Texas Global suspends all study abroad programs through Aug. 18

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Photo Credit: Steph Sonik | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Daily Texan’s coverage of how coronavirus concerns are affecting UT-Austin. Read the rest of our coverage here.

Texas Global has suspended all education abroad programs through Aug. 18 due to coronavirus concerns, according to an email sent to study abroad students Thursday morning.

Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for Global Engagement, said in the email that students currently studying abroad are required to return home by March 30 and self-isolate for 14 days after returning. 

Feigenbaum said students studying abroad should stay in close communication with Texas Global for information regarding academics and finances. 

President Donald Trump implemented a 30-day travel ban Wednesday restricting travel to the United States from European countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The ban applies to people who have been in those countries in the past 14 days but does not include U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. 

This decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated the entire world to Level 2 following the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic.

In an email sent Thursday to UT students abroad, Heather Thompson, the director of Education Abroad for Texas Global, recommended students in Europe who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to immediately change their flight to return to the U.S. before the travel ban goes into effect March 13.   

Mallory Nimis, Education Abroad academic program coordinator, told students in an email Tuesday that they can contact Nimis to discuss financial and logistical support for travel, housing and academics when returning home from France. Nimis said in the email this will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Advertising junior Allyson Schauer, who was studying in Aix-en-Provence, France, said her host university, Institute for American Universities, said in an email Thursday they would not rebook flights for students. The university is still fully operational, and housing, courses and activities are still available to students, the email said.

“It’s a rapidly changing situation, and I don’t want to be stuck here when it inevitably gets worse,” Schauer said. “(IAU) has plans to implement remote learning (online classes) for every student who wishes to return to the U.S., so we can still get credit for our time here.”

Nimis’ email said despite the universities abroad offering alternative methods to continue classes, the logistics for online platforms are still to be determined.

Schauer said a business French teacher from IAU made plans to Skype students even though the class takes place at 9 a.m. Central European Time, or 3 a.m. Central Daylight Time. 

“It will be extremely difficult for my host university to work out the fine details and logistics of these courses,” Schauer said. “This is an ever-changing situation that has impacted my time abroad tremendously. I long for the day when I will be able to return here.”