Updated Travel Changes due to COVID-19
Updated as of 11AM, 3/5/2020
The Health and Safety team at WorldStrides has been closely following the spread of the coronavirus, now named COVID-19, as governments and health agencies around the world react to contain the disease.
First, we want to express our organization’s heartfelt sympathy for those impacted, and our hopes for recovery and a return to normalcy in those areas most affected. It is with great regret that our company made the decision to cancel, postpone, or relocate our programs in China, South Korea, and Italy this spring. These countries has been assigned a Level 3 Warning from the CDC that advises Americans to avoid non-essential travel. We will work to adjust travel itineraries to relocate or postpone programs for the near-term (March and April, in particular) and as long as these countries remains at a Level 3.
WorldStrides continues to support travel programs in all other locations. Neither the CDC nor DOS have advised against travel to any other destination where we support travel programs, and there is no general guidance against travel.
WorldStrides takes a proactive approach to health and safety and has made significant investments in an infrastructure to support a continuous and evolving review of the situation. We continue to update our recommendations based on the guidance of partners like WorldAware and the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine, as well as updates from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Department of State. The safety and security of our travelers and participants is, and always will be, our highest priority! We will not allow students to travel if we don’t think it is safe to do so.
Throughout the world, WorldStrides is making adjustments to itineraries that meet proactive, elevated standards for safety at this time. Our Medical Director has consulted with our team on additional guidelines for all programs, and we have implemented additional training for our Course Leaders and Tour Directors to encourage best hygiene practices, and to respond to students who feel ill, which sometimes happens during any travel program. Our motorcoaches, hotels, and many other locations that are part of our programs have expressed a commitment to increased cleanings.
The CDC and DOS do advise that older travelers and those with chronic health conditions (both considered higher risk) speak with their medical professionals before traveling to several destinations with clusters of coronavirus.
All travelers, regardless of the destination, can follow standard hygiene practices to stay healthy. These include:
- Do not touch any part of your face without first washing your hands.
- Avoid contact with persons who are already ill.
- Avoid unnecessary touching of other persons (e.g. shaking hands in greeting) and limit touching publicly-shared surfaces, where possible.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Carry hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol) and use it for situations where handwashing might not be possible.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or in your elbow.
These tips will also help travelers protect themselves against the common cold and flu.
There are screening measures in place at many U.S. airports, which is another preventative step that the health organizations are taking. Travelers should be prepared to arrive early and comply with screening procedures at airports.
Additional updates will be posted in our frequently asked questions here on worldstrides.com. WorldStrides has successfully addressed other worldwide health issues in the past. We utilize our substantial global network to offer alternative options to our travelers, where possible, that can meet both our safety guidelines and our commitment to each participant’s overall experience. Safety is our first priority, and we will continue to update our guidance as this situation evolves. We look forward to the day when the virus is contained, and all borders are open once again for continued educational opportunities with students from around the world.