Texas Tech University

COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols


Study Abroad Programs

As restrictions on outbound international travel ease in the months ahead, protecting the health of our students and faculty program leaders as well as the local communities into which travelers will be arriving is of paramount importance to us. COVID-19 will remain a risk in international travel for an undetermined amount of time. However, international, national and regional experiences will not be uniform and therefore the risks associated with travel or extended stays abroad must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Multiple factors, including destination, healthcare infrastructure, type of educational activity, on-site support, etc. will raise or lower the risk of planned travel. In considering study abroad travel for 2021 and beyond, Texas Tech University (TTU) Office of International Affairs (OIA) has developed a set of expectations to which we ask our international partners and our students to adhere.

In addition to the listed expectations, protocols specific to the TTU Center in Sevilla, Spain,  and the TTU campus in Costa Rica have been developed in preparation to welcome students and faculty leaders again in 2021. Review protocols specific to the Center in Sevilla, Spain and protocols specific to the TTU campus in San Jose, Costa Rica for more information about these locations.

Expectations of TTU Study Abroad Partners – 2021 and Beyond

TTU collaborates with a network of universities and study abroad programs around the world to support our students and faculty program leaders. Concerning COVID-19, TTU Study Abroad expects the following from our international partners:

  • A comprehensive, up-to-date health and safety plan including procedures and services to support Red Raiders in the emerging "new normal," including support and protocols for symptomatic students or students with suspected exposure. TTU Study Abroad may request this plan at any time and expects receipt in a timely fashion.
  • On-site orientation to include information on student health, local public health guidance or mandates and responsible student behaviors and engagement.
  • Academic continuity plan to allow Red Raiders the opportunity to continue coursework should the program be altered due to COVID-19 or the need to self-isolate due to suspected exposure or contraction of the virus (i.e. ability to move to online learning).
  • Identified locations for students to self-isolate should quarantine be necessary, including meal options.
  • Consistent communication to ensure TTU is informed of the health and safety of Red Raiders as well as program changes affecting our students.
  • Dedicated on-site staff for student support and incident response.
  • Flexibility and a willingness to work with students regarding program payments and due dates.

Expectations of TTU Study Abroad Students

In addition to expectations of our global partners, TTU Study Abroad expects Red Raiders to positively represent the University and adhere to COVID-related protocols while studying abroad. TTU Study Abroad expects students to:

  • Adhere to COVID-19 policies and procedures of the chosen study abroad program, host university, and host country.
  • Understand that COVID-19 protocols may be different abroad than on campus. Specifically, protocols may be more strict and could include mandated facial-coverings, quarantine and testing.
  • Remain flexible and vigilant during the ever-changing global pandemic.
  • Maintain communication; TTU Study Abroad will contact you through your TTU email. Students are expected to maintain access to this account before, during, and after a study abroad experience, regardless of other email accounts utilized. Additionally, while abroad TTU students should have a working cell phone (specifically, a phone plan and not reliant on WIFI only).
  • In addition, students should maintain contact with family and loved ones while abroad, especially if program changes are warranted.

Expectations of TTU Study Abroad

Finally, students as well as family members and loved ones supporting study abroad students can expect the following from TTU Study Abroad:

  • The safety of Red Raiders will always be our top priority.
  • We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 global pandemic and take measures to ensure university travelers are kept informed.
  • We will continue to rigorously review the COVID-19 health and safety protocols of our international partners to ensure they meet our high standards. We will suspend partnership with programs whose protocols do not meet our standards.
  • We will communicate updates as necessary with the campus community, study abroad students, and parents or loved ones supporting study abroad students. Red Raiders can also monitor the Office of International Affairs COVID-19 webpage for updates.
  • We will make every effort to maintain program and academic continuity should a program disruption occur.
  • We will continue to be available 24/7 should an emergency arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I book my flights?

TTU Study Abroad continues to work with our partners abroad to confirm program viability. However, the global pandemic is dynamic and there is always the possibility for a change. We understand you would like to purchase airline tickets as soon as possible. However, we ask that you do not purchase airline tickets until your program is confirmed. 

Following program confirmation announcements, we recommend you remain flexible when purchasing airline tickets. We recommend you purchase a refundable or flexible airline ticket and/or cancellation insurance. When booking flights, students are responsible for researching cancellation and rebooking policies. Booking a flexible ticket and/or purchasing insurance may be more expensive but could save you a headache later. TTU is not able to offer assistance or recommendations for flights and cancellation policies.

TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Should I continue working on my Study Abroad application?

Yes! Don't delay! Continue to work on your application to ensure you do not miss important program stipulations and deadlines. Failure to complete application requirements by the deadline will result in withdrawal of your application.

Included in the TTU Study Abroad application is a release of liability and assumption of risk for international and study abroad travel during an ongoing global pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Students participating in study abroad programs should electronically sign this document in their TTU application by the given deadline (found in the online application). Your program may require completion of a separate but similar document specific to the program or location. Students are expected to complete all application requirements.

Do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to study abroad?

TTU does not require vaccination to participate on a study abroad program. However, students should be aware that their chosen program, host country and/or region may require vaccination. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with all program, host country and/or regional vaccination regulations. Failure to comply with vaccination regulations may result in, but is not limited to: financial penalty, denial of entry into the country and/or region, and dismissal from the program.

Do I need to receive a COVID-19 test to study abroad?

Many countries require a negative COVID-19 test to enter. Please review the U.S. Department of State (USDOS) COVID-19 Country Specific Information to learn more about entry requirements for your chosen location.

Effective January 26, 2021, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers of two years of age or over entering the U.S. to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. To learn more about this requirement visit the CDC website.

Study abroad partners like exchange and affiliate programs and the Sevilla Center and Costa Rica staff will assist, but it is your responsibility to comply with any and all entry, quarantine and testing requirements.

Students and faculty hosted by TTU Center in Sevilla or the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review the location-specific COVID-19 health and safety protocols for additional information. Students on exchange or affiliate programs should contact the program directly.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 and cannot travel to the program location?

In this case, our priority is to ensure academic continuity. Should you feel well enough to continue with classes, TTU will work with your faculty to ensure online instruction or other alternatives.

However, TTU will not be able to refund travel-related expenses. For this reason, TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Students and faculty should consider quarantine before departure for the study abroad program to reduce the risk of a positive test inhibiting travel. Visit the CDC website for pre-travel considerations.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 during the program?

Students and faculty hosted by the TTU Center in Sevilla should review Sevilla confirmed case protocols. Students and faculty hosted by the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review Costa Rica COVID-19 protocols.

Students and faculty studying in locations other than the TTU Center in Sevilla or TTU Costa Rica should notify their faculty leader/study abroad program, TTU Study Abroad and their emergency contacts (parents, family, guardians, etc.). TTU will work with faculty and the program to ensure your coursework can continue virtually or in an alternative manner, should you feel well enough to continue participation. Students and faculty should follow local guidance regarding self-isolation and additional testing.

Refunds will not be possible following the start of the study abroad program, even if participation in the program is altered due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

Students and faculty should review study abroad insurance coverage for more information about coverage available in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 exposure. TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Review the What to do in an Emergency webpage for instructions on how to reach TTU in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

What happens if I am exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 while studying abroad?

Students and faculty hosted by the TTU Center in Sevilla should review Sevilla confirmed case protocols. Students and faculty hosted by the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review Costa Rica COVID-19 protocols.

Students and faculty hosted in locations other than the TTU Center in Sevilla or TTU Costa Rica should notify their faculty leader/study abroad program, TTU Study Abroad and emergency contacts (parents, family, guardians, etc.). It is possible you will need to quarantine but you should follow local guidance regarding quarantine and testing. TTU will work with faculty or the program to ensure coursework can continue virtually or in an alternative manner, should you feel well enough to continue participation.

Refunds will not be possible following the start of the study abroad program, even if participation in the program is altered due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

Students and faculty should review study abroad insurance coverage for more information about coverage available in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 exposure. TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Review the What to do in an Emergency webpage for instructions on how to reach TTU in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 and cannot immediately return home?

Effective January 26, 2021, the CDC will require all air passengers of two years of age or over entering the U.S. to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days. To learn more about this requirement, please visit the CDC website.

Students and faculty hosted by the TTU Center in Sevilla should review Sevilla confirmed case protocols. Students and faculty hosted by the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review Costa Rica COVID-19 protocols.

Students and faculty studying in locations other than the TTU Center in Sevilla and TTU Costa Rica should notify their faculty leader/study abroad program, TTU Study Abroad and their emergency contacts (parents, family, guardians, etc.). If coursework is not complete, TTU will work with faculty and the program to ensure your coursework can continue virtually or in an alternative manner, should you feel well enough to continue participation. Students and faculty should follow local guidance regarding self-isolation and additional testing. Study abroad partners like exchange or affiliate programs and the Sevilla Center and Costa Rica staff will assist, but it is your responsibility to comply with any and all entry, quarantine and testing requirements.

Refunds will not be possible following the start of the study abroad program, even if participation in the program is altered due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

Students and faculty should review study abroad insurance coverage for more information about coverage available in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or COVID-19 exposure. TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Review the What to do in an Emergency webpage for instructions on how to reach TTU in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or exposure.

I am studying on an exchange or affiliated program. Should I talk to the exchange or affiliated program about their COVID-19 protocols?

Yes! Services vary depending on the program. Students should contact the program directly to receive additional information about COVID-related support and coverage.

TTU is not liable for any refunds for students participating on exchange or affiliated programs. Students seeking refunds for exchange or affiliated programs should contact the program directly and are subject to the refund policies of their chosen program.

TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Included in the TTU Study Abroad application is a release of liability and assumption of risk for international and study abroad travel during an ongoing global pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). Students participating in study abroad programs should electronically sign this document by the given deadline (found in the online application). Your program may require completion of a separate but similar document specific to the program or location. Students are expected to complete all application requirements.

Students who are unsure of the type of program they have chosen for study abroad should contact their Study Abroad Counselor or Program Manager, or review the Study Abroad FAQs.

Should I apply for a student visa?

Depending on your citizenship and your chosen study abroad country, you may be required to obtain a student visa, residency permit or the like to study abroad in your chosen country. We recommend you check with your chosen program and/or host country regarding visa processes. Please note the visa application process takes time, so do not leave this task to the last minute. Many consulates are limiting working hours and appointments so it is important to be patient when waiting for updates. Be sure to check the consulate website to review application processes and timelines.

What happens if I get sick while I am abroad?

Students participating in TTU study abroad programs are automatically covered for health, accident, emergency evacuation, and repatriation of remains. Insurance coverage depends on the program location and is mandatory, even if students are covered by another policy. Learn more about TTU Study Abroad's insurance coverage.

In addition, TTU strongly urges students to purchase Cancel and Interruption For Any Reason (CFAR/IFAR) insurance. Learn more about CFAR/IFAR insurance.

I do not understand some of these COVID-19 terms like quarantine and close contact. What does it all mean?

TTU follows definitions provided by the CDC. Review key terms for more information. Please note terms may vary slightly at your program location due to international and cultural differences.

My parents want to come visit me during my time abroad? Can they do this?

It is the responsibility of students and program visitors to review travel protocols, testing and quarantine policies, and policies of your program prior to booking travel. TTU cannot advise program visitors on these matters. Please know that your chosen study abroad program or program location (country/region) may prohibit visitors due to COVID-19. Visitors should never interfere with academic coursework of a study abroad program, including program excursions.

Students and faculty hosted by TTU Center in Sevilla or the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review the location-specific COVID-19 health and safety protocols for additional information. Students on exchange or affiliate programs should contact the program directly.

I want to travel in my free time and on weekends. Is this allowed?

TTU does not recommend weekend or personal trips that leave your host country, as you could unwittingly be caught in rapidly changing travel restrictions including quarantine and COVID testing. Your chosen study abroad program may prohibit free time or weekend travel outside of your host city, region or country. Additionally, note your chosen study abroad program is not required to offer academic accommodations should you need to quarantine as a result of personal travel outside of your host city or country and/or to a high-risk location. This means you may not be able to make up assignments, exams, or class participation while in quarantine and in turn, your grades may be impacted.

Students and faculty hosted by TTU Center in Sevilla or the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review the location-specific COVID-19 health and safety protocols for additional information. Students on exchange or affiliate programs should contact the program directly.

What is life going to be like during COVID-19 in my chosen host country?

Review the USDOS COVID-19 Country Specific Information for details from your host country. Restrictions may be stricter than what you are used to at Texas Tech.

What if I want to withdraw from my study abroad program?

Students should review the TTU Study Abroad withdrawal and refund policy when considering withdrawal from a study abroad program. Please know your chosen study abroad program may have its own withdrawal and refund policy for you to consider as well.

Should I make a backup plan?

Yes! We recommend you stay flexible with your study abroad plans, as the global pandemic is a dynamic situation.

When will TTU Study Abroad and/or my study abroad program notify me of program changes?

As soon as possible, should program changes be warranted. 

Should your chosen study abroad program no longer be viable for any reason, our priority is your health and safety as well as academic continuity. As such, TTU reserves the right to alter study abroad programs to ensure student and faculty safety and to ensure the international experience can continue, even if it looks different than originally planned. Program alternations may include but are not limited to: change of program location, change of program dates, and/or shift to virtual or alternative programming. Please know that programs may be cancelled if no other option can be safely provided.

If you have any questions, please contact your Study Abroad Counselor or Program Manager, or Director of Study Abroad Whitney Longnecker (whitney.longnecker@ttu.edu).

How can I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while studying abroad?

Students and faculty should follow guidance from the CDC to help protect yourself and others. In addition, COVID-19 protocols will be in place for your chosen study abroad program and host country to prevent the spread of the virus. Heed the advice and recommendations of your program and local officials, as well as the CDC.

Students and faculty hosted by TTU Center in Sevilla or the TTU campus in Costa Rica should review the location-specific COVID-19 health and safety protocols for additional information. Students on exchange or affiliate programs should contact the program directly.

Should you feel ill during your study abroad program, you may utilize the required study abroad insurance to seek support. Medical coverage for COVID-19 symptoms, including a positive diagnosis, is included in the study abroad insurance policy.

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