All university-sponsored summer study abroad programs have been cancelled. The most recent cancellation of all university-sponsored Summer Session II programs, including trips to Barcelona, India, London, Spain, France, Switzerland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Vienna, was communicated to affected students on March 29.
The announcement follows a prior email sent on March 16 that cancelled all Summer Session I study abroad programs, including travel to countries in Europe like Greece and Spain, as well as other trips to Australia, Cuba and Egypt.
The assistant dean for Global Away, David Taylor, recognized that while this may be difficult news for many students, it was a decision made to protect the wellbeing of students and faculty.
“We realize that this will come as disappointing news to many of you, and we share your sadness about the loss of this particular educational opportunity,” Taylor said in the email. “However, please know that health and safety are our primary concerns, and this decision was made with that in mind.”
Additionally, students who still need to earn course credit this summer will be able to complete coursework through remote and online classes. All Summer Session I classes will be held remotely. A decision regarding whether the university can hold in-person classes for Summer Session II is yet to be made, though remote and online options will be offered if not. Registration for non-study abroad summer sessions will begin on April 13.
Likewise, Taylor tried to reassure students by explaining that the university is staying on top of public health guidelines and carefully evaluating the situation. In a separate email sent on March 17, he explained that fall 2020 study abroad programs will still operate as scheduled. The fall programs begin after the restriction on university-sponsored travel is lifted on June 30, and the university also has more time to monitor the situation and make a decision before the start of the fall study abroad programs.
He also encouraged students planning to travel on fall study abroad programs to complete any outstanding requirements on the WakeAbroad account and to submit the required deposit and commitment forms. However, he warned against purchasing airline tickets that are not fully refundable or making any other travel plans at this time, because the Center for Global Programs and Studies will only refund program deposits in the event of the program’s cancellation.
He also explained that students are not to register for classes on the Reynolda Campus as a backup plan, but that they will receive assistance from the university if the program is cancelled and they need to register for classes on campus.
While he expressed the university’s hopes to run the fall study abroad programs as intended, he also recognized that any further decision regarding the program would involve careful consideration of many factors, with the health and safety of students and staff as a top priority.
“Wake Forest takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO), institutional partners abroad and local and international health officials,” Taylor said. “Going forward, the university will continue to rely on these sources of information as we monitor and review risk in each location where we operate programs.”