaining appropriate international insurance. As applicable, any prorated refunds of the insurance fee will be applied to your student account.

When you depart your study abroad program, your international insurance coverage will be terminated after two weeks. As applicable, any partial refunds of the insurance fee will be applied to your student account.

Per University policy, all students are required to maintain their U.S.-based medical insurance during their time abroad. This ensures that travelers have medical insurance should they need to return to the U.S. unexpectedly.

The University is committed to working with you and our international partners to mitigate impacts to your course of study and academic plan. The plan for each location will be unique. Please review the latest communication on academic information (March 13) for additional details.

Our sources include the Department of State (DoS) Travel Advisories and U.S. Embassy messages, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and program partner staff. While we consult all these sources, the University uses the DoS and CDC as our benchmarks for making decisions.

Many of these actions are similar to the steps that every citizen should take in the U.S. to limit the spread of the flu.

  • Maintain good hand and personal hygiene. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Dispose of tissues in a trashcan.
  • Minimize contact with anyone showing signs of respiratory illness, especially in confined areas.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If you experience any of the associated signs and symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), and suspect you have been infected, contact your program staff and seek medical attention.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with animals and raw animal products.
  • Be aware of, and comply with, the guidance of local governments and/or program staff as the situation develops. We encourage travelers to stay in contact with their local staff.

  • Stay informed using trustworthy sources, such as the CDC and WHO. Social media is not generally reliable in these situations.
  • In addition to the main coronavirus page, review CDC notices by country.
  • Review DoS travel advisories by country (search using the Destination Box on the left).
  • Consult program staff regarding local updates, assistance that may be provided, and policies that may change.
  • Communicate with University study abroad staff; coordinators and advisers appreciate hearing from Illinois students throughout the semester, regardless of circumstances.

Additional Resources