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Dean of the Faculty

Vassar College

College Announcement on Fall Study Abroad

View all college messages on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Updates site.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Today I am writing to inform you that Vassar has made the difficult decision to suspend all study abroad for the fall 2020 semester. Due to considerations for student health and safety, the Vassar College Policy on Student Travel prohibits College study abroad to locations with a U.S. State Department/United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisory of level 3 or above. Therefore, the current CDC global level 3 warning and Department of State global level 4 advisory preclude the operation of study abroad programming. In addition to these advisories, the following factors make study abroad for the fall 2020 semester unfeasible:

  • Unreliable access to evacuation services, due to in-country conditions and travel restrictions
  • Possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Potential in-country quarantine requirements
  • Uncertainties of future conditions/health care systems and facilities in various countries
  • Disruptions to the academic integrity of programs
  • Impact upon quality of cultural immersion including loss of residential and host family interactions
  • Significant delays in passport/visa processing
  • Travel restrictions in and out of various countries

While this was a difficult decision, we considered information from many resources very carefully, consulting not only with advisory information but with external expert resources and peer institutions as well. We believe that making this decision now is important for providing ample time for students and faculty advisors to work together to adjust academic plans to the greatest extent possible.

Vassar remains committed to global learning and we hope to be able to resume study abroad in the Spring 2021 semester, if conditions have improved sufficiently. We will continue to monitor public health conditions and official travel advisories, and we will maintain regular correspondence with our global study abroad partners as we all assess the feasibility of resuming study abroad programming.

The Office of International Programs will follow up directly with all students who had been planning to study abroad this fall. Please visit the COVID-19 section of the Office of International Programs’ study abroad FAQs page for more information.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of International Programs at


William Hoynes
Dean of the Faculty