• COVID-19 – Safety Policy document

    As of June 3rd…

    The health and safety of our candidates and students, staff and teachers are always our main priority at Best Programs and we are monitoring the COVID-19 crises daily. Given the increased attention around the COVID-19, we’d like to share an update on the precautions we are taking, in the form of this Safety Policy document.

    Our Safety and Risk Management Team at Best Programs is monitoring COVID-19 on a daily basis. As a successful international education provider for transformational and experiential travel for more than 20 years, we’ve learned a lot about travel risks. Every year, we manage risks and questions related to travel, diet, well-being and health for hundreds of travelers. It’s normal to feel anxious about new risks when information is still developing.

    We encourage you to reduce that anxiety by balancing media coverage with expert sources of information while you are considering summer travel plans. We here at BEST aim to take a measured approach combining most up-to-date information with personal choice, and offering ongoing flexibility with program payment and application deadlines. We rely on the expert advice of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and International SOS. We are also keeping a close eye on current trends in the student travel industry related to COVID-19. The FORUM on Education Abroad and Pulse, organizations made up of full-time international health and safety staff at US colleges, universities, and study abroad organizations have advised us to remind our students and parents that:

    1. students are not typically members of the population who may succumb to a virus like COVID-19. Those populations have often included the elderly and those with compromised immune systems
    2. unlike typical travelers, students are supported on the ground at their various study sites by professional staff, faculty, and others who work to assure that students are provided information, assistance, guidance, and help when necessary

    With the above in mind, our programs in Spain, Cuba, Russia and Tallinn, Estonia will continue to run as scheduled for mid-July and August start dates as well as all fall programming as of today, with enhanced health and hygiene practices in place.

    • TALLINN, ESTONIA: At the end of the emergency situation in Estonia, the doors of Tallinn’s museums and attractions will gradually open again. The number of visitors allowed and visitation conditions will ensure the safety of both visitors and service providers.  For detailed information see here.
    • SPAIN: On May 23rd Spain’s Prime Minister announced that foreigners will be allowed to enter the country starting in July with no quarantine restrictions.
    • CUBA:  To resume international flights and receive foreigners, Cuba will rely on the recommendations of international organizations such as the UNWTO and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the experience of other countries, which are implementing, as in Europe, “a responsible reopening”.
    • RUSSIA:  According to a survey done by Statista, it is believed by the majority of Russians that international borders will open for tourists between June and July, 2020. The rest of responses indicated the expectation for borders to open during 2020, with only nine percent of respondents estimating that would not happen earlier than in 2021.

    Since the start of this evolving situation, we at BEST Programs committed to making decisions with a steady and calm hand. We have been focused on ensuring we are not succumbing to pressure to make quick decisions on behalf of our students, and instead allowing them, as adults, to make informed decisions on behalf of themselves. Because health and safety are central and vital to all that we do at BEST, we have been daily reviewing and communicating with our expert representatives the ground abroad. Deescalation and reopening phases are happening abroad as they are here in US, we will leave it up to each candidate and their family when to plan for traveling.  (As of today, approximately 60% of our candidates have delayed their start dates while the other 40% are postponing their programs.)

    BEST and its partners around the world have cancelled April and May study or intern abroad programs scheduled. For Mid June, July and Fall, 2020 we continue to remain open for business in a safe and thoughtful way, best benefiting our candidates’ carefully built programs and their future goals participating in said programs!

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the information above or our overall approach to health and safety.

    Sincerely,
    BEST Programs
    www.bestprograms.org
    best@bestprograms.org
    Phone: +34 637543900

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