All health and safety decisions regarding international program operations are made with reference to data from a number of sources. In addition to the consular information sheets and advisory messages posted by the U.S. Department of State (www.travel.state.gov), our resident directors, host institutions, and faculty program directors use information gathered locally and through conversations with other providers in the city or country. In making individual decisions concerning participation, participants and their parents should carefully review the State Department Travel Advisories website listed above.
Orientation for Participants
Every St. Scholastica study abroad program begins with a pre-departure orientation to the country, city, and host university, which includes, among other information, an explanation of any local risks identified by the U.S. State Department and tips for enhancing personal safety. A local emergency contact information card is distributed to each participant. Finally, host institutions, resident directors, and faculty program directors register each participant with the local U.S. Consulate or Interest Section upon arrival in the country.
On-Site Care and Insurance
St. Scholastica students participating in semester programs are covered by their host institution health plan during the semester. St. Scholastica has established protocols to be used in the event of health emergency, serious accident, political crisis, natural disaster, crime, rape, or death of a participant. For security reasons these documents are not public.
Local Contingency Plans
Each host institution, resident director, and faculty program director has contingency plans which will be activated in case there is a known local condition that requires (a) extra caution, (b) removal of the program to a different site in the same city or country or a nearby country, or (c) suspension of a program and evacuation of participants. For security reasons these local contingency plans are not available to anyone except St. Scholastica staff.
In the Event of a Local Emergency
The appropriate official contacts participants as soon as possible to ascertain participants' well-being, and to provide information, instructions, and advice. The appropriate official contacts the local U.S. embassy, consulate, or Interest Section, and also confers with other study abroad providers and/or U.S. enterprises in the area.
Depending on the situation, the official may or may not gather the participants together in a group. Participants are advised to contact their parents, guardians, or emergency contacts as soon as possible.
Advice for Participants and their Families
St. Scholastica recommends that unless specific situations dictate otherwise, participants should designate their parents as emergency contact persons. Participants and their emergency contacts should keep in touch with each other throughout the participants' time out of the U.S.
Participants should make sure their parents and/or emergency contacts have their accurate and up-to-date local contact information at all times. Participants should immediately notify their emergency contacts in the event of any emergency, accident, serious health problem, or other serious mishap. Participants and their families need to be aware of the fact that the U.S. Department of State Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management will generally not release information about specific individuals to St. Scholastica or to other third parties. The U.S. State Department Web site includes the following statement: "Families in the United States whose U.S. Citizen relatives abroad are directly affected by a crisis can communicate with the Department of State through our Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (202) 647-5225."
This document describes the efforts currently being made by St. Scholastica to help participants enhance their safety and respond to emergency situations. Nothing in this document is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation. This document does not constitute a contract between The College of St. Scholastica and any individual participant. St. Scholastica reserves the right to change these plans at any time.
* St. Scholastica would like to acknowledge the use of CIEE's Emergency Preparedness Plan in the creation of this document.