STUDYING ABROAD IN A PANDEMIC: HEALTH AND SAFETY AT AEF

Updated on July,1st 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

Before departure

Orientation starts before arrival in Florence, as a virtual tour will show students the school premises. Students will virtually visit Palazzo Niccolini, that is the AEF building, and meet AEF faculty and staff. AEF staff will give their full support to students in preparation for their departure.

Each orientation session will cover the Italian Government and Tuscan Region guidelines on Covid-19 safety and hygiene regulations.

Any updates regarding the regulations in force 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: (contagion level <50 positive cases for every 100,000 inhabitants) No additional restrictions beyond the following: correct wearing of PPE, respect of social distancing, no events/openings that lead to gatherings. 

As of June 28th, all Italy is classified white.


Entry from the countries of the European Union and the Schengen Area, Japan, Canada and the United States of America 

As of June 2021, the Ministry of Health has provided for the use of the Covid-19 Green Certificate for entry into Italy from countries of the European Union and from Japan, Canada and the United States of America.

Under Italian law, travel to and from these countries is permitted without the need for a specific reason.

The legislation provides that travelers entering Italy are required to:

  • present the COVID-19 Green Certificate showing:
    • that they have completed the prescribed anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination cycle at least 14 days prior to their arrival;
    • that thay have recovered from COVID-19 (the certificate of recovery is valid for 180 days from the date of the first positive swab);
    • that they have taken a negative molecular or antigen swab test in the 48 hours prior to entering Italy. 
  • fill in the Digital Passenger Locator Form  before entering Italy.  

The certification of successful completion of the vaccination cycle must relate to one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency: Comirnaty from Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Vaxzevria, Jansen (Johnson & Johnson)

Certificates must be submitted in one of the following languages: Italian, English, French or Spanish. U.S.A. citizens can prove this via the "white card" bearing a CDC logo.

Student Services

AEF Student Services office can be reached via telephone and email during office hours. Students who wish to meet AEF Advisors are requested to make an appointment.

AEF Emergency Phone is available 24/7 outside of office hours.

All updates about Covid-19 current regulations will be sent via email to students and the Student Services Office is at their disposal for any further information or clarification the students may need.


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!

WILL STUDENTS HAVE TO BE TESTED UPON ARRIVAL IN ITALY?

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 for the following 48 hours. During this time, AEF will offer support in organizing meal delivery service to the apartments.