Health and Safety Updates from Oxbridge

For more than 35 years, Oxbridge Academic Programs has provided comprehensive support to students and their families as they prepare for and participate in academic programs on leading college campuses in some of the world’s great cultural centers. Our program participants’ health and safety are at the core of everything we do—as such, we made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 programs. If you were signed up for a program scheduled in June, July, or August 2020 and have additional questions, please contact us by email (admissions@oxbridgeprograms.com) or phone (1-212-932-3049).

Oxbridge is supported by WorldStrides, a global educational travel organization with more than 50 years of experience. Along with our WorldStrides teammates, we continue to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) with the support of our medical and risk management partners. While many things remain uncertain, we have worked with our many partners to update our procedures and execute safe and enriching programs in 2021.

Our New Normal: A Team Approach

At the beginning of the pandemic, WorldStrides assembled a cross-functional team we call our Back-to-Travel Task Force. Its focus is on planning for 2021 and identifying how to safely organize and run our programs under new circumstances.

The Back-to-Travel Task Force leverages decades of experience across our company to assess the safety of our host cities/campuses; monitor site, border, and campus openings/closings; meet new protocols and regulations from our partners; and create additional training and detailed safety plans to manage the risk associated with COVID-19. This group is informed by the CDC and WHO guidelines as well as the guidance of The George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine team, who staff our Doctors on Call program. We are also closely monitoring the evolving approaches of different educational communities, as well as the travel industry, and will continue to update our plans as new information on COVID-19 comes to light.

What to Expect

While pieces of how exactly we will host programs continue to evolve, when you join us, you can expect the same incredible faculty, experiential learning, and most of the extracurricular activities for which Oxbridge is famed. You can also expect the full support of our global team. Circumstances are constantly changing, so some of the protocols detailed below may change, too. They will also likely differ slightly from program to program and city to city. Here are some of the new policies and procedures we’ve implemented to promote participant safety:

  • The Pod Model Structure: This structure groups students who regularly interact closely with one another together for various events in the program schedule, in efforts to limit unnecessary potential exposure. It will not prevent students from socializing with those outside their pod, as long as social distancing is maintained.
  • Advisory Letter: All participants are required to sign a COVID-19 Advisory Letter, which emphasizes the importance of all participants being aware of the symptoms related to COVID-19, taking responsibility for monitoring their health, and reporting any symptoms before or during the program.
  • COVID-19 PCR Testing: To take part in an Oxbridge program, all participants must take and upload a PCR test within approximately two to three days of the program start date. Timing may vary based on your host country’s testing requirements. Specifics regarding country-specific immigration requirements will be communicated to all program participants before travel.
  • Pre-Session Health Screening: Students will be asked a series of symptom-check questions daily for two days before the program start date. We ask that if you are not feeling well, you plan to delay your trip to the program and contact our Admissions team to discuss your options.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Students should bring a personal supply of masks and hand sanitizer with them when traveling to the program. On Arrival Day, students will be given an Oxbridge Academic Programs by WorldStrides Safety Kit, which will include additional PPE materials, such as face masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Staff Protocols and Training: All program staff will receive COVID-specific training related to any new protocols, which include updated safety briefings for students, staff, and faculty; breaks for frequent sanitizing; adjustments to the day-to-day program logistics to ensure continued safety; and detailed protocols in the event of sickness. Residential staff are additionally required to sign and upload the COVID-19 Advisory Letter, undergo PCR testing, and wear PPE. New for 2021, each program will additionally have health personnel residing at the host institution to support participants throughout the program.
  • Adjusted Schedules: We're in close contact with the campuses and other sites we visit and will adjust the schedule to maximize your experiences each day and account for new rules on capacity management, social distancing, masks, and more.
  • Partners: We are reviewing the steps our partner universities and campuses are taking to ensure they maintain the highest cleaning protocols and, together with them, are establishing updated guidelines to help keep participants safe.
 

Our Promise to You

As in the past, we are committed to providing the highest level of care and support for our program participants. We will continue to be there every step of the way, on everything from packing guidance to medical concerns. We will also remain in constant communication with any affected student’s family should a medical situation arise during the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am enrolled for 2021. Where can I find more specifics about health and safety protocols related to my specific program?
Program-specific details for enrolled students are available on your myoxbridgeepxerience.com page. We will continue to provide email updates to all participants with any important information or changes.

How are you making decisions about when and where to support programs?
Our team, in coordination with the WorldStrides Health and Safety Team, has been actively monitoring the impact that COVID-19 is having on the communities in which we operate programs; the CDC’s guidance for travel, events, and schools; and our partner campuses’ reopening plans. This includes continuous communication with our many partners about changes and closures that may impact our ability to deliver enriching programs. Location-specific guidance from university and health officials, paired with more general guidance related to events and travel, is helping us define guidelines we can follow to help make our programs as safe as possible.

Will I need to wear a mask?
Yes. Unless otherwise advised, masks will be required. Participants will need to follow any campus, local, state, and/or national guidelines as well as any site-specific requirements for face coverings, including on the airplane and inside any cultural site or venue.


Will I have my temperature checked?
Yes. Based on the timing/location of your program, program staff will facilitate temperature checks each morning to ensure all participants are feeling well. There may also be temperature checks at the airport and at certain sites before entry.

What happens if a participant has COVID-19 symptoms during the program?
We have established the following procedures for responding to students experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19:

  • Quarantine the Student
    The student will be separated from roommate(s)/others as soon as possible and placed in quarantine in a separate, dedicated space. This may be within the same housing or a predetermined, isolated location.
  • Contact the Family
    The student’s family will be immediately notified of the situation.
  • Contact a Medical Professional
    The program team will contact either a local practitioner/nurse or our Doctors on Call team for guidance and instructions on the appropriate next steps.
  • Conduct Contact Tracing
    Based on roommate, classroom, and small pod assignments, staff will identify anyone who may have been in direct contact with the student. Follow-up will occur with each group to assess if additional individuals may also be experiencing symptoms.
  • Testing
    If required, a staff member will escort the student to a medical facility for additional health assessments and COVID-19 testing. The student will remain in quarantine while awaiting test results and will be restricted to their assigned quarantine room. Meals and any other requested accommodations will be brought to the student’s sleeping room throughout the quarantine period.

Additionally, established post-testing procedures will guide our staff in the case of either a positive or negative test result. Additional details for enrolled students are available on your myoxbridgeepxerience.com page.

What will happen if Oxbridge chooses to cancel a summer program due to COVID-19?

In light of the continuing concern about travel, Oxbridge is happy to reassure applicants that the Cancellation Policy will be modified in the event of programs being canceled due to COVID-19.

Should an Oxbridge program be canceled because of COVID-19, or travel restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19, accepted participants will be entitled to either (i) switch to another Oxbridge program, (ii) roll their application over to 2022 at 2021 prices, or (iii) receive a full refund minus the $500 deposit. The $500 deposit will become a credit for future travel with Oxbridge or another WorldStrides program. This credit may also be used towards an Oxbridge Online Academy course.