COVID-19 FAQs for Spring 2021

DIS COVID-19 FAQs for Spring 2021

DIS is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Denmark and Sweden. We hope you will find these responses to frequently asked questions useful – otherwise please contact us at dis@umn.edu or 800-247-3477.

Can U.S. students enter Denmark and Sweden?

Yes! DIS has confirmation from both Danish and Swedish authorities that students ARE allowed to enter both countries for the purpose of study at DIS. While current border closures remain in place limiting tourism in the E.U., many European countries, including Denmark and Sweden, have an exemption for students. We will continue to closely monitor border policies, update guidance here as needed, and provide detailed instructions and documentation to enrolled students ahead of your departure for Scandinavia.

What if I need a new or renewed passport?

Apply now! All students will need a passport valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your DIS semester. Passport processing can take several months in some locations due to COVID-19, though the Department of State anticipates a return to normal processing time this fall. U.S. citizens needing a new or renewed passport should visit the U.S. Department of State website to learn about the phased reopening of passport centers due to COVID-19, and start your application.

Will classes occur in-person?

Yes. Universities and schools in Denmark and Sweden are open, and we are planning for all DIS courses to be held in person with appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols in place. 

However, your classes will be ready to move to an online/distance format should that be necessary as a result of local public health guidance, exposure requiring self-isolation, or COVID-19 illness.

Will the DIS semester look different due to COVID-19?

Maybe; check back here closer to your semester start. DIS will also communicate important updates via email to registered students. We have every intention of students starting and completing their semester in person, in Scandinavia. Given the quickly changing situation in relation to COVID-19, we will make the necessary modifications across the student experience – but it is too early to know what those might be. If the COVID-19 situation improves and European borders continue to open, changes to the spring student experience will be minimal.

Will students be offered single rooms?  

DIS housing has been de-densified based on local social distancing requirements. No student will share a bedroom with more than one other DIS student, and we will limit the number of students who can gather together in common areas (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc). Students can request a single room in their housing application, and requests will be considered based on several factors with a priority for students with health conditions that make them at increased risk for COVID-19, as well as disability accommodations and home university policy.

What does life in Copenhagen and Stockholm look like right now? 

Denmark has been able to re-open most of society due to their early and austere response to COVID-19 in the spring. Due to Danish people’s overall high trust in government, the country benefited from a high level of compliance with government-imposed restrictions and guidelines enacted to limit the spread of the virus in Denmark and Europe. 

Sweden did not shut down society and aimed to maintain manageable levels of the virus instead of eliminating it entirely. Therefore, Sweden has not experienced the ups and downs of shutdowns followed by re-opening. The number of cases has fallen dramatically since the spring, and cases per capita are now among the lowest in Europe. 

Please read more about Scandinavia’s response to COVID-19 here.

Restaurant, Nightlife, and Events

Today in Copenhagen and Stockholmbusinesses including restaurants and shops are also open, but with somewhat reduced capacities, modified hours, additional cleaning protocols, and some new regulations.  

Events and activities are happening, and local students – including at our Kollegiums and Studentboendes – are getting together for yoga classes and happy hours, flea markets and soccer in the parks. 

Certain events, gatherings, or activities may be on hold during your semester, but we think you’ll find life in Scandinavia looking much like a typical semester. You can count on more details, resources, and recommendations for connecting with local community groups, teams, and clubs, after your arrival. 

Mask-Wearing

In Denmark, mask-wearing has become commonplace; masks are required in some places (e.g. on public transportation and in bars/restaurants), but not in others (e.g. grocery stores). Sweden has not mandated the use of masks, but some people choose to wear them, particularly on public transportation. As in the U.S., some locals wear a mask at all times in public, while others wear them only when required. 

For local news coverage of COVID-19 in Scandinavia, check out these English language news sites: 

The Local (Denmark)

The Local (Sweden)

Should I talk to my doctor about traveling during COVID-19?

Yes. If you have underlying health conditions that might put you at higher risk for infection or serious complications of COVID-19, talk with your doctor to decide if travel is advisable at this time and, if it is, how to manage your health abroad. Consult your healthcare providers to ensure you can bring any medication you’ll need, and to address any health concerns. Be sure you are up to date on all routine vaccines including the seasonal flu shot. 

If you have any questions about health support or accommodations available at DIS, please reach out to us! 

If you are a DIS Copenhagen student, read more about preparing for your health abroad here. 

If you are a DIS Stockholm student, read more about preparing for your health abroad here. 

Does DIS have any recommendations for arranging travel to Scandinavia? 

We recommend you arrange for direct flights from the U.S. to Copenhagen or Stockholm, in order to minimize exposure and limit risks of the possibility of being denied boarding. Please be aware that your flight should arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. local time on Arrival DayJanuary 15, 2021. 

Additionally, we strongly urge that you have a return flight arranged prior to your arrival in Denmark or Sweden. Please keep in mind you must be checked out of your housing by 12:00 p.m. on departure dayMay 15, 2021. 

We recommend you purchase your flight directly through your airline of choice because it will allow you to work directly with the airline in case of any necessary changes. As you explore flight options, please take time to review ticket change fees and policies, as well as the airline’s protocols on COVID-19. This will provide you with a sense of what protective measures are being taken, provided the current circumstances in air travel.

Will I need to quarantine or be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in Denmark?

Maybe; check back here closer to your semester start. DIS will also communicate important updates via email to registered students.

Currently, testing is required upon arrival and is widely available, with results provided within 72 hours, during which travelers must self-isolate. If self-isolation is required when you arrive, DIS will provide housing and support during this period. COVID-19 testing will be at no additional cost to students, and students do not need to arrive early to complete testing and self-quarantine. 

Since COVID-19 is more prevalent in the U.S. than in Europe, please plan to be extra cautious in the 14 days leading up to your flight to Scandinavia — avoid socializing, working outside your home, and any personal travel during this period. 

Can I travel outside of Denmark or Sweden during my semester?

Maybe; check back here closer to your semester start. DIS will also communicate important updates via email to registered students. As of Fall 2020, most European countries will not allow non-EU tourists entry and, thus, travel opportunities are limited. 

Travel is an important part of the DIS semester, but is also known to spread the virus and increase exposure risk for you, other students, and your host community. We may need to adjust or limit your personal travel or DIS study tours based on local conditions and the spread of COVID-19 around Europe; please plan to use your time abroad to connect with your new local community and engage with your new home city.

What will be required of me to be successful abroad during COVID-19?

Flexibility: As in the U.S., conditions and recommendations are constantly changing as the public health community and leaders learn more about COVID-19. Just like on your home campus, DIS will need to respond by adjusting recommended protocols, class schedules, field study or study tour destinations, etc, sometimes with very little notice. Please prepare to be flexible. At some point in the semester, you may need to stay home for a period of time as a result of illness, exposure, or a community lockdown; DIS is prepared to support you through any of these scenarios.

Respect: You will find Scandinavian approaches to COVID-19 are different from those in the U.S. Take the opportunity to learn and ask questions while remembering to approach your local community with grace and respect. 

Compliance: Any measures implemented to protect you and the community from COVID-19 are only effective if they are followed by everyone. Laws and guidelines regarding social distancing and other practices may be updated at any time – and whether or not you assess them to be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, DIS will require all students to comply with all local guidance. This may include monitoring temperatures, hand washing, wearing masks, hand sanitizing, social distancing, and cooperation with recommended COVID-19 testing and contract tracing processes. Failure to comply with these rules and precautions is a violation of the DIS Code of Student Responsibility – but more importantly, we ask students to comply for the benefit of the community, even when no one is watching.

What if I, or someone else at DIS, tests positive for COVID-19?

DIS will support students in receiving the necessary testing and medical care, which is reimbursed through DIS insurance per the policy details, as well as academic support.

Any student who has been potentially exposed to a sick individual will be supported through the necessary testing and self-quarantine protocols including continuation of coursework from a distance. Sick or self-quarantined individuals will be isolated away from other students, and facilities will be sanitized per local public health standards.

When will DIS make a decision about whether Spring Semester 2021 is going to run?

Our Executive Team and staff across the organization are working diligently to prepare to welcome students in January for the Spring Semester 2021. We will update this page and notify enrolled students of any changes we need to make as we continue adjusting to the changing conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will do all we can to hold a spring semester that looks as ‘normal’ as possible, but we do not have a ‘go/no-go’ date at this time. Bookmark this page to check back here anytime, or contact us with any questions.