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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

 

Please find below some FAQ's regarding Coronavirus, along with an updated statement. We will be updating this page regularly, so check back for further updates.

Coronavirus Update 24th June

On June 22nd 2020, the President of the United States released a new Presidential Proclamation, suspending visas for foreign workers until the end of December 31st 2020. Although the proclamation is strongly focused on the HB visas (which bring workers to permanent positions in the US), it unfortunately does also currently include the J1 visa, which covers both camp counsellors and campower staff.  This was not an unexpected announcement, and those applicants who have a valid J-1 visa will still be able to travel this summer, but we know for those that were unable to attend a visa interview prior to the Embassies closing for lockdown, this will be a disappointment.  However summer 2021 is unaffected and we are excited to launch our 2021 season in July.  We have fought hard over the years to maintain the J1 visa and are committed to the positive and important outcomes that a summer spent at camp, sharing your culture with Americans can bring.  The suspension is temporary, so although times may seem uncertain, we will continue to work hard towards summer 2021, and look forward to bringing the world together at camp again! 

 

 

Coronavirus Update May 18th 2020

Whilst in many countries, lockdowns continue, the current 60-day pause on J1 visa holders entering the US has come to an end.  However, following the March 17 Presidential Proclamation, a ban by the US on certain countries entering the US remains.  This entry ban effects applicants travelling from 26 Schengen-visa countries in Europe, the UK, Ireland, China & Iran. We await news from the US Department of State on when travel restrictions will be lifted.

For some participants, in countries not covered by the ban, travel to the US is now possible and we are working with those participants who want to move forward with their placement and travel this summer.

More generally, to assist us in helping camps to plan effectively with regard to their staffing,  we have asked all participants who were due to travel in May to reconfirm their placement in their ‘My Camp America’ account, if they are still intending to travel (Government guidelines allowing) this summer.

We are working through flight dates and will next ask those expected to depart in June whose camps are still expecting to open to reconfirm their placement if they are still interested in participating.

If your camp has closed for the summer 2020 season, we will contact you directly to discuss your options.

We are pleased that some applicants will be able to participate this summer, camps will have thought long and hard about how to implement their summer programming in a safe way adhering to both Federal and State guidelines.  We understand too that for many of you, it will be disappointing that your camps have closed – but we hope you appreciate for camp directors, this is the most difficult decision to take.

We continue to work with a reduced staff team, who are working from home – so please bear with us while we steadily work through applications by camp start dates, and should we have any further updates we will be in contact again.

This is a challenging time for everyone and we appreciate your continued patience and positivity. We are hugely passionate and committed to providing a cultural exchange for young people and we are still working towards providing that for you, safely, this summer. If summer does not go ahead, there will be options in place. Rest assured, we take the health and safety of our applicants very seriously and we will not expect participants to travel, if travel bans are in place. 

We have been so grateful for your overwhelmingly positive response to this new situation, that none of us could have imagined a few months ago. In true camp style, you have banded together and been incredibly understanding. For now we ask you to wait a little longer until we have further information, once we have heard from the Department of State, we will update you again. If you are unsure about going to camp this summer and want to discuss your options with us please get in touch: [email protected] or please feel free to give us a call: 0207 5817373

Update 16th April 2020

Thank you for your continued patience. We understand that many of you have questions regarding the situation and what will happen in the next few months. As many countries continue to implement various strategies in the fight against the Coronavirus, we continue to monitor advisories from in-country Governments and the US Department of State. Your safety is our priority and we will be continually assessing the situation as it develops. 

We are expecting an update from Department of State by mid-May and we will update you as soon as we have further information from them and how this situation will affect your summer. Those participants expecting to depart in May will be contacted and we will work with you and your camp to help with any changes that need to be made. 

A small number of camps have sadly taken the decision to close their doors for this summer (which is the most difficult decision any Camp Director will ever have to take) and we are working directly with the participants to either find a new position for this summer or defer their application to next summer.

Most camps are currently working on what their plan ‘a’ (and plans b, c, d and e!) will be and many will announce these in the next few weeks. As we have mentioned previously, many camps are considering amending their summers which for some of you may mean a later start or shorter sessions – if this is the case though, you’ll still receive your full pocket money.

 

Coronavirus Update April 2nd 2020.

The past few weeks have been difficult to comprehend for many of us.  All over the world we have seen the Coronavirus pandemic touch every country and affect every community.

Like many other businesses, we are taking each day as it comes while adhering to guidelines set out by Governments both in our recruiting countries and of course in the US.

It is the beginning of April and for many camps, the summer is still far enough away that they remain positive and plan to run their camps as expected this year.  Of course the summer camp industry is diverse and each camp will be reviewing their plans for summer 2020 and may need to make changes – some may start later, or run with shorter sessions for example.

Rest assured we are actively evaluating every scenario – regardless of the outcome. We are liaising with camps, airlines and embassies.  We are not yet at the stage where we will need to implement placement deferrals or equitable refunds.  

Obviously there continue to be many unknowns.  But course, we want to help as many participants as possible enjoy the summer they’ve worked so hard for.  We also want to support the camp community who remain positive and committed to this summer.  Many of these are family businesses, or camps that serve vulnerable children who, this year more than any other, will need the positive re-enforcement that a few weeks at camp can give you.

It is a difficult situation for all of us – but we hope that with the extreme measures many countries are taking, the peak of the virus will pass, and life will return to a new normal.

For now, we ask you for something challenging.  We ask you for patience and thank the many of you who have sent positive comments and emails to us.  We are all in this together. 

However even in the most challenging times there is hope.  One of the most positive things to come out of this is the connections that so many communities have made (in a time you can’t connect physically) through song, music, art, the many memes that make us smile and play.  In many ways these types of connections are what makes summer camp so special – and at times like these we keep the spirit of summer camp alive in each of us, until we can be together, round the camp fire by the lake in the not too distant future.  Hang on in there…we promise it’s worth it!

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update 26th March

 

We know that this is a challenging time at the moment for everyone, but we wanted to reassure you that we are still working towards you having an amazing summer, at camp. At this time we haven’t had any further updates from the Department of State or the Embassy, but we will be updating you as soon as we do.

We understand that these are unsettling and uncertain times, but the good news is the majority of camps are planning to open this summer – and they’re eager to get their staff there!

If your start dates are in May don’t worry, we will be working directly with camps to re-negotiate start dates.  If you were due to depart in April or May, then we will be  in contact with you to discuss your plans. At this moment the Embassy is still set to reopen late April and the flight ban is only until May 11th. As soon as we have any further information on this we will be updating this page.

We know you all will have a lot of questions and we will try to answer those the best we can, with the information we currently have. Rest assured, that while our main objective is to get you to camp, behind the scenes we are working on a range of alternate plans that we will put forward as and when the priority arises. 

VISAS

If you haven’t yet started your visa application, you can still do your application online; but hold off booking your appointment just yet, so you don’t have to change your appointment date. If you haven’t yet received your visa pack, don’t worry. As we are working remotely, these will be sent out less regularly, so your visa pack will be sent out soon. 

FLIGHTS

Flight options will not currently be showing on your application, but will be put up closer to the time. If you’re arranging your own flights, keep an eye on current airline terms and conditions with regards to changes to dates etc.

We truly appreciate how patient you are being with this situation and will try to update you as much as we can, as soon as we can. Our staff remain committed to giving you an amazing experience this summer and your health and wellbeing remains our number one priority, and we will keep you updated.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update 18th March

New Applications

We have taken the decision to suspend interviews for the 2020 season at this time, and as of Monday 17th March are not accepting any new applications.  We know that this will be disappointing to many of you but hope to open our 2021 recruitment season in the coming weeks, and we will look forward to welcoming you to the Camp America family at that time

Transition of Camp America staff to working from home

We welcomed the Government’s decision to implement a social distancing policy in the UK. In-line with the advice given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, the majority of Camp America staff will transition away from our central London office and move to working from home for time being. 

However,  this doesn't mean we will be spending our time planning our packing for camp!  With summer still a few months away, we will continue to work towards our May and June departures - and will be on hand to answer any questions that you have! 

You can contact us via our Facebook Messenger chat on our website, the 2020 Official Camp America Group on Facebook or by good old-fashioned email!

Visa: [email protected] 

Insurance: [email protected]

General enquiries: [email protected]

Alternatively, our staff are set up to receive calls in the usual manner via our main switchboard.

Our participants' safety is always our number one priority and we are constantly reviewing our procedures and processes and know that camps will equally be putting stringent procedures in place to ensure their campers and staff stay well and camps remain operational so that everyone can have the happy, safe summer they've planned.

In the meantime, please bear with us while we adjust to a slightly different work environment – we remain committed to delivering you a high level of customer service during this ever-changing time.

Keep well and stay safe.

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update 16th March

We are clearly living through unprecedented times – but as a company, Camp America has been through lots of unusual challenges before and we’re ready to face this one.  We’ve been around for 50 years and as a division of our parent company the American Institute for Foreign Study, we’re lucky to have some big company back-up to help see us through some difficult years.

On Friday 13th March, the US Department of State announced they were advising sponsors and organisers of ‘J’ programmes to restrict travel on a world-wide basis to the US for 60 days.  As we have mentioned previously, we welcome this action now by the US Government and hope that the measures they have put in place will help curtail the spread of the virus.  However, this means that participants will be unable to enter the US on a J-1 visa prior to May 11th.  For the vast majority of you, camps will open in June and we will continue to process your application in readiness for this departure.  For some of you however, this will mean that you will need to make changes to your original plans.  Camp America is here to help with this.  We will be contacting our camps on behalf of participants with May 1- 15 start dates and will work with you directly to get you to your placement with minimal disruption. 

We understand that these are unsettling and uncertain times, but the good news is the majority of camps are planning to open this summer – and they’re eager to get their staff there!  Many of them already have incredibly rigorous procedures around communicable diseases – it’s not unusual for camps to take temperatures when staff and campers first arrive for example, and many have excellent infirmaries (which are often a hive of activity over the summer!) and take medical issues extremely seriously.  We have also made changes to the medical insurance which is part of our programme, and COVID-19 will be treated as any other illness under insurance – which means that if you contract the virus, need to be tested for it and subsequently require treatment for a positive test, you will be covered.

The situation around each country’s response to the virus continues to evolve, and we will do our best to ensure we remain flexible enough to provide the great service you’ve come to expect from Camp America.  Our staff remain committed to giving you an amazing experience this summer – in fact most of our staff (who answer all your emails, social media messages and phone calls) are heading back to their ‘second homes’ on camp this summer so are just as anxious to get going as you are!

Your health and wellbeing remains our number one priority, and we will keep you updated.

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Updated 13 March

Like many people globally we have been keeping a close eye on the continuing situation regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus. 

The US have given a strong response to the management of the virus, and have now taken the step to restrict travel from 26 countries in mainland Europe, to the US for 30 days from Friday 13th March.  Travel to the US from the UK and Ireland has not been restricted.

We welcome this move now, as we hope that (similarly to responses from other countries) social distancing and other measures will help curtail the spread of the virus.  

With summer still a few months away, we will continue to work towards our May and June departures. Recent developments in many countries will of course mean that we’ll have to work to accommodate changes  that may occur to original plans, but we are confident we can work through these challenging times.  Our participants' safety is always our number one priority and we are constantly reviewing our procedures and processes.  Equally,  we know that camps will be putting stringent procedures in place to ensure their campers and staff stay well and camps remain operational. 

Of course,  this is a fluid situation and we will continue to update you should anything change. 

 

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 - Updated 12 March

 

Like many people globally we have been keeping a close eye on the continuing situation regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus. 

The US have given a strong response to the management of the virus, and have now taken the step to restrict travel from 26 countries in mainland Europe, to the US for the 30 days from Friday 13th March.  Travel to the US from the UK and Ireland has not been restricted.

We welcome this move now as we hope that (similarly to responses from other countries) social distancing and other measures will help curtail the spread of the virus.  

With summer still a few months away, we will continue to work towards our May and June departures. Our participants' safety is always our number one priority and we are constantly reviewing our procedures and processes and know that camps will equally be putting stringent procedures in place to ensure their campers and staff stay well and camps remain operational. 

Of course,  this is a fluid situation and we will continue to update you should anything change. 

 

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Updated 5th March 2020

We understand that there is increased uncertainty with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we are closely monitoring the situation, to ensure that we are equipped to provide accurate information and communicate updates.

The safety of our participants is our highest priority. Because the outlook related to COVID-19 can change rapidly, we will continue to update this page with relevant information.

 

As the situation is still evolving, airlines and other travel partners are continually reviewing their policies. As you are not due to travel in the near future, we recommend you wait before contacting us; to ensure we have the latest policy information for your travel.


Will the new coronavirus affect my trip?

In line with most travel operators, Camp America will follow National Travel Directives (in the UK these will come from UK Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO),  and will monitor updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) with regard to Coronavirus and international travel.  We will additionally be following The US Department of State, to provide the best advice to our participants.

On Friday, January 31 President Trump signed a proclamation barring entry to the United States of most foreign nationals who travelled to China within the past 14 days. If you have travelled to China recently please call us on 0207 581 7373

If you have an existing medical condition which you believe may be affected by Coronavirus, please ensure that it is detailed on your application/medical form.   We also advise you to consult your Doctor to ensure you’re receiving the best possible medical advice.  Additional sources such as the NHS and Asthma UK provide good up to date information.

The Camp America program is going ahead as usual and we do not expect that travel to the US will be restricted.

 

Will I be covered?

Our medical insurance will cover you if you contract Covid-19 while in the US.

We will continue to monitor updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the U.S. State Department, and will let participants know directly if anything changes.

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