Coronavirus Update March 31, 2020
All of Italy, including everyone in the SACI community, is waiting for the next governmental decree, which should come out sometime tomorrow or Thursday. Although there were sadly 812 deaths in the country yesterday, the number of new cases of Coronavirus continue to show signs of slowing down.
In a meeting yesterday morning, Italy’s Scientific Technical Committee recommended an extension of the lockdown until at least Easter. Although the Health Minister Roberto Speranza stated that the government is moving in that direction, there is evidently a possibility that containment measures will continue until May 4th. Only the official decree can clarify this.
Hopefully, the numbers will continue to drop, but until the “R zero” rate (the number of cases directly generated by one case) is under 1, it is difficult to predict how long the restrictions will need to be in place. Restrictions will most likely be lifted in stages, and once lifted, it will probably be necessary for a while to maintain a distance of one meter between individuals.
Coronavirus Update March 30, 2020
Although restrictions on all non-essential activities in Italy were scheduled to expire on Friday, April 3, everything points to an extension of at least two weeks, if not more.
Yesterday Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza made it clear that Italy is still “in piena emergenza” and must continue the lockdown so that the sacrifices made so far to rein in the contagion are not erased.
Further steps have been taken to contain the virus, including increasing the number of police checkpoints to put a stop to illegal movement of infected individuals from one province or region to another.
Until a new decree is signed outlining the terms of the extension, you are reminded to carry with you the Self-Certification form that justifies your reasons for movement (SACI students are reminded that they can find an English explanation of the form in MySACI).
Coronavirus Update March 27, 2020
Yesterday the Italian government issued a fourth version of the Self-Certification form, which substitutes the previous versions and must be carried with you if you need to leave your home for justifiable reasons (see update of March 25 below for what to do if you don’t have a printer). The new document can be found here.
In brief, the changes in the fourth edition regard movement from one region of Italy to another, requiring you to declare that, in addition to the restrictions that apply to the entire country in the decree of March 25, you are aware of the measures adopted by the region you are leaving and the region of your destination.
After a slight decline earlier this week in the number of new cases of Coronavirus and deaths due to the disease, Italy suffered a setback yesterday when, as reported by the Civil Protection Department, both numbers increased—mostly in Lombardy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy.
Although there are still hopes that the restrictions put in place will eventually cause the epidemic to retreat, it is still impossible for the government to relax the lockdown.
The Minister of Education Lucia Azzolina confirmed before the Senate yesterday that schools and universities in Italy would remain closed until the Health authorities determine that it is safe to return to the classroom.
Coronavirus Update March 26, 2020
After the fourth consecutive day of a slight downward trend in the number of infections in Italy, it is essential to remember the importance of social distancing. The stay-at-home restrictions seem to be working, but if you must go out for food shopping, don't forget that the Italian government suggests keeping a distance of at least one meter from other individuals. Other governments have suggested an even greater distance (2 to 2.5 meters), therefore our suggestion is “the further, the better.” Please remember that the virus is also spread by asymptomatic individuals (currently showing no symptons of Coronavirus), who may be out and about without knowing they are carrying and transmitting the virus.
Information for MFA Graduates
Given the uncertainly of the length of the quarantine in Italy and in other parts of the world, SACI regrets that the MFA Commencement ceremony, scheduled for April 23 in Palazzo Medici Riccardi, has been canceled. The final exhibition at Frittelli gallery will be substituted with what we hope will be alternatives that will provide you with the opportunity to make your work visible to an even larger audience. In addition to a larger printed exhibition catalog (plus a digital version for the internet), and a video in which you are the protagonists, we are exploring other options to exhibit your work online. We will keep you posted—expect to hear more details from your Program Directors soon.
Coronavirus Update March 25, 2020
Another governmental decree regarding the Coronavirus crisis was announced at 6:30 pm yesterday on national television by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Among the measures announced, the most relevant to SACI students, faculty, and staff is the news that fines have been raised for people who defy the lockdown order. Individuals who do not obey the restrictions on movement now risk fines between 400 and 3000 euros. Those who do not respect the quarantine and have tested positive for the virus risk up to 5 years in prison.
SACI students, faculty, and staff are reminded to carry the self-certification document with them if they must go out for justifiable reasons (purchase of food and medicine, proven work-related needs, and health reasons). If you don't have a printer, you can copy the text by hand, fill it in and sign it—it will be considered valid. If you have a smartphone, you can show the self-certification pdf on the screen, but first you must fill out the pdf (it is a fillable pdf, if you have the necessary software). The police should also have blank copies with them that you can fill out and sign in front of them if you are stopped. Current SACI students can find an explanation of the form in English in the password protected area of MySACI.
Coronavirus Update March 24, 2020
To SACI students, faculty, and staff, who are so diligently following the stay-at-home orders of the Italian government, please note that as of yesterday, there is another new self-certification form that must be filled out if you must move about for one of the justifiable reasons listed by the government (purchase of food and medicine, proven work-related needs, and health reasons). You can download the fillable pdf here.
Note: This form is also available to current SACI students in the password protected area of MySACI, which is updated regularly by the SACI Registrar. Since the form is in Italian, you will find an explanation in English of the fields to fill out. If you can't print the self-certification form because you don't have a printer, you can copy the text by hand, fill it in and sign it—it will be considered valid. If you have a smartphone, you can show the self-certification pdf on the screen, but first you have to fill out the pdf. The police should also have blank copies with them that you can fill out and sign in front of them if you are stopped.
After a slight, but encouraging, drop in the number of infections and deaths in Italy yesterday, it is more important than ever to continue to follow the decrees of the Italian government. This week will be crucial in determining if Italy's strict, but necessary, stay-at-home measures are producing positive results. The form was modified by the government in order to further restrict movement by abolishing the possibility of returning to one's home except in urgent cases related to work or health.
Coronavirus Update March 23, 2020
For Current SACI MA in Art History Students
Italian Education Minister Lucia Azzolina recently stated that it is most likely that schools will remain closed beyond April 3 and will reopen only when there is a certainty of absolute safety. Therefore, it is not possible at this time to determine when SACI will be able to reopen its facilities. Restrictions that extend to museums, libraries, archives and other facilities in Florence and the region where your critical research materials might be located are also still in place.
The Director of the MA in Art History program will work with you individually to help facilitate the continuity of coursework and thesis writing so that you can complete the program on schedule. The dynamics of this process will of course depend on the many effects on travel, governmental policies and other consequences of this crisis, but be assured that the Program Director and SACI faculty will continue to show extraordinary commitment and creativity in establishing structures and adaptations that will allow you to complete your graduate program.
Coronavirus Update March 22, 2020
After a dramatic day on March 21, when Italy lost 793 people to CONVID-19 (Coronavirus), by far the largest single-day increase, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced late last night stricter measures for the entire country. After pressure from regional presidents, trade unions, and opposing political parties, the government decided to slow down Italy's productive engine, an enormous economic sacrifice with the intent to save lives.
From March 23 to April 3 all non-essential factories and commercial activity will come to a standstill.
The following essential services are ensured:
- Supermarkets and food stores
- Drugstores and stores that sell over-the-counter drugs
- Post offices
- Insurance companies
The official emergency decree is expected to be published today.
Coronavirus Update March 21, 2020
On Friday, March 20, the Italian Health Ministry issued new and tighter restrictions in a further effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). The order went into effect this morning, March 21, and will last until March 25.
The new restrictions are as follows:
- Access to public parks, villas, playgrounds, and gardens is prohibited
- Outdoor recreation is prohibited. Exercise near one’s home is permitted providing that there is a distance of at least one meter between persons.
- Food and beverages can no longer be sold inside train stations, lake areas, or gas stations (except for those on the highway, where only take-out is allowed).
- Food and beverage services in hospitals and airports remain open, but they must guarantee a distance of at least one meter between persons.
- On holidays and the days immediately preceding or following them, it is forbidden to go to second homes (such as vacation homes).
The original decree (in Italian) can be found on the Ministry of Health’s website.
Coronavirus Update March 20, 2020
For SACI Students Currently in Italy
Last night, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 Advisory (Do Not Travel) for all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19:
"In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period."
This is due to both the measures many countries are implementing including restrictions on travel and border crossings as well as the implementation of quarantines. International airlines are also canceling many flights limiting opportunities for international travel. It is still possible to fly back to the US through Rome, but flight availabilities are dropping quickly. Florence airport is closed and only Pisa and Bologna have flights to Rome.
For those who are returning to the U.S. or to a different home country, SACI will continue to offer its MFA programs in Studio Art, Photography and Communication Design, as well as our Post-Baccalaureate programs in Studio Art and Conservation via Distance Learning. Our instructors will continue to work with you remotely and ensure that you can complete your degree or certificate program. By now, you have all received a message from the Dean with instructions on how to retrieve your personal items from the studios.
If you are staying in Florence, we will continue all our courses through Distance Learning. SACI facilities will reopen when the Italian government permits a return to onsite educational activity. It is not currently possible to determine when this will be as it depends on the progression of the virus, but we will comply with all government directives and keep you informed.
Below are some useful links to information about COVID-19:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
U.S. State Department Travel Advisories:
World Health Organization:
Coronavirus Update March 19, 2020
For SACI Students Currently in Italy
If you speak a bit of Italian and have a television in your apartment, you might want to tune in to RAINews24 at 6 pm every evening for the daily press conference about COVID-19 by Italy’s Civil Protection Team. If you don’t speak Italian, the Italian Civil Protection website has some sections in English, including translations of the most recent government decrees and press releases.
Yesterday, there were 475 deaths in Italy in one day, the biggest jump since the COVID-19 contagion in Italy came to light. Officials in Europe have said that the virus has now infected and killed more people in Europe than in China, where it initially emerged. The good news is that yesterday, no new local Coronavirus infections were reported in China. From China’s experience, it is now clear that everything depends on our collective actions and solidarity. Everyone must do their part by respecting Italy’s nationwide restrictions on movement and social distancing.
Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information on the disease.
Coronavirus Update March 18, 2020
In response to the closure of universities and schools in Italy due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis, SACI has implemented distance learning initiatives for students. Online classes got off to a great start on Monday, March 16.
For SACI Students Currently in Italy
As restrictions on movement continue in Italy (and now in all of Europe), on Tuesday, March 17, the Italian government issued a newly revised autocertificazione form, necessary to carry with you if you must leave your apartment to purchase food, medicine, or see a doctor. The police are authorized to stop any pedestrian or vehicle and ask for this document, which explains the reason why you are not at home. The new form can be found here. Make sure you take the form with you if you must leave your apartment for justifiable reasons. Those found guilty of breaking the restrictions face a three-month prison sentence or a fine of 206 euros.
Coronavirus Update March 16, 2020
In these unprecedented times, for the good of all, SACI facilities in both Florence and New York are closed. This does not mean that we are not working! Staff members are working from home and can be reached through email in both Florence and NY. Phone calls directed to the SACI Admissions Office will be picked up remotely so that questions about upcoming application deadlines and scholarships can be answered.
Thanks to the hard work of SACI's Distance Learning Team, and with the enthusiastic cooperation of faculty and students, SACI has converted to a distance learning program with classes recommencing today after the Midterm Break.
Travel update from the U.S. Embassy in Rome
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be permitted to return from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the European Schengen area. The Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures. See the DHS website for more details.
Coronavirus Update March 13, 2020
In line with the Italian government's decrees to contain the spread of CONVID-19 (Coronavirus), and in the best interest of the health and safety of all, SACI announced yesterday to faculty, staff, and graduate students in Florence that as of 5 pm on Thursday, March 12 all SACI facilities will remain temporarily closed until further notice.
Online distance learning for graduate and undergraduate students begins Monday, March 16th, when SACI's faculty will engage students in creative, meaningful, and personal ways—while still maintaining SACI's same high educational standards.
Coronavirus Update March 12, 2020
On Wednesday evening, March 11, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that in order to keep new cases of CONVID-19 (Coronavirus) from entering the United States, all travel from Europe will be suspended for 30 days starting midnight on Friday, March 13. The restrictions apply to foreign nationals who in the last 14 days have been in the 26 countries of the Schengen Area with open border agreements. They do not apply to the United Kingdom. There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screening.
Last night, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a new decree that went into effect immediately this morning calling for the closure of most commercial activities and retail shops in the entire territory of Italy. In addition to the closure of museums, theaters, cinemas, gyms, pools, pubs, etc. announced in the decree of March 8, retail stores, restaurants, cafés, markets, and hairdressers will not be able to open until at least March 25. Food stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices, newstands, gas stations, and public transportation will continue to function—although a distance of at least one meter between persons must be guaranteed.
Schools and universities continue to be closed until at least April 3.
For SACI Students Currently in Italy
If you are in Italy and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, tiredness, breathing difficulty), DO NOT go to the Emergency Room, the doctor’s office, or a pharmacy. As specified by the Italian government, you must stay home and call 1500 or 112. The emergency responder will give you instructions and make sure that your case is followed by health care workers (you do not have to be an Italian citizen to receive medical assistance). If you are using a U.S. cell phone, be sure to add +11-39 before the Italian emergency numbers.
Below are reminders of precautions to take to avoid the spread of contagion:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and hot water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer gel
- Use a tissue for coughs and sneezes
- If you don’t have a tissue, use your sleeve
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth
- Avoid close contact with others and keep a social distance of at least one meter
Coronavirus Update March 11, 2020
To safeguard the country’s population (especially the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable), and to save the Italian healthcare system from collapse, the government has restricted movement in the entire country to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Recent news reports also suggest that officials in the northern regions are calling for a total shutdown of all commercial activity and public transportation. The government is expected to respond to this request shortly.
Information for Current Graduate and Undergraduate Students
Due to the directives of the Italian government announced on Monday March 9th, all SACI facilities will be closed until April 3rd. Undergraduate students and some graduate students have already returned home, but regardless of where you are, you will be able to complete the term by distance learning starting the week of March 16th. Our faculty and staff have been working around the clock to make this possible. SACI faculty will be in touch with you directly with the details. (Please note: Although many airlines have canceled flights, the Italian decree does not prevent travelers from departing Italy).
All graduate students in Florence should adhere to the restrictions as outlined by the most recent Italian government directives and should contact SACI with any questions.
Information for Future Summer Students
SACI has regrettably canceled the 2020 Summer I, Full Summer Florence, and Full Summer Florence + Venice programs. We are closely monitoring the situation and still hope to run the Summer II and Summer Venice programs as scheduled.
If you had planned on attending SACI during the Summer I term, please contact the NY Admissions Office for information about your options.
Information for Future Fall Students
The deadline for students wishing to apply for scholarships for the Fall 2020 term has been extended to April 1, 2020. If you have questions about the application or scholarship process, please contact the NY Admissions Office.
Coronavirus Update March 9, 2020
On Monday, March 9, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte spoke to the nation on prime time news to announce stronger and broader restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). With this announcement, Italy became the first European country to announce a blanket restriction on non-essential movement across the country. The entire country is now considered a "protected zone." As of Tuesday, March 10, only for reasons of work, health or extenuating circumstances is it possible to move around the country. The need for social distancing was stressed and schools and universities will remain closed until at least April 3rd. Citizens are encouraged to stay home.
Individuals can be stopped by the police authorities and asked about the reasons for traveling, or for simply being out and about. By filling in a form that the authorities themselves provide (and that can be found on www.interno.gov.it), individuals can “self-certify” their reasons if they are among one of the following: 1) work purposes, 2) extenuating circumstances, 3) health reasons, or, 4) re-entry into one's home residence. Clearly, any false statement is a crime in itself.
Students who are still in Italy and are about to leave for their home campus or home residence will be subject to the above procedure, and will, most likely, be monitored when arriving at the airport for boarding.
Coronavirus Update March 8, 2020
Although the risk of contracting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Florence is still relatively low, due to the rapidly evolving situation in Italy, SACI takes the situation very seriously and has acted proactively by closely following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Department of State. As soon as they are released, SACI adheres to the mandates of the Italian government. Since this crisis began, communications have been sent regularly to the SACI community, our students, their home institutions, and parents (see "Recent Coronavirus Communications" below). To maintain and continue to monitor the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and our host community in Florence, we will continue to update this page regularly.
After having closed all schools and universities through March 15th, the Italian government released a new mandate during the night of March 8 calling for the closure of museums, theaters, cinemas, gyms, and pools, etc. and also suspended all exhibitions and events in Italy until April 3. The quarantined areas in Northern Italy were also extended to include the entire Region of Lombardy and the Provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio nell'Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Venice, Padua, Treviso, Asti and Alessandria.
As previously announced, starting March 16, SACI will provide distance learning to its current Spring Term students who departed from Italy when the travel advisory was raised to Level 3 (avoid all nonessential travel to Italy). Our faculty are looking forward to reconnecting with our students, to continue teaching our courses remotely. They have prepared materials and ways to share information that we hope will be insightful and interactive.
Below is specific information for current and future students. Please check back for regular updates to this page.
Information for Current Students
Starting the week of March 9, SACI's Dean of Art & Design and faculty will begin to communicate with you on how distance learning will be structured so that you can earn the necessary credits to complete the term. All of your courses will commence the week of March 16th and will be available for distance learning so that the current situation in Italy does not impact your academic progress. SACI is grateful for your extremely positive spirit of collaboration during this challenging time for all. If you have any questions related to courses and credits, please contact the Registrar.
Information for Future Summer and Fall Students
At the moment, Summer I, Summer II, Summer Venice, Full Summer Florence, Full Summer Florence + Venice, and Fall terms are running as planned. Considering the current situation in Venice, we will update the status of the program in response to events as they unfold. If you have any questions about future programs, please contact the SACI Admissions office.