Now that students have left Perugia and have returned to the States, it is time for us to look back at this hectic week.
As we all know, in response to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Italy, on Feb 28th, the CDC and the U.S. State Department elevated the travel advisory levels to 3. As a result, all study abroad programs in Italy were immediately suspended. And those at the Umbra Institute were no exception.
Umbra staff, in Perugia and State-side, worked diligently to maintain communication with students, families, and study abroad offices during the very fluid and rapidly developing situation. And although this was an obviously challenging and at times stressful situation, we would like to highlight the students’ remarkable ability to adapt and cope with these unique and unforeseen circumstances.
We would like to reassure everyone that although the time in Italy has come to an end, the spring semester academic program will continue online. The courses will restart after the spring break, and professors will be contacting students shortly. Umbra will be using platforms, such as Moodle and Zoom to assist with remote learning. We have every confidence and trust that our professors will deliver meaningful content, assign and grade work, and allow all students to complete their courses and receive full academic credit.
The Institute held a faculty meeting to discuss online learning resources and participate in our training program. Our ceramics and photography instructor Philippa Stannard held an art workshop so that professors with young children could attend the training program.
Words cannot possibly describe our thanks.
Again, we would like to thank our students, their families and home institutions, Umbra faculty and counselor, as well as the Perugian community. These groups of people have all demonstrated a great amount of support to the Umbra Institute during these past weeks. In particular, a huge thanks to the local transportation services who have been extremely helpful in arranging transfers to the airport; the couriers who picked up a significant amount of heavy suitcases at the Institute; Il Baldo, a pizzeria in the city center that, with very little notice, welcomed a hundred students last Saturday and gave them the opportunity to spend time together before departing.
This unexpected event brought us closer together and we are proud that we have an incredibly supportive community here at Umbra.