Dear Fall 2021 Russia students,

As I wrote to you on Friday, we have consulted with our staff in Russia as well as our colleagues at Global Rescue, and, unfortunately, Middlebury has made the very difficult decision to cancel the School in Russia for the fall 2021 semester. The situation in Russia remains difficult. COVID cases are on the rise and hospital beds are reaching capacity. Last week, the State Department, whose Travel Advisory for Russia remains at Level 4, began permitting the voluntary departure of U.S. government family members. The U.S. embassy in Russia is not operating with its usual full staff, resulting in its limited ability to assist our students should any incident occur. We are also seeing a delay in the processing of invitation letters which has led to a delay in when we can expect students to be able to apply for their visa and ultimately travel to Russia to complete a full-length semester and earn full academic credit. Given all of this uncertainty, we believe it to be most prudent to cancel our program for fall 2021.

I realize how disappointing this news will be, especially if this is not your first cancellation. I also understand your disappointment given that we made the decision earlier this summer to run the program. If you are interested, you do have the option to move your application to spring 2022, or to wait and have your application reinstated for the 2022-2023 academic year once the new application cycle opens in November. It will be important that you discuss this option with both your academic advisor and, if you’re a student from a school other than Middlebury, the study abroad advisor at your home institution. Please let me know whether you wish to defer to a future term or withdraw.

Middlebury students: We will communicate with Student Financial Services, the Registrar’s Office, and the Housing Office so that you may be put on the waitlist to return to campus for the fall 2021 semester. If you have plans to take a leave of absence, please notify your student life dean who will work with the Registrar’s Office to make the necessary updates to your record.
Graduate students: We are exploring the possibility of offering remote graduate courses for you to stay on track with your MA degree timeline. We should know whether or not this will be an option for you over the coming days and will communicate with you again then.

I thought I would be writing this message on July 1, and I was happy to see Russia’s borders had opened and it looked like we would be able to send students there this fall. Alas, now I’m writing this message today and it’s harder now than a month ago. I sincerely regret that your study abroad plans have had to change, for many of you a second or even third time, and I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

With best wishes,

Susan Parsons
Assistant Director, International Programs