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Announcements : Studying Abroad During A Pandemic

Announcement: Studying Abroad During A Pandemic

We believe the best approach to assessing and managing risk is a holistic one.  UM Study Abroad does not use one single source of information as a sole tripwire for determining whether to approve, run, or continue to run a program.  Instead, we will continue to be informed by an analysis of all relevant data and information and will utilize that overall analysis to make decisions.
Based on a holistic approach, partner guidance, and data gathered from a variety of sources, we are proceeding with study abroad programs at the University of Mississippi.  If there is a significant increase in risk in a particular location, we will reevaluate and make changes if necessary, just like we would pre-pandemic.
We have identified the following factors as important aspects impacting both UM and individual students. These include: 
  • The ability for free movement and reliable flights in and out of the host country
  • Rate of community transmission of COVID-19 and testing in the location
  • Local governmental restrictions and implications for student experience in-country
  • Availability of routine and emergency healthcare services
  • Governmental and non-governmental advisories and resources 
UM is constantly monitoring locations to determine their safety and suitability.  Managing crises is always very case-specific.  The main priority is the traveler’s safety.  As such, if one of the factors above changes significantly, UM will analyze, with data from peer institutions, organizations, governmental and non-governmental resources, to determine if changes need to be made to a program.  At this time, we do not anticipate evacuating students en masse like we did at the start of the pandemic.  So much more is known about how to stay safe against COVID-19, primarily being fully vaccinated, getting a booster, and wearing a mask.  Students can protect themselves and others by practicing preventative measures, and ultimately it can be more dangerous to have students travel than to take precautions and stay in place.
The Importance of Vaccinations and Boosters
The University of Mississippi has not mandated COVID-19 vaccination for students. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, other countries, educational partners, travel providers, and others involved in aspects of study abroad may require confirmation or documentation of COVID-19 vaccination.  In fact, most study abroad programs require participants to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  

As a result, it may be necessary to demonstrate full vaccination against COVID-19 to enter a country or access various sites and services during a study abroad program. It is the student's responsibility to research and know the vaccination and testing requirements of their destination(s). In the current environment, country entry requirements continue to change quickly and sometimes without notice.

UM strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all individuals traveling abroad. If a student is not permitted to enter the host country or fully participate in the program due to failure to comply with COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or documentation requirements, any resultant costs or academic consequences will be the student's sole responsibility.  By participating in a study abroad program, students understand that the host countries, airlines, providers, institutions, buildings and physical spaces, experiences, housing, or any other location or service may require proof of vaccination status at any time, and the student agrees to provide such COVID-19 vaccination documentation if requested.

Booster Shots Highly Encouraged
If it has been more than six months since their single dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine or their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the UM Study Abroad Office recommends getting a booster prior to departure. Students should not rely on being able to get booster shots abroad as this is far from certain in most cases.