Coronavirus (COVID 19) Updates | Webster University

Coronavirus Update (COVID-19)

Webster University continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world and its impact on global programs. This is a developing and changing situation. As a global institution, we have policies and protocols in place for monitoring developments, making decisions as needed, and communicating to impacted constituents and to our community. The health and safety of the Webster University community worldwide is of primary importance.

Based on Webster University’s travel policy protocol, which aligns with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisories, restrictions for travel to certain affected locations have been established.

 

 

 

Current Travel Restrictions

Please check the Travel Policy, Restrictions & Guidance page of the University's COVID-19 website for full information on travel restrictions and policies.

Please note that all University-related travel to countries that have a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice (widespread, ongoing transmission) is restricted. On March 19th the CDC issued a Warning Level 3 – Global Pandemic Notice for all international travel. As of August 6th the CDC returned to a country by country travel advisory system. 

 

Travel Guidance from Non-U.S. Countries

Travel restrictions and border closings are being implemented around the globe with little advance notice. In addition, many countries have quarantine requirements upon entry. You should ensure that you check all country restrictions for any country to which or through which you are traveling.

Link to the Travel Policy, Restrictions & Guidance page of the University's COVID-19 website for full information on travel restrictions and policies.

 

 

Worldwide Campus Operations

Please remain aware of worldwide campus operations that may have shifted. You can find up-to-date information at the following link: https://www.legacy.webster.edu/covid19/operationalchanges.html.

 

Stay Informed - News Sources

 

Division of Global Education

All information and communications related to our international programs and partnerships have been centralized in the Division of Global Education (DGE) in the Office of Academic Affairs. The DGE is doing the following:

  • Monitoring U.S. Department of State and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel and advisories
  • Monitoring communication from national and international associations as well as other universities and our WINS partners
  • Communicating with our international campuses, collecting country-specific requirements and guidance, developing common and consistent message for students and others, and tracking those communications
  • Communicating with our international partners, collecting their country-specific requirements and guidance, and ensuring we are aware of their messaging to visiting students and faculty
  • Communicating with faculty who are scheduled to teach on faculty mobility or lead faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Communicating with our international insurance carriers

The DGE will be in communication with specific people and groups as needed to provide guidance and information and to relay decisions as they are made. Hannah Verity, Director of Global Program Development, is serving as point-person for questions and can be reached at hannahverity72@webster.edu or at +1-314-246-7627.

 

Office of Study Abroad and WINS

The Office of Study Abroad and WINS program is working in partnership with Webster’s international campuses and partner programs to provide up-do-date information and communications to students on a regular basis. 

April 22, 2021 - Webster will announce a decision on Fall 2021 study abroad programs by June 7, 2021. 

March 5, 2021 - Summer Programs Cancelled

December 8, 2020 - Spring II and Spring Break Programs Cancelled
All remaining study abroad programs scheduled for Spring 2021, including exchange programs with later start dates, have been cancelled.

October 19, 2020 - Spring I and Spring Semester Programs Cancelled
All Spring I and Spring Semester study abroad programs have been cancelled. There is an exception for exchange programs in Germany and Japan due to the fact that their semesters don't start until March/April. Those programs will be re-evaluated at the same time as Spring Break and Spring II programs.

August 23, 2020 - Fall II Programs Cancelled

June 17, 2020 - Fall I and Fall Semester Programs Cancelled
All study abroad programs scheduled for Fall I and Fall Semester have been cancelled. Fall II programs will be reevaluated on August 15th. Exceptions will be made for European campus students planning to study abroad at another European campus and for students who are already physically in the country where they plan to study abroad. 

April 21, 2020 - All Remaining Summer Programs Cancelled
Programs scheduled to begin after June 1, 2020 have been cancelled. This includes Athens Summer Sessions II & III, Global Governance in Geneva, Intercultural Communication in Athens, and the summer program at the University of Roehampton in London.

March 30, 2020 - Summer Program Cancellations
All summer study abroad programs scheduled to begin on or before June 1, 2020 have been cancelled. This includes the summer term programs at Webster's campuses in Geneva, Leiden, Vienna, Ghana, Thailand, and St. Louis. This also includes Summer Term I in Athens. Additionally, summer programs with the following international partners have been cancelled: Kent State Florence, J.F. Oberlin University, Universidad de Oviedo, and UAG in Guadalajara. 

March 27, 2020 - The deadlines for Fall I, Fall II, Fall Semester, Fall Break, and Academic Year study abroad programs have been extended to May 1st or June 1st, depending on the program.

Students studying abroad for Spring Semester 2020 or Spring II 2020 have been told to return home. The University will work with students to allow them to finish their coursework remotely.

As of March 12, 2020, all of Webster's European campuses; Geneva, Leiden, Vienna, and Athens, have moved all courses online for at least 2-3 weeks. As of March 16, 2020, Webster Ghana and Webster Thailand have also moved all courses online.

The Office of Study Abroad/WINS will provide ongoing updates to study abroad participants about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and country/region-specific notices when needed.

Should you have questions, please call the Webster Office of Study Abroad at 314-968-7430. If you have an after-hours emergency, please contact Public Safety at 314-968-7430.

Return to International Mobility

Covid-19 Precautions for International Mobility at Webster

Webster is looking forward to re-opening international mobility opportunities, including faculty mobility and study abroad, when the conditions permit. To this end, Webster is planning and preparing to provide students and faculty with a safe and impactful experience abroad. With the health and safety of our Webster community at the forefront, we have identified a list of standard measures that will generally apply across Webster’s international programs. We believe these steps are critical at this time due to the current global landscape and will ensure the best experience possible given the circumstances. Please keep in mind that these are subject to change depending on the location. Some of the measures include: 

  • Providing information on/arranging airport pick up that is Covid-19 compliant. 
  • Providing visa support to faculty and staff and updates on any procedures that might have changed due to Covid-19. 
  • Following host country quarantine measures and Covid-19 testing requirements upon arrival and providing information to participants on this prior to departure. 
  • Providing program affiliated quarantine housing upon entry, if quarantine is required when entering the country (this housing may incur additional charges). 
  • Information and assistance on meal delivery if quarantine is required when entering the country.
  • Access to virtual learning during any mandatory quarantine periods throughout the term/semester (should they arise). 
  • Covid-19 safe classrooms, activities, campus facilities, and housing
  • Access to masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies according to country and location-specific standards
  • Using masks in accordance with host country and host campus guidelines 
  • Access to accommodation if isolation is necessary due to positive Covid-19 test or exposure (this housing may incur additional charges).
  • Whenever possible, placing participants in housing that minimizes the need to utilize public transportation on a daily basis.  
  • Access to COVID-19 testing throughout the duration of the program (this testing may be an additional charge). 
  • Medical and accident insurance that covers Covid-19 related illness outside of the U.S. 
  • Medical insurance that covers Covid-19 related illness inside of the U.S. for non-US citizens (for participants coming to St. Louis from abroad). 
  • Cultural activities that emphasize safe, local exploration geared to the specific context of being abroad at this special time
  • Encouraging participants to limit independent travel and focus on exploring areas in and around their program location.
  • Having all participants sign a Covid-19 agreement to act responsibly and follow guidelines while abroad.
  • Mitigation of financial risk for the participant and the university through flexible and extended withdrawal dates. 
  • Using health and safety protocols specific to each location that will be monitored, managed, updated, and communicated throughout the term/semester.
  • Offering a comprehensive on-site orientation that focuses on campus and host country guidelines. 
  • Providing contingency plans in case of a resurgence of Covid-19 at any program location.
  • Ability to seamlessly move to online courses for all or part of the semester if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: For the latest and most detailed information on global response and prevention, visit the CDC's COVID 19 page and their COVID 19 FAQ, and the WHO's coronavirus 2019 pagewhich are updated frequently.

What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The 2019 novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, is a member of a large family of viruses, which can cause a variety of illnesses in animals and humans. One type of coronavirus causes about 20% of common colds in humans. Other types of coronavirus have caused more serious illnesses in the past, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

After apparently originating in the Wuhan province of China, the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread outward to several other areas, including North America. Like all members of the coronavirus family, it has a single strand of RNA to carry its genetic code. So far, it has caused illness in hundreds of people. Among those with the illness, the severity has varied from simple “cold symptoms” all the way up to death. The fraction of those with a severe infection is a small portion of the total number infected with coronavirus, based on initial data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Novel Coronavirus in China alert and the routinely updated situation summary are the best sources for up-to-date information.

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and what are the symptoms?

The virus originated in an animal species, although at this time, it is unclear which animals may have been the original source. The outbreak may have begun when a human made contact with an animal infected by the virus. From there, the virus began spreading among humans, mainly by exposure to coughing, sneezing or close physical contact. World travel has amplified the spread from the original area.

When a person has the virus, they may have a fever (above 100.4° F or 38° C), cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms overlap with several other common illnesses, including influenza.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, your health care provider will ask about recent travel or possible exposure to other people who are known to have the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19). At-risk individuals may undergo a physical examination, lab testing or additional consultation with experts, if needed.

How can a person protect themselves from the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There are several measures which reduce the likelihood of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Regularly wash your hands and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze
  • Do not share food or drinks
  • Avoid close contact with people who have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing
  • Keep yourself away from others if you have fever, coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing

For more information and updated information, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention and Treatment page of the CDC web site.

How will Webster decide whether to continue programming abroad or to suspend a program and evacuate students?

In the event of a program suspension, Webster would come to this decision through doing a thorough country review and analysis using the following sources of information among others:

  • U.S. Department of State travel advisory
  • National and international centers for disease control and prevention
  • Communication from national and international associations as well as other universities
  • Country-specific requirements and guidance from Webster’s international campus staff
  • Communications with international partners, including country-specific requirements and guidance
  • Reports from our international insurance carrier

Students would be notified as soon as a decision to suspend a program was made.

What will happen if Webster decides to cancel any of its study abroad programs?

If Webster decides to cancel any of its study abroad programs after they have already begun, the Office of Study Abroad would be in immediate contact with all students affected and would determine a plan for making airfare/travel changes. Students would be provided information on causing as little disruption as possible to the student’s academic progress. This might include information on how they can finish any coursework remotely (either online or via WebNet) or at another campus.

If a program is canceled prior to its start, students will be notified immediately and withdrawn from the program automatically. Students will not suffer any financial penalties due to the withdrawal. Alternative options for enrolling in classes at another study abroad program or Webster campus would be provided.

Will I have to pay study abroad costs if my program gets canceled?

If your program is canceled prior to departure, you will not have to pay any program costs. The Office of Study Abroad will work with the Office of the Bursar to have the costs removed from your student account.

If the program is canceled after it has already begun, then tuition and housing would be refunded at a pro-rated amount. This would be the case only if an option for completing the course work online, from the US, or another international location could not be provided.

If you have already booked your flight through the Webster World Traveler (WWTP) or WINS Award program, please notify Travel Plex to begin work on issuing airfare refunds or travel credits.

How can students and parents stay informed about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

How can students stay informed about the status of their program?