Office of Study Abroad and Outreach

Coronavirus Information for Study Abroad Students

Updated March 11, 2020  

Western Illinois University is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, China. The virus has been designated SARS-CoV-2, while the disease it causes has been designated COVID-19. This is an evolving situation, and updates are available from the  Illinois Department of Public Health  and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including updated Travel Notices for countries with community transmission.

How is WIU monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?

A team of university officials is monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 worldwide. To assess risks related to study abroad travel, the university uses a number of resources, including news reports, governmental agencies, professional health and security organizations, and more. University updates can be found on this webpage: www.wiu.edu/coronavirus

How does WIU make decisions about its study abroad programs?

WIU takes guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). As per CDC recommendation, WIU will cancel study abroad programs when the country of destination is classified as a "level two" concern or above.

It is advised that travelers consider the risks involved in international and domestic travel.  Also, in this consideration, please review the links below provided by the World Health Organization and the CDC: 

Are there restrictions on study abroad program travel at WIU?

Western Illinois University has canceled summer study abroad programs and no further international business travel is authorized for students, faculty and staff through Aug. 1, 2020. Students, faculty and staff are also encouraged not to visit areas with high numbers of reported cases within the U.S.

Faculty-led programs scheduled in May and June to Scotland/England, Nepal, New York City, Germany, Ireland and Spain are now canceled.  Individual student programs, including international internships and summer programs, are also canceled.

What should I do if I traveled to a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea?

The University requests that any person (faculty, staff, students and visitors) who traveled in a country with a  Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice  (due to the novel coronavirus) take the following steps before arriving on campus:

  1. Stay home for 14 days  and monitor your health after you leave any country with a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice.
  2. Monitor your health  and report any symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
  3. If you are a student, contact the Student Development and Success Center at 309-298-1884 or sdsc@wiu.edu to assist with the notification of professors and classes.

If you develop symptoms — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — within 14 days of leaving a country with a  Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice  for COVID-19:

  • If you are a student meeting the conditions above, to contact Beu Health Center please call ahead at (309) 298-1888. Do not just show up at the health center without calling first.
  • If you are not a student, please call your physician or medical provider for advice. If you do not have a medical provider please call McDonough District Hospital at (309) 833-4101 for a list of providers accepting patients.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.  Please do not get on public transportation or just arrive at the campus health service. Call instead (309) 298-1888 to help with transportation if needed

If a student chooses to leave a study abroad program that has not been suspended, how might that student’s academic credit be affected? 

If a student chooses to leave a program they should contact the Study Abroad and Outreach Office for coordination assistance as soon as a decision has been made. If the student is already abroad and wishes to return before the program is completed, it is recommend that they notify their academic adviser (both at abroad location if applicable and in US institution) as well as contact the Study Abroad and Outreach Office. We will work with our partners to try to support the student’s completion of their work with that program, but the awarding of academic credit will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed. 

Does WIU Study Abroad and Outreach have any recommendations for students planning to study abroad in summer 2020 or fall 2020? 

Western Illinois University has canceled summer study abroad programs and no further international business travel is authorized for students, faculty and staff through Aug. 1, 2020. Students, faculty and staff are also encouraged not to visit areas with high numbers of reported cases within the U.S.

Faculty-led programs scheduled in May and June to Scotland/England, Nepal, New York City, Germany, Ireland and Spain are now canceled.  Individual student programs, including international internships and summer programs, are also canceled.

Study Abroad and Outreach will work closely with students to try to find alternate programs/classes that still provide educational and insightful experiences for those wanting to participate in a study abroad program in the future.  Interested students should continue to work with Study Abroad and Outreach for guidance of these available classes and opportunities.

Students planning to study abroad in fall 2020 should remain in communication with Study Abroad and Outreach.  At this time, no fall study abroad programs have been canceled.

My Study Abroad Course/Program has been canceled for spring 2020 and/or summer 2020. What should I do now?

Study Abroad and Outreach are dedicated to the students and faculty participating in their programs. Alternative classroom experiences will be provided to those enrolled in study abroad programs.  Study Abroad and Outreach is actively working with all vendors/planners involved with canceled Courses/Programs to obtain refunds and reimbursements appropriately. Students affected by a canceled program are encouraged to contact Study Abroad and Outreach at 309-298-2504.