The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
Monday, November 23, 2015
On Monday, November 23rd, Belgian authorities advised that all schools and universities as well as the metro will remain closed on Tuesday, November 24th, but are expected to re-open on Wednesday, November 25th. The terror alert level will stay at level four through the week and is expected to be restored to a level three on Monday, November 30th. All ISA Brussels students have been advised by ISA, as well as their host institution, of these updates and to not attend classes on November 24th. ISA resident staff and our office of Health, Safety and Security will continue to monitor the situation and provide new information as it becomes available.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Belgian authorities recently held a press conference detailing that security measures will be extended through tomorrow, Monday, November 23rd. As a precaution, all schools and universities will be closed in addition to the metro and many local shops. All ISA Brussels students have been advised by ISA, as well as their host institution, of these updates and to not attend classes tomorrow. ISA resident staff and our office of Health, Safety and Security will continue to monitor the situation and provide new information as it becomes available.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
As Belgian authorities continue to search for individuals suspected to have been connected to the November 13th attacks in Paris, early Saturday morning, Belgian authorities raised the terror alert for Brussels to level four (the highest level), while the alert in the rest of the country remained at level three. Belgian authorities advised the public to avoid places of large gatherings, such as airports, concert venues, sporting events, and train stations. The metro system was closed and is expected to remain so throughout the day, and security presence throughout the city has been increased.
All ISA Brussels students were advised by ISA and their host institution of these increased security measures and have been instructed of places to avoid. It has been reported that police raids have taken place in the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean area of Brussels and that additional police operations may take place in the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode and Schaerbeek areas. ISA students do not live in these areas and they have been made aware to stay away. The ISA Brussels resident staff remain available to students and will continue to advise them throughout the weekend. ISA Resident staff across Western Europe are advising their students accordingly. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to students.
Brussels, Paris and Rome
Friday, November 20, 2015
On Monday, November 16th, all ISA host universities re-opened as planned with increased security measures in place and students returned to classes. While France's state of emergency was extended for three months, nearly all government offices, businesses, and schools remain open, and transportation services in Paris are running with limited interruptions. A commemorative gathering to honor the victims of last Friday's attacks that was scheduled to take place today at the Grande Mosque was cancelled due to security concerns. All ISA students have been reminded to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations of any kind, even those intended to be peaceful.
On Wednesday, November 18th, security raids in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis were conducted and resulted in several arrests. Security has been heightened throughout Europe, including in Brussels, where police searched for individuals believed to have been connected to the November 13th attacks in Paris, and in Rome, where a security message was released on November 18th by the U.S. Embassy advising citizens to avoid certain tourist attractions.
The ISA Paris staff, along with all ISA resident staff across Europe and Northern Africa, are continuing to advise students on safety precautions, areas to avoid, and reiterating the importance of reporting all travel plans. Resident staff along with ISA's office of Health, Safety and Security are closely monitoring the situation across all ISA program sites, and will remain in constant contact with students for the remainder of their programs.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Following the attacks that occurred on Friday, November 13th, all ISA Paris program participants have been accounted for and are safe. The same is true for all ISA students in other program locations who reported travel to Paris over the weekend. The Paris resident staff have remained available to students throughout the weekend to answer any questions they may have and provide support. They have been providing students with information and instructions for staying safe, as well as advising them to keep their family and loved ones back home updated on their well-being. Students have also been advised that counseling services are available.
While Paris universities were closed over the weekend, they are scheduled to re-open on Monday, November 16th. Following protocol, increased security is expected at each institution and students have been advised on any special instructions communicated by our partner institutions. The Paris staff is in communication with our partner universities regarding any additional resources they are putting in place for students as a result of Friday's events. At least one partner institution has indicated that it will observe a moment of silence at noon tomorrow, and the ISA Paris office will do the same. Students are invited to join.
Although the state of emergency remains in France, there has been no recommendation by the U.S. Department of State for American citizens to evacuate Paris. We will continue to closely monitor the security situation, and make recommendations to students accordingly. As new information becomes available from local authorities as well as our French partner institutions, the Paris staff will continue to be in communication with our students.
Friday, November 13, 2015
France has declared a state of emergency in response to multiple attacks that occurred across Paris this evening, November 13th. The attackers were reported to have been using automatic weapons, and at least one explosion occurred near the Stade de France. One of the attacks occurred at the Bataclan, a concert hall in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris, where a hostage situation ensued. It has now been reported that this hostage situation has ended. In light of the state of emergency, military reinforcements have been deployed to Paris, and France has temporarily closed its borders, though the nature of this closure is still unknown.
The majority of ISA students in Paris have already been accounted for and remain safe. Currently, the ISA Paris staff is continuing to reach out to students to confirm their safety while urging them to remain sheltered, follow all local security directives, and to communicate with their parents. ISA students studying in other European locations who reported travel to Paris this weekend are also being contacted. The ISA Paris staff, along with ISA's U.S.-based Health, Safety, and Security Department is closely monitoring the situation and will advise students accordingly.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Monday, November 16, 2015
Today, November 16th, an incident took place during an exam period on the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus. A small group of student protesters attempted to disrupt an exam by causing damage to property, however, security were able to stop the protesters and secure the exam venue. No one was harmed and students were subsequently given additional time to complete their exams due to the disruption. UCT exams have continued as planned. Small demonstrations also took place on the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University campus in Port Elizabeth, but did not disrupt normal campus activities. ISA staff will continue to communicate with university officials and share additional updates with students as necessary.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Today, Wednesday November 11th, acts of vandalism by protesters disrupted activities including final exams on the University of the Western Cape campus. No ISA students were on campus during these incidents. As a precaution, the university announced that campus will be closed for the remainder of the week. No new disruptions have been reported at the University of Cape Town, which has been proceeding with their exam week as planned. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban are also operating normally, with no new disruptions on their campuses. ISA on-site staff are continuing to work with students and university administrations to ensure that all ISA students will complete their semester successfully.
Monday, November 2nd, 2015
On Monday, November 2nd, the University of Cape Town's campus reopened and the university announced that operations are largely back to normal. The new exam schedule is now available, and exams will start on Tuesday, November 10th and go through Friday, Nov. 27th. All ISA students attending the University of Cape Town have been made aware of the new exam schedule. ISA students who cannot remain in Cape Town to complete their exams may apply to take their exams from their home university or city during the University of Cape Town's regular January deferred exam period. Deferred exams may be taken online or in the presence of a proctor. ISA on-site staff is working closely with students to make individual arrangements.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Since the announcement by South Africa President Jacob Zuma of a freeze on tuition fees, student protests across South Africa have reportedly decreased. ISA host universities in Cape Town, University of Cape Town and University of Western Cape, will remain closed throughout the remainder of the week while university administration and faculty coordinate plans for the new final exam timetables. Exams that were previously scheduled to begin on October 27th were postponed and a new start date has yet to be confirmed. ISA on-site staff are working closely with university administration to determine suitable exam alternatives for ISA students. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban have reopened their campuses. Today, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University announced that its exam schedule has not been affected by last week's widespread student protests. Although an official announcement regarding changes to the exam schedule at University of KwaZulu-Natal has not been received, our ISA on-site staff has advised that any delayed exams are currently not expected to affect our students at that university. ISA on-site staff remain in close communication with ISA students, and will continue to update them on any new developments.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Friday, October 23, 2015
Today, October 23rd, South African President Jacob Zuma announced a freeze on tuition fees after days of student protests on the issue and meetings between university administrators and students. Many student protesters celebrated this announcement, and have since dispersed. All ISA site campuses were closed again today due to the demonstrations, however it is expected that the majority of protests and clashes between government and students across South Africa will cease in light of today's announcement. Police and security personnel are continuing to monitor activities throughout the country, including in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, where ISA students are studying.
ISA on-site staff have reported that the safety of all ISA students remains unaffected, and will continue to provide updates to students as they become available. The University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University have all announced that their respective university leaders will be meeting this weekend to determine a revised schedule for the exam periods. ISA will relay all details on revised exam schedules to students once determined, and continue to assist them as necessary with the completion of their courses.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Student protests across South Africa have continued today with reports of clashes between students and anti-riot police during off-campus protests in Cape Town. Smaller and more peaceful demonstrations have been reported in other cities, including Durban and Port Elizabeth. ISA students are not participating in protests and remain safe.
Today, university officials at the University of Cape Town announced that campus will remain closed and classes cancelled through Friday, October 23rd. University of the Western Cape, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and South Campus of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, where ISA students are enrolled, are also closed due to the student protests.
The University of Cape Town officials announced today that they plan to postpone final exams. The university will set new dates to hold exams, though no official date has been set at this time. ISA staff in Cape Town are working with university officials to provide for alternative arrangements for final exams for ISA students. ISA will continue to communicate with university officials and will work with all ISA students and their respective home universities to ensure that students can complete their exams either onsite or from their home campuses. At this time, other ISA host universities have not announced delays to exams. ISA onsite staff remain in close communication with university administration at each host university.
ISA on-site staff continue to communicate with ISA students, providing them updates on safety protocol and exams. ISA will continue to monitor events and inform students accordingly, as well as make updates here.
Cape Town/Port Elizabeth/Durban
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Today, October 21st, student protests against proposed tuition fee increases continued throughout South Africa. Along with the University of Cape Town, demonstrations were reported on the campuses of University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. Rioting by NMMU students resulting in the use of force by police officers was also reported. The universities plan to have a dialogue with the protesters later this week in an attempt to resolve respective protest situations.
ISA students across all ISA sites in South Africa remain uninvolved in these protests and all are accounted for and safe. The ISA on-site staff in Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth are remaining in continuous communication with all ISA students, sharing information relayed from the universities including protest or potential protest areas to avoid. ISA on-site staff are also in communication with host universities regarding how the protests may impact final examination periods. The University of Cape Town has the earliest exam period of the three host universities mentioned, which is scheduled to start next week, and university officials have advised that the university currently plans to move forward with exams as scheduled. ISA will continue closely monitoring the situation, communicating with the host universities, and advising students accordingly.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
On Tuesday, October 20th, university students continued staging protests at the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus against the recent increase in student tuition and fees. Due to the student protesters barricading major entrance roads on campus, UCT has closed its campuses today and cancelled classes and campus activities as a safety precaution. Police are continuing to monitor student activities and have arrested protesters engaged in unlawful action. There have been no reports of individuals being harmed in these ongoing protests.
All ISA students in Cape Town are accounted for and safe. The protests are not in close proximity to the student residence hall. Additionally, ISA on-site staff has advised students on all areas to avoid where demonstrations are ongoing or could occur, including on or around campus. Today's closure also coincides with the beginning of the exam study break for ISA students. As of today, ISA does not expect the current protests to affect the exam schedule for ISA students which begins on October 27th. ISA will continue to monitor the situation, communicate with UCT, and advise students accordingly.
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