OEA sign

All UNC System institutions have canceled study abroad programs for the spring and summer semesters due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Since the start of the pandemic, The Office of Education Abroad (OEA) has kept students informed on the progression of the outbreak through emails. Once the circumstance began to worsen, OEA gave students a week to evacuate their respective countries. 

Lindie Fredericks, who was studying in Rome and Italy, and Allison Acton, who was studying in Italy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, were some of the many who had to come back to the United States.

“We were sent multiple emails and messages saying we had to leave Rome by Friday, March 6. Flights would be reimbursed; we just had to evacuate,” said Fredericks.

“They were very prompt, I would say is the best word, and they have been very good about keeping us updated on the situation,” said Acton. 

Upon returning to Charlotte, students had to quarantine themselves for 14 days to prevent the potential spread of the virus. During that time, the OEA has been working with students on refunds, financial aid and academic credit. The OEA will determine refunds case by case. However, some costs are nonrefundable. Students will need to contact Niner Central to see if changes need to be made to their financial aid package. The OEA has contacted all departments, colleges and advisors to find a solution for students to earn missing academic credit. 

“They were actively trying to find a way to have the students who studied abroad catch up,” said Acton.

There are three known members of Niner Nation who have tested positive for COVID-19. Two out of the three were students who were studying abroad. Both students immediately self-quarantined upon returning to the United States. 

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