Spring 2020 Program Closure FAQs
What happens now?
All students are requested to make immediate arrangements to return home and adhere to the following procedures:
- All students must first submit the WITHDRAWAL INFO FORM;
- All students are asked to evidence their departure plans and provide their travel details, departure dates, etc.
- All students are requested to vacate student housing, withdraw and depart by March 6th. We urge students to leave immediately if possible. If you are unable to leave, or choose not to vacate the student housing, please contact us immediately.
- All courses will be suspended for the next two weeks and re-commence remotely (via email/internet) on or before March 16th.
If students have any questions or concerns, they should visit the Student Services Office or write to us at [email protected]. As always, the E-Phone is for emergencies only. DO NOT CALL THE E-PHONE FOR GENERAL INFORMATION.
Is there a deadline to depart or an official closure date?
Yes, we have been asked by our academic partners to ensure that students return home immediately. To allow students ample time to make arrangements we have established an official deadline of Friday, March 6th.
What if I cannot depart by the program deadline?
If for any reason students find it difficult to find an affordable flight back to the United States prior to March 6th, we ask that they inform us immediately. We will see if we can find a solution to ensure they are able to leave by that date or shortly thereafter.
How do I get to Rome airport in time for my flight?
To help minimize student expenses in returning to the United States, as well as to take further steps to guarantee student health and safety, the Umbra Institute offered each student the opportunity for Umbra-coordinated private transfers to Rome’s FCO airport. Each transfer was scheduled to depart early in order to accommodate the possibility of increased traffic and airport congestion. The vast majority of students accepted the offer of a private transfer while few who decided to continue with their spring break plans chose to make their own arrangements.
What about my classes, grades, and credits?
Umbra has gone to great lengths to ensure that despite this crisis, classes may continue remotely. By successfully completing the courses online, students will receive a final grade and transcript. All courses will count for the same academic credit had they been completed in the classroom. Depending on the policies of their home university students may choose to continue some or all of their courses. Students must complete the withdrawal form, and make arrangements to prepare their courses for remote study. Check with your home university on its policies on courses.
Why do I have to complete the Withdrawal Info Form for Umbra?
As a study abroad program provider for your home university, the Arcadia University College of Global Studies programs, and other program agents, we have been tasked to ensure that all students have a safe and rewarding experience in Italy. Given that your home institution or provider has cancelled all programming in Italy, and requested all students return home or leave the country, we must account for all student’s whereabouts, confirm departure dates, and arrange for courses to continue online. All students must complete the form by the deadline or be considered to have abandoned the semester program and forfeited all academic credit and all travel/lab fee refunds. If you have not done so already, please complete THE WITHDRAWAL INFO FORM immediately.
I have received notice that I am to return home in a hurry, what about ticket change fees, vouchers, refunds?
The response to this varies by nearly every student. Check with your home university or provider. Many are offering change fee reimbursements. Some students purchased trip insurance through their home institution or independently that may cover this scenario. We recommend that students and their families contact their home institution or relative insurance provider for clarifications on this matter and all other refunds.
What about course field trips and activities fees?
Umbra will process refunds for all field trips, excursions, and activities that students cannot attend as a result of this semester’s suspended programming. Refunds will be processed within 30 days.
Can I get a refund for the remainder of my housing?
Unfortunately NO. It is and always has been the Umbra refund policy that once a semester program begins, in the event of withdrawal and/or cancellation, unrecoverable housing fees are not refundable. But all students should contact their home school or provider regarding any refunds or credits. If you do not plan to return home and cannot leave your apartment, please see or contact Student Services immediately.
Can I stay in my apartment for the remainder of the semester?
Student housing is provided as part of the “program” in partnership with your home university. Once the decision was made by your home institution to close the program, the status as a traditionally-matriculated student in the Umbra program was rescinded.
That said, any student that is having issues with lodging, or insists on remaining, can come see us and we will assess each situation and arrange to extend your stay up to the scheduled end of the spring semester. We must reiterate that any student that remains in Italy after the closure date, will not have access to the full complement of Umbra student services and must sign a waiver and hold harmless agreement. We fervently advise against this scenario; especially since this crisis is worsening.
What if I don’t want to leave Perugia?
Please Reconsider! As adults, you are free to remain in Italy if you wish but we strongly advise against it.
This situation has evolved rapidly with just 15 cases less than 12 days ago, there are now over 3,000 cases reported in Italy. The State Department has now placed the initially infected areas (Lombardy and Veneto) at a Level 4 alert and new travel restrictions are being imposed. We strongly advise that you return to the United States. There are serious risks to choosing to stay in Italy for an extended period including health risks, quarantines, travel restrictions, limited access to medical services, and more.
Can I still travel to other countries?
Each student and their family will make their own decisions regarding independent travel. However, the Institute will not provide emergency support once students leave the program or should they choose to engage in independent travel. The Institute will also not keep its apartments or other facilities available for luggage storage to students choosing to travel independently rather than returning to the United States.
If things get better can I come back?
We do not believe there will be a scenario that will allow us to re-commence the spring 2020 semester program in Perugia and have students return. But for all spring 2020 semester students inconvenienced by this crisis, Umbra will offer incentives for students that want to return for the summer session or fall semester program.
Will I be quarantined when I arrive home?
Umbra cannot answer this question for you and your family. We have received word that passengers on all flights from Italy are being screened. We also cannot predict what the student may encounter during their flight from Italy but we have seen the travel alert for hotspots in Northern Italy elevated to Level 4 (same as China). We cannot predict if US authorities will update their guidance on this matter further but as things have developed seems more likely each day that a quarantine policy may be enacted for Italy.
What we do know:
Many universities are asking students that return home from Italy to wait at least 2 weeks before returning to campus to ensure they are not carrying covid-19. US Health Officials may or may not offer further guidance at the student’s port of entry. We recommend that each student check with their home institution, should the student plan to return to campus, to see if any policy is in place.
If any families have doubts, we recommend that they speak with their family doctor or similar health professional for advice.
I have more questions, who do I contact?
You may contact Umbra directly should you require further information. We cannot provide information regarding the specific policies of your home university or your program agent. Students should contact them directly.
What about Summer Programs?
At this time, the Institute has not decided to cancel its summer programs or customized Maymesters; we are waiting to see how the situations develops. The Institute understands that current unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, worldwide, may cause difficulties for international students seeking a short-term study visa or it may cause students and parents to hesitate spending 6 to 8 weeks in Italy. Umbra is therefore prepared to:
- Extend summer application deadlines to April 25th
- Delay invoicing until May 1st
- Handle Maymester application deadlines and invoices on a case-by-case basis
- Push back the deadline for withdrawal penalties, allowing students to withdraw from the program without incurring fees until May 1st.
Should the Institute decide it is in the best interest of our students, staff, and faculty to close for the remainder of the spring semester, our team will continuously monitor the situation in close collaboration with Italy’s Health Ministry, AACUPI, and other relevant authorities. Should concerns stretch into April, we will update all partners with plans for the summer session.
If the crisis continues a decision will be made at least 30 days prior to the start of the summer session to either cancel the academic program and events or remain open.