COVID-19 - Related FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
in view of the COVID-19 pandemic



    CYA is determined to offer its students an outstanding experience in the upcoming semesters, in spite of COVID-19.  We are working with two parallel aims in mind; to ensure your safety and good health, and at the same time deliver an academically superior and fulfilling semester abroad experience, without limiting your opportunities to understand and appreciate the country, its people and its culture.


Last update: April 22, 2021

Travelling to Greece

Are US citizens currently allowed to travel to Greece?
Yes, travellers from the United States are allowed entry to Greece, provided that they carry a negative PCR test done within 72 hours from arrival to Greece, or an official document showing that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19. 

If the program of studies is longer than 90 days, the student will need to obtain a student visa.

Pre-departure/Arrival

Will I need a student visa to participate in the CYA program?
If the duration of your program is longer than 90 days, you will need a student visa.  CYA will help you with the visa process; however, to apply for a visa students must have a passport valid for at least 3 months beyond your intended day of return to the U.S.  If you need to apply for or renew your passport, please check the US Government's Services website for details.  Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, you may face significant delays in receiving your passport. Check the State Department's page on Passport operations for more information.

So who would need a visa?
If you are not a citizen of the US, Canada, Australia, or the European Schengen region, you may need a visa to enter Greece. You will also need a student visa if you are staying in Europe for more than 90 days. Please email CYA at [email protected] to set up an appointment to go over this process.

What about Fall 2021?
At this time, CYA plans for a regular-duration semester in Fall 2021, which is longer than 90 days; therefore, students will need a student visa to participate in the Fall semester. This process typically begins in early summer before the student goes abroad.

What changes have already been made or will be made to the semester's length?

  CYA implemented date changes for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Fall semester ran from September 21 to December 18, 2020. Spring semester started on February 8 and will end on May 14, 2021.  This adjusted schedule still preserved the required number of contact hours and the overall richness & quality of the CYA experience.
Summer Sessions will run June 2 - June 30 and June 30 - July 28.
The Fall 2021 semester is scheduled to be back to normal length, starting August 30 and ending December 17, 2021.
Refund Policy: For Summer 2021 and Fall 2021, CYA will issue a full refund to students who withdraw up to the day before Arrivals Day (see Finances/Refunds section below).

Does CYA require that I be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to attend the program?
CYA strongly recommends that you be vaccinated before your arrival in Greece. It seems that being vaccinated is becoming a way of easing up some travel restrictions and access to group extracurricular activities. Proof of vaccination may help you travel between EU countries, or join group activities such as sports, gyms, and swimming pools.  Also, many U.S. colleges and universities require that their students be vaccinated before they return to campus. You should therefore check with your home institution to find out whether vaccination is also required by your college or university in order to be allowed to study abroad.

How will CYA prepare me to go abroad during this time?
CYA has staff both in the US and in Greece who will help you prepare for your time abroad. We will be providing students with a series of virtual Pre-departure and Life in Greece orientation sessions, starting several months in advance, and continuing until close to your arrival day.

Should I book my flight?
Travel restrictions between countries, and airline schedules, change frequently due to the volatility of the pandemic.  When the time comes to purchase your ticket, you should inquire with the airline about their flight change and cancellation policy.

Will there be a mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving in Greece?
Currently there is no quarantine requirement for passengers arriving from the United States. If, for any reason, a quarantine will be required in the Fall,  CYA is prepared to proceed with orientation and program activities on-line. CYA is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and the relevant announcements by the US State Department, the CDC as well as European and, of course, the Greek National Public Health Organization, and the Greek Civil Protection Organization and we are adjusting and expanding our preparations accordingly.

Will I have to show health documentation upon arrival?
At this time Greece requires that you present proof of a negative PCR test done within 72 hours prior to arrival, or official proof that you have been fully vaccinated.  All passengers travelling on international flights to Greece are also required to fill in and electronically submit the compulsory Passenger Locator Form (PLF) not later than the previous day before entering the country.
CYA will keep you informed of the latest requirements when the time comes.  Even if the requirement of a negative PCR is lifted by the time you are ready to travel, some airlines may still require that you present proof of health (i.e. negative results of a recent COVID-19 test) in order to board your flight, so you should check with your airline(s) as well. CYA will keep you informed  about any health documentation required for travel into Greece or for attending classes in Greece. For the latest information regarding entry to Greece please see the Greek Government's Protocol for Arrivals in and Departures from Greece and the Athens Airport's FAQ section on COVID-19.

Will CYA require that I be tested for COVID-19 when I arrive there?

If, at the time of your arrival to Athens or at any time during the semester, CYA considers a COVID-19 test necessary for all students, CYA will arrange for the tests at no cost to the students.

Is there health insurance that would support students?
Supplemental Hospitalization insurance is included in the CYA semester fees. We recommend that students also make sure that they carry health insurance through their parents/guardians or their school as their primary insurance coverage. Before arriving in Greece, students should check with their current insurance company regarding using their health insurance internationally, and that their insurance covers COVID-19 or pandemic-related treatment in general. It should be noted that, as dictated by the Greek health authorities, hospitalization for COVID-19 is available only at specific public hospitals whose fees are extremely low.

My parents are concerned; is there someone they can talk to regarding their questions?
CYA has staff both in the US and in Greece who are prepared to answer your and your parent's questions. If you would like to schedule an appointment to go over any concerns or questions about the program, please e-mail [email protected].
For general information about the situation in Greece you may also contact the American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, by phone at +30 210-721-2951 or by mail at [email protected]

Is there anything I can do now to help prepare?
●    Please make sure you enroll in STEP before going abroad!
●    Stay aware! Be sure you are keeping up to date with what is going on in the world using reputable news sources. The online English version of the reputable Greek newspaper Kathimerini is also a very reliable source of information.
●    Follow the news about COVID-19 on the CDC, WHO, and State Dept. pages and subscribe to their newsletters.
●    CYA will also be sharing articles and announcements about Greece, so make sure you read all the emails we send you.

What is CYA’s timeline for decisions?

CYA's spring semester is progressing smoothly on-site in Athens with a group of 30 students.  CYA is preparing for the summer 2021 sessions and the fall 2021 semester, which we will also hold on-site.

Academics

If I cannot arrive in time due to a positive test, will I be able to catch up with classes?
The first week of the semester is dedicated to orientation activities; classes start the following Monday.  Even if you are delayed at home due to a positive COVID-19 test, CYA will help you acclimate once you arrive, and your professors will work with you to find ways for you to catch up with missed classes.

What happens if schools in Greece must be closed for any period of time, or if my home institution requires that I return home before the semester is completed?
CYA is fully prepared to continue classes online via synchronous and/or asynchronous sessions for as short or as long a period as becomes necessary.  Also, course material and audiovisual aids for all courses will be available to students online via Moodle.  
In spring 2020, when students were ordered by their home institutions to return to the U.S., CYA arranged for all courses to be switched quickly to online. Students were able to complete their classes online from home and to receive full credit.

Housing

I’m concerned about housing amidst COVID-19, how is CYA addressing housing in the Summer? In the Fall?
 Although single occupancy bedrooms cannot be guaranteed, CYA will make every effort to maintain reduced capacity at CYA apartments in the summer and fall 2021. Each bedroom has a separate clima (hot/cold) unit. All CYA apartments are within walking distance of the Academic Center, eliminating the need of public transportation.

Can I still participate in a Homestay?
Unfortunately, CYA has decided not to offer the Homestay housing option until the pandemic situation is under control. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution for our incoming students.

What precautions is CYA taking to ensure that apartments are clean/sanitized?

Cleaning of apartments is done by CYA skilled crew who follow all protocols regarding COVID-19. Cleaning agents and sanitizing materials for surfaces and toilets is also available in each apartment for students to use themselves as needed. Hand disinfectant and paper towels are provided by CYA in each apartment.

What if I develop COVID-19 symptoms and I am ordered to stay in home isolation?

CYA has reserved apartments for the isolation of students who test positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospitalization. CYA will also help ensure a safe environment for non-infected roommates. CYA will comply with all health authorities' instructions regarding at-home isolation or quarantine of positive or suspected cases, and will assist the students with their daily needs, such as grocery shopping etc. CYA will also deliver a packaged lunch to isolated or quarantined students on those days that lunch is offered at the CYA Cafeteria.

Are there things I should avoid doing?
CYA will be sharing recommendations and policies set forth by health authorities regarding social distancing and health-related precautions. Government imposed restrictions may be changing over time, and CYA will keep students up to date on all restrictions and procedures regarding the use of masks, social distancing, group gatherings,shopping, etc. CYA will share the most current information during the pre-departure online orientation sessions, as well as upon student arrival, and will continue communicating with students about the latest developments throughout their stay in Greece.

Classes / Classrooms / Offices / Common areas

How is CYA going to handle social distancing in classrooms? Are class sizes going to be adjusted?
CYA has an abundance of classrooms of different sizes. Classrooms are assigned depending on the number of students enrolled in each class & according to Greek authorities' regulations regarding classroom distancing. Onsite classes are conducted with respect to social distancing, following museum and sites health protocols, and with the use of wireless audio guide systems to increase audible range and facilitate easy communication.

Have extra measures in sanitation & facilities maintenance been taken?
Since January 2020, the housing department has upgraded its daily cleaning regime by following WHO and CDC recommendations about sanitizing home and work environments. As per cleaning procedures established at CYA since January 2020, disinfectant is used on all frequently touched surfaces such as desks, tables, doorknobs, railings, etc.   Classroom  equipment is disinfected between classes as well. WHO and CDC posters on how to prevent the spread of a disease and how to identify COVID-19 symptoms have been posted throughout the CYA facilities and in student apartments. Hand disinfectant containers have been placed prominently and in abundance throughout the CYA buildings and in all student apartments. All classrooms have opening windows for air ventilation and most have a separate clima unit.

Will students/staff be required to wear masks?
Currently masks must be worn both when outside, as well as in all enclosed public spaces such as stores, banks, supermarkets, schools, classrooms, public offices, etc. CYA will inform you and help you comply with local government directives at all times.

Is there regular taking of students’ temperature? Either themselves or on-site?
Although not currently required by health authorities, CYA is taking students' temperatures daily with the use of no-contact thermometers.  In addition, each student will be provided with a thermometer for their personal use.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 while at CYA?
Currently CYA provides weekly Rapid Tests to Spring 2021 students. This will continue for as long as weekly tests are deemed necessary.

If I get sick, can I still participate in class while being quarantined?
Depending on the requirements of each class, your professors will help you arrange the most effective method for you to keep up to speed with your classes while in quarantine. All semester courses offered will be also available, in their entirety, on Moodle with such course material as: prerecorded lecture videos; videos from onsite; videos of interviews; podcasts; PowerPoint and class-notes; reading; discussion forums. This will ensure continuity and uninterrupted flow regardless of the circumstances. Online course material, bibliography, and supplemental reading will be available to students from the beginning of the semester.

Field Study

Will the popular CYA Field Study program be affected?
There may be changes of itineraries dictated by local conditions but CYA will do its utmost to deliver a rich study travel program in various parts of Greece and a full exposure to life and culture outside Athens.  Traveling on buse, boats or airlines will be arranged according to social distancing regulations in effect at the time for each means of public transportation.

Finances/Refunds

What happens if I want to withdraw or defer my acceptance to a later term?
Please notify CYA as soon as you decide to withdraw or defer your acceptance. CYA will instruct you how to do so.  Please also be sure to notify your school of your intention to withdraw from CYA or to defer to a later semester.

CYA’s Refund policy for Academic Year 2020-21 and Fall 2021 has been amended to alleviate some of the financial concerns and uncertainties caused by COVID-19: in the event that a student withdraws from, or CYA cancels, the program prior to Arrivals Day, CYA will issue a 100% refund including the $600 non-refundable deposit. The same applies to Summer 2021.

Will I get my money back if I defer to a later semester?
Yes; nevertheless you should follow the payment guidelines relevant to the semester you defer to.

Healthcare in Greece

What is the healthcare system like in Greece if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
Normally, CYA uses private hospitals for its students’ needs. However, procedures for COVID-19 testing & hospitalization have been determined and are being controlled  by the Greek health authorities. Patients and physicians alike have to follow these procedures. If hospitalization for COVID-19 is necessary, patients are admitted to public hospitals that are specially designated and appropriately equipped & staffed for COVID-19 treatment. At least two of these hospitals are in close proximity to CYA. 

For any non-COVID-19 related medical needs (outpatient or hospitalization) CYA helps students to a nearby private hospital, Euroclinic, which guarantees a COVID-19-free environment.

The Student Affairs department keeps up to date with the latest government instructions regarding handling and processing a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case and will assist students with the procedure. 

Are COVID-19 tests readily available should I feel ill?
Yes, PCR and Rapid tests are readily available at private hospitals, diagnostic centers and local Labs, as well as at all the COVID-19 equipped public hospitals. One such diagnostic center/Lab is within 5 minutes walking distance from CYA. PCR tests cost 60 Euros, while Rapid tests costs 25 Euros.  Self tests are available for purchase at pharmacies, costing between 5 and 15 Euros.

Greece during COVID-19

How has Greece responded to the pandemic?
Greece responded to the pandemic early and in an efficient and competent way.  Daily updates are given by the health authorities and regulations are announced and clarified. The early and lengthy lockdown in Spring 2020 and repeated shorter-term lockdowns to-date, have helped Greece to deal with the pandemic with a relatively low number of victims and the death toll percentage in Greece has been among the lowest in Europe. Currently Greece is experiencing a surge in positive cases, and the authorities are announcing new measures as needed for specific periods of time, usually for a two-week duration. The vaccination program started in December 2020 with Healthcare personnel. The vaccinations for the general population started on January 16 giving priority to the elderly and those with health problems.  Right now people 50-55 years old are being vaccinated, with those 30-49 scheduled to be vaccinated in May and June.

Will I have to wear a face mask when out in public?
At this time the use of masks is required both indoors (in public spaces, including offices and schools) and outdoors.  The penalty for not wearing a mask is 300 Euros. Fines are issued by the police.

Will sites such as museums, historic sites, churches, and more be open?
Archaeological and historic sites are currently open. Museums are expected to reopen within May, most likely requiring the use of masks and social distancing.   Churches are curently closed with services performed only by the clergy.  They are expected to reopen soon with strict social distancing and low number of participants.

Will I be allowed to travel outside of Greece during my time abroad? What measures will CYA take for students who choose to travel on weekends?
 
Travel restrictions change frequently and may disrupt unexpectedly any plans you may have made. Travel documentation (testing) and quarantines may be announced by any country, or even an airline, overnight. CYA will not be able to assist you if you are prevented from returning to Athens, or if you find yourself in need of medical care while outside of Greece. You are therefore strongly advised not to plan trips outside of Greece during your studies at CYA.
Although travel within Greece is allowed effective May 15, 2021, travel restrictions may still apply for certain areas or islands, depending on local COVID-19 conditions.  CYA strongly recommends that you discuss your travel plans with us before making any arrangements, to ensure that travel to your destination is possible and/or permitted, and that CYA would be able to help you if you fell ill or were placed in quarantine while traveling.

If I leave Greece for a weekend trip, will I have to quarantine upon arrival back into Greece?
You will have to follow government regulations in effect at the time of your travel, both towards your destination & when returning to Greece. Currently many European countries (including Greece) impose a 7-day quarantine for  incoming travellers from various points of origin. Experience from this past spring has shown us that decisions to quarantine travelers may be announced unexpectedly and for varying lengths. (3-10 days). In addition,depending on your travel destination(s) CYA may require that you are tested for COVID-19 on your expense before you return to classes.

Will I still be able to participate in internships/volunteer work?
Yes, the CYA Student Affairs department will advise you on volunteering/internship opportunities that would pose the least threat to exposure to the COVID-19 virus. However, it will be up to you to take all precautions necessary commuting to the volunteer location as well as during your time there. 

What precautions should I take if I use public transportation?
The CYA apartments are within a 2-10 minute walk from the Academic Center,and the places where your on-site classes will be held are all within walking distance; therefore there is no need for public transportation to attend classes.  Specific instructions regarding the use of public transportation, as well as airline and ferry travel, are issued by the government and the public health authorities. Students will be kept updated with the latest information throughout the semester.  At this time, using a mask is mandatory on all means of public transportation (ground, air and sea), as well as in taxis.