The team at Brightspark has helped thousands of teachers and students travel the world on education and performance tours each year. On all our tours, safety is our number one priority. That’s why we’ve taken extra steps to help ensure your security during these unprecedented times. Our team of travel experts is constantly evolving and developing new protocols in response to COVID-19.
As part of the WorldStrides family, we have assembled a cross-functional team we call the Back to Travel Task Force early this spring, and we have been working to help you travel with confidence ever since. The Task Force leverages decades of experience across our company to assess the safety of the destinations we travel, survey site openings and closings, understand new protocols and regulations from our partners, and create training and detailed safety plans to manage the risk associated with COVID-19. The Back to Travel group is led by Chief Experience, Health & Safety Officer Terri Morgoglione. This team monitors the Government of Canada, CDC and WHO guidelines and receives guidance from The George Washington Department of Emergency Medicine – the same professionals who staff our Doctors on Call program. We are closely monitoring the evolving standards of the education community and the travel industry to continually update our plans with the latest information on COVID-19.
Your group will be met by their Tour Leader, who has been specially trained in protocols to help keep the group safe. You also will be provided with a destination-specific safety briefing to help set expectations for your time together.
Masks will be required while seated on the coach and passengers will be encouraged to wear face coverings at all times. This includes prior to boarding in accordance with guidance from the Government of Canada. The motor coach's interiors will be cleaned frequently, with added attention to cleaning handrails, arm rests, lavatories, and frequently touched surfaces before and after every trip. Other changes you might see include plexiglass or empty rows around the motorcoach drivers, this may vary depending on the coach supplier. Hand sanitizer will also be available on the motorcoach for passengers and the driver.
Each airport, and airline, will have its own rules regarding your flight travel, and we recommend you check the website of your airport and carrier at least 72 hours before departing. Temperature checks and face coverings will be a requirement at the airport and on the plane. Some destinations may require health forms or additional testing/screening prior to arrival, including requirements based on your home province or city. We will make every effort to communicate these requirements in advance. Many airport restaurants may not be open, and in-flight food service will not be available, so we recommend packing a meal and snacks for your journey. You will be allowed to bring hand sanitizer in a container up to 12 ounces in your carry-on.
Our check-in process will be modified to limit interaction with other guests at the hotel. This may mean private entrances, fewer people in the lobby, and fewer people in the elevator. We’ve worked with our hotel partners to ensure the highest standards in cleanliness in the hotels prior to your arrival. These will include disinfection of surfaces inside rooms and extra cleaning on high contact areas such as light switches, doorknobs, and TV remotes. Once the room has been expertly cleaned, hotel staff will not enter unless specifically requested. Hotel guests should expect limited food and beverage options inside the hotel and limited or no property amenities (e.g. pools, gyms, etc.). We will work with families travelling together to encourage rooms based on family units and limit roommate switching on programs that travel between cities.
Our team is working closely with our contacts at museums, landmarks, and other sites we visit to define specific (and evolving) protocols for groups to make sure the experience is both safe and fun. Based on new information, we may make changes to your itinerary, to make sure you have plenty of time to accommodate any new restrictions. We also will focus your time on places where you have the most freedom to explore. Many of the sites we visit will require face coverings, and have new rules for security and group management. You should be prepared to follow the instructions of your Tour Leader and staff at these locations. We recommend you bring a clear purse or backpack, or a gallon-sized ziploc bag, as some sites will not allow traditional bags.
We will use our local knowledge and strong relationships to select restaurants that are following strict hygiene practices to keep participants safe. Self-serve buffets will not be used. Where possible, we will arrange for private or separate seating. Pre-orders may be required in some situations, particularly in situations where we will provide box or carry-out meals in order to allow the group to eat outside or in a location where additional social distancing is possible.
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If a member of your group is diagnosed with COVID-19 while on a Brightspark tour, we will be by your side every step of the way. We need your help, too. We ask all participants to commit to care for your fellow travellers by acknowledging any symptoms you may be experiencing prior to travel. If you are sick, please stay home.
As part of WorldStrides, we have access to an exclusive partnership with The George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. We leverage this unique program to connect travelers to doctors for phone consultations or treatment recommendations.Learn More
As a TICO registered agency, Brightspark offers parents peace of mind while their child is on tour by offering the opportunity to protect both their child and their financial investment of the trip cost with travel insurance.Learn More