Q: What is COVID-19? +A:
COVID-19 is the name of a disease caused by a new (“novel”) coronavirus. Infections first began in China in late 2019 and have since spread to many countries around the world. Symptoms reported have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing (full information on COVID-19 Symptoms). You may find additional background at the CDC website.
Q: What actions has Winterline Global Education taken to protect the health of its students and staff? +A:
The Winterline Global Education Crisis Team along with the Crisis Team of our parent company, Impact Global Education (IGE), have been and will continue to closely monitor this rapidly evolving public health situation to ensure that appropriate plans are in place to protect the health of our community. We are following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to ensure our response protocols remain aligned with the most current health care community recommendations. The IGE Risk Management Team, the IGE Medical Director, (Dr. Ivor Garlick), the Crisis Response Teams for IGE, and WorldAware, our security assistance provider, are all working together to ensure that we are following WHO and CDC recommendations and guidelines on all matters related to the response to this outbreak to help us make the best decisions based on the latest information for our students and staff.
Q: How did this impact the 2019-20 Winterline Global Skills Program (GSP) Itinerary? +A:
In March, after significant discussion and reflection by our risk, programming, operations, and management teams, we made the difficult decision to remove Winterline programming from Europe. Our decision was in line with industry recommendations and, we believe, was in the best interest of the students and staff on our programs. The trajectory of the number of COVID-19 cases has increased dramatically around the globe. Based on concerns over potential future quarantines and travel restrictions, our teams made an early decision to return our students to their home countries. We were at the forefront of making the very difficult decision to remove them, which fortunately allowed us to be ahead of the expanding and challenging travel restrictions.
Q: Is Winterline Global Education offering any Fall 2020 programs? +A:
Winterline will not be offering any Fall 2020 gap programs. We have made the very difficult decision to indefinitely suspend programs until travel restrictions for our host countries have been lifted.
Winterline was one of the very earliest providers to evacuate our entire student population at the onset of COVID-19 earlier this year. Like then, the wellness and safety of our students and staff continue to be our top priority.
In addition to the health risks posed by COVID-19, the restrictions on entry into the majority of our planned destinations make the feasibility of planning meaningful travel in line with our high standards nearly impossible.
Over the next 6-12 months, we will continue to closely monitor global travel restrictions and safety considerations. In order to run our travel programs, we would need to feel confident that the healthcare systems in our host countries have the ability and capacity to meet our usual high-level risk management standards, as well as the even more rigorous standards associated with COVID-19.
Q: Who can we talk to if we have questions? Or is there a website you recommend where we can follow news about COVID-19? +
Q: Have you had any confirmed cases on any of your programs? +A:
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on any of the IGE programs spread around the world.