COVID-19 trips FAQ

Travel suspension during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Our staff, both at Compassion Canada and around the world, are closely monitoring developments. Our top priority is preventing the transmission of the coronavirus among the children we serve.

For this reason, we are currently suspending all nonessential travel to our frontline church partners in an effort to do everything we can to limit the additional spread of the virus and reduce strain on the already-taxed medical systems in the countries we serve.

Coronavirus Quicklinks:

Below are some important FAQ’s regarding COVID-19 and Compassion Canada’s response:

[Update as of April 2, 2020 at 4:50 p.m. EST]

How does the travel suspension affect children in our program?

One of the strengths of our child development program is that our local church partners directly implement the program in their local communities. They are uniquely positioned to provide support and do not depend on our ability to travel in order to ensure children and their families receive the love and care they need.

Sponsor Trips

Why was my Sponsor Trip canceled?

As the global Coronavirus (COVID 19) situation evolves, the safety of sponsored children, churches, supporters, and staff is the highest priority and of utmost concern to Compassion. Please know this decision was not made lightly, and we are also disappointed that this health situation has impacted our trips and visits in this way.

One of the main reasons for the suspension is to limit the amount of potential virus exposure to the children and churches we serve. People in areas of significant poverty with limited healthcare resources are some of the most vulnerable during crises such as these. Another reason for our decision is the dynamic nature of government travel restrictions, which can change often and could result in being quarantined either upon arrival in the country or before you can return home. Under the current circumstances Compassion cannot ensure that you have a safe and optimal experience on your trip, and this is a top priority for us.

What will I be refunded if my trip is canceled by Compassion?

The entire sponsor trip team is heartbroken that this situation has forced some trips to be canceled. In the case of a cancellation by Compassion, we will work with you to make the process as smooth as possible, including facilitating the following:

  • We will provide a full refund for all costs paid to Compassion, and immediately cancel any international airline tickets already reserved. Please note your refund from Compassion can take up to 2 weeks to post on your credit card statement.
  • We are unable to compensate for domestic travel cancellations or change fees. However, many airlines are allowing travellers to simply defer travel to a later date in 2020 with the majority of the value of that ticket left intact. We recommend that you contact your domestic travel airline to tell them that you are deferring your travel plans and inquire what their policy is regarding the current situation.

How does Compassion decide to cancel trips?

Compassion looks at a variety of factors when assessing the viability of any given trip. Regarding the current health crisis, a coordinated, multidisciplinary task force is meeting regularly to understand the risks and mitigation opportunities. This team includes Compassion International’s Senior Safety Specialist and representatives from our departments of risk management, legal, international security, travel, trips and visits, communications, global program and others. The team meets bi-weekly to better understand the current coronavirus crisis and make decisions on travel restrictions globally.

At Compassion Canada, we follow the International team’s recommendations, and have currently suspended all travel until June 30, 2020 at this time.

Has Compassion canceled any trips so far due to coronavirus?

Yes, we have unfortunately had to cancel several trips.

When and how will I know if my Compassion Trip is canceled?

We are evaluating travel bi-weekly and will keep you updated on any changes in your trip status as soon as possible via email.

Compassion has not canceled my sponsor trip, but I don’t feel comfortable going.

Although the trip leader will use all available information to decide whether to cancel or not, it’s up to you as the traveler to make the final call for your own travels. If you don’t feel comfortable going on the trip, you may cancel at any time. If you personally decide to cancel from a trip that has not been canceled by Compassion, the cancellation policy still applies.

If I decide to cancel from a sponsor trip, even though Compassion has not canceled the trip, what will be refunded?

Our cancellation policy still applies if you decide to cancel from your trip.

  • All deposits are nonrefundable.
  • 50% of the trip cost will be required for cancellations 59-31 days prior to the sponsor trip.
  • 100% of the trip cost will be required for cancellations 30-0 days prior to the sponsor trip.

*Important note: the cancellation policy is different for trips that are canceled by Compassion. See above for details

There is a future trip I am considering registering for, are you accepting new registrations?

No, we have currently put all future trips on hold until further notice, so we are not accepting registrations. We will be sure to update our trip web pages and send out an email to sponsors if we are able to open up registration once again.

When will the restrictions on travel be lifted?

Compassion is evaluating the travel restrictions bi-weekly and following any guidelines and recommendations from the government of Canada. When the travel restrictions are lifted, we will post an update on our website and our trip email appeals will also resume.

Where can I find more information about coronavirus?

Because the conditions are changing each day, we recommend checking out Public Health’s website or the World Health Organization’s website.

Is my sponsored child in one of the countries affected by coronavirus? How is Compassion protecting children from the virus?

We are working closely with our frontline church partners and local governments to follow local and national guidelines put in place as each country tries to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If your sponsored child’s country is affected, you will receive an email with more details.

Compassion staff is taking every precaution to protect the children in our program. We have suspended all international travel to our national offices and our frontline church partners through the end of June. This means we will not be permitting any international visitors to meet sponsored children, visit Compassion child development centres, or visit national offices. We will be reassessing our travel policy throughout the coming weeks and may extend this travel suspension depending on the situation.

We regularly teach good hygiene practices to children in our program (and moms in our survival program), which reduces the spread of illness. You can find more information and regular updates here.

Custom Visits

Why was my Custom Visit canceled?

As the global coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, the safety of sponsored children, churches, supporters and staff is the highest priority and of utmost concern to Compassion. You can be assured that this decision was not made lightly, and we are also disappointed that the global health situation has impacted trips and visits in this way.

One of the main reasons for the suspension is to limit any potential virus exposure to the children and churches we serve. People in areas of significant poverty with limited health care resources are some of the most vulnerable during crises such as this.

My Custom Visit has been canceled, but I will still be in-country during this time, can I drop off a gift at the student centre or national office?

While travel is suspended, our national offices will not permit any international visitors to meet sponsored children, visit local Compassion centres, or visit national offices. Because of these precautions, it will not be possible to drop off a gift for your child at the child development centre, the child’s home, or the national office. If you are still traveling and would like to mail a gift to your child while you are in-country, please contact us, and we will provide you with the mailing address for the national office.

How does Compassion decide to cancel a Custom Visit?

Compassion looks at a variety of factors when assessing the viability of any given trip. Regarding the current health crisis, a coordinated, multidisciplinary task force is meeting regularly to understand the risks and mitigation opportunities. This team includes Compassion’s Senior Safety Specialist and representatives from our departments of risk management, legal, international security, travel, trips and visits, communications, global program and others. The team meets bi-weekly to better understand the current coronavirus crisis and make decisions on travel restrictions.

Has Compassion canceled any Custom Visits so far due to coronavirus?

Sadly yes. We have had to cancel visits up until the end of June.

When and how will I know if my custom visit is cancelled?

Compassion is continually monitoring, evaluating and adhering to the global travel restrictions. We will keep you updated on any changes in your visit status as soon as possible via email. If we cannot reach you by email, we will attempt to contact you by phone.

Are you accepting future visit requests?

At this time, many of our national offices and student centres are closed. Resources for planning visits are limited, as local staff are focused on providing essentials for all of the children in our program. Although you may submit a visit request for July or later, please be advised that we will hold your request in pending status until we resume normal visit planning. Compassion is re-evaluating the situation bi-weekly, and when we receive information that normal operations have resumed, we will contact you to begin processing your visit at that time.

Where can I find more information about coronavirus?

Because the conditions are changing each day, we recommend checking out the Public Health’s website or the World Health Organization’s website.

Is my sponsored child in one of the countries affected by coronavirus? How is Compassion protecting children from the virus?

We are working closely with our frontline church partners and local governments to follow local and national guidelines put in place as each country tries to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If your sponsored child’s country is affected, you will receive an email with more details.

Compassion staff is taking every precaution to protect the children in our program. We have suspended all international travel to our national offices and our frontline church partners through the end of June. This means we will not be permitting any international visitors to meet sponsored children, visit Compassion child development centres, or visit national offices. We will be reassessing our travel policy throughout the coming weeks and may extend this travel suspension depending on the situation.

We regularly teach good hygiene practices to children in our program (and moms in our survival program), which reduces the spread of illness. You can find more information and regular updates here.

 

Coronavirus Quicklinks:

Written by: Compassion Canada