Answers to Your Questions About Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

LAST UPDATED: April 1st, 2020

Sustainable Summer has been closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak. We have provided answers to common questions related to the outbreak below. Please email with any additional questions.


What disruption do you anticipate due to the coronavirus outbreak?

We had summer programs planned for three different locations for Summer 2020: Dartmouth College, NYC, and Costa Rica. As of today, we anticipate significant programmatic impacts for all three program locations.

Dartmouth: On March 30th, Dartmouth made the decision to suspend summer term activities through July. We have been in communication with the College and are evaluating options for an August session. We are contacting enrolled families about a tentative date change of our Dartmouth sessions. We are not accepting new applications for our Dartmouth sessions for 2020.

NYC/Brooklyn: Given the current situation in NYC and available information about the most likely timeline of the spread and control of the outbreak, we do not think it is prudent to continue forward with the hope of running our Brooklyn session. We are contacting enrolled families about options for refund or change of program.

Costa Rica: There is currently a State Department Level 3 “do not travel” advisory in place for all international travel. Costa Rica is also currently denying entry to all non-resident foreign visitors. Obviously, should this situation remain unchanged we will be unable to run our Costa Rica sessions. We will make a decision regarding our Costa Rica sessions on or around April 30th.

What happens if Sustainable Summer cancels a session or I am personally unable to travel or participate due to covid-19?

We have modified our refund policy to account for this scenario. For additional information on our revised refund policy, please click here.

How are you staying informed and up-to-date?

We are remaining informed by receiving timely updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as from the Departments of Health in the states we operate. We also receive communications from our emergency assistance provider for our international programs. We recognize that there are many different unverified sources of information about coronavirus online and on social media; however, these sources are sometimes not based on science and may be unintentionally alarming. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, we are relying only on government authorities and non-media organizations that specialize in epidemic risk assessment and analysis.

Health Protocols and Preventative Measures

How will you be screening participants and staff for coronavirus?

All participants and staff will undergo additional screening before arrival. In the weeks preceding a program, we will be asking families to provide additional information about any recent travel and their current health.

Similar precautions will be taken upon arrival to the program.

Participants that exhibit any symptoms while on program will be evaluated for fever and local authorities will be notified as warranted.

How will you be separating anybody suspected of having coronavirus?

We will continue to adhere to guidance from the CDC and state and local officials department of health officials, but can say that anybody that exhibits symptoms would immediately be isolated from our student population and we will seek a doctor or health authority’s direction.

Where is the closest hospital?

We have established facilities for emergency care stated in our emergency response protocols for all programs. Generally speaking, we utilize urgent care clinics far more frequently than emergency rooms.

Is staff prepared and trained to handle any outbreak of coronavirus?

We have a dedicated medical lead on every program and have also planned additional training for our full staff to orient them to recognize signs of coronavirus – or any communicable disease or virus for that matter – in our participants. This will take place before any participants arrive.

What will Sustainable Summer do to prevent anyone from contracting coronavirus?

Our administrators are reviewing all medical protocols. This entails reviewing how participants and staff will be screened before arrival; all of our hygiene procedures; and extra vigilance around residential and bathroom sanitation. We anticipate taking the following specific steps during programs:

  • more frequent cleaning of bathroom facilities and other physical vectors for disease spread with additional sanitization steps taken
  • more signs and stations to ensure handwashing with additional hand sanitizer stations located throughout residential facilities
  • staff will be reminded to promote regular handwashing and good hygiene practices
  • providing additional training to staff on what symptoms to look for that require a check-in at the health center

What if campus needs to be shut down mid-session?

Above all else the health and safety of our participants and staff is our top priority. We will rely on guidance from the CDC, state or local health officials or our campus partners. Should it be deemed necessary to end a session early due to an outbreak we are confident in our ability to ensure that everybody gets home safely and in a well-organized fashion.

Refund Policies

Will you refund our program tuition if Sustainable Summer has to cancel a program due to the outbreak?

In light of the uncertainty surrounding the covid-19 outbreak, we have amended our refund policy as follows:

Should your travel to a program be disrupted by:

  • Travel bans or Level 3 warnings put in place by a state department of health or the CDC
  • Personal COVID-19 illness or quarantine fewer than 14 days from your program start date
  • Suspension of major airline carrier services after May 31st
  • Closure of campus by a university partner such that we unable to hold a scheduled session

Sustainable Summer will offer you the choice of:

  • a full refund of all program tuition, including the $500 enrollment deposit
  • rolling over tuition to a 2021 session
  • converting an amount of your choosing into a tax-deductible donation with a refund of the difference

In the event we need to cancel a program after the start of a session, Sustainable Summer will issue a prorated refund (based on the number of nights remaining) for all of the above reasons.

All other cancellations are subject to Sustainable Summer’s standing refund policy based on the date on which you withdraw from the program. Sustainable Summer will not be responsible for your costs of travel (airfare, etc) should a program be cancelled due to covid-19.

Can I get insurance that covers covid-19?

Probably not. Since covid-19 is now a “known” event in the insurance industry, Sustainable Summer is not able to insure against business interruption related to covid-19. Similarly, a travel or tuition insurance policy purchased by a person usually contains “trip interruption” coverage, but this would not confer benefits in the unlikely event of a trip or program cancellation due to covid-19 (unless purchased prior to the date in January insurers declared it be a “known” event).