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Health, Safety and Security
One of the chief concerns students have as they begin looking into studying abroad has to do with safety and security beyond the borders of the United States. While no one can guarantee the safety of students in any location (the United States or any other country) or eliminate all risks from traveling and studying abroad, the University of Scranton is committed to taking all reasonable steps to ensure that students are not placed in locations or situations that expose them to undue risk.
To that end, the University of Scranton carefully monitors the U.S. State Department travel warnings and public announcements and communicates regularly with our overseas partners about safety and security concerns or issues. Further, the University of Scranton carefully monitors recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control regarding health concerns world wide. In addition to monitoring security, safety and health issues and concerns world wide, the University of Scranton provides students with complimentary comprehensive insurance coverage and instruction on staying safe and healthy while abroad.
Mitigating safety, security and health risks abroad is a partnership between the University of Scranton and students and their families. The University of Scranton cannot control all of the daily personal decisions, choices and activities that students make while abroad and cannot prevent students from engaging in illegal, dangerous or unwise activities, but students can.
Responsibilities of Students and Their Family and The University of Scranton
Responsibilities of Participants
A. Assume responsibility for all the elements necessary for their personal preparation for the program and participate fully in orientations.
B. Read and carefully consider all materials issued by the sponsor that relate to safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country(ies).
C. Conduct their own research on the country(ies) they plan to visit with particular emphasis on health and safety concerns, as well as the social, cultural, and political situations.
D. Consider their physical and mental health, and other personal circumstances when applying for or accepting a place in a program, and make available to the sponsor accurate and complete physical and mental health information and any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study abroad experience.
E. Obtain and maintain appropriate insurance coverage and abide by any conditions imposed by the carriers.
F. Inform parents/guardians/families and any others who may need to know about their participation in the study abroad program, provide them with emergency contact information, and keep them informed of their whereabouts and activities.
G. Understand and comply with the terms of participation, codes of conduct, and emergency procedures of the program.
H. Be aware of local conditions and customs that may present health or safety risks when making daily choices and decisions. Promptly express any health or safety concerns to the program staff or other appropriate individuals before and/or during the program.
I. Accept responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
J. Obey host-country laws.
K. Behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights and well-being of others, and encourage others to behave in a similar manner.
L. Avoid illegal drugs and excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
M. Follow the program policies for keeping program staff informed of their whereabouts and well-being.
N. Become familiar with the procedures for obtaining emergency health and legal system services in the host county.
Responsibilities of Parents/Guardians/Families
In study abroad, as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions and by influencing their behavior overseas.
A. Be informed about and involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
B. Obtain and carefully evaluate participant program materials, as well as related health, safety, and security information.
C. Discuss with the participant any of his/her travel plans and activities that may be independent of the study abroad program.
D. Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
E. Be responsive to requests from the program sponsor for information regarding the participant.
F. Keep in touch with the participant.
G. Be aware that the participant rather than the program may most appropriately provide some information.
Responsibilities of the University of Scranton
The University should:
A. Will conduct periodic assessments of health and safety conditions for our programs, and develop and maintain emergency preparedness processes and a crisis response plan.
B. Provide health and safety information for prospective participants so that they and their parents/guardians/families can make informed decisions concerning preparation, participation, and behavior while on the program.
C. Provide information concerning aspects of home campus services and conditions that cannot be replicated at overseas locations.
D. Provide orientation to participants prior to the program and as needed on site, which includes information on safety, health, legal, environmental, political, cultural, and religious conditions in the host country. In addition to dealing with health and safety issues, the orientation will address potential health and safety risks, and appropriate emergency response measures.
E. Consider health and safety issues in evaluating the appropriateness of an individual's participation in a study abroad program.
F. Enroll all participants in a comprehensive health and emergency evacuation insurance plan.
G. Conduct inquiries regarding the potential health, safety, and security risks of the local environment of the program, including program-sponsored accommodation, events, excursions, and other activities, prior to the program. Monitor possible changes in country conditions. Provide information about changes, and advise participants and their parents/guardians/families as needed.
H. Provide information for participants and their parents/guardians/families regarding when and where the sponsor's responsibility ends and the range of aspects of participants' overseas experiences that are beyond the sponsor's control.
Resources for Helping to Maintain Health, Security and Safety Abroad
The next pages provide detailed information on insurance for students studying abroad as well as suggestions and resources for staying healthy and safe while traveling and studying abroad. Please read all sections carefully.