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Updates for Students Studying Abroad

Daily Campus Update for March 24

March 24, 2020 at 5:11 pm - Just as our classrooms and workplaces have moved online, so has our campus community.

Daily Campus Update for March 23

March 23, 2020 at 6:05 pm - For many of us, today felt like the first day of school as we began hosting all courses online.

Daily Campus Update for March 20

March 20, 2020 at 4:46 pm - An end-of-day roundup of updates about COVID-19.

From the Chancellor: Transitioning to online classes following spring break

March 11, 2020 at 6:00 pm - All coursework will move online following spring break.

UT suspends Spring Study Abroad Programs in Italy

February 29, 2020 at 11:47 am - The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, suspended its spring study abroad programs in Italy on Friday and is working with the 33 affected students to return them to the US and complete their academic coursework.


What is the status of study abroad programs?

The university is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in close cooperation with the Overseas Security Advisory Council (an office of the Department of State), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our private health, safety, and security partner.

For the latest information on programs abroad, review the most recent update on the Programs Abroad website.

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How does UT make decisions about its education abroad programs?

UT consults the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of State, and our private health, safety, and security partners. When making decisions about specific programs, UT also considers local conditions and input from peer institutions and overseas partners.

The health and safety of students is the primary consideration for all decisions.

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What happens academically when an education abroad program is suspended?

If programs are canceled, UT will work with students to identify alternative academic options. The university is committed to supporting our students’ academic success. In all cases, the Programs Abroad Office will work with our partner institutions and organizations, as well as the student’s academic department at UT to identify appropriate academic solutions. We will also work closely with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to provide support and guidance where appropriate.

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Will I be charged for my program if it’s suspended?

If a program is canceled and you are participating in a UT faculty-directed or exchange program, you will not be charged tuition or any fees associated with the program.

If you are participating in a UT affiliate or direct program, you will need to contact those organizations to learn what is refundable. In most cases UT partner organizations such as affiliates and direct programs will make every effort to waive or reduce fees associated with study abroad in emergency situations.

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Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance and/or refundable airfare for study abroad?

The Programs Abroad Office strongly recommends that students purchase fully refundable airline tickets and/or trip cancellation insurance to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellation. The Programs Abroad Office assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.

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What is the current status of fall education abroad programs?

Education abroad programs for fall 2020 remain on track unless otherwise stated in the most recent update on the Programs Abroad website.

The university continues to monitor the situation closely, and will provide updates as they become available.

Students should proceed with the next steps as outlined in their Vols Abroad portal and any conversations they have had with their Programs Abroad Coordinators.

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How will I receive updates about education abroad programs?

The Programs Abroad Office will contact students directly with updates as soon as they become available.

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If I am participating on a non-UT sponsored program with a UT affiliate (i.e. CEA, CIEE, ISA, SIT, etc.,), am I eligible to study abroad for future terms

Yes, you are still eligible to study abroad if your host country is not a level 3 according to the CDC.

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What happens if a student withdraws from a future education abroad program out of concern for COVID-19?

UT understands that personal tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between a student and their family/financial supporters.

If a student chooses to withdraw from a future education abroad program, the student will be subject to the terms of the applicable withdrawal policy which can be found in the students’ Vols Abroad portal. Should the Programs Abroad Office ultimately cancel that program (even after the student has withdrawn), the student will receive a full refund of the program fee, tuition (if applicable), and study abroad administrative fee.

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Who can I contact about my education abroad program as it relates to COVID-19?

Students with any questions about the status of their education abroad program as it related to COVID-19 should contact

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What is social distancing?

Social distancing includes measures taken intended to reduce the likelihood of exposure to an infectious disease. These measures include, but are not limited to:

  1. Remaining out of congregate settings or public places where close contact with others may occur.
    (Examples of congregate settings include places such as shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums, workplaces, and schools and other classroom settings.)
  2. Avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, subway, taxi, and ride share), and
  3. Maintaining distance from others (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters).
  4. Using web-based learning for instruction rather than classrooms,
  5. Modifying operations by allowing people to come in only to pick up materials that have been reserved or requested on-line or by telephone
  6. Changing company practices by setting up flexible shift plans, having employees telecommute and canceling any large meetings or conferences.

Social distancing is only one component of the infection control measures sometimes taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Other important personal infection control actions include:

  1. Cleaning your hands often.
  2. Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    (If soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.)
  3. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  5. Staying home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
  6. Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the used tissue in the trash, and immediately washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using the inside of your elbow.
    (If soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.)
  7. Wearing a facemask if you are sick.
  8. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
    (This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces appear dirty, clean them with a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.)

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