THE CURRENT STATE OF TRAVEL
Updated December 2021
As of writing this post, the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has recently been detected in the United States and continues to spread in countries around the globe. This variant has added a new degree of uncertainty around border closers and the possibility of international travel. We should know more about the Omicron variant in the days and weeks to come, and will continue to communicate the status of travel with all of our customers. At this time, we have restarted staff travel and plan to begin in-person group travel programs in January of 2022 depending on the status of this new variant and government regulations.
Our applications are open and you can still begin conversations with an Amizade representative about planning a program with a future start date. It is difficult to predict how long travel advisories, quarantines, and other travel barriers will be in place, but Amizade will continue to monitor the situation and make planning timeline changes as necessary. Should you choose to move forward on planning an in-person travel program, Amizade will keep a close eye on the situation and will communicate with you if it is determined that it is not safe or possible to travel at the planned time.
HOW WE WILL KEEP YOU SAFE
Amizade has implemented a number of additional health and safety measures to ensure your wellbeing during travel. These measures have been designed to minimize the risk of volunteers introducing a new infection to the local community, and to minimize the risk of cross-infection between volunteers and from the local community. Your health, safety and wellbeing will continue to be our highest priority.
Additional health and safety information will be shared during orientation, including reminders on Covid-19 symptoms, local health facilities, local regulations and norms, and how to minimize possible infection. This information is guaranteed to change between program acceptance and program start date.
Travelers whose full vaccine dose is more than six months old will have to show proof of a booster shot starting January 2022.
All volunteers and staff are required to have an antigen test for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to travel, where possible. If a positive result occurs, participants are advised to immediately confirm with a PCR test. If positive again, participants are not allowed to join the program and advised to self-isolate and consult their physician.
All accommodations, including homestays, will follow strict disinfecting standards prior to and during your stay, including increased frequency and depth of cleaning. Maximum occupancy will be capped at 2 travelers per room and all eligible homestay family members will be required to be fully vaccinated.
Antibacterial spray/wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be available at all accommodations and volunteer placements.
Participants and community members will be asked to maintain a greater physical distance from one another.
Volunteers will be assisted if they need testing, advice and/or treatment, and an Amizade facilitator will be available to navigate in-country quarantine requirements and any other program disruptions.
All participants traveling internationally will be provided with comprehensive travel and health insurance. All domestic travelers will be mandated to carry health insurance.
Ground transportation will usually be limited to private vehicles and the use of public transportation will be avoided whenever possible. Masks will be required during all forms of ground transportation.
Excursions, cultural experiences and in-country travel may be limited based on COVID-19 outbreaks and Amizade reserves the right to adjust itineraries accordingly.
Amizade aims to restart programming in a careful and intentional way. We have identified a set of Guidelines for Site Travel and we commit to following the guidance of host governments around the world, The US Department of State, The Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, our network of US universities, OSAC, and various other resources.
Check out other resources put together by Amizade.
All of our volunteers should also take personal responsibility for their own health and the safety of others. Please do not travel if you are feeling ill or if there is a risk you may be an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 – for example, if you have been exposed to an infected individual within the 14 days before you start your Amizade program.
A NOTE ON VACCINATIONS
We are hopeful that the majority of our network will be vaccinated by Fall 2021, but we must be patient. This means we cannot guarantee that every person you interact with on a program will be vaccinated. At this stage, you should expect that your host community may be under some COVID restrictions, and your host community may still be receiving vaccinations when you arrive.
A MESSAGE TO OUR COMMUNITY
We want to take a moment to express our solidarity with the international community during this very complex and difficult time. We are learning details and attempting to get information to you as quickly as possible. This has proven to be very difficult during such a rapidly fluid situation. As a small non-profit organization, we appreciate your understanding as we navigate our situation as well. Our host communities and program participants have always been, and will remain, our greatest priorities. If we can help support you, please let us know.
Additional information on Amizade’s COVID-19 response can be found here.