On Sunday March 15, the South African government declared a national state of disaster and imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries including the United States.
In response to this declaration, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has suspended classes through March 30th and is requiring that all students vacate the campus within 72 hours. We anticipate that the University of the Western Cape will follow a similar path.
Given the evolving situation in South Africa and with an abundance of care, The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University is immediately suspending all on-site spring 2020 programming in Cape Town. We have arrived at this decision after careful consideration of a variety of factors, including student mobility and the capacity of local healthcare systems to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. As guests of the host country, we do not wish for our students to possibly contribute to an overburdening of those systems. While the situation in South Africa is not currently dire, we have witnessed these circumstances change overnight in countries where Arcadia operates. All students studying in South Africa should immediately make arrangements to depart South Africa by Thursday, March 19th to return to the U.S. or their home country.
We recognize students may be concerned about the ability to book an immediate flight. Know that travel from South Africa to the U.S. is not being suspended at this time. Arcadia is available to support students in making their travel arrangements as well as any students who are unable to leave by Thursday. As we are suspending on-site programming, there is no ability to remain in South Africa as a program participant. Arcadia’s on-site support, housing, and insurance will cease when the on-site program suspension is complete.
Arcadia will work with the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape to advocate that all due consideration be given to study abroad students for completion of their coursework. As we learn more about whether they plan to provide study abroad students pathways for course completion, we will be in touch with students. Directions regarding the on-line resumption of the Arcadia Cornerstone course, “Introducing South Africa: History, Politics and Culture,” will be communicated once Arcadia in-country staff and faculty are able to return to their normal duties.
Once students have made travel arrangements, share flight information as they have been instructed. Arcadia will credit student accounts with up to $500 reimbursement for the cost of changing existing return flights or booking a new flight home. More details will be shared on the process to request reimbursement. If students require any assistance in booking a flight, please contact Assistant Director of Health, Safety, and Security Hannah Leidich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are aware that this is a very significant disruption and recognize how unsettling and disappointing it is for students to have to leave their host country so abruptly during an experience for which they no doubt prepared long and hard on many fronts – personally, academically, financially, and logistically. The Arcadia staff abroad and in the U.S. remain dedicated to supporting students and their families as best we can during this challenging time. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on The College of Global Studies website for more information. We encourage students to contact Dr. Brittani Smit, South African Resident Director, and the staff in Cape Town for questions and support.