Emerson’s Kasteel Well study abroad program in the Netherlands will proceed in the fall semester with significant alterations in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a college official.
Students choosing to attend Kasteel Well will see enforced restrictions on travel and an altered classroom structure, an email from David Griffin, director of education abroad and domestic programs, sent to the 52 students enrolled in the program announced Monday.
No independent travel outside of the Netherlands will be permitted, a dramatic shift for the program, which many students attend with the intention of going on weekly excursions throughout Europe. Certain weekends will be designated as ‘no travel,’ during which students must stay in the town of Well.
This fall, students will go on just three program-led trips to locations in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium via motorcoach.
Students will take individual flights to Kasteel Well as opposed to the usual group flight, and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Restrictions issued by the Dutch government—such as social distancing of five feet between persons, except in students’ rooms, and increased cleaning of rooms and classrooms—will be followed.
During the self-isolation period, students will attend class in person but professors will teach from home. After the 14 days, professors will attend in-person classes, but classes will be supplemented with remote learning. Classes will be held Monday through Friday, instead of Monday through Thursday, to help decrease classroom density. The program start and end dates will stay the same, with the semester beginning on Sept. 17 and ending on Dec. 16.
COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands have been on a steady decrease since mid-April, now at 2,847 cases per one million people, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. currently sits at 6,283 cases per one million people.
“We are confident that this adapted Kasteel Well program will offer students the experience of a new country, with incredible new outlooks, customs and opportunities, while also keeping health and safety a top priority,” Griffin wrote in the email.