COVID-19 Safety Plan
Onward and upward! We are moving full-steam ahead with our 2020-2021 school year plans. The current situation will hopefully continue to improve here in Barcelona, Europe and the U.S. before fall term starts. In any case, it is fortunate that ALBA is a small program with incredibly quick and high adaptability. The ALBA Covid-19 safety and contingency plans are poised and ready to meet any challenges that could arise.
The Small Group Concept
Unlike most other Study Abroad programs, ALBA is built on the small-group principle, making it very flexible and ready for change at all times. With no more than 60 students per term, it is easy to get to know all of our students and keep track of their specific needs.
We have made the pertinent adjustments to our school in order to be prepared to comfortably receive students in person once again.
The ALBA facilities are comprised of 4,800 Sq Ft, in which we have various common areas and study rooms (), six classrooms (), four lavatories (), and two administration offices (). Even with all 60 students at the ALBA facilities at once (which never happens), just with the common areas and classrooms, we would have the currently suggested 27 Sq Ft of space per student, allowing us to maintain more than adequate social distancing from one person to the next.
Additionally, ALBA students have access to Universitat Pompeu Fabra libraries and study rooms, as well as to public libraries that follow strict health measures.
We are following the indications and protocols of the Spanish health authorities in order to maintain a healthy environment in our facilities.
- We have sanitary gel and tissues at the students’ disposition in the common areas and the entrances.
- We have hygiene reminder signs and distancing measure reminders distributed in key points around the facilities.
- The cleaning service frequency has been increased and is using products that are proven to be effective against the virus.
We have set a limit of students for each classroom based on the amount of Sq Ft, in order to guarantee a safety distance of five feet between students. This translates into a maximum occupancy of only 30-32% of our facility’s actual capacity.
Schedules will be arranged to avoid peaks in attendance and guarantee an even flow of students during the entire day.
We will only be offering housing options within a 30 minutes walking distance to ALBA. As such, students will be able to avoid public transportation, despite public transportation now being deemed safe.
ALBA works with one of the best private hospitals in the city that ensures:
- COVID-19 tests to confirm infection or antibodies
- Hospitalization and treatment if necessary
- 24/7 emergency service
- English-speaking professionals and physicians
- Online doctor visits if necessary
- Cooking Classes – Cooking groups will be determined based on current guidelines.
- Excursions – We will be running the full-day excursions, following Spanish authorities’ recommendations regarding transportation.
- Mixers, movie nights, seminars and other ALBA events – We will still be holding the regular events but following distancing and other health protection measures.
- Orientation – We will hold an online Pre-Departure Orientation 7-10 days before the recommended Arrival Date.
- Arrival Quarantine – There is no arrival quarantine anticipated for students arriving in late September. It might be recommended that students get tested within 48-hours of departing the U.S. and carrying the test certification on their person. If there is an arrival quarantine in place, students will stay in their accommodation the required number of days and do the first few classes online through the ALBA GLE.
What happens in the event of temporary or permanent interruption to in-person classes?
Not a problem. The ALBA Global Learning Experience online program is in place and ready to go at all times!
For the coming 2020-2021 school year, ALBA will be offering both in-person classes and online GLE classes for all courses. This means that, should the program be interrupted for any length of time, the GLE will be in place and classes will continue until we can return to in-person classes.
What will happen with students that become sick?
If a student should become sick, that student will self-isolate in their own, or alternative, accommodation and attend their classes online until being cleared by a physician.
ALBA has been working on a Contingency Plan that considers all kinds of scenarios in the case of an upturn of the infection at some point. This plan is coherent with the rest of the study abroad industry in Spain, the recommendations of the Spanish health authorities, and the US Embassy in Madrid.
Termspecific Status Update
Fall Term 2020
July 1st, 2020 – The Spanish government and the European Union have lifted travel bans for students. As of July 1st, students are allowed to travel from the U.S. to Spain as well as travel around the Schengen Area while they are here. It is expected that restrictions for the rest of U.S. citizens will be lifted as soon as the situation improves in the U.S.
Here is the latest with Barcelona and Covid-19:
- Barcelona is open! The beaches are alive, and monuments, museums, bars and restaurants are open and people are out and about.
- Social distancing measures and recommendations are in place.
- Face mask and hand sanitizer use is recommended and required in some indoor areas.
- Most local universities and schools will be open for in-person classes this fall.
Capacity for this term has been increased in order to receive students deferring from Spring Term 2020 and Summer Term 2020.
Winter Term 2021 and onwards
June 8th, 2020 – We are very confident that winter term 2021 will carry on as planned.
Capacity for this terms has been increased in order to receive students deferring from Spring Term 2020 and Summer Term 2020.