All summer 2020 education abroad experiences have been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an email sent to affected students by the Office of International Affairs.
More than 150 study abroad programs are impacted by the university’s decision, according to the Office of International Affairs Education Abroad website. This is not the only aspect of student life that has been affected by the virus: student organization meetings are canceled, some advising offices are holding phone appointments only and University Housing is offering time for students to pick up belongings, according to multiple emails from the university.
“We know that this comes as a disappointment to some and a relief to others. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to protect the health and well-being of the Ohio State community,” Jeannie Simmons, director of education abroad from the Office of International Affairs, said in the email.
According to the Office of International Affairs’ website, 3,082 undergraduate and graduate students studied abroad during the 2018-19 academic year.
At the time of publication, there are 125,795 cases of COVID-19 — the official name of the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization — worldwide, 4,615 deaths and 66,998 recoveries according to Johns Hopkins University.
The United States has 1,276 confirmed cases, 37 deaths and eight recoveries according to Johns Hopkins University. There are four confirmed cases in Ohio, three in Cuyahoga County, a county in Northeast Ohio where Cleveland is located, and one in Stark County, another county in Northeast Ohio. According to the 2020 spring semester 15th day enrollment report, 3,913 Ohio State students are from Cuyahoga County and 903 are from Stark County.
Students signed up for education abroad will not be charged a cancellation fee and their application fee will be refunded to the credit card used for payment or credited to their statement of account, according to the email from the Office of International Affairs. Students enrolled in their summer education abroad course have been asked to drop the class.
The email reads the Office of International Affairs will cancel the students’ international supplemental insurance plan, which covers medical costs, medical evacuations, repatriation and evacuation for political reasons or natural disasters, according to the Office of International Affairs Education Abroad website. All students studying abroad were required to buy the insurance.
Students who purchased individual flights must contact the airline they purchased the ticket from for a refund, according to the email. If the flight is not reimbursable, students must contact their education abroad program specialist to arrange a reimbursement.
The Office of International Affairs will also arrange reimbursement of non-refundable deposits for students who planned to study abroad through a third party or independent agency, the email reads.
Students who were awarded scholarships for their study abroad trips were told to contact the source of the scholarship directly to see if they are able to use the funds for another trip, the email reads.
Student organization leaders and advisors also received an email today from the Office of Student Life informing them of the cancellation of all on-campus student organization activities through April 20. Student organizations’ room reservations have been cancelled, but the Office of Student Life encourages the use of CarmenZoom, a video conferencing program, to hold remote meetings, the email reads. According to the Office of Distance Education and eLearning website, 300 people can participate in each Zoom stream.
The Office of Student Life is in the process of finding alternative ways to train presidents, advisers and treasurers, the email reads. The training deadline was April 15.
The email also encourages exercising caution in holding any off-campus activities.
The College of Arts and Sciences Honors advising office has suspended all in-person advising appointments until March 30, according to an email from the Arts and Sciences honors program. Appointments will be held by phone.
University Housing sent an email to dorm residents arranging times for students to pick up any belongings they wish to retrieve on Thursday and Friday. According to the email, Ohio State staff members will be in the lobbies of residence halls to grant students access, and students must bring their BuckID or room key to get into their room.
Students are not permitted to stay overnight until residence halls officially reopen 8 a.m. March 15, the email reads.