On April 19, 2021, the US Department of State (DOS) announced changes to their travel advisory system that will help to better align their travel advisories with the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) advisory system due to the ongoing risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The DOS recognizes that this adjustment results in a significant increase in the number of countries around the world that will now hold the DOS 'Level 4: Do Not Travel' designation.
While Ithaca College frequently consults the DOS travel advisory system when making important risk-related travel decisions, it is important to note that this DOS change to travel advisory levels was based solely on the continued risks of COVID-19 and not due to a change in other health, safety, and security risks in those countries.
We have thoroughly reviewed the information available from the DOS, the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) as well as the well-regarded perspectives of many trusted leaders in the study abroad field on the DOS travel advisory realignment effort. There is generally consensus in the field of international education around best practice related to the DOS travel advisory changes: since these are due to pandemic-related realigning with the CDC’s travel advisories and not due to other changes happening in these countries, most study abroad program providers and universities plan to continue offering study abroad programming in many countries recently raised to a DOS travel advisory level of Level 4: Do Not Travel.
At this point, Ithaca College will continue permitting student participation in affiliated and exchange programs during the Summer and Fall 2021 terms, and we plan to re-open the Ithaca College London Center for the Fall 2021 semester. The challenges presented by COVID-19 at home and abroad remain, and we will continue to work diligently to mitigate the existing risk. We are confident in the capabilities of the onsite staff at our London Center, our exchange partner universities, and our affiliated study abroad program partners, and feel certain that they will continue to provide our students with safe and informed international experiences even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ithaca College prioritizes the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, staff, and faculty members and will continue to carefully consider all relevant information as we make decisions about international travel and programming now and in the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or concerns.