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Important Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 14 @ 12:30 EST (Updated on June 30 @ 14:38 EST)

There is now a Global Travel Advisory in effect. The Canadian government advises its citizens to avoid non-essential travel abroad while the US government recommends that its citizens do not travel until further notice.

For more information regarding Canada’s travel advisory click here.

For more information regarding the US travel advisory click here.

At Operation Groundswell, the health and safety of our participants, personnel, and partners is our top priority. In this regard, we are continuing to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation including border closures and travel restrictions, at the global level as well at the local level in all of our program regions. Our experienced team of specialists is tracking official updates and following travel advice issued by the World Health Organization, as well as government authorities in Canada and the US. Given the ever changing nature of the situation surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19)‚ we will continue to work closely with our local partners as well as regional and state authorities to ensure the health and safety of our community while keeping participants informed of any major changes to the travel advisories, to OG’s risk assessments and, ultimately, to our programs. 

Check out the FAQ below to learn more about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak might affect your program and what OG is doing to protect our communities.

Q: Is OG suspending programs due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Yes. recognizing that we as a community need to do our part and help reduce the risk of further spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19), OG is extending the suspension of its programming to include ALL programs scheduled to start between March 16 – September 1, 2020 (effective June 30, 2020). Programs scheduled to start on or after September 1, 2020, are still scheduled to run albeit with additional control measures in place. To learn more about these measures, see Q: What is OG doing to support programs on the ground? below.

Q: What is OG doing to support programs on the ground?

In addition to OG’s existing risk management policies and procedures, programs will be implementing the following control measures to further minimize the threat posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Participants will have access to hand washing stations before and after every meal. 
  • Participants will be provided with alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day and whenever water-based washing is not available.
  • Food and drink will be provided by well-trained cooks and local vendors who have been vetted by OG and briefed on the health needs of our programs. 
  • OG’s team of experienced and highly trained Program Leaders have been briefed on the coronavirus and will monitor the health of their participants as well as remain vigilant to circumstantial changes on the ground.
  • OGHQ will work closely with local and international government and health authorities, provide updates to Program Leaders and participants as required, and, if necessary, make changes to program itineraries, including the cancellation of activities.

Q: What if I’m signed up for an OG program scheduled to begin on or after June 1 but want to postpone or cancel? 

For those who want to dropout and postpone or cancel their participation on an OG program that is still scheduled to run, OG’s standard Payment Terms & Conditions apply. That means that the Program Fee Deposit is non-refundable. The remainder of the total program price (minus the deposit) is fully refundable up to 90 days prior to the program start date, and 50% refundable up to 60 days prior to the program start date. At 60 days prior to the program start date the total program price becomes non-refundable.

That said, we recognize that there is a lot of uncertainty out there. So, to help provide a little peace of mind, OG will make every effort to determine the viability of your program more than 60 days ahead of its scheduled start date. OG will also hold any non-refundable payments you’ve already made in trust as a travel credit which you can use towards any OG program you like for a period of up to 2 years after your original program was scheduled to start.

**IMPORTANT** Although OG does not require participants to purchase flight or trip cancellation insurance, we strongly recommend it. If you decide to get insurance, please read your potential policy in full before you buy it! Flight and/or trip cancellation insurance may be able to help you avoid losses if events beyond our control result in the suspension of your program.

Q: What if my OG program is suspended due to the coronavirus? 

Operation Groundswell cannot assume responsibility for events beyond its control and OG will only issue refunds for payments according to our standard Payment Terms & Conditions. That means that the Program Fee Deposit is non-refundable. The remainder of the total program price (minus the deposit) is fully refundable up to 90 days prior to the program start date, and 50% refundable up to 60 days prior to the program start date. At 60 days prior to the program start date the total program price becomes non-refundable.

To help ensure that your investment will be safe, even if your program is suspended, OG will is providing the following exception:

If OG suspends a program due to risks and/or travel restrictions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), OG will provide ALL affected participants with a travel credit valued at 115% of any payments made prior to the program’s suspension. This travel credit can be used towards any OG program for a period of up to 2 years after their original program was scheduled to start. Due to the evolving nature of the situation, participants will be informed by OGHQ as soon as possible once the decision is made to suspend the program.

Q:  What if my OG program is cancelled due to low enrolment? 

If Operation Groundswell cancels a program due to low enrolment numbers, we will be happy to relocate participants to another program and provide a $250 CAD ($200 USD) travel credit to each participant that relocates. If you would rather cancel than relocate, OG will refund the full program fee, including the deposit. Operation Groundswell is not responsible for any other costs incurred in preparation for the program such as: flight, travel insurance, immunizations or any other associated costs. 

**REMEMBER** Flight and/or trip cancellation insurance may be able to help you avoid losses if an unexpected situation compels us to cancel your program. 

Q: I still want to travel; what should I do?

The situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is extremely unpredictable; Many regions are recommending social distancing and self-isolation; Rules and regulations around travel and entry requirements are changing rapidly. To protect the health and safety of ourselves and our communities, Operation Groundswell strongly recommends against non-essential travel at this time. 

Q: How can I talk to some at Operation Groundswell?

Call us at 1-888-422-0164 between 10am-6pm EST, Monday to Friday. We can always be reached by email at [email protected]. In case of emergency while you’re on program, call OG’s main line at 1-888-422-0164 and follow the prompt.