Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updates

Impact on U of A Student Travel

Updated 11/01/2021

The Office of Study Abroad & International Exchange is fully reopened and operating in-person.

To reach a study abroad staff member, you can call 479-575-7582 or online chat with us during normal business hours, or email studyabr@uark.edu.

As always, the university's priority remains to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize that there are limitation to answering specific questions here, but we encourage you to contact the study abroad office directly to arrange an advising appointment.

The latest news and information related to the pandemic’s impact on campus is available in the "Updates" section and various FAQs included on the university's Coronavirus Update page.

Program Status: January Intersession & Spring 2022

The University has continued to conduct a holistic review of COVID-19 protocols and safety plans for study abroad programming each term. Select third-party programs and the Rome Center have ongoing review and approval for student travel. Rome Center information is available on the Rome Program COVID-19 Operations Plan, which includes answers to frequently asked questions. The approval process for individual and faculty-led programs will take time as the evaluations are nuanced and program specific. The Office of Study Abroad will inform applicants with final updates as soon as possible.

Program Status: Summer and Fall 2022

Though we remain cautiously optimistic, programs with departure dates after May 1, 2022, including summer faculty-led programs, Rome Center, and select third-party programs, will be re-evaluated at a later date. See sections below for specific planning guidance.

 

Current & Future Study Abroad Students (Fall 2021 & After)

Today

Already Vaccinated? Get your booster before spending a term abroad. In many countries, quarantine-free travel may be limited to individuals who got COVID-19 vaccination within the last 12 months. Not vaccinated? Be advised that even approved travelers may face required self-quarantine upon entry (up to 14 days) to many locations internationally and be subject to regular COVID-19 testing at 48-72 hour intervals at your own cost.

Resource: US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Information Pages

10-14 Days Before Travel

Even if you're vaccinated, quarantine/isolate as best you can to limit your exposure to the virus. Even vaccinated individuals can test positive for COVID-19! The vaccination helps reduce symptoms, but it doesn't always prevent virus transmission.

72 Hrs Before Travel

Many airlines/countries require negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding international flights or entering countries (regardless of vaccination status).

Resource: Pat Walker Health Center your local testing clinic + your airline's website/app.

Upon Arrival

Expect COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the airport. If positive at that time, expect to quarantine or isolate per local laws/guidance.

Resource: Program Provider/Local Host University

1-14 Days After Arrival*

In general, self-monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and get tested and/or self-isolate if you have symptoms. Follow guidance from your program provider or local host university.

Resource: Program Provider/Local Host University

While Abroad

If at any point of your study abroad, you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19, immediately tell your resident director or local point of contact. Schedule a test, and self-quarantine to avoid passing the virus to others. If you test positive for COVID-19, immediately self-report positive cases to the Office of Study Abroad (studyabr@uark.edu).

Resource: Program Provider/Local Host University

10-14 days before return to USA

Again, even if you're vaccinated, quarantine/isolate as best you can to limit your exposure to the virus. Even vaccinated individuals can test positive for COVID-19! The vaccination helps reduce symptoms, but it doesn't always prevent virus transmission.

Resource: Program Provider/Local Host University/Cancel for Any Reason Insurance.

72 Hrs Before Return to USA

Effective January 26, 2021, the USA requires proof of negative COVID-19 test for all travel originating from abroad (rules vary according to vaccination status).

Resource: CDC + US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Information Pages + Program Provider/Local Host University

Upon Return Home

CDC advises international travelers to self-quarantine upon return. Self-monitor and get tested if you have symptoms.

Resource: CDC Travel Precautions

COVID-19 Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for all international travelers; however, the University does not require study abroad students, faculty leaders, or accompanying staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why? International travelers who are vaccinated may have distinct advantages over non-vaccinated travelers, including reduced quarantine time upon arrival, easier weekend travel across neighboring country borders, reduced or eliminated quarantine or isolation due to exposure, protecting other vulnerable immunocompromised students or faculty who cannot get the vaccine, reduced likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19, and more.

Entry requirements for countries across the globe will continue to evolve as access to the vaccine increases. Additionally, some program providers may require vaccination of their participants. Further, study abroad students and faculty leaders should continue to expect changing border entry requirements, which may include COVID-19 vaccinations prior to entry.

Vaccination appointments are available at the Pat Walker Health Center and multiple participating pharmacies and providers across the region. See more Vaccination information for the U of A Community through the Pat Walker Health Center.

Guided Questions for External Programs

(including "select" providers, non-select unaffiliated providers, direct enrollment)

Program Questions

  • Confirm your provider's program is going and follow their protocols and instructions about steps to take in order to participate.
  • What are the COVID-19 related policies for your program and institution where you'll be studying?
  • What impact does COVID-19 vaccination status have on your participation in the program?
  • Is the application fee non-refundable? (if non-refundable, please be advised that study abroad scholarships can't be used unless you actually study abroad.)
  • What is their refund policy and deadline to withdraw?
    • Before the program?
    • During the program?
  • What are the academic and financial policies if the program has to go to online/remote learning?
  • When is the deadline the provider will finalize decisions about your term of study?

Location Questions

  • Is the country where you're going allowing U.S. citizens to enter?
  • What are the quarantine or other COVID-19 related measures (PCR test, etc.) you'll need to take prior to or upon entry to the country?
  • What impact does COVID-19 vaccination status have on your entry into the country, quarantine requirements (or not), etc.?
  • What are the steps to obtaining a visa? How is that affected by COVID-19?
  • What steps will you need to take upon returning to the U.S. after your program?

Travel Questions

  • Is air travel to/from your program location easily accessible?
  • What is your airline's flight refund and/or flight change policy?
  • What is your airline's COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirement?
  • What is your study abroad program's on-site travel policy? Do they allow weekend travel outside your location?
  • Should you purchase "Cancel for Any Reason" (CFAR) or "Interrupt for Any Reason" (IFAR) coverage? A student can purchase any CFAR/IFAR policy available through their external program, on the market, or see section below on purchasing trip cancellation insurance.

Petition for Exception to the International Travel Policy

Students interested in participating in independent travel or non-select external program providers will need to submit a Petition for Exception. A student's petition should include a written justification articulating the academic necessity of travel, the status of lawful entry for travelers to the chosen destination, personal and environmental risk factors as well as steps taken to mitigate personal risk, mitigation plan by the receiving university or academic partner abroad, and any other relevant travel information for the students' destination from CDC, US Department of State, OSAC, or other reputable source. The appeals process follows the Academic Policy Series 1835.00. Students should contact their Study Abroad Advisor for more information.

University of Arkansas continues to review and update its COVID-19 response, including international travel restrictions for students, faculty, and staff.

Preparing for Travel

Apply for Your US Passport

Apply for your US Passport today. US Passport Services are beginning to operate at normal capacity for travelers. At this time (June 2021), regular passport processing may take as long as 10-12 weeks; expedited processing costs extra but takes only 4-6 weeks. Students must plan ahead if they don't already have a valid passport. Don't delay- apply immediately if your plans even tentatively include international travel.

Assess Your Health

Assess your health needs with guidance from a physician now. Travelers must assess their health needs and make the decision to travel accordingly. Understand that some people may be at a higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Before financially committing to international travel, travelers must realistically assess their health needs, with the guidance of their physician, and make the decision to travel accordingly.

Purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance

Purchase trip cancellation insurance with 'cancel for any reason' (CFAR) benefit and refundable airfare. Studying abroad in a COVID-19 era demands flexibility, and the Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to purchase trip cancellation insurance with CFAR and/or IFAR ("interruption for any reason') to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellations. The U of A assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties. A student can purchase CFAR/IFAR policy on the market, or work through these recommended resources: Daun Flynn at the Travel Depot & CISI.

Get Tested and Stay Home

Get tested and stay home after higher risk travel. Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at travelers' destinations. Following the CDC's guidance, if you participated in higher-risk activities like international travel, health advice includes:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home for 7 days after travel.

  • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.

  • If your test is positive or if you have symptoms, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.

  • If you don't get tested, stay home for 10 days after travel.

  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.

Good resources on COVID-19 and travel are available through our insurer, CISI, for all your COVID Questions and Answers.

Future Student Travel

The Study Abroad staff invites students to discuss future opportunities today as they plan for the long term. For example, we continue to advise on 2022 programs, anticipating continued improvements to global travel circumstances. Some students are working even farther into the future as they map out their 4 or 5 year degree plan. Let's talk!

We can help you at any stage of the process, whether you are a prospective U of A student exploring your college choices, or a student with previous study abroad experience ready to plan your next adventure.

Check out our Explore Page to learn more about advising opportunities, including info sessions, general advising, and major-specific advising.

Resilient International Learning- Virtual International Internships

Work with an international organization to differentiate your resume, build essential skills that employers value, and grow your professional network. Participants build their digital literacy and intercultural communication skills through project-based learning, preparing themselves to adapt to a 21st century workforce.

While completing a professional project with an international business, NGO, health, or education organization, you have the option to earn U of A credit and access financial aid and scholarships. Virtual internships are open to students from all majors and can be conducted during the summer or semester in addition to your U of A course load. For example, a student may register for 12 semester hours, plus 3 virtual internship hours, for a total of 15 credit hours that are eligible for U of A scholarships and financial aid.