COVID-19 FAQs

Questions About TBB

  • COVID-19 is the name of a disease caused by a new (“novel”) coronavirus. Infections first began in China in late 2019 and have since spread to many countries around the world. Symptoms reported have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing (full information on COVID-19 Symptoms). You may find additional background at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
  • The Thinking Beyond Borders Crisis Team along with the Crisis Team of our parent company, Impact Global Education (IGE), have been and will continue to closely monitor this rapidly evolving public health situation and have appropriate plans in place to protect the health of our community. We are following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to ensure our response protocols remain aligned with the most current health care community recommendations. The IGE Risk Management Team, the IGE Medical Director, (Dr. Ivor Garlick), the Crisis Response Teams for IGE, and WorldAware, our security assistance provider, are all working together to ensure that we are following WHO and CDC recommendations and guidelines on all matters related to the response to this outbreak to help us make the best decisions based on the latest information for our students and staff.
  • After significant discussion and reflection by our risk, programming, operations, and management teams, we decided to move Thinking Beyond Borders programming from Latin America. Our decision is in line with industry recommendations and, we believe, is in the best interest of the students and staff on our programs. The trajectory of the number of COVID-19 cases has increased dramatically across the globe. Based on concerns over potential future quarantines and travel restrictions, our teams made the decision to move programs to remote options. We will provide extensive opportunities to continue student learning, and gauge their growth.
  • We are keeping a very close watch on the current global situation and are optimistic that COVID-19 will be contained before the Thinking Beyond Borders Fall '20 start date.  At this time we have not made any adjustments to our 2020 itineraries. We are evaluating the situation on a daily basis, however, and are poised to make any changes as needed. Given the wide IGE footprint across the globe, we are poised to pivot quickly while continuing to offer impactful experiences. We have pushed back our application deadlines for all Fall gap programs to allow for more flexibility for our families.  Our new early application deadline is June 1st and our final application deadline is August 15th.
  • At this point, we have not made the decision to cancel our Fall 2020 Asia Gap Semester program, based on CDC notices/recommendations. However we are monitoring the situation very closely and are ready to make changes to the itinerary as needed. Our crisis response teams are actively monitoring new outbreak areas and are poised to make adjustments if needed.
  • Every area of our lives contains risk, and in any of the activities we engage in, whether at home or abroad, risk is present. At IGE we are deeply committed to risk management. There are particular challenges of traveling abroad and operating in environments you may not be familiar with and being exposed to risks you may not be initially aware of. Because of these risks, choosing to travel with a program with industry leading risk management practices is particularly important. Risk management is a core awareness of Thinking Beyond Borders and of our parent organization, Impact Global Education. Our field staff, Country Directors, Chief Risk Officer, and IGE Medical Director, are continually focused on identifying and responding to any areas that may affect the health and safety of our participants. Additionally, all participants are provided with top-tier travel insurance for any medical issues or security evacuation. IGE has placed significant resources focused on addressing constantly changing global risks.
  • Our criteria for canceling programs are based on CDC and US State Department warnings, as well as key information from our security assistance provider, and on-the-ground information from local partners and IGE country directors. If we were to determine that there is a likelihood of a heightened risk of exposure to the virus from sustained community transmission (and subsequent need for quarantine), or a local environment that was too restrictive for effective programming (limits on travel, closed schools, embassies, and shops), we would first strive to replace programs with options in other IGE countries unaffected by the virus. If that solution was not available, we would transition students home and continue to deliver the program through remote means by providing additional resources and opportunities for growth. Only in rare circumstances would we consider canceling a program.
  • Our program teams are always available if you have program-specific questions. For up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially as it relates to international travel, both the CDC and WHO are respected sources.
  • There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of the IGE programs spread around the world.
  • Neither CDC nor WHO recommend masks as a preventative measure for healthy individuals (except for people providing care in healthcare environments). For the prevention of transmission of this and other viruses, both the CDC and the WHO recommend normal hygiene measures (effective and frequent hand washing, covering coughs/sneezes, avoiding close contact with sick individuals). Field staff on IGE programs do carry masks and if students request them, or if local community practice dictates their use, program leaders have them available.
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Update: Answers to your questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19)Click here