UPDATES ON COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(updated 4:46pm ET, March 19, 2020)

The State Department’s latest reclassification just moments ago to a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, states “U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”  This information supports the decision for all remaining students who are abroad to return home at once to ensure a consistent and predictable end to the term.  Because a great deal of variables exist at this point (when/if schools will be able to re-open, quarantines, travel restrictions, cancellation of courses and internships, and more) we at Athena are instructing all students to return immediately to the United States for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.  Any student choosing to remain abroad is going against Athena’s advisement, and will need to contact us immediately to discuss next steps.

Students from all remaining open programs are advised to come home promptly, and to share travel details with Athena and their home institution.  Students will be provided with ample support to complete distance learning to ensure a successful end to the semester.

Previous Posts

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(updated 1:56pm ET, March 12, 2020)

With the reclassification of all Schengen states to a CDC Level 3 last night, Athena has been notified that open programs in GERMANY and IRELAND have now been closed.  Students from these programs are advised to come home promptly, and to share travel details with Athena and their home institution. Students from all closed programs, as well as students who choose to voluntarily depart still open programs, will be provided with ample support to complete distance learning to ensure a successful end to the semester.  

We will continue to keep you updated as further program statuses change. 

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(updated 10:53pm ET, March 11, 2020)

Regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation, the CDC just moments ago expanded their Level 3 Warnings “Avoid Nonessential Travel” to include all of the Schengen countries.  Students are advised to carefully follow the on-site advice of their overseas advisors to maximize safety while abroad, and additionally, to communicate with their home institution advisors regarding their planned next steps.  We will continue to provide updates as we get them from our overseas partner university administration regarding the state of programs.

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(updated 9:26pm, March 11, 2020)

As Athena continues to closely monitor the Coronavirus COVID-19 developments, we have new information to share that pertains to travel from Europe to the United States.  In his address to the nation this evening, President Trump announced that all flights from Europe to the United States will be banned for the next 30 days, starting “this Friday at midnight.”  This does not include flights from the United Kingdom (UK), which it seems, at this time, remain unaffected.  

As of the time of this update, Athena has not been notified by our overseas university partners of the closure of any of our remaining open programs in Europe.  Since all remaining semester programs have more than 30 days left in the term, and no increased risk levels have been announced by the CDC or State Department, Athena encourages students to consider the options and repercussions to staying in their host country,as well as departing their programs early, in order to make the best decisions for them.  We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

(updated 11:45am, March 9, 2020)

Athena continues to closely follow the Coronavirus COVID-19 developments in Italy and elsewhere around the world, both where Athena has programs and elsewhere. (Please review our links on this page to Athena’s COVID-19 fact sheet and also financial aid advice from the U.S. Department of Education.)

Athena is continuing to regularly update its students who are on spring semester programs in Italy and, as advisable, in other countries. We have currently taken no action to cancel any program worldwide, however special advisement regarding Italy has been given in an earlier release. Athena also urges study abroad students (both those abroad during spring and those planning to go during summer and later), their home institution advisors, and their families, to monitor COVID-19 updates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the US State Department, and the World Health Organization. Health and prevention advice about COVID-19 has not changed and should be followed.

China has strictly quarantined the entire Hubei province including Wuhan, which is where COVID-19 originated, and has dramatically slowed the virus’s spread. Italy’s government has now chosen to quarantine the northern part of the country for all but “essential” travel to greatly slow the virus’s spread.

Since the start of this evolving situation, we at Athena committed to making decisions with a steady and calm hand. We have been focused on ensuring we are not succumbing to pressure to make quick decisions on behalf of our students, and instead allowing them, as adults, to make informed decisions on behalf of themselves. Because health and safety are central and vital to all that we do at Athena, we have been taking our advisement on whether programs should remain open or closed from our expert partners on the ground abroad, as long as remaining on-site is a sound and safe decision. 

Athena and its institutional partners around the world have not canceled any upcoming study abroad programs scheduled for May, Summer, or Fall 2020. We continue to remain open for business in a safe and thoughtful way!

GREEK ISLAND OPTION FOR SP2020

We’d like to inform you that Athena’s Paros, Island Greece program, which just commenced this week, is offering an option for enrollment for Spring 2020 students who are being forced to evacuate their study abroad programs in Italy, and elsewhere around the world. Paros.AthenaAbroad.com

Students will be able to maintain their online/distance learning coursework from their original program, while participating in both academic and cultural activities in Greece, thus maintaining the opportunity to take maximum advantage of their study abroad semester.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information, and to find out if you are eligible to take advantage of this, please email info@athenaabroad.com.  Deadline to inform us of your interest in participating in the program is Monday, March 9, and students must be able to arrive in Greece no later than Wednesday, March 11, in order to commence coursework in a timely fashion.

We at Athena, as well as each of our partners abroad, take traveler and student safety very, very seriously. A healthy and safe experience abroad is of paramount importance to us. Paired with this, we take student autonomy in adult decision making extremely seriously as well. Therefore, we at Athena continue to remain open for business in a safe and thoughtful way!

If we can be of assistance to you or your students affected by the coronavirus, both now and in future terms, don’t hesitate to be in touch.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Reports in Northern Italy

(updated 6:55pm, March 4, 2020)

As Athena continues to closely follow the Coronavirus COVID-19 developments, we have new information that affects all students currently remaining in Italy.  This evening the Italian government issued a decree to temporarily close all schools and universities across Italy with hopes of further containing the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, we regret to inform you that starting on March 5, 2020, at 8:00 am (CET – Central European Time), Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici (LdM) will suspend its on-site academic operations until March 15, 2020 at the earliest. Separate communication with full details has been sent by LdM directly to all students.

Please note that by March 15, additional directives issued by Italian authorities will be known, making it possible for LdM to evaluate new information and determine their ability to lift this suspension. Alternatively, governmental directives may obligate LdM to cancel the Spring 2020 semester. 

Since the start of this evolving situation, we at Athena have expressed our intention and commitment to guide our decisions with a steady and calm hand through this crisis.  We have been focused on ensuring we are not succumbing to pressure to make quick decisions on behalf of our students, and instead allowing them, as adults, to make informed decisions on behalf of themselves. Because health and safety is central and vital to all that we do at Athena, we have been taking our advisement on whether programs should remain open or closed from our expert partners on the ground abroad, as long as remaining on-site is a sound and safe decision.  

However, the latest advisement we have received from LdM supports the decision to return home to ensure a consistent and predictable end to the term.  Because a great deal of variables exist at this point (when/if schools will be able to re-open, quarantines, travel restrictions, cancellation of courses and internships, and more) we at Athena are strongly encouraging all students to depart Italy for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.  Any student choosing to remain in Italy is going against Athena’s advisement, and will need to contact us immediately to discuss next steps.

Athena students will be given two options: 

  1. To arrange distance learning to successfully complete their coursework after departure and/or
  2. Remaining students will be given an option for transferring to another Athena program location whose semester just began this week (additional fees apply).  Students selecting this option will matriculate into this program and complete LdM distance learning in combination with on-site courses and programming in the new country. Please inquire with Athena immediately if you are interested to pursue this option, so that we may provide you with full details.

We wish everyone a safe departure from Italy.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Reports in Northern Italy

(updated 1:55pm, March 2, 2020)

Athena continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. We at Athena, as well as each of our partners abroad, take traveler and student safety very, very seriously. A healthy and safe experience abroad is of paramount importance to us. Paired with this, we take student autonomy in adult decision making extremely seriously as well.  

In light of the very large financial and experiential investment our students have made in choosing to study abroad, we want to be completely sure that each of the decisions that we at Athena make on behalf of their enrollment abroad is made with the most authentic and student-centric perspective in mind. As is often the case globally with news media sources, information without context, or even misinformation, can be spread that causes undue panic and worry. Our partner institutions abroad are by far the most informed and knowledgeable experts in providing guidance on when or if a program should be canceled or suspended. Therefore, we at Athena have made the conscious choice to trust in the advisement of our partner institutions when deciding if a program should be canceled.   

Currently, all Athena programs are still open and operating as normal (with increased health and safety precautions being taken in each location). For any student studying abroad in Italy who makes the decision to return home early, accommodations for distance learning are available to ensure a successful end to the term. We strongly encourage students to stay informed, and carefully consider the implications of remaining in your host country, both short and long term, as conditions develop.  

For students who are actively traveling, whether to Italy or anywhere else in the world, we strongly encourage increased caution to maintain a healthy experience. Do not knowingly expose yourself to locations that are already known risk zones. Wash your hands vigorously and frequently. Only travel when necessary, and wear masks or other accessories as you feel necessary.

Athena will keep all of its students in Italy informed as quickly as possible about major relevant developments, in collaboration with our health and safety team and on-site personnel in Italy. In the meantime, we ask that all students continue to follow the guidance of their on-site advisors.

 

CORONAVIRUS FACT SHEET


Additionally, we at Athena aim to be a source of well-researched information when it comes to the dissemination of factual data that informs decisions as significant as these.  We have created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fact Sheet that will be updated very regularly, aimed at providing information that assists students, offices, and organizations in making informed decisions on program cancellations.  Read the most updated version of the report here.

Athena and its institutional partners abroad and in the US continue to monitor the situation and will update, as necessary, students, home institutions, and students’ families.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, as we are here to support you in every way possible through this confusing and difficult time.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Reports in Northern Italy

(updated 10 PM, Feb. 28, 2020)

Athena Study Abroad has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation.

Over the weekend of Feb. 22-23, international news reports and notices from the U.S. Embassy in Rome provided more information about Coronavirus cases in northern Italy. Athena and our University partners in Italy took measures including but not limited to examining CDC and WHO advisement, consulting with our partner universities abroad, regular meetings of Athena’s Health and Safety Committee, and sharing this information with all students in Italy. We encouraged all students to monitor the news and to take the standard precautions to avoid illness.

On Friday, Feb. 28, the US Centers for Disease Control (and therefore U.S. State Department) raised its warning for Italy to Level 3, “Avoid Nonessential Travel.” This does not mean that Americans must leave Italy unless their US home institution requires them to, or their host institution closes for health reasons.

Athena will keep all of its students in Italy informed as quickly as possible about major relevant developments, in collaboration with our health and safety team and on-site personnel in Italy. In the meantime, we ask that all students continue to follow the guidance of their on-site advisors.

For reliable and current information on the nature of the virus, including updates, consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO)

We advise all travelers to refer to this list of tips for healthy travel provided by WHO.

Athena and its institutional partners abroad and in the US continue to monitor the situation and will update, as necessary, students, home institutions, and students’ families.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Reports in Northern Italy

(updated 4:19 PM, Feb. 25, 2020)

Athena Study Abroad has been closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation.

Over the weekend, international news reports and notices from the U.S. Embassy in Rome providing more information about a few cases of Coronavirus happening in the north of Italy. Athena and our University partners in Italy have taken measures to share this information with all students in Italy. We encourage all students to monitor the news and to take the standard precautions to avoid illness.

For participants heading abroad we are referring them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for reliable information on the nature of the virus and latest updates.

We advise all travelers to refer to this list of tips for healthy travel provided by WHO. As always, to prevent catching any virus, the first tip is to frequently wash your hands, and traveling with hand sanitizer is a good idea as well.

ATHENA STUDY ABROAD

  •   169 Main Street
    Greenville, PA 16125

  •    Call: 866-922-7623

  •    Mail: info@athenaabroad.com

    

ATHENA BUZZ

40 Under 40 Award Quickbooks Intuit Small Business Award

ATHENA INVOLVEMENT

CONTACT US

Athena Study Abroad • Big World. Made Smaller. © Copyright 2005 - 2020

//