Our COVID-19 Response

Updated March 17, 2022

Carpe Diem is closely monitoring how COVID-19 may affect travel advisories, border restrictions, and responsible community engagement. We continue to reference trusted sources of information from the scientific community (CDC, WHO), government agencies (U.S. State Department, Overseas Security Advisory Council), our medical advisor, and local partners.

Carpe Diem has been offering meaningful in-person programming throughout the pandemic. You can read more about the student experience on the Carpe Diem blog here!

We are taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our students, staff, host organizations and host communities. This includes but is not limited to: requiring that all Overseas Educators, HQ staff and students to be fully vaccinated, a COVID-19 agreement that all of our students and staff review and sign pre-departure, and ongoing consultation with our medical advisor and risk management consultants.

Carpe Diem has no current plans to adjust our program itineraries. That said, we recognize the need to remain flexible and adaptable to change and will continue to make our decisions based on recommendations from trusted experts. We will communicate any necessary changes to students and families in a timely manner so that all stakeholders are well-informed and can make decisions accordingly.

Throughout the pandemic, Carpe Diem Education has remained committed to providing our students and families with program options that are realistic, thoughtful, well coordinated, and reflective of our high standards for experiential learning, community engagement, and student well-being. We will only run programs that we know will meet these standards, and we appreciate the trust and support of our students and families!

Please give us a call anytime if you have questions or would like more information: 503-285-1800.

"We would like to commend the Carpe Diem staff for an amazing job done to get our daughter and all of the other students home as the world changed moment by moment. We looked for a long time to find a gap year program we felt really good about. We have no regrets about our choice. Our daughter was thriving in Guatemala and loving every minute of it. We will spread the word."

- Parents of a Spring 2020 student

Plans For Future Programs

Carpe Diem is currently accepting applications for our Fall 2022 Semester & Latitudes Year programs and our Spring 2023 Semester.

We are optimistic about our ability to offer programming in Hawai’i, Italy & Greece, Central America, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

We acknowledge that we may need to make adjustments in order to mitigate continued travel risks and border restrictions. Our goal is to be transparent with students and families if changes are made. Possible adjustments include, but are not limited to:

  • Adopting single-country itineraries: this may be done to avoid increased chances of mandatory quarantines at international borders, reduce possible transmission in regions of the world where there is currently less access to treatment or vaccination, simplify logistics in case of COVID-related evacuation, in response to a border closure, etc.
  • Moving departure dates back: this may be done to allow more time for risk assessments, in response to a delayed border opening, flight schedules/restrictions, etc.
  • Reducing time in the field: we may choose to offer shorter programs (2 months) if we cannot travel to all countries on an itinerary, are unable to work with some of our in-country partners, feel this timeline best meets the needs of stakeholders (students, families, local partners, HQ staff, etc.).

At this time, we do not anticipate making any of the above adjustments to our Fall 2022 programs.

Considerations for International Programs

Many factors were considered when determining our decision to return to international programming and these will continue to inform our decisions as we plan for future semesters. We are consulting numerous sources in our decision-making process, such as the CDC, WHO, Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC), the U.S. State Department, our risk management team, fellow industry professionals, and the trusted advice of global health experts. We are in active communication with regional and local partners in determining the viability of hosting student groups in an ethical and responsible way. The health and well-being of students, local partners, Carpe Diem staff, and larger host communities will be a primary concern in our ongoing evaluations. Our decisions for offering international programs will be based on:

    • Travel Advisories and status of international borders: The State Department continues to recommend increased caution when traveling abroad and we will continue to monitor country specific conditions and the status of international borders as we evaluate our ability to offer our programs.
    • National/regional pandemic status: we will be assessing the status of the pandemic specific to the countries/regions that our programs visit. Specific considerations include:
      • Current COVID-19 numbers in the region.
      • Vaccination statistics within the countries visited.
      • Quarantine requirements, Entry and exit requirements, availability of COVID testing.
      • Social distancing, mask, curfew, restricted movement, etc.
        • Carpe Diem Education programs are immersive experiences that involve a high level of in-person interaction and engagement. In the case that the pandemic is still present to the extent that strict social distancing policies are in place, or freedom of movement is restricted, we will reconsider running programs in that region.
      • Status of medical infrastructure: if local medical facilities and personnel are stressed/overburdened, they may not have the resources or ability to respond to a medical emergency. Traveling in such a region would be irresponsible both to locals as well as to our students and staff.
    • Partner community needs: There may be cases in which international borders are open, though local communities are not comfortable hosting travelers/groups. In these cases, we trust that local people know what is best for their community and will not travel to those communities.
    • Comprehensive Risk Management: all of the above factors are part of a larger, ongoing risk management assessment. There are many other factors that Carpe Diem Education will be considering, and the situation will remain fluid for the foreseeable future.
      • In order to best support our staff, students, and local partners, we have developed a COVID-19 Agreement for all students and staff to review and sign prior to the program start. View the Spring 2022 COVID-19 Agreement here. Please note that this agreement will be updated and may change future students in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines and recommendations.

We will continue to apply this lens to our decisions moving forward. We are optimistic that with increasing distribution of the vaccine, improved medical therapies and testing accuracy, and people acting in accordance with socially responsible COVID-19 practices, Carpe Diem Education can continue to offer engaging in-person programming while maintaining the health and well-being of all participants.

"I recommend that every student who has even the slightest inclination to take a gap year to do it and do it with Carpe. Parents can feel confident about the Carpe leaders and staff -- they are experienced and professional. For my student, the experience was educational, personally transformational, and of course, loads of fun."

- Parent of a Fall 2019 Latitudes Year Student

FAQs

How has Carpe Diem been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic?

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We are actively monitoring reports from the CDC, the WHO, the US Department of State, the  Overseas Advisory Council, and our program partners on the ground in the regions where we work. We are also encouraging all students and parents to do their own research and obtain information from reliable sources such as the CDC and the WHO.

We acknowledge that this situation is ever-changing and we are hopeful that over the next several months COVID-19 will become endemic and that communities will have increased access to the vaccine, greater capacity for rapid and accurate testing, inexpensive and effective medical treatment and other means of mitigating the risks of transmitting the virus. 

The Carpe Diem HQ team will continue keeping a close eye on the sources mentioned above and will continue to proactively communicate with all of our enrolled students and parents.

What happens if I sign up for a Carpe Diem program and I decide later that I’m not comfortable traveling, or the program is canceled?

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We know that many students and families are looking for engaging, educational alternatives to virtual/online learning, and we look forward to working with you! 

Carpe Diem has been running in-person programs throughout the pandemic and we are confident in our ability to continue operating in this way. 

If you submit a deposit and withdraw from the program more than 90 days prior to departure, you will receive a full refund. 

Please contact our office directly with any questions about our refund policy.

Is a COVID-19 vaccine required to participate in a Carpe Diem program?

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Yes, all of our students, Overseas Educators and HQ staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

At Carpe Diem, we strive to travel in a manner that promotes the highest level of care, consideration, and respect for our students, staff, local partners, and host communities. We believe that, in the context of the current pandemic, one of the most effective ways to support the health and well-being of all stakeholders is to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Students will be required to submit proof of vaccination to Carpe Diem at least two weeks prior to the program start date.

How do the new US State Department Level 4 Travel Warnings impact Carpe Diem?

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The U.S. Department of State has updated their travel advisories to align with recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This has resulted in many countries throughout the world being rated as Level 4: Do Not Travel.

When making decisions on where our groups will travel, Carpe Diem assesses each region based on multiple considerations. In the case that a Level 4 travel advisory is specific to COVID-19, Carpe Diem may decide to continue traveling to this region. As a means to mitigate risk of transmission, Carpe Diem is requiring all students and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to travel. For all programs, Carpe Diem will adhere to the specific CDC guidelines for vaccinated travelers.

We are taking into account unique challenges that come with travel during a global pandemic and are adapting our programs as needed to best mitigate risks to our students, staff, and local host communities.  We will continue to monitor all CDC and U.S. Department of State updates and recommendations and are prepared to make any necessary program adjustments to support the health and well-being of all program participants.

Where can I find more information about Carpe Diem’s response to COVID-19?

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Our team is always happy to connect with you to discuss any of your questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 and the impact on our programming. Please call our office (503-285-1800) or send us an email (info@carpediemeducation.org) anytime and we will respond as soon as possible.