Return to Travel with Confidence
Our Commitment to Health and Safety During COVID-19
Southbridge Access has over 15 years of experience of ensuring our participants’ health and safety on the ground. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our day-to-day realities, SBA is closely monitoring developments in all of our destinations so we can provide you with an accurate update.
We are working closely with our local in-country teams and partners to create and execute rewarding, customized and secure programs for your students. Our top priority as we look towards returning to travel is to ensure the health and safety of our groups and SBA staff while delivering the same high-quality programs that we are known for. Our team is monitoring COVID-19 developments at the local, national, regional, and international levels and will update our plans as appropriate.
We understand that it may be difficult to begin planning for the return to travel, and with this in mind, we have adapted many of our protocols to provide the flexibility that you need. From flexible cancellation policies and payment plans, to assisting with last-minute changes to itineraries, we are here to support your return to travel.
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Health and Safety Measures in the Context of COVID-19
Reducing the exposure of COVID-19 is one of Southbridge Access’ top priorities during the execution of a program. This will depend on health and safety measures we have put in place to reduce the risk of infection.
Southbridge Access will provide facemasks for all participants and SBA staff who will be in close contact with participants. We require that students and staff adhere to local face masks policies. This includes during company visits, in transportation vehicles, at restaurants, while in common spaces at accommodations, and during outdoor activities.
We will ensure that accommodation, transportation, restaurant, and cultural activity partners are abiding by social distancing measures. This will include keeping participants at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart from each other and improving ventilation.
Participants are recommended to scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and then rinse with water after being in contact with another person, coughing, sneezing, touching surfaces, and one’s face. All participants will also be provided with hand sanitizers that contains at least 60% alcohol throughout the duration of the program. Watch the CDC’s video on what you need to know about handwashing.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Our accommodation, transportation, restaurant, and cultural activity partners are required to frequently clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces and common spaces, including window and door handles, counter tops, bathroom surfaces, and necessary equipment. This practice will kill germs and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Review the CDC recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting in the context of COVID-19. The WHO also offers additional considerations for cleaning and disinfecting.
How will Southbridge Access support our group should a participant experience COVID-19 related symptoms?
Our team has developed a COVID-19 Response Plan, which outlines roles and responsibilities for the COVID-19 Response Team, as well as a step-by-step protocol to control the incident. In addition, a Southbridge Access team member will accompany the participant to the closest hospital and follow their medical expertise on next steps. We will communicate transparently about the incident with all relevant stakeholders, as well as review health and safety protocols with all participants and arrange testing.
Southbridge Access will work closely with the trip leader to arrange for an adjusted itinerary to ensure a safe and secure departure. If necessary, we will offer our virtual course content to support participants’ academic continuity.
What if participants choose to arrange personal travel during free time or before or after the program start and end dates?
Our team will provide health and safety briefings, as requested, to ensure that all participants understand associated risks and standards of conduct. Should participants arrange personal travel outside of the agreed upon trip dates and activities, we recommend that participants follow guidelines from their institution, CDC and WHO regarding all personal travel arrangements.
According to our policies, Southbridge Access will not be responsible for participants’ conduct and activities outside of the agreed upon trip dates. We recommend that participants contact their insurance provider and institution to learn more about their insurance plan options. We also encourage participants to consult their institution and follow CDC and WHO travel guidelines to make an informed decision.
Our team is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments at the local level and will update our plans as needed. As a Southbridge Access policy, we will reserve accommodations, transportation, restaurants and cultural activities that actively practice physical distancing to limit COVID-19 exposure.