A few hours ago, the U.S. Department of State announced it had increased its advisory in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” Given the number of reported coronavirus cases in Emilia Romagna, it’s possible the advisory could extend to that region as well. In light of this, and because the situation is changing so rapidly, we can’t in good conscience allow you to remain in Italy.
 
Therefore, we have decided to suspend all Middlebury programs in Italy effective immediately.
 
We expect this will come as a great disappointment to you, but please know the decision was not made lightly.
 
My office has been in constant communication with Dr. Cuda, Middlebury College administrators, and Global Rescue throughout the day today. Even though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in your cities remains relatively low, and your daily lives haven’t been directly impacted by the outbreak, we’re concerned that if advisory levels increase in Florence and Rome, and if the U.S. government were to restrict travel from Italy, it would affect your ability to leave the country.
 
We ask that you make arrangements to leave Italy as soon as you’re able.
 
Our experience suspending the program in China last month leads us to believe airlines might waive change fees and penalties for rebooking flights, as they did then. However, you may be asked to pay rebooking fees, which would be at your own expense. If you’re a financial aid recipient, please contact your financial aid office to ask if they can help with this additional expense. Regarding your accommodations: it will be up to the host family or landlord to decide if they’ll reimburse your security deposit. Please do your best to discuss this with them, but if you need support, please contact staff at the Sede.
 
At this point, we’re not aware of any quarantine or isolation protocols for individuals returning to the U.S. from Italy. However, there may be medical screenings upon arrival. Please consult the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites on the day of your departure to confirm what protocols or screenings may be in place.
 
We’re making arrangements for you to complete your coursework remotely so you may earn a semester’s worth of credit. Those of you enrolled in a university course will need to substitute your current courses with a Middlebury-organized course. Your classes will be a mix of recorded lectures and live interactive lessons. You’ll be expected to participate and complete assignments as indicated by your instructor. The plan is to suspend classes for a week to allow you all to reach your destination.
 
If you choose to pursue this option, please contact Dr. Cuda, who will help you with your course selection and enrollment.
 
If you prefer not to continue your studies remotely, you may withdraw from the program and we’ll refund your spring semester tuition. Please consult with your academic advisor before committing to this option, and notify Dr. Cuda of your decision by Friday, March 6.