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COVID-19 and Studying with SIS

SIS COVID-19 Prevention and Management Protocol


Siena Italian Studies has developed the following prevention and case management protocol for COVID-19. This document outlines the measures and precautions SIS is implementing for on-site programs and is subject to regular updating in accordance with the continuously developing regional and national guidelines and regulations, as well as common sense suggestions of the CDC.

SIS Staff vaccination

SIS Staff is fully vaccinated.

Pre-departure and Travel

– SIS will arrange an online pre-departure orientation regarding health and safety precautions.

Arrival Process

During the days of Orientation, staff will review the current protocol and guidelines with students.

During the program: SIS Facilities and Procedures

Students, staff and faculty will find indications on SIS premises on how to sanitize and wash hands correctly, and find sanitizer to use freely in each environment of the school.

During the program: Accommodations in host families & dining
with program

– Students will be hosted with a trusted host family.
– Host families will sanitize and ventilate regularly student rooms and bathrooms, with a weekly change in linens and laundry provided.
– Dinner and breakfasts are provided by the host family. Lunch will be provided by SIS at the University of Siena caffetteria (mensa), which will respect appropriate distancing and sanitary regulations.

– Any group meals in restaurants while on program activities will be carried out with appropriate distancing and sanitary measures according to regulations in place at that moment.

Program Activities & Student Life

– Program activities such as excursions, class visits and trips will be selected and confirmed according to the health and safety protocols of both SIS and the site visited.
– SIS will hold an informational meeting on student life and safety that students must attend.
– Students agree to be responsible during free time and weekends and to do their best to not put themselves, their host families and others at SIS at risk of a Covid-19 infection needlessly. This includes using common sense to avoid areas or events in their free time where social distancing/safety precautions may not be present, and avoiding personal travel to areas that present a greater possibility for infection.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19

If a student feels ill during the program with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 the following steps will be taken:

    1. The student will self-isolate while SIS arranges for a rapid antigenic COVID test.
    2. While in isolation, the host family will assist with arranging meals.
    3. If covid test is negative, student can return to school when feeling better. In the event the test is positive, current guidelines dictate the following:

      Those who have always been asymptomatic and those who have had no symptoms for at least 2 (two) days, can terminate their isolation after 5 (five) days from the first positive test, or, from symptom appearance, with no need of a negative test;

      For those who have always been asymptomatic, isolation can terminate even before the above-mentioned 5 days, should an official test (i.e. made at a pharmacy or at a health structure) be negative;

    4. Upon confirmation of a covid-positive student, SIS will request all students that are a high-risk or close contact to the covid positive student (unmasked inside interactions, for more than 15 minutes within the 48 hrs prior to testing positive) to follow guidelines of of 5 days of self-surveillance and extra precautions such as disinfecting hands and mask wearing. The covid-positive student(s) can follow lessons online via Zoom as long as needed and SIS staff assistance is guaranteed.

In the event someone in a host family tests positive for COVID-19 the student has the following options: given that they are considered part of the family unit, and considering that the family has agreed to host the students responsibly— therefore seeing to the strict isolation of the affected family member—the student can choose to remain in the homestay or, at the student’s own expense,  she/he can be moved to an alternative accommodation with the assistance of SIS staff for the duration of the family member’s illness. The student will not need to isolate and will only need to follow same guidelines of 5 days of self-observance, testing if symptoms appear. 

*Covid tests are at the expense of each student.

** Alternative accommodations are at the expense of each student, with no reimbursement of unused host-family days.

SIS Withdrawal Policy

– If full payment of the program fee in advance is not possible, a first deposit of at least 30% is due prior to the start date of the program.
– Withdrawal within 15 days of the program start date: student is held to pay 1500usd
– Withdrawal after program begins until 30 days: 60% reimbursement
– Withdrawal 30-60 days into program: 35% reimbursement
– Withdrawal after 60gg: no reimbursement
– In the event of a program cancellation due to a national crisis identified by the Italian Government:
• Occurring after application and before the start of the term and resulting in the cancellation of the program, students will be eligible for a partial refund of the amount paid minus bank fees, based on whether or not the student decides to follow their academic program online with SIS. Following the program online will remain an option to fulfill student needs.
• Occurring after the start of the term and resulting in a modification of the program (e.g., students required to leave
Italy and return to the U.S. and courses are moved online for course completion), students will be eligible for a partial
refund of accommodation expenses, minus bank fees. All other fees and expenses are non-refundable.