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An Update Regarding ACIS Travel and the Coronavirus

February 25, 2020 ACIS Blog 18 Comments
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The news around coronavirus is changing quickly. As such, we have created a page on our website that answers the most frequently asked questions. This page will be updated regularly to show our latest policies.

In any situation regarding the health and safety of our travelers, we rely on the advice of the CDC and State Department to guide our approach. 

Dear ACIS Community,

In our 40+ years of operating educational travel programs around the world, we’ve had to navigate around all kinds of safety concerns. We understand that travelers have concerns due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19). 

ACIS is vigilant in monitoring the State Department’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travel Guidelines to provide us fact-based counsel on local travel conditions.  We also regularly consult with a third-party travel security specialist that advises us on the risks associated with travel to different areas in the world.

You can read the assessments for your upcoming travel destinations here:

State Dept.:  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

CDC:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/

Group leaders can always take advantage of our Peace of Mind Program which allows groups, up to 45 days before departure, to change their travel dates or itinerary while agreeing to cover any cost differential associated with these modifications. Our standard policies regarding travel security and cancellations can be found at https://acis.com/student-resources/.  

If ACIS (in consultation with the experts outlined above) determines a specific destination to be unsafe while a group is overseas, we will make immediate revisions to the itinerary to avoid the location in question at no additional cost to our participants.

Our safety and support infrastructure is the cornerstone of our business—it’s a key reason why teachers choose to travel with us. We go above and beyond to not only provide once in a lifetime experiences for our participants, but to also ensure that they return home safely.

Laura Smart, ACIS Vice President of Customer Experience
& Peter Jones, ACIS President and CEO

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ACIS Blog Social Media & Content Manager at ACIS

18 thoughts on “An Update Regarding ACIS Travel and the Coronavirus

  1. “Group leaders can also take advantage of our Peace of Mind Program which allows groups, up to 45 days before departure, to change their travel dates or itinerary while agreeing to cover any cost differential associated with these modifications. ” I think in light of a situation like this, the 45 day rule should be changed to allow for school leaders to reschedule this trip in the best interest of the kids. This is a new development for Italy and many trips are at Spring Break, less than 30 days away.

    1. Hi Ellen,

      We understand your concern and we do allow for itinerary modifications within 45 days of departure if the State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory warning American citizens against traveling to an area visited on one of our itineraries. We are closely monitoring this situation and if conditions deteriorate to this point, we will discuss these options with group leaders of upcoming spring break trips.

  2. During our training trip we heard from teachers whose trips had been altered for events beyond anyone’s ability to control. All of them gave high marks for the changes to the itineraries; they said the changes had all been essentially upgrades to their original trips.

    However, if the travel advisory does increase, and ACIS offers a different destination that is acceptable for some, but not all, of the participants, how does ACIS address this discrepancy?

    1. Hi Sean,

      If the State Department issues a Level 4 Travel Advisory that affects the itinerary of a traveling group prior to departure, we work with the Group Leader to determine the “next best” option that can still fit the educational goals and interests of the majority of the group. We do realize that not everyone may be as enthused about the change, but the reality is, in such a tough situation, some participant flexibility is required. If students are not interested in continuing the updated trip or available during the new dates, our standard individual cancellation policies do apply. Your program coordinator will be able to give you the full array of options should the situation arise.

      We hope this helps answer your question.

  3. Hello and thanks for the update. One of my biggest concerns: what happens if Italy closes its borders/airports while our son’s group is there?

    1. Hi Myra,

      No matter the situation, we are constantly monitoring the conditions abroad. If a situation arises that affects group movement, we will make sure that the students are safe and have any needed resources if they are required to remain in place somewhere (hotels and access to a Tour Manager for example) and will work to bring them home as soon as possible. If you have additional questions, please contact Traveler Support @ accounts@acis.com.

      Thank you!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      ACIS continues to operate trips per the recommendations of the State Department and Centers for Disease Control. However, based on feedback from schools, parents and students, we are working on a case by case basis with group leaders traveling to affected areas to address their concerns. ACIS Traveler Support will reach out to discuss new options, which can then be passed on to the parents and students.

      Thank you!

  4. We are set to leave in less than 2 weeks. Should we make a change to our itinerary now? We are very concerned about travel and flights in particular to Italy.

    1. Hi Cristina,

      ACIS continues to operate trips per the recommendations of the State Department and Centers for Disease Control. However, based on feedback from schools, parents and students, we are working on a case by case basis with group leaders traveling to affected areas to address their concerns. ACIS Traveler Support will be reaching out to group leaders with new options available, and parents should contact their group leader to discuss them.

      Thank you for your patience.

  5. If CDC issues a Level 3 “Do not travel” warning or Stae Department Level 4 after trip has departed, what happens? Thanks

    1. Hi Colleen,

      No matter the situation. we are constantly monitoring the conditions abroad. If a warning comes up after the group has already departed and an affected area is deemed unsafe, we will be in contact with the group to revise the itinerary immediately. If you have additional questions, please contact Traveler Support @ accounts@acis.com

  6. We have been trying to contact our group leader but have not received a call, or e-mail back from her. We are from Bishop Timon/St. Jude HS in Buffalo. Looking to discuss our options for traveling to Italy. Please ask Julie to return our calls. Thank you. Our biggest concern is the kids being quarantined there for a long period of time. Is it possible to skip the northern regions and only travel to the southern regions. We depart in 36 days. Thank you!

    1. Hi Timothy,

      We are working to connect with all of the affected group leaders and provide them with options that avoid areas of concern. Your group leader will be in touch as soon as possible, but in the meantime, if you have additional questions please call Traveler Support at 877-795-0813 or email accounts@acis.com.

      Thank you for your patience.

  7. My daughter is scheduled to visit Italy with ACIS leaving next weekend. We have not purchased anything additional insurance coverage for this trip through ACIS. Can you please address the specifics of how a situation is handled if a child or group of children are exposed/infected with coronavirus and the Italian authorities decide that that child/children have to be quarantined? Please address the specific steps that ACIS takes to handle this situation.
    Thank you.

    1. If an ACIS traveler is quarantined by authorities overseas, our included health protection will cover medical costs (at existing policy levels). ACIS would then cover costs related to hotels and coordinate necessary travel arrangements (including flying over a parent to assist with the care of a minor).

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