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BREAKING: AU suspends all spring 2021 abroad programs that begin before Feb. 6

Other programs are still under consideration, Abroad Executive Director Sara Dumont wrote

AU Abroad announced Wednesday that all study abroad programs that require students to arrive in their host country before Feb. 6, 2021, are suspended due to pandemic concerns, logistics and issues with international travel.

Sara Dumont, the AU Abroad executive director, wrote in an email to prospective abroad students that programs starting later than Feb. 6 will be reviewed in early November. Additional details for the University as a whole will be announced by the end of October, AU President Sylvia Burwell wrote on Oct. 12. 

This marks the third semester that abroad programs have been suspended in response to the coronavirus pandemic, following the cancellation of the spring and fall 2020 programs. 

Students again have the option of deferring their study abroad application to fall 2021, Dumont wrote. 

“AU is fully committed to providing students with a global education and to resuming full AU Abroad programming as soon as it may be feasible,” Dumont wrote. 

According to the AU Abroad: Spring 2021 FAQ, other spring programs are in limbo due to the moratorium on international travel AU initially imposed in March. 

Dumont said she hopes students will instead take advantage of the virtual abroad programs being offered for a second time by the three AU Premier AU Centers — Madrid, Nairobi and Brussels. Some students in other programs may also be able to virtually participate in versions of their own as well, Dumont wrote. 

If students decide against deferral or online programs, their deposits will be refunded, the FAQ states. 

“Even though there is uncertainty on how the Spring term will unfold, we remain committed to offering AU students unique opportunities for international exposure,” Dumont wrote. “We know this is not the same experience as studying abroad in-country, but we hope you can take advantage of this opportunity to learn from our expert faculty.” 

Many colleges and universities across the U.S. have announced they are also canceling abroad programming for spring 2021. In D.C., only Catholic University has made any decisions, choosing to limit study abroad to their Rome Center, which is directly owned by the university. 

In March, AU’s decision to call students back from abroad followed President Donald Trump’s announcement that most travel between Europe and the U.S. was suspended. AU called for students to return as soon as possible, leading to chaos in some cases as students struggled to cross borders and book flights.

Emily Walsh contributed reporting to this article. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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