FAQ for COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic
CYA is determined to offer its students an outstanding experience in the upcoming semesters, in spite of COVID-19. We are working with two parallel aims in mind; to ensure your safety and good health, and at the same time deliver an academically superior and fulfilling semester abroad experience, without limiting your opportunities to understand and appreciate the country, its people and its culture.
Last update: March 31, 2023
Travelling to Greece
All travel restrictions have been suspended. You may find the latest information regarding entry to Greece at travel.gov.gr . Travelers should check with their airlines for specific requirements of the airline itself, and for transiting requirements if they are flying to Athens via another country.
Does CYA require that I be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to attend the program?
CYA highly recommends that students be fully vaccinated prior to their arrival in Greece but proof of vaccination is not required any longer. Students are advised to carry with them their proof of vaccination, for the unlikely possibility that restrictions are reinstated in the future.
What about Booster shots?
It is now possible for non-EU residents to receive a booster shot in Greece. Students who qualify to receive a booster shot at their home country should do so. The scientific community believes that a booster shot protects against the Omicron variants which are extremely transmissible so please make sure you get your booster shots. Those who wish to have a booster shot should contact the Student Affairs Office as soon as they arrive in Greece in order to arrange for one in Athens.
Will there be a mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving in Greece?
Currently there is no quarantine requirement for incoming passengers.
Will I have to show health documentation upon arrival at the airport?
According to travel.gov.gr : “as of May 1st, 2022 and for as long as the epidemiological data allow so, all travellers arriving in Greece, regardless of their country of origin, are no longer required to display a valid certificate of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, or evidence of a negative test result from SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR or Rapid Antigen test).”
Also, all passengers traveling on international flights to Greece are no longer required to fill in and electronically submit the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) ; nevertheless, doing so would enable the traveler to issue an EU Certificate of negative or positive COVID-19 test result.
Regardless of country entry regulations, airlines may have additional requirements in order to board your flight, so you should check with your airline(s) as well.
For the latest information regarding entry to Greece please see the Greek Government’s Protocol for Arrivals in and Departures from Greece and the Athens Airport’s FAQ section on COVID-19.
Will CYA require that I be tested for COVID-19 when I arrive there?
If, at the time of your arrival to Athens or at any time during the semester, and despite the fact that you are vaccinated, CYA may consider COVID-19 tests necessary, CYA will arrange for the tests at no cost to the students.
Is there health insurance that would support students?
Supplemental Hospitalization insurance is included in the CYA semester fees. We recommend that students also make sure that they carry health insurance through their parents/guardians or their school as their primary insurance coverage. Before arriving in Greece, students should check with their current insurance company regarding using their health insurance internationally, and that their insurance covers COVID-19 or pandemic-related treatment in general. It should be noted that, as dictated by the Greek health system, hospitalization for COVID-19 is available at specific public hospitals whose fees are extremely low.
My parents are concerned; is there someone they can talk to regarding their questions?
CYA has staff both in the US and in Greece who are prepared to answer your and your parent’s questions. If you would like to schedule an appointment to go over any concerns or questions about the program, please e-mail [email protected].
For general information about the situation in Greece you may contact the American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, by phone at +30 210-721-2951 or by e-mail at [email protected] or visit their COVID-19 page.
Is there anything I can do now to help prepare?
● Please make sure you enroll in STEP before going abroad!
● Stay aware! Be sure you are keeping up to date with what is going on in the world using reputable news sources. The online English version of the reputable Greek newspaper Kathimerini is also a very reliable source of information.
● Follow the news about COVID-19 and health & safety matters on the CDC, WHO, and State Dept. pages and subscribe to their newsletters.
● CYA will also be sharing articles and announcements about Greece, so make sure you read all the emails we send you.
If I cannot arrive in time due to a positive test, will I be able to catch up with classes?
The first week of the semester is dedicated to orientation activities; classes start the following Monday. Even if you are delayed at home due to a positive COVID-19 test, CYA will help you acclimate once you arrive, and your professors will work with you to find ways for you to catch up with missed classes.
What happens if schools in Greece must be closed for any period of time, or if my home institution requires that I return home before the semester is completed?
CYA is fully prepared to continue classes online via synchronous and/or asynchronous sessions for as short or as long a period as becomes necessary. Also, course material and audiovisual aids for all courses will be available to students online via Moodle.
In spring 2020, when students were ordered by their home institutions to return to the U.S., CYA arranged for all courses to be switched quickly to online. Students were able to complete their classes online from home and to receive full credit.
I’m concerned about housing amidst COVID-19, how is CYA addressing housing in the Fall? In the Spring?
Although single occupancy bedrooms cannot be guaranteed, CYA will make every effort to maintain reduced capacity at CYA apartments when possible. Each bedroom has a separate clima (hot/cold) unit. All CYA apartments are within walking distance of the Academic Center, eliminating the need of public transportation.
What precautions is CYA taking to ensure that apartments are clean/sanitized?
Cleaning of apartments is done by CYA skilled crew who follow all protocols regarding COVID-19. Cleaning agents and sanitizing materials for surfaces and toilets are also available in each apartment for students to use themselves as needed. Hand disinfectant and paper towels are provided by CYA in each apartment.
What if I develop COVID-19 symptoms and I am ordered to stay in home isolation?
CYA has reserved apartments for the isolation of students who test positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospitalization. CYA will also help ensure a safe environment for non-infected roommates. CYA will comply with all health authorities’ instructions regarding at-home isolation or quarantine of positive or suspected cases, as well as students identified as close contacts, and will assist students with their daily needs, such as grocery shopping etc. CYA will also deliver a packaged lunch to isolated or quarantined students on those days that lunch is offered at the CYA Cafeteria.
Are there things I should avoid doing?
CYA will be sharing recommendations and policies set forth by health authorities regarding social distancing and health-related precautions. Government imposed restrictions may be changing depending on the general situation, and CYA will keep students up to date on any restrictions and procedures regarding the use of masks, social distancing, group gatherings, shopping, nightlife, etc. CYA will share the most current information during the pre-departure online orientation sessions, as well as upon student arrival, and will continue communicating with students about the latest developments throughout their stay in Greece.
Classes / Classrooms / Offices / Common areas
How is CYA going to handle social distancing in classrooms? Are class sizes going to be adjusted?
CYA has an abundance of classrooms of different sizes. Classrooms are assigned depending on the number of students enrolled in each class & according to Greek authorities’ regulations regarding classroom capacity. Onsite classes are conducted with respect to social distancing, and with the use of wireless audio guide systems to increase audible range and facilitate easy communication while maintaining social distancing.
Have extra measures in sanitation & facilities maintenance been taken?
As per cleaning procedures established at CYA since January 2020, CYA follows WHO and CDC recommendations, as well as Greek health authorities’ mandates about sanitizing home, school, and work environments; disinfectant is used on all frequently touched surfaces such as desks, tables, doorknobs, railings, etc. Classroom equipment is disinfected between classes as well. WHO and CDC posters on how to prevent the spread of a disease and how to identify COVID-19 symptoms have been posted throughout the CYA facilities and in student apartments. Hand disinfectant containers have been placed prominently and in abundance throughout the CYA buildings and in all student apartments. All classrooms have opening windows for air ventilation and most have a separate clima unit.
Will students/staff be required to wear masks?
Masks are not mandatory either outdoors or indoors, except at health or health-related facilities such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, pharmacies, etc. Many Greeks continue to wear masks outdoors and even more so when entering busy places such as banks, shops or supermarkets. CYA will inform you of any changes and help you comply with any local government regulations that may be put in effect while you are in Greece.
Is there regular taking of students’ temperature? Either themselves or on-site?
Although not currently required by health authorities, daily temperature taking with the use of no-contact thermometers will be done if it is deemed prudent.
Will I be tested for COVID-19 while at CYA?
Currently tests are not required by the Health Authorities; nevertheless, if, at any time tests become mandatory, or CYA deems them necessary for the general good of the student body, CYA will arrange for the tests at no cost to the students.
If I get sick, can I still participate in class while being quarantined?
Depending on the requirements of each class, your professors will help you arrange the most effective method for you to keep up to speed with your classes while in quarantine. Online course material, bibliography, and supplemental reading will be available on Moodle throughout the semester. Other material, such as prerecorded lecture videos; videos from onsite; videos of interviews; podcasts; PowerPoint and class-notes; reading; discussion forums, may also be available online, depending on the course.
Will the popular CYA Field Study program be affected?
In the unlikely event that there is a new surge of COVID-19 in the future, there may be changes of itineraries dictated by local conditions but CYA will do its utmost to deliver a rich study travel program in various parts of Greece and a full exposure to life and culture outside Athens. Traveling on buses, boats or airlines will be arranged according to social distancing/mask wearing regulations in effect at the time for each means of public transportation.
Healthcare in Greece
What is the healthcare system like in Greece if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
CYA has kept aside some apartments for the isolation of students who test positive. After the end of the isolation period, students may return to their original apartments.
Hospitalization due to COVID-19:
Normally, CYA uses private hospitals for its students’ needs. However, procedures for COVID-19 testing & hospitalization have been determined and are being controlled by the Greek health authorities. Patients and physicians alike have to follow these procedures. If hospitalization for COVID-19 is necessary, patients will be admitted to public hospitals or private Clinics that are specially designated and appropriately equipped & staffed for COVID-19 treatment. At least two of these hospitals are in close proximity to CYA.
For any non-COVID-19 related medical needs (outpatient or hospitalization) CYA helps students to nearby private hospitals such as Hygeia and Euroclinic, which guarantee a COVID-19-free environment.
The Student Affairs department keeps up to date with the latest government instructions regarding handling and processing a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case and will assist students with the procedure.
Are COVID-19 tests readily available should I feel ill?
Yes, PCR and Rapid tests are readily available at at local pharmacies, diagnostic centers and Labs, as well as at all the COVID-19 equipped public hospitals. One such diagnostic center/Lab is within 5 minutes walking distance from CYA. PCR tests currently cost under 50 Euros, while Rapid tests done at a lab or pharmacy cost 10 Euros or less. Self test kits are available for purchase at pharmacies, costing about 3-5 Euros.
Greece during COVID-19
How has Greece responded to the pandemic?
Greece responded to the pandemic early and in an efficient and competent way. Daily updates were given by the health authorities and regulations were announced and clarified weekly. The early and lengthy lockdown in Spring 2020 and repeated shorter-term lockdowns and restrictions of specific activities to-date, have helped Greece to deal with the pandemic with a relatively low number of victims and the death toll percentage in Greece has been among the lowest in Europe. The vaccination program started in December 2020 for Healthcare personnel. The vaccinations for the general population started on January 16, 2021 giving priority to the elderly and those with health problems. Right now vaccination is available to anyone over 5 years old and booster shots are available to those over 18 whose vaccination was completed more than 4 months ago. Subsequent booster shots are also available.
Will I have to wear a face mask when out in public?
Masks are not mandatory outdoors or indoors, except at healthcare facilities such as pharmacies, outpatient clinics, hospitals/hospices, nursing homes, etc. Masks are not required but recommended at crowded outdoor and indoor places such as tourist areas, busy commercial areas, farmers markets, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.
Will sites such as museums, historic sites, churches, and more be open?
Yes. Some limits as to the size of groups and number of visitors may still be in effect for some indoor locations.
Will I be allowed to travel outside of Greece during my time abroad? What measures will CYA take for students who choose to travel on weekends?
Although travel within Greece and within Europe is unrestricted, international travel restrictions may still be put in effect at any time by certain countries, depending on local COVID-19 conditions. CYA strongly recommends that you discuss your travel plans with us before making any arrangements. Travel restrictions may disrupt unexpectedly any plans you may have made. Travel documentation (testing) and quarantines may be announced by any country, or even an airline, overnight. CYA will not be able to assist you if you are prevented from returning to Athens due to a positive Rapid Test and subsequent quarantine, or if you find yourself in need of medical care while outside of Greece. CYA encourages students to travel within Greece and avoid travel to other countries.
If I leave Greece for a weekend trip, will I have to quarantine upon arrival back into Greece?
Currently there is no quarantine requirement for those entering Greece. You will have to follow government regulations in effect at the time of your travel, both towards your destination and when returning to Greece. Experience from previous years has shown us that decisions to quarantine travelers may be announced unexpectedly and for varying lengths (3-10 days). In addition, depending on your travel destination(s) CYA may require that you be tested for COVID-19 at your expense before you return to classes.
Will I still be able to participate in internships/volunteer work?
Yes, the CYA Student Affairs department will advise you on volunteering/internship opportunities that would pose the least threat to exposure to the COVID-19 virus. However, it will be up to you to take all precautions necessary commuting to the volunteer location as well as during your time there.
What precautions should I take if I use public transportation?
The CYA apartments are within a 2-10 minute walk from the Academic Center, and the places where your on-site classes will be held are all within walking distance; therefore there is no need for public transportation to attend classes. Specific instructions regarding the use of public transportation, as well as airline and ferry travel, are issued by the government and the public health authorities. Students will be kept updated with the latest information throughout the semester. At this time, using a high protection mask or double masks is highly recommended when using public transportation (ground, air and sea), as well as in taxis.