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Health & Safety

A Letter from CEA Student Affairs

Thank you for the opportunity to provide your students with a study abroad experience that will complement their academic goals while contributing to personal growth and development of a more global perspective. At CEA, we strive to make every student's study abroad experience as successful as possible. Our focus on student health and safety is evident in the programs we develop, in the program sites we select, and in the planning and implementation of academic and cultural experiences.

I want to assure you in your various roles as student supporter, parental liaison, university representative, and educator, that CEA welcomes your students into a healthy, safe support system in which they can enjoy a quality and immersive international education. From pre-departure through re-entry, CEA is committed to student health, wellness, and safety.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Kather, Director of Student Affairs


Safety is Our First Priority

CEA's well-trained staff and network of health and safety providers are committed to industry best practices as they guide and support students through pre-departure and after arrival in their host city. Two weeks before their program starts, we provide students with emergency contact information for CEA staff members in the host city. During on-site Orientation, students receive information and directions on what to do in an emergency. They are advised to routinely check their e-mail for communications or information we distribute in the event of an emergency.

Students have access to a site-specific, 24/7 emergency phone number that's monitored by on-site CEA staff, who can assist with emergency concerns in the host city. CEA students also have Europ Assistance, an international travel assistance provider for times when students travel independently, away from their CEA program location. Europ Assistance helps students access health care, translation services, and accommodation, and stay informed about local conditions where they're traveling.

Parents and universities have 24/7 access to the toll free CEA Domestic Emergency Phone number (1.800.266.4441). The number is answered by CEA Phoenix-based staff and may be used to report concerns or emergencies.


In the Event of an Emergency

CEA has established detailed health and safety policies, orientation guidelines, and emergency response protocols for all CEA international locations. While, in this changing world, CEA cannot guarantee the absolute safety of any program participant, CEA educates students about the possible risks abroad during pre-departure, upon arrival in Orientation, and at intervals during the study program, so they can make informed choices about their personal safety.

CEA specifically requests that all students collaborate in keeping themselves safe by 1) avoiding risky behaviors; 2) maintaining a working cell phone where CEA may reach them in case of any domestic or international emergency; and 3) sharing their independent travel plans so CEA knows their whereabouts in case of an emergency situation.

In the mandatory on-site arrival Orientation, we advise CEA students of the Student Emergency Protocol, should they find themselves in an emergency situation such as a violent protest, terrorist attack, or natural disaster:

  1. Shelter in place or find a safe place to stay.
  2. Contact their Emergency Contact/family members.
  3. Contact CEA or respond to CEA communications.
  4. Follow the directions of local authorities.

The comprehensive CEA General Emergency Protocol addresses both singular student incidents and mass incidents, and in complemented by site specific evacuation plans for students and staff. On-site Emergency Protocols include all contact information for CEA staff, local authorities, partner institutions, student contact numbers, security precautions, and specific guidelines for on-site staff on liaison with CEA Headquarters regarding potential emergency situations.

The CEA Emergency Communications Plan clarifies the lines of communications between our international sites, U.S.-based partner institutions, and CEA Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, in case an emergency should occur.

In the event of a travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State, CEA will:

  • send e-mail messages to all students
  • send e-mail messages to all students' emergency contacts
  • send e-mail messages to students' home institutions within 48 hours
  • post a message on the CEA homepage
  • post to SECUSS-L, the major study abroad industry listserv

CEA's Ongoing Efforts to Monitor, Evaluate, & Communicate

In order to promote a healthy and safe environment for all students and staff, CEA has established the following:

  • Regular communication via electronic means and live streaming between International and U.S.-based staff
  • Student Affairs Department that includes professionals with experience in College Student Development, Mental Health, and Risk Assessment to oversee student health, wellness, and safety needs globally
  • Crisis Management Team composed of experienced CEA staff and the CEA Executive Management Team, to facilitate execution of the CEA General Emergency Protocol if needed
  • Regular review of practices and updating of CEA Policies and Emergency Protocols
  • Regular staff training on critical student issues and review of CEA Policies and Emergency Protocols
  • Ongoing monitoring of guidelines and travel advisories set by the U.S. Department of State regarding U.S. citizens overseas
  • Ongoing monitoring of health information and recommendations from the World Health Organization and U.S. Center for Disease Control
  • Membership with NAFSA: Association for International Educators to communicate with our peers in the study abroad field and remain aware of industry Health & Safety standards
  • Online tips and resources for families, including a Parent Guide detailing steps families can take to assist their students in preparing and thinking about Health & Safety while abroad
  • Multiple media outlets for providing students with health and safety knowledge, including:
    • Individual student MyCEA accounts
    • Email
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Snapchat
    • CEA Health & Safety Updates webpage

Especially for U.S. Faculty and Administrators

  • Timely notification to your college/university's primary contact from CEA Director of Student Affairs or CEA Regional Consultant re: any serious issue that involves your students; as we will communicate important messages to you via your primary contact, we request that they not opt-out of CEA's email communications
  • Risk management guidance for faculty-led and custom programming
  • Collaboration on pre-departure preparations for students, faculty and staff

In the event of a Travel Warning, CEA will e-mail all participants' emergency contacts and home institutions within 48 hours, post a message on our homepage, www.ceaStudyAbroad.com, and email SECUSS-L, the major study abroad industry listserv.


CHP Travel Health Insurance

All CEA study abroad participants are enrolled in our selected study abroad health insurance plan provided by Consolidated Health Plans (CHP) at no extra cost. This reimbursement-style plan requires student to pay for services up front and file a claim with CHP, providing copies of the receipts for treatment or medications received. CEA’s provision of this coverage ensures each student is covered by a medical insurance plan that meets CEA standards for students living abroad, and includes:

  • The ability for CEA to work closely with CHP to handle student medical concerns
  • Access to important information in the event of an accident or illness
  • 24-hour emergency medical assistance and evacuation services

The CHP medical insurance plan covers a maximum of $250,000 for any sickness or accident that occurs during the dates of the study program, in conjunction with any other medical insurance that may be available to a student, such as a university sponsored plan of family plan. This includes coverage for any unexpected re-emergence of a previously well-controlled pre-existing condition.

During Orientation, CEA staff provides students with contact information for medical facilities and health providers in their host city. CEA staff ensure that students have access to quality medical care in their host city, for both physical and emotional needs. CEA staff assist students in making arrangements with English-speaking providers when possible and, when unavailable, accompany students to appointments.


Europ Assistance USA

As part of the international insurance plan, CHP partners with Europ Assistance USA, an international emergency medical assistance company that works with and provides information on 98,000 facilities and 450,000 physicians worldwide. Europ Assistance USA supports and assist students during an emergency or other kinds of distress, 24/7. Access their portal here: Europ Assistance USA

Please contact CEA at 1.800.266.4441 if you have questions about health insurance.


Personal Liability

As students may engage in paraprofessional and internship experiences, CEA also provides Personal Liability coverage to students to protect them in the event of accidental damages; for example, damage to office equipment in a CEA arranged workplace. This is not equivalent to personal property insurance, which students are encouraged to obtain to protect their belongings in case of theft or damage.

Please contact CEA at 1.800.266.4441 if you have questions about personal liability coverage.


STEP Program

All students, friends of students, and family members are advised to register with the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP provides information and updates on conditions in the countries where students may be traveling, which is helpful in the changing world dynamic.


Ongoing Support

CEA provides online resources to help prepare students for a safe, healthy, and valuable study abroad experience. Once students have applied, they are given access to an individual MyCEA Account, which outlines pre-departure requirements and recommendations to promote each student's health and safety abroad, including:

  • Completion of online CEA Health & Wellness Profile
  • Links to U.S. Consulate, Department of State, and Centers for Disease Control to obtain the latest travel information and requirements
  • Discussion to have with their primary health provider during their pre-departure appointment
  • Packing considerations for prescription medications and passport

CEA Site Specialists in Phoenix, Arizona, are available to review medical questionnaires and provide support to students and families who have questions about special accommodations and/or medical or psychological services that may be needed during the program abroad. Pre-departure Orientation sessions review the CEA Student Handbook and provide all contact information for CEA staff in the host city.


Promoting Safety & Well-Being Away from Home

CEA on-site staff is experienced and knowledgeable about the host city, local culture, and working with study abroad students. On-site staff monitors local authorities, including emergency responder and government agencies, and maintains routine communication with both students and CEA headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. CEA's executive team monitors U.S. international relations—including travel advisories—through the U.S. Department of State, our international on-site staff, and a network of study abroad providers and professional associations including NAFSA: Association of International Educators and NAFSA’s Interassociational Advisory Committee on Health and Safety.

Our international staff is also well-versed in our global CEA Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan and the companion Study Abroad Center Emergency Plan. Before their program starts, we provide students with the contact information of on-site staff in the host city. The on-site staff is available 24/7 in the event of an emergency and to assist students in making doctor's appointments. In some cases, a staff member will accompany the student to appointments.

To request more information, contact your Regional Consultant or call 1.877.449.2775.


Emergencies

In the event of a medical emergency, we instruct students to seek emergency help immediately, then contact their international medical insurance provider and CEA on-site staff.

For other types of emergencies, students should contact CEA on-site staff. Families should contact the CEA at its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona at 1.800.266.4441. Our site specialists will pass issues/concerns on to CEA on-site staff, provide advice to concerned family members, and liaison between parents and on-site staff for the following reasons:

  • U.S. privacy laws prevent faculty and international on-site staff from discussing a student's situation, including health, psychological condition, grades, etc., with the parent
  • On-site staff needs to focus their energy on the student—especially in an emergency

U.S Department of State

The U.S. Department of State is a valuable resource to both students and their families in an emergency. U.S. embassies and consulates can help locate U.S. students overseas when relatives or friends are concerned about their welfare or need to notify them of an emergency at home. Students 18 and older must sign a Privacy Act waiver before the government will release information about them to third parties. Without the waiver, the State Department can only confirm whether or not they have been in contact with the student.

To locate a missing student, call the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management at 202.647.5225 and have the following information ready:

  • Caller's full name, address, phone number, and relationship to student
  • Student's name
  • Student's date and place of birth
  • Student's passport number (if known)
  • Student's last-known address and phone number; itinerary
  • Reason for student's travel/residence abroad
  • Date of last contact
  • Other points of contact abroad (friends, business associates, hotel, etc.)
  • If ill, where hospitalized and, if relevant to current hospitalization, the name and phone number of attending physician in the U.S.
  • You may also be asked to provide a photo of the student

It may also be useful to contact credit card companies, telephone companies, etc. to try to determine if the missing student’s accounts have been used recently and where those transactions occurred.

To communicate a family emergency from home, parents should have ready:

  • Nature of the emergency
  • What they want to tell the student about the emergency
  • Name, address, telephone number, and relationship of person they wish the student to call after the emergency family message is relayed to them by the U.S. embassy or consulate.

More information about the U.S. Department of State is available online.


Support for Families

  • Online support tips
  • Toll-free access (1.800.266.4441) to the 24-hour emergency phone line, which is monitored by staff at CEA Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Timely updates of CEA's monitoring of world situations

Support for University/College Faculty and Administrators

  • Timely notification to your primary contact from your Regional Consultant or other CEA University Relations contact regarding any serious issue that involves one or more of your students overseas
  • Risk management for Custom and Faculty-Led programming
  • Detailed Emergency Plans and Risk Management Protocols
  • An accessible Health & Safety Committee, comprised of members of the CEA Executive Management Team

UPDATE
SAN JOSE COSTA RICA:
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

Volcano Eruption — On-Going


Due to the recent activity of the Turrialba volcano, approximately 56 km (34.7 miles) from CEA San José, Costa Rica, the San José International Airport temporarily closed today for a period of time. It reopened at noon (local time), but sometimes suspends operations during such conditions. Students arriving for Fall programs are strongly encouraged to confirm their flights. If flight information changes, students should contact their CEA San José staff. CEA staff continue to monitor local conditions. For local information in English, please click here.

View More Updates

WHAT OUR UNIVERSITY PARTNERS SAY

Competence and Efficiency
Working with CEA has been a pleasure for students, faculty, and administrators at Illinois State University. All logistic and programmatic matters, both in the U.S. and abroad, are handled by CEA staff with efficiency, competence, and friendliness. We couldn’t be happier and greatly appreciate CEA’s superb service.

Rachel L. Shively , Associate Professor of Spanish & Applied Linguistics
Illinois State University

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