UT suspends study abroad programs to all CDC Level 1, 2, 3 countries

Lauren Abel

The University announced Tuesday that undergraduate travel, including Maymesters and summer programs, would be suspended for all countries with Centers for Disease Control Warning Levels 1, 2 and 3, adding Spain, France and Germany to UT’s Restricted Region list as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus. 

Additionally, students in UT study abroad programs in Spain, France, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan and China have to relocate to countries not on UT’s Restricted Regions list, according to a press release Tuesday. If students wish to remain in the country, they must submit a Restricted Regions request to complete this semester, the release said.

“If the circumstances dictate that it’s safer for them to remain abroad, we would do that, but it is all case by case,” said Randy Penson, Texas Global director for global risk and safety.

Students returning from these countries must self-quarantine for two weeks as the risk for COVID-19 transmission lessens after 14 days, according to the University Health Services website.

On Feb. 28, the CDC raised the travel warning for Italy to Level 3, advising people to reconsider travel. A statement from Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for global engagement and strategy, officially suspended University-sponsored travel to Italy the same day.

Jazmin Rivera, a health and society junior, was going to attend the Maymester program “Italian Approaches to Early Childhood Education.” Rivera said her program coordinator informed her Thursday that the Maymester would be canceled and that the $75 application fee was going to be refunded.

“There has been absolutely no statement whatsoever in regards to (other) fees,” Rivera said. “I have been emailing the Study Abroad Office, program director and company we would work with in Italy, and nobody has given me any answers.”

The McCombs School of Business sponsored a program abroad for spring 2020 in Milan, Italy, through the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi that has since been canceled. Students were expected to be abroad from Jan. 23 to May 31 with various course credit options being offered.

Andre Vega, a finance and economics junior, who was enrolled in the McCombs program, said in a text that he was already outside of Italy and in Germany when the official travel advisory was issued March 4.

“My main concern would be the rent that I’d have to pay for the next few months, as I’m not sure if UT would help cover that,” Vega said in a text.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the year of a student.