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COVID-19 - We're in this together

It has been an extraordinary year, one full of challenge and uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives. The nature of our work, our play, our forms of communication, and the shapes of our communities have changed, and we're changing with it.   

 

EPI continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and adapt its policies and procedures so that–when it is time to travel again–you can do so with the safety and flexibility you need.

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Enhanced Risk Management

The safety of EPI's participants is its top priority, and we have adapted additional procedures to assess and minimize the risks associated with COVID-19. These practices address risk management in three critical phases.

EPI minimizes the risk of COVID-19 before the course begins by:

  • Establishing clear criteria for program cancellation due to elevated COVID outbreaks

  • Requesting all participants abide by precautionary measures such as physical distancing and use of face coverings during the 14 days prior to course

  • Requiring all participants to submit negative COVID-19 test result or proof of immunity 

  • Prohibiting participants with COVID-19 symptoms, or those with close to contact with those experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms, from participating in the program


​EPI reduces the risk during the program by:

  • Conducting daily health screenings

  • Requiring physical distancing and the use of face coverings

  • Conducting the majority of the program in outdoor settings

  • Limiting group sizes and taking numerous, other precautionary measures


EPI will respond to any COVID 19 related on-course incident by:

  • Following strict Personal Protection protocols during first aid and care

  • Isolating the participant from the rest of the group

  • Activating its Emergency Response System and securing testing following the directions of local health services

  • Create quarantine conditions as necessary

For more a more detailed review of EPI's Risk Management protocols for COVID-19, please see our Policies & Logistics.

General Travel Requirements and Protocols

EPI requires all participants to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the course start date OR proof of immunity. Proof of immunity can be in the form of a record of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis followed by a recovery period or a COVID-19 vaccination record. 

 

Participants who are vaccinated will still be required to comply with all COVID-19 risk management practices including mask use, hygiene, and physical distancing as directed by course instructors and applicable rules and regulations. 

Mask Use

Following CDC guidance and the Biden Administration's Executive Order on Travel Safety issued on January 21st, participants must wear masks when using public transportation, in airport, and on airplanes. This federal requirement is in addition to EPI's requirement that participants wear masks on course. Please see Policies & Logistics for more details.

Travel to Programs

Participants are expected to take precautionary measure to avoid exposure to COVID-19 before travel. Please see measures in the Enhanced Risk Management section above.

Vaccinations

EPI requires all participants to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the course start date OR proof of immunity. Proof of immunity can be in the form of a record of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis followed by a recovery period or a COVID-19 vaccination record. Participants who are vaccinated will still be required to comply with all COVID-19 risk management practices including mask use, hygiene, and physical distancing as directed by course instructors and applicable rules and regulations.

Return Travel to the U.S.

Testing


Effective Jan 26, 2021 the US CDC requires passengers arriving from international destinations to have a negative COVID (Antigen or PCR) test no more than 3 days before their flight to the US departs. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. EPI will facilitate this testing for groups as part of the regular itinerary. Participants will need to bring $50 to cover the cost of testing. A positive result from a single participant may affect the travel for the entire group of participants, in addition to the potential negative health risks to the individual with the virus. For this reason, and for the well-being of all participants, we ask every participant to be prepared to strictly adhere to our COVID-19 prevention practices on course.




Self-isolation / Quarantine post travel


The Biden Administration's Executive Order on Travel Safety issued on Jan 21, also directs travelers to comply with CDC guidance on self-isolation or quarantine post travel. Current guidance from the CDC is for a regime of isolation and testing, or isolation for 10 days.





Galapagos Travel Requirements

Testing


  • For entry into the Galapagos, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before arrival to the Galapagos. At this time, the Galapagos Islands will not accept proof of immunity in place of negative COVID-19 test results.

  • Regardless of whether a negative PCR test is provided, random rapid antigen testing may be conducted at the airport and upon arrival. The testing will be administered by the Ministry of Health. If the rapid antigen test is positive, the traveler must isolate for 10 days.




Insurance


  • EPI requires proof of medical insurance for travel on its programs and participants should be prepared to present this proof of insurance upon entry to Ecuador.




Health Forms


A Travel Health Declaration Form is provided for completion upon arrival to Ecuador.




What happens if I or someone in my group tests positive for COVID-19 during a Galapagos course?


  • While we practice transmission prevention methods on course, the nature of our travel, activities, and groups will likely result that the entire group would be considered a "close contact" and be required to isolate in mandatory quarantine for at least 8 days until the local health ministry provides clearance to travel.
  • In this case, EPI would continue to facilitate logistics, monitor the health and well-being, and support the group until they are able to return home. Costs associated with quarantine and extended stay would be passed on to participants, which is why we recommend travel insurance that covers the costs of quarantine and medical care from COVID-19 exposure.





Costa Rica Travel Requirements

Testing


EPI requires all participants to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of the course start date OR proof of immunity. Proof of immunity can be in the form of a record of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis followed by a recovery period of two weeks to three months prior to travel or a COVID-19 vaccination record.




Insurance


  • EPI requires proof of medical insurance for travel on its programs
  • Visitors traveling to Costa Rica will need to provide proof of a medical insurance policy to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica.

  • If the policy originates from an insurer outside of Costa Rica, tourists must request from the insurer a certification issued in English or Spanish, noting:

  • The validity of the policy during the dates of visit to Costa Rica
  • Guarantee of coverage for medicals expenses in cases of COVID-19 related medical treatment in the amount of 50,000 USD
  • Minimum coverage of 2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 related illness.
  • It is also possible to purchase a Costa Rican medical insurance policy through the Sagicor of Costa Rica, covering the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.




Health Forms


  • All visitors must also complete an online Health Pass (pasa de Salud) 48 hours prior to travel to Costa Rica
  • The Health Pass can be found at https://salud.go.cr
  • For minor participants, this should be filled out by parents / legal guardian




What happens if I or someone in my group tests positive for COVID-19 during a Costa Rica course?


  • While we practice transmission prevention methods on course, the nature of our travel, activities, and groups will likely result that the entire group would be considered a "close contact" and be required to isolate in mandatory quarantine for at least 8 days until the local health ministry provides clearance to travel.
  • In this case, EPI would continue to facilitate logistics, monitor the health and well-being, and support the group until they are able to return home. Costs associated with quarantine and extended stay would be passed on to participants, which is why we recommend travel insurance that covers the costs of quarantine and medical care from COVID-19 exposure.





Yellowstone Travel Requirements

Testing


  • For entry into the Galapagos, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before arrival to the Galapagos. At this time, the Galapagos Islands will not accept proof of immunity in place of negative COVID-19 test results.

  • Regardless of whether a negative PCR test is provided, random rapid antigen testing may be conducted at the airport and upon arrival. The testing will be administered by the Ministry of Health. If the rapid antigen test is positive, the traveler must isolate for 10 days.




Insurance


  • EPI requires proof of medical insurance for travel on its programs and participants should be prepared to present this proof of insurance upon entry to Ecuador.




Health Forms


A Travel Health Declaration Form is provided for completion upon arrival to Ecuador.




What happens if I or someone in my group tests positive for COVID-19 during a Galapagos course?


  • While we practice transmission prevention methods on course, the nature of our travel, activities, and groups will likely result that the entire group would be considered a "close contact" and be required to isolate in mandatory quarantine for at least 8 days until the local health ministry provides clearance to travel.
  • In this case, EPI would continue to facilitate logistics, monitor the health and well-being, and support the group until they are able to return home. Costs associated with quarantine and extended stay would be passed on to participants, which is why we recommend travel insurance that covers the costs of quarantine and medical care from COVID-19 exposure.





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Do you have additional questions or concerns?