ISI FLORENCE HAS BEEN REOPENED SINCE THE 2021 FALL SEMESTER (SEPTEMBER 15 – DECEMBER 15, 2021)
OUR COMMITMENT FOR A RESPONSIBLE REOPENING
Upholding the highest health and safety standards has remained our first priority since we reopened. Summarized here are our plans for a responsible and safe semester in accordance with the health and safety guidelines defined by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR), advised by the European Community, and recommended by the American Association of University Programs in Italy (AACUPI). Our commitment has been to ensure that all necessary health, safety, and preventative measures are firmly in place. We continue to work closely with local and US partners and communicate and demonstrate to the ISI Abroad community that our Institutes have diligently established a sound plan prior to and following our reopening. It is our goal to ensure that every student is afforded an authentic and meaningful study abroad experience – personalized, engaging, rewarding, and safe.
PREPAREDNESS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
All accepted students are given a pre-departure handbook documenting the rules, regulations, and guidelines with special attention to our reopening policies related to Covid-19. As always, our admissions team is available to assist students with the enrollment process and pre-departure preparation. Online Q&A sessions and webinars are also offered.
STUDENT TRAVEL TO ITALY AND ENTRY
Should travel restrictions still be in place at the start of the Spring semester, ISI Abroad will provide a checklist of the documents required and the policies and procedures to follow prior to departure and upon arrival. No study visa will be required. Currently, the documents that students should present upon arrival include:
- Proof of Vaccination
- Letter of attendance from home institution (required)
- Letter of attendance from ISI Abroad (required)
- Negative Covid-19 diagnostic test certificate
- EU digital Passenger Locator Form (https://app.euplf.eu/#/)
Please note that we advise students to book all arrival flights without layovers in third countries (meaning that the final flight of their trip should be from their home country to Italy). If a student chooses to engage in independent travel prior to the start of the program, they are personally responsible for reviewing any covid-related restriction or requirement in their destination locations, as well as between those countries and Italy. If the student is required to quarantine upon arrival to Italy due to their pre-program travel, they will be personally responsible for all expenses involved (including private transportation from the port of entry to their quarantine apartment or hotel, as well as the full cost of their quarantine accommodation). The Institute would then be able to virtually provide the student with information about food delivery options and the student would participate in their courses and orientation remotely during the quarantine period.
ARRIVAL AND ORIENTATION
Upon arrival, students will be taken from the airport directly to their assigned apartments in a taxi or private coach. At the apartments they will find:
- A certificate of sanitation
- A starter supply of disposable masks
- A Guide/Poster on cleaning guidelines and preventative measures and best practices for health and safety.
- The ISI student handbook documenting the rule and regulations of the Institute and local laws governing Covid-19.
Note: At this time we do not expect any quarantining requirements to be in place in the spring.
During orientation, the Institute will reiterate the information found in the student handbook with a special presentation dedicated exclusively to Covid-19. Topics include local laws, rules, and regulations of the Institute, prevention, health and safety recommendations, healthcare and medical assistance, and contingency plans (lock-down, repatriation, etc.).
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AT STUDENT APARTMENTS
- All apartments are professionally cleaned and sanitized with products approved for covid-19.
- All apartments will have:
- the sanitization certificate
- a poster infographic
- guidebook outlining the rules, restrictions, preventative measures, and cleaning practices
- Professional and periodic cleaning and sanitization services will be made available throughout the academic term (as requested by students and at their expense)
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AT THE INSTITUTE
The Institutes follow the current health and safety guidelines established by the Italian Ministry of Education. Institute policies and guidelines are updated and prepared by certified local health and safety consultants. Current measures include:
Regulations for Entry
- Restricted Access: All Institute facilities have an entry security system
- Hand sanitizing gel at entrance
- Touch-less thermometer at entrance
- Regulations and guidelines poster at entrance
- Restricted entry for those with symptoms attributable to Covid-19.
For those entering the Institute that are not part of the ISI community (visitors, repairmen, etc.) the Institute maintains a log of their visit including date, time, areas entered, and purpose of visit for contact tracing. The Institutes seek to schedule such visits after hours when students are not present.
Regulations and Guidelines Inside the Institute
- Standard Rules (if Current Restrictions and Regulations are still in Effect):
- Masks must be worn at all times;
- Social distancing must be respected at all times;
- Frequent sanitizing or washing of hands required.
- Posters and signs for rules and regulations for covid-19 laws and policies will be placed at the entrance and throughout the Institute.
- Sanitizing gel will be in all bathrooms, classrooms, and common areas of the Institute.
- Floor markings for social distancing.
- De-densification of classrooms and social distancing on Institute premises: classrooms have student desks spread out at least 1 meter from each other, and the professor’s desk at least 1 meter from students.
- Staff offices will be spaced out and the capacity for individual extra-curricular activities is reduced.
- Frequent cleanings of the surfaces of the common areas in the classrooms, restrooms, and high-traffic areas are performed with products that meet Italian and EU anti-covid sanitation recommendations.
- Daily deep cleaning and sanitizing of the entire Institute every evening.
STUDENT TRAVEL WHILE ABROAD
All students are required to complete a Travel Information Form prior to any travel outside of the local area. This form documents the details of their travel, including modes of transportation, lodging, travel companions, and destinations. Our team monitors travel alerts and review the travel forms to provide updates and guidance on restrictions to ensure that students avoid prohibited destinations and those considered high risk.
SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19
If there are suspicions (but not confirmations) of positive cases among some of our students, these students will be asked to self-isolate in a dedicated room at the Institute or in a separate room in their apartment. The Institute will assist in contacting the appropriate physician who will evaluate the situation. If the physician suspects a covid-19 infection, the local authorities will be contacted (800 number) to perform a test on-site.
In the event a student tests positive, the local authorities will provide detailed guidance on the procedures to be followed. According to current regulations, this may include quarantining in separate housing for a specified period (usually 14 days) or until a negative test is confirmed. It is the students’ responsibility to ensure the costs for quarantine facilities are covered by their international health insurance plan.
In the event that a student requires medical care or hospitalization, the Institute personnel, the student, and the appropriate personnel at the home university will work together to address this issue. The region of Tuscany has passed legislation to provide all medical care free of charge for all covid-19 patients (including American students).
EXPERIENCED & DEDICATED PERSONNEL
ISI Abroad has established a Risk Management Team dedicated to monitoring & supporting Italian and EU health & safety regulations and recommendations to facilitate the policies, procedures, and safe reopening of the Institute. Each Institute includes a Facilities Safety Coordinator, responsible for the cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, enforcing social distancing, emergency protocols, PPE resources, and other health and safety regulations. We have also assigned a dedicated Health and Wellness Coordinator, responsible for the health and welfare of our students. They coordinate medical visits, psychological counseling, and emergency services. In addition, all ISI Abroad staff are trained in health, safety, and emergency protocols.
HEALTHCARE PREPAREDNESS AND SUPPORT
We understand that students may have physical or mental health needs while abroad that relate to typical causes (such as an ear infection or roommate issues) or causes related to the coronavirus. Students are able to receive the well-established mental and physical health support offered by the Institute. The exclusive ISI Florence and Umbra Institute APPs allow students to book medical appointments on their smartphone or contact staff members that are on call 24/7. In most regions, including Tuscany, medical treatment is also provided free of charge to all international students. Furthermore, the hospital system in Italy is considered to be well-prepared for future outbreaks. Our Risk Management team is regularly monitoring similar initiatives and will be sure to update this site with further details.
VACCINATION OF STAFF AND FACULTY
All employees of schools in Italy, including those in higher education, are required to be vaccinated. These rules are firmly respected by all ISI Florence administration, staff, and faculty as they have all been vaccinated well in advance of the start of in-person classes.
ACADEMIC CONTINUITY WITH REMOTE RESOURCES
In case there is a need to deliver classroom content remotely, ISI Abroad professors are now, more than ever, capable users of the online learning platform Moodle (similar to Canvas and Blackboard). Our instructors have long used the online environment as a complement to in-person learning; that preparation has been useful and they will continue to use Moodle in the future. The use of Moodle and carefully-planned content and assignments means that we are also prepared to continue teaching online in the event a student needs to be quarantined or needs to return to the United States.
NOTE: Information provided on this page is subject to change as all measures, particularly those relevant to travel, social distancing, & sanitation may change in compliance with current Italian and EU laws and guidelines for public health and safety.