Message from CAPS Director about Study Abroad

Dear members of the CAPS community:

It is still hard to believe that more than a year has passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Yet, thankfully, there are signs on both sides of the Pacific that to a degree the battle against the virus is being won.  This being said, unfortunately, there continues to be a great deal of uncertainty regarding the rate such progress will continue and be consolidated in a way that will lead us into a post-pandemic state of affairs.

Over the past few weeks I have spoken at length with officials across the University about this situation, with an eye toward making a decision about what the most prudent course of action for CAPS will be during the 21-22 academic year.  As a result of such conversations, and with the support of the Dean’s Office in Arts and Sciences, I have determined that we will be extending the suspension of our “Beida semester” during the fall of 2021.

I realize that this decision is one that many of you will greet with disappointment, especially those of you who will be CAPS seniors during the 21-22 academic year.

I am very sympathetic to such a reaction.

And so, as I did in previous letters to the CAPS community, I would like to emphasize that this decision was a difficult one for me to make. However, it reflects not only my assessment of the situation we are facing, but also is consistent with the consensus of opinions on this matter that I have gathered from the CAPS staff, faculty, and other major stakeholders in the program. In short, all of us involved with the program feel this is the most prudent course of action to take. We also all felt that making the decision earlier rather than waiting to the last minute would be of benefit to everyone.

Please note that this decision does not extend to the Spring of 2022 semester, we will revisit that issue in the fall.

Also, please be aware that this decision is a CAPS (and College of Arts and Sciences) decision, and is not in any way related to whatever decision Cornell’s Office of Global Learning will make in the coming months regarding the study abroad programs in China it oversees.

Finally, please know that, as has been the case throughout this difficult time, we will work with each of you to develop contingency plans when it comes to studying China here at Cornell, as well as completing the graduation requirements for the CAPS major and minor (especially for rising juniors and sophomores).   Along these lines please continue to consult with us regarding your course selection and planning.

In the meantime, thank you in advance for your understanding of this decision, and, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us with any questions or concerns that you have regarding CAPS and your standing within the program.


Allen Carlson
Michael J. Zak Chair
Director, Brittany and Adam J. Levinson

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