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Programming During COVID-19

Updated April 23, 2021

CGEE Programming updates. jump to:

Before Programs: Evaluating a Location’s Safety

CGEE plans to resume in-person international programming in Fall 2021, assessing the suitability for resumption on a country-by-country basis, across a range of criteria.  Among the criteria are the following:
  • What is the incidence of COVID-19 in the destination country compared to the incidence in the parts of the United States where our students come from? 
  • Are public health experts saying that new COVID-19 variants pose a significantly higher risk for travelers to the destination country?
  • How are national and local officials addressing COVID-19 and protecting the public? Is the number of cases declining? Is the health care system able to handle the needs of foreign visitors like our students?
  • Do CGEE’s emergency and contingency protocols at the site allow for flexibility in course delivery if modes of delivery must be modified in the middle of a program
  • Are we able to implement and manage safety precautions in our facilities (social distancing, self-isolation needs, the disinfecting of classroom spaces, etc.)
  • Can we ensure an acceptable level of safety for our local hosts? Do they want in-person programming to occur?
Crucially, we will also require program participants to test negative for COVID-19 within 3 days of departure from the United States. In turn, we will confirm that the destination country offers fast and easy access to COVID viral testing, so that students can comply with Department of Homeland Security requirements for re-entering the United States when the program is done.

CGEE's data sources for making determinations include the WHO, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and the Minnesota Department of Health.  

CGEE does not rely on U.S. State Department Travel Advisories for the evaluation of COVID-related risks. State Department COVID advisories are correlated to the CDC’s Travel Risk Assessment system, which does not permit useful comparative analysis. Based on this system, nearly 80% of the countries in the world receive the State Department’s “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” advisory, with no distinction between places where COVID transmission is being arrested and places where it remains uncontrolled (as well as no adjustment for the vaccination status of the person traveling). In fact, not only would the United States itself receive a Level 4 advisory under this system, but COVID-related risks are actually higher in parts of the U.S. than they are in many of the countries with the Level 4 designation.
CGEE continues to rely on U.S State Department Travel Advisories for the evaluation of non-COVID-related risks. We do not operate programs in countries under a Level 4 advisory for risks related to violence, crime, political or civil unrest, terrorism, and recent natural disasters. CGEE also continues to incorporate CDC guidance into on-site health and safety protocols.

If you have questions about our decision criteria, please contact us at

During Programs: Ensuring Safety

CGEE has developed on-site safety protocols in consultation with an epidemiologist and expert in global public health from the Augsburg University faculty. In addition, we incorporate recommendations of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and health authorities in the host countries where CGEE programs occur.

CGEE program site staff, including program support staff, have received training regarding the protocols and have participated in briefings with local health authorities. Depending on the country in question, these authorities have been representatives from the national ministry of health or representatives from provincial or municipal public health institutions.

For detailed information on the COVID-related safety protocols in place for summer and fall 2021, please refer to the full Safety and Security During COVID-19 document.

Updates to Summer and Fall 2021 Augsburg CGEE Programs

While we are optimistic that we can run in-person programs at our different locations, the fluidity and dynamic nature of COVID-19 and individual countries’ responses can be challenging. CGEE staff worldwide are monitoring on-the-ground situations daily and have prepared and trained to run programs according to our new safety protocols (see above). As of this writing (March 4, 2021), the following decisions have been made:

  • Central America Semester Program → Application deadline: May 1, 2021 
  • All Mexico Semester Programs → Application deadline: May 1, 2021 
  • Southern Africa Semester Program → Application deadline: May 1, 2021
  • Programming changes:
    • Itinerary changes
      • Central America: The segment in Cuba has been relocated to El Salvador.
    • New start dates
      • Mexico Programs: September 1st, 2021
      • Central America: September 1st, 2021
      • Southern Africa program: September 3rd, 2021
    • Homestays cancelled in all locations
While homestays are an important part of a CGEE study abroad experience, we feel a strong responsibility to keep our homestay families safe. Out of an abundance of caution, we are planning to run our programs without homestays in Fall 2021 in all locations. 

We know students choose CGEE programs for the community connections, and we will continue to create a safe environment for them to get to know community members in other spaces, such as outdoor, socially distanced gatherings. We will continue to monitor the situation and will return to offering homestays as soon as it is safe for host families and students.

Announcements & Updates for Augsburg Students Participating on Non-CGEE programs

May short-term faculty-led programs have all been cancelled or postponed. Students with complete summer and fall affiliate and exchange applications are provisionally approved. On or before May 1, we will review and make decisions about final approval.

Customized International Programs

CGEE continues to plan, and accept proposals for, short-term customized programs with partner colleges and universities and other external institutions. Programs that are currently being developed comprise all CGEE locations—Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Colombia, Southern Africa, Italy, and Palestine. We anticipate high demand for customized programming in 2021-22 and therefore encourage partners to book their dates now to reserve their spots! 

See the CGEE Customized Programs page for more information, or contact our director of customized programs, Peggy Johnson ( 

Virtual Learning

See the current online course listingsStudents taking online courses with CGEE will participate in interviews and discussions with prominent local change makers and movement leaders. Learning will occur within a context of critical analysis and both group and individual reflection. Check individual courses to see asynchronous/synchronous attendance requirements. 

Additionally, we are proud to continue our customized virtual programming! We are able to offer visits to a country or region from the comfort of your own classroom. Multiple options are available, including: Virtual Immersions, the Global Competence Certificate program, and the “World to Classroom” speaker series! For more information, contact our director of customized programs, Peggy Johnson (

Additional Contacts at CGEE

To manage the spread of COVID-19, Augsburg University's physical campus has reduced operations to meet federal, state, and local guidelines for social distancing. But CGEE staff are available and ready to talk with students or advisors virtually!  Many staff members can meet by phone or online via Zoom. If you would like to be connected to a CGEE staff member, please email us at: 


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