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SIT Risk Management and Methodology

The safety and security of SIT students, faculty, and staff are of paramount importance and any action we take is with that concern foremost in our minds. SIT is committed to meeting all situations head-on and taking all appropriate action to mitigate risk. Our priorities are to:

  • ensure the safety, security, and well-being of students, program participants, faculty, and staff,
  • uphold the values and mission of SIT,
  • and maintain normal operations to the extent that it is safely possible to do so.

Risk Assessment

Daily, SIT monitors ongoing and evolving risks in each country including crime, terrorism, political instability and civil unrest, natural disasters, and public health matters. We rely on a variety of tools and resources for identifying and assessing actual or potential risk to students and staff including: International SOS (medical and travel risk ratings); the U.S. Department of State (Travel Advisories); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Travel Health Notices); the Overseas Security Advisory Council (Country Crime and Safety Reports); U.S. Embassies (in countries of operation); and the World Health Organization (WHO).

During periods of heightened health risks (e.g., pandemics such as COVID-19), SIT closely monitors recommendations from leading government and health agencies, as well as actions taken by the governments in the countries where our programs operate.

Finally, SIT leverages the expertise and knowledge of our experienced host country faculty and staff, who provide us with updates about issues of concern and potential impact to our students and centers. Our local faculty and staff have extensive networks that include local authorities, U.S. embassy services, and informal sources—all of which help to inform our decisions about program safety and security.

This holistic and comprehensive information is used to inform a detailed country Risk Assessment, as well as our program-specific contingency plans, conducted for every location we operate programs. Our Risk Assessments also consider a plethora of risks and are available upon requests.

Risk Assessment Committee

SIT maintains a Risk Assessment Committee comprised of senior-level staff and chaired by the Director of Security. The committee uses the risk assessments to make decisions about which programs can run safely.

Risk Assessments for approved programs are updated on a regular basis to ensure that significant changes to the risk landscape are factored into planning and implementation. We have also institutionalized an approach wherein the Risk Assessment Committee and faculty meet prior to the start of the program to finalize the health and safety protocols, in addition to maintaining regular check-ins throughout the semester and any time a risk variable increases, so that we can ensure the program is well supported.

If SIT determines that a program cannot run for any risk-related reason, affected students and their home institutions will be notified as soon as possible to allow students to make alternative arrangements. Such announcements are generally made approximately one to three months before the start of a program. Where possible, and with the approval of students’ home institutions, affected students will be given the opportunity to transfer their enrollment to another active SIT program that aligns with their academic interests.

Risk Management Plans

When it is determined that it is safe for a program to run, we utilize our Risk Assessment to develop a detailed Risk Management Plan. These plans include standard SIT protocols as well as customized risk mitigation measures based on the specific risks identified in the assessment process. The Risk Management Plan for any individual SIT program is available upon request.