COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Western International is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm to provide in-person assistance, however most programs and services are operating virtually (Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm) to ensure the health and safety of our community, and to prevent the risk and spread of COVID-19.

Please contact us at goabroad@uwo.ca or 519-661-2111 ext. 89309 for assistance.

Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions. If you have a question not addressed here please contact us at travelregistry@uwo.ca or 519-661-2111 ext. 89309. 

Western's COVID-19 website


 

What are the current quarantine and testing requirements for students arriving in Canada from abroad?

As of October 20, 2020, some designated learning institutions (DLIs) are now able to reopen to international students who aren’t currently in Canada and who have, or have been approved for, a study permit.

We are pleased to announce that as of November 17, Western’s COVID-19 Readiness plan has been approved by the Government of Ontario, allowing eligible students to travel to Canada. 

If you are an international student who is currently outside of Canada, visit our International Arrival page for more information about mandatory quarantine registration, COVID-19 testing, required steps for travelling to Canada, and other supports and considerations in planning your arrival.

If you are an international student who is currently in Canada who wishes to travel for the upcoming break, we recommend that you remain in Canada. Although we know this is an extremely difficult time for many, there are travel advisories in place that affect international travel. Additionally travel restrictions to Canada can change at any moment and it is possible that more restrictions could be imposed while you are out of the country, which could prevent you from being able to return to Canada for the start of winter classes. If you decide to leave the country, you will be travelling at your own risk and expense. To re-enter Canada, you will be required to register your quarantine plan with Western, and you will not be eligible for the subsidized rate for quarantine accommodations ($1,400). The total cost would be approximately $2,100.

Any student living in residence who travels internationally during winter break is not permitted to self-quarantine in residence upon return from outside of Canada. You must notify housing@uwo.ca as soon as possible of any international travel plans.

If you must travel for essential reasons, carefully review the  requirements for your 14-day self-quarantine, set forth under the Quarantine Act and the  travel restriction exemptions information from IRCC. Then complete the required steps for travelling to Canada, outlined on the International Arrival website. 

I am a student abroad. What should I do?

Following the global travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada on March 13, 2020 Western strongly encouraged any students abroad to return to Canada. All university-sanctioned student mobility/travel is cancelled until April 30, 2021. 

Students still abroad on University-sanctioned travel or those who have questions about student travel abroad may email travelregistry@uwo.ca or call 519-661-2111, ext. 89309. Please visit Western International for more information.

As of October 20, Canadian students are permitted to return, however international students cannot travel to Canada from abroad unless their institution’s COVID-19 readiness plan is approved by the provincial government as per the latest IRCC travel update. Western’s plan has been submitted to the Government of Ontario.

While awaiting approval, the following advisories are in effect:

  • international students at Western who are currently abroad will not be allowed to travel to Canada until further notice.
  • international students who are in Canada and choose to travel internationally will not be able to return until Western’s COVID-19 readiness plan is approved.

The Government of Ontario is reviewing institutional COVID-19 readiness plans in phases. We anticipate approval for Western’s plan will be received in mid- to late-November.

All individuals returning to Canada from abroad are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Global Affairs Canada has provided the following advice for travellers currently outside of the country:

Students who plan to return to Canada, please take the following steps:

  • Find out which commercial flight/transportation options are available to return to Canada.
  • Follow any preventative measures in place for travellers in your current location.
  • Review your medical insurance policy for information related to COVID-19. Restrictions or exclusions may be in place that you will need to be aware of.
  • Familiarize yourself with government sources of information in the country where you are located and with Government of Canada public health information.
  • Register with Canadians Abroad, a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency. Others holding international passports should check with consular services in their home country for similar registries.
  • Download the International SOS Assistance App, and login with Western’s membership number (27AYCA539479) to receive updates about your location and access important health, travel and security information.
  • Contact International SOS at any time for assistance, whether emergency or not. Phone: 1-215-942-8478 (collect calls accepted) Email: philadelphia@internationalsos.com.

Do I need to self-quarantine when I return? What should I do?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is requiring travellers returning to Canada from abroad to:

  • Self-quarantine for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada. This mandatory quarantine has been issue by the Government of Canada to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
  • Wear a mask at all times when travelling to your quarantine destination
  • Monitor your health for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing.

If you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days:

Why has Western cancelled all student travel until April 30, 2021?

Western International has been working with our colleagues across campus and worldwide to monitor developments with the spread of COVID-19. 

To protect the health, safety and wellness of the university community, and with continuing changes in operations at our international partner institutions, Western has suspended future outbound university-sanctioned international travel for all students and inbound international exchange until April 30, 2021.

The Government of Canada global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada remains in effect.

Who does the current travel cancellation include?

Outbound university-sanctioned international travel includes exchange, study abroad, faculty-led programs, internships, research placements, community-engaged learning, practicums, conferences or any other international travel that is approved by a Western faculty member, department, staff member, Faculty, or non-academic unit. This applies to all students – undergraduate, graduate, professional or other.

I am currently abroad and would like to return home. How will that impact me academically?

Our team will work with your partner institution, academic department, Associate Deans and Office of the Registrar to provide flexible and creative solutions to address academic concerns to the extent possible. Please be aware that each individual student case is different, and we will do our best to help you navigate your options. However, we cannot guarantee that accommodations made for one student will be possible for all students.

I am a student currently abroad and I am unable to leave or would like to stay where I am. What should I do?

A global travel advisory is in place which may make it more difficult for students to return to Canada. Some of you may also wish to stay where you are. Please take these steps to ensure you have support and assistance if needed:

  • Closely monitor updates from your host institution or organization and follow recommended precautions
  • Familiarize yourself with government sources of information in the country where you are located and with Government of Canada public health information
  • Register with Canadians Abroad, a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency. Others holding international passports should check with consular services in their home country for similar registries.
  • Review your medical insurance policy for information related to COVID-19. Restrictions or exclusions may be in place that you will need to be aware of.
  • Download the International SOS Assistance App, and login with Western’s membership number (27AYCA539479) to receive updates about your location and access important health, travel and security information
  • Contact International SOS at any time for assistance, whether emergency or not
    Phone: 1-215-942-8478 (collect calls accepted) 
    Email: philadelphia@internationalsos.com

If you are not currently registered in Western’s Travel Registry*, please complete this process soon as possible.

This will allow Western International to contact and support you if needed. Western International is working closely with our international partner institutions, program coordinators and academic units to support you. Contact our team at travelregistry@uwo.ca or 519-661-2111 ext. 89309 if you need assistance.

* Travel Registry Access

What if I’m scheduled to go abroad in Winter Term 2021?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and global travel restrictions, Western has made the difficult decision to extend the suspension of all outbound international university-sanctioned student travel for the Winter 2021 term (until April 30, 2021).

This decision results from consideration of various factors including the ongoing risks associated with travel in the COVID-19 pandemic, such as border closures, entry and quarantine restrictions, potential limitations of comprehensive insurance coverage, and impacts of program cancellations abroad, an equally difficult decision which some international partners have already had to make.  

We recognize that this is a difficult time and this may be disappointing news for you. Our top priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of our university community. Our team will continue to work with you, your Faculty and others to help navigate your options and next steps. We are recommending the following options:

1) Defer your experience until Winter 2022, if possible. We would maintain your place in the program so that you would not have to re-submit your application, and will communicate your deferral preference to the partner institution. However, please note that the final decision regarding the ability to accept the deferred placement lies with the international partner institution. 

2) Withdraw from the program. Western International will refund any program placement fees that may have already been paid (if applicable).

Please discuss these options and this evolving situation with your parents and family, then communicate your preferred option above with your International Learning Coordinator by October 31, 2020.

Contact your International Learning Coordinator at goabroad@uwo.ca should you have any immediate questions or requests for assistance.

Where can I find resources for graduate students?

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can find COVID-19-related information and resources on their website and send any questions pertaining to research, examinations and other concerns issues to the appropriate person in this directory: grad.uwo.ca/administration/directory.html.

When will travel abroad resume?

As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation, Western is continuing to monitor ongoing developments worldwide and provide updates to the campus community. At this time, all outbound international university-sanctioned student travel has been suspended until April 30, 2021.

Updates concerning summer 2021 programs will be provided around mid-winter term. Although students may apply for summer 2021 programs, we are advising that students not make any travel arrangements or other financial commitments affecting travel plans until further notice.

Will there be faculty-led courses abroad in the 2020-21 academic year?

Some faculty-led study abroad applications are open, with expected travel during intersession/summer 2021. However, as Western continues to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide, further cancellation decisions may be forthcoming. Should your faculty-led study abroad course be cancelled, your academic department will discuss alternative course completion options to satisfy academic progression.

Updates concerning summer 2021 programs will be provided around mid-winter term. Although students may apply for summer 2021 programs, we are advising that students not make any travel arrangements or other financial commitments affecting travel plans until further notice.

Can I complete my internship/co-op/practicum abroad in the 2020-21 academic year?

At this time, all outbound international university-sanctioned student travel has been suspended until April 30, 2021.

In some cases international internship/co-op/practicum providers or employers may accommodate these experiences to be completed on a remote basis, without requiring physical travel or attendance at the host institution/organization.

Students may opt to participate in these programs on a remote basis with the completion of an ‘Acknowledgement of Remote International Activities’ form. Please discuss these opportunities with the Western University staff/faculty member supporting the program and contact Western International via travelregistry@uwo.ca to obtain the ‘Acknowledgement of Remote International Activities’ form.


Financial Information

If you require immediate financial assistance, please contact travelregistry@uwo.ca or call +1-519-661-2111 ext. 89309 with the details.