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COVID-19

As of December 1, 2021, roughly 45.7 million people in Italy were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, corresponding to 84.6 percent of the total population over 12 years of age. Italy is now expanding the number of people eligible for a booster vaccine to counter the 4th wave in the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore,  anti-pandemic measures continue to be in place including the wearing of masks indoors in all public places, the Green Pass certification of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test to access workplaces, indoor dining, gyms, museums and theatres. For this reason, the average number of new infections reported each day in Italy is less than other European countries. 

We, along with many other American universities, have successfully conducted Fall 2021 programming in Italy and proven that, with the necessary precautions and procedures in place, it is possible to create an optimal environment for onsite programming. Therefore, our plan is to continue onsite with excursions, lectures, and guest speakers.  If for whatever reason, the ‘on-site’ version of the course is canceled, we will shift to the virtual version of courses that will be offered ‘at a distance’ from Rome or Italy. We successfully did this in the spring of 2020. 

Gustolab International (GLi) takes our students and our world seriously. To minimize risk, we are calling for a heightened sense of personal responsibility from all of our students. We anticipate all students will:

  • be cooperative in following our policies
  • adhere to all rules and regulations in Italy pertaining to Covid-19
  • stay informed and check the latest guidelines issued by health and government authorities as well as GLi
  • recognize their obligation to engage seriously in all educational activities and to protect their own well-being, the well-being of fellow students, our staff and faculty, and the residents of Rome and Italy

Please note this is a dynamic situation with best practices, formal rules and informal practices subject to change at any time. At GLi we assume all students will work with program management and staff to seek out and maintain best practices in public health. If you feel you cannot adhere to public health standards created by legal entities across Italy and the EU then please consider postponing this study abroad opportunity.  

Table of Contents

ITALIAN COVID REGULATIONS

Gustolab international will comply with the directions of the Italian Government regarding the entry of international students and attendance at educational programs in Italy.  Current procedures are in effect until January 31, 2022 and will be updated as new regulations are implemented.

 

Traveling to Italy from the United States

In accordance with Prime Ministerial Decree of March 2, 2021 Order of October 22 and Order of December 14, 2021 of the Minister of Health, people who have stayed in or transited Countries in List D (the USA is currently in this list) in the 14 days prior to entering Italy must:

  • fill out a digital Passenger Locator Form (only in case of lack of necessary tools to fill out the dPLF, you can use a paper-based self-declaration) and present it to the carrier or any other authorised person, either printed or on one’s mobile device.
  • present to the carrier, or any other authorised person, a certificate of vaccination stating that the cycle of vaccination has been completed with an EMA-authorised vaccine or EU Green Pass proving the same (the CDC card is equivalent to the EU/Italian green pass).
  • undergo a molecular test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 72 hours before they arrive, or an antigen test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 24 hours before they arrive (please note this means before arrival to Italy, not boarding from the U.S.)
  • After a stay/transit in the United Kingdom, a molecular test must be taken in the 48 hours before you arrive (antigen test in the 24 hours before you arrive).

In case of lack of the certification under point 2, travelers may still enter Italy but they must: 

  • undergo a molecular test carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 72 hours prior to entering Italy (or 48 hours before your arrive, if you have stayed/transited in the United Kingdom); or an antigen test carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 24 hours before you arrive.
  • self-isolate for five (5) days, activating local health surveillance procedures by informing Local Health Authorities;
  • get tested again, upon completing the prescribed self-isolation.

Travelers coming from Canada, Japan or the United States may enter/return to Italy with a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of recovery in the form of a Digital Covid Certificate, or equivalent certificate, issued by local Health Authorities. They must also take a molecular test in the 72 hours prior to entering Italy (or an antigen test in the 24 hours prior to entering Italy), carried out by means of a swab, and with negative result. Otherwise, travellers from Canada, Japan or the United States may still enter Italy following general provisions for Countries in List D, as described above (test, self-isolation and subsequent test). 

 

The provisions described above are in force until January 31, 2022.

 

Border Officers in Italy may always request that you fill out a paper-based self-statement upon arrival. 

 

Until March 31, 2022, the relevant Offices of the Italian Ministry of Health carry out, on a random basis, antigenic or molecular tests of travelers entering the national territory, at airports, maritime and land points of entry.  In the event of a positive result to the molecular or antigenic test, travelers are subject to the measure of fiduciary isolation for a period of ten days, at their own expense. If necessary, travelers shall be directed to “Covid Hotels”, following communication to the Department of Prevention of the relevant local health authority in order to guarantee health surveillance for the entire period.

 

Further restrictions to movements may be adopted at national and/or regional level depending on the risk assessment carried out on a regular basis by the Ministry of Health. You can find useful information on local restrictions on the website of the Ministry of Health, by clicking: Containment Measures in Italy.

 

For all students, regardless of where you are traveling from/transiting through

  • bring all documentation regarding enrollment in the study abroad program (including your international insurance letter)
  • bring a copy of documents presented with your visa application (if applicable) and keep these documents with your passport.
  • Have your CDC card as a photo on your phone as backup.
  • bring a copy of the following two attachments (in Italian): Circolare min salute su white card, Circolare min salute su documenti stati terzi to show that the CDC card is acceptable as proof of vaccination.  It is considered equivalent to the EU Green Pass but not all immigration officers may know that so these documents explain the rules about what is required.
  • In the Digital Passenger Locator Form or the paper self-declaration form, students should note their Rome apartment address. In this form, students should also specify that they are coming to Italy for study reasons.

Covid-tested” flights may be available between some U.S. airports and Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci airport. Learn more about Covid-tested flights. If you are traveling from the USA to Rome Fiumicino airport with a Covid-tested flight, please visit the airport webpage for specific information on testing and documentation: https://www.adr.it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en-/covid-tested-flights-procedures. If you are traveling from the USA to Milano Malpensa airport with a Covid-tested flight, please visit the airport webpage for specific information on testing and documentation: https://www.milanomalpensa-airport.com/en/passenger-guide/news/covid-tested-flights.

 

Thanks to the Association of American Colleges and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI), students from AACUPI schools can benefit from a special track and dedicated space for administrative and health procedures that have been reserved for them at the Fiumicino airport. 

 

Before traveling, please check for any additional requirements for travel at

Returning to the US

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director has signed an order requiring all airline passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test or recovery from COVID-19.     Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements.     U.S. citizens in countries where adequate COVID-19 testing is not available or may not be able to satisfy the requirements, should depart immediately or prepare to be unable to return to the United States until such time as they can meet the requirements.      Here are some actions you can take:

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy       

Please also note that GLi will continue its normal student withdrawal and cancellation policy.

Cancellation due to Covid-19 (Onsite programs only)

GLi is committed to serving our students and will not plan to cancel our program. For onsite programs, if students will not be able to attend courses in person (for example, if circumstances deteriorate in Italy), GLi will shift to online instruction and work towards completing the academic program. Co-curricular aspects of the program such as excursions and onsite activities that require in-person attendance will be canceled and will be replaced with online activities where possible.  In case of cancellation of the onsite portion of our programs, student fees dedicated to prepaid onsite expenses will be reimbursed as possible (depending on refunds from vendors, events, or services). After the beginning of the program, no refunds are possible on housing. Other onsite expenses can be refunded if not already spent on behalf of students This calculation will be done following the cancellation of the onsite program. If our onsite program switches to virtual instruction, participants are required to

  • have reliable access to a laptop/computer with audio capabilities and a functional webcam
  • have reliable access to internet/WiFi
  • be available for the synchronous (live) lectures. Students who would like to attend but may be unable to attend all synchronous sessions can inquire with Gustolab International about alternative programming.
  • available at least for 20 hours/week (for the internship)
  • use the virtual learning environment provided by GLi
  • adhere to all program guidelines
  • make all relevant payments prior to the beginning of the virtual program.

Additional policies may apply.

 

Special exception: Student program withdrawal policy for Covid-19 related issues (Onsite programs only)

A student may submit a request for program withdrawal until 30 days before arrival if they contract Covid-19 and are unable to participate in the program.n this case, a full refund (including housing fee) will be provided. For any requests for withdrawal between the start date – 29 days before the start date, a refund will not be provided. I However, if a student contracts Covid-19 before arrival and wants to submit a request to still participate in the program with a delayed arrival (after the program start date), their request should include a proof of negativity to Covid-19 along with a doctor’s note stating his completely recover and authorize the travel and the projected date of arrival in Italy. GLi will respond. This type of request can be sent at any time before the start date and typically will be approved and all funds will be allocated for the program.

WHILE IN ITALY

The Italian government uses a color classification corresponding to different epidemiological risk scenarios and levels. Regions and Autonomous Provinces are classified into 4 categories: red, orange, yellow and white.  Each has different restrictions.  Check the color classification and corresponding restrictions of the region you are interested in.   

Green Pass and CDC Cards

The “Digital Green Certificate/Green Pass/CDC card” is necessary to access public sites and participate in social activities.

Students from the U.S can show the CDC card as the Italian Ministry of Health issued an ordinance on July 29, 2021 stating that an Anti-COVID-19 vaccination certificate for an European Medicines Agency (EMA) recognized vaccine from competent U.S. health authorities (white CDC card) will be considered the equivalent of the Italian Green Pass where this requirement exists. The validity of the CDC card or Green Pass expires 270 days (about 9 months) after the latest vaccine shot; as of Feb 1 2022 this duration will be reduced to 6 months. 

In Italy,   the Super or Reinforced Green Pass issued only to people who have been vaccinated against or who have recovered from Covid has supplanted the basic Green Pass for access to many venues. From 10 January to 31 March 2022, The Super or Reinforced Green Pass is required for access to:

  • hotels and other accommodation facilities, including in-house catering services reserved for customers;
  • public transport (planes, trains, ships and ferries used for interregional transport services, buses, cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts)
  • conventions, congresses, festivals, fairs;
  • festivals following civil and religious ceremonies;
  • museums and exhibitions or other places of culture
  • spas (except for essential services for rehabilitation and therapeutic purposes), cultural, social and recreational centres, theme and amusement parks;

Until 31 January 2022, the activities of dance halls, discotheques and similar establishments are suspended.

Until 31 March 2022, the consumption of food and drink at the counter or table, indoors and outdoors, and in catering services, is allowed only with a SuperGreen Pass.  

Unvaccinated people can obtain a basic Green Pass valid for 48 hours with a negative Covid test result. 

Persons exempt from the vaccination campaign on the basis of appropriate medical certification can provide a negative molecular PCR or rapid antigen test result taken within 48 hours or a medical certificate issued by competent US authorities confirming recovery from COVID within the previous 6 months. Certificates are accepted in Italian, English, Spanish or French and can be both digital or in paper copy.

Face Masks 

It is mandatory for all students, staff and faculty to use surgical masks or FFP2 inside the school and FFP2 during activities. 

Current Italian regulations state that:

  • until 31 January 2022, it is compulsory to wear a mask (of any type) even outdoors.
  • use of FFP2 masks is compulsory on public transport.
  • until 31 March 2022, for shows open to the public that take place indoors or outdoors, in theatres, concert halls, cinemas, entertainment and live music venues and other assimilated premises, as well as for competitions and sporting events that take place indoors or outdoors, it is compulsory to wear FFP2 masks.

Requirements for the use of face masks, including obligation to wear face masks outdoors at all times may be more strict in different risk zones.  

Non-compliance might lead to a fine. In any case, it is recommended that people always wear face masks.

FFP2 masks are filtering half masks and they are usually used by those who are in direct contact with the virus and need to be protected such as doctors and people in contact with infected people. 

Surgical masks are used to not spread infected particles in the surrounding atmosphere. These masks can avoid the spread of the virus from an infected person, but are less effective in protecting a person from infection. They can be purchased in pharmacies. 

All masks are single use and must be properly disposed of after the use. According to the guidelines by the Italian Minister of Health “ at the moment, the survival time of coronavirus in waste is unknown. As a precaution, therefore, masks and gloves should be disposed of with undifferentiated waste, taking care to always place them in a sealed bag first, to avoid contact with sanitation workers.” For more information, please see:

https://www.corriere.it/salute/neuroscienze/20_marzo_11/coronavirus-quali-sono-mascherine-commercio-chi-proteggono-312777ac-6393-11ea-9cf4-1c175ff3bb7c.shtml 

http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioFaqNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=230#4 

Hygiene and Containment Measures

According to the decree of the Italian President of the Council of Ministers, hygiene and sanitary measures regarding Covid-19 include:

  • wash your hands often – it is recommended to make hydroalcoholic solutions for hand cleansing available in all public places, gyms, supermarkets, pharmacies and other meeting places;
  • In absence of soap, an alcohol-based sanitizer can be used. 
  • avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • avoid hugs and handshakes;
  • maintain an interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter in social relations;
  • follow respiratory hygiene (sneezing and/or coughing into a handkerchief to avoid hand
  • avoid shared use of bottles and glasses, especially during sports activities;
  • do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;
  • cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough;
  • do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics, unless they are prescribed by the doctor;
  • clean surfaces with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants;
  • use a mask

Learn about updated containment measures issued by the Italian government.

Leisure travel inside and outside of Italy

Students travel at their own risk before or after the program. 

During the program, we will require students to inform Gustolab International staff and seek our consultation before making any leisure travel plans within or outside Italy. However, they should be mindful that this will not guarantee safety. We will monitor the situation in Italy and the rest of Europe, and take into consideration official communication from the Ministers of Health and Education, the daily bulletin from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the foreign and local press. 

Limited to Italy and other EU countries, Gustolab International staff can help advise students about the risks of travel and suggest safe options and solutions in the case of unforeseen circumstances.  With this in mind, GLi reserves the full right to deny students the permission to travel (during their weekends, for example) to EU countries which require a quarantine obligation upon re-entry to Italy in order to prevent any risk of infection for our community and to ensure the academic continuity of the program and full attendance of all our students. 

Students should be mindful that any type of travel may include testing at airports or prior to departure and demonstration of certificate at the airport, and students may encounter situations that will affect their study abroad experience. 

Students must take into account that each country may have its own legislation for quarantine and that these are subject to change. Please note that travel, even within Schengen countries, or specific areas in such countries, may result in a quarantine and that in planning leisure travel students assume their own risk and responsibility for costs and consequences of quarantine and/or missed academic activities.  

Students should know that if they encounter delays and quarantine, this will affect their study abroad experience, and should note that they may not receive reimbursement for travel plans that may get cancelled. If students are quarantined because of such travel, they may have to withdraw from GLi’s academic program. In this case it is not likely they will be able to complete their educational goals for the program. The Italian government periodically updates travel restrictions and testing requirements based upon changing conditions. As a result, this plan of action is subject to change according to any new government provision regarding Covid-19. 

Before making any travel plans, we advise students to check for up-to-date information about travel and health decrees an regulations on our website as well as the competent Italian or US government authority’s websites such as https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm and https://it.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ 

(https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/ministero/normativaonline/decreto-iorestoacasa-domande-frequenti/focus-cittadini-italiani-in-rientro-dall-estero-e-cittadini-stranieri-in-italia.html)

Upon being informed by students of their travel plans, as possible we are prepared to check in with students in the case of travel warnings and related developments. 

When possible in emergency situations, Gustolab staff will report information about student status to the appropriate parties.

Fines

Individuals violating quarantine in Italy can, depending on the circumstances, be fined and be arrested by the authorities and, when convicted, can be sentenced to between 3 months and 5 years in prison, depending on whether the quarantine that was violated was mandated by health authorities or was self-isolation.

Compliance monitoring is strictly carried out by government authorities (police). If you are positive and in quarantine, police and public health officers will often monitor your adherence to the quarantine. Violating quarantine is a crime with possible fines or imprisonment. Fines for not wearing masks or violating quarantine vary from 400 to 3,000 Euros, and if you are covid-19 positive, these amounts may increase. Detention from 1 to 5 years can be applied for violating quarantine if covid19 positive.

Please note that compliance monitoring is also in effect regarding public transportation, mask wearing and other measures enforced by the Italian authorities.

Helpful phrases/terms

You may see some of these phrases in the school and around the city (in shops, museums, transport, etc). Some of these signs are likely to be in English as well, but you run into phrases and signs in Italian. Here is a short guide with a translation of some of the common signs: 

  • FFP2  ~ N95 masks 
  • è obbligatorio indossare la mascherina ~  It is mandatory to wear a face mask
  • accesso con obbligo di mascherina ~ Access permitted only with a face mask
  • è obbligatorio usare i guanti monouso ~ It is mandatory to use single use gloves 
  • mantenere la distanza di sicurezza di un metro ~ Keep the safety distance of one meter
  • Siete pregati di usare il gel disinfettante ~ Please use hand sanitizer
  • è consentito l’accesso ad un massimo di ___ persone per volta ~ Access is allowed only to __ people at a time
  • Lavarsi frequentemente le mani ~ Wash your hands frequently
  • Non occupare questo posto ~ Please do not sit here
  • Entrata/Uscita ~ Entrance/Exit
  • Attendi qui – Distanza di sicurezza ~ Please wait here – Safety distance
  • Aspetta qui – Rispetta la distanza di sicurezza ~ Please wait here – Respect social distance
  • Attendi qui il tuo turno ~ Please wait for your turn here
  • Rispetta la distanza di un metro ~ Please keep one meter distanc

Types of testing currently available in Italy: 

  • Test/tampone antigenico/rapido ~  Antigen test/fast swab
  • Test/tampone molecolare – PCR (molecular) swab
  • Test sierologico  ~  Serological test
  • Test salivari – Saliva tests 
  • Autotest/test fai da te – Self-testing kits (autotest or test fai da te), with kits on sale in supermarkets and pharmacies for around €10. These are rapid antigen tests that involve taking a nasal swab. The results are not considered official, and if they come back positive you should get another test carried out by a professional. They can not be used to obtain a green pass.

Suggested Practices

Supermarkets (touching food)

In supermarkets, customers are required to wear plastic gloves provided by the supermarket itself when touching fruits and vegetables. At the entrance of supermarkets and shops customers are required to sanitize their hands using the hand sanitizer provided. 

Restaurants and bars 

When going to restaurants and bars, always check if it is possible to book online in order to avoid gatherings outside. While waiting to get inside, always keep the social distance of one meter. 

When inside, follow the recommendations of the personnel and the signs on how to move inside the restaurant/bar. Always keep the mask on and remove it only when you are about to eat/drink. Use the hand sanitizers provided and sanitize hands whenever it’s possible. Avoid sharing bottles, glasses or cutlery.   

If you go to the toilet, please wear a mask and wash your hands before leaving the toilet. In places where there is consumption at the counter or take away service, please do not linger (to avoid gatherings). 

If possible, prefer payments with cards (contactless if possible) rather than cash. 

BORROMINI CENTER REGULATIONS AND PROCEDURES

Gustolab will require students to complete one of the following procedures to participate in its activities:

  • Students may present a CDC White card or a EU Covid Green PASS indicating they are fully vaccinated. This will typically include the record of one or two Covid vaccinations, depending on the kind of vaccination.   The validity of the CDC card or Green Pass expires 270 days (about 9 months) after the latest vaccine shot; as of Feb 1 2022 this duration will be reduced to 6 months. 
  • Students may petition the Italian health authorities for an exemption to the normal vaccination requirement.  This must be based on a medically valid reason explained by a medical professional in the student’s home country and translated into Italian by a professional translator or translation service. This will be presented to Gustolab’s Official Covid Doctor for approval.  If approved, the student will also — throughout his or her time in Italy — be required to take Covid tests every 48 hours with negative results, to acquire the basic green pass which will allow access to Gustolab facilities.

As per GLi’s policy, all faculty and all staff will be vaccinated and will hold a super green pass. 

We require that students sign a new or amended conduct agreement “Student Pledge” that includes Covid-19 precautionary measures to participate in the program.  The pledge is likely to be updated throughout the program. Your signature on the pledge reflects your agreement with all its aspects as well as understanding that GLi cannot eliminate all risks of contracting Covid-19, nor predict all related adjustments that may be required to protect yourself and your fellow students, faculty and staff. 

Schedule

Students will be required to be flexible regarding academic scheduling because of evolving Covid-19 responses in Italy and the EU. Program dates and academic schedules will be announced once they are available.

Entering Facilities   

Entry is allowed only to people who have been previously identified by the school administration. 

Students will be asked to monitor their health every day and to check their temperature before leaving their accommodations. All students, staff, faculty and visitors will have their temperatures checked at the entrances using a non-contact thermometer. Access will be allowed to students, faculty, staff and visitors whose body temperature is 37.4° Celsius (C) or less.

Before entry, disinfect your hands and wait in an orderly line for staff to measure your temperature while maintaining social distancing. 

Prior to entry, it is mandatory to declare if one has travelled through risk zones or has been in contact with people who have tested positive to the virus in the previous 14 days. In these cases, Italian government measures require you to remain at home and inform the relevant health authority (in the case of a student, this would be the GLi medical advisor).

Anyone whose body temperature registers 37.5° C or more will be measured again. If the person is found to have 37.5°C, they will be given a mask and gloves and based on the severity of the case will be asked to go home or to the hospital. Private transportation (such as a taxi) can be arranged for students and the student will be charged for the cost. The medical advisor will be contacted and the student will be asked to follow the instructions of the medical advisor.

Shared spaces

Students and teachers must observe scheduled entry/exit times and classroom shifts, maintain social distancing and wear a mask at all times. Social distancing includes keeping physical distance from other students, staff and faculty during classes and activities.

Students and external parties will be required to use areas and restrooms reserved for them. 

Maintain correct behavior in terms of hygiene. During breaks, or administrative waiting times, do not gather and move to external areas (courtyard, entrance hall, square). 

Students will be required to pay attention to the signage regarding restrictions and follow the rules of hand hygiene. The use of any shared equipment or machinery is allowed after hand sanitization. The school provides suitable hand cleansing means.

Food and drink in class is forbidden to minimize droplet spread and to reduce the need to remove masks.

Since classroom seating capacity is limited due to distancing measures,  we will provide a hybrid mode of classroom delivery. See the section on hybrid instruction for more information. 

Our school premises and workplaces will be kept clean and sanitized daily according to the protocols regarding Covid-19 prevention. Cleaning personnel will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, using products recommended for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in the context of Covid-19.

These are the products recommended for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in the context of COVID-19: Ethanol 70-90%, Chlorine-based products (e.g., hypochlorite) at 0.1% (1000 ppm) for general environmental disinfection or 0.5% (5000 ppm) for blood and body fluids large spills, Hydrogen peroxide >0.5%, alcohol with 70%-90% concentration may be used for surface disinfection.

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/cleaning-and-disinfection-of-environmental-surfaces-inthe-context-of-covid-19

https://www.iss.it/documents/20126/0/Rappporto+ISS+COVID-19+n.+25_2020.pdf/90decdd1-7c29-29e4-6663-b992e1773c98?t=1589836083759

 

Masks

Inside school premises and during activities, GLi requires students, staff and faculty to wear a disposable mask (specifically a surgical mask or FFP2) and change it according to their recommended usage limits. Any other type of face covering is not allowed within the school premises or during school activities. Remove masks using an appropriate technique. If students have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, or any other conditions (e.g. allergies to a medicine) they should contact GLi prior to attending the program to review alternative arrangements.

Co-curricular activities

Our outside activities during onsite programs usually include excursions outside of Rome, service learning, museum and site visits, lectures in the open, events, tastings, and cooking classes. We will carry out these normal program activities to the extent that we can carry them out logistically in accordance with requirements and precautionary measures put into place by the Italian government. For all activities we will engage in best practices regarding Covid-19. These are likely to evolve through time and cannot be fully summarized here. 

Some of the precautions we will use include splitting students into small groups, using the radio system, staggering visit times, avoiding busy times, respecting physical distance, wearing masks, sanitizing hands, and measuring temperatures. The failure of students to comply will prevent participation. Additionally, students may face consequences according to the Italian legal system.

All excursions including activities and locations will be reviewed in advance for feasibility of social distancing and general health at the destination, e.g. any recent cases of COVID-19, time since last case reported, local rules around Covid-19 prevention, resources available locally for emergencies. 

For field excursions by private transportation, we aim to work with vendors who will follow precautions such as seating arranged to allow for social distancing, drivers and tour guides who wear masks, hand sanitizers available on the transportation, evidence of pre-trip sanitizing bus/transport vehicles.

For field excursions by public transportation (buses, trains, trams), face coverings will be required. Moreover, social distancing will be observed, limiting normal capacity and commuters need to plan extra time for travel. Students also should follow Covid related signage on public transport and platforms including entrances, exits and paths.

For excursions requiring overnight stay, we aim to work with lodging vendors will respect cleaning/disinfection regimen for rooms/common areas, provide hand-sanitizer in common spaces, limit occupancy in rooms and lifts, require wearing masks and social distancing in common spaces, offer service at the table instead of buffet service.

For arranged meals during activities and excursions (in restaurants, etc), buffet style meals, family style meals or meal sharing are forbidden.

For each trip, students will receive a kit detailing the plan of action in case of emergencies including Covid-19 symptoms. This kit will include contact information for the health services available to students locally at the site of their excursion.

Hybrid Instruction                                       

Classroom seating capacity is limited due to distancing measures. For this reason, we may also provide a hybrid mode of classroom delivery. Students follow along by video from other classrooms. If students are quarantined, they will also be required to follow along by video. Students must have access to a laptop/computer with audio capabilities and a functional webcam to use the course platform and specific conferencing tools such as Zoom.

GLi is committed to serving our students and will not plan to cancel our program. If students are unable to attend courses in person (for example, if circumstances deteriorate in Italy), GLi will shift to online instruction and work towards completing the academic program. Co-curricular aspects of the program such as excursions and onsite activities that require in-person attendance will be canceled and will be replaced with online activities where possible. In this case, students will need to seek an alternate site for participating in the online courses. They can do this from their homes in the US or other sites. All 2022 courses are designed to be provided either onsite or online. This shift can occur at any time both before the program’s scheduled dates or after it begins. 

In case of remote delivery, students will still be expected to follow our academic policies (regarding absences, assignments, grading, etc). GLi has had considerable experience providing online courses, including 5 courses in the Spring of 2020. We are available to work with the student’s home university regarding anticipated credits for the academic program.

Students will face disciplinary measures for failing to comply with measures implemented by GLi. They may be removed from class until they comply and may face further punitive action, up to removal from the program and may face consequences according to the Italian legal system.

COVID-19 AND STUDENT HOUSING

Specific procedures & housing policies related to Covid-19 will be given by the program’s housing provider at the start of the program.

 

Usually regular cleaning services are provided for common areas such as kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. However if quarantined or isolated due to possible Covid-19 infections, students will be responsible for cleaning their own accommodations (cleaning supplies will be provided).

MONITORING YOUR HEALTH

Students will be required to monitor their health every day and to check their temperature before leaving their accommodations. If advised by our medical advisor or the Italian health authorities, students will be expected to comply with requests for additional isolation and continue following our academic instruction online.

Please note Italian authorities have strict procedures for Covid-19 testing and quarantine. We will adhere to these processes. In essence the authorities have, at their discretion and that of their medical specialists, the ability to close schools temporarily or long term and to ask students to have Covid-19 testing.

If the Italian government imposes restrictions due to Covid-19 surge (such as lockdowns or suspension of attendance in presence), we will modify academic activities by giving instruction through distance education or other appropriate means. 

Additionally, if the U.S. government gives ordinances regarding US students (such as returning to the US), we will comply. Instruction will continue through distance education or other appropriate means. 

Our academic advisor and faculty will support students by putting into action a modified syllabus that allows for extended deadlines and modifications to assignments. If excursions and student activities are cancelled, we will do our best to provide equally valuable experiences online. 

If students have a medical condition that puts them at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19, they should contact GLi and we will put them in contact with our Covid-19 doctor prior to attending the program to review alternative arrangements.   

 

Contact tracing

Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. Persons who have been exposed to individuals with suspected Covid-19 are considered contacts and will be advised to monitor their health for 10 days from the last day of possible contact. 

A contact is a person who is involved in any of the following starting from 2 days before and up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms in the patient:

  • Having face-to-face contact with a Covid-19 patient within ( 1 meter as per WHO) (2 meters as per Italian Ministry of Health) and for more than 15 minutes;
  • Providing direct care for patients with Covid-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment;
  • Staying in the same close environment as a Covid-19 patient (including sharing a workplace, classroom or household or being at the same gathering) for any amount of time;
  • Sharing a room, meal, or other space with a confirmed patient
  • Traveling in proximity with (that is, within 1 meter separation from) a Covid-19 patient in any kind of conveyance;
  • and other situations, as indicated by local risk assessments.

Normally, in a confirmed case, the Italian health authorities will conduct contact tracing procedures and decide how to proceed, including requesting mandatory testing, isolation, shutting down school premises for sanitization (and switching to online teaching). GLi will coordinate with our medical advisor who will liaise with the Italian health authorities regarding contact tracing.

GLi will assist local authorities in contact tracing as determined by the appropriate Italian statutes and practices. The infected student will be encouraged to call home to inform parents  or guardians of the illness and to inform her or his home university’s student health services.

Students will be required to download ‘Immuni’ a contact tracing app recommended by the Italian authorities and to participate in contact tracing if required by Italian health authorities. At all times, students will be required to inform GLi if they have been in contact with any individuals with suspected Covid-19, and maintain consistent communication with GLi.

 

Testing

If a student wants to be tested for Covid-19, a nasal swab test can be arranged at advantageous prices negotiated by Gustolab at a nearby clinic (Studio Diagnostico Pantheon). Tests are also available through MedinAction which accepts most student insurance (such as Gallagher, CISI), but tests are covered only for students with symptoms. 

In addition, we can arrange tests at our school premises for groups (minimum 15 people). 

In the event of a positive response to the nasal swab test, a molecular test should be promptly carried out to determine if the infection is active or if there is risk of transmitting it to others. The molecular test is coordinated by the Italian National Health System (SSN) at no charge to the person tested. In agreement with the AACUPI schools, at the Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services, students can undergo testing. Students can call Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services at a number dedicated to AACUPI schools, indicating the AACUPI Agreement and their institution’s identity number for more information.   

 

In Case of Symptoms   

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 infection are fever, fatigue and dry cough. Some patients may experience muscle aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, a sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Any person with a mild cough, flu-like symptoms or a low-grade fever of 37.5° C needs to stay at home, according to the Italian Ministry of Health. They should also stay home if they have had to take simple medications such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection. 

If you have any flu-like symptoms, you should not come to school and instead should contact the medical advisor who will activate the protocols dedicated by law. 

Usually, those who show symptoms are required to quarantine themselves for 10 days under the control and supervision of the Italian national authorities. During quarantine the authorities may visit students and require additional testing, depending on the circumstances. Please note that given that health regulations that govern Covid-19 are related to a national emergency, Italian Health Authorities are advising NOT to visit the emergency room or go to a clinic unless instructed to do so by a physician.

If a student believes they have symptoms they have several options for support:

  • call our medical advisor (Dr. Andrea Guerriero, MedinAction) who will advise the student on next steps and handle the related processes, liaise with the Italian health authorities and advise on testing requirements or any other next steps such as a quarantine. This is the advised course of action as MedinAction operators speak English and can help with mediating with the Italian health authorities. MedinAction accepts most student insurance (Gallagher, CISI, etc)
  • In agreement with AACUPI schools, the Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services will provide comprehensive medical services including full emergency diagnostic services in cases of suspected possible contagion by Covid-19, including anamnesis, eventual serological screening, as well as any subsequent prescribed isolation and treatment should such screening indicate positivity. Students can call Ospedale Israelitico Medical Services at a number dedicated to AACUPI schools, indicating the AACUPI Agreement and your institution’s identity number to request an appointment for a medical visit. A valid photo identity document is necessary.
  • For urgent swab tests throughout all of Lazio, the public health ASL offices (Guardia Medica) will provide prescriptions for such testing for Italian residents; non-Italian students and tourists can go to the Guardia Medica Turistica [Presidio Territoriale di Prossimità “Nuovo Regina Margherita”]. No appointment needed. A valid photo identity document is necessary. All swab tests from all Guardia Medica medical centers in Rome and Lazio are then forwarded to the Ospedale Spallanzani for laboratory testing.
  • The Lazio Region emergency number ( 800 118 800) is open 24/7, staffed by healthcare advisors and cultural mediators. 
  • Call Italy’s 112 emergency number or the national information hotline 1500. English speaking operators are available. The operators responding to 1500 can answer questions from the public about Covid-19. The hotline, which is open 24/7, is staffed by healthcare advisors and cultural mediators from the Operations Room of the Ministry of Health. The hotline responders are trained in counseling to help resolve questions, doubts and uncertainties.
  • Useful numbers from the Ministry of Health: from Italy: 1500 (toll-free toll number); from abroad: +39 0232008345, +39 0283905385.

If students/staff develop fever or other flu-like symptoms while on school premises:

  • The ill person should be taken to a room or area where they are isolated from others, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person.
  • Private transportation (such as a taxi) to their housing can be arranged. 
  • The medical advisor will be contacted and the student will be asked to follow the instructions of the medical advisor.
  • The medical advisor will follow the patient daily, monitoring symptoms.
  • The person should immediately put on a mask and gloves, and advised to go home (if not severe case) and contact the medical advisor for assessment
  • Cleaning staff is informed and arranges specialized cleaning will take place.
  • Patients with underlying medical conditions need to be identified and put in vulnerable groups

If a student shows symptoms of Covid-19 while attending an overnight excursion (weekdays/weekends):

  • The student should not leave their room.
  • They should inform GLi’s Medical advisor as well as GLi staff by calling the Emergency Phone which is active 24/7.
  • Depending on the situation, the student may have to stay in their room for the period of quarantine advised by health authorities. GLi’s response includes allocating a staff person or a local partner to check in on the student. The student will be charged for the additional nights. Plans will be made to re-enter Rome after this period at the student’s expense.

Informing the Italian public health authorities (SISP)

If a case meets the definition of a suspected Covid-19 case, the Covid-19 public health authorities will be informed. After a medical assessment (in-person visit or online consultation) the patient will be isolated from others. 

The medical advisor will directly contact and liaise with the Italian health authorities according to the established procedures. The operator at the call center will send an email to the SISP office (indicating also the treating doctor/medical advisor’s contact info) that will contact the patient directly about testing. Alternatively, the medical advisor will directly contact the Italian public health authorities (SISP) informing them about the suspected case, the SISP will answer the medical advisor’s email and will decide if and when to perform the swab PCR.

Informing the home institution and/or the emergency contacts of students who become infected or potentially exposed to infection.

If the student has given consent on both the Gustolab GDPR European privacy form (that they will be asked to compile before their program starts) as well as related forms from their home institution, we will share news of confirmed Covid-19 cases with the appropriate interlocutors. Gustolab will assist students in communicating with their families.

 

 

If a student becomes symptomatic at the end of the program, he or she will be advised as above. The medical advisor will decide how to proceed and if he decides that the student cannot travel, Italian authorities will be informed of the extension of stay and the student will be advised on how to obtain documentation regarding the extension. If a student becomes symptomatic at any time during the program GLi staff will offer to assist the student in contacting parents or the home university and will support the student with change of travel arrangements, extension of lodging and related issues (all additional costs are borne by the student). GLi staff will monitor the situation and will check-in with the student daily. Please note that the medical advisor and GLi will follow the Italian authorities directives. For more details see: Covid 19 FAQ, Italian Health Ministry   

 

Testing positive to Covid-19

In case a student tests positive to Covid-19, they will be quarantined after a consultation with the medical advisor. Instruction will take place online (synchronously as lectures will be streamed). In case the medical advisor verifies that the student will not be able to follow classes, a makeup academic plan will be provided to the student and they will be expected to complete it. 

Quarantine                   

Quarantine is the restriction of activities of or the separation of persons who are not ill but who may have been exposed to an infectious agent or disease, with the objective of monitoring their symptoms and ensuring the early detection of cases.

According to current restrictions, fully vaccinated (with proof) travelers from the USA are not required to quarantine. Unvaccinated people will be required to undergo a ten-day quarantine period, with a negative test result at the end. That includes those who have only received one dose of the two required or those who have completed a vaccination cycle within the previous 14 days.

If you were fully vaccinated more than four months ago, the quarantine requirement is reduced to a five-day period followed by a negative test result.

Quarantine will no longer be required for close contacts if they have had a booster dose, or were fully vaccinated or recovered within the last four months (120 days). They will instead be required to wear a more protective FFP2 mask at all times in public for 10 days and, if they have symptoms, take a test within five days of contact with the positive person.

During this period a rapid antigen or molecular test should be done at the first appearance of symptoms. If symptomatic, the swab should be repeated on the fifth day following the date of last close contact. The self-monitoring period ends on the fifth day, and no swab is required if a patient remains asymptomatic.

What does quarantine entail

If for any reason this changes and students are obliged to isolate/quarantine upon arrival in Italy, or at any time due to Italian regulations, the following are some of the procedures they will take:

  • Isolate in their assigned room. They should not leave their room. Visitors/staff will not be allowed. Students will be responsible for their own cleaning (supplies will be provided) during this time.
  • Upon arrival to the airport (or accommodation if unable to do this at the airport), students must send an email to numeroverde118@aslroma1.it as required by Italian health authorities (the template will be provided by GLi Staff by email before your departure from the US) declaring: place of provenance, date of arrival, start of quarantine period, name of the doctor, address in Rome.
  • Starting from the day after arrival, students will be responsible to check their temperature twice a day for 5 days and report this data in Celsius degrees on a spreadsheet. At the end of the quarantine period, they will have to send the spreadsheet to our medical advisor by email. Following testing, the medical advisor will then decide if they are cleared to end the quarantine. 

For the quarantine period, GLi will provide a list of services that provide catering, contact-free delivery of food and groceries (discount code may be available). All costs will be borne by the student. GLi can provide assistance for students for online grocery shopping in case they need essential personal supplies (remotely). GLi staff will monitor the students daily and check-in with them in case they need assistance or personal supplies and will provide associated costs if any.

Sanitization costs after the student has been cleared will be borne by the housing provider.

 

When can patients be considered recovered from Covid-19 and fit to return to class or work?

  • to be released from home isolation, cases must test negative using PCR testing twice from samples collected at least 24 hours apart.
  • where testing is not possible, WHO recommends that confirmed patients remain isolated for an additional two weeks after symptoms resolve (disappear). Initial recommendation of January 12, 2020 regarding healed patients (fit to return to work or class). According to the new WHO recommendation published on  May 27 and June 17, 2020: Criteria for discharging patients from isolation (i.e., discontinuing transmission-based precautions) without requiring retesting is as follows:
    • For symptomatic patients: 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least 3 additional days without symptoms (including without fever and without respiratory symptoms)
    • For asymptomatic cases: 10 days after positive test for SARS-CoV-2

      For example, if a patient had symptoms for two days, then the patient could be released from isolation after 10 days + 3 = 13 days from date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 14 days, the patient can be discharged (14 days + 3 days =) 17 days after the date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 30 days, the patient can be discharged (30+3=) 33 days after symptom onset).

      *Countries may choose to continue to use testing as part of the release criteria.  If so, the initial recommendation of two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart can be used.

If a student tests positive as the program is ending and cannot travel:

  • the student will be isolated.  GLi staff will offer to assist the student in contacting parents or the home university and will support the student with change of travel arrangements, extension of lodging and related issues.
  • The medical advisor will follow the student’s progress and provide clearance for travel.
  • The housing provider will allow an extension of checkout until the end of the isolation period for an extra cost which will be borne by the student.
  • GLi will provide a list of services that provide contact free delivery of food and groceries where available.
  • All the associated costs are borne by the student.       

Please note that the medical advisor and Gustolab International will always follow the Italian authorities directives. For more details see: Covid 19 FAQ, Italian Health Ministry at: http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioFaqNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=230

LINKS

MedInAction website: 

https://www.medinaction.com

 

University Of Illinois website on Covid-19 and Study Abroad: 

https://covid19.illinois.edu/ 

https://www.safetyabroad.illinois.edu/covid19/faq/ 

 

HWS web page on Covid-19: 

https://www2.hws.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www2.hws.edu/opening/

https://www.hws.edu/offices/COVID-19-Safety.pdf

https://baseline.campuslabs.com/p/Project.aspx?q=ae891e43589eb92d542957c0b112a4263adf1effee9fc6604eaaf67e260d1c3cbbb9b50f3a36c98bec40f897297624f71fbd88d464ed17a5d7f1940ba8d9a81aaf4d2b29a82fd309&r=791d3431-e67f-4356-97e8-4997dd247e41

 

Hand Washing steps

https://youtu.be/IisgnbMfKvI 

 

WHO Recommendations and criteria for Covid-19: 

https://youtu.be/Ded_AxFfJoQ 

https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/criteria-for-releasing-covid-19-patients-from-isolation 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public 

 

Quarantine: 

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/considerations-for-quarantine-of-individuals-in-the-context-of-containment-for-coronavirus-disease-(covid-19) 

https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstreams/1272288/retrieve 

 

Discharge of confirmed cases of Covid- 19: 

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19-Discharge-criteria.pdf 

 

Contact tracing: 

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/contact-tracing-in-the-context-of-covid-19 

 

Cleaning and disinfection: 

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/cleaning-and-disinfection-of-environmental-surfaces-inthe-context-of-covid-19 

https://www.iss.it/documents/20126/0/Rappporto+ISS+COVID-19+n.+25_2020.pdf/90decdd1-7c29-29e4-6663-b992e1773c98?t=1589836083759 

 

Immuni app: 

https://www.immuni.italia.it/  

 

Covid- 19 informations on travel from Fiumicino and Ciampino airports:

http://www.adr.it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en-/coronavirus

 

EU Regulations: 

European regulations

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm

 

Covid-19 Information by US Embassy and Consulates in Italy: 

https://it.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ 

 

Documents needed (self declaration, etc): 

Self-declaration form 

 

Italian government information on Covid-19: 

Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/ministero/normativaonline/decreto-iorestoacasa-domande-frequenti/focus-cittadini-italiani-in-rientro-dall-estero-e-cittadini-stranieri-in-italia.html

http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioFaqNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=230

 

Italian health care:

The Italian health care system also known as Sistema Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) is public and regionally organized. It provides and grants universal coverage to Italian citizens and to legal foreign residents free of charge. Healthcare is also ‘free’ for students and tourists. For more information, please  see:

https://www.medinaction.com/the-italian-health-care-system-how-it-works/ 

https://www.wantedinrome.com/news/a-guide-to-the-italian-health-care-system-and-how-it-works.html 

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/countries/italy 

https://www.euro.who.int/en/countries/italy 

 

Rome public transport: Information on Covid-19:

https://www.atac.roma.it/page.asp?r=17226&p=159

https://www.atac.roma.it/page.asp?p=52&r=3133

https://www.atac.roma.it/files/doc.asp?r=6786

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