The Office of International Programs (OIP) announced that Boston College’s study abroad program for the spring 2021 semester has been cancelled as of Monday, October 26.
In a post on the OIP website, the office wrote that, “after much consideration, Boston College has made the difficult decision to cancel all spring 2021 study abroad programs.” They clarified that this includes, “both internal and approved external programs, as well as the spring program for inbound exchange students.”
The post directed students to an FAQ page written by OIP to provide affected students with more information about the cancellation and the steps they can take in light of the decision.
On this page, OIP informed students whose spring study abroad programs were cancelled that they, “will be given first priority for the program they originally were scheduled to attend for fall 2021.” This includes students, “who applied and were assigned to a spring 2021 program, yet then withdrew prior to the spring 2021 cancellation notice,” as well as students whose programs were already individually cancelled prior to this announcement.
All students who were scheduled to go abroad are asked to fill out a form linked in the FAQ by November 15, 2020, to declare whether they intend to study abroad in the fall 2021 semester. The form notes that OIP, “cannot guarantee a given program at this time, as much will depend on availability.” OIP instructed students whose program is only available in the spring to consult with their OIP advisor regarding their options for a new program for fall 2021.
Additionally, OIP reminded students that as of now, “summer abroad also remains an option,” with applications for the summer programs due by February 5, 2021. Available programs for the summer of 2021 can be found on the OIP website.
OIP also clarified that the cancellation, “includes both in-person and online courses,” and that students will not be able stay enrolled in a program in order to take online courses. Additionally, OIP warned students wishing to, “attend a BC or external program on their own, without approval,” that they are required to, “take a leave of absence from BC,” and that, “they will not be able to transfer credit to BC and must forfeit all BC financial aid, scholarships, and grants.” OIP, “strongly advised against this option.”
While the news will undoubtedly disappoint many students, the announcement did not come as much of a surprise, as the European Union and countries around the world still bar Americans from entry due to COVID.
As students originally scheduled to study abroad prepare to conduct their spring semester on campus, the FAQ informs them that they will be able to register for spring classes as normal in November. Additionally, students are advised to direct any questions they have related to their housing situation for the upcoming semester to the Office of Residential Life.
On the same day as the study abroad announcement, Provost David Quigley and Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead announced the university’s planned schedule for the spring semester in an email sent to students.
Although they noted that, “the pandemic requires all of us to recognize that plans may change,” they announced that Boston College intends to reopen in late January, with classes beginning on Thursday, January 28.
As with the beginning of the fall semester, students and faculty returning to campus will be required to, “be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes,” and students will be required to, “quarantine in their rooms or off campus until their results are returned.” In addition to this opening round of testing for all who are returning to campus, the university also plans to continue its program of, “asymptomatic surveillance testing and rigorous contact tracing.”
The email also announced some changes to the standard spring schedule. The semester will run until commencement on May 24. There will be no spring break the week of March 1-5, but, “classes will not be held on Wednesday, March 3, to provide a mid-week break.”
Additionally, the Easter holiday will begin a bit later, as classes will continue until, “until 4 p.m. on April 1 (Holy Thursday),” followed by no classes on April 2 (Good Friday). After the holiday, “classes will resume on the morning of April 5 (Easter Monday).”
Furthermore, the status of classes on Marathon Monday will be determined at a later point as the university waits for a decision regarding whether the Marathon will be run; “if the Marathon is postponed, classes will be held on April 19,” the email specified.
Final exams will be held as scheduled on May 11-18.
More information regarding move-in procedures and the upcoming spring semester will be shared with students in the future.