College is a time filled with opportunities like learning in foreign countries. Dixie State University’s study abroad programs are canceling select trips, but evaluating others to determine the best course of action during the pandemic. Graphic by Olivia Ruud.
Dixie State University’s study abroad programs are yet another area of the university that has been affected by COVID-19. A university-wide travel restriction has caused select study abroad trips to be canceled for the 2021 spring and summer semesters.
“Right now, all faculty, staff and students have to get special permission [from President Richard “Biff” Williams] to travel for any programs related to Dixie State University,” Jenny Callahan, the study abroad program coordinator, said.
According to the State of Utah’s COVID-19 Transmission Index, if an organization from outside the state wants to travel in state lines for a DSU event, approval from one of the university vice presidents must be acquired.
According to the DSU travel information website, “Dixie State University has canceled all University-sponsored domestic and international travel from March 23 through July 31, 2020.”
The following spring study abroad trips have been canceled:
- South Africa (May 10-24)
- Rome, Italy (May 8-23)
The following spring study abroad trips are still under consideration:
- Everest Base Camp in Nepal (dates unset)
- Columbia (May 12-May 30)
The following summer study abroad trips are still moving forward:
- Ireland (June 25-July 25)
- Florence, Italy (June 20-July 11)
- Japan (dates unset)
The following summer study abroad trips have been canceled:
- Spain (May 24-June 25)
The fall 2021 trip to the Dominican Republic July 30-Aug. 7 is still moving forward with plans for registration to open up March 1.
Michael Cartmill, director of global education, gave further insight into the difficulty it takes to move forward with these decisions.
“With the current situation, there are many factors that come into play: our own status state and nationwide, [and] that of the country we want to travel to,” Cartmill said. “Do they have restrictions and what are they? Will the group have to quarantine when they arrive? Do we, or will we, have re-entry requirements such as a negative test result, quarantine periods, [and] proof of vaccination?”
With the uncertainty of what the COVID-19 virus will bring in the future, there is still a possibility for other trips to be canceled.
DSU currently has faculty leaders discussing the safety of the trip.
“The biggest portion of the decision is with the faculty leader who is leading the program,” Callahan said. “They are familiar with the location and what is involved with the trip, and we are also checking the Department of State Travel Advisory, and we also check with any affiliates we have in the location.”
However, the university administration has the power to make the final decision, regardless of what any of the faculty leaders or staff suggest.
“The university [administration] has the responsibility to help students travel safely, especially under our sanctioned programs,” Indigo Nelson, a junior criminal justice major from St. George, said. “Having this been said, it is up to the student to decide if they want to study [or] travel abroad via the school’s programs.”
As of now, students are signing up in hopes for their trips to go as planned, Callahan said, and the applications for the fall registration study abroad trips are open.
Anyone with questions regarding study abroad opportunities can contact Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.