Coronavirus (COVID-19) Aktuální informace
V první řadě bychom chtěli poděkovat studentům a partnerům v USA za trpělivost a pochopení v těchto nestandardních časech. Pandemie koronaviru změnila život každého z nás, zredukovalo možnosti cestování, na které jsme byli běžně zvyklí. Změnilo se jak a kde pracujeme, omezilo setkávání a zvýšila se obezřetnost lidí.
Před 14 týdny bychom si nemysleli, že zpráva, kterou chceme komunikovat je možná. Nicméně se zklamáním a smutkem za létem v USA a v návaznosti na prezidentské prohlášení prezidenta USA Donalda Trumpa, jsme jako společnost v situaci, kdy je nemožné pokračovat v přípravách na vycestování do USA během léta 2020.
Prezidentské prohlášení z 22. června pozastavilo vydávání víz programům, které se zaměřují na dočasné pracovní příležitosti, stáže a projekty v USA pro mezinárodních uchazeče, s cílem snížit dopad onemocnění COVID-19 na zaměstnanost v USA.
Mezi uvedené bohužel spadají i programy poskytované společností Smaller Earth - Camp Leaders, Resort Leaders a National Park Program. Toto pozastavení je dočasné s trváním do 31. Prosince 2020 a s pravidelným přehodnocením.
Od našeho vzniku v roce 1999, jsme byli vystaveni mnohým náročným a komplikovaným situacím. Žádné z nich však neovlivnily naše programy natolik, abychom museli zažít léto bez Work and Travel programů v zahraničí. Bezprecedentní a neočekávané se v poslední době staly nejpoužívanějšími slovy, avšak jsou velmi výstižné na opis situace, které momentálně čelíme.
Od úplného začátku pandemie koronaviru jsme pracovali v rámci globální společnosti i s našimi partnery v USA na různých možnostech, jak umožnit bezpečné a zdraví neohrožující cestování během léta. Víme, že toto rozhodnutí je zklamáním nejen pro naše studenty a účastníky programu ale i pro nás jako společnost. Někteří z nás jsme měli rovněž léto absolvovat prací v USA, a mnoho věcí jsme měli vysněných a naplánovaných.
I když nám toto léto nevyšlo, cestovat budeme v budoucnu. Sociální distanc, roušky a izolace budou minulostí a věříme, že se stanou jen vzpomínkou na toto období. Když tento čas přijde, budeme první, kteří si sednou za počítač a začnou plánovat pobyty v zahraničí. Protože našim mottem zůstává: "Inspire people to go further".
S uchazeči, kteří dosud doufali v to, že budou moci vycestovat nebo nad námi nabídnutými možnostmi stále váhají budeme v kontaktu.
Ještě jednou bychom se Ti chtěli poděkovat za pochopení, situace není jednoduchá pro žádnou ze zúčastněných stran, avšak věříme, že spolu to zvládneme překonat a léto 2021 už bude opravdu to NEJ léto v životě.
Important: as this situation develops, these frequently asked questions may contain information that is no longer valid. We will update this page as we receive more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Is Camp Leaders still going ahead for 2020?
Yes, the Camp Leaders program is still going ahead. Any applications started after 17th March 2020 will be deferred until further notice.
Mohu nyní zrušit účast kvůli svým obavám z Coronavirus?
Jelikož je program stále otevřen podle plánu, vaše odstoupení od účasti bude podle standardních smluvních podmínek a to včetně storno poplatků.
Proběhnou plánované předodletové orieantace (Prepdays) a Job Fair podle plánu?
Osobní Job Fair byli z preventivních důvodů změneny na virtuální/Skype. Předodletové orieantace (Prepdays) by měly proběhnout podle plánu.
Kvůli uzavření škol se mi pravděpodobně posune zkouškové a nebudu stíhat odlet.
Jakmile bude výuka znovu obnovena vyřešíme posuny start date individuálně s každým podle jeho situace a možností.
How are decisions being made about the program?
We are staying informed on the latest advisories and recommendations made by relevant government, health, and travel agencies. These include:
- The World Health Organization
- The American government
- The Foreign Office and Public Health authority of each participant's home country
We are also relying on the experience of our global head office in the UK, and our local office in the USA, as well as each of our partner camps.
What do I need to know about my upcoming visa interview?
Due to the coronavirus, the U.S. Embassies in Europe are operating on a minimal staffing policy. Currently, they are prioritising the cases of American citizens. All visa interviews are being delayed for 30 days and will need to be rescheduled. There is no further action required from you. We will contact you to reschedule your visa interview when we receive more information.
What if I or someone else contracts the virus during the program?
All medical issues at camp will utilize the camp’s well-being protocol. Each camp's protocol will be different, but will typically include access to the camp's health center, medical professionals, and the support of local health authorities.
If I contract coronavirus whilst on the program, will I be covered by the medical insurance?
Yes, you will receive regular insurance coverage, provided you were not diagnosed with Coronavirus before starting your trip. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness before departure, we ask that you follow your local health authority's guidance.
What are my next steps?
At this point, based on the information we have received, applicants who are interested in the Camp Leaders programme should proceed with their applications as normal. Next steps may include booking visa appointments, submitting all necessary paperwork, and completing your profile.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.
We are currently prioritising assistance for participants who were due to depart prior to May 12th. Following that we will be prioritising support based on upcoming depart dates.
With the ever-changing nature of this unprecedented situation a lot remains uncertain as we face the coming weeks and months. At this point, we wanted to try and provide you with some certainty around a few key areas:
- We are awaiting an update from the U.S. Department of State in regards to the current suspension of the Exchange Visitor Program (issued on March 13th). We expect to receive this mid-May and will update you shortly thereafter.
- As stated from the outset of the pandemic - we will not facilitate travel if it is deemed unsafe to do so - this will be determined by government and public health authorities, the U.S. Department of State and visa sponsors. Your safety is our highest priority.
- We will only suspend the program in the instance where it is unsafe to travel or travel is not logistically possible (e.g air travel is suspended). We must remain optimistic for the summer. Hundreds of thousands of children, now more than ever, need your support to learn new skills, build new relationships and have fun this summer.
- Departure dates at any point in May are extremely unlikely based on embassy closures and the Exchange Visitor Program suspension. Please be prepared for all departure dates to be moved into June or July. We will be in touch to confirm any departure date changes.
- The vast majority of our camps have not cancelled their summer programs. Roughly 98% of our 500+ camps are making the appropriate preparations for this summer including amending their start date to later in the summer, and the implementation of new safety measures for those attending camp.
- Nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S Embassy remain suspended - we expect appointments to resume soon after the U.K. Government lifts the stay at home quarantine measures. Once we receive more information from the embassy we will update you.
- Our Online Preparation Days will be released in the coming days. We have already received many questions regarding President Trump’s recent announcement regarding a ban on U.S. immigration. Please be aware that the Exchange Visitor Program is a nonimmigrant cultural exchange program. This program is currently suspended until May 11th at which point the U.S. Department of State and ECA will review the situation. At this point, we do not believe President Trump’s recent statement will directly affect the Camp Leaders program.
If your camp has cancelled your placement please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to operate with a heavily reduced level of staff and ask that anyone not due to depart in the near future, and those not affected by a camp cancellation help us by waiting for us to contact them first. We will continue to update this page as we receive more information. For answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding coronavirus please see below.
Together we are facing unprecedented times of change. The situation is evolving daily and like many other businesses out there we are taking each day as it comes, usually with new challenges we never imagined having to face.
Unfortunately, over the past few days and weeks a small number of our partner camps in the U.S. have cancelled their summer program. This is extremely sad news for everyone involved, from the campers to the international staff. (Please see below if you have been affected by a camp cancellation.)
For the vast majority of placements, we are still preparing to facilitate travel this summer and we continue to work closely with our partners in the U.S. to ensure everything will be ready when the time comes. In some cases, dates, times and travel arrangements may change as different camps deal with different challenges so we ask that you continue to remain as positive, open and flexible as possible.
Understandably, lots of you are wondering what happens if travel bans are not lifted or social distancing continues. Whilst we know people are searching for definitive answers about potential scenarios we believe the best approach is for us to work with the information we have available now whilst also monitoring the situation closely, following guidance from the U.S. Department of State and making decisions with your safety as our utmost priority.
The coming days, weeks and months will no doubt be very challenging for us and for the camp community as a whole but together we remain committed to inspiring people to go further and to positively impact the world through cultural exchange.
As we move past coronavirus, when the lockdowns are lifted and the borders are opened it is going to be more important than ever that we remain steadfast in our mission to provide life-changing experiences that bring people together from different countries, backgrounds and cultures.
Thank you for your continued support and positivity.
What are the next steps if your camp has cancelled your placement?
At this point, the majority of our participants remain unaffected. For the small number of participants affected, please read on.
The long-standing policy within our program agreement has always been, no refunds if there are cancellations due to events that are out of Camp Leaders control. These include natural disasters, sickness or quarantine or governmental restrictions and regulations. However, we believe in supporting our community during this difficult time and will offer three options for those affected by camp cancellations:
1. Find an alternative camp placement in summer 2020
If you are still interested in going to camp this year we will do our best to find you an alternative placement. However, it’s important to note with the challenging and changing nature of coronavirus this may take longer than expected or may not be possible in some cases. If an alternative placement is not possible you will still be eligible for options 2 or 3.
2. Defer your application to summer 2021
Where possible we ask that you defer your application to 2021. If you wish to defer your application to next summer we will move your application and the fees you have paid to summer 2021. Without a doubt Camp Leaders will be going ahead next summer, in fact, we have already started work on 2021, as we do at this point every year.
3. Review your refund options
We can review your options for a refund. This will be done on a case-by-case basis and will be based on the services you have already received, your application stage and how much you have paid.
If you have been affected by a camp cancellation our team will be in touch directly with you to discuss how you would like to proceed. We continue to receive a high volume of queries so we ask that anyone who has not been affected by a camp cancellation or is not due to travel in the near future please do not contact us except in cases of an emergency.
If you have not been affected by a camp cancellation then your standard program agreement terms and conditions apply.
At Camp Leaders, we know that the unprecedented global situation we all face is challenging every aspect of our day-to-day lives.
As a travel-based company, while it’s difficult for us to witness the world on lockdown, with social distancing and travel bans commonplace, we firmly believe in the measures being taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.
At this point, we wanted to take the time to update you on what is happening behind the scenes at Camp Leaders and Smaller Earth:
- The Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates, is suspended until May 11th. All departure dates prior to this have been rearranged to later dates.
- Our team, who are working remotely from their homes all across the globe, are continuing to work diligently alongside our American visa sponsors and partner camps to prepare for the upcoming summer. Our goal of providing a life changing summer experience has not changed, and our partner camps remain excited to welcome international staff.
- Your start dates, travel arrangements, visa appointments and length of time at camp, may change over the coming days and weeks as we navigate our way through this unprecedented situation. With this we ask that you continue to remain as positive, open and flexible as possible.
- Due to the coronavirus outbreak we are operating with reduced levels of staff. This is having an impact on communication response times and capacity. We ask that anyone who is not due to travel in the near future help us by waiting for us to contact them first. Where possible please use our online help section and coronavirus FAQs (see below).
- Our utmost priority is the safety of our participants, staff, and partners, and we will only facilitate travel if it is safe to do so. We are following the advice and information from the U.S Department of State, local government authorities, and our partner visa sponsors and camps.
- As a precautionary measure, we are working on alternative plans for the unlikely instance that it is not safe for the program to go ahead. Further information will be released in the near future. As of now (31/03/20) the Camp Leaders program is still going ahead and standard program agreement terms apply.
Most importantly, we would like to thank our participants, partners and staff for their overwhelmingly positive response during these difficult times. We have received many positive messages via phone, email, and livechat, as well as on our social media pages. Although the near future may be uncertain for us all, we are reminded that positivity, kindness, and cultural exchange are here to stay.
Based on the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Camp Leaders have made the decision to pause all new applications for summer 2020 effective immediately. Any applications started before 17th March will be unaffected and can continue forward as normal. All new applications from 17th March 2020 will be deferred until further notice.
This decision has been made to allow us to provide our current applicants with the high standard of customer care and service we pride ourselves on.
Our summer camps are continuing to operate and are excited to welcome Camp Leaders participants this summer, and as ever, we’re excited to support you on your summer of a lifetime.
The Camp Leaders team will be reaching out directly to every applicant over the coming days and weeks, to ensure that you are supported through this challenging global situation.
Across many countries in Europe, the US Embassy has postponed visa interview appointments until further notice. We are monitoring this situation and are in close contact with our visa sponsors. We expect the postponement to last approximately 30 days.
At this time we ask that you continue to move forward with your application. Please complete all available sections to ensure you are ready when visa interview appointments are re-opened.
If you have a visa appointment scheduled on or before 16th April, the Camp Leaders team will reach out to you directly. We recommend that all applicants wait to be contacted about their visa appointments.
On March 13th the US Department of State announced the temporary pause of international exchange programs due to COVID-19. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) will temporarily pause all ECA funded programs. This has also been extended to privately funded programs which includes the Exchange Visitor Program, the visa on which the Camp Leaders program operates. This temporary pause is expected to last 60 days.
At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited impact on travel to camp.
If you have a departure date that falls before May 11th 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.
If you are not due to travel on or before May 11th we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.
On March 11th President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.
This proclamation is expected to last 30 days and applies to the countries located in the Schengen area.
At Camp Leaders we will continue to work towards our May and June departures and expect there to be limited to no impact on travel to camp.
If you have a departure date that falls before the 11th April 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.
If you are not due to travel in the near future we recommend that you wait before contacting us with coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.
Camp Leaders pečlivě sleduje vývoj situace ohledně Coronavirus (COVID-19), protože naší prioritou je bezpečnost a zdraví našich ůčastníků.
Řídíme se doporučením WHO, CDC, Ministerstva zahraničí ČR a Ministerstva zdravotnictví ČR stejně jako pravidelnými konzultacemi s partnery v USA. Aktuálně podle všech doporučení a dostupných informací funguje program Camp Leaders podle plánu na léto 2020.
Situaci samozřejmě i nadále pečlivě sledujeme a v případě změny vás budeme informovat.