An Open Letter from Remote Year’s CEO on Our Updated COVID-19 Policy
12. Nov. 2021
As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of travel in today’s world, we strive to live by our values and keep community at the heart of everything that we do. It is our utmost goal as a trusted travel brand to deliver the best experience to those who travel with us, while remaining respectful, fair, and accountable to the communities we engage with across the globe. As the leader of Remote Year, the responsibility I have to ensure the health and safety of our program participants, 50+ members of our international staff, and the local communities we visit weighs heavily in the decisions that myself and the leadership team take.
It is with these considerations in mind that we have updated our program policies to further protect against COVID-19.
Our Updated Program Policy
Starting October 31, 2021, anyone traveling on a Remote Year program will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including all staff and program participants. You can read our updated policy on our website.
How We Reached this Decision
Since resuming operations in March 2021, we have been in constant communication with our on-the-ground local teams, our health and safety partner International SOS, and have heard directly from our community through regular surveys and focus groups. The results have been clear - moving forward, the best way to ensure our ability to deliver high quality programming and maintain the health and safety of our program participants, staff, and local communities is through adopting a vaccine policy.
Why We Created this Policy
We’ve witnessed firsthand the difficulties presented when staff and program participants contract COVID-19. These instances are stressful for all involved, taxing on our teams, difficult for our local vendors to manage, and negatively impact the experience of everyone traveling with us. While there is always a risk of injury or illness when traveling, increased research has shown the effectiveness of vaccines on reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and reducing the symptoms for those who have been vaccinated, thereby resulting in reduced need for medical assistance.
Supporting our local communities
Travel is a privilege, not a right. We are aware of this every day as we welcome groups of travelers to 40+ destinations around the world. As an impact-driven travel company, we want to ensure that we leave a positive footprint on local communities, people, and economies. However, some of the destinations we visit are economically disadvantaged and do not have readily available access to the vaccine. As our communities continue to welcome us with open arms and recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19, we have an ethical obligation to maintain their trust and protect our host countries as best we can.
Evolving with industry best practices
As industry leaders, we are acutely aware of the latest industry standards and best practices. Across the globe, countries and travel brands are adopting clearer vaccine requirements and policies. We strive to adopt the most up-to-date policies to ensure we continue to set the standard when it comes to health and safety. Many companies within the travel industry were crippled by the devastation of COVID-19 last year. Taking stronger preventative measures against COVID-19 is the best way we can all limit the spread of this global pandemic and run sustainably as a business for future generations to come.
A Final Word
We respect an individual’s choice to make health decisions for themselves and acknowledge that some people may not be able to receive the vaccine. This is not a politically motivated decision, or a decision based on exclusion. This is a decision we have carefully considered and made in an effort to ensure the health and safety of our program participants, staff, local communities, and the ability to operate as best we can.
If this updated policy affects you, you should have already received an email from our team detailing this change and any next steps. If you have any questions and would like to get in touch, please email us at email@example.com.
Thank you for your understanding as we look to keep all of our communities safe and healthy.
With warmth and well wishes,
CEO, Remote Year
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