Frequently Asked Questions
by STA Leadership Team
Last Updated: April 23, 2021
Our Safe Travel Taskforce continues to work closely with all of our health and safety partners to actively monitor each of our tour programs and destinations. Our groups are currently traveling and we stand by our promise to only operate a tour program when the destination is safe and viable.
TOUR POLICIES & PROCEDURES
Our groups are traveling with our TourPOD system policy, focusing on safe travel as the groups Practice Organized Distancing (POD). These new procedures and protocols allow our travelers to focus on their wellness and care for the health of others, too. The information below provides some of the details covered in our TourPOD system and Pledge Plus waiver process.
What if a participant tests positive for COVID-19?
If a participant feels ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (which include fever, chills/aches, shortness of breath, coughing), our team will immediately facilitate movement of the participant to a location where they can safely be separated from others, while simultaneously engaging our On-Call Physicians or a local medical facility to consult on the next steps, testing, and treatment. Next steps would be:
- Establish and coordinate communication with the participant and the family
- Facilitate transportation for the participant to a local medical facility
- Coordinate quarantine arrangements for the participant, in consultation with local health authorities
- Arrange for transportation for a family member to join the ill traveler
- Provide guidance to the group to reduce the risk of additional exposure and coordinate testing
- Initiate thorough and proper cleaning of all necessary areas, such as hotel rooms, and motorcoaches
We will provide the resources necessary to facilitate the recommended treatment, including an isolated, chaperoned location for the participant to recover and arrangements for a new itinerary to return home.
Will we need to wear masks?
STA will provide disposable masks for our participants, as well as reusable masks for our staff. All participants will need to follow any local, state, or national guidelines, and also follow any site-specific requirements for face coverings, including on the airplane and inside any cultural site or venue that requires a mask.
For more information about health and safety on tour, click here.
How can I protect my investment given the circumstances?
To assist families and help grant peace of mind, in many cases we have extended the deadline for participants to add the Payment Protection Program (PPP), which guarantees a maximum return on investment. If you would like to enroll in the PPP, contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My tour was rescheduled, what options do I have?
School Tours of America is actively working with Group Leaders to reschedule tours that may be affected by COVID-19. If your tour has been rescheduled due to COVID-19 and you plan to travel, then there is no need to do anything. All travelers will automatically be transferred to the new tour dates at no additional cost.
Groups and Individuals affected by COVID-19
If COVID-19 prevents the operation of your tour, the Group Leader may reschedule the tour with no fees incurred. Any trip participant who has to cancel will receive a refund minus a $299 cancellation fee for air tours, or a $199 cancellation fee for bus tours. (*Prior COVID refund options may be applicable to your group.)
If you have purchased the Payment Protection Program you will receive the full refund available, minus the amount paid for the protection plan.
How long will it take to get a refund?
Currently there is a 30 to 60-day window, but your refund will be processed sooner if possible.
Why can’t I get an immediate refund?
We understand how important expediency is for customers who request refunds. Because School Tours of America offers flexible payment options, MyTour Fund website donations, scholarships, etc., every reimbursement is unique. Most parents pay with multiple installments, and our merchant services agreements with financial institutions require that we issue refunds based on their protocols. Every refund requires a dedicated staff member whose effort ensures your anticipated refund will be accurately fulfilled. It is important to us that your refund is fast and correct.
Why can’t I get all the money I paid back?
Our team of travel experts spend an entire year planning a tour, which allows us to give the amazing tour experience your student deserves. During this planning process we incur non-recoverable operating costs. These costs range from vendor fees to printed materials to general overhead costs of operating a business. We must retain the small percentage in order to remain operational after the world returns to normal. More than anything, we want to continue providing life-changing tours for students.
How will refunds be sent?
Refunds will be issued depending on how you made payment. Payments received via check, will be sent a refund check in the mail to the address we have on file. If you paid via credit card, we will attempt to issue credit back to your card, however our credit authorizer limits the timeframe to issue funds back. If we are unable to issue credit back to your card, we will send a refund in the form of a check. You may contact our customer service team at (866) 543-9625 to provide us with your current credit info or updated mailing address. MyTour Fund donations will be issued back to the donor by check, and mailed to the attention of the Parent/Guardian(s) of the participant.
* The industry standard terms and conditions, which STA has adopted and to which our schools and participants are subject, provide that STA’s responsibilities under these force majeure type circumstances are substantially limited and do not apply. Tours are not being cancelled by School Tours of America, Group Leaders or participants. Rather, tours are being cancelled due to governmental mandates and actions undertaken in response to the global pandemic, COVID-19.
A Message From Our Leadership
For more information about our safety policies and procedures visit our Safe Travel page.