STUDYING ABROAD IN A PANDEMIC: HEALTH AND SAFETY AT AEF
Updated on October 11, 2021
AEF was proud to resume on site classes as of Spring 2021, being one of the first institutions to welcome students back in Florence for a full semester. AEF has worked to create the safest environment for students, in compliance with the guidelines established by the Italian government, the Regione Toscana and the Comune di Firenze (national, regional and local level). We continue to monitor the current regulations, adjusting all necessary protocols and procedures so that the highest standards of health and safety are maintained in place throughout the programs.
Our goal is to offer students the most meaningful experience, even in the unprecedented context of a pandemic. The semester abroad is the global experience par excellence: since its origins, the reason that encouraged young people to travel was the opportunity to see new countries and cultures, understand new habits and languages, open one’s eyes and mind to different ways of life.
We believe that this situation is an extraordinary opportunity to embrace this experience to the fullest, understanding its deepest meaning: learning the language, the art, the history, the music while taking care of each other, developing cultural and human competences, and finally become real citizens of the world.
We have always invited our students not to think of themselves as tourists but rather as citizens of Florence. We renew our invitation even more powerfully now, in a moment when our city – symbol of the Renaissance – really becomes the place where a renaissance is possible. We will make it happen together, following some shared rules based on respect, flexibility, and responsibility.
Health and Safety Procedures and Covid-19 Risk Mitigation at AEF
AEF faculty and staff will give their full support to students in preparation for their departure. The Italian Government and Tuscan Region guidelines on Covid-19 safety and hygiene regulations will be duly notified to students.
Arrival in Florence
Welcome! Your experience in the city of Renaissance has just started: Florence – with its streets, piazzas, and iconic beauty at every corner – will be your classroom, for a real immersion into Italian art and culture.
Situation in Italy
Classification of Regions
Italian Regions are classified into four areas - red, orange, yellow and white - corresponding to four risk scenarios, for which specific restrictive measures are foreseen.
RED AREA: Leaving your home is not permitted unless it is for work, health, or other first necessity reasons (i.e. grocery shopping); walking and running close to home is permitted. Travel is not allowed. Museums, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, sports centers, gyms and ski resorts are closed. Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons are closed. Shops are closed except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and other first necessity stores. Restaurants and bars are only open for take-away and delivery. All schools, from pre-school to university, suspend in-person classes.
ORANGE AREA: Travel is not allowed to other areas beyond the city limits. In case of urgency a self-certification form is required. Museums, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and ski resorts are closed; non-contact outdoor sporting events are open. Shopping centers are closed on weekends. Restaurants and bars (cafés) are only open for take-away and delivery. Each region determines autonomously if and how to impose restrictions on in-person school classes.
YELLOW AREA: Traveling allowed within your region of residence (Tuscany). Swimming pools, gyms and ski resorts are closed. Non-contact outdoor sporting events are open. Theaters and cinemas may open as of March 27 with an audience of no more than 25% of typical capacity (max 200 inside, max 400 outside). Museums are open from Monday to Friday, with the exception of public holidays (reservations are highly recommended). Shopping centers are closed on weekends. At restaurants and bars (cafés), consumption at the table is allowed for a maximum of four people per table. Each region determines autonomously if and how to impose restrictions on in-person school classes.
WHITE AREA: No additional restrictions beyond the following: correct wearing of PPE, respect of social distancing, no events/openings that lead to gatherings.
As of October 11th, all regions are classified white.
Information for travellers are available on the Ministry of Health website:
Requirements for Entry into Italy
Information for travelers from each country is available on the Ministry of Health website:
Covid-19 Green Pass Certificate
As of June 2021, the Ministry of Health requires the possession of the Covid-19 Green Certificate (Green Pass) to access Universities, restaurants, museums, and most public and private venues.
Foreign students who possess the certification of a successful completion of the vaccination cycle can convert their certification into the Italian Green Pass.
The vaccination must relate to one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency: Comirnaty from Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Vaxzevria, Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) or equivalent, as in the attached list https://www.trovanorme.salute.gov.it/norme/renderNormsanPdf?anno=2021&codLeg=82920&parte=1%20&serie=null
To convert the certification into Green Pass, the following documents must be presented:
- The vaccination certification, which must be in Italian, English, Spanish, French or German, and must include:
- personal information (name, surname, date of birth)
- vaccine information (name and date of vaccination)
- information about the competent Health authority
- Valid ID
- School (AEF) enrollment confirmation
Having the Green Pass is mandatory to access the school’s premises: AEF Staff will support students in obtaining their Green Pass certificate, by scheduling appointments with the Ministry of Health offices and accompanying them to complete the procedure.
Note: Vaccination certificates issued by the health authorities of Canada, Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the United States are equivalent to those of the European Union. Nevertheless, it is still possible to convert the certification into the Italian Green Pass.
We will now try to answer all of your questions about how the semester will take place, but if you have further questions or doubts, do not hesitate to contact us: we’ll be happy to answer!
At the moment, the Tuscan Region – the local authority in charge for Health – provides tests in train stations and airports only to people who request one. Once being tested, it will be necessary to wait in isolation at one’s apartment.
We strongly recommend to check current regulation on the Ministry of Health official website:
AEF will follow the Italian government rules, applied in both public and private education system:
- Staggered entrance times to avoid gatherings;
- Temperature will not be taken by AEF staff at the entrance, but students are invited to bring a thermometer with them and measure their temperature if need be. It is extremely important not to go to school in case of a fever or any flu symptoms.
- In classrooms, students seats will be spaced at 1 meter apart (3.3 ft);
- It is not mandatory to wear a mask when students are seated at their desk or chair, but it is mandatory to wear it any time they move within the school premises;
- Students are strongly encouraged to frequently wash their hands and apply hand sanitizer that will be available at school;
- Students and faculty are required to sanitize their seating at the beginning and at the end of each class;
- Natural outside air ventilation is another key factor for safety in the classrooms: windows will be kept open weather-permitting, and classrooms will always be ventilated between each class;
- At the end of class and in between classes, students will be required to exit the building in an orderly fashion, and avoid gatherings in the hallways and common areas (toilets, entrance, hallways, stairs, front-desk area, etc.).
Florence is not only the city where AEF is located, but it is a real classroom for many activities of our courses. AEF will apply the Italian government rules in force.