Planning for Fall 2021 Study Away

Exploring Morocco by Sara Abraham '15
Exploring Morocco by Sara Abraham '15

FAQs & Information

It is hard to predict how and when travel will resume, but GEO remains hopeful that the fall 2021 semester will look more normal - even if that is a "new normal!" Still, we recommend that students plan to be away AND plan to be at Amherst. Complete your applications to study away in the fall 2021 semester but also pre-register for courses at Amherst and participate in the housing selection process. It is important to have a confirmed backup plan in the event that you are unable to travel in the fall semester.

Exploring Your Options

FAQs for Fall 2021 Study Away

Students need to carefully review the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices, and the CDC COVID Travel Notices. (Students may find the U.S. State Department’s color-coded map a helpful tool in identifying the travel advisory levels of countries in a particular region.)

As per the College’s travel policy, students may need to petition the international risk management group to travel to a particular country. The petition process will be available in the Educational Leave Approval Checklist in the Amherst College Travel Registry and students should keep abreast of these travel advisories and health noticies. 

These FAQs will continue to be updated; please direct questions to geo@amherst.edu. Students will find this timeline helpful, too, as they plan for fall or full year study. (Spring timeline to be shared in the summer.)

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PDF icon Fall Study Away Timeline138.82 KB

Messages to students

TO STUDENTS WHO HAVE HEALTH CONCERNS ABOUT IN-PERSON RESIDENTIAL LEARNING: 

July 22, 2021

Dear Students, 

I hope that you are doing well this summer.  I am writing to share some information about modified eligibility requirements for study away programs.  

The continuing impact of the pandemic will make it difficult for some students to return to in-person residential education in the fall of 2021. We recognize that students may have health concerns with the COVID-19 vaccines and/or health conditions that may make in-person education difficult. International students may also face issues obtaining a visa for entry into the United States. In response to these concerns, the college has broadened the eligibility for participation in an approved study away program (either domestic or international) for students who face health or visa issues.

General guidelines for participation in a study away program can be found on the Office for Global Education’s webpage. Please reach out to your Class Deans (https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/support/class-deans) and Janna Behrens at jbehrens@amherst.edu with questions.

Sincerely,

Liz

Office of Student Affairs
201 Converse Hall
413.542.2337

TO STUDENTS INTENDING TO STUDY AWAY IN FALL 2021:

May 17, 2021

Dear Student,

The College will allow semester and yearlong study away students to petition the College's student travel policy to travel abroad to countries that have a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory level 3 or 4 and/or a CDC COVID level 3 or 4. Students traveling abroad to countries with a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory level 1 or 2 and/or CDC COVID level 1 or 2 do not need to petition. If travel to a particular country does not require a petition now but the DOS and/or CDC level rises to a level that does require a petition prior to travel, students will be required to petition the College.

All students, as part of the educational leave approval process, will need to complete a special acknowledgement of risk form, to be signed by both the student and a parent/guardian. This special risk form will be shared at a later date.

All students will need to be vaccinated, as per recommendations from the CDC, to study away in the fall or full year. Students for whom medical conditions and/or religious beliefs may be granted an exemption via the appropriate channels at the College for exemption. (Please email me if you are seeking an exemption so I can follow up with the appropriate office at Amherst.) Please note that any exemption from the College is specific to Amherst. Should vaccination be required for participation in a program or entry to a country, students need to work with the program to determine if a similar exemption is possible. More information on proof of vaccination is forthcoming.

Please follow these deadlines:

  • June 4: complete part 1 of the Educational Leave Approval Checklist and petition to travel to countries with a US DOS 3 or 4 and/or CDC COVID 3 or 4* 
  • June 14: complete part 2 of the Educational Leave Approval Checklist and complete the special acknowledgement of risk form (to be shared after the travel petition is submitted and reviewed)
  • July 8 (extended from mid-June): if you are no longer studying away but intend to be in residence at Amherst, notify ResLife by this date if you wish to remain in your Amherst housing selection for the fall (Please note the original deadline was July 9 but it has been pushed up one day earlier to July 8.)
You will also be expected to participate in an online pre-departure meeting to be scheduled for late June; details are forthcoming. As a reminder, see our FAQs on our Fall 2021 Study Away COVID page. As always, be in touch if you have questions. 
 
Janna 
 
*For students traveling to countries that do not require a petition now but the DOS or CDC levels raise to a level that requires a petition prior to travel, students will be permitted to submit the travel petition late.
TO STUDENTS WHO STARTED AN EDUCATIONAL LEAVE APPROVAL CHECKLIST BY THE DEADLINE OF APRIL 16:

April 20, 2021

Guidance for Planning for Fall 2021 Study Away

Dear Student,

It is critical that you plan to be on your study away program AND plan to be at Amherst in the event that you are unable to depart in the fall. attend your fall program. Please read this message in its entirety and share it with your parent/guardian who may be helping you with your fall plans.

  1. Ready to submit the first part of the checklist? Make sure each section has been completed, including uploading a copy of your acceptance letter, then click "save". Email geo@amherst.edu so that we can assign the program to your checklist. You'll then be able to complete part 2 of the checklist once we review part 1. 
  2. Read our FAQs for fall 2021 study away. Amherst does not currently have a ‘decide by' date where we make a decision to allow or cancel fall 2021 study away and it is highly unlikely that we would make a decision to cancel study away for the fall semester. Rather, we will follow the College's student international travel policy. More information about the travel policy and how to petition, should you need to, will be sent shortly.
  3. All students will need to complete a country-specific special acknowledgement of risk form. A template is here; you will be sent your country-specific one in May.
  4. Understand your program's refund policy. Students are responsible for all non-recoverable costs. You will want to mark the date by which you incur fees if you withdraw from the program. 
  5. If your host country is:
  • a CDC COVID level 1 or 2, you are permitted to study abroad so long as you complete the necessary steps for taking educational leave, including completing the country-specific special acknowledgement of risk form which will be sent to you in mid-May. If your host country changes to a CDC COVID level 3 or 4 prior to departure, you will not be permitted to travel for credit (or financial aid) transfer.
  • a CDC COVID level 3 or 4, you are not permitted to study abroad in this country. However, you may want to continue with your plans to study in this country because the level may decrease prior to departure. If it does, you may be permitted to travel so long as you complete the necessary steps for taking educational leave, including completing the country-specific special acknowledgement of risk form.
  • a level 3 U.S. State Department travel advisory, you must petition to travel for credit (and financial aid) transfer. (Students are not permitted to travel to countries with a U.S. State Department travel advisory level 4.) If the host country is currently a level 1 or a level 2 but raises to a level 3 prior to departure, students must petition the travel policy. If the host country raises to a level 3 while on site, students may be encouraged to return home in consultation with family and trusted advisers about a safe return home.

We recognize that many countries are a U.S. State Department level 4 and we remain hopeful that as vaccinations increase over the summer months that these will decrease. 

As always, if you have questions, please be in touch with us. 

GEO

P.S. If you are no longer studying away in the fall or full year, please let us know and we'll withdraw your checklist.

TO ALL STUDENTS:

December 19, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic and Amherst College Student Travel Policy

On November 21, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new, country-specific COVID ratings. In review of these ratings, Amherst College will not sponsor travel (e.g., no transfer credit, no financial aid) to countries with a level 3 or level 4 CDC COVID rating. 

All students traveling during the pandemic need to complete a special acknowledgement of risk form, in addition to the standard travel waiver. Contact us to receive these forms.