Coronavirus FAQs

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Coronavirus & UA Education Abroad: FAQs
updated 1/19/2022

Our students’ health and safety while abroad is of paramount importance to The University of Alabama (UA). The following information includes answers to some FAQs about COVID-19 and UA’s response as it relates to study abroad. The information here can be shared with UA students, faculty, staff, and family members. Please note that there are different sections – scroll down to the section most pertinent to you or your student.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. Can I study abroad as a UA student? Students are allowed to study abroad through affiliate, exchange, or third-party study abroad program providers. Starting in the Spring 2022 term, UA hopes to resume UA faculty-led study abroad programs as well.
  2. Has UA cancelled any study abroad programs due to COVID-19? Yes, all UA faculty-led programs were canceled through the Fall 2021 term. UA hopes to resume faculty-led study abroad programs starting with the Spring 2022 term.
  3. How is The University of Alabama monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?
    UA is continually monitoring the situation, including consulting sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization (WHO), and International SOS, our international travel assistance provider. We are also in touch with our affiliate and exchange study abroad partners both domestically and abroad.
  4. How does UA make decisions about its study abroad programs?
    The UA System Health & Safety Task Force takes guidance from the CDC, the U.S. Department of State, the WHO, and International SOS (UA’s international travel assistance partner). When making decisions about specific programs, they also consider local conditions, as well as input from peer institutions and our overseas partners.
  5. Who will UA contact with updates?
    UA will directly contact students with updates that might specifically impact them. UA reaches out to students’ designated emergency contacts only in very specific situations, such as when a student has been incapacitated or when we cannot reach the student. All members of the UA community can find updates on this current web page.
  6. Who can I contact about study abroad and the coronavirus situation?
    Please contact Chad Berry, Associate Director of International Health, Safety, and Risk Management at studyabroad@ua.edu.

WHILE ABROAD

  1. What should students expect when studying abroad during COVID-19?
    Students should anticipate that their experience abroad may be different than they may have originally imagined. Keep in mind the following as you set expectations for a term abroad:

    • Independent Travel: Independent travel outside of the city and/or country you are studying abroad in may be limited. Country borders may be closed, quarantine measures may remain in place, and there may be sudden changes to countries’ entry and exit requirements. We do not recommend that you make plans for travel outside of your host country.
    • Quarantine & Testing: Quarantine and testing requirements will vary by country. Your time abroad may include a quarantine period upon arrival in your study abroad destination. You may have to be tested for COVID-19 prior to or upon arrival, or at other times while abroad. You also have to quarantine if you or someone near you (student, faculty or staff member) are exposed to the coronavirus.  Make sure to consult your study abroad program provider and other official sources (see “Additional Links and Resources” section below) regarding any such requirements.
    • Academic Experience: Some programs and universities may implement a hybrid online/in-person format for classes; others will offer a fully in-person classroom experience. Be familiar and comfortable with both formats. There may be sudden changes to the academic format of your program and additional rules or restrictions within the classroom.
    • Social Experience: You also may have limited opportunities for in-person social interactions with others.
    • Program Excursions and Activities: If your program typically offers excursions or other extra-curricular activities, these may be more limited than in previous years. Excursions may be altered or canceled while you’re on-site to adjust to current health and government recommendations.
  2. What precautions should I take to lessen the risks of contracting COVID-19 while abroad? The first precaution that travelers can take to lessen the risk of COVID-19 is to get fully vaccinated for the virus. In addition, if you have been fully vaccinated, consider getting a COVID-19 booster shot prior to going abroad. Beyond that, the following advice about preventing the spread of COVID-19 is taken from the CDC’s guidance on How to Protect Yourself & Others web page. Go to that page for further details on the precautions listed below.
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Avoid close contact (with people).
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
    • Monitor your health daily
  3. If the COVID-19 situation escalates in my study abroad location while I’m there, what should I do?
    • Follow the protocols established by your study abroad program and the local authorities.
    • Take appropriate precautions to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others.
    • If you need assistance with finding medical care or travel assistance to return to the U.S., please contact UA’s international travel assistance provider, International SOS by contacting them through the International SOS app (recommended if abroad) or calling +1 215-942-8478. Make sure to use UA’s International SOS membership number (11BCAM831609) when calling.
  4. If I need medical assistance while abroad (whether due to COVID-19 or another issue), what should I do? If it is an emergency, get to nearest medical provider as soon as possible. If it is less urgent, contact International SOS via the International SOS app (recommended if abroad) or by calling +1 215-942-8478 to speak with a medical professional or to get recommendations on which local medical provider in your study abroad location to use. Make sure to use UA’s International SOS membership number (11BCAM831609) when calling.
  5. Regarding academics, what will happen if my study abroad program is canceled at the last minute? Your options are dependent on the time that your program is cancelled (i.e. before UA’s semester start date, after UA drop-add etc.).
    • If you are still registered in a full course load of UA classes, and your abroad program is cancelled, you may proceed with your “normal” UA semester. You will also work with the provider on any cancellation protocols that need to take place.
    • If your study abroad program is cancelled, but you had already dropped your full course load of UA courses or it is after the UA’s “drop-add”, then you should contact the Education Abroad office as soon as possible to see if there could be any option of enrolling into UA.
  6. Regarding academics, what will happen if my program switches to an online-only format? If your study abroad program switches to an online-only format, you can either (1) proceed with the online option possibly being offered through your study abroad program or host institution abroad or (2) choose to withdraw from the study abroad program. Please note that you may be subject to withdrawal penalties, and depending on the withdrawal date, you may or may not be able to re-enroll into UA.

CURRENT & FUTURE STUDY ABROAD (SPRING 2022 & AFTER)

Current (Spring 2022)

  1. Do I need to get a negative COVID-19 test before returning to the U.S.? Yes, according to the latest CDC requirements all air passengers coming to the U.S., including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery (within the past three months) from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S., regardless of whether you have received the vaccination or not. According to the CDC, “all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States.”
    • To find COVID testing resources abroad, please check your study abroad country’s Ministry of Health page or the Department of State Country Specific COVID-19 Resource Page. You may also consult your study abroad program provider for testing locations or call UA’s international travel assistance provider, International SOS (via the app or calling +1 215-942-8478).
  2. Do I have to quarantine after returning to the U.S.? The answer to this question depends on whether you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or not. Please see below for further details and requirements:
    • If you are fully vaccinated:
      • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
      • You should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely.
      • It is recommended that you get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
    • If you are NOT fully vaccinated:
      • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
      • Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
      • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
      • If you don’t get tested after travel, you should stay home and self-quarantine for at least 10 days after travel.
      • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.

Future (Summer 2022 departure & after)

  1. Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine prior to studying abroad? It is strongly recommended that you get one of the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines prior to travel. Doing so could protect your health, as well as those around you, while also possibly mitigating some of the entry requirements and restrictions as you go abroad. Some countries (including the U.S.) are waiving the quarantine requirement if a traveler has a negative PCR test and proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Some locations have created digital passes and other measures tied to a traveler’s vaccination status that can impact access to certain public spaces (e.g. European Union implementing the Digital Green Certificate). If you do receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to departure, make sure to take multiple copies of the proof of your vaccination (both hard copies and digital copies) with you while abroad. Check the travel restrictions and entry requirements for your study abroad destination. Many third-party study abroad program providers and international universities and institutions are also requiring proof of vaccination in order to participate in the program.
  2. Should I get a COVID-19 booster shot prior to going abroad? It is strongly recommended that, if eligible, you get a COVID-19 booster shot prior to going abroad. Some countries’ definitions of fully vaccinated are based on how long it’s been since a person completed their initial series of the vaccine. Know what the requirement regarding fully vaccinated status is in your study abroad location. You may need to receive a booster in order to meet the requirement before the end of your study abroad program date.
  3. Should UA students purchase trip cancellation insurance and/or refundable airfare? Should I purchase travel insurance and/or “Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)” or “Interrupt for Any Reason (IFAR)” insurance? The Education Abroad office recommends that students purchase fully refundable airline tickets and/or trip cancellation (e.g. “Cancel For Any Reason” or CFAR) and/or trip interruption insurance (e.g. “Interruption For Any Reason” or IFAR) to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellation. UA assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties. A student can purchase any CFAR/IFAR policy available on the market, or chose this Crum & Foster CFAR/IFAR policy that is being offered to UA students: http://bit.ly/UA_CFAR
  4. What issues and questions should I be considering if hoping to study abroad in the near future? Please see the following lists of questions and issues to consider if planning to study abroad.

Provider (Affiliate, Non-Affiliate, Exchange, Direct Enroll Questions)

  • Confirm your provider’s program is going – follow their protocols and instructions about steps to take in order to participate.
  • What are the COVID-19 related policies for your program and institution where you’ll be studying?
  • What impact does COVID-19 vaccination status have on your participation in the program?
  • Do I need to get a COVID-19 booster shot for this program?
  • What is their refund policy and deadlines to withdraw?
    • Before the program
    • During the program
  • What are the academic and financial policies if the program has to go to online/remote learning ?
  • When is the deadline the provider will make a decision about Spring (or other terms) programs?

Location Questions

  • Is the country(s) where you’re going allowing U.S. citizens to enter?
  • What are the quarantine or other COVID-19 related measures (PCR test etc.) you’ll need to take prior to or upon entry to the country?
  • What impact does COVID-19 vaccination status have on your entry into the country, quarantine requirements (or not) etc.?
  • What are the steps to obtaining a visa? How is that affected by COVID-19?
  • What steps will you need to take upon returning to the U.S. after your program?

Travel Questions

  • Is air travel to/from your program location easily accessible?
  • What is your airline’s flight refund and/or flight change policies?
  • What is your airline’s COVID-19 testing or proof of vaccination requirement in order to fly?
  • What is your study abroad program’s onsite travel policy? Do they allow weekend travel outside your location?
  • Should you purchase “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) or “Interrupt For Any Reason” (IFAR) coverage? A student can purchase any CFAR/IFAR policy available on the market, or chose this Crum & Foster CFAR/IFAR policy that is being offered to UA students: http://bit.ly/UA_CFAR

4. What are the important dates to be aware of regarding Summer and Fall 2022 study abroad and CIP placeholder course registration? Be aware of the following important dates for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 registration:

Summer 2022

  • April 15: UA Scholarships Request Form for Study Abroad due
  • May 2: Last day to enroll in study abroad course (CIP or UA faculty-led course) and use UA Scholarship
    • If using a UA Scholarship to help fund your study abroad program, then this is the last day you can register in the CIP placeholder course and still have your scholarship funds released to you.
  • May 26: UA Scholarship dispersal date for study abroad students
  • June 3: Last day of Drop/Add at UA
  • July 12: Last day to drop a course with a “W” grade at UA

Fall 2022

  • April 15: UA Scholarships Request Form for Study Abroad due
  • May 2: Last day to enroll in study abroad course (CIP or UA faculty-led course) and use UA Scholarship
    • If using a UA Scholarship to help fund your study abroad program, then this is the last day you can register in the CIP placeholder course and still have your scholarship funds released to you.
  • August 12: UA Scholarship dispersal date for study abroad students
  • August 24: Last day of Drop/Add at UA
  • October 26: Last day to drop a course with a “W” grade at UA

5. Will I have to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 when arriving in my study abroad destination? Possibly. Check with your destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information or your study abroad program provider for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.

  • Follow all entry requirements for your destination and provide any required or requested health information. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the U.S.
  • If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any health information, testing, or other documents.
  • Pre-travel testing: If you need a negative PCR test prior to travel, make sure to schedule a test that meets your study abroad destination’s entry requirements. If you will be in Tuscaloosa up to the time of your departure, then students needing a PCR COVID Test can obtain one through the Student Health Center. Call 205-348-2778 to make an appointment.
  • Get vaccinated. Some countries are waiving quarantine requirements and other entry restrictions for travelers who can show proof of being fully vaccinated. If eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, it is recommended that you get one of those before going abroad as well.

Each country and institution may have its own entry requirements and restrictions. Please consult your program provider or host institution regarding the latest requirements. You may also consult websites such as the following that include information about entry requirements around the world:

6. Can I get a refund for my study abroad program costs if I decide not to go at the last minute? If a student is participating on a non-UA sponsored program (affiliate, non-affiliate, direct enroll etc.), then the possibility of a refund will depend on that program’s refund policy. A student may also consider purchasing a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) and/or Interrupt For Any Reason (IFAR) policy available on the market, or chose this Crum & Foster CFAR/IFAR policy that is being offered to UA students: http://bit.ly/UA_CFAR.  Regarding UA faculty-led programs, please contact UA Education Abroad at facultyled@ua.edu.

7. When will UA faculty-led study abroad programs resume? UA hopes to resume faculty-led study abroad programs in the Spring 2022 term. Contact the UA Education Abroad office at studyabroad@ua.edu if you have questions.


  1. UA website with general information about the coronavirus (COVID-19): https://healthinfo.ua.edu/.
  2. UA System Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and resources: http://uasystem.edu/ua-system-coronavirus-information-and-resources/
  3. Other official sources to consult with helpful information include the CDC, WHO, and the International SOS web pages devoted to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
  4. Other COVID-related links: