COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

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
  • Banks
  • Post offices
  • Insurance companies
  • Transport

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:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

U.S. State Department Travel Advisories:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

World Health Organization:
https://www.who.int/

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.

Learn more about SACI's Distance Learning.

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.


Recent Coronavirus Communications

  • Message sent to SACI Undergraduate Students from President Steve Brittan - Feb. 29, 2020

    Dear Undergraduate/Education Abroad Students,

    As you may have seen or heard, last night the US Center for Disease Control and the US State Department increased the travel alert for Italy to Warning - Level 3, Avoidance of Nonessential Travel.  

    With this rapidly evolving situation and the US State Department and CDC’s new travel advisories, we have decided to suspend all activities in Florence. Our main objective is to help organize your safe return home as soon as possible for those who have not left already. 

    In the meantime, we are developing options for you to be able to continue your studies remotely in the United States or internationally where you live, either in collaboration with your institutions or with you individually. Our primary goal is to have all of you be able to continue your studies and learning, albeit in altered form, and receive your final credits for the courses you enrolled in by the end of this semester. Clearly there are challenges for teaching the same course with the same learning outcomes remotely, especially when it comes to studio courses and will require flexibility and creativity from all of us. Over the coming two- week spring break period, we will be working with you and our faculty in coordination with your campus faculty and administration in the US, where appropriate, regarding details concerning structure, communication and methods for best accommodating distance learning and minimizing disruption as much as possible.

    We will be in contact with each of you in the next week and ask for your patience as we work through this extraordinary emergency situation. We will also be communicating with you about doing all we can to help you transition your housing situation to the US and elsewhere. In most cases you will be returning to your home or your family homes, and in some cases, we are working with our partner schools to house you on their campuses. Many of your home institutions have already sent you notices to leave Italy and return home, and we advise that you follow their instructions closely.

    For now, we will maintain the date of March 16 to resume your classes only this will be done remotely. Given these unique circumstances, there is the possibility that this date may be extended, but we are doing everything we can to make the adjustments needed for you to commence your learning on this date.

    For those of you currently in Florence or returning to Florence in the coming days, SACI is open this weekend and through next week should you have any questions or concerns regarding these instructions or your transition home. 

    As of this morning, the Italian Ministry is reporting that cases for the Coronavirus are still contained in Tuscany with eight reported cases. We remind you that while this is serious and there are many unknowns, there is no need to panic, the city continues to function without restrictions or advisories, and you will have sufficient time and support from all of us to help you return home. Unfortunately, this is now a global issue and the same precautions we shared with you should be adhered to before your departure and after your arrival to wherever you will be going. 

    It is important to closely monitor travel restriction news and be prepared to change your plans. We encourage you to continue to monitor for updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), for any travel restrictions, and the CDC and Department of State websites for additional helpful information.

    To remind you here are the ten precautionary steps:

    1) Wash your hands often;

    2) Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;

    3) Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;

    4) Cover your mouth and nose in case of sneezing or coughing;

    5) Do not take antiviral drugs or antibiotics unless they are prescribed by the attending physician;

    6) Clean the surfaces with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants;

    7) Use a mask only if you suspect you are sick or if you assist sick people;

    8) Made in China products and parcels received from China are not dangerous;

    9) Contact the toll-free number 1500 if a fever or cough occurs or if you have returned from China less than 14 days ago;

    10) Pets do not spread the Coronavirus.

    For any questions or concerns regarding housing or your possessions, please contact Daniela Barbato, SACI Director of Housing and Student Affairs in her office, or via email at: daniela@saci-florence.edu

    We are as heartbroken as - we are sure that many of you will be - and we have made this extremely painful decision on the basis of what we feel is in the best interest of your personal health and wellbeing.  

    Steven J. Brittan
    President

  • Message to SACI Graduate Students from President Steven Brittan - Feb. 29, 2020

    Dear Graduate Students,

    We wanted to inform you that a few moments ago we communicated to all students enrolled in the undergraduate study abroad program at SACI that we will be suspending all Florence and Italy based activity for these students and completing the spring semester via distance learning. This does not extend to any SACI graduate program, all of which we do plan to continue offering upon your return to classes on Monday, March 16th. Field trips and all public outings are subject to change based on government advisories and directives.

    We felt compelled to make this most difficult decision for our undergraduate study abroad program on the basis of the revised warnings of both the US Center for Disease Control (maximum Level 3) and the US State Department (high alert, Level 3). Our undergraduate program is founded on the relationships with all of our many US partner colleges and universities in the United States. As institutions in the US, the advisories by the CDC and State Department generally do serve as a form of trip wire for institutional decision making surrounding international travel and activity. While travel advisories and alerts are not mandatory, US based corporations, businesses, and institutions are widely responsive to these announcements. At this stage, the majority of our partner schools have opted to remove their students from the program and from Italy. This is a primary distinction between graduate and undergraduate circumstances.

    While we are alarmed about the circumstances in Italy regarding the coronavirus outbreak and are equally concerned about the health and safety of all of you as graduate students, we are guided by additional variables as we assess conditions for continuation of your studies beyond CDC and State Department alerts. First, currently, other major countries such as the UK, France, Australia or Germany have not issued any similar warnings for travel to Italy overall though the UK and Ireland have issued caution to its citizens about traveling to certain areas of Northern Italy. Second, for our graduate programs we are closely monitoring advisories, warnings and any actions by the Italian government at both the national level and in Tuscany. There are no current warnings or restrictions from them in Florence or Tuscany to movement or activity within the region, though some institutions are taking precautionary measures by limiting large events, field trips and certain activities. All local schools and universities in Florence and Tuscany remain open. Third, you as graduate students are adults and for the most part independent, and we entrust you to make your own decisions and judgements, in all respects, and we support them.

    As this is spring break period, it might not be possible to schedule group meetings with you and your program directors as we are aware that some students and directors are currently outside of Florence. We do want to hold conversations with you and your program directors to address questions and concerns so we will work to schedule this as soon as possible. In the interim, we ask you to approach SACI staff or administration regarding any concerns or questions you have about this decision or about options for you. We understand that it is possible that one or more of you might be questioning remaining in the program so please contact us so that we can discuss this with you.

    We strongly encourage you to remain in Florence during the spring break period or to certainly limit your travel to limit your risk exposure given the tremendous uncertainty with the spread of the disease and with the constant changing of conditions in Italy, Europe and elsewhere. Travel has the potential to heighten your risk in various ways including the possibility of subjecting you to any travel restrictions, quarantines, and flight cancellations. Please closely monitor reliable sources of information related to your travels and travel locations in the event that you do decide to venture from Florence. 

    This is a useful website to track up to date information about how to limit your risk and travel notices:

    https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices 

    We are keeping SACI's facilities open as mentioned in our email earlier this week in the next two weeks. Should you wish to come and talk with us please do not hesitate to do so.

    SACI facilities will be open to students upon the following schedule:

    • Palazzo Cartelloni – Monday through Friday 9 am -5pm
    • Palazzo Maidoff – Monday through Sunday 9 am to 11 pm

     

    Steven J. Brittan
    President

  • Message to Students from President Steven Brittan - February 27, 2020

    Dear SACI Students

    We want to remind students that SACI’s Spring break period will commence upon the conclusion of courses today, Thursday, Feb 27 and extend until the planned continuation of the semester on Monday, March 16th.

    Our facilities will remain open during the break period in order to provide students remaining in Florence during the recess access to studios, the library, and reading rooms. We actively encourage students to utilize this time to advance in their studio and academic work at SACI or to use the facilities to otherwise socialize with classmates and of course seek any needed support or consultation from SACI staff. Numerous of our studio faculty have suggested that they will be available periodically during the break as a resource to students. For those enrolled in Etching, Serigraphy or Batik, studio spaces will be available on the hours and days of the regularly scheduled class. SACI facilities will be open to students from Monday to Friday upon the following schedule:

    • Palazzo Cartelloni – 9 am to 5 pm
    • Palazzo Maidoff – 9 am to 11 pm

     

    We encourage you to remain in Florence in order to take advantage of facility use as well as to limit your exposure to any risk related to travel. We understand that many of you have - or have had for some time- travel plans across Europe and do not want to miss out on the opportunity to visit other regions of Italy or other countries in Europe or in the Mediterranean basin. We repeat from our prior communications that travel could carry additional risks given the changing conditions and security measures taken by national and regional governments throughout Europe and the region. This could include various scenarios such as containment or quarantine measures as deemed necessary by local authorities based upon the evolution of circumstances.

    We understand from various conversations with students, and parents, that many of you may continue with travel plans including back to the United States. We hope that the week of spring break for those of you back home will allow for additional time with family and friends. For those of you who have opted to travel in Europe, we ask you to place a priority on your safety and stay constantly updated with information regarding the locations of your travel. Please stay informed by monitoring information from government sources where you are traveling in addition to the following sources:

    - US State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

    - Center For Disease Control: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

    - World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 (The WHO site also includes important information about COVID-19 disease and how to protect yourself)

    https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/current-risk-assessment-novel-coronavirus-situation

    It is again important to stress that Florence currently remains free of any measures or restrictions to movement or activity within Florence or Tuscany by Italian Ministries or the regional government in Tuscany. Schools and universities in Tuscany continue to operate normally.

    Yesterday, February 27th, the US department of State reissued a Level 2 Travel Advisory to Italy – Exercise Increased Caution - a level that remains unchanged and does not advise any travel restrictions for US citizens to the country. In addition, in the new State Department advisory, the announcement informs that the Center For Disease Control has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for Italy in which they do not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Italy.

    Further, all major airports in Italy remain open, though the decrease in demand for travel has led to the step by British Airways to scale back the number of flights from Milan to London.

    The circumstances will remain fluid over the coming weeks, and we will continue to monitor conditions closely in Florence, Tuscany, and Italy over the span of your break. We will provide additional updates and information as needed, so we ask that you regularly check your email for any important announcements from SACI.

    Finally, if you have not already done so, please program the SACI 24/7 emergency number into your phone so that you have this available and can contact us upon any emergency outside of SACI regular business hours between 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

    The number is: +39 347 773 8076

    We wish you a healthy, active, and enjoyable break period and look forward to seeing you for the recommencement of the semester on Monday, March 16th.

    Steven J. Brittan
    President

  • Message to Students from President Steven Brittan - February 26, 2020

    Dear SACI Students,

    We are writing to you again as we are constantly monitoring the situation with the Coronavirus in Italy and in Florence, doing all we can with the changing situation to ensure that you all feel safe.  This letter to you is to provide you with important new information for the coming days and weeks. Please continue to check your email daily.  

    We have made the determination to begin the spring break period one day early, at the conclusion of classes tomorrow, Thursday, February 27th. The recommencement of classes will be on Monday, March 16th extending our mid-term break by one week.

    We will work with our faculty for those of you with scheduled midterms, critiques or reviews this Friday to complete these after returning from break. We will also be consulting with our faculty in order to ensure that your transition back to SACI in mid-March will be as seamless as possible and ensuring that faculty make necessary adjustments in their courses in order for you to be able to complete all course requirements by the end of the spring semester. It is important that you check your email during the break period for any important announcements from SACI in addition to any communication from your instructors regarding your courses. 

    In response to any change in conditions during the course of the spring break period that might prompt us to take additional measures, we will immediately communicate with all students, families and partner institutions to provide clear guidance.

    SACI will be open during the extended spring recess as a resource for any students remaining in Florence over the break. Our reduced hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm on Monday through Friday. We will also continue to monitor circumstances throughout this period and will be accessible during business hours as well as through our emergency phone service, 24/7 in order to provide full support to students as needed. We strongly recommend that students remaining in Florence during spring break consider not traveling outside of the area over the recess period.

    We have decided to take this step for the peace of mind of all of our students, their families and our partner institutions. We understand that the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 disease, or coronavirus, in Italy and elsewhere, is naturally causing some concern and even fear. We also understand that a number of US based institutions have discontinued their programs in Florence for the remainder of the semester, while others like SACI have remained operational.

    Our highest commitment is to student health and safety, and our leadership makes decisions regarding student welfare on the basis of prudence, evidence-based evaluation, and the guidance and directives of government agencies and, in this instance, public health organizations including Italian, European and US based agencies such as the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, European Health Commission, and pertinent Italian ministries and agencies. 

    It is important to stress that we do not make this decision on the basis of current conditions in Florence or in Tuscany. At the moment there are no restrictions within Tuscany regarding the normal functioning of schools, cultural sites or other public events. While the Ministry of Education (MIUR) and regional authorities in Northern Italy have decided to temporarily close schools and universities in certain areas within these regions, no such directives from MUIR or Tuscan regional authorities have been given. All K-12 schools and local universities in Tuscany remain open and functioning normally with the exception of a general prohibition on school outings. SACI did likewise take the step earlier this week, in line with MIUR directives, to cancel all co-curricular and extra-curricular SACI field trips and outings. 

    We also want to provide clarity on the current status regarding quarantined areas in Italy. There are specifically 10 small cities in Lombardy and one in Vento under mandatory quarantine. These are: Lombardy – Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fambio, Maleo, Somaglio, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano; Veneto – Vo’Euganeo. Travel to or from these areas is expressly prohibited by any individuals with the quarantine enforced by Italian authorities. These localities have been under quarantine since the past weekend and there have been no additional directives to quarantine other municipalities since that time. Should there be any new ordinances in Florence, we will follow their protocols in order to meet all the safety standards.

    Currently, all major airports in Italy remain in full operations, including airports in Milan, Florence, Pisa, Bologna, and Rome. No western country has any current high-level travel restrictions to any location in Italy though, for example, the UK and Irish governments warn travelers to adhere to Italian directives regarding the areas under current mandatory quarantine conditions in the north of the country. Flights originating from Italy to all western countries including the US and Canada continue to operate. The US State Department currently considers Italy a Level 2 country- Exercise Increased Caution. This is the same Level that Italy had before the outbreak of COVID-19 in China. 

    In our many conversations with our students and with concerned parents this week, we have attempted to similarly share information and stress the importance of remaining calm and thoughtful while responding swiftly as conditions related to COVID-19 continue to evolve. For up to date information about the Coronavirus you can also follow this link which is in the English language from the local Civilian Protection Authorities (Protezione Civile): http://www.protezionecivile.gov.it/home

    I have personally spoken with various students and have explained to them that our deepest commitment is to ensure student welfare with an equally strong commitment to the value of exercising clear thinking based on evidence and factual information, the guidance of governmental and health agencies, and a sense of moral and ethical principles and values. I have spoken with them about the need to adhere to reason and a level of tranquility in the face of uncertainty and fear, as much of a struggle and challenge as this can prove to be.

    We are hopeful that you will have a pleasant spring break and look forward to seeing you in mid-March.  

    Please know that my door is always open for anyone who wants to talk, share concerns, or provide feedback. For any questions or concerns, please contact SACI Director of Housing and Student Affairs, Daniela Barbato in her office, or via email at daniela@saci-florence.edu.

    Steven J. Brittan
    President

  • Message to Students from President Steven Brittan - February 25, 2020

    Dear SACI Students,

    As you make your plans for travel this weekend, we would like to remind you - per the information we sent you yesterday - that the situation with the Coronavirus remains unstable and unpredictable and could have significant implications when you are traveling. We understand that you are legally free to travel wherever you wish to during your free time, and ultimately it is your decision.

    However, given this extraordinary situation, please consider the following risks:

    (a) simply not being allowed to leave Italy if a sudden travel ban to a certain country were to be issued by the Italian/EU authorities; 

    (b) not being allowed to enter into a certain country by the authorities of that country, as you come from Italy, that may be there, considered “at risk”; 

    (c) being placed into mandatory quarantine in the country where you go, upon arrival, again because coming from Italy; 

    (d) being placed into mandatory quarantine in Italy as you come back, because you show symptoms of the Coronavirus or simply because you come – even if only for a connecting flight – from a country that Italy considers/will consider “at risk.”

    With the Coronavirus situation, specific government regulations will constantly be changing and you will need to monitor the situation regularly. Once again here are some important sites to consult for updates:

    For U.S. students enrolled with STEP you can get alerts directly: https://step.state.gov/

    You can also follow: U.S. Consul General Florence Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USCGFlorence/ 

    The U.S. Embassy Rome Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmbasciataUSA/

    We also suggest monitoring the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/

    and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/countries/italy/default.htm

    We need to remind you about potential risks that you may encounter if travelling, and we encourage you to constantly monitor the situation by checking official websites, such as the US Diplomatic Mission to Italy and to the Country where you wish to go, and follow the usual travel precautions that any prudent traveler would follow. 

    If you are staying in Florence, please follow all the necessary steps we outlined to help prevent risk of infection. SACI will remain open during the midterm break and we will be here for any support you may need. 

    Should you choose to travel, we ask that you please inform Sam Mungly at the front desk or via email, by Thursday at 5 pm, about where you plan to travel to: sam@saci-florence.edu

    Steven J. Brittan
    President

  • Message from President Steven Brittan - February 24, 2020

    Dear SACI Students, Faculty and Staff:

    As you are aware, the number of Coronavirus cases has increased worldwide and several cases have been identified in Italy, primarily in the northern regions of the country. While there are no reported cases in Florence or in Tuscany at the present time, we are doing everything we can to take precautions to safeguard your health and reduce unnecessary risk. We are closely monitoring events through local and national government websites and official announcements, news organizations, and health agencies.

     The Italian government educational agency (Italy’s Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, or MIUR), issued a ministerial decree suspending, starting February 23, 2020 for an indefinite time,  any type of school trips in Italy and abroad. At the moment there are no known cases in Tuscany but SACI adheres to the recommendations made by MIUR and will therefore have to suspend the very few field trips scheduled this week.

    Depending on how the situation evolves we will assess SACI scheduled travel, visits to museums and field trips after the Midterm Break ending on March 8th.  We will continue with all SACI scheduled classes as planned and will let you know as soon as anything changes. Please check your email regularly for any announcements we make about this.

    With the upcoming Midterm break starting at the end of this week, we strongly encourage you to limit your travel outside of Florence, and especially avoid the affected areas in the red zones. Should you decide to travel, for the sake of your own health and your responsibility towards others, please take whatever precautions you can including for U.S. students signing up with STEP where you can get alerts directly. This is the website to create an account: https://step.state.gov/

    You can also follow: 

    U.S. Consul General Florence Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USCGFlorence/ 

    The U.S. Embassy Rome Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmbasciataUSA/

    We also suggest monitoring the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/

    and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/countries/italy/default.htm

    If you have any concerns or questions please do not hesitate to speak with Daniela Barbato, our Director of Housing & Student Affairs. For the time being here are some general notifications and ten steps you can take to minimize risk of infection that has been provided by the Italian Ministry of Health: 

    1) Wash your hands often;

    2) Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;

    3) Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;

    4) Cover your mouth and nose in case of sneezing or coughing;

    5) Do not take antiviral drugs or antibiotics unless they are prescribed by the attending physician;

    6) Clean the surfaces with chlorine or alcohol-based disinfectants;

    7) Use a mask only if you suspect you are sick or if you assist sick people;

    8) Made in China products and parcels received from China are not dangerous;

    9) Contact the toll-free number 1500 if a fever or cough occurs or if you have returned from China less than 14 days ago;

    10) Pets do not spread the Coronavirus.

    For the moment, borders are still open but if you travel abroad, monitor the situation to make sure you won’t be blocked in another country and unable to return to Italy.

    Steven J. Brittan
    President   

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