COVID-19 Emergency Protocols


SIT Study Abroad has a team of trained Student Affairs duty officers available 24 hours a day to respond to potential threats to student safety and manage emergency situations. 

Call: 802.258.3212

See also: SIT Policy on Programs and Travel in Elevated Risk Locations

SIT has implemented several student health and safety protocols for spring 2021 study abroad programs with the goal to reduce transportation-related COVID-19 infection and the translocation of the virus from one location to another.

To achieve this goal, SIT adheres to both host country entry regulations and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulations. If host country entry regulations fall short of CDC regulations, SIT defers to CDC regulations.


As directed by the CDC, students must:

  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before departing to their host country [1]
  • Present their test results to immigration officials and/or SIT before departing to their host country [2]
    • Students who test positive may not travel [3]
    • Students who test negative may travel [4]


As directed by the CDC, students must:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after arrival AND stay at their host-country residence for 7 days after travel (even if the test result is negative, students must remain at their host-country residence for the full seven days) [5] [6] [7]


Out of an abundance of caution, SIT has suspended:

  • Homestays [8]
  • Independent Travel [9]
  • International Excursions [10]

SIT mandates that students uphold these CDC regulations:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others [11]
  • Stay at least six feet from others, whenever possible [12]
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water [13]

SIT is closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 vaccinations. Further information regarding availability, cost, and implementation will be made available as soon as vaccinations are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


  1. Students should visit their state, territorial, tribal, or local health department’s website to look for the latest information on where to get tested. Students should make sure that the test results will be completed and known prior to their departure. The cost of the pre-departure test is the student’s responsibility.
  2. SIT’s pre-departure testing requirement mimics what is now required in most host countries.
  3. Students must not travel while infectious with COVID-19 even if they don’t have symptoms. Students must stay home and isolate from others. Students must delay their travel until it’s safe for them to end home isolation.
  4. A student who receives a negative test does not necessarily mean that they were not recently exposed. As a result, students should continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet from others, frequently wash hands, and monitor their health for signs of illness while traveling.
  5. SIT defines “host country residence” as a SIT-designated hotel or accommodation where students can quarantine.
  6. If testing is not available in-country, students will need to stay in quarantine at their host-country residence for 14 days.
  7. If the country requires a quarantine period longer than 7 days, SIT will comply with that requirement.
  8. Homestays have always been an integral part of SIT programs. With the advent of COVID-19, homestays may present an elevated risk of exposure to both students and host families in some settings. As a result, SIT has suspended homestays. Exceptions will be made only in rare instances and by the SIT Risk Committee when COVID-19 case numbers in a particular location are deemed sufficiently low, the government has a strong contact tracing system in place, and there is availability of homestay opportunities that: a) can provide students with their own room; b) have no at-risk family members; and c) would potentially be able to serve as a quarantine location for students if required.
  9. SIT defines “Independent Travel” as travel that is independently organized by student that: a) is unrelated to program activities; and b) involves an overnight stay. 
  10. SIT defines “International Excursion” as a student educational trip planned and led by SIT outside of the host country.
  11. Masks help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 both by close contact and by airborne transmission. Masks must have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. Students should not wear masks intended for healthcare workers (e.g. N95 respirators) or use face shields by themselves (evaluation of the effectiveness of face shields is ongoing).
  12. Creating enough physical distance from others, in addition to wearing a mask, is very important in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  13. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.