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CAPA Programs During COVID-19: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Departure Advising & Orientation

CAPA offers comprehensive pre-departure advising for all programs. In addition, students studying on in-country programs will have to complete a series of required pre-departure webinars and videos on topics including arrival, health and safety, housing, the CAPA Center experience, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In addition to the mandatory pre-departure webinars and videos, students will be required to complete modules through CAPA’s Canvas Learning Management System. Each module will share vital information and have a required quiz at the end. By using a pre-departure, module-based approach, students will be able to learn critical details about their program at their own pace and in advance of arriving overseas. Plus, students will be able to refer back to the modules at any time prior to departure and while abroad. Please note that students will be required to complete all of the modules prior to the release of housing and internship placement details.

Once abroad, additional in-country orientation will be provided in key areas such as health and safety—including COVID-19 guidelines and the CAPA Guardian Health & Safety app—academics, internships, and programming.  

Will students be required to have obtained a COVID-19 vaccine in order to participate on CAPA programs?

All students are required to be fully vaccinated (including a booster shot if eligible according to CDC guidelines) in order to participate in the CAPA program and will need to provide CAPA with a copy of their CDC-issued proof of vaccination card. For Fall 2022, one booster only is required. Please note that the normal cancellation terms will apply if a student is unable to produce this documentation in time to travel on the program.

As we enter the next academic year amidst a shift in global responses to the evolving pandemic, we are at this time easing our COVID-19 protective measures to mirror those of the local authorities in CAPA program destinations.

 

Please note that these protocols can change at any time as we continue to review the situation in our program locations and assess what is appropriate. 

 

Will students need to take any tests before the program or on arrival?

The entry requirements set by individual countries change regularly. Students should thus be prepared for any eventuality.

Regardless of government requirements, CAPA requires students to show a negative test (either an approved fit to fly antigen or PCR test) taken within 24 hours of their arrival in their program location. Students will not be able to access their housing until they have a negative test result. Should a student arrive without having taken the test and then test positive on arrival, they will need to find alternative accommodation until their isolation period is complete. The student will be responsible for all costs. This requirement is likely to be lifted for Spring 2023.

How will co-curricular and cultural activities be adapted to comply with local guidance on COVID-19?

All activities will follow local social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines. Group tours and excursions will allow for, or be altered to comply with, the local government’s policies on social distancing or be replaced with local activities. Students will be notified at least 48 hours in advance if an activity is not able to move forward as usual due to COVID-19.

Will CAPA require daily temperature checks?

Daily temperature checks are no longer required.

Will students need to wear a mask?

CAPA strongly recommends that students continue to wear masks within the study center, but masks will no longer be required if in line with local regulations. Note, however, that masks may be required in program locations where CAPA partner universities have a mask mandate in place, or inside classes or on class activities if faculty or another program participant or tour leader is deemed clinically vulnerable. 

Students will also be required to conform with all local guidance and regulations regarding the wearing of face coverings and are strongly advised to wear them when in crowded indoor environments or on public transport even when not mandated. Internship sites or other venues may also have their own requirements. Students should thus arrive in their study abroad location with at least two N95 masks with the best fit, protection, and comfort for them. Information on masks can be found on the CDC website

How is CAPA tracking the presence of COVID-19 in the city, country, and region?

CAPA uses a variety of data sources including but not limited to:

  • Government reporting in each program location
  • CDC Travel Notices
  • US Department of State Travel Advisories and Border information
  • IATA COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map
  • Worldometer Case Data
  • IMHE COVID-19 Projections
  • Statnews COVID-19 Tracker for 7-day averages

How does CAPA communicate to important stakeholders (home institution, parents) in cases of emergency?

In event of a medical emergency, CAPA will be in touch with the student's university crisis contact and it will be determined at that time who will contact the student’s emergency contact. CAPA updates the Notices page of the website with any program changes or situations impacting entire programs. 

CAPA keeps home institutions informed of anything impacting their programs or students at all times. By enrolling in a CAPA program, students consent to their details being shared internally and with home institutions.

How is COVID-19 covered under CAPA’s Health Insurance Policy?

If a student contracts COVID-19 while abroad, all medical expenses are covered. If a student is advised to return home by the local health services due to contracting COVID-19, they can claim reimbursement for any required flights or flight changes needed to get home up to $3,000 for trip interruption coverage through CAPA insurance, and CAPA will assess whether there are any other recoverable costs on a case-by-case basis.

What COVID-19 precautions will be in place at the CAPA Center and in the classroom?

CAPA will always follow the local guidance in place at the time. These regulations may change at any time. While CAPA has lifted the mask requirements, these may return if deemed appropriate by CAPA or the local government..

Classrooms and shared spaces will only hold as many students as is suggested by current government regulations on social distancing within educational environments. Where classrooms will not accommodate the group size with social distancing, classes will be divided, with half of the class joining online from their housing in a weekly rotation. 

Does CAPA plan on facilitating testing of students or contact tracing while on-program?

Testing or contract tracing will follow local regulations. CAPA will not require testing or contract tracing unless required by the local government.

CAPA will respect US confidentiality where it does not conflict with local regulations or where it is not superseded by the interest of public health and safety. In the event this information needs to be shared, CAPA will endeavor to inform the student in advance of any communication with others. Home campuses will always be informed. Any students who have concerns about testing or the sharing of their results should reconsider participation in the program.

What housing policies are in place related to COVID-19?

The following policies are either standard housing policies or have been updated for Fall 2022 in recognition of the changes in the global response to COVID-19:

  • CAPA will house a maximum of three students per bedroom; apartments usually house 4-10 students although certain properties may occasionally allow for larger groups.
  • CAPA will follow self-isolation requirements as established by local authorities. Note that self-isolation means staying at home and avoiding contact with those from outside the household.  
  • In program locations where local authorities no longer require self-isolation, students will be told by CAPA to stay home for a minimum of five (5) days in their program housing and avoid contact with anyone from outside their household. Students should not attend class or any CAPA activities until after five days of isolation and a negative test.  
  • Participants will self-isolate within their household, which would mean their assigned program housing within their shared bedrooms during the official CAPA program dates. Participants, including roommates, may choose to relocate and pay for their own self-isolation housing if they prefer to do so (where possible); however, this will be a personal choice and they will be responsible for all arrangements and associated costs.
  • Participants who test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the program and are required to remain in country to self-isolate will be responsible for securing and paying for their own isolation housing. Note that participants may be able to utilize the quarantine benefit offered through CISI insurance if there is a government regulation that prevents them from traveling home. CAPA onsite team members will provide referrals and options for housing, medical care referrals and food delivery services but will no longer be available for other support after the program ends.  
  • A thorough cleaning will be carried out in all student housing prior to arrival.
  • Students will be given clear guidance on cleaning and disinfecting their living space to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses such as cold and flu.
  • CAPA has now relaxed the no-visitor policy for Fall 2022. Visitors are now allowed within student apartments except during quiet hours, and overnight guests are strictly prohibited. 

What is your policy for independent housing requests in light of COVID-19?

CAPA follows its US partner universities’ policies for independent housing. If the student’s home institution allows it, CAPA would require students to sign a non-CAPA housing waiver.

Are guests permitted (including parents/guardians) to visit students at the start of and during the program?

Yes, guests are once again able to visit students at any time.

How is CAPA handling any applicable government mandated quarantines on arrival?

Regulations set by local governments can change at any time and thus it is not possible to predict whether a quarantine will be required for any specific location. Currently, no quarantines are required in our program locations. If a quarantine is mandated for the arrival period, the following guidance applies:

  • Students will be asked to avoid using public transport and to travel to their accommodations via a private cab. Social distancing and rules on things like face coverings will need to be observed. CAPA can provide information to students on how to book a cab prior to leaving the US. CAPA staff are not able to meet students at the airport.
  • There will be minimal in-person interaction on arrival at the housing, and students will immediately enter their accommodations and will not be able to leave at any time during the quarantine period. Students will not be allowed to visit students in other apartments within the same building or leave for exercise or shopping or any other reason. CAPA staff will provide information to students on how to access food delivery services and other important resources.
  • Students will be introduced to CAPA staff and their roles in their program location prior to arrival through an online webinar. Full details on how to contact staff for support during quarantine will be provided. 
  • In addition to thorough pre-departure guidance, an on-site arrival orientation will take place live but be carried out virtually.
  • CAPA staff will not be able to interact with the students in person during the quarantine, although random checks by phone or Zoom will be made to ensure that all students are accounted for within their apartments to ensure quarantine rules are being followed.
  • All CAPA support services will remain available in a virtual format, including official student advising office hours. Students will also still have access to CAPA’s 24/7 emergency phone and the CAPA Guardian app during the quarantine period.
  • Students will be provided with information on what to expect during and after quarantine, so they are always aware and prepared for what comes next.
  • All classes will be held remotely, and all contact hours will be met as normal.
  • Syllabi will be adapted to take into account the quarantine, particularly in regard to the dates of field studies and other assignments that may be impacted.
  • Virtual My Global City activities will be made available to students during the quarantine as will ideas for ways to engage virtually with other CAPA students outside their apartments.
  • CAPA will ensure there is a plan in place for individual interns which may include starting placements remotely or utilizing projects agreed with home campus to make up internship hours lost during quarantine. Each plan will vary based on the internship site, the program location, and local regulations.
  • Cleaning services, where this is included, will not be allowed during the period of quarantine and students will be provided with guidance on apartment hygiene, appropriate social distancing measures, and use of face coverings.

What types of mental health/counseling are available to students while participating on the program?

While CAPA staff are not mental health professionals, they have identified resources in each program location to which students can be referred. Students will also be advised on any phone and online services available in their program location, including a 24/7 phone line for Behavioral Health Assistants based in the US for acute or emergent situations.

Students with mental health issues should ensure they have an effective care plan in place prior to making the decision to study abroad. All students with mental health concerns are strongly encouraged to continue all medications and remain in contact with their existing health care professionals in their home country while abroad. They should also be aware of the challenges most students experience when studying abroad in an unfamiliar environment and assess whether it is the right choice for them.

What are the public health entry requirements for each country?

CAPA continually monitors entry requirements which can change at any time and advises based on what is in place at the time of travel, e.g., quarantines, visas. Students are encouraged to also keep abreast of these requirements leading up to the start of their program by monitoring the US state department website and websites for the country where they will be studying, and by checking in with their airline. Governments can change policies often and sometimes at the last minute.

How will CAPA inform students of the local requirements related to COVID-19 (e.g., face masks)?

CAPA will inform students in pre-departure webinars and modules, during the arrival orientation and while in-country, through ongoing communications and reminders using email, the Monday Memo, and the CAPA Community online portal.

Will CAPA limit students’ independent travel?

  • Students must follow the policies of CAPA, their home campus, and the local government.
  • CAPA does not allow for travel which will result in quarantine, either in the country visited or upon return to the host city. Otherwise, CAPA currently has no travel restrictions. Note that additional CAPA restrictions can be put into place at any time based on current circumstances.
  • Governments regularly change restrictions, including requirements for quarantine, in response to the pandemic. CAPA does not provide excused absences for any delays caused by personal travel, and any additional costs incurred as a result of travel or the need to quarantine in any location will be borne by the student.
  • Additionally, home campuses may have their own restrictions which exceed CAPA’s. All students are expected to make themselves aware of home campus rules and to follow them throughout their program. CAPA will inform home campuses should their rules be broken.

What happens if a student has symptoms of COVID‐19?

  • The student should stay at home for the government-required isolation period for their location. If there is no government-set isolation requirement, CAPA’s policy is for students to remain at home for a minimum of five days and until there is a negative test result. Students would not attend the center, program activities, or their internship site during this time. They should inform CAPA via the emergency phone (if the symptoms are mild, they should call between 9-5pm). The student will work with the academics team to continue classwork (or to obtain an excused absence is they are too ill) and with the internships team regarding their placement.
  • As self-isolation guidance is to remain at home in one’s household, the student will stay within their shared bedroom within their existing housing. Should they or any roommates wish to separate from their housing, they are able to do so at their own cost as this will be a personal choice.
  • The home institution will be kept informed by the Boston team.

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

  • The student should stay at home for the government-required isolation period for their location. If there is no government-set isolation requirement, CAPA’s policy is for students to remain at home for a minimum of five days and until a negative test result. Students would not attend the center, program activities, or their internship site during this time.
  • They should inform CAPA via the emergency phone (if the symptoms are mild, they should call between 9-5pm). The student will need to work with the academics team to continue classwork (or to obtain an excused absence is they are too ill) and with the internships team regarding their placement. As self-isolation guidance is to remain at home in one’s household, the student will stay within their shared bedroom within their existing housing. Should they or any roommates wish to separate from their housing, they are able to do so at their own cost as this will be a personal choice.
  • The minimum details deemed necessary will be shared with other students, faculty, and the local government. CAPA will respect US confidentiality where it does not conflict with local regulations or where it is not superseded by the interest of public health and safety.
  • The local health services will advise whether any students, faculty, or staff who were in contact need to be self‐isolated, quarantined, and/or tested. Currently close contacts do not need to isolate in any CAPA locations, though government guidance is always subject to change.
  • CAPA staff will check in regularly with the student via Zoom and ensure they are aware of how to access food and other products online.
  • The home institution will be kept informed by the Boston team.

Can CAPA guarantee access for private/single-room housing that may be used for self-isolation?

CAPA does not provide single room accommodations for self-isolation as guidance is simply to remain in one’s household. Students would thus remain at home in their shared bedrooms, wearing a mask and minimizing contact with roommates as much as possible.

Participants who test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the program and are required to remain in country to self-isolate will be responsible for securing and paying for their own isolation housing. Note that participants may be able to utilize the quarantine benefit offered through CISI insurance if there is a government regulation that prevents them from traveling home. CAPA onsite team members will provide housing and medical care referrals and options for food delivery services but will no longer be available for other support after the program ends.

Internships

What happens with the internship if the program is cancelled after it has started?

If the program is cancelled during the term, CAPA will work with the student's internship site and home institution to determine if the placement can continue in a remote capacity or through project-based work for missed hours. The Global Internship Course, through which students earn their academic credit, will continue as an online course for the remainder of the term.

What COVID-19 protocols will exist at an internship site?

As per CAPA Health and Safety Protocols, to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus within internship sites, internship students and the internship host will both review and adhere to the terms and conditions set out within the Learning Agreement Document which outlines the following:

  1. The site’s responsibility to ensure that the intern is fully aware of health and safety regulations and protocols at the site.
  2. The site’s responsibility to follow all local government guidance related to COVID-19 within the work environment (e.g., social distancing, workplace hygiene, staggered working hours, face coverings, etc.) that is in place at any time.
  3. The students’ responsibility is to observe and adhere to all workplace protocols, company guidelines, and local governmental legislation.

Are CAPA students required to commute to their internship site using public transportation?

Yes, at this time there is no government guidance to indicate that public transportation cannot be used. The wearing of masks on public transportation is either recommended or required by local governments.

Academics

What happens to courses if the program is shortened or cancelled after it has started?

CAPA courses will be offered as in-class, blended, or online. If conditions shift, making study within the classroom or in-country impossible, then CAPA courses will transition to online-only format.

For courses taught by CAPA university partners abroad, including direct enroll programs, course delivery will be determined by these institutions according to their standards and timelines.

CAPA will make every effort possible to ensure a student is able to complete their course work remotely if they are required to return home. Any limitations will be discussed with the student and the student’s home institution upon their departure to set expectations about what is possible.

How is CAPA ensuring Internet stability for online instruction?

CAPA will ensure all instructors have necessary Internet connectivity and proper technology to carry out all requirements of the academic program.

As per CAPA’s Terms and Conditions, students are responsible for ensuring they have access to a stable Internet connection and proper technology if they are participating in any online courses from home. For any student for whom this is a concern, CAPA will work with the student and their home institution to develop a solution.

How will the in-person academic experience be impacted by COVID-19?

CAPA will always follow the local guidance that is in place. These regulations may change at any time. While CAPA has lifted the mask requirements, these may return if deemed appropriate by CAPA or the local government.

Classrooms and shared spaces will only hold as many students as is suggested by current government regulations on social distancing within educational environments. Where classrooms will not accommodate the group size with social distancing, classes will be divided, with half of the class joining online from their housing in a weekly rotation. 

CAPA Programs & Policies

What happens if CAPA cancels the program before it begins?

CAPA will determine whether to cancel the program no later than 30 days before the start of the program. Students may choose to transition to an online program or withdraw entirely. All students will receive a full refund for the in-country program fees. Students choosing to transition to the online program would be refunded their in-country program fee minus their online CAPA program fee. Application fees are non-refundable.

What are the withdrawal deadlines for in-country programs?

Cancellations Penalties:

  • 70-61 days prior to the program start date: No financial penalty to cancel for any reason, except for $500 for those participating in an internship
  • 60-46 days prior to the program start date: 25% of the total program fee + $500 for those participating in an internship
  • 45-21 days prior to the program start date: 50% of the total program fee + $500 for those participating in an internship
  • 21 days or fewer prior to the program start date: 100% of the total program fee 

Please note: If a student tests positive for COVID-19 prior to arrival and needs to self-isolate before traveling, the student will begin their program online before joining the program in-country; no refunds for unused housing or services will be issued.

Where possible, CAPA sets a second arrival date to accommodate late arrivals as a group.

What are the withdrawal deadlines for online courses and remote global internships?

  • 60–15 days prior to program start date:
  • $150 per online course
  • $500 per remote global internship
  • 14 or fewer days to program start date:
  • No refund

Does CAPA offer cancellation insurance?

If a student is advised to return home by the local health services due to contracting COVID-19, they can claim reimbursement for any required flights or flight changes needed to get home up to $3,000 for trip interruption coverage through CAPA insurance, and CAPA will assess whether there are any other recoverable costs on a case-by-case basis.

What are CAPA’s billing terms?

For students paying CAPA directly, the full program fee (less prior deposits) is due 70 days prior to the start of the program. For students using financial aid, students pay 30 percent of the program fee at 70 days prior to departure and the remaining balance is due 30 days before the start of the program. 

Under what circumstances would CAPA cancel a program?

Once a program begins, it is unlikely to be suspended with students returning home. Instead, all local guidance and COVID-19 related restrictions will be followed with students staying in place. If CAPA were to cancel the program while students are abroad, students will receive a refund for any recoverable program costs. Because courses and internships will be transitioned online, the tuition and internship portion of the program fee is completely non-refundable.

CAPA will continuously monitor a variety of data points to determine whether a program can reasonably operate in a location and will review any concerns with institutional partners should they arise. These data points include:

  • Barriers to travel (e.g., closed borders, limited flights for entry and departure, visa issues, etc.)
  • Ability of the host country to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks. Key indicators include local healthcare resources such as hospital bed capacity, access to ventilators and PPE, and ability to respond to a significant rise in cases.
  • Trends within the country on numbers of new cases and comparison of the program location to the US in regard to levels and response.
  • Recommendations from the WHO, CDC, and US Department of State. Note that CAPA will not rely solely on these agencies for decision making but will instead use their guidance as one data point to inform decisions.

Is CAPA still offering scholarships?

Yes! For more information, visit www.capa.org/scholarships.