Dear JI Students Overseas,

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly become a public health crisis around the world. It happened so suddenly and so violently that every aspect of our lives, our study and our work, has been significantly disrupted. Every day, we are overwhelmed by the high number of new confirmed cases,the huge amount of information circulated online and offline, and the widespread concern and fear.

At a difficulty time like this, we want you to know that we are thinking about you. We understand your anxiety as you continue yourstudy at universities around the world. Please remember that we will always have your safety and health as our top concern and priority and your academic progress and future career development at the core of our effort.

We believe many of you are having concerns over the Summer 2020 arrangement, visa issues, international travel restrictions, etc. and are pondering the question of whether to return to China or not. Over the past few weeks, we have been communicating with Shanghai Jiao Tong University as well as our global partner universities, including the University of Michigan, regarding your concerns. We have also been discussing internally on how to best support you given the situation. As a result, we have decided to offer all our courses in the Summer 2020 semester online and offline simultaneously. With this decision, we want to ensure that no students will be left behind because of the virus, including those who may have difficulties returning to China due to the constantly evolving situation. More details of the semester arrangement will be released to you later as they become available. Please understand that this new mode of instruction will be a huge challenge to all of us due to the scale of our summer semester and the variety of courses involved including labs. We need your understanding, cooperation, and support to make the summer semester a great success.

While you are abroad, we want you to always remain vigilant. We ask you to pay close attention to the development of the situation by watching local news and listening to advices from your schools and local governments. We remind you to keep in touch with us as well as your parents and friends, and help protect each other during the crisis. We encourage you to look for true information and stay away from rumors. We advise you to understand what is special about the virus and learn how it transmits. We urge you to reduce personnel contact, maintain social distance, wear face masks when necessary, wash your hands frequently, as well as take all other measures recommended by health professionals to protect yourself. Please stay alert ALL THE TIME!

In a time of crisis, we want you to stay calm and rational. Recently, you should have noticed that flight tickets back to China are increasingly expensive and difficulty to get. Airports in China’s major cities are flooded with people returning from overseas. Many countries have suspended transit visa approval, thus making international travel more difficult. In a situation like this, we urge you to stay calm and make travel decisions rationally. Whether you decide to stay where you are or travel, please make sure that you take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself and stay healthy.

Please stay in touch with us and let us know the concerns you may have and the difficulties you may be facing. We will do our best to assist you and help you through this difficult time. As Belgium pianist Jean-Francois Maljean recently wrote in his Chime of the Dawn Bells, a song he dedicates to Wuhan: “The dawn will break to end your darkest hour”. We hope you will look at the crisis not only as a test of your physical endurance, but also a test of your intellectual maturity. We hope that you will all pass this special test with an A+.

Spring is in the air and flowers are blossoming on the beautiful campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. When the world is healthy again, we will all be here to welcome you home.

UM-SJTU Joint Institute

March 21, 2020