Travel precautions in response to coronavirus
Updated: March 16, 2020
Dear Travelers and Partners,
As we continue to closely monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on travel, we want to share with you how our team is responding and preparing for each potential scenario that could arise.
On March 11th, President Trump announced restrictions on travel from continental Europe (the Schengen zone) to the United States for the next thirty days as a precautionary response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These restrictions will go into effect at the end of the day on Friday, March 13th.
Since the announcement, we have contacted our groups currently in the Schengen zone (continental Europe) and have implemented a plan for them to return home by Friday, March 13th.
We are in the process of rescheduling trips to the Schengen zone (continental Europe) that were scheduled to depart in March and April. We are in contact with the Group Leaders of all impacted groups regarding next steps. We will work with them to arrange all of the travel changes and to minimize any change fees as a result of rescheduling the trip.
For groups due to travel in March and April 2020, that choose to cancel, we will work with our suppliers to try to recover as many costs as we can for the participants. Additionally, we will assist them in contacting their insurance company to file claims.
For groups traveling after April 30th, our Risk Management team is constantly monitoring the situation and will continue to follow the recommendations of the US Department of State, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization. We will reach out directly to any Group Leaders whose program may be affected. Additionally, we encourage schools and families to stay informed through the following sources:
1. What safety precautions does Forum recommend our group take when traveling?
We recommend and remind our groups when traveling with us to follow the preventive actions recommended by the CDC which include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Carry tissues when traveling. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Clean your hands regularly and disinfect frequently touched objects using regular household cleaning wipes.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
2. If the situation in a destination country changes, how can I stay updated regarding my group’s specific travel plans?
We will reach out directly to Group Leaders whose program may be affected. We will work on a case-by-case basis with Group Leaders traveling to affected areas to address their concerns and determine the best option for their group, including providing travel alternatives if needed. Travelers should contact their Group Leader to discuss options available to them.
3. What is covered in the student protection plan provided by Travel Insured International?
According to Travel Insured International, coverage will be afforded due to “travel delays, missed connections, or trip interruptions that may occur as consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.” Please note there is no insurance coverage for canceling a trip specifically due to fears of the coronavirus. To read the detailed insurance policy by state, please click here.
Travelers who have purchased the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) during the trip enrollment process are able to cancel their trip up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive up to 75% of the tour cost. Travelers have 72 hours to open a claim with Travel Insured International from the moment the cancellation form is submitted to us. To review the Student Protection Plan with CFAR, please click here.