We understand that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is causing anxiety for students, their families, and the international educational community. Middlebury has suspended all of the Schools Abroad for the spring of 2020 in response to heightened risk levels and travel advisories related to COVID-19.
Frequently Asked Questions
Middlebury Schools Abroad normally charge a withdrawal fee (in lieu of a deposit) if a student commits to studying abroad, then changes their mind. For students who are planning to attend a Middlebury School Abroad beginning in fall 2020, we will waive the withdrawal fee, as we understand everything is difficult to predict right now. If you plan to be abroad in the fall, please do "commit" to your program and stay on track with visa requirements, university registration, and pre-departure materials.
Middlebury students planning to attend an externally sponsored program beginning in fall 2020 should contact your program provider to see if they might also be waiving fees (deposits/cancellation fees) for your chosen program.
As you return home, we want to send a clarification regarding what Middlebury is able to cover with regard to travel reimbursements for Middlebury Schools Abroad and exchange program students:
Students who originally had a roundtrip ticket/return ticket and whose airlines did not waive the ticket change fee.
Middlebury will cover the cost of the ticket change fee.*
Students who originally had a roundtrip ticket and needed to book an entirely new return ticket (i.e., travel agent or airline was not available, airline was no longer flying to destination, etc.).
Middlebury will cover the cost of the new ticket up to USD $300.
Students who did not originally have a roundtrip ticket and who purchased a return ticket.
Middlebury will cover the cost of the new ticket up to USD $300.
* “Ticket change fee” refers to direct change fees to an existing ticket only. Changes in fare class or voluntary itinerary changes on an existing ticket are not eligible for reimbursement through Middlebury. Please clarify which charge is the ticket change fee when you send your receipt.
We realize that for those of you who had to purchase a new ticket, a reimbursement of USD $300 will likely not cover the entire cost of the ticket. Please know that we are helping as much as we can given the volume of requests for assistance that we have received. We know that some institutions are reimbursing their students for ticket changes as well. If you attend one of these institutions, please do not also submit a reimbursement request to Middlebury.
Any requests for travel reimbursement must be submitted via email to the appropriate study abroad advisor in the International Programs office at Middlebury and must include a receipt showing the amount of the ticket change or newly purchased return ticket. All requests must be submitted no later than March 31, 2020; requests submitted after March 31 will not be considered.
Please understand that it will take us several weeks to process the reimbursements. We appreciate your patience.
Q I was enrolled in health insurance through my study abroad program. Now that I have returned home, my insurance isn't valid. How do I purchase coverage?
Middlebury students who waived the student insurance plan offered through the college for spring 2020 because they were enrolled through their study abroad program may now enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan through Gallagher.
• Go to www.gallagherstudent.com/Middlebury
• Click on ‘Petition to Add’
• Log in. Firs time users will log in with their Middlebury College email address the password will be their student ID number
• Complete the form and attach the qualifying event documentation (contact the study abroad advisor for a letter from the insurance company listing the last date of coverage)
• Submit the form
Will there be a break in coverage?
There will not be a break in coverage if the Petition to Add form and applicable documents are received within 31 days of the qualifying event. If the Petition to Add form and required documentation are not received within 31 days of the qualifying event the effective date will be the date the form and applicable documentation are received at Gallagher Student Health.
Will the premium be pro-rated?
Yes, the premium the student pays will be pro-rated and is determined by the date of the Qualifying Event.
Students from other colleges and universities interested in U.S. based health insurance coverage should contact their school and ask if something similar is available now that they have had a "qualifying event," namely, "involuntary loss of coverage through returning from studying abroad."
Q How do we make decisions regarding suspension of in-country actvities of Middlebury Schools Abroad?
International Programs at Middlebury constantly reviews safety conditions and risk levels around the world. We rely on the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of State, our on-site staff abroad, partner universities, and security advisors to inform our decisions. We take into account factors such as the following when considering whether a given School Abroad is to remain open:
- CDC travel notice levels
- U.S. Department of State advisory levels
- Recommendations from the World Health Organization and local medical advice
- Local government travel restrictions
- Schools Abroad staff and faculty capacity
- The number of confirmed cases in the host country, or especially host city
- Status of university partners (are the campuses classrooms, residences, and services open)
- Medical resources in host country, and especially host cities
- Airlines limiting service to/from our host cities
- Local transportation being reduced or limited
The plans in each country may be different, depending on the program model, how far into the semester the program is, and the contingency plans of our host universities. Some excursions and other co-curricular events may need to be rescheduled or cancelled, depending on local conditions. If necessary, and where possible, we hope to be able to offer remote instruction for coursework so students can complete their semester with as many credits as possible.
Q What if the program is not administered by Middlebury but has Middlebury participants (Middlebury students participating in approved externally sponsored study abroad programs)?
Middlebury International Programs works closely with experienced program providers and universities abroad. We are in direct communication with Middlebury students abroad and with the externally sponsored programs and partner universities our students are attending. The programs Middlebury approves have experienced health and safety personnel and are prepared for emergencies.
Our partner programs and universities operate within their own cultures, which may differ from U.S. norms. Middlebury relies on the programs and universities our students attend to advise students appropriately and to provide the most updated information. We instruct students to heed the advice of their host programs/universities and local authorities, and to seek on-site support as needed. When Middlebury students participate in programs and directly enroll in universities which are not administered by Middlebury College, decisions about potential program suspension/cancellation and academic credit awarded are made by the host program/university, not by Middlebury College.
If a Middlebury student is studying abroad on an externally sponsored program that is suspended after the semester is underway, Middlebury will work with the program and student to mitigate potential interference with the student's academic progress whenever possible. Middlebury cannot guarantee completion of academic work and awarding of full credit in every situation, but it is our aim to do all that we reasonably can do toward this end. Students should always consult their academic advisor in any situation involving their academic progress and plans.
All Middlebury students at both Middlebury Schools Abroad and on externally sponsored programs have access to the services provided by Global Rescue. Please see our web page for details on Global Rescue’s services and contact information.
You will need to consult with your academic advisor and department chair or program director to see what alternatives may be available to fulfill the requirements of your major.
Many institutions, including Middlebury, are being as flexible as possible in allowing students to complete course work online when programs are suspended due to COVID-19. Non-Middlebury students at Middlebury Schools Abroad whose programs suspend in-country activity and move instruction online, should consult with their home institutions regarding the possibility of transfer credits from online courses. For Middlebury students who directly enroll in programs and universities which are not administered by Middlebury College, note that decisions about potential program suspension/cancellation and how academic credit is awarded are made by the host program/university, not by Middlebury College. Middlebury cannot guarantee completion of course work and awarding of full credit may not be possible in every situation, but it is our aim to do all that we reasonably can do toward this end.
During the spring 2020 semester, students enrolled at a Middlebury School Abroad may request that any or all of your classes this semester be recorded as Pass/D/Fail. This is available for courses taken directly at our centers as well as for host university classes. This is also applicable to the alternative academic options presented to you following the suspension of the Schools Abroad. Be aware that P grades do not affect your Middlebury GPA; however, D and F grades will be included in your Middlebury GPA.
As the message from the provost mentioned, for the spring 2020 semester only, courses invoked with the P/D/F grade mode:
• Do carry academic distribution tags
• Can be applied toward the major or minor
• Do not count toward the non-standard grade maximum of 5
• Do not count in the maximum 2 Pass/D/Fail course maximum otherwise available in your academic career
This Pass/D/Fail option is also available to students from other colleges and universities enrolled in the Middlebury Schools Abroad, but you need to discuss this with your home institutions to determine if they will accept Pass/D/Fail grades. Please note that some institutions have different equivalencies for a Pass grade, so if you are not a Middlebury student and wish to invoke this option please be sure your home institution is aware of the Middlebury equivalencies (explained below), as this is what will be used when converting to Pass/D/Fail grades on your Middlebury transcript.
Faculty will still report letter grades for all students, and if a student requests Pass/D/Fail, the grades will automatically be converted to a P for grades of C- or higher and recorded as a D or F if those are the grades that are submitted. Students will have until one week prior to the end of classes (not exams) in your Schools to invoke the Pass/D/Fail grade. The director of your School Abroad will confirm that date for you. Please note: You will not be able to revoke the Pass/D/Fail option once selected, so please make this decision carefully.
Q If I am an international student, will changes to my program abroad affect my U.S. student visa status?
SEVIS Guidance (issued on March 9, 2020) offered U.S. colleges and universities greater flexibility with regard to temporary adaptations to the delivery of courses and programs during this worldwide health crisis. Middlebury has determined that offering our courses through a distance learning method of delivery will be sufficient for making normal progress in a full course of study. Students in F-1 visa status will be able to maintain their F-1 status while enrolled in a full-time course load that is delivered remotely for the duration of the period that Middlebury deems necessary. This applies to students participating in remote learning from within the U.S. or from abroad. This is a temporary accommodation by the U.S. government in light of COVID-19.
To maintain status, international students are expected to be enrolled full-time (i.e. 3-5 Middlebury classes per semester or full-time as defined by their program abroad) in courses that require in-person presence (i.e. not online), with one exception. Under usual circumstances, international students in F-1 status are allowed to take one online/distance education course per session to count toward their full-time enrollment. However, during the designated period of temporary adaptation, international students will be allowed to participate in a full course load via an alternate course delivery method.
Due to the closing of residence halls on our Middlebury, Vermont campus (except for students who are granted permission to stay), students should plan to remain in the host country, return home, or travel to another country. International students may have difficulty attempting to enter the U.S. from abroad under these circumstances. Please note that there are now U.S. State Department travel restrictions in place for individuals who travel to the U.S. from China, Iran, and the Schengen Area of Europe (as of 11:59 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020).
Please email ISSS at email@example.com for personalized advising regarding your particular situation. If needed, ISSS will ask you to schedule an appointment with an advisor so you can discuss your options.
Costs for accommodations are the responsibility of the students. In some instances, a security deposit is required to secure a spot in a homestay, dormitory, or apartment. In such instances, the security deposit may be retained by the host since they will be losing a significant amount of rent over the duration of the semester. In cases where students pay rent month-to-month, students will save whatever rent they have not yet paid. In rare cases, when housing fees are billed by Middlebury, and the program has not yet begun, it is possible that Middlebury would be able to issue a refund.
Students currently studying at a Middlebury School Abroad are prohibited from independent travel to regions where authorities have imposed travel restrictions. While travel to regions outside the above is not prohibited, we would strongly discourage you from travelling to Europe in general, and various sources discourage people from travelling at all at this time. Travel or any time spent in highly trafficked areas (i.e. train terminals, bus stations, tourist attractions) can increase your risk of exposure to coronavirus. Also keep in mind that this situation is changing daily and travel plans you make for the future may require cancellation (and any fees associated with this cancellation may be forfeited).
Students studying abroad who choose to travel outside of their host country undertake potential health, academic, and financial risks. If authorities ban travel to a location where you have planned travel, you may forfeit plane tickets and hotel reservations. If your host country begins limiting entry by people coming from a place you have just visited, you may not be able to re-enter or you may find yourself subject to quarantine. You must assume these risks if you decide to travel away from your host country against our recommendation.
Everyone’s risk tolerance varies and students and families will need to make individual decisions regarding their travel plans. Those who do intend to travel are strongly advised to follow Middlebury’s recommendations, which may be found here.
We have no reported or suspected cases of COVID-19 on our campus. As we move forward, we must consider the best possible practices for maintaining a healthy campus environment. For this reason, all individuals travelling from countries with a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.
If you’re making travel plans for spring break or any time during the semester, please check for travel updates regularly. Travel restrictions change as the virus continues to evolve rapidly. Government agencies and transportation authorities may enact additional restrictions with little or no advance notice.
If you are currently studying abroad, you may be subject to medical screenings upon your return to the U.S., depending on where you travelled. Please consult the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites on the day of your return flight to the U.S. to confirm what protocols or screenings may be in place.
Quarantines and/or health screenings are instituted at the discretion of individual countries and may be implemented or changed at any time. Due to the evolving nature of the situation with COVID-19, it is not possible to predict what measures particular countries will take now or in the future. Students are strongly advised to consult the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories webpage and the CDC’s Travel Health Notices webpage, as well as local resources, for their intended destinations before and during their travels for updated information regarding travel advisories, travel restrictions, and screening or quarantine requirements. Students who choose to travel outside of their host countries and who are subject to entry restrictions, quarantine, or self-isolation requirements in any of their travel destinations, or upon returning to their host country, will assume any financial and academic consequences of this requirement.
We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 around the world. At this time, we are moving forward with normal planning for study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year and suggest students do the same. If you are applying to study abroad during fall 2020, however, we encourage you to take into consideration what you will do if your desired program is cancelled or if you are unable to travel to your host country. We are hopeful, however, that the spread of the virus will begin to stabilize and it will become easier to plan for future study abroad programs.
The summer 2020 Middlebury School in the Environment in China has been cancelled. At this point in time, we are planning to run the summer Museum Studies Program in Oxford. That being said, it is difficult to know how events will unfold, and we will be monitoring the situation carefully over the coming weeks.
We will communicate with students, parents, and advisors as we have new information to share. All official college communications about COVID-19 may be found here
Students considering study abroad who have any of pre-existing conditions should be sure to discuss any travel plans with their health care providers well before the semester of their travel, and should follow their advice. Students with particular health conditions might be at greater risk for more serious complications as a result of infection from COVID-19. Anyone can be infected by the novel coronavirus, but early data indicates that people with compromised immune systems (pregnant women, children, the elderly, or people with autoimmune disorders) can be at a higher risk for developing complications related to COVID-19.
Middlebury regularly consults the following organizations, which are actively monitoring health and/or security in the U.S. and abroad:
Middlebury is compiling information from many sources, and we would like to thank our colleagues who are also working thoughtfully to create policy and communicate with students and parents. For this piece, we relied on The FORUM on Education Abroad, George Washington University’s Study Abroad FAQ, and on CIEE’s Health, Safety & Security Updates.
Last updated March 26, 2020.