In light of the recent global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), GEO wants to provide information in regards to our programming and policies for all of our partners and their students.
The coronavirus began in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Since then, there have been confirmed cases in multiple countries, and several states within the U.S., and the number of suspected cases continues to expand. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the viral infection of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
The health and safety of your students is the highest priority for GEO, and we want to assure you that we’re carefully and continually monitoring the information coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the WHO. A key indicator of overall safety used for locations where students can travel on GEO study abroad programs is the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory system. This ranks the safety and security of countries and, in many cases, regions within countries from advisory levels 1 to 4 in the following way:
Advisory level 1: Exercise normal precautions.
Advisory level 2: Exercise increased caution.
Advisory level 3: Reconsider travel.
Advisory level 4: Do not travel.
As a policy, GEO will not sponsor programs in regions with a level 4 rating, and recently the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory for mainland China. Additionally, GEO also follows health advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and will not allow students to go to countries with a CDC Warning Level 3, which has been issued for China in response to the coronavirus. As such, GEO has cancelled any spring programs in the mainland area of China. All students who were studying in China at the time of the outbreak have returned to the United States.
Last week, all GEO students currently abroad outside of China received an email update on the coronavirus from GEO, as well as guidelines for staying healthy and safe. We will continue to connect them to resources and keep them updated as developments arise.
At this time, planned summer and fall programs in mainland China have not been cancelled. We are continuing to monitor the situation and the progress of the coronavirus outbreak. In the coming weeks and months, GEO will inform our partners and partner students of further developments as it relates to programming if there are any changes. If you or any of your students have questions or concerns about these issues, please feel free to reach out to your GEO Institutional Relations Representative.
This article was last updated on 2/17/2020.