Elon cancels Winter Term 2021 study abroad programs

Challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions have forced the decision to cancel faculty-led programs that were scheduled for next January.

Elon University has canceled short-term global engagement programs that were scheduled for Winter Term 2021, a difficult decision that takes into account a variety of factors related to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Each January, several hundred Elon students participate in programs led by faculty and staff at locations around the globe through the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center. Elon is annually ranked as the nation’s leader in study abroad programs and had been assessing how to safely and effectively approach short-term programs next January.

The decision to cancel faculty-led programming followed in-depth discussions with program leaders and overseas partner providers. Among the factors that went into the decision were:

  • The health risk to faculty, staff and students
  • Uncertainty about international travel restrictions that may be in place in January
  • Ethical concerns related to possibly bringing COVID-19 to host communities
  • The impact on the student experience
  • Financial implications for students and families
  • Challenges in forecasting the continued global spread and second waves of the virus, and changing policies domestically and abroad
  • Challenges to planning and delivering a travel-based program that meets Elon’s health and safety standards during the pandemic.

Spring Semester study abroad programs, which are typically held on partner institution campuses around the world, are still expected to proceed as scheduled, depending on international travel restrictions at that time.

The Global Education Center has advised students scheduled for Winter Term study abroad programs to work with their academic advisors to explore alternate study options for Winter Term. The GEC is also examining other potential options for students to fulfill their global engagement experiential learning requirement.

With the cancellation of Winter Term study abroad programs, Elon is examining the pros and cons of adjusting Winter Term and Spring Semester academic calendars, including the possibility of a May Term that could support global engagement courses. A decision on potential changes to those schedules will be announced prior to September 1.

More information about Elon’s plans for the 2020-21 academic year and how it is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the Ready & Resilient website, www.elon.edu/rr.