1. What are the facts around the COVID-19 coronavirus?

While there is a variety of information in the media regarding the severity, spread, and impact of the coronavirus, we have found the most updated and accurate information to be found from International SOS, the CDC, and the World Health Organization.

2. How will I be cared for if I still go and I’m either locked down or get sick? 

In every country where we serve we have a leadership structure in place to care for all of our teachers. Even during times of normal operations, we have teachers who get sick or need medical attention. Our in-country leaders and member care specialists are there to assist in any way possible during these times. In the case of quarantine or sickness due to COVID-19, the same structure will exist as well as any help needed from the Senior Director of Global Support Services and his US-based team. They will assist you in collaboration with International SOS and our health insurance provider, Cigna. 

3. What cost considerations do I need to consider in the case that I’m displaced or quarantined due to COVID-19?

It has been our standard practice to have all of our long-term teachers raise funds for a 2-month emergency fund. That emergency fund is designed to cover situations like what we’re experiencing with the coronavirus. During a time of emergency like a global pandemic of this magnitude, additional funds can be made available by our US and global offices as needed.  

4. How does ELIC make informed decisions amidst a country or global crisis like COVID-19?

In ELIC’s 38 years of operation, we have seen a variety of local and global crises from natural disasters, to disease, to political unrest. In every situation, we evaluate and make decisions based on a variety of factors. Those factors include local knowledge from our leaders on the ground, the US and international community of crisis experts (such as the WHO, the CDC, and the State Department), and the media. We take input from those sources, among others, and our Crisis Management Team (CMT) meets and decides on appropriate next steps. The Crisis Management Team is a fluid group of leaders from across the organization. Given the nature, location, and severity of a crisis determines who sits on the Crisis Management Team. During the coronavirus crisis, the current CMT is comprised of the President of ELIC, the Sr. Director of Mobilization & Operations, the Sr. Director of Global Support Services, the Sr. Director of Finance, the Sr. Director of Marketing & Development, ELIC’s China leadership team, ELIC’s regional director of Southeast Asia, and ELIC’s regional director of the Middle East/North Africa. 

5. Does my profile cover evacuation?

Medical and security related evacuation are both covered through ISOS and Cigna. See below for more information on these coverages/services. 

If deciding to self-evacuate, travel and related expenses to evacuate can be expensed within your profile. Typically, these are non-planned expenses so there could be a negative impact to your profile health. If this becomes an option for our teachers, we ask them to first initiate the conversation with their Team Leader or Country Director. They will notify Global Support Services of the decision. 

6. What are some of the global benefits that are unique with our insurance coverage?
Cigna Global has an impressive worldwide network of providers that it carefully screens to deliver high-quality care all around the world. Cigna also uniquely combines with ISOS (see below) to provide seamless integration of pre-departure services, health services, urgent or emergency response, evacuation, etc. This combination of services truly represents best-in-class medical and safety support that is also utilized by 70% of Fortune 500 companies. 
Telehealth, for example, allows our personnel overseas to access a doctor or nurse from any location and know what they can do for self-care.

7. What is ISOS and what does it cover?
International SOS (ISOS) provides us with medical, security, and travel advice in addition to 24/7 assistance worldwide. They have unparalleled reach and capabilities to assist us through basic safety or through significant crises. They have service centers throughout the world and provide language/translation services to help our personnel navigate challenging situations. They also coordinate the logistical elements of any urgent care or medical or safety evacuation.
To learn more, visit their website, www.internationalsos.com

8. What are current ELIC teachers doing right now amidst the coronavirus?
The peak of the outbreak in China took place while our teachers were attending our annual conference in Thailand. As a result, they were unable to return to their schools. Our southeast Asia and MENA country leaders responded quickly by creating a variety of opportunities for our China teachers to participate in while they wait to return to China. Since February, we have had China teachers in places like Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Tunisia, and Morocco. As borders are closing globally and teachers continue to have uncertainty regarding their return to China, approx. 90% of them chose to return to North America in late March. Our teachers are actively teaching online as their schools are closed across the world. Even with closures in their countries, they are finding creative ways to use technology to continue to connect with their students and teams. 

9. Is ELIC still planning to send people overseas this year?
Yes. Our local staff and international leadership teams are fully anticipating and planning to teachers in 2020. To read an update about our summer programs, please refer to the COVID-19 blog. Our country leadership teams are actively working on placements for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

10. Does ELIC abide by US State Department travel advisories, and in what case would ELIC act contrary to those advisories?ELIC actively monitors the State Department advisories at all times of the year, regardless of any global or regional crises. The State Department issues valuable insights and information regarding known safety risks around the globe. Historically and by spiritual calling, ELIC goes to places that others can’t go or won’t go. Organizationally, we don’t feel called to “easy” places. As a result, we often send people to places that the State Department may advise against and those advisories change often. For example, ELIC currently sends teachers to North Korea and Iraq. In times of a health crisis like the coronavirus, we look at State Department advisories as well as recommendations from other organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization to determine when and where it might be wise to live and travel. In all circumstances, our teachers are trained and equipped to live in wisdom and with the support of a team and leadership structure that helps them navigate the complexities of locations that may be difficult or sometimes dangerous. On March 20, 2020 we posted this blog post to explain our response to the State Department issuing a global level 4 travel advisory.

11. If my trip gets canceled, will my donors get reimbursed? How?

If your trip gets canceled, ELIC will hold all funds received on behalf of your account for two years for use in a future program. If donors would like to request a refund, they may do so by sending in their official receipt received from ELIC with the request. If a donor opted to not receive a receipt, then the request can be made by phone or email. Please call the ELIC finance department at 800.366.3542 or email us at finance@elic.org.

12. Knowing I am called to go, what are some things I can say to ease the concerns of friends and family?

ELIC has a long and very good reputation for caring for teachers while they serve with us. The support that we give our teachers is one of our primary core values as an organization. We cannot guarantee anyone’s safety even during the best of times, but we work hard as an organization to train people well, to mitigate risk, and to place people on teams that provide a day-to-day support system. For concerns related to the coronavirus, we have a team of leaders from a variety of regions globally who are monitoring the ongoing developments. We are monitoring how various governments are responding, how our partner schools are responding, and how our current teachers on the ground are feeling.

13. What ways has ELIC had to adjust or adapt travel plans, programs, or placements since the coronavirus started?
  1. All of our China-based teachers had to find temporary places to live and serve outside of China during the peak of the outbreak. So far, the Spring semester in China still has not resumed, but our teachers are well cared for and finding purpose and meaning during this unplanned break. As of March 20, 2020 approximately 90% of our China teachers returned to North America amid the indefinite closure of borders in nearly every country where we work.
  2. We planned our inaugural Middle East/North Africa (MENA) conference to take place in southern Spain at the end of March. As the coronavirus began to spread throughout Europe, we were forced to postpone this gathering. 
  3. Our leadership teams continue to meet on a regular basis to discuss future programs. We are making adjustments to those programs on an as-needed basis and providing options for those who have committed. Click here to read the letter that ELIC President, Tim Davis, wrote to those who have committed to our 2020 summer programs.

14. Do we have any infected teachers?

As the pandemic continues to spread globally, it is possible that someone may be diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms without an official test. If that happens, our Global Support Services department in conjunction with ISOS and Cigna Health will respond appropriately.

15. Are we planning to serve in any cities where there are coronavirus cases?
COVID-19 is considered a global pandemic by the WHO, therefore it is possible that we could serve in cities where there are coronavirus cases, particularly if the virus ends up being a seasonal illness like other novel coronaviruses. In all locations, we conduct a thorough risk assessment and COVID-19 will be included in that assessment.

16. Would we still serve this summer if we would get quarantined once we arrived?
We would not send teachers for a summer program knowing that a quarantine is likely as that would consume a significant portion of their available time serving in that country.

17. What should I tell supporters who aren't sure if they will give because they aren't convinced I'll be able to go?
It is to be expected that supporters are hesitant to give financially during this season of uncertainty. See question 11 above for information regarding our refund policy. Historically, pandemics last about 3 months, so we are moving forward as an organization with expectancy that our schools will be back to full operation for the Fall semester. If we foresee any changes to that plan, we will communicate promptly with all of our current teachers and new teachers.

18. What is the threshold at which ELIC would say we are delaying or prohibiting the sending of people to a certain country?

As noted previously, when we make these determinations, we rarely rely on any single factor, but rather strive to examine the entirety of the situation. We are also leaning heavily on the perspective of the universities in the countries we send people to. They have a vested interest in keeping our people safe and healthy. If those universities are not ready for us because there has not been stabilization or return to relative normalcy, we would delay or prohibit the return of teachers. However, even if universities or other in-country partners are welcoming us back, we would assess based on a combination of travel advisory levels, and information from our organizational partners and various other sources for evaluating risk.  

19. Is ELIC still planning to send teachers for summer programs this year? 
On March 23, 2020 ELIC President, Tim Davis, wrote this letter to those who have committed to participate in our summer programs. For the most updated information regarding our summer programs, please refer to our blog. Our great team of Candidate Advisors are continuing to work with those who have committed to these programs.