Fall Semester & Fall Faculty-led Programs
We are very pleased to report that the situation in Italy has become much more favorable over recent months and we continue to hope that circumstances will allow us to return to our usual academic programming in the near future. ISI Florence is diligently preparing to put in place all health and safety measures necessary to safely welcome back students, faculty, and staff. Though our traditional fall semester has been cancelled, we will be offering online courses. We will also continue to monitor guidance from local Italian and EU health and safety authorities and our Risk Management team in order to support short-term custom programs this fall and winter, as well as our full reopening in January. Check back to this page regularly for updates.
At this time we fully expect the spring semester to run as scheduled.
OUR COMMITMENT FOR A RESPONSIBLE REOPENING
Upholding the highest health and safety standards is our first priority as we plan our reopening. Our plan is to also allow students maximum flexibility in committing to study abroad during this quickly evolving health crisis. Presented here is a summary of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our commitment to ensure that when we reopen, every student is afforded an authentic and meaningful study abroad experience – personalized, engaging, rewarding, and safe.
CRITERIA FOR REOPENING
Our Risk Management team has been carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Italy. We are pleased to announce that although Italy was among the hardest hit in the early weeks of the pandemic, the shelter-at-home lockdown and travel restriction measures have virtually flattened the curve. Italy is now one of the countries with the lowest number of new cases per capita and among the safest in Europe. Nevertheless, to ensure the Institute can reopen and confidently welcome students back to Florence, our decision to reopen will be based on the following criteria:
Travel Related Restrictions
- International travel must resume;
- US citizens should be able to enter the host country without restrictions; and
- The US Embassy abroad will need to resume functions.
Local Health & Safety Concerns
- The pandemic must be “under control”, with Italy managing the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that would enable students to successfully complete their program;
- The trend in cases must be acceptably flat or downward; and
- The local healthcare facilities must be considered “well-prepared”.
- ISI Florence must be confident that it can properly mitigate risk to students, faculty, the host community, and onsite staff;
- It needs to be feasible that proper safety protocols can be respected; and
- Sound plans must be in place for temporary or long-term COVID-19 pandemic program interruptions.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES DURING THE SEMESTER
The Institute will follow the health and safety guidelines as recommended by the Italian Ministry of Education and the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI). If conditions and regulations allow the Institute to welcome back students for the Fall 2020 semester, including special short-term programs and faculty-leds, our Institute is prepared to provide the following:
- Single bedrooms for all students in our apartments with no more than 3-4 students per apartment;
- Dedensification of classrooms and social distancing on Institute premises: classrooms will be used at 50% capacity or whatever allows a one meter separation among the students.
- Staff offices will be spaced out, and the capacity for individual extra-curricular activities will be reduced.
- Frequent daily cleanings of the classrooms, restrooms and high-traffic areas with cleaning products that meet Italian and EU anti-covid sanitation recommendations.
- Sanitizing gel will be in all bathrooms and common areas of the Institute.
- Masks and sanitizing products will be given to students upon their arrival in September.
Measures for the Spring 2021 semester have not yet been defined as it is still too early to identify what health and safety measures will be deemed most effective and will, therefore, be highlighted in guidance from Italian and EU health authorities.
EXPERIENCED & DEDICATED PERSONNEL
ISI Florence staff members are dedicated to monitoring & supporting Italian and EU health & safety regulations and recommendations. Our local staff includes a Facilities Safety Coordinator, Rino Punzo, responsible for the cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, enforcing social distancing and capacity regulations, emergency protocols, PPE resources, and other health and safety regulations. Our Health and Wellness Coordinator, Miranda McDaniel, is responsible for the health and welfare of our students. She coordinates medical visits, psychological counseling, and emergency services. In addition, all ISI Florence staff are trained in health, safety, and emergency protocols.
The Institute will record the names and contact information for anyone entering our facilities during the fall semester. Our team will also monitor travel alerts and student independent travel. At this time we do not feel the need to restrict student independent travel. However, we will continue to monitor the situation in case a need for travel restrictions should arise, even if only on a destination-by-destination basis.
Healthcare Support & Preparedness
We anticipate that students may have physical or mental health needs while abroad that could relate to typical causes (such as an ear infection or roommate issues) or causes related to the coronavirus. Students will be able to receive the well-established mental and physical health support offered by the Institute. The ISI Florence APP allows students to books appointments on their smartphone and contact ISI Florence staff members that are on call 24/7. In addition, Italy is working to address the needs of international students. For example, the Region of Tuscany shall provide free COVID-19 testing and medical treatment to all international students studying in the region. In addition, the hospital system in Tuscany 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 and our students with the details.
ACADEMIC CONTINUITY WITH REMOTE RESOURCES
In case there is a need to deliver classroom content remotely, ISI Florence 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: All items on this page are subject to change as all measures, particularly those relevant to travel, social distancing, & sanitation may change in compliance with Italian and EU laws and guidelines for public health and safety.