Being a member of the Middlebury Schools Abroad community means that each of us must be vigilant and persistent in protecting our own health and that of the greater community.

I understand that violations of the public health and safety components in this pledge, Middlebury Schools Abroad policies, or directives of local officials may result in my immediate removal from the program, without refund and possible loss of credit, for the duration of the semester in addition to any sanctions assigned through the Schools Abroad conduct policies and processes. I also understand that as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, the protocols outlined below are subject to change.

I pledge to take the necessary steps to protect myself and others, and I commit to the following:

Pre-departure

  • I will receive the current flu vaccine, when it becomes available (absent a documented religious or medical exemption, which should be submitted in your study abroad portal). Those with questions or concerns should consult their healthcare provider.
  • Recognizing that vaccination is the most straightforward way to return to a normal way of life, I understand I am strongly encouraged to get the COVD-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to me.  I further understand I should not go abroad in hopes of being vaccinated abroad. As the pandemic continues to evolve, host countries, airlines, partner universities, and host families/student residences may require the vaccine, and I must oblige or forgo the opportunity.
  • I will attend all required pre-departure orientation sessions.
  • I will complete all required safety trainings.
  • I will take a thermometer to the program for my personal daily health screenings.
  • I will not travel abroad if I have any COVID-19 symptoms as defined by the CDC, if I have been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, or if I have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days. I understand that if I am unable to travel abroad for any of these reasons, the School Abroad may not be able to accommodate me with a later start date and I may have to forfeit my participation in the program.  The CDC defines “close contact” as “anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.” 
  • I will travel to the host country site as directly as possible and will follow all health and safety precautions during travel, including limiting stops to only those that are necessary, physical distancing from others whenever possible, always wearing a face covering, and using frequent and proper hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing with soap and warm water or use of hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available).

Upon arrival in the host country

  • I will attend all required on-site orientation sessions.
  • I will comply with all testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing protocols as directed by the Schools Abroad, as well as those required by local authorities in the host country.

Hygiene

  • I will wear a paper or cloth face covering when in public (outside my place of residence). It will fit securely and snugly against the sides of my face, extend from below my chin to above my nose, and cover my nose and mouth completely.  I will change and/or wash my face coverings regularly.
  • I will wash my hands with soap and warm water (or hand sanitizer) frequently throughout the day.
  • I will avoid sharing utensils, glasses, pens or pencils, laptops, keyboards, microphones, toothbrushes, or other similar personal products, and frequently sanitize or disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as phone screens, keyboards, tables, desks, etc. and responsibly dispose of any sanitizing or disinfecting wipes and related materials.
  • I will follow guidance from local School Abroad staff regarding my role in sanitizing or disinfecting program space following my usage.
  • I will follow guidance from my landlord or host family regarding my role in sanitizing or disinfecting my residential space.
  • I will cover my mouth and nose with tissues or use the inside of my elbow when I cough or sneeze. I will throw all tissues in the trash and immediately wash my hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Social Distancing

  • I will maintain a physical distance from others of whatever the required minimum in my host country is (as instructed by staff at the School Abroad), to the greatest extent possible, either at or away from School premises. 
  • I agree that, even while maintaining physical distance, I will not gather with other students in groups that exceed restrictions on gathering size, as communicated by the School or local authorities, at any time either at or away from School premises.
  • I will not participate in any gatherings that violate our maximum group gathering size, space occupancy, face covering, or distancing requirements, as these gatherings present heightened risk of transmission.

Sickness and Quarantine

  • I will complete the daily health check required by my School Abroad and/or my host university every morning prior to leaving my place of residence.
  • I will stay home and notify local School Abroad staff if I am sick or if I have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • I will stay at my residence for the recommended quarantine period if I have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms. While in self-quarantine, I will stay in my bedroom and will not leave that room for any reason except to use the bathroom, prepare my meals if they cannot be delivered to me, or in case of a health emergency. I will have no visitors, and will wear a mask at all times when I leave my bedroom. I will adhere to strict physical distancing requirements around others.
  • If I learn I have been exposed and am asked or decide to quarantine, I will not break the terms of this quarantine.

Contact Tracing

  • I will maintain a contact journal that lists the names of other people with whom I have been in close contact each day. The definition of “close contact” will vary by country, and the distance will be provided by School Abroad staff.  A journal is not required for situations where there is already a record of individuals at a certain location (e.g., classes or other scheduled events where the list of participants is ordinarily recorded). I agree to share this information with the contact tracer to assist with the contact tracing process.
  • I will comply with all confidential contact tracing protocols as directed by the School Abroad, my host university, public health authorities, or other local officials, including supplying the names and contact information of individuals with whom I have been in recent, close contact (as defined by local authorities), to the contact tracer.

General Expectations

  • I will comply with any protocols mandated by Middlebury, my host institution, my host family/residence, and local authorities. 
  • I will comply with all testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing protocols as directed by the Schools Abroad, as well as those required by local authorities in the host country.
  • Visitors to my place of residence, if permitted, must comply with all protocols mandated by the School Abroad and local regulations, including travel and quarantine guidelines, face coverings, physical distancing, and hygiene requirements.
  • I will comply with all maximum occupancy requirements, signage, and floor markings posted in all campus, residential, or School spaces (e.g., classrooms, labs, event spaces, break rooms, common spaces, and lounges).
  • I will respectfully remind peers of safety expectations and be respectful, in return, if someone reminds me to comply.
  • I will check my Middlebury email daily and respond to any messages sent by Middlebury College or the Middlebury School Abroad. (I understand that emails regarding COVID-19 may be sent and it is important to be aware of any changes as soon as possible.)
  • I will comply with School Abroad travel advisories, and will participate swiftly and responsibly in all evacuation and lockdown procedures as directed by Middlebury College, School Abroad administrators, or local officials.  
  • I will avoid bias-based discrimination. The current COVID-19 outbreak has provoked bias and discriminatory behaviors against people of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds. We know that the virus does not differentiate with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, or physical ability. During this time of great uncertainty based on the COVID-19 pandemic, students, staff, and faculty are expected to treat others with the respect every human being deserves and not promote, participate in, or allow their own bias to impede the access and opportunity of others in their community. (See also the CDC’s statement on Reducing Stigma.)

Should my program abroad be suspended or cancelled and I choose to remain abroad despite the College’s recommendations:  

  • I acknowledge that based on my decision to remain abroad, I may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and I may be subject to a quarantine, whether abroad or when I return home.
  • I acknowledge that my ability to return to the United States or my home country may be restricted.
  • I acknowledge that the College has no responsibility to assist me in returning home after the official suspension/cancellation/departure date.  I agree not to seek such assistance at a subsequent time, particularly including, but not limited to, if borders are closed or if I contract COVID-19.
  • Based on my voluntary choice to remain when Middlebury recommended that I return, I understand that I release Middlebury College and its officers and employees from any and all liability claims resulting from, including, but not limited to inconvenience, delay or expense resulting from my decision to remain abroad, as well as illness, injury, property damage or death.

I understand that my behavior sets an example for others. I will show that I care about my safety and theirs as we all face this challenge together.

Disciplinary Process

Middlebury Schools Abroad have adopted this temporary administrative policy to immediately address behaviors that violate community standards for protecting everyone’s health. 

Violations of the above Schools Abroad Health and Safety Pledge set forth in this document, COVID-19 policies in the host country (including those of the host university), and/or any other COVID-19-related policy, may result in immediate disciplinary action, including dismissal from the Schools Abroad (which could adversely impact in-person learning). This is in addition to the Schools Abroad standard sanctions and disciplinary actions that may be issued in accordance with the Schools Abroad Handbook processes, up to and including suspension or expulsion from the Middlebury Schools Abroad.

In addition to Middlebury’s disciplinary process and sanctions, students are also subject to sanctions imposed by host universities and local authorities according to the host country’s own policies.  Students should be aware that Middlebury has no oversight or control over the host country’s or host university’s policies.

The provisions of this policy may change depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 and your host country’s mandates. All students are required to take the necessary measures to keep themselves and their community safe.

A. Reporting

Violations of the Schools Abroad Health and Safety Pledge and any COVID-19 related policies set forth by the program, the host country, or the host university will be addressed through the Schools Abroad conduct policies and processes as described below and will include accountability measures.

Students who have concerns related to an individual’s failure to comply with any COVID-19 related policy should report the matter to Schools Abroad staff. Reported concerns involving students will be addressed by the director of the School Abroad. The Director of the School Abroad will determine if the expectations have been violated and, if so, will determine the course of disciplinary action.

B. Disciplinary Actions

Violations of the Health and Safety Pledge will result in the following disciplinary action(s):

  1. Verbal warning.  A student’s first violation of the Health Pledge will result in a verbal warning during an individual meeting with the Schools Abroad director.  Depending on the violation, the student may also be suspended from in-person class attendance as well as program activities for up to two weeks.
  2. Written warning.  A second violation will result in a written warning, with a reminder that the next violation will result in dismissal from the program.  Depending on the violation, the student may also be suspended from in-person class attendance as well as program activities for up to two weeks.  Notification to the home institution and parents/guardians occurs in cases of a written warning.
  3. Dismissal from program.  A third violation will result in the student’s dismissal from the School Abroad.  The decision to dismiss a student will be made by the director of the School Abroad. The student will be notified in writing of the decision and may submit an appeal, in writing, to the Dean of International Programs within 24 hours of receipt of the decision. The dean or their designee will notify the student of the appeal outcome within 72 hours of receipt of the appeal. During the appeal process students may not have in-person access to classes, internships, or participate in any co-curricular events.  They may attend classes via remote access only if such access is available.  In case of dismissal from the School Abroad, no refund of the program fee is made.  Fees for accommodations will only be reimbursed if the student is able to negotiate this with the landlord/host family, in which case the reimbursement will come directly from the landlord/host family.  Students who are dismissed before the last week of classes will receive a grade of “WD” in all of their courses.  Students who are dismissed during the last week of classes (five class days prior to the start of exams) or after will receive a grade of “F” in all of their courses.  Parents or guardians and the student’s home institution are informed when students are dismissed.  

Scope of Oversight

Nothing in this policy is intended to alter or amend the Scope of Oversight provision in the Schools Abroad Handbook, which includes the following policy statement: “Students will be held accountable for Middlebury policy violations as defined herein, as well as violations of the host university’s policies and rules (as applicable) that take place between the first day of orientation for the School Abroad  program and the completion of the program. Conduct that occurs at or in connection with a School Abroad-related event; or occurs off-site but violates the law or may represent a threat to the safety of the School Abroad community or its members, the pursuit of the program’s objectives, and/or the educational environment of others, may be subject to the disciplinary process.”  Students should understand that Schools Abroad staff have no jurisdiction over COVID-19 policies put in place by the host country government, local authorities, or host universities.