Our Approach to Coronavirus

ARCC is one of very few organizations that ran multiple programs in the summer and fall of 2020 and throughout 2021 & 2022. The experiences gained operating programs in a COVID-19 environment have been invaluable as we continue operating 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 spring and summer of 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 2023. While this year 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 experience!

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.

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:
  • All ARCC students and leaders on ARCC programs are required to be fully vaccinated with the original COVID-19 series of vaccines prior to arriving on an ARCC program and are strongly encouraged to receive the updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve received any original COVID-19 vaccines.
  • 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. At home tests are acceptable, and a photo of your test result must be uploaded into your online portal.
  • We ask our students to wear a mask during their travels to their program destination, including while in airports as well as while on airplanes.
  • Students may be required to wear masks at the discretion of the instructors when in the presence of individuals outside of their immediate group, or if it is required by our partners or local authorities.
  • Please note that additional COVID tests may be required on programs, either due to country stipulations or due to group sickness.
  • These are just some 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.
According to the CDC, everyone 6 years and older should get one updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve received any original COVID-19 vaccines. The updated vaccines are called “updated” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5. Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have developed updated COVID-19 vaccines. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.