Last update: June 29, 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 and contact us at DIS@DISabroad.org or 800-247-3477 if you would like to know more. We will notify admitted students of significant updates via email and at Orientation.
- DIS Planning for Fall 2021
- Life in Copenhagen and Stockholm
- Preparing to Travel
- Once You’re in Denmark or Sweden
DIS Planning for Fall Semester 2021
DIS is ready for a pandemic-resilient Fall Semester 2021 in Scandinavia. Staff and faculty are working diligently to make your time abroad as ‘normal’ and we will update this page and notify students of any modifications we need to make as we continue adjusting to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will classes occur in person?
Yes! DIS classes are fully in person today, and we expect they will continue to be. However, we are ready to move to a remote learning format should it be necessary as a result of local public health guidance, exposure requiring self-isolation, or COVID-19 illness.
Will Fall Semester 2021 at DIS look different due to COVID-19?
Maybe. We are planning for a mostly ‘normal’ semester, but it is too early to know precisely how the months ahead will unfold, so here are a few things to keep in mind:
- We comply with all local regulations and public health guidance related to social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing, etc., and will continue the surveillance testing program we’ve developed and implemented this year.
- DIS housing will remain de-densified, with only singles, doubles, and some triples available. Specific roommate requests are welcome and can be submitted in Registration (just be sure you both request one another!). Single room requests will be considered based on a hierarchy of needs with a preference for students who have housing accommodations on their home campus and/or whose institution requires single rooms this fall.
- We are planning for Study Tours to travel across Europe, but ready to move to in-country tours if need dictates. Study Tour destinations will be considered based on several factors including official Danish and Swedish travel recommendations, vaccination rates, and local infrastructure. We will not automatically move or cancel Study Tours due to U.S. State Department and CDC Alert levels though we will, of course, consider this information as part of the entire picture; if you have questions, please let us know.
- We do not plan to limit independent international travel. Students will be responsible for monitoring the conditions and border policies of their destinations, assuming the risks associated with independent travel, and notifying DIS of their travel plans, as outlined on our website here.
- While we are confident that we will be able to run a full and robust semester, DIS has a flexible cancellation policy for Fall Semester 2021 so you can cancel at any time before Arrival Day with no financial penalty – we’ll refund all tuition and fees paid to DIS, including your deposit.
Any further modifications to the semester will be based on COVID-19 developments in Scandinavia and across Europe in the coming months. We will continue to make the necessary modifications and will keep students updated via email and here.
Life in Copenhagen and Stockholm Today
Denmark and Sweden have taken very different approaches to the pandemic, but they have several things in common: a high degree of compliance with local restrictions; strong trust in authorities implementing restrictions based on science and the advice of public health experts; robust and accessible health care systems; and comprehensive vaccination plans for all citizens to be vaccinated by the end of the summer.
What does student social life look like today?
After a partial lockdown this winter, Denmark has re-opened museums, galleries, schools, shops, restaurants/cafés and cultural attractions; Sweden has remained largely open since the pandemic began. Our current students are exploring the city, cooking dinner together, visiting museums and eating in cafés, going on hikes, taking selfies at the Little Mermaid or Gamla Stan, walking and biking cobblestoned streets to see castles and find their favorite wienerbrød or kanelbullar. Follow their adventures on the DIS Student Blogs for Copenhagen and Stockholm.
You can count on more details, resources, and recommendations for connecting with local communities closer to your arrival.
Do people wear masks?
In both Denmark and Sweden, masks are worn on public transportation but are not required in other public settings. Sweden also recommends masks in indoor settings where distance cannot be maintained. As in the U.S., some locals always wear a mask in public, while others do so only when required.
For local news coverage of COVID-19 in Scandinavia, check out these English language news sites:
What about vaccination?
While Europe has lagged behind the U.S. in terms of vaccine rollout, Scandinavia’s robust health care systems and high level of trust in health authorities mean that well over 90% of adults in Denmark and Sweden are expected to be vaccinated by the end of summer.
Today in Denmark, vaccination (or a recent negative COVID-19 test, or a previous positive test within a specific timeline) enables you to maintain an active ‘Corona Pass’ that is currently required for access to most establishments including museums, libraries, and restaurants across the country – as well as DIS facilities. The Corona Pass is expected to phase out later this summer; we’ll share an update with students at Orientation.
Preparing to Travel
As of June 2021, vaccinated travelers from the U.S.can enter Denmark without a negative COVID-19 test, and are not required to test and quarantine upon arrival. Unvaccinated travelers can also enter without quarantine or pre-travel testing, but will be required to test upon arrival. Use the tool linked here on Denmark’s Coronavirus response page for specific guidance.
Travelers from the U.S. can enter Sweden without quarantine or testing after arrival, but must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. We will share more details at our final Orientation in August; watch your email for updates in the meantime.
Neither Denmark nor Sweden has signaled plans to require COVID vaccination for entry, and DIS will not require students to be vaccinated.
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, and get your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you are able to!
If you have any questions about health support or accommodations available at DIS, please reach out to us.
Does DIS have any recommendations for arranging travel to Scandinavia?
Explore flight options and airline cancellation and change policies in order to make a judgement about when feels like the best time for you to book your flight. In your research, take time to also review travel insurance options, and the airline’s protocols on COVID-19.
Here are a few other recommendations:
- Purchase your flight directly from your airline of choice or a trusted travel agent. This will allow you to work directly with the airline/agent in case of any changes.
- Land between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on your Arrival Day; see our Fall Semester calendar for Copenhagen or Stockholm for details. If you are unable to arrive on your Arrival Day, book a flight that arrives before, not after your Arrival Day. You’ll need to cover your own accommodation and local transportation before your Arrival Day, but we will share detailed guidance with early-arriving students via email before your departure.
- Book a direct flight if one is available, or opt for as few layovers as possible – ideally connecting only in the U.S. (or the country you are departing from). Check COVID-19 requirements for any connection cities as you’re booking, and check back closer to your departure to be sure you are prepared to meet any testing or other transit requirements.
- Book a round trip flight. Students could be held up by gate agents or border control if you cannot show confirmed plans to depart Denmark/Sweden. Please keep in mind you must check out of your housing by 12:00 p.m. on your Last Day of Housing (see our Copenhagen or Stockholm calendar for details).
Do I need to test prior to traveling to Scandinavia?
As of June 2021, Denmark does not require vaccinated travelers from the U.S. to test before arrival; travelers arriving from other locations may need to have a negative test taken within 48 hours of arrival. Sweden DOES require a negative COVID-19 test (antigen or PCR) taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. We will update you closer to the semester once we know what the requirements will be for your arrival.
Questions about pre-departure testing? Contact HealthAccommodation@DISabroad.org.
After Arrival in Scandinavia
What will arrival and orientation look like?
Your first days in Scandinavia will be busy with activities and events to help you get to know your new city, introduce you to DIS people and resources, connect with one another, and care for your wellbeing during this period. Our plan for your arrival will be based on local conditions, requirements and recommendations closer to your departure, and we will provide updates here, via email, and at your pre-departure orientation.
Can I travel outside of Denmark or Sweden during the Fall Semester?
Take a look at “Will Fall Semester 2021 at DIS look different” above to see what we have in mind for your Study Tours.
We also plan to allow independent international travel. Students will be responsible for monitoring the conditions and border policies of their destinations, assuming the risks associated with independent travel, and notifying DIS of their travel plans, as outlined on our website here.
Can I have visitors from the U.S. while I’m at DIS?
At this point it is possible for travelers from the U.S. to enter Denmark and Sweden despite existing travel bans limiting other travelers, but we cannot predict how the restrictions will change in the months ahead. Our best advice: hold off on making any plans.
What if I, or someone else at DIS, tests positive for COVID-19?
Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been identified as a ‘close contact’ based on local public health guidance, will be fully supported through any necessary testing and isolation, including academic support and continuation of coursework from a distance. If students become ill, DIS will help with seeking medical treatment; testing and medical care will be reimbursed through DIS insurance per the policy details.
What will be required of me to be successful abroad during COVID-19?
Flexibility: As in the U.S., conditions and recommendations are still changing in relation to 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 you may need to stay home for a period 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 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, mask wearing, hand sanitizing, social distancing, and cooperation with recommended COVID-19 testing and contact 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.