Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Dear 2023 Students and Prospective Students,
Welcome to Loop Abroad! All travel programs currently listed as being offered for 2023 are scheduled to run and are currently enrolling. We do not anticipate canceling any of these programs based on COVID-19. (To find out your options if you are personally unable to travel for any reason, skip ahead)
Currently, all of our program countries accept vaccinated American and Canadian tourists for travel and have commercial flights available. The US is not without COVID and we have done our best not to compare the risk of travel in these countries with a COVID-free environment, but rather to the alternative of remaining in the United States. Therefore, a CDC level related to COVID-19 will not cause us to cancel a scheduled travel program.
We believe in the importance of study abroad, and we know the positive impact it has made on our students’ lives. Our partners abroad need us. In 2021, our students’ tuition helped to re-open two wildlife clinics that had closed in 2020 and to restart a sea turtle research project that had been paused for over a year. In 2022, we continued supporting these projects and their conservation missions. We are proud of our students’ impact and we have shown that they can travel respectfully and responsibly at this time.
HOW WE ARE KEEPING YOU SAFE
We have kept our case number low by implementing the following safety standards:
We have experience running our travel programs during COVID-19 and will continue to provide students with the excellent experiences they’ve come to expect from Loop Abroad.
STARTING IN 2022: COVID VACCINES REQUIRED
“Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated…. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.” – CDC, Aug 25, 2021
From January 1, 2022 onward, we will be requiring all participants and faculty on all programs to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. We expect that this requirement will also be in place for air travel to and entry into many program locations. We are unable to offer any exceptions to this requirement. We are proud to offer excellent, accessible virtual veterinary courses, internships, programs, and research fellowships, which are a safe alternative for folks who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Starting in Summer 2022, to be fully ‘up to date’ on your COVID vaccination, you may be required to show proof of boosters if you are eligible. You can check the CDC definition of up to date here.
While Loop Abroad only requires that you are “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, we strongly encourage students to be ‘up to date’ in order to reduce the risk of infection and/or delayed return home from your program.
Read “What happens if someone tests positive in my group?” below to learn how we use CDC guidelines to protect you, your group members, and our host organizations during your program.
COVID-19 CANCELLATION GUARANTEE
Please rest assured that if Loop Abroad cancels a program because of COVID-19 (or for any reason), students enrolled in that program will have the option to receive a full refund of any tuition they have paid to Loop Abroad.
Students will also have the option to move their enrollment to a travel program in another country (where possible), move their enrollment to a virtual program, or move their enrollment to a future summer if one of these options is better for them.
Note: For participants who do not reside in the USA, if travel between your home country and the program country is prohibited by one or both governments, you will be eligible for a full tuition refund even if the program is not cancelled. Proof of residence may be required.
MY PROGRAM WASN’T CANCELLED, BUT I CAN’T GO. WHAT CAN I DO?
This offer is valid for cancellation of travel programs between 35 days and 1 day before the program begins, when no refunds are available for participants cancelling their travel. Participant tuition must be paid in full for this offer to apply. One virtual package available per participant; non-transferable. A participant cancelling their enrollment more than 35 days prior is welcome to select this option over their refund if they so choose.
WHAT IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID AND CANNOT ATTEND?
We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance that covers cancellation for medical reasons and that includes COVID coverage. These policies can be very affordable and can help you to recover your lost travel costs in such a case.
If you cannot attend a program because you contract COVID or are unable to travel by air because you test positive for COVID, you would not be eligible for a tuition refund, so travel insurance that covers cancellation in the case of a medical emergency is strongly recommended.
WHAT ARE LOOP ABROAD’S PROCEDURES IF I GET SICK ABROAD?
In the last thirteen years of study abroad, we have had lots of experience supporting students who need routine medical attention. Every program has 24/7 staff on-hand to help you if you feel ill and make sure that you can receive medical attention.
If you become ill during your program and require medical care or hospitalization for a severe case of COVID-19, Loop Abroad staff in your program country will make every effort to direct you to the best treatments locally available and, with your permission, check in with the medical team supervising your case. While our staff cannot be in the room with you, we will do our best to support you in making contact with your friends and family at home, advising on insurance and hospital paperwork, and communicating with doctors if you have any difficulties.
If you test positive, you may not be unable to return to the USA on time. In that case, here is what would happen:
Please note that COVID-19 regulations are constantly evolving in each country and could change before your program begins. We will do our best to keep you updated to any such changes, but it is important that you ensure that you have appropriate medical insurance coverage should you need medical treatment abroad (which is a good idea even outside of COVID-19).
WHAT IF SOMEONE IN MY GROUP TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 DURING THE PROGRAM?
If someone in your group tests positive for COVID, you would be considered a close contact. If a student or staff is a close contact, we would follow the latest US CDC guidance along with any rules and requests by local health authorities and host organizations, which may be more strict than the US CDC.
According to the CDC guidance updated on August 11, 2022, if you are a close contact, you will need to wear a mask for 10 days or take extra precautions inside your Travel Pod. On Day 5 after the exposure, you would be required to take a COVID test.
Read the latest CDC guidance on when you should isolate or quarantine here.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact [email protected] any time. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you this summer!