Update: Message to students in study abroad programs in Italy

Posted: November 12, 2020

Last week, the Italian government had announced that zones would be reassessed every two weeks, but in true Italian style, prior to the November 20 assessment, five regions have been moved from yellow to orange. At this point, Lazio’s status has not changed. It is clear that the situation in those five zones warranted immediate action, and now we know that the Italian government will not hesitate to make changes if they feel immediate action is warranted. With this revelation, it is reassuring (and positive) that Lazio was not among the regions whose zones were adjusted.

With the change of these regions, students may see some additional changes in which kinds of stores are open, the hours of stores that are open, streets that are open for passeggiate, etc. The Italian government is trying its best to flatten the curve without having to issue another governmental decree, and so it is taking these small steps toward reducing foot traffic, instances in which people might find themselves in close contact, etc.

Giuseppe Conte (Italian PM) has stated that the nation’s goal is to avoid a country-wide lockdown, which is why we are seeing this “lockdown leggero,” or “light lockdown” with zones in different colors. However, on Sunday, Nov. 15, the government will review the epidemiological data trends to see what next steps need to be taken. We will know more on Sunday about what this entails, but, as was communicated to students last week, we do not anticipate any issues in students’ ability to return home, even if further “lockdown” steps are taken. Even as has been seen with the red regions thus far, there has been no halt to travel, and that is not anticipated to change. Should Lazio’s status change, students will have time to pack up.

The University has also been in communication with the leadership team at the American University of Rome so that they are aware of what Gannon’s stance is and what our approach to the end of the semester is as we move forward. If AUR leadership receives any information that we have not gleaned from newspapers/the Italian government, we have asked that they share that information with us and our students that we can ensure that we have all of the latest, official news as it is released.

In the event that students do return home and are flying into JFK, we are aware of the need for a negative COVID test 72 hours prior to travel, as is AUR leadership, and we are both looking into the resolution of that need for students. Once we have more information, we will share that with our students.