FAQ's: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Answers to your questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dragons has been actively monitoring and responding to the Coronavirus outbreak. We are monitoring potential disruptions to our upcoming Summer Programs, Fall Semesters, and College Study Abroad Programs, this page provides updates to some common questions.  Updated April 3rd, 2020

Where There Be Dragons and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dragons has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak since the first cases emerged in December. We have been consulting regularly with our risk management team, regional staff, and a variety of global health experts & organizations including the WHO, CDC, and our partner in managing student health and safety, International SOS. In addition, Dragons has been in touch with peer organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants. 

What is the COVID-19?

Towards the end of December 2019, authorities in Wuhan (Hubei province), announced a cluster of cases of pneumonia associated with a market, for which a cause had not yet been identified. On 12 December, the first case was detected and within two weeks, 27 people had been hospitalized in Wuhan with pneumonia. Chinese authorities had excluded SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, avian influenza, adenoviruses and other common respiratory organisms. On 9 January, the World Health Organization confirmed that at least some of the hospitalized patients had tested positive for a novel coronavirus. Chinese investigators conducted gene sequencing of the virus, using a sample isolated from one of the patients. The disease that this new strain of coronavirus  causes is now given the designation of COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 may manifest from mild to severe or fatal symptoms, characterized by fever, cough, shortness of breath. More severe cases include sever pneumonia and death. Deaths from the disease continue to climb rapidly, especially for vulnerable populations. By March, 2020, COVID-19 has become a pandemic of unprecedented scale in modern history.

What is the extent of the COVID-19 outbreak?

COVID-19 has spread globally and has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. Case numbers have risen dramatically across the globe, and are expected to continue to climb in the coming weeks and months. While new infections have slowed significantly within China, new cases are emerging at a rapid rate elsewhere, including Europe and the United States. Governments and health workers around the globe prepare for the likely continued spread of the disease. From a global public health perspective, COVID-19 is an unprecedented risk; in large part, this is because it is novel and because global health experts are still in the process of learning about the disease, how it began, and how it spreads. This uncertainty and novelty has prompted widespread government responses. The global response to the outbreak has resulted in near total preventative travel restrictions. Both domestic and international flights have been significantly restricted and many countries have imposed strict quarantine measures, veritably shutting down travel in the short term. The United States now has the highest number of cases, while China, East Asia, and Europe also continue to manage active outbreaks. Other regions where case numbers remain low are suspected to have many cases as well, but are unable to adequately test for the virus.

How has Dragons responded to the COVID-19?

Dragons is continuing to monitor the outbreak and has been responding accordingly. We currently do not have any active programming, though we are optimistic that in the coming months existing preventive measures will bring the pandemic under control in many parts of the globe. We have been consulting regularly with our risk management team, regional staff, and a variety of global health experts & organizations including the WHO, CDC, and International SOS. In addition, Dragons has been in touch with similar organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants. We have developed an in-field management and response plan and trained our staff to risk factors, prevention, and response based on this. We are confident that, once travel restrictions are lifted, and greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will be able to continue to run programs that take into account any new considerations related to COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 affect future programs?

We are continuing to offer summer and fall semester programs. We will continue to evaluate the feasibility of near and medium term programming as we move forward. In addition, we are hopeful that the coming weeks will give greater clarity on the global response to this pandemic and the viability of travel this summer. Apart from health considerations, the early stages of the outbreak have resulted in increased travel restrictions globally and the threat of temporary quarantines. These restrictions and concerns have emerged in nearly every corner of the globe, and make travel unmanageable currently. However, based on past outbreaks in China and elsewhere, we are optimistic that the understanding & containment of the coronavirus will improve, especially with the heightened and coordinated response we are witnessing around the globe. For these reasons, we do not expect any significant alterations to our summer and fall 2020 courses.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 and heed the advice from a variety of global health experts and sources. We are actively evaluating the situation and will continue to coordinate between in-field staff, global resources, and our risk management team to provide updates over the coming weeks and months. Student safety is our top priority at Where There Be Dragons and we would not hesitate to modify or cancel programs should it ever appear that student health and well-being could not adequately be insured, or if travel restrictions inhibited us from delivering a high quality program experience.

Should I still travel during an active outbreak?

Currently global and domestic travel is not advised, nor is it possible. As travel opens back up in the coming months, we want to acknowledge that travel will continue to have inherent risks and the decision whether to travel is a very personal one. As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, it has affected global and local economies, preoccupied health care infrastructure, and disrupted travel.  In a world increasingly eager to shut itself off from one another we fear that the current outbreak may be one other catalyst for increasing divisions in the world. 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 re-enforce borders and cultural divides.

Where can I find out more about the Coronavirus?

If you would like more information, some of the best online resources on COVID-19 can be found on the websites of the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Please do not hesitate to contact the Dragons office at 303-413-0822 should you have questions or concerns about the information provided.

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