Celebrating 50 Years of Showing Student and Youth Groups the World | (800) 323-6439

 

 

OUR CURRENT OFFICE HOURS ARE MONDAY-THURSDAY 7:30AM - 2:30PM CST.   (WE ARE CLOSED ON FRIDAYS).  WE CAN BE REACHED AT 1-800-323-6439 OR INFO@HEMISPHERETRAVEL.COM.

Hemisphere Educational Travel continues to closely monitor the evolving situation with respect to COVID-19. For those traveling domestically or internationally, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the WHO, CDC and the US State Department on gatherings.  We will remain in contact with our Group Leaders and communicate with them the need to change an itinerary or reschedule a tour should your tour area receive a travel advisory or ban. The safety and security of our student and adult travelers is our top priority we will continue to follow the guidance of the WHO, CDC and US State Department as it relates to travel.

Some sites/attractions on your itinerary may require proof of vaccination currently or in the future. Please note that if you are not vaccinated, you may not be able to participate in the entire itinerary.

It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with your municipal and school district policies regarding travel and any quarantine/testing requirements before registering for a tour.

In preparation for your tour:

  • Arrange meeting with your students and parents to address questions and inform them of your school’s policies and protocols above and beyond Hemisphere’s.
  • Each participant should be prepared to bring multiple masks (in case of losing them), hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per person in carry-on bags until further notice.
  • Bring a copy of your proof of vaccination as it may be required to visit some of your sites, attractions and meals.  If you are not vaccinated, you may not be able to participate in a portion of your itinerary (sites/indoor dining/live theatre/attractions).
  • Reduce your risk prior to departure. We recommend that everyone quarantines (when not in school) a minimum of 10 days prior to departure. Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, chills/aches, shortness of breath, coughing.
  • Develop cohort groups or chaperone groups that are coordinated with your hotel room lists. These groups should room together in hotel, sit together on bus, eat together and tour sites together. This would help mitigate a potential outbreak.
  • School staff should check temperatures of students and chaperones on the morning of departure and confirm there are no COVID symptoms. Anyone with symptoms (fever, chills/aches, shortness of breath, coughing) should be not be allowed to depart.  A negative COVID test 1-3 days prior to departure is recommended for the non-vaccinated.

While on tour:

  • Masks should be worn on the bus, airplane, indoors at sites and public areas. They may be removed in your hotel room. If the group is outside and can social distance, they may remove their masks.
  • Bring a copy of your proof of vaccination as it may be required to visit some of your sites, attractions and meals.  If you are not vaccinated, you may not be able to participate in a portion of your itinerary (sites/indoor dining/live theatre/attractions).
  • Temperature checks may be conducted by Group Leader on each participant every morning at the Group Leader’s discretion.
  • If a destination or tour component on your itinerary closes or shuts down, the Hemisphere Team will work with the Group Leader to develop an alternative plan.

In the event a participant requires medical attention for COVID related symptoms:

  • A chaperone on tour will escort participant(s) to medical or testing facility to receive diagnosis as soon as possible. Follow the advice of medical personnel if applicable.
  • A Hemisphere team member should be contacted 24/7 at 800-323-6439.
  • School or Hemisphere will be in communication with the chaperone and family to inform them of the status.
  • Participant should be isolated from group and isolated in hotel room. Chaperone should remain with student at hotel in own room and maintain communication with student.       Extra hotel room or changing room assignments may be necessary.
  • If tour group has departed (airplane or bus) while participant is in quarantine, Hemisphere will assist with the logistics of getting participant and chaperone home. Family may also choose to travel to pick up participant.
  • Any additional costs due to quarantine (hotel, airfare, meals, etc) will be the responsibility of the tour participant.
  • If multiple participants show symptoms, the same procedures should be followed.

As per current CDC guidelines we will follow the protocol below:

Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 -

  • Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days following the date of their exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. They should isolate if they test positive. Fully vaccinated people who live in a household with someone who is immunosuppressed, at increased risk of severe disease, or unvaccinated (including children <12 years of age) could also consider masking at home for 14 days following a known exposure or until they receive a negative test result. Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, if they follow the testing and masking recommendation above. Fully vaccinated people should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

Fully vaccinated people with COVID-19 symptoms need to get tested immediately -

  • Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for SARS-CoV-2 if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

Fully vaccinated people with a positive COVID-19 Test

  • Vaccinated people with a positive COVID-19 test result need to isolate for 10 days.    

Non-vaccinated people with COVID-19 symptoms need to get tested immediately and isolate from others while waiting for test results.

  • Non-vaccinated people with a positive COVID-19 test result need to isolate for 10 days.   

Non-vaccinated people who have been exposed by someone who has COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days after the last contact was made with the infected person.

  • Non-vaccinated people with exposure should get tested immediately. If the test is negative, it is recommended to test again 3-5 days after the last time you were close to the person with COVID-19.

What our travel partners are currently doing to prevent the spread:

Hemisphere has been in contact with many of our vendors and suppliers.  In regards to our travelers' concerns;

  • Motorcoach suppliers are providing a deep cleanse of each bus as it returns from a trip.  In addition, many are providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for each tour group. The bus driver is masked at all times while with the tour group.
  • Airlines are staying compliant with CDC guidelines by wiping down hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner. Each airline has developed protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing, touchless boarding and deplaning procedures.       Airline and airport staff are masked.
  • Many of our sites, attractions and museums are taking extra pre-caution by wiping down surfaces and exhibits that are commonly touched.
  • Our hotel partners have created such safety protocols as sanitizing public spaces and surface areas, eliminating guest contact, hand sanitizing stations, food safety, masked employees and deep room cleaning.
  • Tour Directors and Tour Guides will be required to wear masks on the bus, airplane, indoors at sites and public areas while with group.

General health information to share with all travelers (students and adults):

The CDC has released a list of preventative measures anyone can take to avoid contracting and spreading an illness.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Maintain social distancing at 6 feet apart.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • In addition to the information above, Hemisphere strongly recommends that each traveler brings their own hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes so they may wipe down all common surfaces, including the motorcoach and airline armrests. If your group is flying, please note the hand sanitizer container must be in a 12-ounce container or smaller to meet the TSA security measures.

If you would like additional information, we recommend visiting the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

This document may be updated as needed and will be redistributed as needed.

MORE FAQ's

 If I am due a refund, how long will it take?

  • Please allow up to 15 business days for your payment to arrive by check or to appear on your credit card statement.  We are hearing that the postal service is taking longer than usual as some of our checks are taking up to 2 weeks to arrive locally.  If you have not recieved your refund, please contact us at info@hemispheretravel.com and we will be happy to check on the status for you.  

What happens if our tour is rescheduled or canceled?

  • For those that signed up for a tour through our website, you will receive an email that your tour has been canceled or rescheduled.  The email will state that we are in process of rescheduling your tour for a later date or attempting to recover funds paid to suppliers if the tour was canceled.  We ask for your patience during this process as we are experiencing long response times based on the volume of cancelations and changes throughout the industry.  We are anticipating up to an 8-10 week period to process any applicable refunds since we have to collect your money paid to vendors in order to issue your refund.
  • For those that signed up and paid for a tour through your school or organization, all communication and applicable refunds will be from your school group leader.  We ask for your patience during this process as we are experiencing long response times based on the volume of cancelations and changes throughout the industry.  As of now we are anticipating up to an 8-10 week period to process any applicable refunds.

How we are currently handling cancelations? 

  • If your tour is canceled and cannot be rescheduled for a future date, we have amended our cancellation policy.  We are aware these circumstances are unprecedented, challenging and beyond all of our control.  Our team will work very hard on our group's behalf to attempt to receive refunds from our vendors and suppliers to recoup as many of the nonrefundable expenses as possible and will refund accordingly less our administrative costs.  This process takes time and we will attempt to have the refund (if applicable) to you within 8-10 weeks.  If you opted to purchase the optional travel protection plan through Travel Insured International, you may be able to partially recoup funds lost by filing a claim under the Cancel for Any Reason Benefit as long as you contact Travel Insured International more than 3 days prior to the tour departure.  Please call Travel Insured International at 844-440-8113 for clarification of their policies or any additional questions you may have.
  • If an individual decides to cancel from the tour, our standard cancellation policy applies to cover our administrative costs.  This process takes time and we will attempt to have the refund (if applicable) to you within the next 8-10 weeks.  Please refer to the Tour Terms and Conditions Release Form in your online account to review our policies.  If you opted to purchase the optional travel protection plan through Travel Insured International, you may be able to partially recoup funds lost by filing a claim under the Cancel for Any Reason Benefit as long as you contact Travel Insured International more than 3 days prior to the tour departure.  Please call Travel Insured International at 844-440-8113 for clarification of their policies or any additional questions you may have. 

 Why am I not receiving a full refund?

  • We have financially secured your tour events through other parties that are bound by contracts. The pricing and execution of our tours are based on the assumption that the tours go on as planned.  Our team puts in months of work, incurring business expenses, long before a tour is scheduled to depart.  While we wish we could refund everyone 100%, our refund policy is designed to ensure Hemisphere recovers the cost of what we have prepaid to our suppliers (airlines, hotels, sites, bus companies, etc) and the operational costs associated with planning your tour.  Our team spent the previous 9-12 months planning and preparing these educational adventures.  For more information on what goes into planning a tour feel free to review this article from the Student and Youth Travel Association - https://syta.org/what-to-know-about-the-group-booking-process/.

 What our travel partners are currently doing.

Hemisphere has been in contact with many of our vendors and suppliers.  In regards to our travelers' concerns;

  • Many of our motorcoach suppliers are providing a deep cleanse of each bus as it returns from a trip.  In addition, many are providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for each tour group.  It is each passenger's responsibility to provide their own PPE (personel protective equipment), such as a face covering or mask.
  • The airlines are staying compliant with CDC guidelines by wiping down hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner.  It is each passenger's responsibility to provide their own PPE (personel protective equipment), such as a face covering or mask.
  • Many of our sites, attractions and museums are taking extra pre-caution by wiping down surfaces and exhibits that are commonly touched.  It is each passenger's responsibility to provide their own PPE (personel protective equipment), such as a face covering or mask.

 What we do in the event a participant requires any type of medical attention?

Regardless of the situation, if a tour participant requires medical attention;

  • A Hemisphere team member can be reached 24/7 at 800-323-6439 during your tour should there be an emergency.
  • A chaperone on tour will escort the person to a medical facility to receive treatment as soon as possible.
  • Hemisphere will be in communication with the chaperone and communicate directly with the family if necessary to inform them of the status.
  • Once medical treatment is completed, Hemisphere will continue to work with the school and participant until they arrive safely back home.