COVID-19 FAQs for Custom Programs

DIS Carleton College Winter 2021

Last update: January 28, 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@DISabroad.org or 800-247-3477. We will continue updating this page regularly and will also notify enrolled students of significant updates via email. 

Can U.S. students enter Denmark?

While tourism from the U.S. is banned in much of Europe, some countries allow exceptions for visiting students. In early January, approximately 50 DIS students entered Denmark without incident, traveling with documentation from DIS and local authorities to confirm their student status and show their ‘worthy purpose’ for entering despite the tourist ban. 

A new Danish border restriction announced in January has temporarily prevented DIS students (not holding Danish citizenship) from entering Denmark as described above. At this point the border restriction is in place until February 28. The latest travel restriction is based on concerns about the newer COVID-19 variants, even as case numbers in Denmark continue to trend downward. 

What if I need a new or renewed passport?

Apply now! We recommend all students have a passport valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your time at DIS. U.S. citizens needing a passport should visit the U.S. Department of State website to learn about current procedures and start your application. You may need to opt for expedited processing (4-6 weeks) rather than regular processing (10-12 weeks).

Will classes occur in-person?

We are planning for classes to be held in person as much as possible based on local public health requirements. 

As of January 2021, all higher education coursework in Denmark has moved online until February 28. DIS courses during this period have been re-designed to include online instruction coupled with robust experiential learning opportunities for our students in Copenhagen including individual or small group projects and field studies using the city as your classroom, and other out-of-class academic enrichment. Imagine walking around the city with your Copenhagen History professor in your earbuds, pointing out historic sites, sitting in The King’s Garden for your psychology class with classmates zooming in from all over the city, together observing cultural differences in gender norms (how many dads do you see pushing baby carriages?), collecting information about consumer behavior in different locations for your Behavioral Economics class, or opening a package from your Sustainable Food professor so that you can taste, touch, and eat new local foods with your other classmates online. As soon as the restriction is lifted, DIS Copenhagen will immediately move to in-person instruction. 

Will the semester look different due to COVID-19?

Yes. It is too early to know precisely how the months ahead will unfold, in Scandinavia or in the U.S., but here are a few things we do know will be different: 

  • Due to European border policies changing frequently, and in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as well as exposure for our students and our communities, all independent international travel will be prohibited. See more under “Can I travel outside Denmark?” below.
  • Once in person, all courses will be ready to move to remote learning in case any individual student(s) need to continue their coursework online for any period of time due to COVID-19 illness or exposure, or public health requirements.

Given the quickly changing situation in relation to COVID-19, we will continue to make the necessary modifications across the student experienceand will keep you updated via email and here.

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). Please consult your university, who may have additional policies or guidance related to your DIS housing.

What does life in Copenhagen look like right now? 

Denmark’s early and austere response to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 allowed the country to re-open most of society in the summer and fall. Following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the fall, Denmark’s Prime Minister announced several new restrictions including a broader mask mandate, limited opening hours for restaurants/cafés, and a limit on large social gatherings; these restrictions were tightened in December to include closing all restaurants/bars/cafés, gyms, museums and other cultural attractions, schools and non-essential retail stores; and moving all university classes online. In early January, Denmark extended these restrictions and further tightened border restrictions due to concerns about the new COVID-19 variants in Denmark. 

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

Social Life

Despite restrictions and recommendations limiting social gatherings and venues, local students are still getting together to cook small group dinners, take walks with a coffee or hot chocolate, or play soccer in the parks. Our DIS students who arrived in early January are hiking to see the Hidden Giants, visiting the Little Mermaid, and biking cobblestoned streets to see castles and find their favorite pastries to go. Follow their adventures on the DIS Student Blogs soon. 

Certain events and activities may be on hold, but life in Copenhagen continues with much to explore. You can count on more details, resources, and recommendations for connecting with local communities after your arrival. 

Mask-Wearing

In Denmark, mask-wearing has become commonplace. Masks are required in all indoor public places, and just like 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 Denmark, check out this English language news site: 

The Local (Denmark)

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.

Do I need to quarantine or be tested prior to traveling to Denmark?

To avoid spreading COVID-19 in your travels, 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. 

At present, all travelers arriving in Copenhagen must present a negative COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test from within the past 72 hours. Please start thinking about your plans for pre-departure testing: where will you be immediately prior to your flight to Denmark? Can you get test results within 48 hours in order to board your flight with a negative test result? We have supported students arriving in Copenhagen with this requirement, and we will walk you through options at an upcoming orientation. 

Questions about pre-departure testing or quarantine? Contact HealthAccommodation@DISabroad.org.

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

Most likely. Students arriving in January were tested upon arrival and quarantined for 72 hours while awaiting results. DIS provided housing, food, support, and virtual programming during this period. Students living with hosts quarantined before moving into their Homestays.  

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 a pre-departure orientation. Arrival 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.  

Can I travel outside of Denmark?

No. Travel outside of Denmark is not allowed, as travel is known to contribute to spreading the virus and increasing exposure risk for you, other students, and your host community. Use your time abroad to connect with your local community and immerse yourself in your new home city.

Why? Today, as a result of the ban on U.S. tourists in the E.U., most students won’t be able to travel to other European countries anyway. Even if the E.U. travel ban for U.S. citizens is lifted, DIS does not plan to change our policy against international travel during the Spring Semester 2021, because individual countries throughout Europe also have border policies changing frequently about which nationalities can/cannot enter, and who needs to quarantine upon arrival. The DIS policy will prevent you from getting stuck elsewhere in Europe where DIS would be unable to support you through a quarantine or illness, and will avoid any need to quarantine during DIS class weeks as a result of European travel.

DIS also does not support international travel before or after your time at DIS. Should the COVID-19 situation and European travel regulations change during your semester and you choose to travel after your DIS semester, you do so without the support of DIS.

Can I have visitors from the U.S. during the semester?

No. American tourists are not currently allowed to enter most European countries, so do not plan to have family or friends visit you while abroad. Please know that in case of emergency (e.g. serious illness resulting from COVID-19), immediate family members can legally enter Denmark to be with you.

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. DIS will need to make adjustments – possibly with little to no warning – to recommended protocols, class schedules, field study destinations, etc. Please prepare to be flexible and understand that, 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 and Compliance: In addition to the DIS Code of Student Responsibility, please be aware of these specific policies intended to make your semester as safe as possible under the current pandemic. All students have a shared responsibility to each other, to DIS faculty and staff, and to our local communities. This responsibility includes following these and any additional protocols announced during the semester: 

  • Monitor any symptoms of illness throughout your time abroad. Stay home and seek medical care/COVID-19 screening if you experience a dry cough, high temperature, breathing difficulties, sore throat, headache, loss of taste/smell, and/or muscle pain.  
  • Do not travel outside Denmark 
  • Report to DIS all overnight travel outside of Copenhagen by completing the Travel Registration located in DIS Online Registration 
  • Follow local guidelines related to social distancing and maximum group size 
  • Follow DIS guidelines regarding social distancing and maximum occupancy in spaces 
  • Follow local medical guidance: get tested for COVID-19 when recommended, stay home from class or activities if you have COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate while awaiting a COVID-19 test or upon receiving a positive test result, etc. 
  • Follow local guidelines and DIS direction regarding cleaning, sanitizing, mask wearing, and hand washing 

Failure to comply with these rules and precautions is a violation of the DIS Code of Student Responsibility and could result in expulsion from DIS – 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?

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 testing and isolation, including academic support and continuation of coursework from a distance. Testing and medical care will be reimbursed through DIS insurance per the policy details.

If a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available while I’m abroad, can I receive one in Denmark?

Maybe. Like the U.S., Denmark is still determining how and when vaccines will be distributed. If a vaccine becomes available in Denmark and you are in an eligible group (e.g. based on risk category), vaccination would be covered by your insurance through DIS. Though a lot can change, current projections do not include general population vaccinations before the summer.