Spread of COVID-19 halts university-sponsored trips


Gracie Watt

The study abroad office is located in Moody Hall on the first floor. Several programs for this year were cancelled, and some students who were already on study abroad trips had to come back to their home states due to COVID-19.

Due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world, many trips sponsored by St. Edward’s have been canceled. 

These trips include study abroad programs and Campus Ministry’s Spring Break Experience (SBE), where students can travel within the U.S. or internationally to volunteer and provide services to communities in need.

Emily Spandikow Wescott, Director of Study Abroad, gives her thoughts on the process of canceling trips abroad. 

“St. Edward’s University has extensive crisis management plans and protocols in place, which

are overseen and implemented by our experienced and tested team,” Wescott says. “Study Abroad will continue to use the CDC and/or State Department Level rankings connected to coronavirus to evaluate programming on an ongoing basis.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread, Wescott provides more information about future study abroad trips during the fall, as summer trips have been cancelled.

“We are assessing our Fall 2020 programs on April 15, 2020 so that impacted students can make alternative plans before the end of the spring semester.”

Students have also shared their thoughts on how COVID-19 has impacted their trips. Isabelle Cunha, a junior at St. Edward’s, shares her experience with the cancellation of her SBE trip to San Francisco.

“I was supposed to go to San Francisco for the week [of spring break] as part of the Building Bridges team of the Service Break Experience,” Cunha says. “I found out about the cancellation on Sunday through an email that was sent by the program director.” 

Cunha says that although she is disappointed about the cancellation of the trip, it was necessary.  

“I was really looking forward to my trip and to spending the week with my SBE group after so many months of preparation,” Cunha says. “But I also understand that it is a necessary measure to keep our environment safe.”

Cunha also says that Campus Ministry has yet to discuss refunds for students. 

“I’m hoping that refunds will be addressed soon because, like me, many of us will have to rearrange our plans and budgets for spring break since we’ll have to spend money on food and other supplies that would’ve been provided during our trips,” she says. “I’m sure the staff is doing their best to relieve the repercussions of the cancellations, but because it is such an uncertain moment, it is difficult to stay patient.” 

As far as classes go after spring break, St. Edward’s University faculty will conduct online classes for the rest of the semester. More information can be found on the SEU alerts page.