COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Western has been sending important messages to Western students who are currently abroad. If you have not received our messages and need assistance, please contact travelregistry@uwo.ca or call +1-519-661-2111 ext. 89309.

Note: As of March 24, Western International will be operating virtually until further notice, with no staff physically in the office. However, our advisors are working remotely and ready to help you!

Please contact us at iesc@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. 

Messages to Students Abroad Western's COVID-19 website


 

I am a student abroad. What should I do?

Due to the global travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada on March 13, Western is now recommending students abroad return to Canada and encourages students to make arrangements to return as soon as possible.

However, please be advised, individuals returning to Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days or follow other prevention measures.

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

Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited. Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted.

For those who plan to leave, please take the following steps:

  • Call your airline to reschedule flights or book new travel arrangements. Several airlines are waiving cancellation or change fees in light of the COVID-19 situation.
  • Check your travel insurance to see if any coverage can be applied to expenses.
  • Cancel your accommodation and communicate with your provider to understand any penalties or final steps that need to be taken.
  • Inform your host institution or organization.
  • Inform your parents/family and arrange for any transportation once you return home.
  • Follow any preventative measures in place for travellers in your current location.
  • See Instructions for Self-Isolation upon your return home

For those who are unable to leave their current location or choose to stay:

  • 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.

* Travel Registry Access

If you applied through Atlas, Western International Experience Portal, the travel registry is attached to your program page. 
If you did not apply through Atlas, start with "Other University Sanctioned International Experience." Western International will provide assistance if needed. Please contact travelregistry@uwo.ca or 519-661-2111, ext. 89309.

Western will work with our partner institutions/organizations, Faculties and the Office of the Register to help students navigate any academic concerns. 

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

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

  • Voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days after your return from travel outside of Canada.
  • 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:

  • Continue to isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully.

In addition, if you return from Italy, Iran, or Hubei province (China) you will be asked to contact the public health authority in the province or territory where you live or are staying within 24 hours of arriving in Canada and to provide your contact information.

 

Download a Fact Sheet on How to Self-Isolate

Why has Western cancelled all student travel until December 31?

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 cancelled future university-sanctioned international travel for all students until December 31.

In addition, on March 13, the Government of Canada introduced a new global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

Who does the current travel cancellation include?

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 on exchange 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 new 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 summer or fall 2020?

Western is continuing to monitor the developments with COVID-19 (the Novel Coronavirus) worldwide and is closely following updates from the Government of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and the WHO, which has now declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Due to the global travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada on March 13 and the Prime Minister’s announcement of new actions under Canada’s COVID-19 response, Western has extended the cancellation of all outbound international university-sanctioned student travel until December 31, 2020.

Summer 2020 Programs

If you wish to defer your experience until summer 2021, we would maintain your place in the program so that you would not have to re-submit your application. Alternatively, if you wish to withdraw from the program, Western International will refund any program placement fees that may have already been paid (if applicable).

If you have not already contacted our team to indicate your decision, please confirm your preferred option with your International Learning Coordinator (goabroad@uwo.ca) by March 31, 2020.

Fall 2020, Full-Year 2020-21 Programs

Given the significant impacts involving upcoming host institution nomination/application deadlines, potential host institution closures, potential border closures, immigration impacts, possible health and travel insurance coverage limitations and travel logistics requirements that would need to occur over the summer period impacting Fall programs, we are recommending the following options:

1) Defer your experience until Winter 2021, or to Academic Year 2021-22 if possible. We would maintain your place in the program so that you would not have to re-submit your application.

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

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.

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 March 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 sgps_questions@uwo.ca.


Financial Information

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

Please download and refer to additional financial reimbursement details on the claim form below:

Incremental Travel Expense Claim Form (PDF Form)

  • Fill in the form, save and send with receipts/documentation to travelregistry@uwo.ca
  • Claims may be processed for travel between February 1 and March 31, 2020 and must be submitted no later than April 30, 2020.