Summer 2020 Update
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Coronavirus
Last updated: March 25, 2020, 5:45 PM Eastern Time
At the Honors Performance Series, we appreciate the trust you place in us. To ensure you have access to the latest program information and guidance, we will use this webpage to provide updates on COVID-19 and steps we are taking to ensure your health and safety during our programs. We continue to proactively monitor COVID-19 with the support of our medical and risk management partners.
The Honors Performance Series is operated by WorldStrides, a global company with more than 50 years of experience. The WorldStrides Health and Safety team is working around the clock to monitor the situation related to COVID-19 worldwide and is in frequent communication with our Honors Performance Series leadership. We continue to follow the guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of State (DOS), and our Medical Director, Dr. Neal Sikka, from The George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine.
The safety and security of our program participants is always our utmost priority, and we will not run our programs if we don’t believe it’s safe to do so.
Here are some answers to questions we are frequently hearing from customers:
Will my program be cancelled?
We are committed to student safety and will not host any programs in locations that are not deemed safe for travel. We are following the directions of officials and working closely with the concert halls, conductors, hotels, and other vendors that host our programs. We will continue to work with them and follow guidance from the CDC, DOS, and WHO and will take action as needed. If your program location is deemed unsafe for travel, we will make our best effort to reschedule, including accepting all enrolled (Junior) Finalists into age-appropriate 2021 programs. If rescheduling is not possible, we may cancel your program.
While we have made no schedule modifications at this time, we are actively communicating with our partners to identify and discuss all possible solutions for the summer’s programs. We will email all participants with additional information as it becomes available.
When will you make decisions about canceling the program?
The situation is constantly evolving and it is our hope that we will be able to run the programs as scheduled this summer. We are continuing to monitor the situation and work with our hotels, venues, and other partners and will make sure to update you on the status of the program at least 30 days prior to the session start – if not earlier. We understand your concerns regarding making travel arrangements and would suggest that you consult your airline regarding their current refund policies. You may also want to consider speaking with a travel insurance provider as well as reviewing the Series' Travel Protection Plan offering.
To further protect program participants, we are pleased to have added a new Travel Protection Plan that includes Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. Beginning March 19, participants traveling with June through August 2020 programs may add this policy up until the date of their final payment deadline. For additional information about this policy and to enroll, please see the “Program Planning” tab on your program’s (Junior) Finalist Update Page. For complete details of the CFAR Travel Protection Plan, click here.
I am worried about traveling later this year. What should I do?
Our recommendation is to see how the situation develops before making any decisions. To encourage a "wait and see" approach, no additional cancellation penalties will be assessed between March 25 and April 21.
We are relying on the CDC and government officials for guidance. We encourage you to monitor reliable sources like the CDC to understand the travel advice for various locations as this situation unfolds.
I am having a difficult time reaching Customer Service. What do I do?
We apologize we aren’t able to offer as prompt support as you’re used to receiving. As you might expect, our phone lines and inboxes are experiencing an unprecedented level of inquiries regarding the coronavirus situation. Please know that we are doing everything we can to provide the best service possible. Here are some suggestions that will help us help you:
- Reach out regarding urgent needs. If your situation is not urgent, we recommend contacting us at a later time when we can better assist you. As of March 25, we have decided to forgo any additional increases in cancellation penalties through April 21.
- Group or individual question? Because our work is highly customized and involves many different elements (concert halls, conductors, hotels, etc.) high-level decisions related to modification, postponement, or cancellation of our programs take time. We appreciate your patience as we work to identify the best solution for the majority of participants for each of our scheduled programs.
- Communicate via one channel. If possible, we recommend using one channel of communication to reach us, so that we can make sure to address your needs most effectively. If we cannot respond with full answers promptly, we will communicate a timeframe within which we plan to respond.
Will I get a refund?
The safety and security of our participants is, and always will be, our highest priority. In the event that the Honors Performance Series is unable to run your program as planned, we will first attempt to reschedule, including immediate acceptance into a 2021 Series program. If rescheduling is not possible and we are forced to cancel, you will receive a full refund, including your deposit.
All other cancellations, including if you choose to cancel your participation early, will be managed under the terms and conditions of either the Travel Protection Plan you have purchased or the cancellation policy at the time of your registration. As noted above, we have recently added a new Travel Protection Plan option that includes CFAR coverage. Please visit the “Program Planning” tab of your program’s (Junior) Finalist Update Page for additional information. For complete details of the CFAR Travel Protection Plan, click here.
Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, we encourage you to wait until your final payment deadline (in May or June, depending on the program for which you are enrolled) before making any final decisions about your participation.
What are you doing to keep participants safe, more generally?
Dr. Neal Sikka, the Medical Director for our parent company, WorldStrides, has advised on guidelines for all programs, including the Honors Performance Series, and we will be implementing additional training for our staff to encourage best hygiene practices. These best practices include frequent hand washes and refraining from the unnecessary touching of surfaces.
What if a participant gets sick during the program?
Students (and adults) do sometimes fall ill while traveling, which is why we have invested in our Doctors on Call partnership with The George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. In the event that a participant becomes sick, we will follow our best practices to allow the participant to rest, and avoid spreading germs. Where appropriate, we will seek additional guidance or care for the participant from Doctors on Call.
In response to COVID-19, we have developed additional guidance and protocols. If we have reason to believe a participant has been exposed to COVID-19, we will immediately engage local health authorities and our Medical Director, Dr. Sikka.
Dr. Sikka advises that if a person is feeling ill and COVID-19 is suspected, it is essential not to wait until an individual is very sick to seek advice and help. COVID-19 is an influenza-like illness. Like the flu, most people who get COVID-19 will only need rest and over the counter medications to recover fully. However, immediate care helps to avoid the unlikely situation that a person might become very sick and need to go to a clinic or hospital to get better.
What can I do to stay healthy?
To keep yourself and others safe and healthy:
- Comply with special instructions issued by local officials.
- Do not travel if you are feeling sick.
- Adhere to known, effective best practices to minimize your chance of catching respiratory infections:
- Do not touch any part of your face without first washing your hands.
- Avoid contact with persons who are already ill.
- Avoid unnecessary touching of other persons (e.g. shaking hands in greeting) and limit touching publicly shared surfaces, where possible.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash hands especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Carry hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol) and use it for situations where handwashing might not be possible.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue.
For any additional questions, please call our Customer Support Team at 800-503-0807.
The Honors Performance Series is proudly presented and operated by WorldStrides.