Safe Travels for the New Normal
Westcoast Connection has been awarded the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council. This stamp is an international symbol designed to allow travelers to recognize companies globally, which have adopted proper, standardized health and hygiene protocols. Nothing is more important than our travelers’ physical safety and comfort.
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), Health Canada, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO, UK Government) and Smart Traveller (Australian Government).
We also consult organizations we are members of, including the National Tour Association (NTA) and Student Youth & Travel Association (SYTA). Additionally, we subscribe to alerts and information from WorldAware, a leading provider of safety and risk management information.
What to Expect When Traveling With Us in 2021
The situation is ever changing and rest assured WCC is monitoring, adapting and staying well-informed. With guidance from the organizations mentioned above, we are prepared to implement the following as needed closer to our programs’ departure.
Pre-Program Health Information
We require all participants and staff to complete a health history and medical form that is signed by their physician. Prior to departure, an additional questionnaire will be sent requesting details of each individual’s current health status. All participants and staff will be required to take a Covid-19 test prior to arriving on their program. Health and hygiene protocols, in accordance with the most current guidelines specific to each program, will be uploaded to your portal prior to departure.
Day 1 Health Screening
We’ve enhanced our day 1 in-person health screening to include temperature readings and Covid-19 specific questions. Our first day welcome orientation will cover what can be expected on your program and all the necessary safety precautions.
Hand sanitizer will be provided and made readily available throughout your program. It is advised for participants to bring their own as well. Participants will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer multiple times throughout the day. There will be no sharing of water bottles, personal items, etc.
Each participant will be required to bring face masks with them. We will require masks to be worn in public spaces, vehicles, and where social distancing is not possible or as outlined by local authorities and destination partners.
Monitoring Participants’ Health
We are proud of our reputation for individualized attention and special care for our participants. If a participant is not feeling well, we have access to the nearest medical facilities and doctors and are in constant communication with parents. In addition to our standard healthcare protocols, we will be conducting daily temperature and symptom checks. If a participant shows signs of Covid-19, they will be taken for a test, separated from the group, cared for by our staff, and given their own room until the results are available.
Participants are not required to be vaccinated this summer. We will be requesting that our staff be vaccinated if it is available to them.
Our industry-leading training is being adapted and enhanced to include dedicated sessions and modules on dealing with Covid-19.
Additional Support Staff
In addition to our regularly scheduled support visits on almost all of our programs during a typical summer (every 7-10 days), we will have additional staff, based in areas where we operate, to provide extra support.
We will ensure that enhanced sanitation measures are in place in all vehicles. They will be thoroughly sanitized prior to the start of each program and twice daily by our drivers and staff. Participants and staff will be required to use hand sanitizer every time they enter the vehicles. Face masks are required to be worn in vehicles.
Hotels and Restaurants
We work with trusted hotels and restaurants that meet our quality standards and are compliant with locally mandated protocols. For meals, we will maximize outdoor dining options.
Programs with Camping
We will implement the use of disposable plates and cutlery, continued use of gloves for meal preparation, extra cleaning of cooking equipment and staff will serve meals. Camping cots, air mattresses and tents will be sanitized after use. Sports equipment will be cleaned after each use.
We will help facilitate any testing or forms required prior to your return home.
We’re in This Together
We pride ourselves on the trust we’ve worked hard to earn from our travellers over the past 38 years. We believe that trust is derived from our individual attention and care for participants, our attention to detail, transparent communication with families, as well as, our sensible judgment. We are here to answer any questions you may have, as there is no substitute for a conversation.