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Updated Fall 2022

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

ARCC is one of very few organizations that ran multiple programs in the summer and fall of 2020 and throughout 2021. The experiences gained operating programs in a COVID-19 environment have been invaluable as we continue operating in 2022 and into 2023. We are proud of the extremely high success rate we’ve had on all our programs operating during these challenging times. 

We do not make the decision to operate in the COVID-19 environment 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 and vaccination 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 thousands of COVID-19 tests on our students and instructors in the field. 

Despite the restrictions and programmatic changes, 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 continually evaluate and make changes as necessary to both 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, group size limits and vaccination requirements. 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. 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 and protocols.

For the of 2022 and into 2023, ARCC is offering multiple domestic and 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 hope you will consider joining us in 2022 or 2023. While this year we still 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 experience!

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. All participants will be required to comply with current ARCC COVID-19 Procedures and Protocols at the time of program start regardless of procedures and protocols in place at time of enrollment. Highlights of our current COVID-19 prevention protocols include:

– All ARCC students and instructors on ARCC programs are required to be fully vaccinated1 with the COVID-19 vaccination prior to arriving on an ARCC program and are strongly encouraged to be up-to-date with any boosters they are eligible to receive.

– Two COVID-19 tests. Test #1: Students must provide ARCC with documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR test or Rapid Antigen test result prior to departure. The testing date must be no more than 72 hours prior to program departure for PCR or no more than 24 hours for a Rapid Antigen. Tests must be professionally administered by medically trained personnel with verifiable results. At home, self-administered tests do NOT qualify. Tests #2: a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test administered by ARCC instructors occurs within the first 3 days of the program. Additional testing beyond this first test may be required, depending on a program’s itinerary or as needed throughout the program.

– Masks on within the group until COVID-19 test #2 is determined to be negative

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

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.

1According to the CDC, a person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving all recommended doses in the primary series of their COVID-19 vaccination. A person is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination if they have received all recommended doses in the primary series and one booster when eligible. Getting a second booster is not necessary to be considered up to date at this time. Acceptable vaccines are those authorized in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or those authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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?

For all ARCC international destinations 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 closures, 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 due to COVID-19 factors, you will have 3 options available to you:

– Join an alternate program within the same season pending availability.

– Roll your enrollment over to a future ARCC program.

– Receive a full refund of any payments made.

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.