Updated: November 10, 2022
This webpage will be the most updated, authoritative resource about how COVID-19 relates to our upcoming programs.
Dear 2023 Students and Prospective Students,
Welcome! All travel programs currently listed as being offered for 2023 are scheduled to run and are currently enrolling. We do not anticipate canceling any of these programs based on COVID-19 if current entry requirements and conditions either remain the same or improve.
Belize is accepting American and Canadian tourists for travel and has regular or semi-commercial flights available. The US is not without COVID and we have done our best not to compare the risk of travel in Belize with a COVID-free environment, but rather to the alternative of remaining in the United States. A change in the CDC level will not cause us to cancel a scheduled travel program.
HOW WE ARE KEEPING YOU SAFE
We are implementing the following safety standards, which is part of how we have remained COVID-FREE while running programs in 2021 and 2022:
- Adhering to all national and international travel and entry requirements
- Requiring a negative COVID test within 2 days before travel to Belize
- Requiring masks when outside of our “Travel Pod” (your group)
- Utilizing outdoor learning space as much as possible! Staying within our travel pod during activities, transport, and housing as much as possible (and wearing masks when not possible)
- Following best practices for reporting, monitoring, and testing related to any COVID-19 symptoms
We have experience running our travel programs during COVID-19 and are prepared to continue to adapt as needed to provide students with the excellent experiences they’ve come to expect from CELA Belize.
STARTING IN 2022: COVID VACCINES REQUIRED
“Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated…. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.” – CDC, Aug 25, 2021
From January 1, 2022 onward, we have required all participants and faculty on all programs to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. We expect that this requirement will also be in place for air travel to and entry into many program locations. We are unable to offer any exceptions to this requirement. We are proud to offer excellent, accessible virtual veterinary courses, internships, programs, and research fellowships as a safe alternative for folks who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
COVID-19 CANCELLATION GUARANTEE
Please rest assured that if CELA Belize cancels a program because of COVID-19 (or for any reason), students enrolled in that program will receive a full refund of any tuition they have paid to CELA Belize.
Students will also have the option to move their enrollment to a travel program in another country through our partnership with Loop Abroad (where possible and would include additional tuition fees), move their enrollment to a virtual program, or move their enrollment to a future program if one of these options is better for them.
Note: For participants who do not reside in the USA, if travel between your home country and Belize is prohibited by one or both governments, you will be eligible for a full tuition refund even if the program is not cancelled. Proof of residence may be required.
WHAT IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID AND CANNOT ATTEND?
We encourage participants to purchase travel insurance that covers cancellation for medical reasons and that includes COVID coverage. These policies can be very affordable and can help you to recover your lost travel costs in such a case.
If you cannot attend a program because you contract COVID or are unable to travel by air because you test positive for COVID, you would not be eligible for a tuition refund, so travel insurance that covers cancellation in the case of a medical emergency is strongly recommended. For students unable to attend their in-person program for COVID-related reasons, CELA Belize is happy to provide access to the virtual program of the student’s choice at no additional charge.
WHAT ARE CELA BELIZE’S PROCEDURES IF I GET SICK ABROAD?
In the last twelve years of study abroad, we have had lots of experience supporting students who need routine medical attention. Every program has 24/7 staff on-hand to help you if you feel ill and make sure that you can receive medical attention.
If you become ill during your program and require medical care or hospitalization for a severe case of COVID-19, CELA Belize staff will make every effort to direct you to the best treatments locally available and, with your permission, check in with the medical team supervising your case. While our staff cannot be in the room with you, we will do our best to support you in making contact with your friends and family at home, advising on insurance and hospital paperwork, and communicating with doctors if you have any difficulties.
If you test positive, you may not be unable to return to the USA on time. In that case, here is what would happen:
- You may need to change your return flight. Usually that means paying the change fee and any fare difference. Sometimes the cost of changing the flight is more than purchasing a new one-way ticket.
- Health officials may use their discretion to direct where you are treated for COVID-19. You may be required to stay at the hospital or under quarantine until a doctor determines you have recovered and are non-contagious. You will be responsible for the healthcare costs during this time. You should make sure that your medical insurance or travel medical insurance would cover this cost should it arise.
- CELA Belize in-country staff will be on call to help with: informing you of local regulations, assisting you to get testing if you have symptoms, and working with medical and government authorities to follow regulations for treatment and quarantine of positive cases.
- Neither CELA Belize staff nor friends or family would be allowed to visit you in a quarantine ward. CELA Belize staff has deep experience working with local medical facilities and will be available by phone to check in with you and, if needed, assist you in your communication with hospital doctors.
Please note that COVID-19 regulations are constantly evolving and could change before your program begins. We will do our best to keep you updated to any such changes, but it is important that you ensure that you have appropriate medical insurance coverage should you need medical treatment abroad (which is a good idea even outside of COVID-19).
If you have questions or concerns, please contact [email protected] any time. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you soon!