By Erin Woo
Stanford is suspending all undergraduate fall quarter study away programs, program administrators announced on Friday.
All Bing Overseas Studies Programs — affecting programs in Australia, Berlin, Florence, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Madrid, New York, Oxford, Paris and Santiago — will be suspended this fall “given the uncertain nature of the global health crisis’s effect on public health and travel,” BOSP Director Aron Rodrigue announced on Friday.
In-person instruction at Stanford in Washington and the Wrigley Field Program in Hawaii, each of which operate independently from BOSP, has also been suspended, according to emails sent from the respective programs’ administrators.
Rodrigue wrote that the decision to suspend BOSP programs “took into consideration a number of factors including student health and safety; evolving travel restrictions; interruption of passport and visa issuance; our ability to support physical distancing; and the overall impact resuming program operations will have on the health and well-being of our staff, faculty, and local community partners.”
BOSP is also “exploring the possibility of developing additional program offerings to be made available in summer quarter 2020-2021,” Rodrigue wrote, following news that Stanford plans to extend its academic year through summer quarter next year.
While students accepted to participate in fall BOSP programs will not be allowed to defer their enrollment to future quarters, they “will receive a preferred review and consideration” if they reapply, according to the announcement.
The Wrigley Field Program, which typically operates once every two years, will defer its program to fall 2021 instead of fall 2022 in order to allow as many currently accepted students as possible to participate, according to an email sent by staff director Ryan Petterson and faculty director Peter Vitousek to the fall 2020 cohort. All students accepted into this fall’s program who are still enrolled at Stanford in fall 2021 will be guaranteed a space in the program.
BOSP will not refund any airline fees for students who have already purchased flights.
“All accepted and waitlisted students were instructed to await confirmation from BOSP before purchasing a flight for their programs,” Rodrigue wrote. “If you purchased a flight anyway, we strongly suggest that you call your ticketing airline as soon as possible to explore your options for ticket refunds or changes. BOSP will not refund any airline fees for students who have purchased flights against our instructions.”
Fall 2020 marks the fourth straight academic quarter whose study away programs were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students participating in BOSP programs in winter quarter were sent home early as the virus spread across the globe, and the University canceled all spring and summer study away programs.
Ujwal Srivastava contributed reporting.