As the Department of State aligns it's travel advice with the CDC ratings, our Health and Safety team continue to monitor conditions and trends focusing on:
Arcadia Abroad strongly encourages students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the program starts. As in the United States, showing proof of vaccination to partake in various activities is a hotly debated topic and early stages of implementing a "vaccine passport" program could occur while your students are abroad this summer. Host countries could also change their entry requirements at any time.
Students have been advised to keep in mind when scheduling vaccine appointments that traveling within a few days of getting vaccinated could complicate health screenings if their temperature is high or they exhibit other post-vaccination symptoms. We are asking students to share their vaccination status with us before the program begins.
Our Intern Philly program offers its academic coursework and accommodation on the beautiful suburban Arcadia University campus. The University is currently operating at tier two (2) which will allow for face-to-face instruction while ensuring that academic courses are all modes ready. Vaccination rates continue to rise in Philly as all adults are eligible for the vaccine. Though there was a spike in cases this spring, the case count is already coming down and since early March, visitors from other states do not need to quarantine or test negative upon arrival.
On July 19th England moved to step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown - meaning that almost all COVID-19 mitigation legal restrictions have been lifted. In place of rules the government are nudging citizens, organisations and businesses to exercise caution and make appropriate judgements and decisions about mask wearing, social distancing and other mitigations. Shopping, dining, pubs, clubs, theatres, sports venues etc. are now all able to operate without legal constraints and can determine their own measures to keep visitors safe.
Although there is currently no news on any relaxation of arrival quarantine, from 16th August fully vaccinated people will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19, instead they will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.
Although Covid-19 cases are rising with the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, numbers of hospitalisations and deaths remain low compared to the January peak as a result of the success of the vaccination campaign allied to improved treatments, many of which have been developed in the UK. Vaccination rates in the UK continue to rise, with approximately 90% of the adult population in the UK having received at least one vaccine dose and approximately 70% being fully vaccinated. Testing for COVID-19 remains easily accessible - and lateral flow home testing kits are free of charge. Our summer programs are winding down now and our students have had a great experience - we now look forward to your joining us in the Fall!
On 17th July Wales moved to alert level 1, easing some of the legal COVID-19 restrictions, with August 7th being the provisional date for the removal of the majority of remaining restrictions. Wales has taken a more cautious approach to COVID-19 than has been the case in England and this is one of the factors that has resulted in relatively low numbers of cases. There has been an upturn in cases as a result of the Delta variant spread but the success of vaccine rollout has put a break on hospitalisations and deaths.
Things are looking up for Fall at least in terms of life in Scotland (despite the increasing spread of the Delta variant but it looks like this is starting to come down due to the restrictions and the success of the vaccine roll out in Scotland). However, there is still the real possibility of quarantine requirements for Fall if the US stays amber (there are only exemptions if it is a UK issued full vaccination only to British residents); so we are now planning for a quarantine of 10 days (11 nights) in your first arrival destination (so please do not arrive earlier than the designated arrival day as we cannot support this) which should be your student accommodation. It is extremely important not to arrive later than the day we set as this would undermine the integrity of the arrival quarantine and impact on your flatmates for the time period expected!
The Scottish government is utilising a traffic-light program with countries that align with the UK government countries see here. The US is currently designated ‘Amber.’ The vaccination program is going extremely well and the country is in the process of opening up. All of Scotland is now level 0 (that has some restrictions) - see here for the levels and what is permitted. The hope is that most restrictions will end August 9th - but this will not apply to arrival quarantine and we are still planning for quarantine in student accommodation for the Fall arrivals if the US remains on the amber list.
Ireland has been fairly conservative in loosening restrictions relative to the case trends. Currently, Ireland is in Level 5 (the highest level of restriction) but they have outlined an anticipated lifting of some restrictions over the coming weeks. Ireland continues to push ahead with their vaccination rate, though the National Immunisation Advisory Committee in Ireland just announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine will only be administered to those over 60, therefore possibly impeding Ireland’s goal of vaccinating half of its population by the end of the month. However, vaccinations continue and the low incidence rate of COVID-19 cases are a sign of good things to come.
Additionally, there is an ongoing conversation regarding the inclusion of the United States on the list of countries from which travelers must quarantine in a designated hotel. Thankfully, the Irish government has recently announced an exception to this which allows vaccinated travelers to quarantine in their regular accommodations. Unvaccinated students should keep a close watch on the list of designated states.
Our students in Spain this summer had a blast with events and exploring locally while on th e program. Spain has seen recent rise in cases due to the Delta variant but despite the numbers in cases, hospital pressure and death rates are not going up as they did in previous case spokes before vaccinations were widely accessible.
At time of writing, the vaccination rate is over 65%, and next week they'll start vaccinating a new age range of 16-year-olds and higher, at least in Granada. Many 20 and 30 year olds who recently became eligible are still getting their shots and we expect the 65% rate to continue to rise.
COVID cases in Italy have been steadily declining in recent weeks - view the "Nuovi positivi" chart on the Italian Ministry of Health's COVID Dashboard. Some regions in Italy could lose their lowest-risk 'white' zone status and slip back to the moderate risk 'yellow' zone category from 26 July, based on rising numbers of covid-19 cases, according to Italian media reports. The regions at risk of 'yellow' restrictions were identified by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera as Campania (Naples), Lazio (Rome), Sardinia, Sicily and Veneto (Venice). Arcadia continues to feel positive about our upcoming program offerings in Italy!