Health and Safety

Your safety, above all else

Creating exceptional educational travel experiences for more than 50 years means we’ve seen it all. As we continue to evolve and adapt to the new travel environment due to COVID-19, our in-house Health & Safety team is working around-the-clock to implement enhanced protocols, trainings, and itinerary adjustments that allow for a focus on hygiene and social distancing. With an arsenal of resources and a global support network, our relentless focus on safety lets travellers focus on enriching experiences and exciting adventures.

Safety on Trip

Emergency support that sets us apart

We have built a strong network over many years to support our focus on safety. Learn more about our emergency support and troubleshooting resources.

  • Doctors on Call: Now more than ever, our exclusive partnership with the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine can give you peace of mind. This partnership gives your group access to medical phone consultations, should the need arise. Additionally, mental health support for any participant is just a phone call away. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Neal Sikka, who leads our Doctors on Call program, has played a key role in developing additional guidance and protocols, including a detailed process by which we involve the medical team, if necessary.
  • Tour Central: You’ll have a team that sweats the small stuff for you while travelling thanks to the 24/7 support of our Tour Central office, staffed by WorldStrides employees who are trained to handle any situation.
  • Tour Directors: Our Tour Directors lead immersive and engaging activities that connect students with new cultures and perspectives—and they’re with your group 24 hours a day, ready to lend a hand if an emergency occurs. Carefully-vetted and well-qualified, our Tour Directors are trained to manage whatever comes their way.

Meet the Team

We believe Health and Safety is a full-time job. Not just for one person, but for a team. Ours is led by Vice President Robin Reliford, who is solely focused on the job of keeping our students safe. Backed by the resources of the entire organization, they are ready to spring into action with plans for situations large and small.

A plan for every contingency

Led by Vice President Robin Reliford, our health and safety team is the best in the field of educational travel. Our number one priority is keeping our travellers safe, and we do so by working closely with partners like WorldAware and Dr. Neal Sikka at the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine.

  • Partnerships: Our decades-long relationship with airlines, hotels, and other vendors means you’ll interact with vetted, experienced, and reliable operators on tour. All are committed to cleanliness and safety, especially now, and we are working closely with them to understand and inform their best practices.
  • Worldwide network: Rest assured that you’re never alone—with WorldStrides team members and offices on six continents around the world, there’s always a WorldStrides team member ready to assist you in real-time.
  • Insurance: We’ve partnered with Trip Mate and global partners to set the standards for medical, evacuation, and liability insurance with best-in-class support that provides an extra layer of coverage for our participants, our Group Leaders, and the schools with which we partner.
  • Total Travel Protection: No one wants to think about having to cancel their trip, but sometimes life happens. That’s why we’ve partnered with Trip Mate to give your students the option to protect their investment with their choice of two trusted travel protection plans that provide a cash refund—not just credit for a future trip like other companies provide:
    • Travel Protection Plan - The standard plan covers common mishaps like misplaced tickets or passports, lost luggage, sickness or injury during the tour, and more. It also includes full coverage from school board cancellations, including labour strike, work-to-rule, or school board determination of risk of harm, up until the day before departure with a full refund minus the cost of the insurance policy.
    • Travel Protection Plan PLUS - The exclusive upgraded plan adds to the standard plan, providing total peace of mind by allowing the travellers to cancel their tour and be reimbursed for 75% of the non-refundable cancellation fees for any reason up to 30 days before departure.

A Team Approach to Our New Normal

WorldStrides assembled a cross-functional team we call our Back to Travel Task Force in early spring 2020, and they are actively working to update safety plans for travel programs and events in a new normal with coronavirus considerations.

The Back to Travel Task Force leverages decades of experience across our company to assess the safety of our host cities/venues, stay abreast of openings/closings, understand new protocols and regulations from our partners, and create trainings and detailed safety plans to manage the risk associated with COVID-19. The Back to Travel group is also informed by the government of Canada, CDC and WHO guidelines as well as the guidance of the team at The George Washington Department of Emergency Medicine, who staff our Doctors on Call program. We are also closely monitoring the evolving standards of the travel industry and will continue to update our plans as new information on COVID-19 comes to light.

Adaptations for Safety

Things continue to change, so some of the protocols detailed below may change too. They will likely differ slightly from group to group, and city to city, because we are committed to getting it right.

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Hygiene

We'll provide you with disposable masks to help you meet requirements for face coverings at sites we will visit or activities we do. We'll take breaks for frequent hand washing and provide hand sanitizer too.

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Safety Briefing

Our staff will brief you when you first arrive (or sometimes even before!) on new safety protocols, created in consultation with our Medical Director Dr. Neal Sikka.

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At the Hotel

Our hotel partners are deep cleaning and modifying everything from check-in to the way you use the elevator. We're also offering affordable rooming upgrades for participants who request different room occupancy.

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Adjusted Itineraries

We're in-the-know with all the museums, performance venues, companies and other sites we visit. We will adjust your schedule to maximize your experiences each day to account for new rules for capacity management, social distancing, masks, and more.

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On the Motorcoach

Our bus partners have new cleaning protocols and are establishing new guidelines, like loading and unloading procedures, to help keep drivers and participants safe.

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Meals

When we're selecting restaurants, we will use our local knowledge and strong relationships to choose spots following strict local guidelines and hygiene practices. We will work with restaurants to modify meal plans too, such as providing boxed lunches when possible.

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Our promise to you.

If a member of your group is diagnosed with COVID-19 while on an educational travel program with us, we will be there every step of the way, from helping to secure the necessary care to covering the costs associated with medically-required quarantine.

We need your help too.

We will ask all participants to commit to care for your fellow participants by acknowledging any symptoms you may be experiencing prior to travel. If you are sick, stay home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Contact Numbers

Please call these numbers only in regard to an emergency on a program that is currently travelling (available 24/7).

Within Canada

1-888-378-8845   ext. 194

Outside of Canada

1-617-210-6194

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© 2020 WorldStrides Canada, Inc.