Summer 2021 Program Guidelines
We are thrilled that you are traveling abroad with us this summer. Our world has changed drastically in the past year and our programs have been modified to reflect this new reality. We will be continuing to refine LeadAbroad’s plans and policies throughout this spring in order to keep our students, staff and communities safe while experiencing transformative international programs.
We believe that international travel is one of the most impactful experiences a student can choose to participate in during college. This decision must be deliberate and informed – especially in summer 2021. This year, we have added a COVID-19 Code of Conduct that is a requirement for all students and staff and it’s important to review the document carefully. The Code of Conduct is necessary to conduct study abroad safely and there will be consequences for failure to comply.
As you know, we follow expert resources and local government guidelines as we plan for every program. Many factors indicate a summer environment where student travel is once again viable. We will continue monitoring expert resources and official guidelines including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Overseas Security Advisory Council, US Department of State and WHO.
To specifically account for the evolving risk landscape due to COVID-19, we are incorporating and elevating independent data sets, metrics (including prevalence of the virus, infection rates, transmission types, slope of new daily cases, health infrastructure ratings, etc.) and more expert sources (Johns Hopkins, Our World in Data, Worldometer, CIEE HRI, etc.) to gain a comprehensive view of the risks associated with COVID-19.
In addition, we will consult with our longstanding partners, study abroad industry peers and vendors abroad to understand how our locations are responding to the pandemic. Review our COVID-19 FAQs and program cancellation policies here.
As always, feel free to contact us at info@LeadAbroad.com or 404.720.5657. Thank you!
Health and Safety
According to the CDC, “COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. For people who have symptoms, illness can range from mild to severe. Adults 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.”
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people outside your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from others.
- Wear a mask in public, even if you don’t feel sick. The make cover will help protect others in case you are infected.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
More information can be found on the CDC’s website.
Student and staff health will be monitored frequently starting with their arrival in the program location. Most countries are currently requiring a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and are facilitating health screenings at the airport. If someone is showing symptoms upon arrival the country could require an additional rapid test. Upon arrival and throughout the program it is important for all students and staff to notify LeadAbroad immediately if they experience symptoms related to COVID-19. In addition, it is important to know that some countries may require a 2-4 day quarantine period upon arrival.
Students and staff must bring a personal supply of masks for daily use and frequent washing. We will follow all local government mask guidelines and masks will be required in all LeadAbroad spaces as well. We recommend that students find comfortable masks that fit with CDC guidelines and bring at least 5 masks with them. Currently, all LeadAbroad program cities require masks indoors and outdoors at all times when away from your private residence.
Students and staff will be asked to complete a daily form tracking their temperature and symptoms. Be sure you pack an accurate thermometer with you.
All 2021 students and staff are required to take a COVID-19 test (PCR) within 48-72 hours of departure from the United States. and bring documentation of a negative test result. Each country has different requirements – it is extremely important students read all LeadAbroad communications about program-specific testing requirements.
Testing may be required throughout the program in the case of exposure, symptoms, independent travel to a COVID-19 hotspot or other high-risk behaviors. LeadAbroad will work with local partners to ensure reliable access to testing while abroad. Students will also need to be tested and show proof of a negative result prior to flying back to the United State. If a test is recommended by a healthcare provider due to a student showing symptoms, LeadAbroad’s insurance will cover the cost of testing. However, any preventative testing, including a test to return to the United State will be the responsibility of the student.
Isolation and Quarantine
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student will be required to go into quarantine to limit exposure to other participants. Quarantine housing has been arranged on a program by program basis depending on the local guidelines and may be on or off-site. Isolation may be required in the case of exposure. In both isolation and quarantine, LeadAbroad staff will support students with daily check in calls, meal delivery and coordinating medical attention as needed.
In the case of a positive COVID-19 result while abroad, students will need to participate in contact tracing so that we can communicate exposure to relevant participants.
Before You Go
Negative COVID-19 Test and Quarantine
All 2021 students and staff are required to abide by testing requirements mandated by airlines and/or destination countries. In the absence of a testing requirement, LeadAbroad requires a PCR/NAAT/antigen test taken no more than two days before departure. We strongly recommend that students complete a 10-day self-quarantine at your home prior to traveling abroad in order to minimize the risk of a positive test result. We also recommend that students book refundable flights to mitigate financial risk.
Students will receive a detailed packing list included specific medical supplies such as:
- Digital thermometer
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes
Students are asked to complete a pre-departure health form. In the current environment, we encourage students to be mindful of their own health and preexisting conditions and to adjust their plans accordingly. Our team will be there to support you, however, we cannot protect students from all risks associated with traveling during COVID-19.
LeadAbroad’s academic partner is Oglethorpe University. We ask that students also follow the procedures outlined by their home universities regarding international travel, academic course transfer and other university specific guidelines.
All students must bring a smart phone with them abroad. They must either set up an international data package through their wireless carrier or plan to insert a local SIM card on arrival. Certain program locations require downloading a contact tracing app prior to arrival. Please refer to your pre-departure orientation for country specific information.
From the moment students sign up until they return to the US after your program, we aim to support our students and their families. We communicate via email, website, text and Instagram about all the topics including flights, accommodations and classes – and for this summer, our support expands to include COVID-19 communications and questions. We believe there is no question too big or too small and we promise a prompt response to your question.
Consistent with our traditional risk management response, we first focus on prevention. We are building in procedures to minimize the risk that students will contract or spread COVID-19. We are asking students to self-quarantine for 10 days prior to arrival. All 2021 students and staff are required to abide by testing requirements mandated by airlines and/or destination countries. In the absence of a testing requirement, LeadAbroad requires a PCR/NAAT/antigen test taken no more than two days before departure.
All LeadAbroad accommodations are following local guidelines for COVID-19 safety precautions. Our partners have taken extra efforts to ensure common spaces are safe for students. Many of our accommodations are also prepared to facilitate quarantine or isolation for students as needed.
LeadAbroad programs typically have lower student:staff ratios than other study abroad programs. Our program model includes the program director, interns, local partners and the domestic team. For-credit programs are augmented by the academic staff including faculty and teaching assistants. This staffing model assures that we have enough people on the ground to support students, respond in a crisis and invest in student’s personal and academic growth.
Throughout the onboarding process, students will build a relationship with their student relationship manager. They will also work closely with their onboarding manager to answer questions on forms, flights and predeparture information. Finally on the program, students will be supported by our excellent team of program directors and interns. All of these team members are available to support students and families via text, call or email.
Support During Quarantine & Isolation
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or is in close contact with someone who tests positive, you will be quarantined in either the same accommodation or offsite. LeadAbroad will help arrange your housing and meals in quarantine and we will also facilitate testing. The costs of these measures are the responsibility of the student. The LeadAbroad staff will check in with students in quarantine via Facetime, phone and text and help with meals, supplies and coordinate medical care if needed.
Access to Testing
The LeadAbroad team will facilitate testing as needed while abroad. We will share information about testing sites and availability according to local government guidelines. If a test is recommended by a medical professional due to a student exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, the cost of the test will be covered by LeadAbroad’s insurance. However, the cost of asymptomatic testing, as well as transportation is the responsibility of the student.
LeadAbroad will support students to find and receive medical care as needed. Depending on local government guidelines, we may not be able to physically accompany them to the doctor’s office or hospital. However we will support students in navigating access to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy. We strongly encourage students to be mindful of their personal well being and to stay healthy while traveling.
All LeadAbroad programs are designed to help students learn about themselves and the world. Navigating a foreign culture is a growing experience and will build students’ confidence in new ways. On for-credit programs (LEAD & GO), students will earn 3 – 6 credit hours from Oglethorpe University in classroom environments learning from highly regarded and caring faculty. On all programs, students will experience the LeadAbroad Life lessons focused on being the best version of yourself and making the most of their time abroad.
Classes will be equipped with hand sanitizer and high touch areas will be wiped down between each class by LeadAbroad staff. We will abide by local guidelines for capacity restrictions and encourage professors to move instruction outside when possible. Some classes that are tour-based will be provided with a headset to ensure students can be socially distanced while still hearing the faculty member. Headsets are on loan and students will be required to pay a deposit for them and return them at the end of the program.
LeadAbroad is working with faculty to create plans for academic continuity. In the case that a student needs to quarantine or is unable to attend class, course content will be available online. If a program must end prematurely after students have arrived abroad, the course will continue remotely to ensure students complete their course credit. Class assignments will be available via Moodle or Google Classroom. If a student is too sick to participate in class, we encourage them to work with their professor directly to determine the best course of action.
In-Person and Virtual Options
We are planning on in-person courses this summer. However, if capacity restrictions do not allow a full class to meet in person, we may break into smaller pods or use virtual learning options. Regardless of the method of instruction, students will be able to connect with their fellow classmates and their professors to earn their credit hours from Oglethorpe University.
In order to make the most out of the LeadAbroad experience, attendance is necessary. Each professor will communicate their attendance policy and it is important for students to understand the consequences of missing class. Students who show any symptoms for COVID-19 will be required to stay home from class to monitor symptoms. Students who are in quarantine but not showing symptoms will be required to log into class remotely using Zoom. An absence will not be excused for an asymptomatic person.
Most adventure activities are held outdoors and can be completed safely with masks, social distancing and other precautionary measures. From snorkeling with seals to hiking table mountain to catamaran tours in the Mediterranean, many of these bucket list activities will continue as planned. Some adventure activities may not be available due to local government guidelines.
Our service activities will adapt to ensure our students and communities remain safe from COVID-19. We’re currently working with our local partners on the ground to prepare for remote service activities. We will continue to invest in the townships of South Africa, support youth and ecological organizations in Greece and support the homeless community in Europe.
Independent travel is only feasible on our GO programs; however, we strongly encourage students to stay within their program location region for the duration of their time abroad. There are so many incredible sights in each of our program cities and our staff will be planning a variety of fun, small group outings. Here’s a sample:
- Rome: Cooking class, night tour of the city, day trip to Tuscany
- Barcelona: Rooftop tapas, day trip to Montjuic, outing to the beach
Welcome to a community of ambitious, adventurous and intelligent college students! The LeadAbroad family is here to inspire and challenge students as they determine the next steps on campus and in life. Abroad, we have a variety of tools, events and programs to ensure that students build relationships with the other students in your program. Whether signing up with a group of friends or joining us without knowing a soul, by the end of the first week most students will make meaningful connections with fellow students that often grow into lifelong friendships.
As we approach summer 2021, students will continue to get communication from their onboarding manager and program director via email, text, Facebook group and GroupMe. We’ve also asked all students to complete a quick survey – students can fill it out here if they haven’t already – to create more ways to connect. Keep your eyes peeled for invitations to Zoom events and other ways to connect with your fellow travelers before the summer!
Daily Health Screenings
A key preventative measure will be asking all students and staff to complete a brief questionnaire each day to track their health and symptoms. If students are under the weather, our team will be there for support.
For larger programs, we may be splitting the group into smaller pods. These cohorts of students will allow students to get to know each other better and also minimize health risks. Students will also break into small groups for academic discussions, workshops and cultural activities throughout the program.
All programs include our LeadAbroad Life curriculum designed to help students make the most of their time abroad and focus on their personal growth and development. Workshops are taught by the LeadAbroad program directors and interns in small group settings. Outdoor spaces will be utilized whenever possible.
The LeadAbroad program staff is already planning a variety of small group cultural events throughout the program. Here’s a sneak peak!
- Cape Town: visit to Old Biscuit Mill, sunrise hike of Lion’s Head, surfing in Camps Bay
- Greece: Hike from Fira to Oia inSantorini, walking tour of Athens, sunset overlooking the Acropolis
- Rome: Cooking class, night tour of the city, day trip to Tuscany
- Barcelona: Rooftop tapas, day trip to Montjuic, outing to the beach
- Costa Rica: Waterfall hike, Spanish lessons, kayaking at the beach
No guests are allowed in LeadAbroad accommodations, including visiting family members.
Gatherings and Social Distancing
Students are encouraged to gather outdoors in spaces that are conducive for social distancing. We are asking students to not gather in each other’s apartments, hotel or dorm rooms. Common spaces will be identified for students at each accommodation or surrounding neighborhood for students to gather safely. In some cases there will be maximum capacities and students will be asked to pre-register.
After You Return
Once you are back home after traveling with LeadAbroad, it’s important to continue to monitor your health and follow all CDC guidelines for returning to the United States after international travel.
After students return home from their program, we recommend that they closely monitor their health. It is also wise to refrain from seeing high-risk individuals until 14 days after returning home and obtaining a negative COVID-19 test.
We are so excited that you are traveling abroad with us this summer. We’ll continue to share more details about program modifications as we approach departure dates. As always, feel free to reach out to us at info@LeadAbroad.com or 404.720.5657. Thank you!