Our COVID-19 Response

Carpe Diem has continued to navigate and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. We are proud that we have been able to continue offering meaningful in-person programming for our students. 

We are taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our students, staff, host organizations and host communities. This includes but is not limited to: pre-departure PCR COVID testing, a COVID-19 agreement that all of our students and staff sign, sign, and consultation with our on-call medical professional (a MD who manages a COVID unit in California). Additionally, students are tested for COVID-19 on day 5 of orientation and practice social distancing and mask wearing until the entire group receives negative results.

This past fall we ran a semester program in the US Borderlands and during the Spring 2021 semester, we are running three programs: one in Costa Rica and two in Hawaii on the island of Maui. You can read more about the student experience on both of these programs on the Carpe Diem blog here!

We are currently accepting applications for our Summer 2021 programs in Costa Rica and Hawaii and all of our Fall 2021 semesters and Latitudes Year. Read more about these programs here

Throughout the pandemic, Carpe Diem Education has remained committed to providing our students and families with program options that are realistic, thoughtful, well coordinated, and reflective of our high standards for experiential learning, community engagement, and student well-being. We will only run programs that we know will meet these standards, and we appreciate the trust and support of our students and families!

"We would like to commend the Carpe Diem staff for an amazing job done to get our daughter and all of the other students home as the world changed moment by moment. We looked for a long time to find a gap year program we felt really good about. We have no regrets about our choice. Our daughter was thriving in Guatemala and loving every minute of it. We will spread the word."

- Parents of a Spring 2020 student

Refund Policy for Summer 2021

We know that many students and families are looking for engaging, educational options for this coming summer and we look forward to working with you! In an effort to support families in the process of determining Summer 2021 plans, we have modified our refund policy so that you have less stress in regard to timelines and financial commitments. 

Students who are enrolled in a Summer 2021 Carpe Diem program have until May 7th, 2021 to cancel their enrollment for any reason and receive a full refund (minus the application fee).

In the event that Carpe Diem should choose to cancel any Summer 2021 programs after May 7th and before the program start date, we will provide all students with a full refund minus the application fee. 

Please contact us directly if you have any questions about this policy and how it impacts your enrollment.

Plans for Fall 2021 Itineraries

Carpe Diem is currently accepting applications for our Fall 2021 Semesters & Latitudes Year programs. 

We are cautiously optimistic about our ability to offer many of our 3-month semester programs for Fall 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we may need to make adjustments in order to mitigate continued travel risks. Our goal is to be transparent with students and families as we consider options for the fall. Possible adjustments include, but are not limited to:

  • Adopting single-country itineraries: this may be done to avoid increased chances of mandatory quarantines at international borders, reduce possible transmission in regions of the world where there is currently less access to treatment or vaccination, simplify logistics in case of COVID-related evacuation, in response to a border closure, etc.
  • Moving departure dates back: this may be done to allow more time for risk assessments, in response to a delayed border opening, in case of active distribution of a vaccine (allowing time for students to receive vaccine), flight schedules/restrictions, etc. 
  • Reducing time in the field: we may choose to offer shorter programs (2 months) if we cannot travel to all countries on an itinerary, are unable to work with some of our in-country partners, feel this timeline best meets the needs of stakeholders (students, families, local partners, HQ staff), etc.

Fall 2021 Refund Policy

All Fall 2021 students have until August 1st to cancel their enrollment for any reason and receive a full deposit refund (minus the application fee), transfer their enrollment to a different region, or move to a future semester. We will communicate with all enrolled students and parents as soon as any changes or decisions have been made that impact our programming. We will be in touch on or before July 14th to share our final decisions for our international programs. If you have any questions before then, please reach out to us directly anytime.

More details about our Fall 2021 refund policy are below:

  1. All deposits made after August 1st, 2021 are non-refundable. If a student/family cancels after this date, Carpe Diem will retain the $2,000 deposit, which will be applied to our financial commitments to local partners, staff, and administrative costs. Application fees are non-refundable.
  2. In the unlikely event that Carpe Diem determines that we are unable to offer any programming this Fall, we will provide all students with a full refund of any deposit/tuition paid minus $500.00, which will be applied to our financial commitments to local partners, staff, and administrative costs. Application fees are non-refundable
          • In the event that Carpe Diem cancels a program, students will also be offered the opportunity to transfer all payments to a future Carpe Diem semester.

We recognize that taking a gap year is a significant investment of time and money and we want to do as much as possible to support you in joining us. Please contact us directly if you have any questions about payments or refunds.

Fall 2021 Contingency Plans & Closures

We are committed to supporting our Fall 2021 students and their families and have developed a four-tiered approach to our Fall programming options which we have outlined below.

Plan A:

We will run our 3 month international and 8-week domestic programs as planned. 

We anticipate that many, but not all, countries will have opened their borders for international travel by September 2021. Still, there is a possibility that we will need to reduce the number of programs we are offering. If you are enrolled in a program that is canceled, we will work with you to choose one of the 3 options:

  • transfer enrollment to another program of your choice
  • transfer enrollment to a future semester
  • cancel your enrollment and issue a full refund (minus the application fee).

Carpe Diem HQ staff will be in touch with all enrolled students and parents on or before July 14th to share our final decision for our international programs. If you have any questions before then, please reach out to us directly anytime. 

Plan B:

In the event that we are not able to offer our 3-month multi-country programs this fall, we are prepared to modify our program itineraries to be limited to one country and to adjust program activities to accommodate for COVID-19 restrictions and best practices. Benefits of an itinerary change like this include reducing the number of border crossings and risk of quarantine, simplified flight patterns to allow for faster evacuation (if needed) and limiting the potential for exposure for our students and host communities. 

If we determine that we are able to offer any of our international programs in this modified way, we will let students and parents know as soon as possible. If students are not interested in the options available, we guarantee a space on one of our domestic programs, transfer their enrollment to a future semester OR provide full refunds (minus the application fee). 

Plan C: 

If we determine we are not able to offer the majority of our international programming, we anticipate that we will be able to run the Semester in the Borderlands program, which is based in Arizona, the Hawaii program, and our single-country Costa Rica program. We have the capacity for two groups of up to 12 students each for these programs. 

We will work with all students who are enrolled in our international semester programs to offer them a space on one of our domestic programs (pending availability), transfer their enrollment to a future semester OR provide full refunds (minus the application fee). 

Plan D:

In the event that domestic and international travel is not possible during the fall semester, Carpe Diem will provide all students with the opportunity to transfer their enrollment to a future program or cancel their enrollment and receive a full refund (minus the application fee). 

Students/families will be notified immediately if any of these changes are made.

Latitudes Year Program

Carpe Diem Education will continue to offer our Latitudes Year program for Fall 2021/Spring 2022

The Latitudes Year program combines a group travel semester and an individual volunteer placement and allows for the best of both worlds: a semester spent with like-minded students traveling, learning, and growing together followed by a more self-directed, independent semester. Locations of volunteer placements may vary depending on international travel considerations.

Considerations for International Programs

Many factors were considered when determining our decisions for Spring 2021 international programs, and these will continue to inform our decisions as we plan for Summer and Fall 2021. We are consulting numerous sources in our decision-making process, such as the CDC, WHO, Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC), the U.S. State Department, our internal risk management team, fellow industry professionals, and the trusted advice of global health experts. We are in active communication with regional and local partners in determining the viability of hosting student groups in an ethical and responsible way. The health and well-being of students, local partners, Carpe Diem staff, and larger host communities will be a primary concern in our ongoing evaluations. Our decisions for offering international programs will be based on:

  • Travel Advisories and status of international borders: The State Department continues to recommend increased caution when traveling abroad and we will continue to monitor country specific conditions and the status of international borders as we evaluate our ability to offer our Summer and Fall 2021 programs.
  • National/regional pandemic status: we will be assessing the status of the pandemic specific to the countries/regions that our programs visit. Specific considerations include:
    • Current COVID-19 numbers in the region.
    • Quarantine requirements, Entry and exit requirements, availability of COVID testing.
    • Social distancing, mask, curfew, restricted movement, etc.
      • Carpe Diem Education programs are immersive experiences that involve a high level of in-person interaction and engagement. In the case that the pandemic is still present to the extent that strict social distancing policies are in place, or freedom of movement is restricted, we will reconsider running programs in that region.
    • Status of medical infrastructure: if local medical facilities and personnel are stressed/overburdened, they may not have the resources or ability to respond to a medical emergency. Traveling in such a region would be irresponsible both to locals as well as to our students and staff.
  • Partner community needs: There may be cases in which international borders are open, though local communities are not comfortable hosting travelers/groups. In these cases, we trust that local people know what is best for their community and will not travel to those communities.
  • Comprehensive Risk Management: all of the above factors are part of a larger, ongoing risk management assessment. There are many other factors that Carpe Diem Education will be considering, and the situation will remain fluid for the foreseeable future.
    • In order to best support our staff, students, and local partners, we have developed a COVID-19 Agreement for all students and staff to review and sign prior to the program start. View the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Agreement here. Please note that this agreement will be updated and may change for Summer and Fall students. 

As mentioned, these considerations have led us to change our Spring 2021 programs to reflect best practices in responsible travel. We will continue to apply this lens to our decisions for Summer and Fall 2021 programs. We are optimistic that with increasing distribution of the vaccine, improved medical therapies and testing accuracy, and people acting in accordance with socially responsible COVID-19 practices, Carpe Diem Education will be able to resume full operations soon!

"I recommend that every student who has even the slightest inclination to take a gap year to do it and do it with Carpe. Parents can feel confident about the Carpe leaders and staff -- they are experienced and professional. For my student, the experience was educational, personally transformational, and of course, loads of fun."

- Parent of a Fall 2019 Latitudes Year Student

FAQs

How has Carpe Diem been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic?

READ MORE

We are actively monitoring reports from the CDC, the WHO, the US Department of State, the  Overseas Advisory Council, and our program partners on the ground in the regions where we work. We are also encouraging all students and parents to do their own research and obtain information from reliable sources such as the CDC and the WHO.

The US Department of State has removed their Global Health Advisory and has updated travel advisories for most countries to Level 3: Reconsider Travel. 

We acknowledge this Level 3 advisory and agree that it is not safe or socially responsible to travel to many places right now. We also acknowledge that this situation is ever-changing and we are hopeful that over the next several months the world will have a much better grasp on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are optimistic that communities will have access to the vaccine, increased access to rapid and accurate testing, inexpensive and effective medical treatment and other means of mitigating the risks of transmitting the virus. 

No one knows when the outbreak will begin to slow but we are cautiously optimistic that new developments in COVID-19 management will allow for an increase in our international programming this coming fall. Over the next few months, the Carpe Diem HQ team will continue keeping a close eye on the sources mentioned above and will continue to proactively communicate with all of our enrolled students and parents.

What happens if I sign up for a Summer or Fall 2021 program now and I decide later that I’m not comfortable traveling, or the program is canceled?

READ MORE

We know that many students and families are looking for engaging, educational alternatives to virtual/online learning, and we look forward to working with you! In an effort to support families in the process of determining Summer & Fall 2021 plans we have modified our refund policy so that you have less stress in regard to timelines and financial commitments. 

Summer 2021

Students who are enrolled in a Summer 2021 Carpe Diem program have until May 7th, 2021 cancel their enrollment for any reason and receive a full refund (minus the application fee).

In the event that Carpe Diem should choose to cancel any Spring 2021 programs after May 1st and before the program start date, we will provide all students with a full refund minus the application fee. 

Please contact us directly if you have any questions about this policy and how it impacts your enrollment.

Fall 2021 

  1. All deposits made after August 1st, 2021 are non-refundable. If a student/family cancels after this date, Carpe Diem will retain the $2,000 deposit, which will be applied to our financial commitments to local partners, staff, and administrative costs. Application fees are non-refundable.
  2. In the unlikely event that Carpe Diem determines that we are unable to offer any programming this Fall, we will provide all students with a full refund of any deposit/tuition paid minus $500.00, which will be applied to our financial commitments to local partners, staff, and administrative costs. Application fees are non-refundable.
          • In the event that Carpe Diem cancels a program, students will also be offered the opportunity to transfer all payments to a future Carpe Diem semester.

We recognize that taking a gap year is a significant investment of time and money and we want to do as much as possible to support you in joining us. Please contact us directly if you have any questions about payments or refunds.

What happens if I sign up for a Summer 2021 or Fall 2021 program and I change my mind?

READ MORE

All Summer 2021 students have until May 7th, 2021 to cancel their enrollment for any reason and receive a full refund (minus the application fee). There is no risk to you to enroll in a program now and cancel before May 7th, 2021.

All Fall 2021 students have until August 1st to cancel their enrollment for any reason and receive a full refund (minus the application fee). There is no risk to you to enroll in a Fall 2021 program now and cancel before August 1st, 2021.

Where can I find more information about Carpe Diem’s response to COVID-19?

READ MORE

Our team is always happy to connect with you to discuss any of your questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 and the impact on our programming. Please call our office (503-285-1800) or send us an email (info@carpediemeducation.org) anytime and we will respond as soon as possible.