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Fall 2021: COVID-19 Preparedness & Contingency Plans

SARS-CoV-2 Preparedness

FU-BEST adheres to the SARS-CoV-2 (commonly referred to as “coronavirus”) preparedness and response guidelines published by Freie Universität Berlin, based on §33 and §36 of the German Infectious Diseases Protection Act (IfSG) and specific recommendations by the Robert-Koch-Institut (federal agency for disease control and prevention) and the BZgA (federal center for health education). 

Please see this PDF and this website of Freie Universität Berlin for further information. 


COVID-19 Contingency Plans for the Fall 2021 Semester

The safety and well-being of our participants remains our top priority at Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST). As we plan to run the Fall Semester 2021, returning to on-site instruction and a meaningful study abroad experience for our students here in Berlin, we are nevertheless preparing for different scenarios connected to further developments regarding the containment of the so-called Coronavirus in Germany and the United States.

The following matrix depicts our contingency strategies for situations arising at various points in time between students’ financial commitment to the Fall semester in mid-June and its completion in mid-December of this year (some may at some point be in effect simultaneously).

Situation

FU-BEST Solution

Timeframe

Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter Germany to pursue study abroad

Fall Semester needs to be cancelled; full refund of fees paid to the program will be issued to all participants

Anytime between mid-June and start of Fall Semester (Aug. 23)

Shut-down of public life and campus closed off for the duration of the Fall Semester or substantial parts thereof

Fall Semester needs to be cancelled; full refund of fees paid to the program will be issued to all participants

Anytime between mid-June and start of Fall Semester (Aug. 23)

Travelers entering Germany are required to undergo self-quarantine

Program orientation and instruction will be held online for first two or three weeks, FU-BEST assists with provision of food and necessities in program-mediated housing during self-quarantine (costs to be borne by participant)

At start of Fall Semester (Aug. 23 through mid-September)

Shut-down of public life, contact restrictions in Germany and Berlin, campus closed off

Instruction will go online, certain program elements (excursion, course field-trips, volunteering etc.) will be cancelled; partial refunds might be issued if still feasible at that point

Anytime between start of Fall Semester (Aug. 23) and end of Fall Semester (Dec. 10)

Contact restrictions in Berlin and Germany for groups larger than 20 people

Instruction continues to take place on-site, group events will be modified, where possible, or cancelled, where necessary

Anytime between mid-June and end of Fall Semester (Dec. 10)


Please note:

  • All FU-BEST participants are covered by German health insurance and with housing (if program-mediated) for the whole duration of the semester. However, since the program’s health insurance does not cover Coronavirus infections acquired before participants’ arrival in the Schengen zone (i.e., infections that would cause participants to be tested positively during the first two weeks after their arrival), all participants are urged to maintain their insurance policy back home simultaneously.
  • Once the semester has started, instruction will be offered on-site or online until the program has to be cancelled in its entirety by Freie Universität Berlin.
  • In case of a high number of program cancellations by admitted students between now and mid-June, a reduction of our subject course portfolio might result and students’ course enrollment may have to be re-evaluated and adjusted accordingly. Should this be necessary, participants will be informed immediately. 

Adapted Refund and Cancellation Policies for the Fall 2021 Semester

The following adapted refund and cancellation policies are in effect for the Fall 2021 semester:

A)    A full refund of all fees paid (minus bank fees) is issued in case that*:

  • The student is not allowed to enter Germany to pursue short-term study abroad because of current state of residence
  • The student’s visa is denied or revoked before or after semester start
  • The entire FU-BEST semester has to be cancelled by Freie Universität Berlin before semester start.

 

B)    A partial refund of fees paid (minus bank fees), as far as still possible at the point of cancellation, is issued in case that*:

  • The entire FU-BEST semester has to be cancelled by Freie Universität Berlin after semester start.
  • The semester continues to be offered but as an online program with certain program elements (e.g., the weeklong excursion) cancelled.


*
 Please note that according documentation is required.