ATA Responds to COVID-19

Where We Are Now

ATA continues to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 around the world. The safety and well-being of our travelers and employees are our top priority, and we are using every source of information at our fingertips—including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization; US policy-based sources, including Department of State and Overseas Security Advisory Council; our risk management partner, Global Rescue; and the eye-witness accounts from our trusted partners abroad—to carefully watch the situation in every single one of our program locations.

We have cancelled all international trips through the summer and are making decisions about programs in the last quarter of the year no later than 60 days before departure. We are closely monitoring the European Union’s stance vis a vis American visitors (re-evaluated every two weeks), as well as the COVID-19 data in various US states. We have relaxed our cancellation and refund policies to allow for flexibility when travelers express anxiety.

When the risk assessment is too high, we act quickly to cancel the program and refund all monies.

Our study abroad program (CET Academic Programs) has cancelled all summer and fall programs (college, gap, and pre-college) for 2020. We are now offering virtual summer intensive language programs in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian. This fall, we are working with several U.S. institutions to provide services to their international students in their home countries where we have sites.

All US-based ATA staff are currently working from home. Over the past few years, ATA has invested in technology that allows us to work effectively from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, our systems are secure and all cyber-security measures are in place. Our regular phone lines and extensions are forwarded to reach us wherever we are. You should notice no difference in reaching the ATA staff you work with on a regular basis.

We understand the uncertainty that the virus is causing and will continue to proactively communicate any program changes to any affected travelers and partners.

If you have further questions, please contact ATA: 800.556.7896 or [email protected]

We understand the uncertainty that the virus is causing and will continue to proactively communicate any program changes to any affected travelers and partners.

If you have further questions, please contact ATA: 800.556.7896 or [email protected]

COVID-19 FAQ's

The safety of ATA travelers is our top priority, and we are continually monitoring the situation in all of our program locations. ATA takes a holistic approach in assessing risk. Below are some of our guiding lights as we respond the COVID-19.

1. Monitor, monitor, and monitor some more. In a situation such as this one, accurate information is essential. We are using every source of information at our fingertips—including reports from staff on-site, commissioned reports, and recommendations from the CDC and Department of State—to carefully watch the situation in every program location.
2. Proactive communication. We have communicated information on COVID-19 to our tour staff, travelers, and partners with suggestions on how to stay healthy. We have internal protocols on how to respond to viral sickness on-site and contingency plans for the program should the situation change.
3. When it’s time to act, act quickly. When the risk assessment is too high, we act quickly to cancel a program. When destinations rise to Level 3+ designations on the U.S. Department of State and CDC rating systems, we suspended programs and help any travelers to return home as swiftly and safely as possible.

Please know that we are monitoring this situation very closely. If there are major changes or updates, we communicate with affected travelers and partners directly. We also post them on this web page.

In our 70-year history we have dealt with and survived many crises by operating by the following principles:

1. The safety and well-being of travelers, staff and partners is our number one concern
2. Verification of facts is critical
3. Constant communication is essential
4. Throughout a crisis, we protect the privacy of the individuals and families involved

After dealing with a crisis, we evaluate our response and review any lessons we can learn to do even better next time.

There are four events that would trigger a cancellation for a trip:

1. US Department of State raises the travel advisory level from a 1 or 2 to 3 or 4
2. The closing of a significant number of public venues in the destination that would prevent us from operating the trip as planned.
3. The destination where the trip takes place no longer admits travelers from the U.S.
4. The enrollment on a given trip does not meet the minimum required to operate.

Yes. In light of the Department of States Global Level 4 Health Advisory to all destinations, we have made the decision to cancel and/or postpone all departures through the summer and early fall. We are waiting to see how the situation in Europe evolves and whether the US Department of State revises its level 4 on various countries before making decisions about fall and winter programs.

  • At this time, all of our summer trips have been cancelled, as well as a handful of fall and winter programs. We are continuing to monitor the situation as it evolves and will follow guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and WHO. Any changes to fall programs will be communicated to affected partners and travelers.

Yes. We understand that this situation is evolving rapidly and are offering flexibility to our normal commitment and payment timelines. We are working closely with affected partners to implement a flexible, case-by-case approach.