March 3, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

To the Goucher Community:

The college continues to actively monitor the outbreak of the respiratory illness (COVID-19), caused by the novel coronavirus, and specifically its relevance to our many study-abroad programs. The Critical Incident Response Team also continues to prepare for any potential COVID-19 impacts on our campus. In response to questions about the current status of study abroad programs, please see the frequently asked questions and responses below.

What are Goucher’s plans for the students who are currently studying abroad?
Goucher’s Travel Advisory Policy follows the recommendations of the U.S. Center for Disease Control in determining whether and when to evacuate study abroad students. Specifically, travel to countries categorized as “Level 3” by the CDC is prohibited under the college’s policy. Because a Level 3 advisory has been issued for Italy, students studying abroad there have now been instructed to return to the U.S. The other country at Level 3 in which students were scheduled to study is South Korea – students were scheduled to study there beginning last week and have now been told not to travel to South Korea. There are no other Goucher students currently on study abroad programs in countries with a Level 3 advisory.

Students in countries with lower level advisories (Levels 1 and 2) are not being required to return at this time, but the college is continuing to monitor conditions worldwide, and will be communicating with those students about any changes to their programs. In the event any of these countries are upgraded to a Warning Level 3 Advisory by the CDC, the college will suspend programs in those countries. Decisions to suspend a program and instructions on next steps will be communicated directly to students and their parents in the affected programs. Given the rapidly evolving nature of this situation, students in suspended programs will not be permitted to transfer to programs in other countries, and will be strongly encouraged to return immediately to the U.S.

The college is ready and willing to work individually with any student abroad who has a chronic health condition, is immunocompromised, or is otherwise concerned about continuing their studies abroad. We are working with our education partners to evaluate online learning solutions, should students have to depart a program early.

Is Goucher going to quarantine the returning students?
Study abroad students who are required to return to the U.S. will most likely go directly to their homes in the U.S., since they are not registered for courses on campus and do not have current housing assignments. For those students who are not able to return home, the college is currently working with local health authorities regarding the need, in general, to quarantine returning students from Level 3 countries. This information will be communicated as soon as final decisions are made. Rest assured that the safety of the returning students and the campus community is foremost in making determinations about a quarantine, but this is ultimately a decision that is made at the direction of public health authorities.

Will the planned Summer ICAs run?
All future programs remain under evaluation at this time, and we will continue to monitor conditions and actively communicate with participants about the programs’ status.

Will the planned Fall semester programs run as normal?
All future programs remain under evaluation at this time, and we will continue to monitor conditions and actively communicate with participants about program status.

What academic arrangements are being made for students returning home?
The college will undertake all reasonable measures in working with students to fulfill academic requirements that cannot be met through canceled study abroad programs. Our partner programs are working with the college to provide alternate methods of instruction, where possible. We are in communication with those students who are returning from study abroad programs.

For the latest news and summary on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html.

Sincerely,

Goucher Critical Incident Response Team
Co-Leads: Bryan Coker & Stephanie Coldren