COVID-19 Updates - Loop Abroad

COVID-19 Updates

Updated: March 23, 2020

This webpage will be the most updated, authoritative resource about how COVID-19 relates to our upcoming programs.

Announcements from the CDC

As of March 13, 2020, the CDC has issued a “Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions” global travel health notice due to the COVID-19 virus. We do not know how long this travel health notice will remain in effect, but we have been working diligently with CampDoc and Student Universe to offer our summer students some increased flexibility in their trip planning. With our first summer programs starting two months from today, and our last program of the summer still five months away, all summer programs remain scheduled as planned.

Summer Programs Currently Running as Scheduled

At Loop Abroad, student safety is our first goal. In this unprecedented climate of COVID-19’s global spread, we have to think beyond just student health and consider our responsibility in contributing to the health and safety of all members of our communities, including the elderly and immunocompromised. We have adjusted our SPRING 2020 programming accordingly. Because our students are committed to caring for global health causes such as conservation, we know that you respect and value these concerns as well.

With regards to upcoming programming for SUMMER 2020 (May 16 – August 12), we are committed to making the most responsible programming choices for our participants and their families. This situation is rapidly evolving and it is difficult to responsibly make changes in any summer programming this far ahead of program dates.

At this time, we are not canceling any of our summer programming around the globe. However, because we know that changes in your schedule can create anxiety and stress, we would like to provide some options for summer students so that you can choose the course of action best for you and secure your peace of mind as you head into summer season. We have worked with our partners at CampDoc and Student Universe to make these enhanced options available to help you make the best decision for you about your upcoming travel plans with Loop Abroad. Our regular cancellation policy remains unchanged.

Our current cancellation policy states that we will cancel programs if the CDC assigns a Level 3 travel warning to the destination country during the evaluation period beginning 40 days before the program date. We feel these parameters now need to be expanded, as they do not include any consideration regarding the origin country for the traveler. The vast majority of our students come from the US, so we will take into account whether the US is still in a state of national emergency and prohibitions or restrictions on travelers from the US when deciding whether to cancel a program.

Summer programs remain open for enrollment, but it is becoming increasingly uncertain whether we will be able to operate these programs. We are encouraging students to shift their bookings to later this summer or to 2021, without any penalty, to help increase the likelihood of their program operating. We have posted the program schedule for 2021.

Protect your Investment: Peace of Mind options from Loop Abroad

We are offering the following enhanced flexibility options to any of our currently accepted or enrolled students. You do not have to choose any of these options – if you are already enrolled in a course and want to stay enrolled in that course, you do not need to take any action.

(1) Switch to a later program. If you are an enrolled student this summer and would feel more comfortable moving your program to a later date, you may transfer the tuition you’ve paid, including your deposit, toward another Loop Abroad program at any location later in the summer or you can transfer it to a Fall Semester (Global, Thailand, or South Africa). This option is subject to availability, but we will do our best to accommodate you.

(2) Transfer your tuition to next summer. If you like, you can transfer your tuition payments toward summer 2021 programming. This will allow you to secure your place in the 2021 program of your choice, on the dates of your choice, and secure 2020 tuition. And you won’t have to submit a new application or be re-accepted to the program, It will also ensure that you do not lose a single dollar of your tuition funds. If you choose this option, Loop Abroad will donate $100 in your name to the conservation project of your program, such as the Elephant Nature Park or Walkabout Wildlife Park, to help them in the short term.

Note: If you have already purchased airfare on your group flight through StudentUniverse, you can use those funds toward next year’s group airfare. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, please contact [email protected] for additional details.

How can I be sure my program is running as scheduled?

Currently, all our summer courses are running as scheduled. There is plenty of time before summer begins to see how things evolve and make a reasonable, informed decision.

What if my program isn’t cancelled, but the airline cancels my flight?

If you have reserved a seat on the group flight to a program country and the flight is canceled or rerouted, we will work with Student Universe to find a replacement flight. If you are traveling on your own itinerary, you would need to work directly with the airline or travel agent through which you booked the reservation.

CDC COVID-19 Travel Health Notices

The CDC uses a 3-level system for travel health notices. If no level is issued for a specific country, that means no travel health notices are in place for that country.

Level 1: Travelers should practice usual precautions and the CDC does NOT recommend canceling or postponing travel.

Level 2: Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should discuss travel with a healthcare provider and consider postponing or cancelling nonessential travel.

Level 3: CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel.

Our Response Plan

In the event that the CDC announces a Level 3 Travel Health advisory for a program country within 40 days of a program start date, we will cancel that program session and follow our normal policy for program cancellations. If Loop Abroad cancels a program, enrolled students have the option to switch to a different Loop Abroad program if available, apply their admission towards a 2021 program, or receive a full tuition refund.

We will not be cancelling any program before that program’s Evaluation Date listed below. The key metric used on the Evaluation Date will be the CDC level for the program country (with a “Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel” causing us to cancel), but other metrics such as airline restrictions will be considered as well.

Program Start DateEvaluation Date
May 15 or May 16April 5
May 29 or May 30April 19
June 12 or June 13May 3
June 26 – June 28May 17
July 10 – July 12May 31
July 24 or July 15June 14

Staying Healthy: Best Practices

In accordance with CDC recommendations above, Loop Abroad provides all students with:

  • Handwashing stations before and after all meals
  • Hand sanitizer throughout the day and whenever handwashing stations are not available or practical
  • Antiseptic wipes to sanitize all eating or work surfaces prior to use

We each have an important role to play in helping to limit the spread of this virus that can be dangerous to certain members of our communities, which helps to preserve hospital resources and keep medical care accessible for ourselves as well as our families and neighbors. We encourage all of you to do your part by following best practices that can help limit the spread of any virus, including:

  • Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Use your elbow, or if possible, use a tissue and throw that tissue away.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap throughout the day. If soap isn’t available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practice social distancing, avoiding large crowds for the time being.
  • If you have a fever, seek medical care and do not go to work or school.
  • Consider donating to your local food pantry – community health means keeping everyone healthy! Lower income families may find increased need for support at this time.

Closing Words

Thank you for trusting Loop Abroad with your educational and travel goals. For everyone, this is an uncertain moment where we are being called to make responsible choices for community health. We hope that in making additional options available to you, we can help to bring you peace of mind in planning ahead for your summer. We will continue to monitor the situation and bring you updates as needed.

Contact Us

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you have. We are available by phone during business hours at +1 (617) 412-0838 or [email protected]. When calling the office, please leave a voicemail if you would like your call returned.

 

"This was a great learning experience! We were able to spend a lot of time with the vets and they were constantly answering questions and sharing their knowledge. Strongly recommend this trip!"

Andrea G., Thailand College Veterinary Service 2016

Wright State University, Dayton, OH