Kaya Statement on Coronavirus Outbreak

In response to the current Corona virus (COVID-19) global outbreak, Kaya’s emergency response team is monitoring the situation as it evolves day-by-day around the world.

Currently, some of Kaya locations are affected by travel bans and restrictions. 

For a daily update on all Kaya locations, and more information about COVID 19, check out our insights page here.

Our risk assessment team is vigilant, and keeping up-to-date with what is happening around the world. As there is a lot of uncertainty at this time as to how this pandemic will spread, how long it will take to contain and how governments around the world will implement additional travel bans, we recognize that some educational institutions are taking precautionary measures and canceling programs within certain locations. For many of the institutions we work with, we have been advised that the main sources of information directing decisions to travel are Department of State travel warnings (where level 3 and 4 advisories are in place) and CDC Travel health notices. Where level 2 or level 3 notices are in place specifically for Coronavirus.

In response to the CDC public statement regarding travel for higher education institutions, we are directing participants and inquiries to speak with their institutions about their policies. In providing our thoughts about this statement we support the response provided by the Forum on Education abroad and Pulse which outline that:

  • The statement, as written, is guidance to consider. It is not a directive that is being handed down. Instead, the CDC is asking our field of education abroad to consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs.
  • Students are not typically members of the population who may succumb to a virus like COVID-19. Those populations have often included the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
  • Unlike typical travelers, students are supported on the ground at their various study sites by Kaya professional staff, faculty, and others who work to assure that students are provided information, assistance, guidance, and help when necessary.

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with travel and border restrictions, both the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the U.S. Department of State advises British and American nationals against all but essential international travel. Indeed, with the current pandemic situation, any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in either the United Kingdom or the United States and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from arriving or leaving. Many other countries have followed suit in this advice, including Australia and most European countries.

We are monitoring the situation daily for any changes. Factors influencing this advice include:

  • The U.S. State Department advisory level for the country being elevated to Level 4, “Do not travel”.
  • The UK Foreign office advisory level for the country being elevated “Advise against all travel”
  • The CDC elevating the health alert level to Level 3, “Avoid all non-essential travel”.
  • The sending or host country governments recommend immediate departure or evacuation of foreign citizens.

Participants and their families should also be aware of the following, given the dynamic and changing situation;

  • The U.S or UK government and/or local host governments can implement travel restrictions, institute quarantines, and activate additional border screening processes at any time’.
  • Flight carriers can announce the suspension of travel routes into and out of a country at any time.
  • A home university may choose to call students home at any time.

Where flights are affected, airlines will typically provide refunds or work with travelers to assist with rerouting. Where universities make an institutional decision, the institution will provide support to students affected to make arrangements.

What is Kaya’s policy if I am unable to attend my program?

As per our regular terms and conditions for our individual participants, deposits are non-refundable and 60 days or more before program departure participants may change dates or locations with a change fee. Most program costs are paid upfront to our communities and this policy enables them to make arrangements and prepare for your program in the 2 months prior to your arrival.

Due to the current uncertainty, we have worked with our ground teams to identify where we can offer greater flexibility at this time. As a result, we are implementing a revised policy. Until further notice, all current participants and any new inquiries will be provided our Kaya Amended Coronavirus Terms (Kaya ACT)

With Kaya ACT the existing terms for individual participants will be extended to offer;

45 days or more prior to departure the option for all individual participants to:

  • Change your program dates without any change fees
  • Change your program location without any change fees* (program cost differences may apply)
  • Cancel your program and hold your program fees for a future trip
    *for the small number of placements with additional placement-specific deposits, these remain non-transferable. These will be highlighted at the time of application).

44 days or less prior to departure

  • If your program location is designated a travel advisory level 3 or 4 by the US department of state, or the UK FCO implements an “Advise against all travel” warning, we will extend the above conditions to apply up until your date of travel, with a deduction for any unrecoverable expenses that may not be able to transfer to your new placement.

Note that for all group programs, individually contracted terms and conditions apply and these will be discussed and agreed on a case-by-case basis.

We hope that under Kaya ACT we can support our participants through these uncertain times.

For any further questions or clarification on your situation, contact our Kaya placements team