Worldwide Alerts

The following alerts are based on ISA/Veritas' direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation. Information is subject to change.

 

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For further information, please refer to ISA’s Health and Safety section, particularly the information regarding the monitoring of world-wide security levels.

#ISAworldwidealert

  • March 19, 2020
     
    On March 19th, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) raised their Global Health Advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel. In the update, the DOS advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, U.S. citizens abroad are urged to arrange for an immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
     
    At this time, all ISA programs worldwide have been suspended and students advised to return home. The majority of ISA students have already departed their program location; and those who have not yet arranged travel back to the U.S. have been notified of the update to the DOS advisory level. ISA is working to support students still on-site in making their final transportation arrangements and is liaising with host institutions abroad regarding student academics. 
     
    ISA continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 and will provide significant updates to students, their parents, and our U.S. partner institutions.

     

    March 18th, 2020

    On the morning of March 18th, ISA communicated with students, parents, and home university advisors the decision to suspend all programs in Australia and New Zealand. ISA resident staff in both countries are closely supporting students as they arrange transportation to the U.S. Affected students will continue to have access to ISA resident staff, housing and insurance while they actively make preparations to depart.

    ISA continues to be in contact with all host institutions in Australia and New Zealand to discuss academic options available to complete their coursework remotely or online. Once those details are finalized, ISA will be in direct communication with students and recommends students continue to communicate directly with their professors.

    Additionally, and in light of ongoing global developments with COVID-19, ISA has made the difficult decision to cancel all ISA programs with a start date in May 2020. ISA will be reaching out to enrolled students over the coming days to discuss alternative options, including deferring to later programs. 

    Though ISA has now suspended all Spring 2020 programs, we continue to monitor fast-moving developments related to COVID-19 and will continue to provide significant updates to students, their parents, and our U.S. partner institutions as we look forward to hosting students on future programs.

  • March 16, 2020

    As of March 15th, in addition to previously suspended ISA programs in China, South Korea and the Schengen Area, ISA has made the difficult decision to also suspend ISA programs in the following destinations: United Kingdom, Ireland, Morocco, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, and all program locations in Latin America.

    The ISA resident staff have communicated with all ISA students and have been assisting them in their prompt return to the U.S. Although their semesters have been suspended, ISA support (e.g. access to resident staff, housing, insurance) will still be available to students while they actively make plans to return home. ISA is in contact with all host institutions to discuss the academic options available for students to complete their coursework from a distance. We will continue to communicate with students and our university partners regarding these options.

    ISA continues to monitor fast-moving developments related to COVID-19 and will provide any significant update to students, their parents, and our U.S. partner institutions as necessary. 

     

     

  • March 11, 2020

    On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated COVID-19 as a pandemic as the virus has spread to over 100 countries around the world. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a "Warning - Level 3" Travel Notice for countries in Europe’s Schengen area, encouraging travelers to avoid nonessential travel to member nations due to COVID-19. Additionally, the CDC issued a global "Alert - Level 2" notice, encouraging enhanced precautions for travelers. U.S. President Trump also announced today that all travel from the Schengen countries for non-U.S. citizens would be suspended for 30 days starting at midnight (EST) Friday, March 13. According to the President's proclamation, the travel suspension does not apply to lawful permanent residents and certain other non-U.S. citizens. 

    In light of these developments, ISA has made the difficult decision to cancel all ISA Spring 2020 programs in Schengen member countries. This includes ISA programs in Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, and the Netherlands.  The ISA resident staff have communicated with all ISA students and will assist them in returning to the U.S. ISA is in contact with all host institutions to discuss the academic options available for students to complete their coursework from a distance. We will continue to communicate with students and our university partners regarding these options.

    At this time, all other ISA Spring 2020 programs are continuing as scheduled, including those in the United Kingdom and Ireland. ISA is continuing to closely follow developments related to COVID-19 and communicate best practices for staying healthy with students. 

     
  • March 10, 2020

     

    ISA continues to closely follow developments related to COVID-19. At this time, only ISA Spring programs in Italy, China, and South Korea have been suspended. Additionally, ISA's Summer 2020 program in Shanghai has been canceled. ISA Resident Staff continue to communicate with ISA students worldwide to update them on the situation in their program location, remind them of standard health practices, and inform them of ISA’s travel restrictions for independent student travel to China, Korea, and Italy until further notice.

     

    The following ISA program updates have recently been shared with applicable students, their emergency contacts, and home universities in more detail:

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    Spain

     

    Madrid

    As a precaution and per instructions from local authorities, all ISA host institutions in Madrid will suspend classes for a period of 15 days beginning on Wednesday, March 11th. The Universidad de Nebrija will move to online learning beginning Monday, March 16. They expect to resume in-person classes after spring break on April 14. Nebrija has confirmed that they are prepared to show flexibility with their attendance policy and allow students to complete their courses online in the event that they choose to depart the program early due to health concerns or home university travel policies.

     

    Barcelona

    The Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona will move all classes online effective April 2nd. Students wishing to depart prior to this time will have the option to do so. At this time, no other ISA Barcelona host universities have changed their academic calendar.

     

    ISA Spain programs in Bilbao, Granada, Salamanca, Seville, and Valencia, all continue to run as planned. There have been no changes to the US Department of State Travel Advisory for Spain nor has the CDC changed its advice on travel to Spain at this time. 

     

    Greece

      

    As a precaution and per instructions from local authorities, the American College of Greece (ACG) will close for 14 days effective March 11th. Students will be expected to continue with studies online and communicate with their professors regarding assignments. The ACG plans to reopen on March 26th.

     

    There have been no changes to the US Department of State Travel Advisory for Greece nor has the CDC changed its advice on travel to Greece at this time. 

     

    Czech Republic

     

    As a precaution and per instructions from local authorities, all ISA host institutions in Prague will indefinitely suspend classes effective March 11th. ISA is working with local host universities to understand academic contingency plans during this period and will communicate those expectations to students.  

     

    There have been no changes to the US Department of State Travel Advisory for the Czech Republic nor has the CDC changed its advice on travel to Czech Republic at this time. 
     

    France

     

    On Monday, March 9th, the American Business School (ABS) shared that, after Friday, March 13th, all courses at the university will go to an online format. Students and professors should be in communication with regards to how course content will be delivered. The ABS campus will remain open though no courses will be held in-person.

     

    There have been no changes to the US Department of State Travel Advisory for France nor has the CDC changed its advice on travel to France at this time. 
     

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    Local ISA offices in each program location remain open and staff available to support students. ISA continues to work with all our host institutions across all program locations to confirm contingency plans related to student academics and will communicate with stakeholders once that information is available.

     

    Though ISA programs (outside of Italy, China, South Korea) will continue, ISA recognizes that partner institutions in the U.S. may determine to recall their students currently abroad. In those cases, ISA will work with our partner university to communicate with students and provide assistance in their return home. 

     

    ISA will continue to closely monitor the situation and will update this Worldwide alert as necessary.

  • March 3, 2020

    We are closely following COVID-19 developments and have reviewed the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recent public statement regarding students traveling abroad to study.

    After carefully considering the message and reviewing additional guidance from organizations like PULSE and the Forum on Education Abroad. ISA, along with WorldStrides and other organizations that are part of the WorldStrides family, is not suspending any programs currently on the ground, with the exception of previously suspended programs in Italy, South Korea, and China.

    The health and well-being of our students and staff are of utmost importance. We’re continuing to monitor all program locations regarding the spread of COVID-19 daily and are working closely with staff both in the U.S. and on the ground in host countries to communicate any additional guidelines that are developed in conjunction with our medical director. Should a situation change within a program host country, we have processes in place to respond quickly and will directly communicate with you, students on our programs, and their emergency contacts.

    In the meantime, ISA will support program participants following the guidance of their home university, as each institution has its own policies during this time.

     

Worldwide

 

February 29, 2020

On February 28th, the U.S. Department of State raised its travel advisory for Italy to a Level 3: Reconsider Travel due to an increase in the number of new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), particularly in northern Italy.  Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued its travel notice for Italy, encouraging all travelers to avoid nonessential travel to the country until further notice.  In light of these developments, ISA has decided to cancel all Spring 2020 programs in Italy.  The ISA resident staff in Milan, Florence, and Rome have communicated with all ISA students and will assist them in returning to the U.S.  ISA is in contact with all host institutions in Italy to discuss the academic options available for students to complete their coursework from a distance.  We will continue to communicate with students and our university partners regarding these options.

 

In Japan, new cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported in multiple regions across the country.  Authorities in Japan are currently implementing measures to contain the virus, including some travel restrictions, closures of primary and secondary schools, and increased health screenings at airports.  The ISA Spring program in Tokyo is scheduled to begin on March 22nd, and ISA will continue to provide updates to upcoming students regarding their program.  At this time, neither the CDC nor the DOS recommend canceling travel in Japan for healthy travelers.

 

ISA continues to monitor the situation worldwide with the COVID-19 virus.  We continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, the U.S. State Department, and our trusted security partners.  We have communicated with all ISA students worldwide to inform them of the situation, remind them of standard health practices, and inform them of ISA’s travel restrictions for independent student travel to China, Korea, and Italy until further notice.

 

ISA will continue to closely monitor the situation and will update this Worldwide alert as necessary.

 

February 27, 2020

 

On February 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the novel coronavirus: COVID-19. Although most cases are still concentrated in Hubei Province, China, there have been a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in other countries, including the U.S.
 

ISA is closely monitoring developments on COVID-19. ISA Resident Staff are advising students across all ISA program locations on best practices to stay healthy while abroad and providing guidance on independent travel. With the exception of Spring 2020 programs in China and South Korea, all ISA programs are currently running as planned.
 

Please note developments in the following ISA locations.  

 

SOUTH KOREA

Beginning Friday, February 21st, a new cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified in South Korea.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced there is sustained community spread occurring  particularly in the Daegu and Cheongdo areas (approximately 235km southeast of Seoul). On Monday, February 24th, the CDC elevated their Travel Notice for South Korea to a Warning Level 3, advising travelers to avoid non-essential travel to South Korea.  In light of these developments, ISA has cancelled all Spring 2020 programs in South Korea. ISA staff has communicated with all South Korea students regarding the cancellation of their program. ISA is working with affected students on returning to the U.S. and advising on alternative program options.  

 

ITALY

On Monday, February 24th, the CDC issued an Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions in Italy due to a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in northern Italy (mostly Lombardy and Veneto regions). The CDC notice does not recommend cancelling or postponing travel to Italy, but at this time, ISA does recommend against traveling to areas and townships that are under quarantine in the Lombardy and Veneto regions.  Following precautionary guidance from the local government, ISA’s two host institutions in Milan, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) and Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, announced that all campus activities and classes would be suspended from February 24rd through 29th.  This announcement is due to an abundance of caution, and ISA is not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases on either host university campus.  Classes at both institutions are expected to resume on Monday, March 2nd.  The ISA Milan resident staff has communicated with all students regarding canceled classes this week, reminded students to keep up with assignments from professors, and encouraged them to stay in contact their families in the U.S. Classes on campus at ISA host institutions in Rome and Florence continue to run.

 

London

November 29th, 2019

On Friday, November 29th, at approximately 2:00 p.m. (local time) London police responded to a knife attack at London Bridge. Local authorities quickly arrived on the scene and neutralized the suspect. Police are treating the situation as a terror incident. The London Bridge station of the London Underground has been closed as police continue with their investigation.

ISA London staff has communicated with students to make them aware of the incident, advise them of areas to avoid, and instruct them to follow directives of local authorities. Students have been asked to check in with their families back home and let them know they are safe. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

 

Santiago, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar

November 13, 2019

This afternoon, November 13th, the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) announced that today will be the last day of classes at the university for international students due to continuing demonstrations throughout the city. Classes were originally scheduled to end Friday, November 22nd, and students have been instructed to coordinate with their professors to complete all coursework. The PUCV will work with international students who elect to return home early so they can complete their coursework from a distance. 

The Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI) announced today that classes will be canceled tomorrow, November 14th and, as normal, no classes are held on Fridays. At this time, the UAI has not made any announcement regarding classes next week, and ISA anticipates UAI classes will resume as normal on Monday, November 18th. The UAI continues to offer students the option to complete the rest of their semester remotely if they decide to return home before the program end date of November 23rd.

ISA has informed students of changes to the PUCV Fall 2019 academic calendar and the UAI's cancellations this week. ISA will help facilitate course completion with any student who elects to return home prior to the scheduled end date of their program. ISA will also arrange airport transportation for any student who wishes to return home early. The ISA Chile Resident staff continues to communicate with students and their host families regarding scheduled protests and safety information. The resident staff remain available 24/7 and will continue to share relevant information with students. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

November 12th, 2019

Today, November 12th, country-wide strikes occurred across Chile as part of ongoing demonstrations. In Valparaíso, public transportation services were suspended due to the strikes, including the metro commuter rail system.  Metro services are expected to resume tomorrow, Wednesday, November 13th.  As demonstrations continue, some protesters have set up road blocks on the main highway between Valparaíso and Santiago. 

Due to the transit disruptions and planned demonstrations, the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) canceled classes today for international students. Afternoon classes were also canceled at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI). The UAI and PUCV have communicated these decisions directly to students and classes at both institutions are expected to resume tomorrow, November 13th. The PUCV and UAI have confirmed that students can complete the rest of their semester remotely if they decide to return home before the program end date of November 23rd. Students who choose to depart the program early should plan to work directly with their professors to confirm expectations for completing assignments and exams from home.

The ISA Chile resident staff continues to communicate updates to students and inform them about demonstrations and changes to their academic schedules.  ISA continues to monitor events in Chile and update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

November 5th, 2019

Yesterday, November 4, large demonstrations took place in several cities, including Viña del Mar and Santiago. Most demonstrations were peaceful, though some clashes between protesters and law enforcement occurred. Additional protests have been announced for today, November 5, in Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. Transportation disruptions are expected around protest areas. 

Classes for international students at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaíso (PUCV) are scheduled to run normally at an alternate location this week. Afternoon and evening classes at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI) have been suspended today beginning at 1:35 PM as a precautionary measure due to planned demonstrations in Viña del Mar. UAI classes are currently planned to resume as normal tomorrow morning. PUCV and UAI have confirmed that students will be able to work with professors complete their academic program by the scheduled end date.

ISA has informed students of any course cancellations and scheduled protests. Students are advised to avoid areas with demonstrations and to work with their professors for specific academic updates. The ISA Chile resident staff remains available 24/7 and will continue to share relevant information with students. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

October 30th, 2019

On Monday, October 28th, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera lifted the state of emergency in the country and lifted all imposed curfews, though demonstrations have continued throughout the country. While largely peaceful, there have been some reports of clashes between protesters and law enforcement. In Valparaíso, demonstrators have caused intermittent transportation disruptions around the city and along Route 68, the main highway between Santiago and Valparaíso.

ISA host institution, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI), resumed classes on Monday, October 28th. Another ISA host institution, Ponitifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (PUCV), intends to resume classes for international students on Monday, November 4th. Courses offered to PUCV international students with Chileans remain suspended. ISA has informed students enrolled in courses with locals at PUCV that they should coordinate work directly with their professors to complete any assignments. No classes will be held tomorrow, Thursday, October 31st, and Friday, November 1st, at either institution due to annual public holidays. ISA continues to update students and has informed them that classes will resume for all students at UAI and PUCV on Monday, November 4th.  

At this time, the status of Fall 2019 ISA programs in Chile remains unchanged. ISA anticipates that students will be able to complete their courses successfully by the scheduled program end date and will continue communicating with students regarding demonstrations, transportation disruptions, and changes to class schedules. ISA will continue to monitor events in Chile and will update this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

October 25th, 2019

Protests continued today across Chile, including in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.  A large demonstration took place along the Avenue Argentina in front of the Congreso Nacional de Chile in Valparaíso, causing traffic disruptions.  Truck drivers on strike also set up road blocks in several areas in Santiago and Valparaíso areas.  Most demonstrations remain peaceful.  Another curfew is set to begin in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar tonight, Friday, October 25 at 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Saturday, October 26.  

ISA academic host institutions, the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) both made announcements regarding academic schedule for next week, October 28th-November 1st. The UAI will resume classes on Monday, October 28th on a condensed schedule. The PUCV will remain closed as their campus is situated near key protest areas.PUCV will evaluate the decision to resume courses again on Monday, November 4th. These updates have been communicated to students.

At this time, ISA has not made any changes to the program status in  Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. ISA has reminded student to stay in communication with their families and avoid all protests and demonstrations. ISA will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary to students, parents, and university partners. 

October 23rd, 2019

Peaceful protests and a general strike across Chile took place today, Wednesday, October 23rd, despite President Sebastian Piñera’s announcement yesterday to make several social reforms in response to the demonstrations. Most protests remain peaceful, but some sporadic incidents of vandalism and clashes between protesters and law enforcement have continued. 

A curfew remains in effect in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening until 6 a.m. on Thursday, October 24th. Local authorities will announce additional curfews on a daily basis. Metro services in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are operational but remain limited. A heightened police presence continues around the city, particularly at metro stations and supermarkets. As a precaution, ISA host institutions in Chile decided to cancel classes for the remainder of the week. ISA will communicate with host universities regarding the impact of class cancellations on student coursework.

ISA Chile resident staff continue to communicate updates and advise students on the situation, including curfew hours and to avoid all protests. The ISA Valparaíso office will be open Thursday and Friday, October 24-25 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but resident staff will continue to be available 24/7. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.  

October 21st, 2019

Protests continued on Monday, October 21st, in Santiago, Valparaíso, and other regional cities throughout Chile in response to various social issues including rising costs of living, inequality, healthcare, and education. Most protests were peaceful, though some resulted in clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement. A curfew is in effect in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar beginning at 6:00 p.m. Monday evening and will be lifted at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, October 22nd, local time. Curfew schedules are announced daily by the government. ISA host institutions in Chile have canceled classes for Tuesday and will evaluate additional cancellations on a daily basis. As a precaution, the ISA Chile resident staff have also canceled upcoming cultural activities.

The ISA Chile resident staff have accounted for all ISA program participants. The staff has advised students to remain close to their homes, check in with their families in the US, and avoid all demonstrations. Students are also advised to follow local news and monitor their emails for important updates from the ISA resident staff. ISA will continue to monitor the situation, check in with students, and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.

October 20th, 2019

On Friday, October 18th, Chile's president declared a State of Emergency after protests in Santiago in response to the announcing of an increase in public transportation prices. Protestors clashed with police, set fire to a number of Santiago metro stations, and burned public buses. On Saturday, October 20th, protests expanded to areas outside of the capital, including Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, where protestors similarly set fire to public transportation infrastructure. 

On Saturday, a curfew was announced for some cities, including the Santiago Metropolitan Region, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. The curfew was in effect between the hours of 10 p.m. on Saturday, the 19th until 7 a.m. on Sunday, the 20th for Santiago; and 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. More protests are anticipated on Sunday and Monday, the 21st. ISA host institutions in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have canceled classes for Monday, October 21st, and the ISA Valparaíso office will be closed due to disruptions to public transportation.

The ISA Chile resident staff has been in communication with students throughout the weekend, notifying them of class cancellations, planned protests, and instructing them to stay at home and avoid any demonstrations. ISA resident staff will also encourage students to check in with their families back home and follow the direction of local authorities. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this Worldwide Alert accordingly.