Health, Safety and Security

Planning for a Safe Summer 2021

This year may look a little different as we have adapted our programs to operate safely in a world that is still battling the COVID-19 global pandemic.

First things first, when we say your safety is our priority, we mean it: we will be cancelling programs in any location where our high safety standards for students and staff cannot be met, or where our program quality could be compromised by local health guidelines and restrictions. We want you to stay safe and have the time of your life! 

We are currently working with our local teams across the world to assess local conditions and understand their impact on each of our programs. Below are core program components that we are evaluating and developing risk mitigation strategy for. All participants confirmed to travel this summer should expect an update from CIEE if any of the contingency plans below were to change.


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Our goal

With everchanging entry requirements and restrictions, CIEE is focused on understanding if students are able to travel to a given location and whether students should travel to a given location. CIEE takes our burden of care seriously, we evaluate many factors when determining if students should travel to a program.  

Travel Ban/Restrictions 
Can a student enter the country? If there are entry restrictions in place, is there a student exemption that would allow for entry? Do students traveling on a Global Navigator High School Study Abroad program qualify under the exemption? CIEE evaluates conditions and restrictions on a bi-weekly basis, evaluating and updating restrictions and entry requirements in all locations where programs are offered.  

Before You Fly 
We will ask students to limit their exposure to COVID-19 in the 7 to 10 days leading up to their departure. 

At this point in time, most airlines require a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before boarding, and entry back into the U.S. requires a negative test as well. These requirements may evolve as we get closer to the summer, but regardless, CIEE requires a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of traveling (cost not included in your program tuition). If testing is still required upon return to the U.S., our staff will help facilitate testing at your destination, but that cost is also your responsibility. 

We are not requiring vaccination at this stage. We will continue to monitor airline and border crossing requirements and alert participants if this were to change.

Whether you fly as a group or on your own, we will require that the international leg of your trip does not involve any stopover in a country that is not your final destination. We simply want to avoid any situation where a student would be asked to quarantine in a location where we have no staff to support him/her. 

Quarantining Requirements 
Is there a government quarantine requirement in place? How does the government define “quarantine”? If there is a quarantine requirement upon arrival that may result in a decline in program quality or outcomes issue, CIEE would consider cancelling the program. 

Arrival Protocols 
When students arrive they will be required to complete a soft quarantine for the first 7 days of their program which includes wearing masks when interacting with others, maintaining 6 ft distance during outings, classes or activities. CIEE will create small cohorts of 10-15 for the High School Summer Program supervised by a Program Leader. Students will participate in online classes for the first 7 days and then, if their cohort members are free of covid19 symptoms on day 7, they will be able to start in person classes while abiding by CIEE classroom safety standards for COVID19.  

In the unfortunate incidence of a participant having contracted COVID-19 in transit, the soft isolation will help us to prevent it from spreading into the student group.  After the soft isolation, students will be able to mix more freely with in-person activities returning, subject to local rules/restrictions.   

Travel insurance 
The iNext travel insurance included in your program fee does cover COVID-19 as any other medical disease while you are traveling. 


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Our Goal

Housing is a critical component of the study abroad experience. CIEE is committed to providing housing to students that allows for learning objectives to be met, while providing a safe and secure environment.  

  • CIEE has a robust homestay policy that all prospective families must agree to prior to being confirmed as hosts. This includes a lengthy checklist of COVID-19 requirements, an assessment of the general home environment, fire safety, electrical safety, and the background and motivations of the hosts. 
  • We will not allow host family members to host if they are doctors, nurses or medical first responders.
  • Homestays are completing a robust training designed to prepare them to host program participants.
  • Homestays will been encouraged to isolate 2 weeks prior to the start of the program when students arrive.
  • Homestays will be asked to maintain a safe COVID-19 family unit which means we recommend no guests in the home while participants are living there.
  • There are contingency plans in place to support any student requiring self-isolation due to a COVID-19 positive test or close exposure to COVID-19. 
  • Homestay members must be willing to quarantine together should someone be positive with COVID in the home.
  • All participants will have their own room.
  • Students should expect a welcoming homestay experience where they can feel safe, have a culturally rich experience, and have an environment that promotes language growth.
Shared Accommodations
  • CIEE is committed to providing shared accommodations (dorm/hostel/hotel) to students that meet all health and safety standards. These standards include COVID-19 requirements, security systems and equipment, fire and evacuation safety, and student health, safety and accessibility, among other criteria.  
  • CIEE will provide single bedrooms to students on program for at least the first week. Students may be placed in shared accommodation after the initial 5-7 day period. Determination will be made by CIEE.  
  • There are contingency plans in place to support any student requiring self-isolation due to a COVID-19 positive test or close exposure to COVID-19.

Class Time

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Our Goal

CIEE recognizes the importance of dynamic instruction and active language learning. We are committed to providing a safe and high-quality learning environment. 

Classroom Space
CIEE will require a minimum distance between students on program. Additionally, the distancing requirements which will be put in place between students and instructors will always be upheld. CIEE also has benchmarks for evaluating ventilation within a classroom and the distancing requirements will correlate with the quality of ventilation.  

Masking Policies
Students and instructors will be required to wear masks at all times during in-class learning.  

Integration of Online Learning
Contingencies will be built to ensure a shift to online learning can happen if conditions require.  

CIEE will be making adaptations to account for COVID-19 safety for any and all class exercises taking place outside of the classroom.

Excursions and Activities

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Our Goal

CIEE is committed to making alterations to excursions and activities that account for COVID-19 mitigation strategies while ensuring authentic cultural engagement for students.  

CIEE strongly encourages outdoor activities wherever possible. For indoor activities, CIEE will be reviewing density and ventilation requirements to ensure compliance with CIEE standards.  

Students will likely be taking public transportation. Masks will be required at all times and social distancing requirements will be enforced.  

Group Size
CIEE will be limiting group sizes on all activities and excursions to ensure social distancing standards can be maintained and direct exposure to others limited.  

CIEE will alternate activities or visits to sights that may not be open to the public, or more difficult to run safely as a group (i.e., visit of an artist studio).

What if?

In the event that CIEE cancels your program, please note that our Program Assurance Advantage policy applies and you are eligible to either: 

  • Transfer to a different program that is running where we have space 
  • Defer your participation to summer 2022 (even if you are a senior now – we will honor this scholarship on a freshman college level program) 
  • Cancel for a refund

We also extend these benefits if we were to run your program but make any of the following core changes to your program (you will be notified ahead of travel): 

  • Cancel homestays and switch housing to dorms on Language & Culture programs 
  • Switch all classroom learning to fully online instead of in-person or hybrid 
  • Require all students to go through a self-isolation of more than 7 days upon arrival 
Learn more about CIEE's latest COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates.

Your safety is our top priority.

Your welfare matters most. From comprehensive safety measures to elaborate vetting of homestays to health insurance, we’re looking out for our participants at every step. To learn more about CIEE Health, Safety & Security's team, check out for the videos below. To go further and sign up for safety alerts, go to

Safety Abroad
Large Scale Emergencies
Family Emergencies
Travel Insurance
Getting Sick Abroad
Who to Contact?
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Comprehensive safety

With CIEE, you get 70+ years of international education and exchange experience all over the globe behind every study abroad program. We back this with additional precautions, including:

  • Annual safety evaluations of every program.
  • Continuous monitoring of local conditions during every program by CIEE program staff members.
  • Informative student orientations that include tips on reducing risk and handling challenging situations.

Safety is a collaborative effort

Safety is a collaborative effort that involves CIEE support teams, staff in our various locations, homestays, and program leaders. Students and parents can call us 24/7 for emergency support.

As a founding member of the Interassociational Advisory Committee on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad, we lead the way for international education, assessing current policies and developing new ones with other industry professionals. Our central risk management team coordinates all CIEE staff training in health, safety, and security – we never outsource these key components.

There is no better immersion than living with locals! Our homestays provide daily meals and a comfortable home. They’re also a great way to introduce you to local customs and traditions, and offer support and guidance.
Each homestay is carefully selected. Our vetting process includes interviews and home visits by local CIEE staff, as well as background checks. And when individuals or families have hosted CIEE students before, student feedback is thoroughly considered.
Every homestay in our network chooses to host CIEE students because they’re eager to share their language and culture with you – and also eager to learn about you and your American life.

Additional peace of mind with every program

Your CIEE Global Navigator High School program includes coverage by iNext international medical and travel insurance, to supplement coverage from your primary insurance provider. Your iNext policy covers accidents and illnesses while you’re abroad, as well as coverage for political and natural disaster evacuation.

Click here for more details on iNext insurance policies.