May 23, 2021 (see below for modifications)
Historical Log of Modifications
May 23rd – Added HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR PRE-TRIP RESPONSIBILITIES & GAIN PERMISSION TO TRAVEL TO THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS video COVID-19 Protocols Page.
May 23rd – Modified Student Pre-Trip Packet (avaiable in Participant Portal for download) to include current procedures for USVI and BVI arrivial.
May 18th – Updated the Vaccination Section to explain the modification that the BVI has made now that they recognize “Vaccination Status” as an important factor. Students who are 18 and older must be partially vaccinated (at minimum) before the program start date, or quarantine ashore in advance of the trip.
May 18th – Clarified that the BVI RT-PCR must be taken within 5 days of ARRIVAL in the BVI, rather than five days before departure to the BVI. This is especially important for those traveling from greater distances.
May 18th – Updated BVI Travel Ban Information.
May 18th – Recognized how an invidiual’s vaccination status will determine the appropriateness of activities with our Ten-Day Pre-Program Precuationary Period.
May 18th – Modified the 36hr COVID-19 test requirement to apply to “Unvaccinated” and “Partially Vaccinated” students only. “Fully Vaccinated” student no longer need to take this final test.
April 15th – Included vaccination recommendations.
April 8th – Included information on country specific travel bans & restrictions.
April 6th – Comprehensive update of all protocols.
What follows is a comprehensive overview of the risk mitigation protocols and procedures we plan to use for our British Virgin Islands programs this summer.
These plans adhere to the guidelines set by the British Virgin Islands Government, in addition to the technical protocols of the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and those which we have been successfully using over the past year for our college-level Seamester programs. We developed our protocols around the following over-arching strategies:
- Reduce the possibility of an infected person joining the program.
- Combine on-program testing with a short “QuaranTeam” period.
- Once clear, limit opportunities for a student or staff member to become infected for the duration of the program.
While these primary strategies will remain constant, the methods we employ to achieve them may change over time, with increased availability of vaccination, new scientific data, and directives/requirements from airlines or governmental agencies.
How to Navigate Your Pre-Trip Responsibilities & Gain Permission to Travel to the British Virgin Islands
All parents and students should watch this video at least 2 weeks prior to the program’s start date in the BVI. The purpose is to provide an overview of all of the resources that we have created to help you successfully navigate all of the Pre-trip COVID-related forms and logistics.
COVID-19 Related Travel Bans – May 15th, 2021
Anyone who believes that they fall into a category that would result in being refused exit from their home country or entry to the BVI is urged to research their individual situation by contacting the closest BVI Embassy or speak directly to a representative from the BVI Tourist Board (email@example.com or +1.284.852.6020)
BVI Travel Bans:
Currently, individuals who have been in, or transited through, any of the following countries within 14 full days of travel are not permitted entry to the British Virgin Islands.
We have no definitive timeframe on when these travel bans will be reviewed. These bans apply to all individuals unless you are a belonger, resident, work permit holder, a person permitted to reside in the Territory, diplomat, or person employed by Government or Statutory agency.
Home Country Travel Bans & Transit Travel Restrictions:
All participants should be aware of and adhere to travel restrictions, regulations, or bans legislated by their home country’s government and/or by the countries within which they are transiting (USA/Antigua/St. Martin, etc.)
Answering the difficult questions of “What if”
Naturally, students and parents want to know how we would respond to a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19 on our program. Given that most of our programs are mobile, and run aboard sailing vessels this isn’t an easy question to answer without examining the full range of possible variables. Specifically:
- Is the individual showing symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, or is there a positive diagnosis?
- When is the suspected or diagnosed case occurring? Pre-trip, during the onboarding, during, or after the QuaranTeam period?
- How ill is the individual? As we know, many people have limited symptoms or none at all. Others are affected more significantly, with some requiring medical care and hospitalization.
- What’s our geographical location, and, as a result, what medical or emergency response resources are available to us? Ordinarily, sailing nearshore will provide more support than when we are further afield, yet some locations have better medical facilities than others. An additional consideration is the required health protocols of the country in which we are located.
Irrespective of the above factors, our response strategy would include:
- Isolation and quarantine to the extent possible. This is difficult aboard the vessel, so we would likely relocate the individual to shoreside accommodation if possible. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and/or vessel schedule, it’s possible that we would require a parent/guardian to travel to the shoreside location to assist with their student during their recovery.
- Close discussion with MedAire (our risk management partner) in addition to local health departments of the country in which we are located to ensure that we are following established protocols
- Testing to establish a firm diagnosis. For health and safety reasons, a positive diagnosis of any individual would require dismissal from the vessel until the individual is infection-free. A known, positive diagnosis would result in widespread testing and an additional QuaranTeam period for the rest of the crew.
- Careful monitoring of the health of the rest of the cohort. The crew may be required to disembark the vessel or move to separate accommodations to conduct a deep cleaning.
Our story of successful operation throughout the COVID era
Like the rest of the international education community, our programs were affected by the global events that unfolded in March 2020.
It was a long few months, with information evolving every day about the global spread of the Novel Coronavirus. We watched as governments intensified their mitigation mandates by restricting international travel, closing schools, and limiting in-person social interactions. We were in constant communication with our enrolled 2020 families throughout the spring, listening to their concerns while giving updates on our plans. We stayed patient for as long as we could but ultimately made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone what would have been our 35th ActionQuest summer in the British Virgin Islands. We couldn’t have been more in awe of the support and understanding our families displayed during this challenging period. Over sixty percent of our families selected to roll their program to 2021, reinforcing their commitment to giving their child the life-changing experience ActionQuest historically delivers.
“We've always considered the ActionQuest experience to be more about the journey rather than the destination, so we believe that our ability to provide life-changing experiences during this challenging time is a result of the inherent flexibility and self-sufficiency that living, traveling, and learning aboard sailing vessels provide. ”