The Experiment has implemented several participant health and safety protocols for summer 2021 programs with the goal to reduce transportation-related COVID-19 infection and the translocation of the virus from one location to another.

To achieve this goal, The Experiment adheres to both host country entry regulations and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulations. If host country entry regulations fall short of CDC regulations, The Experiment defers to CDC regulations.

BEFORE DEPARTURE TO HOST COUNTRY

As directed by the CDC, participants must:

  • Get tested with a viral PCR test one to three days before departing to their host country [1]
  • Present their test results to immigration officials and/or The Experiment before departing to their host country [2]
  • Participants who test positive may not travel [3]
  • Participants who test negative may travel [4]

AFTER ARRIVAL TO HOST COUNTRY

As directed by the CDC, participants must:

  • Get tested with a viral PCR test three to five days after arrival.

BEFORE TRAVEL BACK TO THE U.S.

For participants returning to the United States at the end of the program, all airline passengers entering the United States, must provide a negative viral PCR test result that is taken within three calendar days of departure.

If a participant tests positive, The Experiment will assist the participant in finding room and board accommodations during the isolation period and in offering logistical support. [7]

PROGRAM CHANGES

Out of an abundance of caution, The Experiment has suspended:

  • Homestays [8]
  • Independent Travel [9]
  • International Excursions [10]

PREVENTION REQUIREMENTS

The Experiment mandates that participants uphold these CDC regulations:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others [11]
  • PHYSICIAL DISTANCE. Stay at least six feet from others, whenever possible [12]
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water [13]

SYMPTOMATIC AND/OR POSITIVE TEST PROCEDURES

Participants with COVID-19 have experienced a wide range of symptoms reported—ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Per the CDC, participants experiencing symptoms15 should stay at home and contact their health care provider; participants with “emergency warning signs” [14] should get emergency medical care immediately.

Participants who present symptoms (or test positive) need to isolate. Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. Isolation includes:

  • Staying home [15]
  • Separating yourself from other people [16]
  • Telling your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The CDC defines close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. [17]
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces in your sick room everyday (others will do so in common areas) [18]

Participants who present symptoms can be around others after 10 days since symptoms first appeared and 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

Similarly, participants who tested positive but present no symptoms–and continue to have no symptoms–can be around others after 10 days have passed since the positive test.

Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.

EXPOSED PARTICIPANT PROCEDURE

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 must quarantine21 unless they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have been fully vaccinated within the last three months and show no symptoms of COVID-19
  • They have had the COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months, have recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

Quarantines may stop:

  • After day 10 without testing, OR
  • After day seven after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on the fifth day of quarantine or later)

After stopping a 10-day quarantine, you should:

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash your hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Footnotes

  1. Participants should visit their state, territorial, tribal, or local health department’s website to look for the latest information on where to get tested. Participants should make sure that the test results will be completed and known prior to their departure. The cost of the pre-departure test is the participant’s responsibility.
  2. The Experiment’s pre-departure testing requirement mimics what is now required in most host countries.
  3. Participants must not travel while infectious with COVID-19 even if they do not have symptoms. Participants must stay home and isolate from others. Participants must delay their travel until it is safe for them to end home isolation.
  4. A participant who receives a negative test does not necessarily mean that they were not recently exposed. As a result, participants should continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet from others, frequently wash hands, and monitor their health for signs of illness while traveling.
  5. As directed by CDC, “self-quarantine requires that a contact remain in a specific room separate from other non-exposed people in the home, and ideally with access to a separate bathroom.”
  6. Participants are responsible for the cost of room and board and other costs associated with an extended stay (for example airline ticket change fees, local transportation, etc.) beyond the program’s official end date.
  7. Homestays have always been an integral part of The Experiment programs. With the advent of COVID-19, homestays may present an elevated risk of exposure to both participants and host families in some settings. As a result, The Experiment has suspended homestays.
  8. The Experiment defines “Independent Travel” as travel that is independently organized by a participant that: a) is unrelated to program activities; and b) involves an overnight stay.
  9. The Experiment defines “International Excursion” as a participant educational trip planned and led by The Experiment outside of the host country.
  10. Consistent with CDC guidance, The Experiment requires that participants wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. Masks must: a) have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric (gaiters must have two layers, or be folded to make two layers; b) completely cover one’s nose and mouth; c) fit snugly against the sides of one’s face and doesn’t have gaps; d) have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask; e) do not use the following items as masks: fabric that makes it had to breathe, e.g. vinyl; masks that have exhalation valves or vents which allow virus particles to escape; masks that are intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators; scarves, ski masks and balaclavas; face shields (evaluation is ongoing but effectiveness is unknown at this time).
  11. Creating enough physical distance from others, in addition to wearing a mask, is very important in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. Spread happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  12. Washing one’s hands is easy and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. CDC recommends washing one’s hands before eating or preparing food and touching one’s face and after using the restroom, coughing or sneezing, leaving a public place, handling a mask, changing a diaper, caring for someone sick, and touching animals or pets. Follow these five steps every time: a) wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap; b) lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap—then lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails; c) scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds; d) rinse your hands well under clean, running water; e) dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them; f) if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  13. Symptoms include: Fever or chills; Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fatigue; Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea
  14. Emergency Warning Signs include: Trouble breathing; Persistent pain or pressure in the chest; New confusion; Inability to wake or stay awake; Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
  15. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Take care of yourself: get rest and stay hydrated; take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better. Stay in touch with your health care provider. Monitor your symptoms. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you of the emergency warning signs. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  16. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Clean your hands often. Avoid sharing personal household items.
  17. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting one’s close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.
  18. High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible. If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning and wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom.
  19. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.