Potential Evacuation of Students from Program Site
Any decision to evacuate participants from an ISA program site will be based largely on the advisories and warnings of the U.S. State Department, but also on information gathered from OSAC, news media, local government, law enforcement agencies, and trusted friends/colleagues residing at the affected site. In the event the U.S. State Department updates a Travel Advisory for an ISA location after the program has started, and if the warning also includes an official State Department recommendation that all U.S. citizens evacuate the country, ISA’s default action will be to evacuate students. Evacuation efforts will include the following:
- ISA resident staff at affected ISA program location will work to help students make necessary changes to their return flights back to the United States. Students will be responsible for any fees charged by airline to change flights.
- ISA is prepared to temporarily cover these fees for participants who cannot pay. A detailed accounting of the expenses incurred by ISA on behalf of students will be maintained, and participants will be invoiced for the costs accordingly.
- ISA office(s), computers and phones at the locations will be made available for students to contact airlines and/or interested parties. The ISA on-site office(s) would serve as the main communications center(s), although ISA student housing in most sites are also equipped with phones, and some with internet.
- Another key resource is ACE, ISA’s insurance provider. ACE can provide information and coordination of various resources as necessary in the event an emergency evacuation is deemed necessary by ISA Management.
- ISA’s host university(s) will be ready to offer assistance. All of our host universities are prepared to provide various resources in the event of a political unrest, and these resources would include meeting spaces, communications infrastructure, and temporary safe havens, should the entire ISA group need to remain in one place at one time to coordinate the evacuation response.
- Per the U.S. State Department web page on section regarding evacuation (www.state.gov): Sometimes commercial transportation entering and leaving a country is disrupted during a political upheaval or natural disaster. If this happens, and if it appears unsafe for Americans to remain, the embassy and consulates will work with the task force in Washington to charter special airflights and ground transportation to help Americans to depart. The U.S. Government cannot order Americans to leave a foreign country. It can only advise and try to assist those who wish to leave. By law, an American receiving evacuation assistance is required to sign a promissory note, Emergency Loan Application and Evacuation Document agreeing to reimburse the government for some of the evacuation costs.” ISA will help students with the arrangements to utilize this assistance.
- ISA will arrange for ISA participants’ ground transportation to airport(s). Evacuation by ground transport to neighboring cities or countries may also be necessary due to airport closures, overbooking of flights, or loss of access to nearby airports. ISA will arrange and cover the expenses for this transportation.
- ISA’s agreements with providers of ground transportation will facilitate these efforts.
- ISA on-site staff in nearby ISA program locations can assist students who may need to be rerouted through those locations.
- If evacuation is delayed due to circumstances beyond the students’ control, ISA will arrange for students’ extended housing in the host country. Students will be responsible for covering the costs of the extended housing and related incidental expenses. For students who are temporarily unable to pay, ISA is prepared to offer temporary financial assistance. Detailed accounting of the expenses incurred by ISA will be maintained and the participants will be invoiced for the costs.
- ISA will use its resources and communications network to try to keep interested parties (e.g. home institution, parents, embassy etc.) informed, as necessary and appropriate, of the students’ whereabouts, status, and wellbeing.
- ISA will work with students’ host institution(s) to salvage the work they’ve completed during their time in the host country. ISA cannot guarantee that these efforts will be successful. ISA will explore various possibilities, including the completion of coursework at remote locations. The possibility of completing the cancelled program at an alternative ISA program location will also be explored.
- If ISA cannot provide students with a reasonable means of completing the academic coursework for the affected program, ISA will make attempts to recover and refund tuition plus any other recoverable program costs.