ABOUT EL CASAL’S RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS
Monitoring sources of information on COVID-19
The health and safety of our participants has always been our highest priority, particularly now as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Barcelona we are closely monitoring the situation and consulting the CDC, WHO, International SOS, The US Embassy and Consulate in Madrid and Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry of Health. We are also working with our local partners and our host families in order to assure a worry-free time in Spain once things get under way.
The situation in Spain and preventive measures
The novel coronavirus has taken a huge toll on Spain, as you may know. But thanks to the strictly enforced social distancing measures and the heroic efforts of health care workers, there was a steady, dramatic decline in new cases, in the reproductive number and in fatalities. Once the rate of infections began to level off, the country instituted an orderly, phased-in re-opening of the economy.
Spain has emerged from the State of Alarm declared from mid-March through most of June. Nonetheless, there have been isolated outbreaks in all regions of the country including Catalunya, where Barcelona is located.
Due to the gravity of the pandemic in the United States, most travel to Spain and the other European Union countries from the United States is banned. Included in the ban are tourists and students who do not hold student visas, like El Casal students. Strict screening measures are in place at airports. (See below)
Cancellation of El Casal’s Fall 2020 session
Because of the travel ban and based on our current assessment of the situation in Spain, El Casal must reluctantly cancel its Fall 2020 program (October-December).
The outlook for our Winter-Spring El Casal session
We fully anticipate going forward with our 90-day Winter-Spring session which will begin in mid-January and end in mid-April. No detailed calendar has been prepared yet, but you may reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org for application and calendar details.
Tuition payment deadline and refunds
The details of our payment, refund and cancellation policies and procedures normally accompany the Enrollment Agreement –following acceptance– and both documents are sent to everyone who has applied and been admitted to the program. If you’d like to know more about those policies now, just send us an email.
Travel, student support and the El Casal program
El Casal has developed an Emergency Action Plan to respond to epidemics and health emergencies, natural disasters and other situations which might affect the safety and health of our participants. The plan is available in the El Casal Manual which all admitted students and their families receive. You may also request a copy at any time via email.
Travel, including international travel, involves a certain amount of risk. If you’ve done any research, you know that many gap year programs involve a lot travel. Some visit more than one country and they may travel around to other cities or villages within those countries. Though there is some limited overnight travel, El Casal has never been a travel program, meaning that El Casal students are based in Barcelona –in the heart of the city– for the duration of the session. All participants as well as the program directors live in Barcelona. There is quick and convenient access to hospitals and dispensaries by means of the city’s modern public transportation services.
Host families and on-site Directors
All participants live with experienced host families throughout their stay. We maintain regular contact with the families in order to help with our students’ adaptation and to ensure their safety and well-being. El Casal is a small and agile program with face-to-face contact with the Co-Directors on an almost daily basis and easy access to them 24/7.
Questions, concerns and information
Despite the worries and uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus situation, we here at El Casal look forward to providing an enriching and enjoyable gap year experience in beautiful, dynamic Barcelona in 2021. We believe that the time is right for such an experience.
Some further notes on passenger screening effective July 2020, subject to revision
The Government has set up a series of checks for travellers entering Spain. All passengers arriving by air or sea must undergo a temperature check, which must be below 37.5 degrees Celsius. Prior to departure, all travellers must fill in a public health form, available online at www.spth.gob.es. After completing the form, passengers will obtain a QR code which they must present on arrival in Spain. Any passengers who are suspected of carrying COVID-19 or another contagious disease will be subjected to another health assessment, which will include taking their temperature again and evaluating their clinical and epidemiological health. If an infectious disease is confirmed, the traveller will be taken to a medical center.
If you’d like to know more:
Or phone us:
+34 647 873 390