HOW IS AROUND GOOD PEOPLE RESPONDING TO COVID-19?
We are consulting regularly with our risk management team, regional staff, and a variety of global health experts and organizations including the WHO, CDC, and our partner in managing student health and safety. In addition, AROUND GOOD PEOPLE is in touch with peer organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants and partner communities. We have developed an in-field management and response plan and trained our staff to risk factors, prevention measures, and response protocols in preparation for a time when programming can resume. We are hopeful that once travel restrictions are lifted, and greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will continue to run programs that take into account new COVID-19 considerations.
WILL AROUND GOOD PEOPLE RUN DENTAL VOLUNTEERING PROJECTS IN 2020?
We are optimistic that we can resume international programming once the global situation improves, yet we acknowledge that certain restrictions and social distancing will likely exist for the near and medium term. We anticipate that the coming months will be a very telling time in determining the near-term trajectory of the global response to COVID-19 as social distancing policies and restrictions begin to shift. The reality is that we still need to wait for conditions to improve before reaching any conclusions about planned programs in 2020. We know that our participants, instructors, and in-country partners are eagerly awaiting definitive updates, and we are grateful for your patience and understanding as we collectively hope for the global situation to improve. For more information on likely travel scenarios, review our Fall 2020/Winter 2020-21Programming Outlook page.
HOW WILL AROUND GOOD PEOPLE DECIDE WHICH PROJECT TO RUN?
Over the coming weeks and months, we are actively assessing programming feasibility on three primary fronts, in all of which we need to see significant improvements before running a AROUND GOOD PEOPLE program:
- International Travel Current global and country specific travel restrictions need to be lifted. This includes things like travel advisories, country entry requirements, flight availability, etc.
- Host Country Conditions We cannot offer dental volunteering projects if social distancing and shelter in-place type policies remain in effect in the areas in which we travel. While we could operate with enhanced health & safety precautions, we need to have general freedom of movement & association in order to facilitate an interactive and engaging experience, as well as minimize the risks to host communities and our students. Host country conditions will be assessed on a place-by-place (of different dental village communities) basis.
- Home Country Conditions For AROUND GOOD PEOPLE, and most of our participants, this means Australia/U.K/USA. We cannot responsibly run international programming until conditions at home improve, particularly with regards to international re-entry requirements and freedom of movement domestically.
The above is a simplified summary of some of the key global and regional switches that need to turn from red to green over the coming months in order for us to resume our flagship dental volunteering projects. In each of these areas, we will be giving foremost consideration to the safety of our students and in-country partners, as well as the impacts on the overall quality of the experience. In addition, we may need to consider other program modifications and alternatives to adhere to public health best practices in the places we travel which are in line with the recommendations of CDC & FDI.
Student safety is always our top priority, and we would not hesitate to modify or cancel upcoming programs should it ever appear that student health and well-being could not adequately be ensured, or if travel restrictions inhibited us from delivering a high-quality program experience.
WHAT IS AROUND GOOD PEOPLE REFUND POLICY FOR UPCOMING PROGRAMS?
We have updated our Refund Policies to give you additional flexibility in making plans in these uncertain times. We will continue to proactively update our refund policy to provide you with added flexibility as new information comes to light. Our intention is to minimize financial commitments and risk so that you can stay with us as we wait for the global situation to improve.
SHOULD WE CONSIDER TRAVELING IN THIS NEW REALITY?
AROUND GOOD PEOPLE core mission is to foster face-to-face human connection, which feels more necessary now than ever once public health allows. Currently, global and domestic travel is not advised for public health as well as personal safety reasons, nor is it possible in most cases. As restrictions begin to relax in the future, we want to acknowledge that travel will continue to have inherent risks and the decision whether to travel is a very personal one. In a world increasingly eager to shut itself off from one another we fear that the current outbreak may be another catalyst for increasing divisions and fear of difference. We hope that this trend will lessen as the disease is brought under control and that we can continue to build bridges and greater understanding between cultures even as this emerging public health concern threatens to re-enforce borders and cultural divides. Ultimately, it’s not a question of if this global health crisis will pass, but rather when. And once it does, the need for an immersive and empathetic global experiential learning in community dentistry will be greater than ever.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AROUND GOOD PEOPLE AND COVID-19?
We are here to support you during this difficult and uncertain time. If you would like more information related to COVID-19, some of the best online resources can be found on the websites of the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
For more information about AROUND GOOD PEOPLE and our approach to COVID-19 (or anything else for that matter) please do not hesitate to send us an email. We’re always happy to help in any way we can.
In addition, AROUND GOOD PEOPLE is in touch with peer organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants and partner communities. We have developed an in-field management and response plan and trained our staff to risk factors, prevention measures, and response protocols in preparation for a time when programming can resume. We are hopeful that once travel restrictions are lifted, and greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will continue to run our flagship projects of dental outreach volunteering that take into account new COVID-19 considerations.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY OF CONTACTING AROUND GOOD PEOPLE?
AROUND GOOD PEOPLE’s Volunteer Travel Specialists are available to answer any of your queries related to existing registrations or help with your planning for the future. You can get in touch with us by email firstname.lastname@example.org, direct to your Program Manager by email, or through our online enquiry form.
WILL I BE SAFE IF I CONTINUE WITH MY PLANS TO VOLUNTEER?
From the very start of the outbreak, our local teams implemented procedures across all our programs to ensure early detection of any cases, in accordance with the advice from local and international authorities. There were no reported cases of Covid-19 among any volunteer or staff member on any AROUND GOOD PEOPLE volunteer program before they closed. We will only reopen programs when we believe the local conditions provide a safe environment for our volunteers and we will implement enhanced procedures for monitoring the health of our volunteers and isolating, caring for, and reporting any cases, should they arise, will remain in place.
CAN I CHANGE MY TRAVELS PLAN FREE OF CHARGE?
We’re offering greater flexibility for changes to travel dates during this period of uncertainty. We are allowing all volunteers with program start dates prior to December 01, 2020 to change their volunteer project or start date free of charge. When you are ready to register, we offer options that provide a refund should you need to cancel your trip closer to your departure date.
CAN I GET A REFUND?
We have two components of the placement fees, viz. i) Registration fee – which is non-refundable and ii) Project Fee – always provided refunds to any volunteer who is eligible for a refund under AROUND GOOD PEOPLE’s terms and conditions, and this has not changed since the current pandemic began. In addition, although program fees are not normally refundable, we are refunding these payments subject to an admin fee to cover some of the costs already incurred by AROUND GOOD PEOPLE and our local host community/partner hospital teams.