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March 5: Communication from International and Off-Campus Programs

March 5, 2020

Dear Augustana Community,

As a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Augustana College has suspended its existing policy outlining approval of international travel. Effective immediately, all international travel occurring as part of an Augustana College program will be assessed as follows:

1. All community members who are planning international travel within the calendar year should ensure that the Office of International and Off Campus Travel is aware of travel plans.

2. All individuals planning to participate in international travel within the calendar year should inform all participants that the college's response to the current COVID-19 situation may impact travel plans, particularly international travel plans. Trip reservations and plans should be made accordingly. Alternative arrangements that do not include international travel may be required.

3. Due to the changing environment presented by a viral outbreak or pandemic, such as COVID-19, a program initially may be approved for international travel, but canceled later due to new information. Travel will be reassessed weekly, and participants will be informed as soon as possible in the event of a cancellation.

4. Currently, program approval will be based on the following standards:

• Programs, research teams, faculty or students who wish to travel with approval or funding from Augustana College to any nation with a Level 1 status from the U.S. Department of State may proceed with travel plans in consultation with the director of International and Off-Campus programs.

• Programs, research teams, faculty or students who wish to travel with approval or funding from Augustana College to any nation with a Level 2 status from the U.S. Department of State must receive approval from the provost (in consultation with the director of International and Off-Campus programs and the college's general counsel) prior to proceeding with the proposed travel program. 

• Augustana College will not sponsor, fund, or approve any proposal by faculty, research teams, faculty or students to travel to a country with a Level 3 or Level 4 status by the Department of State. 

• Should any destination be reclassified as a Level 3 or Level 4 status nation while an Augustana program is in progress in that nation, Augustana will work with the Department of State's STEP program and with other resources to protect the safety of all staff and students and safely withdraw all staff and students as soon as possible, either to the United States or to a new destination.

Thank you for your consideration, 

Pedro Bidegaray, Ph.D.
Director, International Programs and Off Campus Programs