COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates
This page contains announcements and updates that CYA sent by e-mail to students, their parents, and their Study Abroad Advisors.
CYA is constantly striving to offer its students an excellent academic program in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.
May 15, 2020 10:09 AM
Cancellation of Summer 2020 On-line Courses
As we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding during these past few months. These are unprecedented times and COVID-19 has taken its toll causing us to regretfully cancel courses due to low enrollment.
Unfortunately, CYA's online summer 2020 courses (ARCH 347 OL and LIT 348 OL) have been cancelled. Any students who have submitted payments will receive a full refund. If you are interested in deferring to a future semester please let us know.
We hope to welcome you to Athens in the near future!
Thank you again, for your continued support.
May 11, 2020
CYA is determined to offer its students an outstanding experience this Fall semester, in spite of COVID-19.
Visit our COVID-19-related FAQ page to find out some details of our plans for Fall 2020
April 22, 2020
CYA Cancels all Summer 2020 in-person courses
As the COVID-19 situation continues to remain fluid and challenge the education abroad community, CYA has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all in-person summer 2020 courses.
Students are given the option to withdraw, defer to another term, or take one or both of the following on-line courses:
On-line courses offered in lieu of on-site courses for Summer 2020
1. ARCH 347 OL - When Egypt Meets the Aegean: Interconnections in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean
2. LIT 348 OL - Becoming a Traveler: Writing on Greece
Program costs will be $1,200 per course.
Courses will run from July 1-29th. These courses will be offered through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes.
These are certainly extraordinary times and we deeply appreciate your patience and understanding. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our number one priority. Although we cannot welcome you to Greece this summer we hope to welcome you back some time in the near future.
April 14, 2020
Fall Semester 2020 Changes
As we continue to combat COVID-19 and adjust to this changing global landscape, CYA is announcing the following changes to the fall 2020 program.
The fall semester will now begin three weeks later, on September 21st and will conclude on December 18th. This new schedule will still preserve the required number of contact hours and the overall richness and quality of the CYA experience. This change will also eliminate the student visa requirement for U.S. passport holders coming to Greece, as the semester duration does not surpass the 90-day limit.
CYA understands that most students utilize their free time throughout the semester as an opportunity to travel throughout the continent. With that in mind, this adjusted schedule will still offer a good number of long weekends, national holidays and a 9-day fall recess to travel and take advantage of their time in Europe. Nevertheless, a note of caution is that this kind of travel should be done only after careful scrutiny of the health conditions prevailing in each destination.
Additionally, CYA's fees for fall 2020 have been slightly reduced by $350, bringing the total to $21,500, and the refund policy has been amended to alleviate some of the financial concerns and uncertainties caused by COVID-19. In the event that a student withdraws from, or CYA cancels, the fall 2020 program prior to Arrivals Day, CYA will issue a 100% refund including the $600 non-refundable deposit.
We understand how challenging and uncertain these times are and therefore we hope that these adjustments will ease some of the stress and concern for our students and their families.
CYA will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with our students and partners to prepare for the upcoming semester. We very much look forward to welcoming all to Athens this fall.
April 9, 2020
Amendment of Refund Policy for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19
Due to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,
CYA has amended its Cancellation and Refund Policy for Fall 2020 as follows:
In the event that a student withdraws from, or CYA cancels, the Fall 2020 program prior to Arrivals Date, CYA will refund 100% of all monies received including the non-refundable deposit.
March 24, 2020
Summer Programs Start Date moved to July 1, 2020
The health and safety of our students has always been CYA’s highest priority. During the current COVID-19 outbreak CYA has been constantly monitoring the situation and following closely the developments and announcements by the CDC, the U.S. State Department, and the Greek Authorities.
At this time, due to the COVID-19 impact on travel between the U.S. and Europe, CYA has decided to move the start date of both its Summer I and Summer II sessions to July 1, 2020. This in effect means that students will be able to take only one course during Summer 2020. Students enrolled in courses on both sessions will be contacted by the Registrar in the next days to discuss their choice(s).
Due to the fluidity of the situation, CYA reserves the right to cancel a summer course by May 15, in which case all deposits will be returned.
Final payment due date is extended to May 22.
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Subject: CYA's Continuing Education Plan for the Spring 2020 Semester due to COVID-19
Click here to download the full Plan sent to Study Abroad Advisors
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 9:04:50 PM
Subject: Messsage to CYA Spring 2020 Students
Dear CYA Students,
It has been a sad week for us, saying goodbye to you so soon after we welcomed you to Athens and to our school's life. The rapid sequence of events has forced many into a hasty departure, with several of you having to catch flights over the weekend or in ungodly hours. Some of you are preparing to leave this week, some are still traveling, and those of you who are already back home are still trying to adjust to this sudden change in your daily life and school schedule.
As you have already been informed, starting March 30 your academic program will continue with on-line courses. The V.P. for Academics is working closely with your professors to ensure that you will be able to complete ALL your courses on-line. We will keep sending instructions and will offer you assistance until the completion of each of your courses. Feel free to communicate with your professors and with the Registrar at any time if you have any questions.
Let me assure you that CYA is and will remain your school for the rest of your semester, even from afar. Your professors have been working non-stop to prepare material for your on-line courses, and the Athens staff have been doing their best to help you have a smooth departure from the program.
We know that many of you have had questions about financial and other issues that you did not have a chance to clarify before you left.
1. Return of your Damage Deposit: In the next days the Housing Department will collect books left in your apartments and the Library will process their return. As soon as this process is completed, the list of names who have returned books but did not have a chance to collect their Damage Deposit in Athens will be sent to the CYA Bursar in North American office, who will then start the process of refunding the deposits to you.
2. Refund for Optional Trips to Rhodes and/or Crete: The full amount will be refunded to participants. Again, these refunds will be processed through our North American Office.
3. Refund for Housing and Board: Despite the fact that CYA cannot recuperate its expenses for the remainder of the semester, CYA will be refunding a total of $1,000 per student. This amount represents a portion of your housing and board and will be refunded either directly to you or to the institution that paid on your behalf.
These are extraordinary times, and we thank all of you for your perseverance and for your understanding and support.
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 9:51:37 PM
Subject: Important message from CYA
The Greek government has announced today the indefinite closing of museums, archaeological sites, cultural centers, shopping malls, as well as restaurants, bars, cafeterias, gyms, athletic facilities and stadiums, and small neighborhood businesses. It is also expected that schools will remain closed well beyond the initial 14 days announced last Sunday.
This new development, comes a day after CDC raised all Schengen countries to Level 3, causing unfortunately the recall of the students of many U.S. institutions and depleting CYA of the largest part of this wonderful Spring 2020 group of students. This new situation is preventing us from offering those of you who were planning to remain in Greece a meaningful, academically rewarding, and pleasant experience. We had hopes that we could continue the program in Athens with a sizeable group of students by offering synchronous teleconferencing courses to those who would stay. The new restrictions in the daily life of all citizens in Greece obliges us to change course. There is really no point, with so many obstacles on the way, to continue our efforts to provide the academic semester in Athens that we feel you deserve.
It is with great sadness that CYA has decided to suspend all on-location activities effective Friday, March 20. As promised, you will be able to finish your academic semester and receive credit for all your courses online. Teleconferencing classes will be held, as previously announced, during the week of March 16. Online courses will be available on Moodle starting Monday, March 30.
In order to give students sufficient time to book flights and prepare to leave, CYA housing will be available until Monday, March 23. Take-out lunch service will continue until Friday, March 20.
Additional information pertaining to all Spring 2020 students on practical, academic, and other issues will be available on Monday.
We have been your local family these past months and we continue being committed to offering you all our help. Your professors and the administration will be next to you, even if we are not physically close to you. Our hope is that we will be seeing you back in Athens some day, under pleasant conditions.
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2020 5:02:11 AM
Subject: Dept.of Homeland Security Announcement
Dear CYA students and parents,
(WASHINGTON) Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.
Statement from DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf:
“Protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job of the President of the United States. The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives. I applaud the president for making this tough but necessary decision. While these new travel restrictions will be disruptive to some travelers, this decisive action is needed to protect the American public from further exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus.
“In January and February, the Administration issued similar travel restrictions on individuals who had been in China and Iran. That action proved to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus to the U.S., while public health officials prepared. In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures.”
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2020 4:27:03 AM
Subject: US ban on flights from continental Europe
Dear CYA students,
We understand that U.S. President Trump has just announced a 30-day ban on flights from Continental Europe to the United States effective midnight Friday (ET).
If any of you wish to depart Greece before the ban, please send a message to the Registrar, firstname.lastname@example.org stating the date of your departure from the program, and your intention to continue or not your coursework via online courses in order to receive credit.
Those of you who have flights to leave early in the morning of Thursay before the Academic Center opens, please leave your books and your keys in the apartment before you leave. Attention: Before leaving your keys in the apartment, MAKE SURE that the building's main door/exit to the street is unlocked.
CYA's program will continue as normal for those who remain in Greece.
The CYA Administration
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 7:15:08 PM
Subject: Greek Government ordering schools closed for 14 days - CYA Contingency Plan going in effect
Dear CYA students,
As expected, the Greek government decided to order schools closed for 14 days, starting tomorrow, as a proactive measure to limit the spread of Coronavirus.
As we have been discussing, CYA has been preparing for this eventuality. This is a temporary measure and like so many schools in the US and in other countries, CYA will operate in an on-line mode until it resumes normal operation.
You will be notified by your faculty as to how Wednesday's and Thursday's midterms will be completed for each course.
Starting Monday, March 16, classes will be held via teleconferencing for the next two weeks (Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursdsay only, no Friday or Saturday classes as previously announced). The teleconference of each class will be taking place at the day and time your class was scheduled for. Over the next few days, you will be receiving additional information and instructions on how to join the teleconference from your apartment. Please be aware that some faculty may request that you go around the city or sites to look at material on your own - not in a group - in preparation for your class.
Starting tomorrow, lunch boxes will be prepared and ready for pick-up between 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. In order to avoid crowding, please arrange with your apartment-mates so that one of you comes to pick-up the lunchboxes for the whole apartment.
The CYA Administration
Sent: Monday, March 9, 2020 7:37:49 PM
Subject: Coronavirus update
Dear CYA Students,
You are an exceptional group of CYAers. Your instructors and the CYA staff made this observation from the very first weeks of your semester here. We all understand and share your frustration and disappointment over the disruption caused by COVID-19. But these are undoubtedly extraordinary times.
We are living through a global crisis which is affecting almost every country and all forms of human activity. It is to be expected that study abroad cannot remain immune and therefore your experience here is not going to be as you have planned it. We will do our very best however to preserve first of all the safety of each and every one of you and of our school community as a whole, and to make it possible for you to enjoy the academic benefits of this semester and not suffer the loss of your academic credits.
It is at times like these that we need to make wise decisions and plan accordingly and for this we need to have reliable information. This is the purpose of this set of guidelines.
Please read this message in its entirety:
Field study in northern Greece
The Greek authorities announced yesterday (Sunday) a 2-week ban of all educational excursions within Greece, therefore, the field study in northern Greece unfortunately has to be postponed. In order to cover as much academic ground as possible while conditions allow it, classes will be held regularly during the week of March 16, utilizing Friday [for M/W classes] and Saturday [T/Th classes]. This will also give us the flexibility to possibly re-schedule the trip later in the semester during class days, when permission for educational excursions is reinstated.
On-line courses and academic credits
The CDC and the US State Department assign Greece alert Level 1. CYA does not plan to cancel its program at this point. If the Greek authorities order schools to be closed, CYA will offer its courses via teleconferencing so that you can attend classes from your apartment. If Greece reaches Level 3 or students are requested by their home institutions to leave Greece, CYA will make its courses available on-line so that students may complete the semester and earn full credit.
CYA will also make a distance-learning option available to those students who decide to leave the program voluntarily, so that they, as well, can earn credit for their courses. This option will be available to students a few weeks from now. It is imperative however that students first discuss a voluntary departure with their home institution to ensure that they will be granted credit for on-line courses. Students must keep in mind that it is the home institution’s decision to approve credit transfer based on a student’s voluntary withdrawal from a study abroad program.
Personal travel plans
We recognize that traveling around Europe in your free time is one of the advantages of studying abroad in Greece. But as stated previously, these are extraordinary times and all of us need to adjust our thinking and if necessary alter our plans. Your well-being is our absolute highest priority. Thus, you are strongly advised to avoid all international travel in the coming weeks so as not to jeopardize your health and safety and that of our school community. If, in spite of all this, you do travel to a country with a CDC level 3 travel warning, or is designated as level 3 for coronavirus while you are traveling, please be aware that you will be required upon your return to self quarantine for 14 days.
As far as your traveling around Greece is concerned, the Greek authorities recommend that we all avoid unnecessary travel to some regions of western Peloponnese (roughly from Patras to Olympia) because of increased COVID-19 cases in that region. We strongly suggest that you check with CYA before you start on a trip.
Sent: Thursday, March 5, 2020 11:55:41 PM
Subject: Travel Warning for Italy - Check destinations before you book flights
Dear CYA students,
There are no similar warnings issued for any other European countries at the moment, but please check the CDC's and the State Department's Travel pages for current information before you make arrangements for a trip outside Greece, either for an upcoming weekend or for Spring Break.
Sent: Saturday, February 29, 2020 1:46:19 AM
Subject: CYA Coronavirus Update
Dear Study Abroad Partners,
Thank you for the support you have expressed throughout this uneasy week. As we are coming to the end of it, we would like to give you a brief update.
In an effort to keep CYA students, staff and faculty well informed, yesterday we held a Town Hall meeting where a doctor gave an overview of the COVID-19 virus and an update of the current situation in Greece. Students were reminded to follow the precautionary measures suggested by the WHO and the CDC, and were advised to remain in Greece for the upcoming long weekend and enjoy the local festivities of Monday's holiday. A long Q&A session followed, where students' questions and concerns were addressed.
CYA continues to operate normally and has no plans to discontinue the program at this time. Life in Athens continues as usual; the four confirmed Coronavirus cases are contained and are continuously being monitored by the authorities.
In the event that CYA is forced to close temporarily due to government regulations, courses will continue online for as long as necessary and students will be able to work online from their apartments. If conditions change, rest assured that we will do all possible so that by using other course teaching delivery methods our students can complete their courses and their academic semester.
As always, our on-site team is ready to offer support to our students. We know these are challenging times and we thank you for your confidence and understanding. We will continue to follow the situation closely, monitoring US and Greek directives, and update you in the coming days.
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:59:43 PM
Subject: Town Hall Meeting tomorrow, Thursday 26 February at 2:00 pm
Dear CYA students,
As you may already know, today we have had the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Greece. The announcement was made by an official from the Ministry of Public Health who reported that the patient is in very good condition, the incident has been contained, and that there is no reason for the public to worry.
Nevertheless, the unexpected outbreak in northern Italy has understandably caused apprehension and worry throughout Europe.
CYA is calling a Town Hall meeting tomorrow, February 27, at 2:00 p.m. in the Auditorium, to discuss the latest developments, and the situation with Coronavirus in general. Please be there.
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:52:57 PM
Subject: Re: Travel to Italy & Europe
Several of you wrote asking my opinion regarding travel to various European destinations this weekend, either directly or via Italy. Instead of a response, I would like you to consider the following scenarios and think of what your situation would be if you found yourselves in any one of them:
1. Not being allowed to leave Greece if a sudden travel ban to the country you were planning to visit were to be issued.
2. Not being able to enter into a certain country by the authorities of that country, as you may be coming from/through a country that they consider "at risk" (especially if you are planning multi-city/country travel).
3. Being placed into mandatory quarantine in the country of your destination, either because you arrived there through a country that's considered "at risk", or because of an outbreak while you are there.
4. Being placed into mandatory quarantine in Greece when you come back, because you show symptoms of Coronavirus, or simply because you come - even only on a connecting flight - from a country that Greece would consider, at the time of your return, "at risk".
Let me repeat that the situation is very volatile, and countries may announce travel restrictions or other bans at any time. Our suggestion that you avoid traveling the next couple of weekends does not only have to do with Italy, nor with your getting infected while traveling, it has more to do with the situation you may find yourselves in while traveling.
I am sure that you will consider all factors and you will consult with your parents before you decide what to do.
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 7:54:01 PM
Subject: Coronavirus situation in Europe and CYA measures
Dear Study Abroad partners,
I am sure you are aware of the Coronavirus situation in Europe, where isolated cases have been reported in several major European cities, but especially of the recent outbreak of the virus in northern Italy over this past weekend, which caused some regions to be placed in quarantine and schools to be closed.
Greece is lucky to not have any cases of Coronavirus yet, but viruses do not stop at borders. Since the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak at the end of January, CYA has been preparing to be in a position to limit as much as possible the spread of the virus among our students, faculty and staff, to offer support to students that may be affected, and to ensure that the virus would cause minimum disruption to the academic program.
Keeping students informed:
- On January 30 CYA sent out a message to all students about the outbreak, advising them to check the State Dept's Travel advisory and the World Health Organization's pages before they make travel plans. Subsequently messages and updates were sent, the most recent one about the dangers of traveling to Italy or, for that matter, to any European destination with confirmed Coronavirus cases, where the situation may go from normal to quarantine at any moment, as happened in Italy. The focus is to minimize the possibility of CYA students being quarantined in a foreign country for undetermined periods of time, away fromCYA's support network.
-Procedures on how to handle a suspected Coronavirus incident have been established, and are being reviewed and updated continuously as new information is disseminated by the CDC, the WHO, the Greek National Health Association, and of course the local authorities. Frequent training and update sessions are being held for those staff members who are involved with student care and emergency response.
-The Student Affairs department is keeping a watchful eye on those who have a cold, and tries to monitor students' symptoms & progress, especially those who went on the optional study trip to Venice, Italy, two weekends ago.
-The Academics department has been working on plans to keep classes going via teleconferencing and by utilizing our electronic Library resources, in case the Greek authorities order schools closed, as is happening now in Italy, or in the event that a professor cannot hold a class in person. This system was tested successfully yesterday.
- WHO posters on how to prevent the spread of a disease have been posted at various locations in CYA buildings and in student apartments.
- Hand disinfectant containers have been placed prominently throughout the CYA buildings and in all student apartments.
- Surgical masks have been purchased, for the use of students who have cold or flu symptoms, as well as thermometers for the use of students who develop a fever.
- The Maintenance department is now using strong disinfectants daily throughout the CYA buildings, and on frequently touched surfaces such as desks, doorknobs, railings, etc. The same disinfectants are used for the weekly cleaning of student apartments.
I hope that the above will help alleviate your concerns somewhat. CYA is taking all measures to be prepared and to minimize the effects if Coronavirus reaches our school or its students.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like additional information.
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 3:35:49 PM
Subject: Travel to Italy & Europe
Dear CYA students,
Further to yesterday's message:
It has come to our attention that many of you are planning to travel to Italy and other European destinations this upcoming 4-day weekend. Please note that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has brought Italy to Warning-Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel.
We strongly advise that you do not travel to Italy, particularly Northern Italy, and that you should reconsider your travel plans to any countries that have confirmed Coronavirus cases. The extent and seriousness of the sudden outbreak in Italy this past weekend only proves that the situation is very fluid and that an area that is considered safe today may be not considered safe tomorrow. Let me remind you that you run the risk of being quarantined for 14 days or longer by some local authority, whether you have symptoms or not.
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2020 6:35:42 PM
Subject: Coronavirus and your travel plans
Dear CYA students,
As many of you are planning - or have already planned - weekend trips to Europe, we would like to stress to you the need for caution regarding the rapidly involving epidemiological situation with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). There have been confirmed cases in many major European cities, and a serious outbreak in northern Italy over the weekend has caused certain areas near the cities of Milan and Venice to be placed under quarantine.
There has been no official announcement restricting travel to Italy or to any other European city for that matter, nevertheless, you should seriously reconsider your travel plans, especially since an outbreak may cause you to be quarantined and not allowed to travel back to Athens.
Although no incidents of coronavirus infection have been reported in Greece, you should be aware of the symptoms which are very similar to those of the seasonal flu. Attached you will find a World Health Organization schematic describing these symptoms. If, at any time, you feel that you may be suffering from any flu-like symptoms or suspect that you may have contacted the coronavirus during your travels, please let us know and we will help you to make an appointment to be examined by a doctor.
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2020 8:58:54 PM
Subject: Coronavirus update
Dear CYA students,
I am sure you have all heard/read about the new coronavirus (Novel coronavirus 2019nCoV) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness that may lead to death, which began in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and has started spreading to other countries throughout the world. Isolated incidents have been reported in some European countries.
According to the Greek Ministry of Health the risk levels for Greece are still very low, but necessary preparations have been made at airports and hospitals, of course. We will keep you informed if there are any developments or instructions for the public.
If you are planning to travel outside of Greece on your free time, please do not forget to review the State Department's Travel Advisory for the countries you are planning to visit.
Prevention is most important in all cases of transmittable diseases. Please heed the World Health Organization's advice and take some simple precautionary measures.
Enjoy your semester in Greece,