Penn State cancels education abroad programs in most European countries

March 12, 2020

Penn State is canceling all education abroad programs in most European countries, and is directing students to return home from most European locations. This decision comes after the U.S. government issued a Presidential Proclamation regarding travel from Europe to the United States and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a coronavirus travel notice for Europe at a Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel), on March 11. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Health Advisory related to coronavirus at a Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). Penn State has been directly in touch with affected students and will work to minimize disruption to academic plans. The university is working with students in affected countries on a case-by-case basis to mitigate financial impacts of this decision. Faculty and staff currently in Europe are urged to depart.

At this time, education abroad programs in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Croatia, and other countries listed at CDC level 2 (Practiced Enhanced Precautions) are continuing as planned. However, Penn State is strongly encouraging students enrolled in study abroad programs in these locations to return home and is assisting with travel, if they should choose to leave.

Beyond Europe, the CDC issued a worldwide coronavirus travel notice at a Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions) and the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Health Advisory related to coronavirus at a Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). Students currently abroad in CDC Level 2 locations worldwide have been contacted directly with instructions and have the following options:

  • Students may continue to stay on their education abroad program on-site, if the program continues;
  • Students whose program offers the ability for remote completion of coursework may elect to leave their program, return to home with Penn State support, and complete their coursework;
  • Students for whom remote completion of their coursework is not currently an option, but who do not feel comfortable completing their program on-site, will be supported by Penn State in returning home, while potential options for course completion are explored. 

For those choosing to stay abroad in Level 2 locations, the University is recommending that travelers limit all personal travel outside of their current host city or location and urging all travelers to follow the latest developments from these sources:

International health and safety conditions are dynamic and can change rapidly. Penn State will continue to consult a number of official sources and will communicate any changes in level at which the University would restrict travel. The health and safety of the Penn State community is the University’s top priority. Additional information on what Penn State is doing in response to the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is available on the university website for coronavirus.

Last Updated March 12, 2020