It’s 2021. And we are honored to be able to resume offering Global Routes summer programs for all the eager high school students out there ready to re-engage their sense of curiousity in the world. There will be pragmatic modifications to programs this summer to ensure we can operate transformative programming in the midst of the shape the pandemic holds this coming July. If you’re ready to travel this summer, we hope you join us.
We want to give you a look behind the scenes so you can feel confident in your decision about travel this summer, whatever that decision may be. We had a date of January 15th to decide which tack to take based on the status of COVID-19, travel regulations, and vaccination rollout. We’re making the assumption that widespread vaccination will not be widely and reliably available for healthy 14-19 year-olds. If things change, it’s much easier for us to let go of some protocols rather than tightening up but we are preparing to run programs in a travel environment that is similar to current conditions.
We have developed robust covid protocols for our summer programs which include having all students take a covid test and pre-quarantining before departing for their program, modifying our programs to be more ‘pod-based’ while still exploring the destination responsibly, wearing masks when we are not in our immediate pod, and making arrangements to get students tested before their return home in compliance with new federal guidelines. You can see our protocols below.
We are confident in these protocols because they have been field-tested. We ran a successful gap semester this past fall in Colorado in collaboration with Western Colorado University where we put our covid protocols in action, adjusted when necessary, and delivered an incredible 11-week program for students who wanted to travel in a covid-responsible manner. We look forward to doing this again this summer.
We are monitoring the situation in all of our destination countries and adjusting our itineraries accordingly. If it looks like we might have to close a destination because governments are changing or implementing restrictions that would make travel unrealistic, we will notify families as soon as possible so they can choose an alternative program. We have also opened two new domestic programs in Hawaii and Colorado for families who are ready to travel, but prefer to travel domestically for the time being.
Summer 2021 Protocols
as of January 25th, 2021 (these will likely evolve over time)
All students will be required to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure
All students will meticulously observe a 5-8 day pre-quarantine before the program, minimizing all possible exposure
All students may test again, if practical, 5-7 days into the program
The group will be it’s own pod or family unit all together. Depending on the program, local partners and on-location staff will be able to join the pod by testing-in and pre-quarantining
When working with people outside of the pod, both students and community members will wear masks, social distance, and will generally be outside
Pre-return testing before returning home based on current pre-travel guidelines and best practices
We are confident in these protocols because they have been field-tested across the student travel industry with incredibly low rates of positive infections. We ran a successful gap semester this past fall in Colorado in partnership with Western Colorado University where we put out covid protocols in action, adjusted when necessary, and delivered an incredible 11-week program for students who wanted to travel in a covid-responsible manner without any issue. We look forward to building upon travel industry knowledge and professional guidance from risk-mitigation organizations that has accumulated in the past 10 months.
We are monitoring the situation in all of our destination countries and adjusting our itineraries accordingly. If it looks like we might have to close a destination because governments are changing or implementing restrictions that would make travel unrealistic, we will notify families as soon as possible so they can choose an alternative program. We have also opened two incredible new domestic programs in Hawaii and Colorado for families who are ready to travel just not internationally quite yet. I’ve been working on program design personally and we couldn’t be more excited about what we have in store for this summer.
Flexibility for Families
How we will support families in taking the leap to travel this summer
2) Cancel for Any Reason Insurance available to protect your investment in the event you choose to withdraw for a program. (Not available to residents of New York state).
3) Transfers to alternative open Global Routes programs including domestic options.
Again, we are confident that we will run programs this summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is ready to travel quite yet or may have reason to opt-out unexpectedly. If you are ready, we can’t wait to provide you with a meaningful (and covid-responsible) experience this summer. If you’re not ready quite yet, we will be here waiting for you when you are ready to travel again.
Thank you for being part of our global community.
Is my program still running?
We are monitoring the situation closely in all our destination countries and as of right now, any program that shows up as open on the website is a program we are planning to run this summer and are able to run this summer. We have closed the Grenadines,Ecuador, and Tanzania because they are not feasible to run at this time as a ‘pod-based’ program. Should we decide to close a program because travel to that destination is no longer realistic, we will contact all impacted families immediately and get them on an alternative program.
How can I protect my program purchase?
We highly encourage all families that are eligible to purchase CFAR insurance (Cancel for Any Reason). Unfortunately this policy is not available to residents of New York.
To run programs responsibly, safely, and ethically, we need to make reservations and pay for bookings far in advance of the program start.
If I choose to withdraw and my child is not able to attend in 2022 (especially applicable to all current high school Seniors), what options are available?
For students who wish to withdraw for summer 2021, but are not able to attend next year, your options are as follows:
You can opt for our future credit which is valid for 3 years from your date of travel which can be redeemed by a sibling, friend, or relative anytime into the future, without expiry. The certificate amount is equivalent to any tuition fees paid thus far, and would be transferred to the beneficiary’s account when he/she enrolls. The beneficiary would then be responsible for any tuition balances and flight costs at the time of enrollment. For example, John is unable to attend next summer, and has paid $3,520 towards summer 2020 tuition. We will issue a certificate to John via email that he may gift to a friend, relative, or sibling in the amount of $3,520 minus any nonrefundable costs such as flight deposits. The beneficiary can redeem the certificate for use towards any GR program in the future. Any exchange for the certificate between John and the beneficiary is a personal transaction and would not involve Global Routes.
You can withdraw from the program. We are unable to provide a refund for a student who chooses to withdraw from a program that is scheduled to run. If you have CFAR insurance, you can submit a claim for 65% of non-refundable monies paid.
In the event of program cancellation, which would be announced no later than 45 days before departure, you would be eligible for a full-tuition refund minus any nonrefundable costs which include, but are not limited to, credit card processing fees and flight deposits.
One of the best parenting decisions we’ve ever made was choosing Global Routes’ Caribbean program for our daughter. Our daughter returned home with a passion for experiencing other cultures and is already begging us to sign her up for another Global Routes trip.
Weiss Family, Grenadines
A view from the field
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