RESPONDING TO COVID-19
Squads Abroad is excited and eager to welcome back volunteers into our Program Countries. After more than a year of suspended operations due to Covid-19, we are taking every precaution to reopen our doors with the health and safety of our volunteers, staff, and community members at top of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
We appreciate the trust you place in our teams, both nationally and internationally when you participate in our programs. Please review the following frequently asked questions for more information about how we are responding to Covid-19 and how we are preparing for in-person squad operations. If you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What precautions are being taken in light of Covid-19 to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and community members?
Squads Abroad is taking a number of precautions to mitigate the risks of COVID transmission on programs, including but not limited to the following:
- Recommending that volunteers are fully vaccinated prior to their arrival in-country.
- Requiring that all volunteers provide a lab-administered negative COVID test one day prior to their departure.
- Operating all in-country programs at reduced capacity and observing these capacity limits for all transportation and lodging.
- COVID testing and health screening of all staff prior to the program.
- Imposing mandatory mask/face covering requirements for all participants, staff and community members.
- Observing social distancing measures at all brigade sites, including lodging facilities and community sites.
- All participants must take a COVID test prior to their arrival in-country and provide proof of a negative test to their airline and to Squads Abroad before traveling.
- Daily health screening.
- Daily temperature checks.
- Staggered meal service to limit capacity.
- Daily sanitizing of all vehicles and lodging facilities.
- Enhanced precautions on brigade days: health screening of community members, sanitizing of community sites, social distancing guidelines, and mandatory use of PPE.
Do I need to have the vaccine in order to participate on a squad program?
While the COVID vaccine is strongly recommended, it is not required.
Based on the advice of several physicians we have consulted, Squads Abroad strongly recommends that all volunteers who wish to participate in an in-person program are fully up to date on their COVID vaccinations. Volunteers who have received their full vaccination more than 6 months before their program are recommended to receive a booster shot before traveling.
Will I need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to my participation on a squad program?
Yes, all participants will need to obtain proof of a negative COVID test prior to departure. Specific testing requirements and time frames vary based on the destination. Unless another test and specifications are required be the program country, Squads Abroad will require all volunteers to take a lab-administered COVID test the calendar day before their departure. Please refer to the appropriate Embassy’s website below for the most up to date information:
- US Embassy in Ghana
- US Embassy in Greece
- US Embassy in Guatemala
- US Embassy in Honduras
- US Embassy in Nicaragua
- US Embassy in Panama
Please know that if no test is required by the country of your Brigade, GB will ask you to take a lab-administered COVID test one day prior to your departure for the brigade, and show the negative test results in order to be able to join the Brigade.
*In the event that you are asymptomatic yet still testing positive more than 7 days after recovering from COVID, we will accept a doctors note verifying that you are recovered, asymptomatic, and no longer contagious.
What is the protocol if a volunteer presents symptoms of COVID-19 while on a squad program? What insurance coverage do they have?
In the event that a volunteer presents symptoms of COVID-19 while on the program, they will be separated and quarantined at the lodging facility and monitored by a local staff health care professional, while a COVID test can be arranged for. Upon consultation by a local physician if the symptoms are mild, the volunteer will remain quarantined and under observation at their lodging facility or other designated accommodations. If the symptoms are serious and the volunteer is at higher risk of complication due to pre-existing conditions, they will be transported to a medical facility in the capital city as recommended by their treating physician. The duration of quarantine will last between 5-14 days depending on local regulations and the recommendations of our medical team.
All volunteer participants are automatically covered under emergency medical travel insurance for the duration of their program as well as COVID-19 specific trip interruption insurance, and have the option to upgrade the emergency medical travel insurance policy limits for an additional fee. The emergency medical travel insurance policy covers medical expenses for emergency medical treatment related to a diagnosis of COVID-19, and the COVID-19 trip interruption insurance covers certain costs associated with mandatory quarantine in the case that a volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 in-country. Visit this page for more information on the emergency medical travel insurance that GB volunteers are automatically enrolled in, and for information on increasing coverage.
Additional details about the COVID-19 trip interruption insurance as well as answers to frequently asked questions can be found in the following FAQ: IVPA Insurance Document.
Volunteers wishing to secure additional travel insurance coverage through third party providers can find available options on Square Mouth.
Will I need to obtain a negative test in order to re-enter the United States at the conclusion of my program?
No, as of June 12th, 2022, the CDC announced they will no longer be requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to present a negative result before boarding their flight into the US.
What happens if my program is postponed due to COVID-19?
In the case that Squads Abroad determines that certain criteria have not been met in order to safely operate brigade programs, your Program Associate will work closely with you to provide options on rescheduling your program. In the event that your group was previously issued flight tickets, your Travel Team Member will work with you to request a flight credit or flight voucher from the airline, which can be applied towards purchasing a flight for a future program. Flight credits and vouchers are subject to policies and regulations as established by the airline.