May 11, 2021
Overview of the Situation in Greece
As of May 10, 2021, just under 1.2 million people in Greece have received a second vaccination shot, and the rolling average number of new COVID cases remains very high. Nevertheless, a nationwide lockdown that has been in force since early November is now being dismantled, with archaeological sites, restaurants and cafes already open; museums scheduled to begin operating on Friday, May 14; and travel between regions set to resume as of Saturday, May 15.
Currently, citizens and permanent residents of the EU, US, UK, and several other countries may enter Greece freely and without any quarantine requirements so long as they (i) provide proof of either completed vaccination or a negative PCR test result for COVID and (ii) submit a Passenger Locator Form in advance of their departure. Canadian citizens are not currently permitted to enter Greece without an EU/Schengen Area residence permit or visa, or travel authorization from the Greek embassy to Canada declaring the travel to be essential. Please contact Eric Driscoll (email@example.com) if you require advice on the legalities of traveling to Greece at the moment, after first consulting the Athens International Airport's useful FAQ and travel.gov.gr for the latest available information.
Finally, those in Greece should expect to be tested or self-tested for COVID periodically; in particular, negative tests will likely be required for travel between regions within Greece.
Current Status of the ASCSA
The ASCSA remains closed to the public in conformity with the government’s orders closing libraries and archives. When free movement resumes on May 15, we plan to allow members (only) to access the School, subject to the policies below.
The renovation of Loring Hall is nearly complete, and rooms should be ready for occupancy in mid-June. Please contact Niamh Michalopoulou (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about Loring Hall.
Members or other researchers interested in the status of specific departments or resources of the School—the Agora or Corinth excavations, Archives, the libraries, or the Wiener Lab—should consult the relevant staff of that department.
The academic program for 2021-22 is expected to proceed as normal with COVID precautions in line with government policy throughout the year.
COVID-19 Measures and Policies
In principle all new members of the ASCSA are required to be fully vaccinated before accessing the School’s facilities. “Fully vaccinated” means that at least two weeks have elapsed since the final required vaccine shot. Members and prospective members who are unable to meet this requirement should contact Eric Driscoll (email@example.com); in most cases one week of isolation followed by a negative COVID test result will be required before accessing the School.
Members are required to follow the government’s directives and public health recommendations. In particular, the government’s policy calls for masks to be worn at all times in public, both inside and out, except while seated at a restaurant. Masks must therefore be worn at all times while in the School, including in the library stacks. Members should continue to observe social distancing regulations, and avoid crowding at tables during lunch even outside.
The School distributed bottles of hand sanitizer through the facilities; members should routinely wash and disinfect their hands while in the facilities. The guards will continue to measure the temperature of everyone entering the grounds using a non-contact thermometer.
All members are strongly encouraged to take COVID self-tests routinely (e.g., on a weekly basis). These tests are available for 7-10 euros at any pharmacy.
If any member should test positive for COVID, they should immediately alert the Director and/or Assistant Director by email, and contact Dr. Nick Michalopoulos at 694 55 82 274 for further instructions.
Message from the Director
Dear Associate Members,
We are writing to update you on the expected operation of the American School during the 2020-21 academic year. As you may have heard, the Regular Program will not be held due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic’s continuing or resurging impact on international travel, movement within Greece itself, museum and site closures, and, of course, the health of our members and staff. In other respects, however, we hope that the 2020-21 academic year will be a fruitful period for research conducted at the School including its excavations at Corinth and the Agora. Any associate member who wishes to use the facilities of the School must consult with the Director before making plans to come to Greece (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At present, it is not possible for non-E.U. citizens to enter Greece, with a few limited exceptions. This travel ban is expected to expire on June 15. Separately from the travel ban itself, all persons arriving in Greece from abroad are currently required to self-isolate for fourteen days upon arrival, subject to monitoring from the police and a considerable fine for any violations. The self-quarantine requirement is very likely to remain in force unless widespread, multilateral coordination on health screening for travelers is implemented, which does not seem likely given various political situations around the world.
Even after you have arrived, it is impossible to guarantee that the School’s facilities will be available for the entire year. Nor are we presently able to paint a detailed picture of what kinds of academic offerings (lectures, reading groups, School excursions, seminars, etc.) will be available—in no small part because that will depend largely on your presence and interest. We ask for your flexibility and understanding in the event of any disruptions during the year, but we also believe that if the pandemic remains under control in Greece, the School will be able to operate and support your research fully in many of the usual ways. Despite the difficulties and uncertainties, we hope that you will be able to come.
Currently, the School is closed to the public, but members may access all research facilities—the Blegen and Gennadius Libraries, Wiener Laboratory, and Archives—by appointment only with the relevant personnel. For users of the Blegen Library, we have developed a seating arrangement that limits patrons to no less than two meters distance, and we are requiring all users of the library to wear a face covering while moving about, and to avoid violating physical distance requirements while accessing the stacks. Patrons are requested to sign up for scheduled library times, as we must control the total number of people in the library and maintain a record of who may have been in contact should a case of the virus emerge. However, we do not anticipate that the number of members will require limiting anyone’s access to the library. The resources of the Gennadius Library, Archives and the Wiener Laboratory are also available by appointment., each establishing its own conditions for use.
Work can be carried out at the excavation facilities in Corinth and the Agora, also by prior appointment. For accommodation at Corinth, reservations made well in advance are advisable. The School is continually processing permit requests and the Ministry is acting on them on in a timely manner.
On the social front, we are currently serving outdoor lunches (5 euros) five days a week. (As you know, Loring Hall is closed for renovations, so we are unable to serve breakfast or dinner.) Lunch is served in the basement corridor adjoining the Members’ Saloni, and we have set up tables in the paved courtyard behind the main building. Members are required to wear a face covering until they are seated outside, seating at tables is limited to four persons, and lunch is served in two shifts to ensure safe distancing. We hope to continue this arrangement throughout the summer and into the fall.
The Greek government is currently planning to open archaeological sites on May 18 and museums on June 15. At the present time we do not know if access to museum storerooms or other material for which you may hold or seek a study permit will be available on June 15, but we anticipate that it will be. For those of you who hope to conduct research outside Athens, be aware that hotels throughout Greece are scheduled to begin opening in June and July as well, but the details of which hotels will be allowed to open remain somewhat unclear at the present time.
It is important to understand that all of these projections for the future are fully contingent on the course of the pandemic within Greece. If the summer tourist season brings a new wave of infections, or there is otherwise a resurgence of the virus in the fall or winter, it is extremely likely that the government will re-impose some or all of the limitations on travel and activity that have been in place since March. These limitations might include prohibiting travel within Greece, for example to and from Athens and Corinth, closing archaeological sites and museums, etc. If the Blegen Library closes to members, we will allow patrons to check out a limited number of books so as to continue working at home, and provide proxy access to electronic resources.
If you have specific questions, about conditions in Greece that cannot be answered by the attached list of web resources, please contact our Assistant Director Eric Driscoll (email@example.com). We look forward to welcoming you to the School at whatever time you choose to come.
Jenifer Neils, Director
May 11, 2020
After much discussion, the Managing Committee of the School has decided to cancel the Regular Member Program for the 2020-2021 academic year. This decision takes into consideration delays and uncertainties in reopening travel among and within countries, the prediction that social distancing will continue in Greece through the fall, and complications that may occur should a second wave of the virus arise during the academic year. Students' general health and wellbeing are our main concern, and we feel that, given the uncertainty surrounding the future spread of the virus, as well as various countries’ responses to the epidemic, we must cancel the program.
All accepted Regular Members may defer their attendance in the program to the 2021-2022 academic year. If an accepted member has been awarded an ASCSA School fellowship for the 2020-2021 program, the fellowship will automatically be deferred to the 2021-2020 year with the deferral of membership. Students may apply for partial-year visiting Associate Member status (https://ascsa.submittable.com/submit/115610/ascsa-associate-membership-application) if they have specific research to be carried out in Greece during the 2020-2021 academic year. All such applications will be reviewed by the Director of the School. Regular Member fellowship support, however, can only be used for the Regular Academic Program in 2021-2022. Please be aware that if someone wishes to utilize the School’s facilities this academic year, the normal offerings of the School may be somewhat curtailed. As long as social distancing requirements are in place, members will be asked to coordinate all facility usage with the School in advance, and specific plans should be arranged with the School in advance of any international travel commitments.
Please contact Alicia Dissinger (Programs Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions. We deeply regret the cancellation of the Regular Program due to these unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances.
March 25, 2020
In light of the rapidly evolving situation precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens has made the difficult decision to postpone until summer 2021 the Summer Session, Summer Seminars, and Wiener Lab Field School planned for summer 2020.
March 9, 2020
We face the spread of COVID-19 around the world at the same time as many of us are planning air travel for the summer. The potential extent and speed of the spread of the virus is unknown. We cannot rule out problems lasting well into the summer. At present, the disease is not treatable; however, it also seems - like common influenzas - to affect the elderly and others with lessened immune systems more than those who are otherwise healthy. Health Department websites for various countries are good sources for advice on avoiding contracting and spreading the virus (see links below).
At present, many airlines that have had to cancel flights to affected areas have been waiving change fees and offering credit on future flights. Many hotels are likewise being very supportive. We understand, however, that only the most comprehensive travel insurance policies are likely to cover costs stemming from epidemic- or pandemic-related cancellations. Be sure to read any policy very carefully before purchasing.
At present, the ASCSA does not plan to cancel or reschedule any summer programming. As we are doing currently, the ASCSA will follow all recommendations and requirements put into place by the Greek authorities. At present, we recommend that people either delay purchases for summer air travel or be very aware of terms regarding refunds, rebookings, or cancellations. Trip cancellation insurance should be carefully considered.
In the event that we are required to cancel programs, either due to requirements from the Greek government or due to airline travel restrictions, all fees will be refunded. If programs go ahead, but a participant's college or university, other place of employment, or country of origin has imposed travel restrictions, the School will refund all fees. Other reasons for individual cancellations and refunds will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Travel and Health advisories:
Link to WHO
Link to CDC
Link to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Link to Greek Ministry of Health
Message from the Director
9 March 2020
Dear ASCSA community,
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased significantly In Europe and to a certain extent in Greece. We expect this number will continue to climb with more widespread testing. It is also reasonable to assume that, at some point, there could be a confirmed case within our community. Understandably, these possibilities lead to elevated concern and anxiety, especially for those who are in higher-risk populations.
After careful review of our local situation and following consultation with health professionals, we have assessed that the risk of transmission associated with lectures and library use remains low. However, at this time and in accord with the Ministry of Health’s directive, we are canceling all public events for the month of March.
Travel restrictions will become stricter as confirmed cases of COVID-19 increase and high-risk Level 2-3 regions are identified. Whether you travel abroad or locally, you should be prepared to arrange for self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return should you return from a restricted jurisdiction (International or Domestic) or are exposed to an individual suspected positive for COVID-19. Other unanticipated restrictions may apply as public health officials monitor the situation.
Your Health & Wellness
As a reminder, we recommend observing the following:
We will continue to make regular updates concerning modified operations as new information is available.