Reminder: August 1 is the deadline for students to submit their proof of COVID-19 vaccination for the Fall 2021 semester. For information on the vaccine mandate and helpful FAQs for the semester, click here.


Health & Safety Advice

Health Information
If you are planning to travel the National Center for Disease Control recommends monitoring their travel website at for advisories.

For up-to-date travel health information, "Like" the CDC Travelers' Health Facebook Page 

The safety of Westfield State University's students is paramount, and for that reason the university continually monitors all situations which may affect travelers, and alerts both students who are abroad and those who will go abroad in the future. We will continue to monitor (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) recommendations regarding the Zika Virus, and will share relevant recommendations with students and their families.  The university at this time will continue to run programs as scheduled in Zika-affected locations.  The following information is from public health leaders working in real time on Zika. So, it is as reliable as possible.

The CDC projects that, by end of the northern hemisphere summer of 2016, the entire Western Hemisphere will be Zika-affected, except for Chile and Canada (where the mosquito that carries Zika does not currently exist.)

The CDC is most definitely advising all currently pregnant women and those trying to conceive to avoid Zika areas.  Only 1 in 5 people who are exposed to Zika develop symptoms.  The best and by far most important thing to do when traveling in Zika areas is to practice careful mosquito-bite prevention. DEET is the field standard for this, but there are also several non-chemical repellants that are effective as well.  Note: The mosquitoes that carry Zika bite DURING THE DAY! So, 24/7 bite protection is recommended.

The World Health Organization has released a comprehensive report on Zika that can be found here
More information can be found from the Centers for Disease Control at 

Managing Diabetes Abroad
Those who are preparing to study, teach, or volunteer in another country can take steps to practice good diabetes health while abroad, including:

  • Investigate the food customs of the country where you will travel, including ingredients and customary meal times.
  • Ask your doctor to write a summary of your diagnosis and medication regimen and have it translated in the local language.
  • Find out what your medical insurance plans will cover while abroad (both your own insurance and the travel insurance you get for the exchange), and be aware of any pre-existing condition exclusions.
  • Carry documentation of all medical equipment, such as insulin pumps, meters, test kits and test strips, to present to airport security during the screening process.
  • Consider disclosing your diabetes to program coordinators, roommates, host family members, and friends. This can help address questions that arise about routines and inform them about what to do in case of a medical emergency.
  • Visit our tip sheet for more tips on managing diabetes during international exchange and to find diabetes associations internationally.

Travel Insurance
Students are required to purchase Travel Insurance and Emergency Assistance Services Plans through the International Programs Office, or from another insurance provider.  Please contact the office for more information.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities are encouraged to pursue their interests in international education, and particularly education abroad.  Westfield State University supports access for all students to education abroad programming.

All students should note that access and support services around the world do not correspond to those typically available in the United States, and those differences may represent significant challenges for students with disabilities who wish to study in particular locations.  Students should investigate what their options are regarding a prospective study site, including reviewing local standards for housing, transportation, and educational facilities.

An excellent resource for students with disabilities considering studying or traveling abroad is Mobility International USA.  Interested students should review their on-line materials, and contact MIUSA to request additional information.

Safety for Family Vacations Abroad
As the US becomes more of a multicultural melting pot, a large percentage of people have family relatives who live in other countries which provides more opportunities for traveling abroad. While experiencing being in a foreign land and soaking up new cultures and traditions can be exciting, travelers must exercise caution and plan appropriately when traveling outside of the country.