Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Last Updated: March 30, 2020
We will update this page as needed.
In these uncertain times rest assured that the safety of our participants and employees is our single biggest priority. This remains top of mind as it always has and always will. Over the course of our 37 years, we’ve proactively managed many global emergencies including SARS, H1N1 and terror, and have done so while maintaining our reputation for consistently operating teen summer programs of the highest quality.
Safety, Our #1 Priority
Westcoast Connection was built on making a tremendous investment in trip planning, safety protocols, staff training, and many other areas to eliminate as much preventable risk as possible. We are closely monitoring COVID-19 updates and use multiple sources to stay educated and make informed decisions, including the:
U.S. Department of State, Travel Advisories
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO, UK Government)
Smart Traveller (Australian Government)
We also consult organizations we are members of, including the National Tour Association (NTA), Student Youth & Travel Association (SYTA) and Travel Council of Ontario (TICO).
Additionally, we subscribe to alerts and information from WorldAware, a leading provider of safety and risk management information.
Keep in mind that as the number of COVID-19 cases grows, the most at risk are the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Fortunately, young people appear to be far less affected.
Travel Advisories and Staying Flexible
Our standard policy is we will not run a program to a location where either the CDC is at level 3 “avoid non-essential travel” or the State Department is Level 4 Warning “do not travel”. If such an advisory is in effect 60 days before departure, we will replace the affected areas on the itinerary or cancel the program. If we cancel a program prior to departure we will offer an alternative program or you can choose to have all tuition payments fully refunded.
With that said, we are willing to make changes to any single itinerary on a moment’s notice – and have done so in the past due to natural disasters and terrorism. We are also willing to make changes to itineraries prior to travel due to threat or perception of threat. Back in 2003, we changed our itineraries due to SARS a few months prior to travel.
Deciding to Change Your Program or Cancelling
If after enrolling you decide that you want to change your program, normally after February 1st change fees apply. These fees have been temporarily suspended.
Our normal cancellation fees have been modified to provide you with the flexibility to change your mind. Depending on the destination and program type, most tuition payments are refundable according to our updated enrollment page.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is recommended. These insurance policies offer excellent value and benefits, which is why it’s been WCC’s trusted provider for over 20 years. However, it does not cover canceling due to fear or aversion such as concern about COVID-19. The insurance would cover “trip cancellation or interruption” if somebody became ill or was quarantined.
Our Commitment to Your Health
Our staff training and protocols include enhanced preventative measures recommended by authorities to reduce the risk of illness.
For the latest information concerning COVID-19 and for recommendations, including travel advice and how to protect yourself please refer to trusted sources like the ones mentioned above.
We remain committed to providing teenagers with summer experiences that are safe, fun, educational and inspiring. In many ways, now more than ever, they need a summer to rejuvenate, relax, and get away from the stresses of the all too common teen pressure cooker. We are here to support you with the goal of giving them that summer of a lifetime!
If you have any other questions about how coronavirus may affect your travels with WCC please call us at 800-767-0227.