Covid-19 Plans: Central Europe

Syracuse Abroad requires all participants to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19, unless they have been granted a medical or religious exemption. As noted in our announcement on December 7, 2021, all students who are eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster must receive one before the beginning of the spring term. All future participants should check with their healthcare providers about Covid-19 booster eligibility.

Covid-19 plans updated August 2021.

Note: This plan is subject to changes/modifications in accordance with local regulations and best practices

The Syracuse Abroad Central Europe program includes an initial travel seminar as well as weekend study tours. The initial travel seminar will take place exclusively in Poland. One international study tour is planned to Berlin in November. Our ability to successfully complete the initial traveling seminar and weekend study tours will depend on all participants adhering strictly to Covid-19 safety protocols prior to travel and throughout our time on the road. If one person in our group contracts Covid-19 while on the road, we will all be required to return immediately to Wroclaw for mandatory quarantine.

For the initial ten days in Poland, we have created a program to allow students to begin their studies for the fall semester and explore the city and region safely with limited contacts with individuals outside of the program. We ask students to limit external contacts for the well-being of the whole group. The idea is to create as much as possible a safe bubble among our participants.


Covid-19 Safety Protocols at the University of Lower Silesia

Our host institution in Poland, the University of Lower Silesia, has a dedicated health and safety officer who oversees Covid-19 safety protocols. Staff at the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program will work closely with the University of Lower Silesia in implementing Covid-19 safety protocols.

At present, we are waiting for the Polish government to issue detailed regulations pertaining to in-person study. In the Fall 2021 semester, the University of Lower Silesia foresees a hybrid program of teaching and learning.

Covid-19 Safety Protocols at the University of Lower Silesia include:

  • Students and Staff with symptoms of Covid-19 are not allowed on campus.
  • Masks are required to be worn at all times while on campus.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided at the main entrance and at strategic points throughout the campus.
  • Prior to entering the classrooms all students and staff are required to disinfect their hands.
  • Class sessions will be organized in rooms large enough to allow for socially distanced seating. Social distancing is required in all spaces on campus.
  • Class schedule allows for air renewal between classes, for at least 10 minutes.
  • Desks and high-touch areas will be cleaned prior and after each class.

Cleaning/Sanitation

Covid-19 Safety Protocols at the Hotel/Dorm

Our Hotel/Dorm in Wroclaw, Kamienica Pod Aniolami, has introduced strict health and safety protocols in line with the Polish government regulations. Those regulations include:

  • Hand sanitizer provided at the entrance and at strategic points throughout the complex.
  • Intensified cleaning of high-touch surfaces will take place several times a day.
  • Social distancing measures will be maintained in conference rooms and shared spaces.
  • Hotel will air out public spaces frequently.
  • Hotel guests (students) should air out their rooms on a daily basis.

Field Trips

Critical Issues Pertaining to Safety during Initial Traveling Seminar and Weekend Study Tours

  • Accommodations – Throughout the semester (in Wroclaw at the residential hotel and during the travel) students will be housed in single occupancy rooms with private bathrooms.
  • Bus Travel – We will require that an empty row be left between passengers. Based on the bus capacity of the company we use, the maximum student capacity for the program was set at 14. Polish regulations require that all passengers wear masks while traveling in buses.
  • Restaurants – On the road, we are dependent on eating in public venues. We will be diligent in the planning phase to select venues that ensure best practices in social distancing for group safety. We will try to select venues that provide meals in separate rooms on their premises to isolate ourselves as a group from the general public. When eating out on their own, students should be vigilant about selecting venues that offer proper social distancing options.
  • Museum visits and Guest Lecturers – We will be visiting museums and other venues which will be carefully selected to ensure adherence to social distancing and other Covid-19 safety protocols.
  • Class venues – On the road, we will choose venues and conference rooms that allow for social distancing. Masks will be required during class sessions on the road.

Surveillance Testing

Covid-19 Testing for Students and Core Staff

  • Surveillance testing will be carried out on an as-needed basis and will depend on the individual health status of students and the public health situation in Poland.

Medical Care and Health Care System

  • Wroclaw has a well-developed health care infrastructure offering readily available access to medical care.
  • Syracuse Abroad Central Europe staff will support students in accessing medical care.
  • Students may contact the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe staff for assistance making doctor’s/laboratory appointments and/or to accompany them on medical visits (when possible).
  • Virtual consultations and in-person appointments with general practitioners are readily available with little wait time.

Note: Students may be required to pay up-front costs for medical care abroad (e.g. doctor’s visits, laboratory tests, medical transportation, and hospital visits). All students are required to have medical insurance and may submit receipts for reimbursement to their insurance provider.


Contact Tracing

  • Polish health agencies may be in contact with students if they are identified as a contact case or test positive for Covid-19.
  • Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff will undertake contact-tracing measures to identify individuals within the group who might have been exposed to Covid-19.
  • Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff will report the positive Covid-19 case to the dedicated health safety officer at the University of Lower Silesia, who will implement University of Lower Silesia Covid-19 safety protocols.

Housing

  • Students will be housed in private rooms in the Hotel/Dorm.
  • Our Hotel/Dorm in Wroclaw, Kamienica Pod Aniolami, has introduced strict health and safety protocols in line with the Polish government regulations (see above).
  • Students will remain in their hotel rooms if they are identified as a contact case and will follow Polish government regulations regarding quarantine protocols.
  • Students will remain in their hotel rooms if they test positive for Covid-19 and will follow Polish government regulations regarding isolation protocols.

Quarantine

Program during Quarantine Period

During the initial limited contact period, we will provide a range of programs online and in person including a virtual orientation session and online classes. All participants will be required to wear masks during indoor meetings.

  • Virtual Orientation in Wroclaw – September 11, 2021
  • Intensive Survival Polish Seminar (virtual)
  • Introductory Sessions for ECE in the 20th Century (virtual)
  • Introductory Sessions for Discord and Unity (virtual)
  • Film evenings followed by discussions (virtual)
  • Wroclaw walks as a part of coursework and other outdoor recreational activities planned
  • Meals will be provided three times a day.

Quarantine During Semester

If a student has been identified as a “Close Contact Case,” they will be required to complete a 10-day (minimum) quarantine according to Polish government health guidelines before testing for Covid-19. Testing too early can lead to false test results.

In the case of “Close Contact Case”:

  • Students will quarantine in their single room at the Hotel/Dorm
  • Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff can assist in making arrangements for meal services as well as help in shopping or other daily needs to facilitate the quarantine process.
  • The Syracuse Abroad Central Europe program staff will help students coordinate their quarantine with the Hotel/Dorm and help make arrangements for online participation in all program activities and classes.
  • At the end of the 10-day period students will take a PCR test:
    • With a negative PCR test, students will be able to return to classes and regular activities.
    • If a student tests positive, they will work closely with the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff to coordinate their isolation period.

Isolation

Students may be required to observe an isolation period according to Polish government health guidelines if they present Covid-19 symptoms and/or have positive test results.

In case of illness and/or positive test results for Covid-19:

  • Student will isolate in their hotel room.
  • The Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff will help students coordinate their isolation with the Hotel/Dorm and help make arrangements for online participation in all program activities and classes during the isolation period.
  • Students will contact the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff for help making appointments and/or to accompany them on medical visits (when possible).
  • Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff can assist in making arrangements for meal services as well as help in shopping or other daily needs to facilitate the isolation process.

Policies Regarding Student Behavior

  • The Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Students will adhere to Polish (national and local) social distancing and Covid-19 safety policies. The Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff will communicate these safety policies and will keep students up to date on any developments.
  • Students are limited to travel within an established geographic perimeter, which will be determined according to government safety advisories. The perimeter may change over the course of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to remain informed and check with the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff before leaving Wrocław.
  • Students are required to avoid travel to high-risk areas as established by Polish and European governments.
  • Students should alert the Syracuse Abroad Central Europe Program staff to any health concerns:
    • If they feel ill
    • If they develop symptoms of Covid-19
    • If they are identified as a contact case