May 13, 2021
Dear OU community,
Over the past year, the OU Travel and Screening Committee, comprised of medical and public health professionals and university administrators, has met regularly to monitor the state of COVID-19 around the world and make recommendations for OU study abroad program locations. In aMarch 12 message, I announced that this screening process led to conditionally approving Summer study abroad options to 15 countries. Today, I am announcing that Fall study abroad is also conditionally approved to 14 countries and territories: China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom.
This approval means we can move forward with study abroad planning to these destinations with three important caveats.
First, various program and country-specific contingencies, most outside the control of the university, may lead to the necessity of cancelling programs, a possibility that always exists in study abroad but is obviously heightened by the context of the global pandemic. The College of International Studies and the OU Travel and Screening Committee will continue to closely monitor the situation and update the community and any affected program participants.
Second, multiple Fall study abroad countries recently saw an increase in their Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory to Level 4, i.e., “Do Not Travel”. This change was due to an update in the Travel Advisory methodology rather than a re-assessment of conditions on the ground. DOS recommends travelers consider multiple sources of information when making travel decisions. This is how the OU Travel and Screening Committee has operated since it was established. The committee takes a broad range of data and indicators into consideration for each destination. Because traveling in a world affected by COVID-19 is not to be undertaken lightly, we strongly encourage anyone planning for travel to exercise informed and careful judgement.
Finally, please note that the university recently announced the requirement for study abroad participants to be fully vaccinated before traveling to their destination countries. If you are considering participation in one of these programs, I encourage you to complete your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the Education Abroad office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jill Irvine, PhD
Senior Vice President & Provost (Interim)