The Sea|mester family stretches not just from coast to coast of the Continental United States but reaches all around the globe. From our maritime partners to our worldwide alumni, to our current and future students and staff; we know the Sea|mester family is far-flung and diverse. You are all very much in our thoughts at this moment in time.
Regardless of our backgrounds and beliefs, we know from experience that when we work together as a team to achieve common goals, we are unstoppable. Be it raising the sails, preparing a meal for 29 people, mixing cement for a construction project or chasing down a turtle to collect scientific data. Working as part of a team, we have so much to both offer and gain. These uncontrived learning opportunities define us as individuals. Their importance cannot be overstated.
So, what questions still need to be answered?
We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to run many of our programs this summer and with everyone out of school for an extended period and us all living cooped up, this summer could be the MOST important one of all to get socially, emotionally and educationally engaged.
That said, we recognize that governments, as well as local and international agencies around the world, are making many of these decisions for us (DOS and CDC Travel Advisories, Closed Borders, Forced Quarantine, etc.), so we are monitoring these directives while moving forward with our program planning and prep.
The travel, training, certification and service components of our programs add complexity which takes a lot of organization, preplanning, and expenditure. With enrollment on our programs being limited, we plan to connect with each student to check in with you and chat about your upcoming voyage.
In advance of that, please read through the following frequently asked questions:
Have you changed any policies due to the Coronavirus?
When is my tuition due?
When should I book airfare?
Can I switch my trip to another Sea|mester voyage?
What if I need to cancel my summer 2020 voyage BEFORE the final tuition due date?
What if I need to cancel my summer 2020 voyage AFTER the final tuition due date?
What might Sea|mester do to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during an active program?
What would cause Sea|mester to postpone or cancel a voyage?
Will you issue refunds if outside circumstances cause a voyage to be canceled?
What should I do right now?
British Virgin Islands COVID-19 Update
As a small island nation, the government was quick to respond by closing their borders and issuing a strict “stay at home” order. In a joint address on April 15th, the Premier and the Governor of the British Virgin Islands announced a “phased” approach to reopening their economy, stating that each phase needed to be flexible enough to take the global landscape into consideration, particularly when it comes to allowing non-BVI residents back into their country. Phase 1 was approved by the Cabinet and starts on April 20. This enables a range of stores and services to reopen, yet keeps the territorial waters, beaches, bars, restaurants, and borders closed until June 1. You can read the Governors statement HERE
During the address, the Premier also touched on an outline for phase 2. The current phase 2 proposal would limit entry to BVI citizens and those with resident status for up to three additional months. While phase 2 is not yet official and needs to be approved by the Cabinet, if approved, Sea|mester would be unable to operate our BVI programs this summer without some form of special exemption, which seems unlikely.
We will be waiting to hear the official word from the BVI government and our partners in the territory before making a decision on our BVI summer programs. During this time, we will also be exploring alternative programming to do our best to provide another option for our students to have a Sea|mester experience this summer. Sea|mester is very capable of offering the same “experience” while starting the voyage in a different location, therefore we will look into all possibilities as we learn more.
As more details become available and firm decisions are made, we will communicate them with you immediately. Thank you so much for sticking with us as we navigate these turbulent uncharted waters.
Sea|mester’s Standard Approach to Risk Management
Managing risk is a crucial part of any Sea|mester voyage. Awareness of these risks is the key to minimizing them, creating structure around them to mitigate and reduce them in appropriate ways.
Throughout the year, Sea|mester monitors the websites of trusted global agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for current travel risks and advisories. Sea|mester also contracts with MedAire and International SOS, two of the largest security, medical, and emergency services organizations in the world. MedAire and International SOS provide valuable insight and information on global and regional safety as travelers prepare for their program. Every student and staff traveling with us has access to these services once enrolled and confirmed on a program. Sea|mester has been operating programs for decades and we coordinate with our local on the ground partners for up to date information on a local level.
We encourage families to stay informed by accessing the most up-to-date information available at…
- CDC – https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
- DOS – https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html
- WHO – https://www.who.int/
- International SOS – https://www.internationalsos.com/
The CDC issues Travel Health Notices for any country that they feel travelers should be aware of and, along with Travel Advisories issued by the US Department of State, Sea|mester pays particular attention to this information. Travel Health Notices follow a consistent format and use plain language to help U.S. citizens find and use important information. Travel Health Notices inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in specific international destinations.
- Watch Level 1 – Practice usual precautions for this destination, as described in the CDC Travel Health Notice and/or on the CDC destination page. This includes being up to date on all recommended vaccines and practicing appropriate mosquito avoidance.
- Alert Level 2 – Practice enhanced precautions for this destination. The Travel Health Notice describes additional precautions added or defines a specific at-risk population.
- Warning Level 3 – Avoid all non-essential travel to this destination. The outbreak is of high risk to travelers and no precautions are available to protect against the identified increased risk.