Acknowledgment of Risk and Compliance
- Please acknowledge your understanding that COVID-19 is a global pandemic causing significant uncertainty and increased health risks associated with international travel. If accepted to participate in a study abroad program, you must confirm understanding of specific risks and agree to comply with all policies set forth by The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), its partner institutions, as well as requirements in the host country. Specifically,
- You agree to familiarize yourself with and remain cognizant of updates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines regarding COVID-19, including the country-specific CDC travel health notices.
- You understand that while in the host country, you will be subject to its laws and regulations. Restrictions on travel locally, regionally, and internationally may be implemented. Services offered by the local embassy or consulate for US citizens may be suspended in the event of an outbreak and airlines may reduce flights or routes impeding your ability to return to the US at the scheduled time.
- You understand that in-person gatherings, outings and public transportation may be restricted. Classes and activities may be suspended or shift from in-person to a virtual format. If conditions deteriorate, programs may be suspended, and participants required to return to the US.
- You understand that you will have to follow basic guidelines such as: wearing a mask, submitting to health screenings, adhering to hygiene procedures, and self-isolating if you or someone you have been around develops symptoms.
- You understand that healthcare systems abroad are different than in the US, and if you contract COVID-19 and require treatment, it may differ from what you expect to receive in the US. All students are enrolled in international insurance coverage, but any costs not covered by insurance directly are your responsibility.
- You understand that in these uncertain times, disclosing all medical information and special needs through your Physician’s Release is critical to making the best decisions and preparing for travel.
- You understand that if you contract covid while abroad, you will be held to the quarantine requirements of that country. If you must quarantine during your program, you will be responsible for associated expenses. If quarantine extends beyond the length of the scheduled program, you are responsible for the additional costs. Although the U.S. government has removed the requirement to provide a negative covid test one day prior to departure, they may re-instate this policy at any time. If you test positive, you must delay travel and quarantine for the mandatory period (usually 7-14 days).
- You understand that you are individually responsible for any flight change fees and individually arranged expenses.
- You confirm that you have read and understand USM’s withdrawal and refund policy. USM assumes no financial responsibility for program changes, suspensions, or cancellations. Potential losses include, but are not limited to housing contracts, visa, airline, activities, and program provider fees. The Office of Study Abroad encourages all students to research and consider purchasing trip interruption/cancellation or cancel for any reason travel insurance in addition to flight-specific insurance for delays and cancellations.
- You acknowledge that you are not required to travel internationally by USM at this time.
USM Study Abroad COVID-19 Vaccination PolicyBeginning summer 2023, USM will not require vaccination against COVID-19 for study abroad participants. However, based on CDC’s recommendations that travelers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to traveling internationally, the Office of Study Abroad strongly urges all program abroad participants to get vaccinated (and boosted when eligible). Depending on your destination(s) and the various providers involved in your program, it may be necessary to show proof of vaccination to enter the country, avoid quarantine, or gain entry to certain venues. Bring a physical copy of your proof of vaccination and have access to an electronic copy when you travel.
USM will make every effort to communicate new or modified requirements; however, it is the participants’ responsibility to research their host countries’ entry rules and COVID measures. Check the U.S. Department of State’s International Travel site for more information. Should new COVID-19 vaccination requirements be introduced prior to departure or while onsite, it is the participants’ responsibility to comply with these measures and assume all financial responsibility for testing, quarantine, or delayed/cancelled travel expenses. Participants who fail to comply with host country requirements could be denied entry.
Review the COVID-19 considerations and the withdrawal policy carefully prior to committing to a program. Financial penalties resulting from withdrawal due to a change in vaccination requirements will be upheld.
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What if I Catch COVID-19 on my Study Abroad Program?Program participants - please read over this information carefully and share it with your family as you prepare to depart for your study abroad program. This information was updated on November 21, 2022. Policies are in flux so make sure you are reading the most up-to-date information from the CDC’s website about your destination: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
As you all know, there is an ongoing pandemic due to COVID-19. What happens if you catch COVID during the program?
During the program dates:
If a program participant tests positive during the program, they are to quarantine in their room following the guidance and regulations of the country where they are located. If the participant is not currently in a single room, program staff will make every effort to move them to a single housing for quarantine purposes. An onsite staff or faculty member will ensure the student has food and other essentials provided daily. Any meals regularly covered by the program would continue to be covered during quarantine, however, if no meals were originally included in the program, those would continue to be at the expense of the participant. Once the quarantine is over, the student may resume participating in on-site classes, visits, and excursions. Limited quarantine insurance coverage is provided through the international insurance policy.
At time of departure:
If a program participant tests positive and must remain onsite beyond the scheduled dates of the program, they will need to quarantine for the appropriate period based on host country rules following the positive test. Onsite staff/faculty will assist the student in making necessary arrangements for lodging following the program dates and food delivery to be paid directly by the participant. If the participant is on a group flight arranged by the Office of Study Abroad (OSA), then the OSA will make arrangements through the travel agent for a later departure and any change fees will need to be paid directly by the participant. If the participant made his/her/their own travel arrangements, he/she/they will need to contact the airline directly to cancel and rebook a later flight at his/her/their own expense.
All participants should bring an additional 14 days of all necessary medication, past their scheduled departure date, in case of mandatory quarantine.