FIE provides immersive study abroad programs in London, Dublin, and Amman

FIE Risk Mitigation for COVID-19: Spring 2021

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FIE’s intention is to resume on-site instruction and residence life in  Spring 2021Our goal is to provide an engaged and personal approach to teaching and learning. This objective will require us to identify and implement appropriate adjustmentsto the environment, daily operations, and personal practices to ensure the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, visitors, and the broader community.

FIE  will continue to modify plans and adjust policy and procedure based on updated public health guidance. The following FIE policies represent what is current at the time of writing. Specific details about mitigation plans will be provided to students and partner institutions on an ongoing basis leading up to and throughout the 2021 quarter and semester programs. 

 

RISK 

MITIGATION

PRE-ARRIVAL 

How will FIE prepare students for their on-site arrival?

FIE will provide students with a virtual pre-departure orientation, Q&A session, and pre-arrival email communications to support students arriving healthy and informed. We will be advising students not to travel if they’re sick and/or feeling symptomatic and/or have a compromised immune system. We are fully prepared to support students if it is recommended or required that students enter isolation upon arrival. As the situation is evolving, we do not yet know for certain if COVID-19 testing, temperature, or other data points will be required/collected upon exit/entry of the US, UK, and Ireland, but this remains a possibility. We will communicate changes with students as we learn of them and encourage students to verify the requirements for their own flights and travel plans. 

What is FIE’s cancellation policy?

The cancellation policy is published on FIE’s website. Students may cancel any time prior to their program start date. In the event that a student withdraws or FIE cancels the program, before the start date, students will be refunded all fees (including the program deposit fee).  

What provisions does FIE have in place if the on-site program delivery is interrupted?

All of FIE’s courses are ready to pivot to remote learning.   

There are just two exceptions. These are the International Internship Course (IIC) and the International Service Internship Course (ISIC) 

 While the continuation of these two courses and placements cannot be guaranteed, FIE will offer a replacement course to any student unable to complete them.  

 FIE is fully committed to ensuring students studying with us receive their intended academic credit from the program. 

What is FIE’s refund policy for an early departure?

All recoverable costs will be refunded in the event of CDC or State Department travel advisory levels of 3 or 4 respectively, and the suspension of a program before the expected end date. These recoverable costs include those related to extra- and co-curricular activities, prorated insurance, prorated local travel.  

FIE will commit to refunding recoverable housing costs and provide some form of compensation for unutilized housing costs. 

In the event of program interruption, courses will continue in an online format with the exception of the IIC and ISIC, which include placements and cannot be guaranteed.  

Does FIE offer insurance to support students?

Unless waived by their home institution, students will be covered under FIE’s Group Travel Insurance policy with Endsleigh. Click here for a summary of the 2020 policy. Full policy documents and further insurance information can be found here on our website. Please note that coverage under FIE’s group policy with Endsleigh is only applicable while overseas, so students should not cancel any existing insurance policies. 

How will FIE share objective information on the local COVID-19 situation with students? 

FIE takes information and advice about critical incidences from health authorities including the HSE,NHS,and CDCWe closely monitor these sources and continuallyupdate our website and communication to students with relevant COVID-19 developments.

What conditions will FIE consider, in delivering the program remotely, if there is a rebound of COVID-19?    FIE will follow guidance from the UK and Irish health authorities regarding the continuation of the program on-site. FIE is prepared to comply with health protocols to have students remain safely onsite. Unless the US or the student’s home school requires all students to return, FIE will follow local guidance/regulations and aim to retain on-site support during the semester (even if the US CDC or USDOS recommends returning). we would support students who wanted to return under those conditions to do so and offer remote learning options. As with March 2020, we don’t foresee the UK or Irish governments asking US citizens/foreign citizens to depart but if they did, we would comprehensively facilitate all departures. 

ON-SITE HEALTH RISKS  

Will FIE students/faculty/staff be required to wear masks? Is there a way to facilitate washing of masks?

The UK and Irish governments currently require the use of face masks on all public transport and recommend the use of masks in other environments like supermarkets. As the situation evolves, this may change. Students will be required by FIE to bring a mask. FIE will advise students on local cultural norms and requirements surrounding the use of masks prior to their program start date. All students have access to laundry services in their housing to facilitate washing cloth masks.  

Is there regular taking of students’ temperature, either by themselves or by staff on-site at FIE?

FIE will not be taking students’ temperatures. As the situation evolves, FIE will comply with all protocols as deemed necessary (or mandated) by the UK and Irish health authorities. Students will be advised to bring a thermometer with them and to self-monitor. Students will have access to healthcare in either country and will be supported in connecting with a health professional if they detect COVID-19 related symptoms. Any changes to health protocols will be communicated to the students. 

What precautions will FIE take to ensure that the on-site environment is clean/sanitized?

Hand sanitizer is a permanent fixture in all FIE buildings and FIE has always employed thorough cleaning in our facilities. FIE in Dublin and London is closely monitoring the changing situation and will comply with additional health/cleaning protocols as established by local health authorities both in student housing and in classroom/administrative buildings as related to cleaning, sanitizing, handwashing stations etc. In Spring 2020, FIE boosted cleaning protocols in accordance with health authority guidance - provided hand sanitizer to students, and advised students where it could be purchased from. We are monitoring the availability of products and advise students/adjust our plans as necessary. 

What other on-site safety measures will FIE be taking?

FIE and our Irish academic and housing partners are planning for reduced class sizes, amended use of classrooms, housing, common spaces, administrative offices, hallways, stairwells, and elevators due to social distancing requirements as well as increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols.  

What on-site social distancing measures will be in place for FIE’s educational environments?

FIE and our Irish partners will provide directional guidance to students in compliance with safety protocols in the UK and Ireland for all FIE educational environments and residences. FIE signage will support social distancing measures, reinforce good personal hygiene, promote awareness of COVID-19 symptoms, and include any on-site protocols students will need to follow. 

Are COVID-19 tests available for students? 

Yes. Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 in the UK and Ireland can get a free NHS/HSE test to check if they have the virus. FIE will be pro-actively involved in supporting any student that requires testing.In London and Dublin, should a student test positive for COVID-19, FIE will facilitate their quarantine and use the contact tracing protocols recommended by health authorities. The option of remote learning will be available for students during this time and academic support for any absence.

Should either the British or Irish governments provide the facility for Covid-19 testing at airports on arrival, FIE pledges to bear these costs.

How will FIE provide support for wellbeing, welfare, and mental health?

FIE recognizes that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented and unexpected challenges to students’ mental health and wellbeing. We will continue to support good mental health practices by promoting awareness and sharing guides/resources with students, faculty, and staff. Students will have access to a qualified counselor, psychotherapist (with on-line remote sessions available) and FIE Mental Health First Aid trained staff in the UK and Ireland. FIE will provide regular communication of mental health information/advice surrounding COVID-19 and will continue to promote our open-door policy. 

STUDENT HOUSING 

What on-site social distancing measures will be in place for FIE’s student housing?

FIE Dublin students at Binary Hub are housed in single rooms with en-suite bathrooms, within 4 or 5 bed apartments. FIE London students will be housed in single rooms where possible, with a maximum of three students per room, and we will limit the number of students sharing bathrooms, kitchens, and living spaces. 

How will FIE facilitate the isolation/quarantine of student(s) if needed?

FIE is reserving single rooms with private bathrooms for students to isolate/quarantine if needed.  Staff will assist in delivering groceries and basic needs during the quarantine period. Students in isolation/quarantine will be able to continue their courses learning remotely until they are ready to return to the classroom. If a student is too ill to do so, we will work with them to via FIE’s Mitigating Circumstance policy which is designed to assist students in difficult circumstances to complete their courses successfully. 

OFF-SITE HEALTH RISKS 

What measures will FIE take regarding students’ independent weekend travel? 

FIE's virtual and in-person orientations will be comprehensively outlining all locally-recommended measures to mitigate health risk - both in and outside our study centers. This will include travel in and around the local area. At the time of writing, the UK and Ireland have experienced only one instance of a localized return to lockdown (Leicester, UK) and if this scenario repeats in another area, FIE will inform students immediately by email, notice boards and announcements in class.                                  

What adjustments will FIE make regarding extra and co-curricular activities?

For those co-curricular activities which require the use of public transport, the strictest locally-mandated risk-mitigation policies will be employed.  Namely, wearing face masks and regularly sanitizing before, during, and after travel. Of the many activities FIE has recourse to undertake, we will be opting for those with the fewest public transport options and where social distancing measures are easier to follow.

What measures will FIE take regarding students' use of public transportation?

Overall, public transportation will be necessary for most students at FIE. Both the UK and Ireland have taken extra steps to keep public transportation clean, safe, and socially distanced. We will regularly advise students on local norms and guidance around using public transportation. In addition, FIE will advise on alternatives such as walking and biking. 

What precautions will FIE be taking regarding food access and consumption?

FIE does not operate a student cafeteria within its residences. FIE students usually cook meals in their residence, purchase take out, or eat out. As such students will follow local guidance and norms around grocery shopping and restaurants/cafes to maintain social distancing. For activities and study tours where food is provided, additional considerations will be taken in regard to COVID-19. For example, group meals will take place at establishments specifically because they offer more socially distanced dining spaces than other options, including outdoor seating where feasible. When fewer options are available for large groups we will offer students stipends instead of gathering for a group meal.