The situation and the policies outlined here are subject to change, so please return to this page for updates as we approach the start of the semester. Students will be given detailed information and instructions in their correspondence with Middlebury prior to departure and upon arrival in Brazil.

Spring 2022: Belo Horizonte is open

Catholic University of Minas Gerais - PUC Minas

The situation and the policies outlined here are subject to change, so please return to this page for updates as we approach the start of the semester. Students will be given detailed information and instructions in their correspondence with Middlebury prior to departure and upon arrival in Brazil.

Current Situation in Brazil

For up-to-date information, please see the U.S. Embassy site.

Program Changes

Below, read the institutional protocols students are expected to follow while at PUC Minas to promote student welfare:

  • Use of mask for all people in all spaces
  • Taking temperatures for entrance to the campus
  • Installation of alcohol gel dispensers in all university buildings
  • Hallway floor demarcation with red or yellow ribbon, defining the entry and exit routes, in buildings with greater flow of individuals
  • Continuous sanitation of all university facilities
  • Temporary blocking of the drinking fountain nozzles—water will only come out of the taps (suitable for filling cups)
  • Sanitizing with isopropyl alcohol, at the beginning and end of each class, equipment such as controls, keyboards, mice, and furniture
  • Identification on the door of the rooms with the maximum number of people allowed in the space
  • During activities, students and professors must keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters

Students’ protocols expected to be followed while on campus:

  • Do not share personal use items
  • Always wear a mask, changing it when it becomes wet or soiled
  • Avoid physical contact like hugs and handshakes
  • Avoid putting your hands on handrails, stops and knobs, but if you do, sanitize your hands afterwards
  • Make use of cups or bottles for personal use for water consumption. Do not drink directly from the drinking fountains
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and use hand sanitizer
  • When experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever or cough, dial 136 to reach the Ministry of Health hotline, then #1 for Covid19 support. In Minas Gerais, call the call-center (31) 98272-0553. Look for a health service only if you have shortness of breath.
  • Brazilian regulations now call for social distancing of 1.0 meters in classrooms, which means our classroom capacity will decrease; therefore, class sizes will be limited to fewer students.
  • Currently, a few courses at PUC Minas have a hybrid format (health fields). For Spring 22, the university is planning to offer more hybrid courses in other fields. As of November 2021, there is no confirmation regarding to courses fully in person.

Program-Specific Protocols

Arrival

  • At this time, students traveling to Brazil must show the COVID-19 test (RT-PCR) with a negative/non-reactive result, performed within 72 hours prior to the moment of boarding or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding.
  • The Brazilian government recommends those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to self-quarantine for 15 days.  
  • We recommend each student to download the app created by the Ministry of Health in Brazil App: https://www.unasus.gov.br/noticia/ministerio-da-saude-disponibiliza-aplicativo-sobre-o-coronavirus

Housing

  • We have limited student housing options. Students studying in Belo Horizonte will live with a host family.
  • We will ask our collaborating families to agree to a minimum protocol by means of which, if a family member falls sick (or has been in contact with a sick person), they should self-isolate in a room and quarantine for 10-14 days.
  • All students should have their own cleaning products for their individual use to wipe down their frequently touched surfaces daily (ex. doorknobs, light switches, phones, desk, nightstand, etc.).
  • If the student has their own bathroom, they will be responsible for cleaning their space.
  • If a student shares a bathroom, each person should clean/disinfect after each use.

Middlebury Facilities

  • The Middlebury School in Belo Horizonte will promote in-person activities, either in co-working rooms or rented classrooms in private language schools near campus. In any of these scenarios, the space will be configured to allow for social distancing.
  • While staff will be cleaning throughout the day, students should also wipe down spaces and items they use.

Public Spaces

  • Students should always have their “COVID Kit” with them when they leave their homes: a bag/small case with at least 1 or 2 extra face coverings (most should be changed every 4 hours), tissues, hand sanitizer and a water bottle.
  • Establishments (bars, restaurants, museums, shops, etc.) have limited their capacity and hours they may open. For example, restaurants must limit the number of people per table.
  • In some regions in Brazil there are still establishments (bars, restaurants, and night life) that must close early.

Travel

  • International travel is strongly discouraged and may be prohibited by the local government depending on the destination. Students must inform program staff if they intend to travel overnight, and students will be required to complete a detailed questionnaire to register all travel.
  • Students will be required to follow travel advisories. If Brazilian authorities recommends limiting travel, students may not travel.
  • Any tickets should be purchased shortly before the expected travel day with a refund or exchange policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

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The public health system oversees contact tracing. When a person receives a positive test result, it is communicated to the public health authorities.

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Host universities have their own contingency plans in case they have to suspend in-person classes. However, in Brazil, higher education institutions are planning their academic year with hybrid system. In this way, if class must be disrupted, the in-person portion can be suspended while the course moves to a remote format.

If all participants from a class held or organized by the Middlebury School Brazil need to be quarantined, the professor will teach remotely. If it’s a single student, the professor will hold virtual office hours with the student and update them about class contents and assignments. If the student is too sick to do homework or take an exam, an extension may be given, so they can complete homework/exam after recovery.

If students have to return home during the semester, the courses held or organized by the School in Brazil will turn immediately to a remote format.

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Conditions permitting, internship opportunities will likely be conducted in a hybrid format, combining in-person with remote work.

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While we do not plan for students to self-isolate at a hotel upon arrival, students should be aware of the cost of quarantining at hotel, in the case they need to during the semester. Students should budget R$250,00 per day for the quarantine in a hotel (this includes hotel + 3 meals per day). We recommend budgeting R$4,000 (14 days of room and board + PCR).

At this site (drugstore), you will find more details about testing, surgical face masks, and hand sanitizers.

Other costs:

  • Surgical face masks (may be used for up to 4 hours): 50-packs may be purchased for approx. R$24,00
  • FFP2 face masks (may be used for up to 8 hours): approx. R$45,00 (3-pack)
  • Hand sanitizer: approx. R$6,00 52G (1.8oz)
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We expect that students in homestays will be able to quarantine at home.

Recommendations for isolation/quarantine:

  • Stay at home. Avoid leaving room and keep it well-ventilated with the door closed. 
  • Use own bathroom. If using a shared bathroom, it must be disinfected before others can use it.
  • Avoid coming within a distance of less than 1.5 meters from others.
  • Keep hand hygiene products in room.
  • Avoid receiving home visits.
  • Keep a trash can with a lid and pedal.
  • If a student needs to leave their room (to go to the bathroom, for instance) they should wear a surgical face mask. 

If a student lives with a host family, tests positive and is not able to continue living with the family or someone in the family tests positive and the student does not feel comfortable staying at the house, the student will need to go to a hotel. The staff will help provide options, but payment and reservations will be the student’s responsibility (see cost of hotel in previous FAQ).

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Weekdays (8:30am-5:00pm)

  • Remain home. Contact director Sílvia Lorenso to let her know you are feeling unwell or have a close contact who has tested positive. To get tested, call the nearest drugstore, or nearest private health clinic to schedule an appointment (we will discuss how to request an appointment during orientation). Remain in quarantine until results are returned. 
    • If the student is quarantining because of a close contact, they may need to stay in quarantine for 10 days, in case of not showing symptoms, and follow the doctor’s orientation
    • If they were tested because of symptoms, depending on the symptoms exhibited, they may be free to end their quarantine, or may need to be retested.

Evenings and weekends

  • If it is an emergency, contact Global Rescue or go to the hospital (details about health plan and recommended hospitals will be given during orientation
  • If it is not an emergency, stay home and send an email director Sílvia Lorenso
    • Evenings: drugstore and private clinics closes at 6pm. Call before and request an appointment to get tested.
    • Weekends: Contact hospital to schedule an appointment.
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All or nearly all faculty, staff and host families are fully vaccinated. Due to data protection laws in Brazil, we cannot ask individuals to disclose their personal medical information. However, most have confirmed verbally in conversations. As of the end of the end of September 2021, nearly 50% of the Brazilian population is fully vaccinated.