Important message about COVID-19 and Study and Travel Abroad

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dear Mount Holyoke College community members,

We write to you with an update on the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on our students currently studying or preparing to study abroad. 

We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we have been relying on guidance from US and international public health officials, the US State Department and affiliated US Embassies overseas and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Out of concern for the safety of our community members, Mount Holyoke College will require travelers to leave any country whose CDC warning level reaches Level 3, indicating the need to avoid nonessential travel. April Stroud, the Director of Study Abroad and the staff in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives have been in contact with all students, faculty and staff on study abroad programs in countries currently at CDC Level 3 to inform them about returning to the U.S. and continuing their academic studies.  An email with updates on the situation has also been sent to all other students who are currently studying abroad in other parts of the world.

As we monitor the situation, please be aware that the CDC currently has identified three additional countries with a CDC Level 2: Iran, Italy and Japan. Should the COVID-19 situation reach a CDC Level 3 in any of those, or any other, countries, we will notify Mount Holyoke College community members immediately. We will work with individual students about academic support and travel. 

We appreciate that this is a confusing and worrisome time to contemplate travel, given the unique and changing nature of the coronavirus outbreak. We advise everyone to consult the CDC COVID-19 website for updates on the virus. A page specific to spring break travel has helpful tips. For U.S. citizens, should you choose to travel internationally, please register your travel with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) which gives you access to alerts from the local embassies and consulates. We encourage citizens of other countries to contact your national embassy or consulate for more specific travel information. 

For all faculty and staff, if you are planning to travel internationally on College business throughout the remainder of the semester, please consult with the Office of the Dean of Faculty or your supervisor and/or risk management for guidance.

Our hope is that this coronavirus outbreak will be contained in relatively short order and that everyone can resume regular work and study. 

As always, the safety and health of our community is Mount Holyoke’s top priority. 


Jon Western
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

Marcella Runell Hall
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students