Go Global suspends upcoming summer programs due to COVID-19 risks

As provincial and federal health authorities recently recommended halting all non-essential travel to contain the spread of COVID-19, UBC has cancelled upcoming international exchange programs for students.

Go Global has sent emails to students who were scheduled to go on international travel programs confirming that all upcoming programs have been suspended until further notice. This includes exchanges and global seminars from April to August 2020.

UBC Media Relations Director of University Affairs Matthew Ramsey said the university is following federal and provincial guidelines surrounding travel safety.

“With the spread of COVID-19 globally and the risk that poses to travelling students and faculty, UBC made the decision last week to cancel all upcoming outbound international programs for students,” said Ramsey.

He added that June and July sessions of the Vancouver Summer Program, a four-week summer exchange program for international university students, have also been cancelled. The university is now in the process of working to ensure costs for outgoing international programs are covered.

On March 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel, including crossing the border into the United States.

A global travel advisory has been posted on the Government of Canada’s website and the university is advising faculty and staff to keep with those guidelines and avoid non-essential travel.

While other universities such as the University of Calgary and Simon Fraser University have encouraged their students on spring 2020 exchanges to return to Canada, UBC has yet to publicly announce if they will do the same.

Ramsey said UBC is working alongside other BC universities on a coordinated response to plan for September exchanges. He confirmed they are taking direction from provincial health authorities including Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the BC Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health.

The BCCDC is recommending that anyone returning from travel outside of Canada enter a 14-day period of self-isolation and monitor their symptoms.

This is an evolving story and more information will be added as it becomes available.

Stay up to date on UBC information related to COVID-19 by visiting ubyssey.ca/covid-19/.