ANNOUNCEMENTS & COVID19 UPDATES

OVERVIEW

KEI is closely monitoring the health and safety conditions, travel restrictions, and in-country requirements at each of our program locations. This page provides program-specific cancellations and updates. KEI sources of information include, but not limited to, the US Department of State (DOS), US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), embassies and health ministries of the host countries, KEI partner institutions abroad, KEI’s insurance provider, KEI onsite staff, and in-country media sources. This page is updated as new information becomes available.

KEI works closely with our partner universities abroad. Therefore, policies and procedures established by those universities will apply to KEI program participants. This may include quarantine upon arrival, wearing a mask, daily temperature checks, health checks, using a university mobile app, agreeing to tracing policies, maintaining physical distance, and limited in-country travel.

Update: November 23, 2020
KEI is aware that the United States Centers for Disease Control has released information on their new COVID-specific Four-Level Travel Health Notices. The KEI Health & Safety Committee will be meeting this week to review how this new system will be integrated into our existing KEI health & safety policies as well as our emergency management action plan. KEI will update this page when a determination has been made on how this new system will impact KEI program operations for the Spring 2021 term.

KEI Guarantee
KEI’s primary concern is the health and safety of our program participants. Rest assured that KEI will not operate programs in locations that are deemed unsafe. If KEI cancels a 2021 Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall program on any day prior to the start date or a student’s home university suspends study abroad at least 3 weeks prior to the start date, students will receive a full refund of money paid toward the enrollment deposit and program fee. We want students to feel secure in their decision to study abroad without unnecessary concern for their health and fear of losing money if a program is canceled.

Spring 2021 Programs
KEI is planning to offer Spring 2021 programs in the following locations. Note that these programs may be canceled due to COVID19-related circumstances such as heightened risk and travel restrictions. Refer to the country tabs for the most updated information. Students should have a back-up plan in case their program is canceled.

  • ENGLAND: London
  • IRELAND: Dublin
  • THAILAND: Bangkok/Salaya

The following program locations have been canceled for Spring 2021.

  • AUSTRALIA: Gold Coast
  • CHINA: Beijing
  • COSTA RICA: San Jose
  • ECUADOR: Guayaquil
  • FRANCE: Paris
  • INDIA: Pune
  • ITALY: Florence
  • JAPAN: Akita
  • PERU: Cuzco & Lima
  • RUSSIA: Moscow
  • SCOTLAND: Edinburgh
  • SPAIN: Burgos
  • TURKEY: Istanbul
  • UAE: Ras Al-Khaimah

Summer & Fall 2021 Programs
KEI is planning to offer Summer and Fall 2021 programs in all of our locations. However, programs may be canceled due to COVID19-related circumstances. Country-specific information will be posted on this page in February 2021. Students should have a back-up plan in case their program is canceled.

England (Spring 2021)

ENGLAND: London

London Southbank University

Last Updated: 29 September 2020

DOS: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel

CDC: Level 3 – Avoid Non-Essential Travel

USA Embassy/Consulates in UK: Routine services suspended. Open by appointment for US Citizens. Emergency passport processing only.

Course Delivery: Spring 2021 Campus Open; Hybrid model for in-person learning; Support services (Library, Labs) and virtual instruction.

Campus Protocols: TBD

Accommodation Protocols: TBD

Application Protocol: No changes for Spring 2021. Applications are being processed for a hybrid online and in-person semester beginning in January 2021.

Visa/Border Protocols:

  • A mandatory 14 day quarantine is required when entering the UK from the USA.
  • Health checks conducted by the Ministry of Health.
  • Students are able to enter the UK on a Student Visitor Visa Stamp.

COVID Testing and Treatment:

  • NHS testing centers are located within London and have a specific procedure in order to book a test.
  • Private COVID testing is available at numerous clinics.
  • Non-citizens will be charged for the test. Prices range from 99 GBP to 189 GBP.

Travel Protocols:

  • Most airlines will conduct health checks prior to boarding.
  • Most airlines require face masks to be worn during flight.

External References:

Ireland (Spring 2021)

IRELAND: Dublin

Griffith College Dublin

Last Updated:19 October 2020

DOS: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel

CDC: Level 3 – Avoid Non-Essential Travel

USA Embassy/Consulates in UK: Routine services suspended. Open by appointment for US Citizens. Emergency passport processing only.

Course Delivery: Spring 2021 Campus Open. Griffith is utilizing a hybrid model that combines in-person and online instruction.

Academic Continuity: Students are able to complete coursework and assignments virtually in case quarantine or early departure is required.

Campus Protocols:

  • Physical distancing of 2 meters and masks are required outside classrooms and outdoors.
  • Classrooms are set up for 2-meter social distancing.
  • Students may remove mask when seated at their desks.
  • Students are required to wipe their desk before and after class.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout campus.
  • Everyone must walk on the left-hand side of corridors and stairs.
  • Signs promoting COVID etiquette and foot traffic instructions are posted around campus.

Accommodation & Dining Protocols:

  • Griffith will organize private transportation from Dublin Airport to campus accommodations.
  • Students must remain in their residence for 14 days upon arrival. Visits to the food market, grocery store and pharmacy is allowed.
  • Students are required to Residential spaces have information displays to encourage students to follow the protocol.
  • A started pack with sanitizer and masks will be provided in each student flat.
  • Students are required to separate food storage, food prep, and eating in shared flats.
  • Cleaning surfaces and materials before and after food preparation and consummation are required.
  • Masks and gloves are worn by workers in the food preparation and serving area.
  • 2-meter physical distance will be observed in lines, serving areas, and seating areas.
  • Only those approved to be at campus facilities are allowed to access campus dining areas.

Application Protocol: No changes for Spring 2021. Applications are being processed for a hybrid online and in-person semester beginning in January 2021.

Visa/Border Protocols:

  • Students are able to enter Ireland with their acceptance letter from Griffith College.
  • Health checks may be conducted upon arrival in Dublin.
  • A mandatory 14 day period of restricted movement is required.
  • Health checks conducted by the Ministry of Health.
  • Students are able to enter the UK on a Student Visitor Visa Stamp.

Travel Protocols:

  • Most airlines will conduct health checks prior to boarding.
  • Most airlines require face masks to be worn during flight.
  • Passengers are required to complete a Passenger Locator Form.

COVID Testing and Treatment:

External References:

Thailand (Spring 2021)

THAILAND: Bangkok/Salaya

Mahidol University International College

Last Updated: 11 November 2020

Program Status: 

  • Winter 2021 program is canceled.
  • Spring 2021 program will be offered. Students who were accepted to the Winter 2021 program may defer to the Spring 2021 program by contacting their KEI Program Manager. 

DOS: Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution

CDC: Level 1 – Practice Usual Precautions

USA Embassy/Consulates in Thailand: Open for routine, in-person appointments.

Course Delivery (Spring 2021): Campus open; Hybrid Model for in-person and virtual instruction if physical distance requirements cannot be met.

Academic Continuity for Spring 2021: TBD

Campus Protocols:

  • Following Thai Ministry of Education Protocols and Thai Department of Disease Control
  • Temperature checks
  • Sanitizing stations
  • Face masks
  • Frequent cleaning of high touch and public areas
  • Enhanced hygiene in campus food facilities

Accommodation Protocols:

  • Mandatory 14 quarantine upon arrival at a government-approved facility.
  • Costs range from $1,500 to $2,500 USD depending on the facility and meal costs.
  • KEI will assist students in selecting and coordinating their quarantine plan.
  • Students are responsible for covering the cost of mandatory quarentine.

Application Protocol: Application open. No changes for Winter 2021 and Spring 2021 trimesters.

Visa/Border Protocols & Requirements:

  • Student visa (Non-Immigrant Visa Category ED)
  • Fit to Fly Certificate
  • Certificate of Entry
  • Certificate of COVID free testing issued not more than 72 hours prior to departure
  • Health Insurance covering COVID-19 at a minimum of $100,000
  • Letter of Approval on quarantine accommodation.
  • Health check upon arrival.
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine.

COVID Testing and Treatment:

  • Thailand’s Department of Disease Control tracks and records COVID Testing and publishes results daily.
  • If symptoms present, the university or the individual is required to notify the Department of Disease Control at 1422 and the Department will collect the individual for testing, quarantine until negative test results are received.
  • If a student tests positive, they are mandated to remain in a government-designated COVID hospital for treatment.
  • The Golden Jubilee Medical Center is located within walking distance from campus.

Travel Protocols:

  • Only certain flights are approved by the Thai Government to land in Thailand.
  • Airline tickets must be booked directly with an authorized agent.
  • Agents can be found on the Thai Embassy Website. The schedule for flights is updated frequently.
  • Most airlines require face masks to be worn during flight.

Important Dates for Trimester 2 (Winter):
These dates may change slightly depending on the availability of flights.

  • December 15, 2020: COVID Test/Fit to Fly Certificate
  • December 17, 2020: Departure from the USA: Korea Airlines
  • December 19, 2020: Arrival in Thailand, transfer to Quarantine Facility
  • December 20 to January 3: Quarantine (14 days)
  • January 3, 2021: Transfer to KEI accommodations
  • January 4, 2021: First day of classes
  • April 5, 2021: Trimester ends
  • April 6, 2021: Departure to the USA

Important Dates for Trimester 3 (Spring):
These dates may change slightly depending on the availability of flights.

  • April 6, 2021: COVID Test/Fit to Fly Certificate
  • April 8, 2021: Departure from the USA
  • April 10, 2021: Arrival in Thailand, transfer to Quarantine Facility
  • April 11 to April 25, 2021: Quarantine (14 days)
  • April 25, 2021: Transfer to KEI accommodations
  • April 26, 2021: First day of classes
  • July 25, 2021: Trimester ends
  • July 26, 2021: Departure to the USA

External References:

PAST ANNOUNCEMENTS (SPRING 2020)

INSURANCE SUMMARY

Evacuation policy

The Atlas insurance included* with KEI programs agreed to cover the cost of evacuation (cost of airfare from the program country to the USA). The evacuation coverage was valid between 11 March 2020 and 21 March 2020. Previously, the evacuation benefit was only triggered by a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory for a specific country. The insurance waived this requirement until 21 March 2020.

Students had to coordinate their return flights with the insurance company on or before 20 March 2020. The insurance company, through its affiliate OnCall, purchased a return flight for students.

Students who purchased their own return flight are eligible to submit a claim for reimbursement of the airfare if:

  • they were unable to connect with OnCall due to long wait times or another valid reason,
  • and, they purchased the return flight between 11 March 2020 and 21 March 2020.

Coverage is not guaranteed for the full amount, but the insurance company has agreed to process the claim requests. Please note that KEI has no control over final decisions or the timeline of this process.

To submit a claim, send an email to service@hccmis.com and include the following:

  • In the Subject line of your email write: political evacuation claim 
  • Attach the completed claim form.
  • Attach your flight itinerary that shows your journey and the cost.
  • Make sure to include your policy number in the email. It is on your Insurance Card, which can be found in your student portal.
  • Write the following: My name is X. My policy number is X. I am writing to claim the political evacuation benefit for my flight on DATE. I was unable to change my previous ticket and was unable to connect with On Call to organize my flight to the USA. Therefore, I purchased a ticket for $X on DATE. I have attached a copy of my flight itinerary showing the cost of the ticket. 

If you still have questions regarding coverage and claim, please call the insurance company at 800-605-2282.

Medical coverage for COVID19

The Atlas insurance policy will cover any medical expenses related to COVID-19 should a student contract the disease in a CDC Level 1 or 2 country. If the CDC issues a Level 3 Alert, students have 10 days of insurance coverage should they contract the COVID-19. After the 10 days, the insurance will not provide coverage for COVID-19. All other medical coverage remains intact (for example, a fall resulting in a broken leg).

CDC Levels for individual countries can be monitored here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/

Note *

Some KEI program participants are not covered by the Atlas insurance policy. This includes but not limited to students from SUNY Oneonta, Marist College and the University of Connecticut. In such cases, students are usually covered by their home university mandated insurance. Check with your home university for details regarding insurance coverage.  

REFUND SUMMARY

In consideration of the current situation, KEI will extend the refund policy for program suspension to all students who returned to the USA prior to the end of their semester abroad. The KEI refund policy is available on our Policies & Procedures page. In summary, KEI will refund the $500 enrollment/damage deposit minus the cost of damages, if any. In addition, any money that is refunded to KEI by the host university, accommodations and other vendors for tuition, housing, and cultural activities will be refunded to students or their home universities.

If your home university paid KEI for any portion of the program fee, please contact your study abroad advisor for information on how refunds are being handled. If you or your family paid the program fee directly to KEI, the refund will be sent to you/your family when ready. Any possible refund is contingent upon receipt of the Refund Waiver, which will be emailed to students with additional information about their refund.

Note that the amount of the refund, if any, will be relatively small. KEI partner universities abroad informed KEI that they will not process any refunds for tuition and academic fees. However, most universities are offering online courses and/or guided independent study so that students can complete coursework remotely and earn academic credit. Most accommodations have also informed KEI that they will not process refunds. These policies are consistent with most other universities abroad and in the USA. KEI is in the process of collecting budgetary information from our Onsite Directors to determine how much money is remaining for cultural activities and field trips.

Please allow us 4 to 8 weeks to deal with refunds. Our priority, for now, is the health and safety of our students, their safe return to the USA, and the completion of academic work. KEI will inform students or their home universities via email regarding the amount of the refund when this information is available.

19 March 2020 Update

The U.S. Department of State just raised the Global Health Advisory to Level 4. This is the highest level!!

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, 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.  Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

Here is a link to the entire advisory: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

Returning Students

As you are returning to the USA, we would like to remind everyone of the CDC Advice on self-isolation and monitoring your health: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

It may be helpful to know the public health officials for your area and where testing can be done should you feel that you develop symptoms. This information is available through the CDC link above. It is important to take care of yourselves as well as your families.

Insurance Update

Students with KEI provided Atlas insurance who purchased a return flight to the USA between 11 and 20 March 2020 are eligible to submit a claim for reimbursement of airfare for the ticket. Coverage is not guaranteed for the full amount, but the insurance company has agreed to process the claim requests. Please note that KEI has no control over final decisions or the timeline of this process. To submit a claim, follow the instructions here: https://www.hccmis.com/insurance-resources/claims-guide/

Your Insurance card can be found in the documents section of the KEI Student Portal.

17 March 2020 Update

Program Updates

KEI Spring 2020 programs in Paris, France; Florence, Italy; Beijing, China; Bangkok, Thailand (T3); Dublin, Ireland; and Akita, Japan have been suspended. KEI will not be able to provide on-site support for students in these locations.

For the time being, KEI is not suspending programs in other locations so that we can continue to provide on-site support to students who are still in the host country. However, KEI strongly urges remaining students in all program locations to return to the USA (if logistically possible). If a program is suspended, KEI will not be able to provide on-site support for students who choose to remain abroad.

Program Refunds

In consideration of the current situation, KEI will extend the refund policy for program suspension to all students who returned to the USA prior to the end of their semester abroad. The KEI refund policy is available on our Policies & Procedures page. In summary, KEI will refund the $500 enrollment/damage deposit minus the cost of damages, if any. In addition, any money that is refunded to KEI by the host university, accommodations and other vendors for tuition, housing, and cultural activities will be refunded to students or their home universities.

Note that the amount of the refund, if any, will be relatively small. KEI partner universities abroad informed KEI that they will not process any refunds. However, most universities will offer online courses and/or guided independent study so that students can complete coursework remotely and earn academic credit. Student accommodations have also informed KEI that they will not process refunds since the empty spaces cannot be re-rented. These policies are consistent with most other universities abroad and in USA.

KEI is in the process of collecting budgetary information from our Onsite Directors to determine how much money is remaining for cultural activities and field trips. Once this information is available, KEI will inform students via email regarding the amount of their refund. Please allow us a few weeks to deal with refunds. Our priority, for now, is the health and safety of our students, and their safe return to the USA.

16 March 2020 Update

Program in Peru

The Peruvian government declared a national state of emergency on March 15 at 8:00 PM Peru local time.  Under the state of emergency, Peru enacting 15 days of mandatory quarantine, starting at midnight on March 16. Quarantine exemptions will include movement to obtain food and medical care. All borders (land, air, and maritime) will be closed as of 11:59 PM on March 16. KEI students will remain in their housing and be advised and assisted on a daily basis by our Onsite Director. We are working with our insurance provider to arrange transportation for our students to return to the USA when the borders reopen. Students are continuing courses online. The borders are scheduled to reopen to outgoing travelers on 31 March 2020.

Program in Kenya

The Kenyan government ordered the closure of all universities by March 20. Here is a link to more info https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2020-03-15-schools-closed-effectively-from-tomorrow/  Students will be able to complete their USIU courses remotely. KEI will email details as soon as they are made available by USIU.

KEI strongly recommends that students return to the USA.  

15 March 2020 Update

14 March 2020, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation extending the previously announced European Schengen Area travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland. The ban will commence on Monday, 16 March 2020. This announcement affects KEI students in Dublin, Ireland; London, England; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

You can read the proclamtion here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-certain-additional-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-coronavirus-2/

Programs in England, Scotland & Ireland

KEI is strongly recommending that students consider returning to the USA. We anticipate that many airlines will reduce or eliminate flights making it more difficult to return to the USA. We encourage you to discuss this with your family and your home school in order to make the best decision.

We understand there are still questions and concerns regarding academic credits from this semester. KEI will do its best to resolve these matters as soon as possible with our partner universities abroad.

Programs in Thailand

Thailand imposed a travel ban for all non-Thai nationals. Students currently in Thailand are strongly advised to return to the USA. Mahidol University International College has suspended in-person classes and moving courses online.

The Spring Trimester (T3) program in Thailand has been suspended. Mahidol Univesity International College will not issue visas for T3 students. Contact KEI for specific information about this program.
The insurance policy will cover any medical expenses related to COVID-19 should the student contract the disease in a CDC Level 1 or 2 country.

Insurance Update

The Atlas insurance included* with KEI programs will cover the cost of evacuation for program participants who want to return to the USA. Previously, the evacuation benefit was triggered by a DOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory for a specific country. The insurance is waiving this requirement until March 20th. Students who want to return to the USA must coordinate their flight with the insurance company and depart the host country by March 20th.  The KEI policy director can be reached at 1-800-605-2282.

This does not mean that students are required to leave the program. It only means that the insurance company will coordinate and cover the cost of your flight (note that students must work directly with the insurance company). Students must make a decision by March 20th.

Students were provided with their insurance card prior to the start of the program. The insurance cards are also available in the Documents section of the KEI student portal.

The insurance policy will cover any medical expenses related to COVID-19 should a student contract the disease in a CDC Level 1 or 2 country. If the CDC issues a Level 3 Alert, students have 10 days of insurance coverage should they contract the COVID-19. After the 10 days, the insurance will not provide coverage for COVID-19. All other medical coverage remains intact (for example, a fall resulting in a broken leg).

CDC Levels for individual countries can be monitored here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/

* Note that some KEI program participants are not covered by the Atlas insurance policy. This includes but not limited to students from SUNY Oneonta, Marist College and the University of Connecticut. In such cases, students are usually covered by their home university mandated insurance. Check with your home university for details regarding insurance coverage.  

13 March 2020 Update

Insurance Update

See update on 15 March 2020

12 March 2020 Update

On 11 March  2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. It is important to note that the travel restrictions only apply to non-US citizens and legal residents who visited the Schengen Area, which consists of the following European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Ireland, Scotland, England, Russia and non-European countries are not included in the current travel policy.

The Presidential Proclamation is available here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/11/homeland-security-acting-secretary-chad-f-wolf-s-statement-presidential-proclamation

On 11 March 2020, the US Department of State (DOS) issued a Global Level 3 Health Advisory: Reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. For more information visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-3-health-advisory-issue.html

NOTE: The DOS has not raised the Travel Advisory to Level 3 for individual countries (besides those already at Level 3). As such, the Atlas insurance policy (included with KEI programs*) will not cover the cost of changing flights and other expenses associated with returning to the USA.

We understand that the new travel policy and health advisory may prompt universities in the USA to call students back to the USA.  Please inform KEI if your university is requesting that you return to the USA. If you want to complete your semester abroad, make sure to contact your home university to discuss options (ex: some universities are allowing students to remain abroad if they sign a waiver or complete am online form). Should you decide to return to the USA, KEI withdrawal policies apply.

KEI is requesting that our partner universities abroad consider allowing students to complete coursework remotely. Participants in KEI programs in Paris, Florence and Edinburgh will be able to complete their courses online and/or distance learning. We are still waiting for decisions/replies from the other KEI partner universities and will update students as soon as more information is available. KEI will continue to advocate for the best interests of our students.

Program-specific announcements (Spring 2020):

Paris, France is affected by the new travel policy. Although US-citizens are not restricted from returning to the USA, airlines may limit flights to/from the affected countries making it more difficult for students to change travel dates to the USA. Students who choose to return to the USA should do so in the next few days. Students who choose to remain in Paris will continue to receive support from KEI. Note that the American Business School of Paris is moving all courses online after the Spring break.

Dublin, Ireland: Griffith College will be closed until March 29 by order of the Irish government (all schools will be closed). We are awaiting information on Griffith’s plan moving forward, including the possibility of offering courses online.

Edinburgh, Scotland: Heriot-Watt University has confirmed distance learning support for any student that wishes to return to the USA.

We understand that this is a very stressful time for students and their families we will do our best to support them with accurate information as soon as it is available. Do not hesitate to contact KEI if you have questions or concerns.

10 March 2020 Update

Spring 2020 Program in Paris, France

Starting March 23, the American Business School of Paris will move all courses online. In-person classes will not be offered after March 23. The ABS campus will remain open, and administrative and student support services will be available. Note that the week of March 16 is Spring break. The KEI program in Paris is NOT suspended.

Summer 2020 Programs

The KEI summer 2020 program in Beijing, China; Florence, Italy and Moscow, Russia is suspended. The Global Health Program in Guayaquil, Ecuador is also suspended. All other summer programs, including summer session I and II programs in Ecuador, will be offered. Should KEI suspend a summer program prior to the start date, all fees paid to KEI (including the application fee) will be refunded to students. KEI strongly recommends that students include trip interruption insurance from the airline when purchasing the airline ticket.

Fall 2020 Programs

All Fall 2020 programs are being offered. Although it is unlikely, if KEI suspends a fall program prior to the start date, all fees paid to KEI (including the application fee) will be refunded to students. KEI strongly recommends that students include trip interruption insurance from the airline when purchasing the airline ticket.

7 March 2020 Update

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding program suspension, voluntary withdrawal, and completion of coursework and refunds in the event of a program suspension and/or withdrawal.

Consistent with KEI policy, a program will be suspended if the U.S. Department of State (DOS) raises the Travel Alert to Level 3 or 4 for the host location. Should KEI suspend the program, students will be given the option to return to the USA. KEI will work with students, their families, home universities and the insurance to facilitate the evacuation. The Atlas insurance (which is included with KEI programs*) covers evacuation from the program country to the USA if the DOS raises the Travel Alert to Level 3 or 4. KEI will also make a formal request to the host university abroad to provide alternate methods of completing coursework and academic credit (online instruction, distance learning, guided independent study, etc.). KEI will also coordinate the possibility of course completion with students’ home universities. However, universities abroad and in the USA may not be able to accommodate such a request.

Most host universities abroad informed KEI that they are likely to offer alternative learning options only if the host country government mandates closing of universities or suspension of classes. This is a common response from universities all over the world. If a student withdraws from a program, it will be difficult/impossible to complete courses with the host university.

Students who choose to withdraw (leave the program even if it is not suspended by KEI) are responsible for all costs associated with returning to the USA.

Normally, students who withdraw from a KEI program do not receive a refund. However, given the current situation KEI will extend the refund policy guiding program suspension to voluntary withdrawals. In short, any money that is refunded to KEI by the host university, accommodations and other vendors for tuition, housing, and cultural activities will be refunded to students or their home universities. It should be noted that the amount of the refund, if any, will be relatively small. Many universities abroad will not consider refunds unless their own governments require university closure and the university is unable to or unwilling to provide alternate methods of completing coursework. Here is a link to the KEI refund policy – https://www.keiabroad.org/about-kei/policies-proceedures/#tab-id-3

* Note that some KEI program participants are not covered by the Atlas insurance policy. This includes but not limited to students from SUNY Oneonta, Marist College and the University of Connecticut. In such cases, students are usually covered by their home university mandated insurance. Check with your home university for details regarding insurance coverage.  

3 March 2020 Update

On 1 March 2020 a new guidance was posted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). You can read about it here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/student-foreign-travel.html  This guidance is suggesting that US Universities consider postponing or cancelling study abroad programs and consider asking students that are currently abroad to return to the USA. At this time, the US Department of State (DOS) has not acknowledged this message nor updated their website: https://studyabroad.state.gov/study-abroad-resources/travel-health-safety-info However, they may do so and we will update students and university partners accordingly.

At present, KEI is not planning to cancel Spring semester programs (except those in Italy and China). However, we are carefully following the situation in our program countries through the DOS, Embassy and Consulate Alert Messages, CDC, WHO (World Health Organization), individual country governments and ministries of health and education with the assistance of our in-country partners.

KEI is advising students to remain in their host countries. We are also advising students not to travel outside their host city, especially to Italy and South Korea (which have a DOS Level 3 and 4 Travel Alerts. We ask sending universities in the USA to inform KEI as soon as possible if considering calling students back to the USA.

KEI is inquiring with our partner universities abroad regarding contingency plans in case of university closure or a voluntary departure by a student. Universities abroad are following guidelines set forth by their respective governments. Please be advised that without the host government declaring an emergency and/or ordering a university to suspend classes, there is no guarantee that universities abroad will provide alternative arrangements (online courses, guided independent study, etc.) to complete academic coursework. It is also unlikely that universities will refund any portion of tuition and academic fees.

The health and safety of KEI program participants is our utmost priority. Please do not hesitate to contact your Onsite Director and/or Program Manager if you have questions or concerns.

Julie Pollard, Director of Program Operations: julie@KEIabroad.org
Eduard Mandel, Managing Director: eduard@KEIabroad.org
Jennifer Hernandez, Program Manager: jennifer@KEIabroad.org
Riley Sklar, Program Manager: riley@KEIabroad.org

28 February 2020 Update

The US Department of State raised the Travel Alert for Italy to Level 3: Reconsider Travel to Italy.
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/italy-travel-advisory.html

For students currently in studying in Italy…

At this time, SUNY has determined the best course of action is for students to return to the USA. KEI will be assisting students in this process. Please refer to Julie Pollard’s email (sent Feb 29) with options and suggestions for changing flights and returning to the USA.

For ALL students currently abroad…

KEI encourages students to cancel independent travel plans to Italy, Japan and other countries that have been impacted by the Coronavirus. Students should remain in their host countries. Policies regarding travel and borders are very unpredictable given the current challenges related to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Students are reminded to follow the policies implemented by their host universities and their host cities. KEI sent informational emails to students specific to their host country and will continue to do so as more information becomes available.

Do not hesitate to contact your KEI Onsite Director, Eduard Mandell or Julie Pollard if you have questions or concerns. Our contact information is on the KEI Staff page – https://www.keiabroad.org/about-kei/meet-our-staff/ You can also call the KEI emergency line if it is an urgent emergency (212.931.9953 and follow prompts).

25 February 2020 Update

News regarding the Coronavirus is quickly developing across the world and is gaining significant media attention. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a webpage and newsletter dedicated to the virus.

KEI closely follows recommendations set forth by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). As a general rule, KEI will suspend a program if the DOS raises the travel advisory for that program location to Level 3. At this time, the program in Beijing, China has been suspended. All other KEI programs are running. KEI is constantly monitoring DOS advisories as well as CDC and WHO announcements and recommendations. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

For students currently abroad…

Students should be aware of the symptoms of the Coronavirus and seek immediate medical attention if needed. Make sure to inform the KEI Onsite Director if you are not feeling well and need medical attention.

Your host university abroad may have specific protocols or advice in place. Check regularly with the host university’s international office/administration. KEI will also send email updates for each program location as new information becomes available.

It is recommended that you avoid travel to/in Italy at this time due to the increasing number of cases in Milan and Venice. The Italian Health Ministry created a webpage in English for updates: http://www.protezionecivile.gov.it/home If you already made plans that include Italy, please contact Julie Pollard for advice.

For students planning to study abroad…

At this time, KEI is not planning to suspend any summer and fall programs. Countries around the world are working closely with the WHO (World Health Organization) to contain the virus. It is expected that the coronavirus outbreak will peak in March/April and the number of new cases will diminish by summer. However, KEI will continue to monitor the situation and inform students about new developments.