TRAVEL AND HEALTH WARNINGS
DEAR PARTICIPANTS AND FRIENDS OF AIP:
MARCH 23, 2020
Travel is a beautiful opportunity to see the world and share viewpoints; locally and globally. Through learning about other cultures and people, we learn as much about ourselves. The AIP community is so lucky to do this work; create unforgettable experiences of immersion for our travelers, link artists to local communities, and bring economic development to the areas we visit. During this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we reflect on how thankful we are to share these journeys with you. This current world health situation is an example of how truly interconnected and global our world has become. Travel is valued by AIP, but as we make an effort to connect, we need to remember our own health.
As a small independent arts program, we are not affiliated with any higher education institution that may be restricting or canceling their own extensive study abroad programs. Since the beginning of AIP, we have always monitored changes in travel, world health, and other issues that cannot be predicted, that are environmental and/or social in nature. We continue to check on the World Health Organization website (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen) In addition to the WHO reports, we are also keeping apprised to media channels, and will continue to communicate with all of you and try our best to answer any questions you have during this uncertain time.
As a reminder, here is a helpful list of travel tips for staying healthy while traveling (and in our everyday lives):
washing hands thoroughly - 20 seconds - sing a song for the duration (take your own light towel/cloth to dry your hands to not use the auto dryers, but to also use to open doors, touch latches, etc. - gloves are also good for this),
hand sanitizer - carry your own, don’t rely on it being around, refrain from handshakes and touching your face, mouth, and/or eyes after you have touched any surfaces as that assists transmission.
mask or scarf that will help you to avoid touching your face
water for hydration, which helps the body flush out viruses and keeps throat and nasal passages hydrated to prevent intial infection.
We cannot reiterate enough that safety is always our main concern in planning and communicating to our artist participants, and do everything we can to ensure we design and implement safe and wonderful trips for all of us. All participants are enrolled in CISI medical insurance 30 days prior to the start of each program.
Aside from the health insurance that we provide, we also HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to purchase travel insurance as well as the flight insurance offered when you purchase your airfare. We do not offer refunds if you choose to cancel your participation so the insurance is your best option to investigate. Please see bottom of page for recommended sources.
If your school suddenly pulls their support of travel with their policies or refuses to provide credit for you, for something that happens outside of their purview, we will offer our support. We can do this by providing any paperwork you may need to appeal their decision, or give advice for navigating school policies. We hope that schools will leave decisions about your summer plans up to you, and we will be there for you if you need support.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DATE?
We have thought long and hard about how to proceed. At this point, we are still continuing with our programming but on an altered schedule. Our Japan program was originally scheduled in May, France in June, Spain in early July - all of which is within an uncertain travel period. Japan 2020 program has been postponed to 2021, France has been moved to September 2020, Spain is undetermined, but likely postponed till next year. In the event of rescheduling we always work with participants of each program to determine the best plan for the whole group. Schedules are subject to change for a variety of reasons outside of our control. Our programs are NOT cancelled.
*******APRIL 14 UPDATE****** Today we learned that President Macron extended the shelter in place orders for France and limited travel for only those within the EU may open on May 15. Due to this force majeure, we have communicated with our host in Arles and postponed our dates to September 22-October 5th 2020, and confirmed the 2021 dates as June 7-20. We have contacted our hosts in Spain to learn that the entire country is currently closed and are attempting to reach our hosts in Italy to assess. ******THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
The healthcare system in Europe is accessible, and highly capable of addressing health issues that may overwhelm a community. Japan also has an extraordinary healthcare system where even travelers can walk into a clinic. Japan in particular is known for its extremely good public hygiene.
The location of AIP is a huge asset. We choose settings that are serene and conducive to creative exploration. While in Italy, we are living remotely in a Villa about 10 minutes drive from the closest traditional village of Siena. In France we are heading to Arles. Although busy during summer peak season, it does not see the level of tourism of other prime French tourist destinations. This means less population density and the norm of social distancing. Our work is primarily in the studio, accommodations, and the local community as an immersion into the culture, community and various landscapes.
We encourage all to be as informed as possible about all virus transmissions in our global life - by understanding prevention and ‘at-risk’ factors such as age and compromised immune systems.
If you have already registered for a 2020 program and are deciding to not participate, due to whatever reason, please first communicate with your TRAVEL INSURANCE provider to find out the process to make a claim. We must receive in writing that you have decided not to participate and what option you will choose:
register for another 2020 or 2021 program (please let us know which program)
find another participant to take your place (in so doing once they have paid, you will receive your funds minus a $250 program fee)
We hope that you decide to stick with us this year.
In health and happiness,
TRAVEL INSURANCE OPTIONS (we are not affiliated with any of these companies):
SEVEN CORNERS offers options to cover your own cancellation for any reason