IISL’s Informative Note On COVID-19 (2)

13 Mar 2020


13 March 2020

This document replaces the IISL INFORMATIVE NOTE ON COVID-19 (1) published past March 6, 2020. It aims to provide updated information about the way in which the evolution of the COVID-19 global pandemic may affect IISL’s planned activities and, most importantly, the health of our students, visitors, and staff. 

Unfortunately, the general situation has significantly worsened both at the global level and the Spanish case. Both Spanish and Basque governments have adopted new drastic and extraordinary measures, including a two-week ‘State of Alarm’ declaration, with the purpose of containing the extension of COVID-19, including the cancellation of all presential educational activities.

According to these protocols, we have cancelled our presential lecturing in our Master’s Degree for two weeks. We shall also address directly to the Basque public health system, for the corresponding diagnostic and test, any person with symptoms of flu, respiratory difficulties or fever. Fortunately, no IISL staff member, student or academic visitor has been affected so far by COVID-19, but we shall act with extreme prudence.

Many countries have established travel restrictions and other preventive measures related to Spain, which may affect our potential visitors’ mobility. These and other restrictions may have also an impact beyond our control that any potential visitor of the IISL should examine carefully. We will very much appreciate your collaboration to keep us aware about any relevant information that may affect the viability of your IISL related activities (see links below).

We understand that every potential IISL visitor during the coming months will need to make a personal decision based in their personal health condition, recommendations and/or restrictions of their home countries, and the overall effect of these aspects on their planned activity. This decision shall be the result of a well-informed assessment but we can assist in your decision-making offering up-to-date information from our side.

More specifically, we invite Workshops’ Chairs to discuss with their workshop potential participants the situation, as well as to consider, in view of the information gathered, the best way to secure a successful meeting, even if this may entail the reduction of in person participants, or some remote presentation via Skype.

In view of the current situation, we have decided to adopt the following special measures:

  • Aiming to proceed in an ordered way, the IISL will examine any potential incidences with our Workshops Season and Visiting Scholars Programme, prioritizing those cases that come before in our planned timeline.
  • The IISL is already negotiating with the coordinators of those workshops that were expected to be held in April to postpone their celebration within the current 2020 season. Later on, and with an anticipation of at least a month, we will offer similar re-scheduling opportunities consecutively to those workshops to be held in May, June and July.
  • Possibilities for 2020 workshops to be rescheduled to the 2021 season will be examined case by case, but due to our tight schedule, this will be a delicate task.
  • A minimum of 10 presential participants will be required to celebrate a workshop at the IISL, but this number may be complemented with 2/3 recorded presentations, or participation through Skype, by those affected by duly documented governmental, sanitary, or travel restrictions. A fully virtual workshop through videoconference will not be available.
  • IISL will allow a liberal cancellation policy for those workshops whose Chairs may consider that a significant reduction of in-person participants critically affects its viability.
  • As for our Visiting Scholars Programme, we will invite those visitors expected to come during April 2020 to either postpone their coming to Oñati or to cancel it. Correspondingly, later on we will offer similar rescheduling opportunities consecutively to those visitors to arrive in May, June and July.
  • It is important to underline that the IISL takes no responsibility, or claim for any monetary amount arising from the cancellation of travel or any other restrictions adopted by governments, health authorities, or transport companies. However, the IISL will examine the requests for the return of participation fees in workshops, as well as visiting researchers’ bench fees, which may occur for these reasons. These requests must be duly documented, and the bank transfer costs will be deducted from the net amount of the fees.

We are trying our best to provide transparency about our decisions as we balance the reality of the situation with the understandable concern amongst potential visitors to the IISL.

However, should the situation change, we will reconsider our current position, and we will do our very best to keep everyone apprised of developments and our decisions moving forward.

Please feel free to reach out to the IISL staff with on-going questions or concerns.



Maite Elorza                                                                          Noé Cornago 

IISL Administration Director                                                  IISL Scientific Director



WHO World Health Organization:  https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

EU-ECOC European Union European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19/all-reports-covid-19 / https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china/sources-updated

IATA Information of travel restrictions: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm

Ministry of Health, Government of Spain: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/home.htm /

Department of Health, Basque Government: https://www.euskadi.eus/nuevo-coronavirus-covid-19/

Recommendations provided by our partner institution, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU): https://www.ehu.eus/es/-/informacion-de-la-situacion-del-coronavirus-o-covid-19