Dear WCI Community,
Pease see our well-researched policy letter below, concerning the coronavirus. Please contact me directly at (509) 640-6767or concerning any questions about your WCI team’s destination and an update for that area. Our country coordinators advise me they are confident of the safety of your team members and are in daily/direct communication with appropriate Health Ministry officials. We will not be cancelling any teams, please make sure your team members have trip cancellation insurance in place should they decide to postpone/cancel their WCI participation. If there are concerns about international air travel, we suggest the Baja programs which only require air travel to Phoenix, where volunteers are picked up by private WCI vans and driven to the Baja site (about 4 hours).
March 6th, 2020
Dear WCI Community,
I would like to reassure all of our partners and program participants who may be apprehensive about traveling during the coming months of COVID-19 that we are committed to the health and safety of our students and volunteers and are monitoring the situation closely. The Centers for Disease Control released guidance a few days ago, but at this time there is no advisement whatsoever against travel to Baja, Costa Rica or Belize.
WCI takes risk management very seriously, and we are constantly evaluating the latest information available on COVID-19 and its potential effects on our global community. We closely monitor information from myriad sources including the U.S. Department of State, Overseas Advisory Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization and have measures in place for ongoing monitoring of and advising on health, safety, and security issues throughout our areas of operation.
Here are a few points from the joint statement issued by The Forum for Education Abroad and Pulse we would like to reiterate:
- Program participants are, in most cases, not members of the high-risk populations for COVID-19.
- Unlike typical travelers, our program participants are supported on the ground by professional medical staff, faculty, and others who work to assure that students are provided the health and safety support they need.
- All decisions should be based on measured, careful thought that is consistent with established emergency action plans. Triggers should have been established in that plan and those triggers ought to be heeded.
- WCI programs prioritize health, safety, and security during program development, implementation, and facilitation. We are constantly conducting risk assessments for program sites and activities and maintain written emergency plans and protocols.
- Our US and host country staff are trained to anticipate and respond quickly to student health, safety, and security issues.
- WCI maintains robust risk management plans, operates in compliance with local laws, and follows best practices in reporting on critical incidents like COVID-19.
There are no triggers that warrant program changes or cancellations in any of our host countries at this time, and we are glad to discuss any concerns you or your university might have regarding travel. We are here to help!
Well Child International