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Education Abroad Emergency Protocol

Loyola University New Orleans’ Education Abroad Emergency Protocol (the Protocol) has been designed expressly to safeguard the well-being of program participants and to protect the University’s interests.  The procedures set forth below are to be followed by the study abroad program directors and university administration, staff, faculty, and students in order to effectively prepare for and rapidly respond to emergencies in Loyola’s Education Abroad Programs*. 

The Protocol becomes effective in situations where students and employees become ill, suffer accidents, are the victims of muggings and assaults, find themselves caught up in potentially violent political situations, fail to return on time to programs at the end of long weekends or other situation that the director or participant deems an emergency.  While it is of course impossible to plan for all contingencies involving our programs abroad, the Protocol provides procedures that will allow us to react in a responsible and levelheaded way when emergencies do arise.  We need to be able to provide, in a consistent and predictable way, for the safety and well being of our students and all other participants.  It is the responsibility of program directors and other university administrators to follow the procedures outlined below and of program directors to inform the students in their group about these procedures during their orientations.  

**For purposes of this document, Education Abroad Programs include all university-sponsored, campus-originated activities that take place outside of the U.S.

An emergency is any circumstance that poses a genuine risk to, or that has already disturbed the safety and well-being of program participants.  Emergencies will include, though not be confined to, the following types of events and incidents:

  • Disappearance or kidnapping of a participant
  • Criminal assaults against program participants;  
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Serious illness, physical or emotional, injury or death
  • Hospitalization for any reason
  • Arrest, incarceration, or deportation
  • Terrorist threat or attack
  • Local political crisis
  • Pandemics
  • Natural disasters

 A "perceived emergency" results from events that are not immediately threatening to the health or safety of program students or staff, but which may be viewed as such by family and friends at home, or by the media. In many instances, a perceived emergency must be treated as a real emergency.

  • Provide annual training for study abroad directors
  • Provide annual training to University Police dispatchers
  • Require an initial risk management assessment of all university-sponsored activities taking place outside the U.S. and annual risk management assessments
  • CIE will provide general information in semester pre-departure orientation and in the on-line summer orientation for non-law programs

Program Directors, except those in the College of Law, must work with the Center for International Education to ensure that all students complete all required documents online through the CIE website.  The information will be accessible online by University Administrators including the Provost's office, Risk Management, the Deans, the Vice-President for Student Affairs, the Director of Counseling and University Police, as well as the program directors.  The College of Law must maintain this information for all participants.

The following items will be required as part of the application process:

  • A signed responsibility and insurance statement including a statement that the student has received and understood the orientation materials, including the Protocol.  
  • 2 emergency contact numbers. 
  • Copies of passports (and visas if appropriate) or passport numbers.
  • Information on health and safety:
    • In the initial brochure, the following statement should be included: "The Center for International Education (CIE) will be happy to discuss health care concerns you may have related to study abroad.  Because of the particular challenges, both mental and physical, that integration into a new culture and learning environment place on an individual, if you are currently receiving treatment for any chronic illness it is strongly recommended that you talk with CIE or your doctor about plans to manage your health condition abroad. "
    • Information on the university required study abroad health insurance with instructions on using the insurance abroad.
    • The brochure may include a statement to this effect:  This program includes activities that may involve using public transportation, negotiating stairs, taking long walks, and attending scheduled classes.  If you have any concerns about your ability to perform any of these activities or have other special needs or disability-related concerns, contact CIE at or (504)864-7550 (or the Law School for Law Programs).
    • Post acceptance health form with specific questions about a student's health.  (example available from CIE)

All programs must include medical evacuation, repatriation, and 24/7 assistance as part of the program fee.  CIE will identify an appropriate insurance and submit lists to the insurance company for all programs utilizing the CIE online application system.  The College of Law must submit their own lists to the insurance company. CIE will identify an appropriate insurance and submit lists to the insurance company for all programs utilizing the CIE website.  Programs will be required to pay the insurance premium.

At a minimum, the following information should be provided to all students during the pre-departure and on-site orientation.  (Please note that pre-departure orientation may only consist of written materials for non-Loyola students.)

  • Consular Information Sheets and U.S. State Department Travel Warnings (if applicable).  If there is a Travel Advisory issued during a program, CIE or the College of Law will notify the director who will then notify the students of the change.  (See applicable refund policy at the end of this document.)
  • Emergency Contact Numbers for program directors and university officials to be provided to students and parents.  The emergency contacts will include:
    • Program director or On-site coordinator in host country.  All Program Directors must have a cell phone that works in the host country - either a US or foreign number.  Directors must provide students, parents and university administrators with the complete number including the country and city code if using a local number in the host country.
    • University Police
    • Center for International Education or College of Law Emergency Number
  • Cover safety and security issues specific to the country.  Advise the students to avoid travel to or through any location where tensions exist and travel may be dangerous.  
  • Procedures for a medical emergency:
    • Students should be informed that they are required to notify the program director about any medical emergency, and that the program director in turn is required to contact CIE or the College of Law for law programs.  This information will be treated with the strictest confidentiality, and will be shared by the program director on a “need to know” basis only.  If the crisis involving the student is grave enough to jeopardize his or her safety or well being, the emergency contact he/she has provided at the time of registration will be informed.

Directors will leave a detailed written program itinerary with CIE or the College of Law with written instructions on how they can be contacted in an emergency.

For semester long programs, the director and/or students must register with the U.S. embassy or consulate in the host country or countries.  Where it is appropriate, this type of notification should be provided to the local authorities at the program site. 

Prior to the arrival of the students on site: If the students in the group are to be housed with local families, inform the families that they are required to notify the on-site coordinator or director if there is an emergency involving a student.  If the students are housed in a residence system or rented house inform the local housing supervisor that he or she must notify the on site coordinator if an emergency occurs.  

  • Be familiar with all materials sent to you by your program or the Center for International Education including the Consular Information Sheets on your host country and the Center for Disease Control Travelers Information
  • Review the Emergency Protocol
  • Know how to use the study abroad health insurance information and keep a copy of the card with you at all times along with the 24/7 assistance phone number.
  • Make 2 copies of your passport. Leave one with your family and bring one with you on your trip and keep it separately from your passport.  While you are traveling, protect your passport.  Use a money belt or neck pouch.
  • Keep the Program Director's and university emergency numbers with you at all times.
  • Learn as much as you can about your country before you go.
  • Register with the U.S. Embassy
  • Develop, with your family, a plan for telephone or e-mail contact, so that in case of emergency you will be able to communicate with your parents directly about your safety and well-being.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling.  Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to their laws.
  • Bring a credit card or make sure to have access to additional funds in case of an emergency.

In an emergency, the director’s first responsibility is to safeguard the safety and well being of program participants. The director should do whatever is necessary to assure this, whether this means obtaining prompt and appropriate medical attention, Embassy intervention or police protection.  

When all has been done to assure the participants' well being, the director should contact the University Police and brief the dispatcher in detail about the situation. University Police will then contact the director of CIE or a designated representative for further action on the emergency. 

CIE and Risk Management will work with University Police to ensure that all dispatchers have the information and training needed to respond to emergency calls related to Loyola's international programs.  If the study abroad program director is unable to call University Police, they can call the CIE emergency number. 

University Police: (504) 865-3434

CIE Emergency Number: (504) 289-4485

In an emergency, the director should urge participants to contact parents as soon as possible to advise them of their personal situation.  Wherever necessary, the director must facilitate such contact.

As necessary, the director should notify the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the crisis, and follow whatever procedures they may require.   If there is a continuing risk to the welfare of the students (during a terrorist threat, for example), the director should ask the appropriate Embassy or Consular Official to advise him/her on a regular basis about the evolution of the crisis, and about how the students should respond.

In a medical emergency, the director or appropriate designee should accompany the student to an appropriate health care provider.  CIE or the College of Law for law programs should be contacted and made aware of the situation.  No details should be shared unless the participant grants permission.  If a medical emergency is critical and parents should be informed, CIE or the Provost should make contact with the parents. 

During an on-going crisis, the director should keep CIE or the College of Law for law programs informed on a regular basis, daily or as need dictates.

Depending on the acuteness of the crisis, the crisis response team may be assembled to decide on a course of action that the director and students need to follow. 

During a political crisis or some other emergency during which foreigners in general or U.S. citizens in particular may be at risk, the director should tell the students to keep a low profile; tell them to avoid demonstrations, confrontations or situations where they could be in danger; avoid behavior that could call attention to themselves; avoid locales where foreigners or U.S. Americans are known to congregate; and take down signs, avoid using luggage tags and wearing clothes that would label them as U.S. Americans.

In the event of a significant crisis, students have the option of returning to the U.S.  Every reasonable effort will be made to allow them to continue their academic program on campus, and to be housed appropriately as well.  Refund policies are outlined below.

Faculty members and students will be evacuated or sent home if a situation deteriorates to the point where the degree of risk to participants is deemed unacceptable.  If this unlikely event were to happen, the crisis response team, in consultation with the director, the U.S. Embassy and State Department, and appropriate individuals on the home campus, would develop an evacuation plan in as much detail as possible.

If there is an emergency, you should immediately contact the Program Director.  Their responsibility is to make sure that you are safe.  The director will be in contact with Loyola and will recommend appropriate steps depending on the situation. Follow the director's instructions.

During a political crisis or some other emergency during which foreigners in general or U.S. citizens in particular may be at risk, keep a low profile; avoid demonstrations, confrontations or situations where you could be in danger; avoid behavior that could call attention to yourself; avoid locales where foreigners or U.S. Americans are known to congregate; and take down signs, avoid using luggage tags and wearing clothes that would label you as U.S. Americans.

Upon receiving a call from the director of an Education Abroad program (or from faculty, parent or other source) involving a serious injury, death, or emergency, University Police will:

  1. Start a log of all calls and activities.
  2. Get the following information from the director
    • Name of caller and of victim(s), if any
    • Brief description of accident, injuries, and/or emergency, the steps that have been taken and the status.
    • Location of caller- street, city, country
    • Location of accident or emergency.  How close is it to students and staff?
    • Phone, cell phone, fax, or beeper number where caller is
    • Find out if rescue squad, local law enforcement, U.S. embassy/consulate have been called if appropriate.
    • Has any information been released to the media?
  3. If an emergency – real or perceived – occurred, ask for detailed answers to these questions:
    • What impact, if any, did any emergency have on availability of food, water, and medical supplies?
    • What was the target of unrest, if the event was political?
    • What is the intensity of the emergency or of the political unrest?
    • Are there military or emergency personnel at the site of the emergency?
    • Is continuation of classes feasible?
    • How able are our students and staff to travel in the country?
    • What is the advice of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate?

University Police will contact CIE or the College of Law for law programs with the above information.

CIE or the College of Law for law programs will consult with Risk Management to determine if a meeting or conference call with the Crisis Response Team needs to be called.  

The Crisis Response Team may include the following individuals depending on the nature of the crisis or may be the Internationalization Review and Advisory Committee plus the Director of University Police and the Director of Counseling and Health Services:

  • Director, CIE
  • Associate Provost
  • Deans
  • Director of Risk Management
  • Director of University Police
  • Designated program directors
  • Director of Public Affairs and External Relations
  • Director, Counseling and Health Services
  • Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee)

DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENT TO THE PRESS.  Notify the director of Public Affairs of any statements made to the media by the program director.  Refer inquires to the director of Public Affairs and record all calls and activities.

If an emergency has occurred, call the U.S. Department of State Citizen Emergency Center at 1-888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444) for suggestions or assistance. 

If based on the recommendation of the Crisis Response Team, the Provost determines that a program should be cancelled or terminated due to an emergency or crisis situation, the process for notification and refunds will be determined by the Crisis Response Team. Public Affairs will be notified so that all university communications will be consistent.

Countries with Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisories

If, prior to the commencement of a program, the U.S. State Department or Center for Disease Control issues a Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory for the area in which the program is being conducted, the updated information must be distributed within 7 days to students and the Program Director by the Center for International Education.  Students must be permitted to withdraw and every effort made to find an alternate program. Students shall be refunded any fees.

If, during the course of a program, the U.S. State Department or Center for Disease Control issues a Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory for the area in which the program is being conducted, the updated information must be distributed within 72 hours to students and students must be permitted to withdraw. Every effort will be made to allow students to complete their coursework after their return. Students shall be refunded any fees not already expended.

Normally Loyola will suspend approval of study abroad while a Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory is in effect unless an application for a waiver of this policy is approved. Without approval of the waiver application, university support is withdrawn and no academic credit will be awarded for programs in those countries nor will federal financial aid be granted for study in such locations.  For more information about the Travel Advisory policy and waiver process, please visit


    Click here to download a pdf version of the Emergency Protocol.  The Emergency Protocol was revised and approved by the UC&CC on 9/30/2010.