Accent Global LearningCOVID-19  Protocol 

This protocol is currently in place for Spring 2023 programs and will be updated periodically as the situation evolves. 

Accent Study Centers in each city are currently implementing all local governmental regulations for operating during the Covid-19 pandemic:  daily sanitization of common spaces, social distancing where possible, and wearing of masks in indoor spaces and when social distancing is not possible.   

 Upon careful review of Covid-19 regulations in each of our locations, Accent will continue to require Covid-19 vaccination for participation in all Accent programs with arrival dates from January 1, 2023 onward.  Accent will only allow exemptions for individual participants or faculty from universities with a vaccine mandate and campus exemption policy in place. In these cases, Accent requires certification by the U.S. university that an individual vaccination exemption has been granted on campus.  

 Covid-19 vaccination requirements for participants will be collected as follows: 

  • For participants from partner institutions who mandate vaccination, Accent will require participants to certify that they are up-to-date with their vaccination against Covid-19 per CDC guidelines and present proof upon request. 
  • For participants from partner institutions who do not mandate vaccination, Accent will collect from participants (via our online student portal) documented proof that they are up-to-date with their vaccination against Covid-19 per CDC guidelines. 

Accent has engaged a Europe-based Medical Advisor to liaise with public and private health officials to create an exhaustive Covid-19 Protocol for Accent programs in all cities.  The Covid-19 Protocol is designed first and foremost to create a supportive learning environment which minimizes the risk of contagion in Accent-controlled spaces, including the Study Center, during program activities and in student housing.   

The Medical Advisor and his team will advise Accent in necessary procedures in case any members of the study center community test positive for Covid-19 including, liaising with local health authorities to initiate and perform contact-tracing, precautionary isolation, video medical assessments, swab testing and follow-on medical care. 

To further minimize the risk of contagion as best as possible and provide assurance to Accent partners, Accent is also implementing the following measures for Spring 2023 Programs. The Covid-19 Protocol will be updated based on the evolving situation. 

 

Accent Study Center 

-Use of headsets/microphone for all site visits and adapting site visits where necessary. 

Single Use Surgical Masks will be recommended during classes (in the Study Center) and while students are in the Study Center when social distancing is not possible. 

-Where possible classes will be scheduled to minimize the number of students in the Study Center at any given time. 

-Flexibility to switch online learning as needed, including synchronous or asynchronous remote options for individual students who need to quarantine or isolate for a period of time. 

-Cultural activities and excursions to be held in smaller groups as necessary conducive to social distancing and local regulations. 

-Daily sanitization of the Study Center and surfaces. 

-Hand Sanitizer stations throughout the Study Center. 

-Ventilation of Study Center twice daily and in classrooms after each class. 

 

Student Housing 

-Students will be housed in single, double or triple accommodations, respecting social distancing requirements in bedrooms (1-1.5 meters). Where possible, smaller apartments with fewer students will be used, and instructions will be provided to students for using common spaces. 

-Housing check-in will be managed to minimize the congregation of large groups so that social distancing can be maintained. 

-Student housing will be sanitized according to local health regulations before arrival, and students will be instructed in their Housing Orientation on a detailed cleaning regimen for common spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms. In the Housing Orientation, students will complete an Apartment Agreement with cleaning schedules and schedules for use of common spaces (Kitchens/ Bathrooms/Cafeteria/Study Rooms/Gym Facilities).  The Agreement, signed by each program participant, will also contain expectations for responsible behavior to minimize exposure or passing of COVID-19. 

Accent will arrange for single accommodations for students needing to quarantine as a result of testing positive for Covid-19, in accordance with local regulations or to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to other participants. Covid-19 isolation accommodations could be a single within the student’s regularly assigned program apartment, or an alternative apartment or hotel pending availability.  In some locations, roommates or apartment-mates who test negative, rather than those who test positive may need to be moved to alternative accommodations for the quarantine period. Students who test positive for Covid-19 may be placed in a double with another isolating students pending availability. An estimate of costs per student for Covid-19 quarantine housing for each city is provided in the program contract and will be invoiced to the university or Covid-positive student in the case that one or more students contract Covid-19 and there is a need for alternative housing for the duration of the illness.  

Where local regulations do not require people who test positive for Covid-19 symptoms to isolate, Accent will still require students who test positive to stay in their isolation housing for the recommended period according to local guidance and not attend class in person or program activities.  

 Homestays 

If a homestay student contracts COVID-19 or needs to quarantine, the student will stay in their single room in the homestay and a dedicated bathroom will be arranged.  The student is responsible for strictly adhering to isolation protocol, otherwise the student may be asked to move to alternative housing for the duration of isolation at their own expense.  

If a homestay family member contracts COVID-19 and needs to isolate or quarantine for a period of time, the student will remain in their homestay single, a dedicated bathroom will be arranged, and use of apartment common areas may be limited until the family members are cleared.  In this case the student’s meals will be arranged or a reimbursement given so that the student can order their own meals. If isolation of infected or quarantined family members is not possible due to the size or layout of the apartment, alternative accommodations may be arranged for the student until family members are cleared. 

-Once in isolation, students will be in contact with Accent staff as needed remotely via zoom, telephone and email.  Staff will provide information and assistance to students in ordering food and supplies for home delivery. Costs for food and supplies will be the responsibility of students. 

Excursion Housing 

-Accent will ask students to monitor and report on any COVID-19 related symptoms including fever, nasal congestion, cough, and loss of taste or smell in the days leading up to program excursions.  Any student experiencing symptoms will be asked to stay home or obtain a swab rapid test with a negative result within 24 hours of departure. 

If a student experiences new symptoms during the excursion, Accent will either provide single hotel accommodations or return the student to their program city for medical care, advisement and eventual COVID-19 testing if advised.  The university or student will need to cover the cost of any single hotel accommodations and/or additional transportation needed to return early from the excursion. 

 

In Case of Imposed Quarantine for Students Upon Arrival 

Should the host country entry requirements for travelers from the US require a mandatory quarantine upon arrival, students will be provided with instructions for arriving directly at their housing. Through student provision of accurate and detailed flight information, an Accent representative will meet the students at their assigned housing to give keys remaining social distance. Upon entering apartments students will find an initial supply of masks and hand sanitizer with instructions to follow in the apartment during the isolation period. 

-Students will find an initial stock of essential food and supplies for the first two days.   

-Accent staff will provide an arrival greeting and initial instructions via Zoom meeting with arrived students and will provide the regularly scheduled Program and Academic Orientation via Zoom. 

-Accent will set up several online Q&A appointments for students to log on and ask any questions they may have, during the first week as students start classes online. Accent will continue with regular Zoom appointments providing on-going information about the host city and to keep in touch with students who may have questions. 

-During orientation, Accent will provide students with information and instructions for several services for ordering groceries and supplies online as well as order-in restaurant options.  Students will be responsible for the costs of food and personal supplies during the quarantine period 

-Accent will also provide contact information for an English-speaking doctor as a reference for student questions and will communicate with students regularly to check if they are experiencing symptoms and may need further care. 

-Accent will work with Mindhamok psychological support service to provide tips and advice during the first two weeks and to provide outreach in case any students would like to access further counseling. 

-Courses will be conducted online and program activities will be shifted to take place later in the program, so the students do not miss out on any of the program activities/site visits. 

Should individual students be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine due to arrival from/transit through a third country, due to lack of proof of vaccination or lack of adherence to pre-arrival testing requirements, students will be responsible for booking their own alternative housing for the duration of the quarantine.  Accent will assist by providing the above information on food ordering, medical resources, remote orientation and remote learning options for the duration of the quarantine. 

 

In Case of COVID-19 Infection/Symptoms 

Accent reserves the right to require all program students to take an antigen test and provide results if one or more program students test positive.  

If a student/staff member develops fever or other flu-like symptoms while at home, they will be instructed to: 

  • Call the Accent collaborating physician/medical advisor immediately
  • Self-isolate by separating him/her/their -self from others by at least 1.5–2 meters at all times (if possible, staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom).
  • Minimize movement in any shared spaces in the apartment and wear a surgical mask when in contact with others and respect social distancing and hygiene measures
  • Collaborating physician, based on symptoms and risk factors, will determine whether the case meets the definition of suspect of COVID-19 case and if so will prescribe/arrange the necessary COVID-19 testing

If a student develops fever or other flu-like symptoms while at the Study Center 

  • The person will be brought to an isolated space, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person 
  • Accent staff will instruct the person to return home (if physically able to do so) and contact the Accent collaborating physician/medical advisor for further instructions and evaluation
  • Collaborating physician, based on symptoms and risk factors will determine whether the case meets the definition of suspect of COVID-19 case, and if so, so will prescribe/arrange the necessary COVID-19 testing

 In case a student or Accent staff or faculty member contract COVID-19 

 Infected individual will be instructed to remain home and follow instructions of the attending physician 

  • Arrangements will be made to move student to single accommodations for isolation period and support for obtaining necessary items will be provided remotely, unless suffering acute symptoms and hospitalization is necessary 
  • Apartment or roommates will be instructed to return to housing and to follow social distancing and hygiene measures in housing until further instructions are provided 
  • Accent Medical Advisor will work with staff, local attending physician and local health authorities to complete contract tracing and inform any other students and community member who may need to self-isolate for a period of time or get a tested for Covid-19. 
  • Housing arrangements, logistical support and medical monitoring will be adapted for other students who need to isolate 
  • Extra housing/location sanitization will be undertaken as instructed by health authorities 
  • Both COVID-19 positive students and quarantining students would be monitored by the Accent collaborating physicians remotely to ensure proper care 
  • COVID-19 students can return to their assigned program housing once they have been cleared by the local health authority.   
  • Costs for quarantine housing for any students who become infected with COVID-19 will be provided to the university pre-program and will be the responsibility of the university in case any students contract COVID-19 and need to be isolated 
  • Medical, food and personal expenses during quarantine or isolation are the responsibility of the student 

 Currently in each country COVID-19 swab tests are available and accessible through either the public health system or through private laboratories and pharmacies. 

 

In Case of Isolation/Quarantine Period After the Program 

Should a student have a medically-required isolation or quarantine period lasting past the end date of the program, Accent will continue to assist the student in a limited capacity. Accent will facilitate the student’s move to alternative housing for the duration of the isolation/quarantine period by identifying an alternative housing option. The student will need to pay directly for the new housing and all costs associated with moving. If the student declines the option identified by Accent, the student will then be responsible for identifying alternative housing and leaving the program housing by the end of the program. Accent will continue to serve as a point of contact for the student and provide information and instructions on how to order necessary food and supplies and obtain any necessary medical care; however, as the program will be completed, Accent’s ability to assist will be limited. Accent, upon the student’s request, can provide information on their status to the university. All costs for supplies and medical care will be paid directly by the student. The student is solely responsible for adhering to medical instructions and advice and all legal requirements for the isolation/quarantine.  

 

Medical Care 

In addition to the public health system and hospitals who are currently managing the COVID-19 testing and care in each country, Accent staff in each city partner with local practitioners to guarantee the quickest medical care and advice. Each of the services offers video assessments with doctors for COVID-19 related concerns. COVID-19 Antigen and Molecular (PCR) tests are now available from private clinics and laboratories. 

Rome:
Med in Action – https://www.medinaction.com/: Video Assessment for COVID-19, Referral to local swab testing, daily monitoring 

Florence:
Med in Action – https://www.medinaction.com/: Video Assessment for COVID-19, Referral to local swab testing, daily monitoring 

Syracuse:
Med in Action – https://www.medinaction.com/: Video Assessment for COVID-19, Referral to local swab testing, daily monitoring 

Italy Contact Tracing App: Immuni, available for free for Apple,  Android phones 

Paris:
Doctolib – https://www.doctolib.fr/: Video Assessment for COVID-19.  SOS Medecins – https://www.sosmedecins.fr/: Video Assessment for  COVID-19. COVID-19 Testing currently available through the public health system. 

Madrid:
HM Hospitales – www.hmhospitales.com: Video Assessment for COVID-19. COVID-19 Serological blood testing to detect the presence of antibodies and PCR Nasal Swab Testing are available through the public and private health systems. Medical prescriptions are necessary, but provided in private clinics and hospitals prior to testing. Covered by many student health insurance plans. 

Spain Contact Tracing App: Radar Covid: available for free for Apple, Android phones 

London:
London Doctor Clinic         

https://www.londondoctorsclinic.co.uk/: Video Assessment for COVID-19, COVID-19 swab test available for order/private purchase. COVID-19  

Testing for All 

https://www.testingforall.org/ 

Different options for COVID-19 swab tests 

 

Mental Health and Crisis Support 

Accent partners with Mindhamok for crisis support for students, faculty and staff in emergency situations. Through Mindhamok, students have unlimited access to the 24/7 counseling hotline for issues including anxiety or stress (as a result of COVID-19 or other stressors), depression, cultural adjustment, or other psychological or emotional disturbances.  Students can also rely on Mindhamok for referrals to local English-speaking psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychologists. 

In addition, Mindhamok provides additional support to students and staff in the form of Newsletters and Audio Tip Sheets specifically regarding the effects of living under the COVID-19 restrictions and dealing with the significant changes in daily life and the educational environment. 


Self Isolation Instructions  

-Remain in bedroom and leave the room only for reasons of strict necessity (access to bathroom) When leaving your bedroom at any time you must wear a surgical mask to pass through common areas. 

-If you must be in the same space with another person, wear surgical mask and gloves and maintain social distance of 1.5-2 meters. 

-Keep windows open for proper ventilation 

-When leaving the room to access the bathroom wear a surgical mask at all times when out of your room, except when showering, washing, etc. 

-Before using any common space or shared bathroom wipe every surface with chlorine-based cleaning solution and paper towels and dispose of paper towels 

-Wipe down all surfaces with spray disinfectant solution after use of shared space/bathroom 

-Other occupants should wait 15 minutes before use of any shared space after last use 

-If receiving ordered food, supplies, pre-pay online, have the person leave the items at the door, wait to open the door until the person has left 

-Wash hands regularly, or clean with hand sanitizer between washings and regularly clean room surfaces and high frequency use areas (door handles, light switches, computer keyboard, phone) with sanitizing cleanser. 

-Speak with friends, family, Accent staff regularly via Zoom, video chat, phone or email. 

-Keep your own set of glass/dishes/utensils and wash vigorously with soap and water after each use 

-Consider calling the Mindhamok 24/7 Help line if you suffer from feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression, etc. 

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