Message to Luther Students, Faculty, Staff, and Parents Re: Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and J-Term 2021 International Programs

To: Luther College students, faculty, staff, and parents
From: President Jenifer K. Ward
Re: Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and J-Term 2021 International Programs
Date: March 31, 2020


Dear Members of the Luther Community,

Due to the fluid nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its effects around the world, I am writing to update you on plans for Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and J-Term 2021 international programs. As of March 19, the U.S. State Department advised against all international travel due to the impact of COVID-19. No time frame has been given regarding when the “no travel” advisory will be modified. In addition, severely strained national and private health systems, unpredictable policies related to cross-border travel, and the uncertainty of continued airline operations lead us to believe that we cannot, at this moment, fulfill our commitment to the health and well-being of Luther College students, faculty, and staff abroad. In consultation with my Cabinet, the Emergency Response Team, the Center for Global Learning (CGL), and the directors of affected programs, we have made the following decisions:

Luther College will not operate any international programs for Summer 2020 nor approve students to participate in international Partner Programs, independent experiences, or internships through the end of August 2020. If conditions warrant, this date may be extended later into the fall semester. Additional details will be communicated directly to affected students via program directors and staff in the CGL.

Luther College’s Nottingham Program will be modified. Students will remain on campus for Fall 2020 and participate in a shortened program, January 2021 through early June 2021. Additional details will be communicated directly to affected students via the Nottingham Directors and staff in the CGL.

No decisions have been made yet with respect to students scheduled to participate in a variety of Fall Semester 2020 Partner Programs. The CGL is recommending that students continue with their planning, though delay making firm commitments including flights, unless a full refund is guaranteed. This will allow time for Partner Program sites to assess the local conditions with respect to program viability. Additional details will be communicated directly to affected students via staff in the CGL.

Luther College has long been committed to helping students, faculty, and staff—in the words of our mission statement—”move beyond immediate interests and present knowledge into a larger world.” Although we are taking steps in the short term to “pause” our presence in the larger world, we are not abandoning our commitment. Indeed, today more than ever, the world needs globally aware students who learn actively, live purposefully, and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact.

As a result, planning for our J-Term 2021 Off-Campus Programs will continue to move forward. The online application system will begin accepting applications on April 1 and will close on April 30. To apply, simply visit www.luther.edu/global-learning/apply/luther/jterm/. As usual, students will also have the opportunity to apply during the second-round application period in September. Please know the CGL staff will continue to monitor changing conditions and make modifications to programs as needed.

I continue to be thankful to work for and in a community that is resilient, supportive, and focused. Together, I know we can continue to move confidently into a much larger world.

Dr. Jenifer K. Ward, President
Luther College