In light of the blanket increase of the US State Department Travel Advisory Level for many countries around the world, including Western Europe, we would like to provide some additional information to clarify why Accent will continue programming in the UK, France, Italy, and Spain. We are pleased that some of our partners are continuing with their Summer 2021 programs and look forward to welcoming the Fall 2021 programs a few months from now.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Accent has endeavored to create dependable networks for obtaining the latest and most reliable information on the real time situation in our European locations. Our risk assessment network includes local, regional, and national health authorities, medical advisors, legal counselors, local educational institutions, and associations of American university programs abroad. Together we have identified some critical decision-making criteria for continuing to run programs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Though we have adhered to the US Department of State and CDC Advisories, in this particular case we feel that the increase to Level 4 “Do Not Travel” does not reflect the current reality in any of the countries in which we operate.
We have based our decision to continue programming on the following criteria:
- The ability of the local healthcare systems to manage Covid-19 care, assuring that emergency care and routine medical care are still readily available to students (Covid-19 or unrelated).
- The proven ability and intention of local and national authorities to implement timely and effective measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 when infection rates surpass certain thresholds while maintaining essential services and mobility.
- No risk of students being forced to remain in country due to a sudden and complete lockdown and reduction/cancellation of return flights to the US.
- Current conditions allow for the programs to meet learning objectives and maintain the majority of the experiential learning aspects of the program including in-person learning, guest lectures, and on-site and cultural activities.
These criteria are all met in the UK, France, Italy, and Spain, and we continue to monitor the situation daily in each country and city where we operate. In fact, as vaccination campaigns gain speed in France, Italy, and Spain, governments are making plans to begin a measured easing of restrictions towards the summer. In the UK, where the vaccination campaign got off to a very quick start, infection and hospitalization rates have dropped significantly, and the easing of restrictions is also imminent.
Accent has local medical partners in each city to assist with student medical care, Covid-19 testing and contact tracing. Accent also has a Covid-19 protocol in place to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection in student housing and on all program-related activities. Please feel free to contact me for any further information you may require.
Accent Global Learning
Accent monitors COVID-19 and disease outbreaks worldwide through the CDC, the WHO, the US Department of State, international and US partner universities, local public health agencies and other government resources.
World Health Organization
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Recommendations by Country
U.S. Department of State’s COVID-19 Travel Alert