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October 2020

ARCC’s Approach to Coronavirus (COVID-19) / FAQ

ARCC is one of very few organizations to run multiple programs in the Summer and Fall of 2020. The experiences gained operating programs in a COVID-19 environment have been invaluable and we are proud that all programs have been COVID-19 free.

We do not make the decision to operate in the COVID-19 era lightly.  We only run programs we are confident we can operate within strict COVID-19 protocols protecting our students, instructors, and other populations. In preparation for these programs, we consulted with experts, added multiple testing requirements, adjusted itineraries, changed medical practices, considered multiple infection scenarios, and imposed rigid pre-trip restrictions on our students and their families to avoid COVID-19 infection prior to and during the program. To date, ARCC has conducted over 500 COVID-19 tests on our students and instructors in the field. All tests have come back negative. 

Despite the restrictions and programmatic changes (each student/instructor is COVID-19 tested at least 3 times, they travel as a “family unit”, and operate under very strict COVID-19 protocols), there is a sense amongst the students that they are finally getting their lives back as they live and socialize with their peers. Most gratifying is again hearing ARCC students laughing, playing, working, and learning together, and not through a screen or monitor.  

We continue to make changes both to our COVID-19 protocols as well as to the program itineraries as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our areas of operation. Some locations are opening up while others are becoming more restrictive, putting into place quarantines and group size limits. Situations sometimes change hourly and our office and instructor teams quickly react to these changes as necessary. We have found that “flexibility” is our keyword this year. We’ve proven we can operate effectively in this environment as long as all constituents — students, parents, instructors and office staff — understand there may be changes to an itinerary and are flexible with adjustments to the program.

For the spring and summer of 2021, ARCC is offering multiple domestic and several international programs that we believe deliver the following:

– Safe and meaningful travel for our students and staff

– State/country restrictions that do not impact the travel experience

– Limited exposure to local populations that might be compromised by our presence

– Reasonably priced flight options for student travel

We have scrutinized all elements of these programs and adjusted them as necessary to ensure safety for everyone, and we will continue to make adjustments as necessary.

We have put additional international programs on “hold” as we await developments in these locations. We hope to begin opening more international programs early in 2021

We hope you will consider joining us for one of our late summer departures. While this summer we cannot travel everywhere we’d like, we believe we have some exciting options available to you, and we will continue to do our best to provide a safe and rewarding summer!

ARCC’S APPROACH TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) / FAQ

What are ARCC’s COVID-19 Protocols?

ARCC’s COVID-19 protocols have been evolving since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Highlights of our current COVID-19 prevention protocols include:

– Three COVID-19 tests. Test #1 within 72 hours of arrival on the program. Tests #2 and #3 occur within the first 7 to 10 days of the program.

– Maintain the group “bubble” as is reasonable throughout the program. The itineraries have been changed to limit exposure to outsiders as much as possible.

– Fourteen-day pretrip health, symptoms and temperature diary

– Temperature/symptoms checks 2 times daily on program until COVID-19 test #3 comes back negative

– Individual tents for all students and instructors on camping programs. Limited sharing of rooms on non-camping programs.

– ARCC provided hand wash stations at all campsites to limit exposure to outsiders

– Masks on within the group until COVID-19 test #3 is determined to be negative

– Masks on any time in the presence of someone outside of our group “bubble”

These are just the highlights of our COVID-19 prevention protocols. We would be happy to provide you with our multipage COVID-19 Protocols and Procedures document which has more details including how we will respond under various infection scenarios. Just give us a call at 415-332-5075.

How is ARCC monitoring the situation?

As you might imagine, we have been continuously monitoring the ongoing situation very closely. We have longtime partners on the ground around the world and are getting updates from them almost on a daily basis. 

In addition to closely monitoring state and county restrictions in our areas of operation, ARCC also receives updates from the State Department travel program, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as dozens of news sources. We feel we have a good grasp on the circumstances in the areas in which we operate.

What are our resources on the ground?

Everywhere ARCC operates we have a local partner, on the ground, in that country. Our partners are invaluable resources for us. They provide local knowledge, current information, logistics assistance, and access to resources normally not available to outsiders. They are well connected in their communities and act as an important safety net if an emergency occurs.

Can ARCC change an itinerary once a program has started?

Yes. We can easily make changes to any itinerary. Frankly, changes in itineraries as we adjust to regional requirements are to be expected in this environment. We plan for this and embed flexibility into our programming.  ARCC has been dealing with “unusual” situations for almost 40 years. We have dealt with earthquakes, volcanoes, coups, border’s closing, civil unrest, and many other unpredictable events. Our infrastructure allows us to quickly make changes to an itinerary and we have the global resources to effortlessly make these adjustments.

What if ARCC Cancels a program?

If ARCC cancels a program prior to the start date, you will receive a full refund of your deposit and any program payments.

I’m still uncomfortable. What should I do?

If you still have additional questions, please give us a call at 415-332-5075. Please know that we look at everything we do and everywhere we travel through the lens of student safety and we would be happy to share our thoughts with you.