Scheduled for Spring 2021.
OUR COMMITMENT FOR A RESPONSIBLE REOPENING
Upholding the highest health and safety standards is our first priority as we plan our reopening. Summarized here is our current plan for a responsible and safe reopening in accordance with the health and safety guidelines defined by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR) and advised by the European Community, and recommended by the American Association of Univesity Programs in Italy (AACUPI). Our commitment is to ensure that all necessary health, safety, and preventative measures are firmly in place. We will work closely with local and US partners and communicate and demonstrate to the ISI Abroad community that our Institutes have diligently established a sound plan for reopening. It is our goal to ensure that every student is afforded an authentic and meaningful study abroad experience – personalized, engaging, rewarding, and safe.
PREPAREDNESS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
All accepted students will be given a pre-departure handbook documenting the rules, regulations, and guidelines with special attention to our reopening policies related to covid-19. As always, our admissions team is available to assist students with the enrollment process and pre-departure preparation. Online Q&A sessions and webinars will also be offered.
STUDENT TRAVEL TO ITALY AND ENTRY
Should travel restrictions still be in place, the Institute will provide a checklist of the documents required and the policies and procedures to follow prior to departure and upon arrival. No study visa will be required. Currently, the documents that students should present upon arrival include:
- Self-declaration Letter (required)
- Letter of attendance from the home institution (required)
- Letter of attendance from ISI Abroad – Umbra Institute (required)
- Negative test result certificate (recommended but not required)
ARRIVAL AND ORIENTATION
Upon arrival, students will be taken from the airport directly to their assigned apartments in a taxi or private coach. At the apartments they will find:
- A certificate of sanitation
- A starter supply of disposable masks, sanitizing gel, and cleaning products
- A Guide/Poster on cleaning guidelines and preventative measures and best practices for health and safety
- The Umbra Institute student handbook documenting the rules and regulations of the Institute and local laws governing covid-19
Note: Arriving passengers may also be given a rapid test at the airport. At this time we do not expect any quarantining requirements to be in place in the spring.
During orientation, the Institute will reiterate the information found in the student handbook with a special presentation dedicated exclusively to covid-19. Topics will include local laws, rules and regulations of the Institute, prevention, health and safety recommendations, healthcare and medical assistance, and contingency plans (lock-down, repatriation, etc.).
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AT STUDENT APARTMENTS
- All apartments will be professionally cleaned and sanitized with products approved for covid-19 prior to student arrival.
- All apartments will have the sanitization certificate, a poster infographic and guidebook outlining the rules, restrictions, preventative measures, and cleaning practices.
- Professional and periodic cleaning and sanitization services will be made available throughout the semester (as requested by students and at their expense).
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AT THE INSTITUTE
The Institute will follow the current health and safety guidelines established by the Italian Ministry of Education. Institute policies and guidelines will be updated upon reopening and prepared by certified local health and safety consultants. Current measures include:
Regulations for Entry
- All Institute facilities have a keypad entry security system
- Hand sanitizing gel at the entrance
- Touch-less thermometer at the entrance
- Regulations and guidelines poster at the entrance
- Restricted entry for those with symptoms attributable to Covid-19
For those entering the Institutes that are not part of the Umbra community (visitors, repairpeople, etc.) the Institute will maintain a log of their visit including date, time, areas entered, and purpose of visit for contact tracing. The Institute will seek to schedule such visits after hours when students are not present, when possible.
Regulations and Guidelines Inside the Institute
- Standard rules:
- masks must be worn at all times;
- social distancing must be respected at all times; and
- frequent sanitizing or washing of hands required.
- Poster and Signs for rules and regulations for Covid-19 laws, policies will be placed at the entrance and throughout the Institute.
- Sanitizing gel will be in all bathrooms, classrooms, and common areas of the Institute.
- Floor markings for social distancing.
- De-densification of classrooms and social distancing on Institute premises: classrooms will have student desks spread out at least 1 meter from each other, and the professor’s desk at least 2 meters from students.
- Staff offices will be spaced out, and the capacity for individual extra-curricular activities will be reduced.
- Frequent cleaning of the common area surfaces in the classrooms, restrooms, and high-traffic areas will be performed with products that meet Italian and EU anti-covid sanitation recommendations.
- Daily deep cleaning and sanitizing of the entire Institute every evening.
STUDENT TRAVEL WHILE ABROAD
All students are required to complete an Independent Travel Form prior to any travel outside of the local area. This form documents the details of their travel including modes of transportation, lodging, travel companions, and destinations. Our team will monitor travel alerts and review the travel forms to provide updates and guidance on restrictions to ensure that students avoid prohibited destinations and those considered high risk.
SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19
If there is a suspicion (but no confirmation) of a positive case of a student, they will be asked to self-isolate in a dedicated room at the Institute or in a separate room in their apartment. The Institute will assist in contacting the appropriate physician who will evaluate the situation. If the physician suspects a Covid-19 infection, the local authorities will be contacted (800 number) to perform a test on-site.
In the event a student tests positive, the local authorities will provide detailed guidance on the procedures to be followed. According to the current regulations, this may include quarantining in separate housing for a specified period (usually 14 days) or until a negative test is confirmed. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure the costs for quarantine facilities are covered by their international health insurance plan.
In the event that a student requires medical care or hospitalization, the Institute personnel, the student, and the appropriate personnel at the home university will work together to address the issue.
EXPERIENCED & DEDICATED PERSONNEL
ISI Abroad (Umbra Institute and ISI Florence) has established a Risk Management Team dedicated to monitoring & supporting Italian and EU health & safety regulations and recommendations to facilitate the policies, procedures, and safe reopening of the Institute. Each Institute includes a Facilities Safety Coordinator, responsible for the cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, enforcing social distancing, emergency protocols, PPE resources, and other health and safety regulations. We have also assigned a dedicated Health and Wellness Coordinator, responsible for the health and welfare of our students. They coordinate medical visits, psychological counseling, and emergency services. In addition, all ISI Abroad staff are trained in health, safety, and emergency protocols.
Healthcare Support & Preparedness
We anticipate that students may have physical or mental health needs while abroad that could relate to typical causes (such as an ear infection or roommate issues) or causes related to the coronavirus. Students will be able to receive the well-established mental and physical health support offered by the Institute. The Umbra APP allows students to books appointments on their smartphone and contact Umbra staff members that are on call 24/7. All Covid-19 tests are free when a case is suspected. In addition, Italy is working to address the needs of international students. Furthermore, the hospital system in Italy is considered to be “well-prepared” for future outbreaks. Our Risk Management team is regularly monitoring similar initiatives and will be sure to update this site with further details.
ACADEMIC CONTINUITY WITH REMOTE RESOURCES
In case there is a need to deliver classroom content remotely, Umbra professors are now, more than ever, capable users of the online learning platform Moodle (similar to Canvas and Blackboard). Our instructors have long used the online environment as a complement to in-person learning; that preparation has been useful and they will continue to use Moodle in the future. The use of Moodle and carefully-planned content and assignments means that we are also prepared to continue teaching online in the event a student needs to be quarantined or needs to return to the United States.
NOTE: Information provided on this page is subject to change as all measures, particularly those relevant to travel, social distancing, & sanitation may change in compliance with current Italian and EU laws and guidelines for public health and safety.