WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.
Travel in response to COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. Dragons 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: 303.413.0822.
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND
Many of the global communities and nonprofits that have made Dragons programs possible over the past 28 years have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. In response, the Dragons Fund—a nonprofit 501c3 and our nonprofit partner organization—created the Community Relief Fund.
The Community Relief Fund provides direct support to our in-country partners who are particularly vulnerable. In its first two months, the fund has raised $17,000+ which has been distributed through small grants, mostly aimed at providing food and essential supplies (like PPE) to households. Learn more about the Community Relief Fund.
Photo: Connecting with homestay mothers in Tiquipaya, Bolivia.
FAQS: DRAGONS AND COVID-19
HOW IS DRAGONS 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, Dragons 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 greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will continue to run programs that take into account new COVID-19 considerations.
WHEN WILL DRAGONS RESUME INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMING?
As of mid-July, Dragons has cancelled all scheduled international programs through the end of 2020. While there have been a few positive developments at home and abroad, the persistent global uncertainty, risk of contagion to host communities, and unprecedented travel restrictions still make it impossible for us to offer international programming in 2020. This said, we are optimistic that we will be able to resume international programming in the near future; additional time, research, interventions, & understanding will greatly increase the chances of programs running in 2021. Once the global travel conditions improve, it will still be likely that certain restrictions and social distancing measures will remain in place and ultimately, that travel will look different until we have a widely distributed vaccine. We anticipate that the coming months will be a very telling time in determining the short-term trajectory of the global response to COVID-19 as social distancing policies and travel restrictions begin to shift over the fall months. The reality is that we still need to wait for conditions to improve before reaching any conclusions about planned programs in 2021. We know that our participants, instructors, and in-country partners are eagerly awaiting definitive updates, and we are grateful for your patience and understanding as we collectively hope for the global situation to improve. For more information on likely travel scenarios, review our 2021 International Programming Outlook page.
HOW WILL DRAGONS 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 Dragons program:
- International Travel Current 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 social distancing and 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 Dragons, 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.
Student 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 DRAGONS REFUND POLICY FOR UPCOMING PROGRAMS?
We have updated our Summer & Gap Refund Policies to give you additional flexibility in making plans in these uncertain times. 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?
Dragons 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 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 re-enforce 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 DRAGONS 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 Dragons and our approach to COVID-19 (or anything else for that matter) please do not hesitate to contact our office at 303-413-0822 or send us an email. We’re always happy to help in any way we can.
Safety & Health