Updated May 27th, 2020
We know families are concerned about coronavirus. This page will be updated as circumstances develop.
Safety will always be a top priority at Global Routes. We are monitoring the situation closely for all of our destinations and are in close contact with our local partners, our risk-management resources, and current events. We work in conjunction with local embassies, the State Dept., the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization for official determinations.
Over the past 53 years, Global Routes has regularly responded and adjusted to disease outbreaks, wars, political instability, and natural disasters, always prioritizing the safety of our travelers while balancing the educational goals of these experiences. We’ll be in touch if there are any major updates or changes underway and we appreciate our students and families for being flexible, patient, and open-minded as we continue to learn more as information becomes available.
We are addressing programs on a location by location basis. We’ll be in touch with families directly re: specific program updates and any possible delays or postponements.
For enrolled families, the date in which balance payments are due has been pushed back until further notice. We’ll alert you before we plan to resume tuition installments. Additionally, we are pushing back the date in which we bill flight costs and we will be in touch when we’ve added flight costs to your profile. Please see the ‘enrolled families covid-19 page’ you’ve received via email.
For any new family who enrolls, a nonrefundable $600 deposit is due at the time of registration plus any nonrecoverable costs associated with the group flight. A credit card authorization will also be required for when program launch is confirmed.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms at all and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing (in most cases these are older people and those with underlying medical conditions). (World Health Organization)
In reality, the risk of contraction may be significantly higher in population centers in the United States than in rural areas of Tanzania, Costa Rica, St. Vincent, Ecuador, and Nepal where our groups spend the vast majority of their journey. We very intentionally avoid spending significant time in cities on all of our programs.
Serious illnesses are predominantly occurring in elderly individuals and those that are immuno-compromised. In reality, the risk of illnesses like Dengue Fever and Malaria are a greater cause for concern for the health of individual travelers and have been for decades despite rare instances of infection. Where do we get our information?
We closely follow OSAC, CDC, WHO, and the US State Dept to monitor travel warnings and base decisions on official information provided by these organizations.
If travel to a destination country were deemed to be a high risk due to coronavirus in advance of the program by being specifically labeled a 3 or higher by the state dept and CDC, (the threshold at which travel could be risky for non-elderly and immuno-compromised travelers), or if there are extenuating circumstances or developments in a particular nation, we would cancel the program and either offer a space in an alternate location, support students and families to recoup tuition through travel insurance, or refund received tuition (minus the unrecoverable 1.8 to 3.5% e-check/debit/credit card processing fees we have paid). Final decisions will be made no later than 45-60 days in advance of program departure (between April 26 and May 18 for summer departures), We are unable to provide a refund for a student who chooses to withdraw from a program in the absence of an official travel warning for an individual country (not a blanket warning) and/or program cancelation. We are currently investigating the travel insurance options that families can seek to cover the voluntary withdrawal from a program in the absence of an official warning and/or program cancelation.
This is the CDC page to which we are referring often. You can interact with the map to see if there is a travel warning in your program location. The CDC also posted a helpful summary about when travel should be reconsidered on this page. This New York Times interactive map is also helpful.
We recognize this is a difficult and concerning situation. With coronavirus dominating headlines, the media hysteria is very unsettling. Cases will continue to spread and you will read disconcerting headlines every day. Historically, outbreaks like this are seasonal like the flu, often paring down during the summers and reinvigorating the following fall as these viruses tend to struggle in warmer climates.
All this said, there is uncertainty about coronavirus that will continue to become more clear over time.
We’ll continue to update this page as the situation develops and we all learn more.