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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 has been able to take advantage of COVID-19 vaccinations made available to those who work in the field of education in Italy’s Tuscany region.

Pre-departure and Travel

– SIS will arrange an online pre-departure orientation regarding health and safety precautions.
– Program participants are required to take a COVID-19 swab test in their home country within 72 hours of departure and provide a copy of the test results for reference. Students are respectfully requested to self- isolate for the period of time from test to departure.
– Independent student travel during the program may be limited due to evolving situations. SIS will impose a limit to international travel while the program is in session and prohibit travel to or through any high-risk area or eventual “red zone.” Once the program has concluded, students will be free to travel internationally. Any student that does not respect this limitation while program is in session may be subject to quarantine and additional testing upon return to Italy, and is responsible for any related expenses.

Arrival Process

– If possible at the time of arrival, students will take an additional swab test upon arrival at the airport and await the expedited test results.
– Students will be picked up at the airport and transported to Siena via private transportation. Students will sanitize hands and must wear a face mask during travel to Siena.
– Upon arrival to Siena students must present their negative test results to SIS staff, who will then introduce them to their host-families.
– Students and host families will sign a contract detailing a code of mutually respectful conduct, particularly in light of Covid-19, that each party agrees to respect for the duration of the program.
– Currently a quarantine period is not required by the Italian government if travelers from the United States have proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure, and complete the passenger locator form.

During the program: SIS Facilities and Procedures

– SIS will maintain a daily temperature record of each student, staff member and faculty member. Access will be denied to anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5 ° C.

– SIS premises will remain closed to the public and visits from people other than those frequenting the program will be limited to an absolute minimum;
– Students, staff and faculty will find indications on how to sanitize and wash hands correctly, and find sanitizer to use freely in each environment of the school;
– Students in classroom settings will be appropriately distanced as per regional and national requirements;
– Students will be required to keep masks on while in the building unless they are seated at an appropriately distanced desk or table, where they can take off their mask;
– After each lesson, classroom environments will be sanitized and ventilated, common areas will be sanitized at regular intervals while in use;
– SIS will ensure proper cleaning and maintenance of A/C and heating systems according to regional regulations.

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

– Students will be hosted individually, in private rooms with a trusted host family. Students will have access to a private bathroom.
– Host families will sanitize and ventilate frequently 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 vouchers at nearby cafes and restaurants, 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 in place.

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. International trips such as the group trip to Brussels, typically included in the SIS semester, will be suspended until further notice.
– 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 contacts the program doctor and arranges a visit.
2. If the program doctor deems it necessary, a request for a covid test will be activated through the Azienda Sanitaria Locale (ASL). If the doctor does not deem it necessary, student can return to school when well.

3. While awaiting the covid test and its results, the student will remain in isolation in her/his bedroom, host family will assist with arranging meals.
4. If covid test is negative, student can return to school when feeling better. In the event the test is positive, the student will remain in isolation and await indications on treatment from the ASL. Host families agree to assist students in isolation with OTC medical needs and meals.
5. Upon confirmation of a covid-positive student, SIS will request all students to self-isolate and SIS will follow indications from the ASL authorities for eventual contact tracing. Lessons will be moved online and courses will continue via distance learning until the isolation period passes or until the group tests negative. The covid-positive student(s) will continue virtual learning 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 nonetheless need to self-isolate or test negative given the close contact with a covid-positive person before returning to the school environment.

SIS Cancellation 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.