COVID-19 and Study Abroad
RIT’s emergency response team is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world. Unfortunately it has resulted in study abroad program disruption for RIT students worldwide.
Spring 2021 & Summer 2021 Programs
Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, RIT has made the difficult decision to cancel all spring and summer study abroad programs. This decision has been made to ensure the health and safety of students and faculty, as well as to provide a level of near-term certainty for all involved.
Fall 2021 Programs and Beyond
Fall programs (and beyond) are currently continuing as planned. Many programs are modifying their cancellation policies and extending deadlines in order to be more accommodating. Students who are planning on studying abroad in fall or beyond should:
- Have a backup plan in place in case programs are impacted
- Not book flights until they are sure the program is running
- Understand what cancellation/refund policies are for the program
If you have any questions, please contact Jenny Sullivan, director of Education Abroad & International Fellowships at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 475-3224.
Additional information about how COVID-19 is affecting RIT study abroad
RIT has created a website about the coronavirus that is dedicated to sharing resources and providing up-to-date information about RIT policies and protocols regarding the virus. Learn more at rit.edu/coronavirus.
What constitutes an international emergency?
Please contact us about any situation that poses an immediate or potential risk to the safety, security or health of RIT students, faculty or staff overseas on a RIT‑sponsored activity. Emergency situations include, but are not limited to:
- Significant accident or illness including hospitalization
- Significant mental health issue
- Political crisis including acts/threats of war/terrorism
- Disappearance or kidnapping
- Natural disasters
- Allegation of sexual harassment or sexual assault
- Victim of a violent crime or physical assault
- Arrest or questioning by local authorities, legal action or allegation that someone is the victim or perpetrator of a crime
- Other Safety Concerns: disease outbreak, fires, floods
Emergency steps for RIT students, faculty, staff and program directors:
- Take whatever actions are necessary to assure your immediate safety, which may include calling the local emergency number for emergency responders.
- Contact your in-country staff (RIT global campus, RIT faculty director, or affiliate staff).
- Contact RIT Public Safety Office at 585‑475‑2853 (answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The operator will collect information about the emergency along with your contact information and forward the information to the RIT Education Abroad office. Or complete the Report An International Emergency form here.
Be prepared to provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Name of the individual(s) involved (including your own)
- RIT affiliation (student, faculty or staff)
- Reason for travel (study abroad, co-op abroad, employment at RIT location, etc.)
- In-country phone number/contact (including country code), mobile phone number and email address
- Country and program of study
- Description of emergency
- Actions taken
- Assistance needed
RIT's International Traveler Emergency Response Plan can be found here.
International non-emergency assistance:
The Education Abroad office strongly encourages students and faculty participating in study abroad programs to report non-emergency health and/or safety incidents to our office so we can provide resources and assistance as necessary. Non-emergency situations include, but are not limited to:
- Lost passport or ID
- Stolen property
- Property damage
- If you are a victim of a non-violent crime
- If you are experiencing any health issues or illnesses that are ongoing and are affecting your ability to go to class, etc.
- Any other unusual event that occurs while you are participating in an RIT study abroad program
How to report:
If the incident is no longer an immediate or potential risk to safety, security or health, you can report the incident using the Study Abroad Non-Emergency Incident Form or by contacting Jenny Sullivan, director of Education Abroad & International Fellowships at 585-475-3224 or email@example.com during the next business day.
Reporting incidents is important as RIT has a legal obligation to report certain types of incidents that occur on programs abroad. The collection of information will help the university determine which incidents need to be reported to the federal/state government. No personally identifying information will be shared.
Note: Any information you provide will be a FERPA protected education record. As a general rule, only RIT officials with a legitimate educational interest will have access to this information. Those may include professionals in the Education Abroad office, Office of Risk Management, RIT Public Safety, Dean of Students office, health center or university counseling among others.
International Emergency Preparedness Tips:
- Carry a card in your wallet with important emergency phone numbers in case your phone is not accessible.
- Create a communication plan for reaching family and friends in the event of a crisis.
- Know the location and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy.
- Understand the emergency procedures in place for your study abroad program. This is discussed at your RIT pre‑departure meeting as well as your in-country orientation at the beginning of your program.
- Make sure at least one parent or relative back home has a valid passport so they will be able to travel to assist you in‑country if needed.
- During a political crisis or other emergency during which foreigners in general or U.S. citizens in particular may be at risk:
- Keep a low profile.
- Avoid behavior that could attract attention.
- Avoid locales where foreigners or Americans are known to congregate.
- Avoid carrying or wearing anything that would identify you as an American/foreigner.