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Study Abroad and COVID-19

Email to Campus
March 2, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The College’s Executive Team, our Emergency Management Response Team and the Office of Study Abroad have been closely monitoring the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In making decisions, the College is measuring all relevant factors, with the greatest weight given to the guidelines put forth by state and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department.

On February 28, the CDC increased the travel warning advisory for Italy to a level 3, which advises against nonessential travel to the country. As a result, the College has asked all our students currently studying abroad in Italy to return to the United States immediately. Those students will be returning to their homes to finish their coursework off-campus. 

This decision was not taken lightly. As you know, Holy Cross highly values our Study Abroad program and the experience it provides for our students. However, safety will always come first. The Study Abroad office has been in regular contact with our students abroad and their parents to help support their travel home. The College has already begun preparations to support the students academically. 

We are also very closely monitoring the situation in every country where Holy Cross students are studying abroad. As some of you may know, several of our students who were studying in China earlier this academic year returned home weeks ago, when the CDC raised its warning for that country to Level 3. Some returned to campus, while others chose to spend their spring semester at another study abroad location. All are long past the virus’ incubation period with no sign of symptoms. 

We are aware of the CDC’s guidance that colleges consider the status of their programs in other countries. After careful consideration, and in the absence of any specific change in conditions in the other countries in which Holy Cross has students, we will continue to offer our other programs as planned.

The spread of, and response to, COVID-19 remains an extremely fluid situation. We will continue to monitor all factors closely, follow the guidance of public health professionals, and keep you informed as the situation develops.

For information, you may visit the College’s coronavirus response webpage, the CDC coronavirus website, or contact Health Services at 508-793-2276, or by emailing


Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College
Denielle Burl, Emergency Management Coordinator
Brittan Smith, Study Abroad Director