COVID-19 has affected everyone around the world. The face of education and travel has changed dramatically.
Our program locations and itineraries have been carefully selected and modified to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19. This allows for a more focused learning environment, as well as a safe haven from the stress of our modern world. We've been watching all CDC recommendations about group sizes and testing requirements closely to come up with options that will allow you to have a safe, healthy, and stress-free Gap Year experience. We do the hard work so you can come and enjoy the fresh air, adventures, and new friends!
Check out the information below to find out more about our Covid-19 policies, procedures and updates.
Here at Pacific Discovery, we want to assure you that our concerns for safety align with yours. With our 20 years of operation and more than 100,000 student days in the field, we have an excellent safety record. We have had our safety management systems assessed and accredited by the Gap Year Association, the Year Out Group(UK) and OutdoorsMark (New Zealand). Assessors have commented that our systems are among the best they have observed.
Our programs are led by experienced experiential educators, equipped with comprehensive and expert risk assessments and safety management systems. All program participants are subjected to a high degree of screening prior to acceptance and consent to strict behavior guidelines for the duration of the program.
Alongside our long standing safety procedures, we have been working closely with health care professionals. Because the situation is constantly changing, we will inform you about any testing requirements or other destination specific requirements 60 prior to departure.
Finally, we have been working at the grass root level with communities for almost 20 years. Our partners are almost exclusively small community based, family owned and operated businesses and community groups. We build strong relationships, seek to be invited to collaborate, follow our partners advice and align ourselves to the local communities expectations for mutual benefit and success.
Check out the snapshot of our general COVID-policy and procedures below:
“I am so incredibly impressed with the level of planning and communication from Pacific Discovery, from pre-trip to throughout the trip, recognizing how exceedingly difficult it must have been during the pandemic. I always felt Sydney was in good hands, and based on all of Sydney's reports, she has been exposed to not only the Thai culture and the unique activities and experiences offered, but she also learned to cope with uncertainty and view the circumstances with positivity. I am sad that the program has come to an end for Sydney, but I am awaiting a more enlightened daughter to return home, many thanks for what the program has done for her.”
Colleen Bloch, 2021
Mother of Sydney, Thailand Program
Students and Instructors are required to show proof of a negative antigen test less than 72 hours prior to departure.
* Destination & Itinerary dictates testing and quarantine protocol requirements
All students must bring a minimum of two antigen self-test kits on program with them to use if they display covid symptoms.
If an infection is confirmed with a positive test, the individual will be separated to their own room, and where applicable their own bathroom, at the students expense for 7 days from the first symptom. This student will be able to continue with the group, but must do so in a socially distanced capacity in accordance with the Program Instructors direction. This includes but is not limited to, maintaining a 3m distance from other students, mask wearing, hand sanitizing, being removed from food preparation and limitations to program activities.
Activities will be momentarily paused and kept isolated from the local community while all other group members are tested.
Local rules and guidelines will be followed and medical advice sought.
The individual will remain socially distanced at the student’s expense and may only unmask/rejoin the group if:
- It has been 7 days since first symptom appeared; (there may be differing recommendations here depending on the mandates of the local authority we are traveling within)
- It has been over 72 hours since any signs of a fever (without using fever-reducing medications);
- COVID-19 symptoms are improving*; loss of taste & smell may continue to persist and do not count towards an improved symptom
All our international destinations for Summer & Fall are all open and ready for travel!
If you want your best chance to have the first pick of confirmed programs, you need to have applied, paid your $500 application fee, interviewed, and paid your deposit. Only then are you secure to have your first pick of available programs. Spaces are limited, so get in touch with our team today and apply now! If you still have any questions, feel free to schedule a call with our admissions team for more information.
We will confirm our programs 60 days prior to departure. This is our process every year but is especially relevant now. Students sign up now and reserve their seat, but do not make any travel arrangements until the program is confirmed 60 days out. At that time we do a full check of our itinerary- we check everything from natural disasters, to political unrest, to COVID-19. We check with all of our local operators to get a local feel on the ground for everywhere we travel. Luckily, we are on an overland journey and enjoy the freedom to be flexible. We can adapt quite easily to avoid COVID-19 hot spots and can adapt our regulations to meet all local health and state requirements.
If for any reason we cannot adapt and must cancel the program entirely, you have 3 options up to 60 days prior to program departure.
All of our programs are similar in start date, price, and length of travel. Every program has the same components of outdoor adventure activity, cultural immersion, volunteer service learning, personal development, and an engaging overland journey with a tight-knit group of students no matter which destination you choose. It is important to us that no one is left without a program option.
Within 60 days of program departure, our standard Terms & Conditions apply.
We know you have lots of questions, so please see below for some questions our team is commonly being asked. We have tried to think of the many varied scenarios that might come up and questions you might have about what that means for you. The following conditions apply to customers placing a deposit on or after 15th July 2020.
You have a couple of options in this situation:
Anyone signed onto a program in these circumstances will be able to transfer the entirety of the amount paid to that date to another program up to two years from departure date without penalty. You are also able to get a refund, as per our standard terms and conditions, although we would certainly very much appreciate your support to look to travel at another date.
If you decide to cancel your participation in a program, our flexible programming terms and conditions apply. Therefore, the following fees apply at the time (prior to departure) we receive written notice of your cancellation:
If you decide to cancel your participation in a program, the following fees apply at the time (prior to departure) we receive written notice of your cancellation:
Students sent home early, or who choose to leave for any reason, including sickness, personal emergencies or injury, will be responsible for all medical costs, and travel costs related to their early departure.
We do require all students to purchase Travel Insurance that covers trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical coverage while on program, and emergency evacuation services.
It is possible that a program itinerary may be subject to small changes, or an entire re-routing depending on the global situation. Our first priority is always student safety, secondly is meeting the educational and developmental goals of our programs. If we feel for any reason that the itinerary booked will not offer the highest level of health and safety or deliver a life changing experience for our students, we will be looking to offer alternative locations that deliver a similar yet better experience.
If you still have any questions, feel free to schedule a call with our admissions team for more information.