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Our Commitment to Health & Safety On Your student Trip

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.

Our staff is fully vaccinated, and all our protocols detailed below will be continuously evaluated, and will likely differ slightly from group to group, and city to city, because we are committed to getting it right.

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As part of the WorldStrides family, we’ve supported tens of thousands of travellers around the world in 2021. For more than 50 years, WorldStrides companies globally have been the trusted partner of more than 9 million travellers, and our industry-leading commitment to health and safety speaks for itself. Expecting the unexpected is where we excel. All aspects of every program are reviewed, from the initial planning stages to the on-tour experience, and the health and safety of our participants is our top priority every step of the way.


Evolving Standards

Our team is continually evaluating and updating our protocols based on guidance from the CDC, the Government of Canada, and our Doctors on Call Team from the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. Led by Dr. Neal Sikka, who also serves as WorldStrides’ Medical Director, our Doctors on Call Team is an interdisciplinary group with access to George Washington University experts from public health, infectious disease, and laboratory services (testing).

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Adaptations for Health and Safety

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Your Tour Leader

Your group will be met by their Tour Leader, who will be fully vaccinated and 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.

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On The Motorcoach

Our motorcoach partners have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety protocols. All drivers will be fully vaccinated. Coaches will be disinfected using a variety of techniques, including electrostatic and anti-microbial sprayers, foggers, and steamers. All high-touch surfaces will be wiped down multiple times a day. Air filtration system improvements promote frequent exchange of cabin air, replacing it with fresh air from the outside.

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At The Airport

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. You will be allowed to bring hand sanitizer in a container up to 12 ounces in your carry-on.

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At The Hotel

We work only with hotel partners who are committed to the highest standards in cleanliness. In addition to their already rigorous cleaning protocols, they are now using enhanced cleaning products and increasing the frequency of cleaning in public spaces. Housekeeping spends extra time disinfecting surfaces in guest rooms, focusing on high contact areas. The check-in process has also been modified to limit interaction between students and other guests. Changes have been made to hotel arrival and departure procedures, use of lobby and elevators, and breakfast and other hotel-based activities to promote social distancing. Additionally, we have developed flexible options to support the rooming preferences of individual travellers. For example, if your program pricing is based on quad occupancy, room upgrades will be available for students who prefer double occupancy at the time of registration.

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The Sites We Visit

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. All 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.

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Meals

Group meals will be prepared by professionals who adhere to proper food safety and handling protocols, including mask wearing and frequent hand washing. We work closely with each meal vendor to determine the appropriate meal type and group seating configuration, secure outdoor dining where possible, and implement social distancing practices. Individually packaged food items, grab and go, and plated and served meals may replace traditional self-serve buffet options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will flying be like?

If you are flying to your destination, each airline we work with has slightly different processes and protocols to respond to COVID-19, and we recommend you check the website of your airline for the most up-to-date information. Airlines are deep cleaning, and may be reducing the number of people on each plane, and requiring face coverings while on board. Additionally, food service on the plane is either not available or pre-packaged, and so we recommend packing a meal and snacks, particularly if you are flying around a meal time.

You can read more from some of our top partners here:

Will we need to wear masks?

Brightspark will provide disposable masks for our participants, as well as reusable masks for our staff. Masks will be required in all enclosed spaces and when social distancing is not possible. You will need to follow any local, state, provincial, or national guidelines, and also follow any site-specific requirements for face coverings, including on the airplane and inside any cultural site or venue. For groups performing (playing musical instruments or singing), we’re actively monitoring discussions in the scientific and music education communities to develop options that are appropriate for your ensemble.

What would happen if a student has COVID-19 symptoms while on tour?

If a participant feels ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (which include fever, chills/aches, shortness of breath, coughing), our team will immediately facilitate movement of the participant to a location where they can safely be separated from others, while simultaneously engaging our Doctors on Call or a local medical facility to consult on the next steps, testing, and treatment. We would then, as required:

  • Establish and coordinate communication with the participant and the family
  • Facilitate transportation for the participant to a local medical facility
  • Coordinate quarantine arrangements for the participant, in consultation with local health authorities
  • Arrange for transportation for a family member to join the ill traveller
  • Provide guidance to the group to reduce the risk of additional exposure and coordinate testing

Brightspark will provide the resources necessary to facilitate the recommended treatment, including an isolated, chaperoned location for the participant to recover and arrangements for a new itinerary to return home.

How will our group dynamics be impacted?

We may make adjustments to reduce each individual's daily exposure to other people and allow more flexibility in meeting COVID-19-related requirements. This could include changes to keep groups from mixing or adjusting the size of a group (i.e., 7th and 8th grade classes may be kept in separate touring groups rather than mingling during sightseeing activities). These changes will be made on a case-by-case basis and communicated in advance.

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Brightspark's Promise to You

We will be there for your group every step of the way, from pre-tour, on-tour, and post-tour to ensure the safest experience possible for all travellers.

  • Pre-Tour: We encourage all travellers to limit contact with non-household individuals and exposure to public places for 14 days prior to departure. If a student is symptomatic or tests positive within 14 days of travel, they should not travel with the group and should immediately contact their Group Leader or Brightspark Customer Service.
  • On-Tour: If a student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 while participating on a program, we will help them get tested and safely separate them from the rest of the group while awaiting the results. If the test result is positive, we will be there every step of the way, from helping to secure the necessary care to arranging medically required isolation.
  • Post-Trip Assistance: In addition to advising all participants to monitor their health for 14 days after returning home and let their Group Leader know if they become ill, Brightspark will work with the Group Leader or appropriate parties to carry out contact tracing and notifications as needed.

 

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  • Doctors on Call

    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
  • Refund Guarantee Protection

    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