WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.
Covid-19 Risk Mitigation
Due to an unprecedented pandemic, GUARDIAN - Cultural Expeditions & Wilderness Medicine will adapt to a new set of challenges while conducting an international expedition.
Procedures to mitigate the spread and infection of COVID-19:
As of 4/8/2021
Total Cases - start of Pandemic: 2,500,000 Current active Cases: 59,000 Total Deaths: 64,000
Santa Marta Cases: 33,000
Fill out an immigration form online between 24 hours and up to 1 hour before the flight
OUR AIM - To travel as a “small pod” that is COVID - Free. While we may interact with other people, it is important for us to be conscious of our potential impact on others. We will not be utilizing masks or limiting distance to each other on the trip. PLEASE keep this in mind if you are uncomfortable with the pandemic.
MASKS - We need everyone to bring a Buff and N95 mask for our travel on public transport
HANDWASHING - Please bring personal hand sanitizer and soap. We will have enough to provide 1 bottle of hand sanitizer and soap to each person.
TESTING - Prior to arrival at your IN-COUNTRY airport -- Please acquire a PCR Test and a submission of results 2-3 days before departing for your flight to your GUARDIAN Expedition or Wilderness Medicine course.
If you are fully vaccinated you still need to have a test and send us your results.
*****Please schedule a COVID-19 test within five days of your departing flight. This will give enough time for results before you depart. If possible get a test and its results as close to your departure date as possible.*****
Do not get a rapid test, please get a PCR test to ensure accuracy, don’t wait until the last minute to get a test!
****Please quarantine for at least 14 days prior to the start of the expedition (July 10th)****
In addition to testing, during the 2-weeks prior, we highly suggest you strictly adhere to these practices to limit the spread of COVID-19:
Wear a mask when in any public place.
Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
Practice impeccable hygiene, including frequent hand washing.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
From November 4th, travelers no longer require a test to enter Colombia, however we will still take one to help mitigate the risk of spreading Coronavirus to each other.
Normal visa requirements apply. If you are a citizen of a country where a visa is required, you must obtain a visa before your trip. If you are flying from the US, no visa is required.
Travelers have an obligation to report follow-up health checks via the mobile app ‘CoronApp’. This is only if you end up having symptoms.
We will take another COVID-19 test on arrival in Colombia, however testing can be complicated and difficult.
In the case of a participant contracting the disease COVID-19 we will ALL quarantine as a group until we can receive testing and clear ourselves of infecting others.
In the event of an all group quarantine we will arrange all accommodation so we can easily quarantine together.
You will not be able to travel on an airplane if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
We encourage social distancing of 6ft from each other and the international community. However, due to the nature of our program we must accept that it may be difficult to maintain distancing.
By signing the ASSUMPTION OF RISK & RELEASE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT you agree to any unforeseen risks we may encounter while on an international expedition including the inherent risks of contracting COVID-19.
Travel in response to COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. GUARDIAN is closely monitoring the situation, following the advice of public health experts, and making decisions with our participants, staff, and global community partners at the forefront of every conversation. Give us a call to discuss any additional questions you may have: 775.301.2378
FAQS: GUARDIAN AND COVID-19
HOW IS GUARDIAN RESPONDING TO COVID-19?
We are consulting regularly with our risk management team, regional staff, and a variety of global health experts and organizations including the WHO, CDC, and our partner in managing student health and safety, International SOS. In addition, GUARDIAN is in touch with peer organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants and partner communities. We have developed an in-field management and response plan and trained our staff to risk factors, prevention measures, and response protocols in preparation for a time when programming can resume. We are hopeful that once travel restrictions are lifted, and a greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will continue to run programs that take into account new COVID-19 considerations.
HOW WILL GUARDIAN DECIDE WHICH PROGRAMS TO RUN?
Over the coming months, we will be actively assessing programming feasibility on three primary fronts, in all of which we need to see significant improvements before running an international GUARDIAN program:
International Travel - Currently, global and country-specific travel restrictions need to be lifted. This includes things like travel advisories, country entry requirements, flight availability, etc.
Host Country Conditions - We cannot offer programs if shelter-in-place type policies remain in effect in the areas in which we travel. While we could operate with enhanced health & safety precautions, we need to have general freedom of movement & association in order to facilitate an interactive and engaging experience, as well as minimize the risks to host communities and our students. Host country conditions will be assessed on a place-by-place basis.
Home Country Conditions - For GUARDIAN, and most of our participants, this means the United States. We cannot responsibly run international programming until conditions at home improve, particularly with regards to international re-entry requirements and freedom of movement domestically.
The above is a simplified summary of some of the key global and regional switches that need to turn from red to green over the coming months in order for us to resume programming in early 2021. In each of these areas, we will be giving foremost consideration to the safety of our students and in-country partners, as well as the impacts on the overall quality of the experience. In addition, we may need to consider other program modifications and alternatives to adhere to public health best practices in the places we travel.
Participant safety is always our top priority, and we would not hesitate to modify or cancel upcoming programs should it ever appear that student health and well-being could not adequately be ensured, or if travel restrictions inhibited us from delivering a high-quality program experience.
WHAT IS GUARDIAN REFUND POLICY FOR UPCOMING PROGRAMS?
We will continue to proactively update our refund policy to provide you with added flexibility as new information comes to light. Our intention is to minimize financial commitments and risk so that you can stay with us as we wait for the global situation to improve.
SHOULD WE CONSIDER TRAVELING IN THIS NEW REALITY?
GUARDIAN core mission is to foster face-to-face human connection, which feels more necessary now than ever once public health allows. Currently, travel remains difficult for public health as well as personal safety reasons and may not be possible in some cases. As restrictions begin to relax in the future, we want to acknowledge that travel will continue to have inherent risks, and the decision of whether to travel is a very personal one. In a world increasingly eager to shut itself off from one another we fear that the current outbreak may be another catalyst for increasing divisions and fear of difference. We hope that this trend will lessen as the disease is brought under control and that we can continue to build bridges and greater understanding between cultures even as this emerging public health concern threatens to reinforce borders and cultural divides. Ultimately, it’s not a question of if this global health crisis will pass, but rather when. And once it does, the need for an immersive and empathetic global education will be greater than ever.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GUARDIAN AND COVID-19?
We are here to support you during this difficult and uncertain time. If you would like more information related to COVID-19, some of the best online resources can be found on the websites of the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. For more information about GUARDIAN and our approach to COVID-19 (or anything else for that matter) please do not hesitate to contact our office at 775-301-2378 or send us an email - . We’re always happy to help in any way we can.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
FOR GUARDIAN EXPEDITIONS AND WILDERNESS MEDICINE PROGRAMS
A $500 deposit is required to hold your space on a GUARDIAN program. We cannot guarantee a space on a program until a deposit is paid. $500 of the deposit is refundable within 21 days of payment.
This deposit will hold your place on a program as you move through the admissions process. Accepted participants are not eligible for a refund of their deposit.
The full balance of program tuition is due 14 days prior to departure. The participants who are accepted within 14 days of departure must submit full payment immediately upon acceptance.
Our intention is to create a course that addresses the goals and program elements as listed in each program description. All participants and families are advised to note that course itineraries will change. When changes are made to incorporate particpant goals and interests, adjust to the health of the group, or made necessary because of foul weather, problems with transportation, political unrest or any other unforeseen problem, we will work to structure the course so that it stays true to its original intent.
COURSE TUITION INCLUDES:
All surface transportation
Museum, park, and temple entrance fees
Service project materials
Journal packet and comprehensive reading materials
Donations to charitable causes in the host country
Instructor, faculty, and extra guide fees
On-site equipment rental (e.g. bike rental, snorkel rental, etc.)
Not included are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visa fees, laundry, medical fees, cost of evacuation, airport taxes, email, health and travel insurance, extra baggage fees, phone calls, lodging before and after international travel, academic supplies, etc. The cost of international airfare is not included in the tuition price.
TUITION REFUND POLICY*
*UPDATED Refund Policy for 2021 International Programs
In light of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, GUARDIAN is offering a modified refund policy for 2021 international program participants:
After the respective refund deadlines, should GUARDIAN choose to cancel any program due to changing circumstances participants will have three available options:
Transfer to a future GUARDIAN expedition or wilderness medicine course offered in 2021 or 2022 (space permitting).
Roll your application to a future term (we will hold a program spot for you)
Receive a full refund minus any unrecoverable flight fees**
Should a participant choose to cancel for any reason after the refundable deadlines listed above, 100% of the program fees will be refundable up until 1 week before the scheduled departure date. After the start of the expedition, all program fees become non-refundable unless the group has to enter a whole group quarantine. In the case of this unfortunate event, we will collectively quarantine as a group using program funding to organize transportation, housing, food, available testing and departure plans. However, if a participant initiates a cancellation after the start of the expedition and GUARDIAN later needs to cancel the program, the participant would receive a full refund minus unrecoverable flight costs (the same as a GUARDIAN initiated cancellation).
*The Updated Refund Policy is only for international programs. For US domestic semesters, our standard Refund Policy stated above applies.
**Please note that with modified airline policies, we anticipate any unrecoverable flight costs to be minimal and likely non-existent, meaning the refund amount should be paid nearly in-full in the event of a GUARDIAN initiated cancellation even beyond the refundable deadlines.
PRE-DEPARTURE PROGRAM CANCELLATION
GUARDIAN reserves the right to cancel any program if there is insufficient enrollment or as a result of health, safety, or security concerns in the host country beyond our control. A full refund will be granted for canceled programs that arise out of insufficient enrollment, though GUARDIAN is not responsible for other costs incurred by clients preparing for the program. For programs that GUARDIAN cancels pre-departure due to any event that is beyond our control, GUARDIAN will refund all tuition less costs already incurred (i.e., flight fees, bookings, etc.) and less the deposit of $500.
IN-FIELD PROGRAM CANCELLATION & RE-ROUTING
GUARDIAN may choose to cancel or re-route a program that is in-progress if circumstances arise that, in GUARDIAN judgment, make the continuation of a program no longer tenable. Circumstances that could result in a cancellation or re-route may include natural disasters, health epidemics, political turmoil, government recommendation, etc. In such situations, GUARDIAN will explore reasonable alternative arrangements to re-route the program to another GUARDIAN selected location or will cancel the program. GUARDIAN will take reasonable steps to notify the participant of his/her options and otherwise limit the costs associated with the occurrence, to the extent possible. However, the participant agrees to be financially responsible for all costs expended on his/her behalf such as alternative international flight, travel, academic, and accommodation costs and to otherwise reimburse GUARDIAN for any financial obligation incurred in this regard. Should a program be cancelled after course start due to events beyond GUARDIAN control or should a participant choose to not continue on a program that is re-routed, no refund will be issued.
SPECIAL TRIP INSURANCE
GUARDIAN - Cultural Expeditions & Wilderness Medicine is not responsible for costs associated with cancelled enrollment (such as cancellation due to a personal emergency), programs that cancel for reasons beyond our control like evacuations, and/or separations from programs. Examples of these costs are tuition, non-refundable flights, and international flight costs incurred by program re-routing due to health, safety, or security concerns.
MEDICAL AND EVACUATION EXPENSES
It is the responsibility of the participant and his/her family to understand the limits of any medical and evacuation policy, and to provide up-front payment of emergency services when required.
GUARDIAN RULES AND REGULATIONS
If a participant acts in a way that is injurious to himself or herself, people of the host country, other participants on the program, or generally conducts himself or herself in a way that is disruptive to the program or in violation of our student policies, GUARDIAN reserves the right to send the participant home without refund. Underage use of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs are cause for dismissal. Participants sent home early or who voluntarily choose to return early for any reason, including but not limited to sickness, personal emergencies, or injury, will be responsible for all associated costs, such as medical costs, and related travel and logistical costs associated with an early departure.
VISAS AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Applicant must be in possession of a valid passport for international travel, complete with usable visa pages. The date of expiry must be beyond 6 months from the date of course departure. Upon admission to the program, detailed instructions for acquiring appropriate visas will be sent to the applicant, however, participants are responsible for obtaining a visa specific to their nationality’s requirements and restrictions.
For countries that require travel visas, Dragons can advise participants on the visa process and connect you with visa agents with whom we work, but we cannot guarantee that participants will be granted visas or directly provide services to obtain visas. Please research the visa process specific to your nationality and check-in with GUARDIAN admissions team as needed before finalizing travel plans for your program.
HEALTH REQUIREMENTS AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
All GUARDIAN programs are rugged, and all require good physical conditioning. If you have any questions regarding the physical demands of a program, please call our office. All participants will be responsible for submitting to us a completed health form that is signed by a physician, and that completely and accurately represents the current mental and physical well-being of the participant. GUARDIAN staff have the right to disqualify any member from the group if considered medically necessary and will do so if a participant or family member falsely represents the student in interviews, the application, the participant’s health form, or any other required paperwork. In the event of a medical emergency, GUARDIAN will attempt to procure medical treatment; however, we assume no liability regarding the provision of medical care. Applicants are urged to check their insurance coverage for its adequacy when outside of their own country, or to purchase travel health insurance. A pro-rated evacuation policy will be offered through GUARDIAN to all participants.
REQUIRED MEDICAL DOCUMENTS
All participants will be responsible for submitting to us a completed health form that is signed by a physician, and that completely and accurately represents the current mental and physical well-being of the participant. In the event that further communication with a medical or mental health care provider is necessary, in order to best support each student’s participation and well-being, the student gives permission to GUARDIAN to contact my medical or mental health care provider for further information.
LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY
Participants and their parents will be required to read and sign an “Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnity Agreement” prior to participating in our program.