DREAM VOLUNTEERS COVID-19 UPDATE
April 15, 2020
We are saddened to report that, based on the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on travel and public health and in an effort to protect all of our community members, Dream Volunteers and its Board of Directors have determined that service trips will not be possible this summer. The health and safety of our children, and that of the members of the communities we serve abroad, is our top priority. The nature of the service travel program we run, bringing people together to serve as collaborative teams, simply isn’t possible given the current conditions.
Reasons we are required to cancel the trips:
- The US State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory banning non-diplomatic international travel at this time with no certainty as to when that ban might be lifted.
- None of the five countries where we have trips planned are currently allowing inbound international flights or have said exactly when these travel restrictions will be lifted. In order to book group flights, we need to make the reservations 6-8 weeks in advance.
- Social distancing is simply not possible on airplanes, in our housing facilities, or in our dining areas.
- In all five of the countries where we have trips planned, schools are currently closed through April 30, at the earliest. In each country, their re-open dates have been pushed back multiple times, and there is a chance that they will continue to get pushed, just as they have in the US.
- Before the global travel bans were in place, these countries had banned entry to passengers coming from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy because of their high number of cases. The United States now has the most cases of any country in the world.
- Before the global travel bans were in place, these countries were quarantining passengers who entered showing COVID-19 symptoms until a test revealed they were negative. If they tested positive, they were quarantined until they reached a full recovery. The US is doing the same thing.
- With the high number of cases in the US, it would be irresponsible to travel to uninfected areas with the risk of infecting local members of the community.
Summer 2020 Alternatives
As for this summer, in addition to the new online exchange program currently running, we are putting together a plan for alternative local and/or remote programming options. More information to come soon!
Should conditions change …
We know that some of you were hoping to keep the door open on the possibility of late summer trips. Should conditions change dramatically between now and summer, then we will re-evaluate and consider organizing custom trip experiences to either Costa Rica or Guatemala in late July/early August.
This option would only be possible should there be a significant change in the course of this epidemic and the government and public health policies governing our actions. Our number one commitment will always be the health and safety of our entire community, students, families, staff, volunteers, and leaders in the US and around the globe.
And for 2021 …
We are anticipating resuming trips next year once conditions settle. We are also continuing to work on new curriculum and programming enhancements for next year. We know many of you have expressed interest in reserving spots now. For those families wishing to express interest now for 2021, please add your name here.