GLA COVID-19 Risk Management Plan

Check this page for travel updates and the latest statements from GLA on the Coronavirus pandemic.

Updated: October 22, 2020 at 9:35am PT


Below, we’ve provided some responses to several frequently asked questions about the future of GLA travel and how we intend to manage COVID-19 prevention and response in the field.

We also encourage you to review the Global Leadership Adventures COVID-19 Risk Management Plan at the bottom of this page for further details.

Q: How is GLA responding to COVID-19?

A: We are consulting regularly with our risk management team, in country expert partners and a variety of global health experts and organizations including the WHO, CDC, and our partner in managing student health and safety, Cultural Insurance Services International. In addition, GLA is in touch with peer organizations in order to share information and work collaboratively in the interest of our participants and partner communities. We have developed an in-field management and response plan and will be training our staff to risk factors, prevention measures, and response protocols in preparation for a  time when programming can resume. We are hopeful that once travel restrictions are lifted, and greater understanding of the disease emerges, we will continue to run programs that can safely take into account new COVID-19 considerations.

Q: When will GLA resume programming?

A: As it pertains to COVID, every day new information surfaces that helps us all to understand what is and is not going to be possible in our future world. Unprecedented travel restrictions, continued uncertainty in regards to contagion methods, and potential risk to vulnerable communities abroad leave us with only one option: to postpone travel at this time.

We are very optimistic that travel will resume, both internationally and domestically, though we can also confidently say that our programs may look slightly different than in previous years.

Our short term hope is that travel either internationally and/or domestically can resume again in Spring of 2021.

Q: How will the decision to resume travel programs be made? 

A: We are constantly monitoring state and government mandates as they center around COVID regulations and evolving our programs to meet those needs. Our aim is that travel (international and/or domestic) can resume again in 2021.  Until that time, we are producing our COVID Risk Management Manual, which will be used both internally in training but also shared widely with our families and partner network to ensure consistency, clarity and transparency in our operations.

We plan to reevaluate at the  beginning of 2021, to assess the world at that time and make determinations about where and when we can travel again. Thank you for your patience and understanding, as this is is an evolving process.

Q: Will I need to submit a negative COVID-19 test to participate in a travel program?

A: Yes. Students will be required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to attending any GLA travel program.

Should an approved vaccine be made available by the time of your planned travel, proof of vaccination will also suffice.

Students will also be asked to agree to our enhanced COVID waiver, which asks students to:

  • limit interactions with people outside of their families two weeks prior to traveling
  • keep a daily record of temperature and well being
  • inform GLA should their health change at any time prior to the program

Please note that there may be additional requirements for the specific jurisdiction of the country or region of your planned travel, in addition to those required by GLA.

We may also update these requirements at any time based on the latest data, information and best practices available to us, and we will post any updates here.

*Originally posted on September 25, 2020 and updated to reflect most recent changes on October 22, 2020.

Posted: August 10, 2020 at 2:11pm PT


Dear GLA Families and Community,

Today we find ourselves more than mid-way through the summer season, a season when normally we would have hundreds of students all around the world, traveling and engaging in our service-learning programs. However, these are far from normal days. Most of us are still home as the pandemic continues to sweep the globe and in the United States, where Global Leadership Adventures’ headquarters is located. This leaves us all with continued uncertainty for the near future.

This situation we all find ourselves in, as difficult as it has been, has allowed those of us at GLA the gift of precious time. This time has allowed us the distance and space from everyday priorities. To pause. To look inward. And to contemplate how we can best continue to bring the GLA experience and mission to life in our new reality.

I personally have two young sons, and learn each day with them about the world they face. By seeing the weight of the current pandemic, protests, and politics on the next generation, both myself and the team at GLA feel more of an urgency now than ever before, as well as more assurance based on our shared mission and values, that these types of programs hold value and are critical for the development of the next generation.

When we reflect deeply on our mission — to inspire the next generation to realize their potential to transform the world and their role in it — a few things have become clear:

  1. Until the world reopens, borders can be freely passed, and we can safely endeavor to resume travel, our traditional work must be paused.
  2. In order to continue on our mission in this new world landscape, we must pivot and meet the next generation where they are — at home and online — and so are proud to be currently operating our inaugural virtual programs. In June, we launched the Online Leadership Academy, a 5-day journey, with hundreds of teens joining from around the world. Earlier this month, we launched our 6-week part-time Global Impact Virtual Internship in partnership with our non-profit service partners on the ground in South Africa. The response was so tremendous, with the first internship session filling completely, that we have added fall internship dates with new global partners that are available now. There are also new virtual programs coming soon!
  3. Because of the new world we find ourselves in, we know that many families may wish to stay closer to home in the future or not be able to venture as far as they may have once been able to. Over the past several months we’re proud to have developed 12 new programs in the United States for travel in 2021, exclusively for teens. These are in GLA’s home country and where many of our students who join us originate. We’ve long wanted to bring our work “closer to home” and this new world has allowed us to finally do so. These purposeful programs in our backyard allow us to journey to some of the greatest locales in this diverse country of ours, while diving into our learning themes, giving back to communities, and discovering our penchant for leadership. We are so excited to introduce these programs to you and your family.
  4. Given the social movements we have seen in so far in 2020, we’re also looking forward to offering crucial learning around new themes such as social justice and global seminar. For social justice, we invite students to come together with like-minded teens to address challenges through community engagement and solution-oriented initiatives. And for global seminar, we invite participants to facilitate discussions on relevant topics with their peers, and engage in friendly debates on critical issues of the day.

Here I would like to share with you our new digital 2020/2021 GLA program catalog with options available to you now. We have our Global Impact Virtual Internship with 5 focus areas available now open for registration for Fall 2020. This 6-week part-time internship facilitates students learning. It supports local non-profits organizations in our partner countries and with the NPOs we join arms with when on travel programs. This is not only an incredible educational and development opportunity for teens, it directly supports, and in many cases allows for, the viability of these global non-profits to survive during these incredibly harsh economic times.

We will be adding new virtual programs for 2021 in the coming months, but couldn’t wait to share now, as the world struggles to determine what educational options will be available for our teens this fall.

We are grateful for the connectedness we feel with our global community. We hope you will continue to join us, either virtually or in person in the future, and do the mission critical work together, to create a better world for each and everyone one of us.

In solidarity,

Jessica Rose Miller
GLA Executive Director

Posted: April 20, 2020 at 2:18pm PT


Global Leadership Adventures has been diligently monitoring the circulation of – and global pandemic response to – the COVID-19 disease, commonly known as the Coronavirus. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently being felt in every area of our lives and affects everyone around the world.

It has become clear that GLA cannot proceed with our summer plans while living our mission for our students or for the communities we serve. It is with great sadness that we announce that GLA will be postponing all summer 2020 programs as a result of the global impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision is heartbreaking for our team, for our students and families, and for the community members we work with around the world. It is clear that:

  • We cannot put the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff or international community partners and their communities in jeopardy. GLA exists to build leaders in service of local communities. Many of the communities we serve have fragile health systems, and we would never want our students or staff, many of whom come from the US and other areas with high COVID caseloads, to serve as an unwitting vector of virus transmission into these communities.
  • Shelter-in-place’ and lockdown restrictions across the world have made planning and preparing for this summer’s programs difficult to impossible. Many of the individuals involved in the preparation and execution of our programs have been severely impacted and are unable to operate at this time; this includes non-profit service organizations, supply providers, home bases, and adventure operators; all with unknown time frames of when operations could resume.
  • Changing travel bans create massive uncertainty for planning overseas programs. It is unclear when these bans will be lifted or what new bans might come into effect.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we know that GLA programs are about a kind of community that is at odds with the best practices of social distancing – practices that our mission requires us to follow at this time.  It is through pats on the back, dancing with locals, and animated mealtime conversations that we discover ourselves. We are people who do things together. This is one of our greatest strengths — but it makes our coming together in person this summer unwise.

We have rescheduled dates for many of our program dates for late 2020 and spring and summer 2021. Please note that in addition to summer 2021, we have special program dates in November and December 2020 and spring 2021, in addition to new domestic USA programs. We will have exclusive offerings for students ages 18-24, as well as special GLA for Families programs.

You can view our upcoming session dates for GLA travel programs here.

This pandemic has shown how truly connected our world is and the need for young people to build the skills to lead with confidence through dynamic global challenges is clearer than ever. We hope that this time of fear and isolation will only strengthen our commitment to unity and connection. We are hopeful that together our global community we will not only make it through this crisis, but develop an even greater commitment to our mission to build empathy, agency and global perspective.

All 2020 enrolled students and families have been directly contacted for next steps.

For further questions or support please contact GLA by email: or phone: +1.858.771.0645

For your consideration:


GLA has developed the following risk management response plan to ensure we are taking every precaution to actively manage this evolving situation. The safety of students, staff, and local communities remains our highest priority and any return to operations will be done carefully. As the world learns to live within these new parameters, our risk management strategies will be in fluctuation as new information and treatments become available. Therefore, this is a living document that will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

The following outlines our training and preventive measures:


Consult guidelines in accordance with the official Travel Health Notices as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • We will not operate a program in a destination country as defined by the CDC as having a Level 4 travel warning. In addition to the CDC, we are advised by updates from the World Health Organization and the State Department.

Provide safe travel guidelines to families, student, and staff:

  • Bring own hand sanitizer and / or antibacterial hand wipes for travel and on personal stash on program
  • Utilize wipes and self-care en route to program
  • **If a student is experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath out of the norm 2 weeks prior to programming, we ask them to go to the doctor for further diagnosis and screening.


  • Train all staff on preventative measures and student group management.
  • Reconfirm all First Aid Kits have hand sanitizer for use when outside of the Home Base.
  • Reconfirm all Home Bases have adequate soap and washing areas.
  • Ensure Home Base Managers and cleaning staff are cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched items and surfaces, including but not limited to door handles, light switches, and taps.
  • Inform students to bring pocket hand sanitizer and face masks in packing list.

During Program

Upon arrival, during the Student Orientation, staff will reiterate preventative measures  and establish a group culture around maintaining clean and safe processes which includes:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol hand rub containing 60% alcohol at regular intervals, before and after interacting with the local community, after toileting, and always before food.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you feel unwell, stay in your room, notify your group leader.
  • Sneeze into your elbow or in your shirt. If you blow your nose with a tissue, throw in waste bin and wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after.
  • If any student feels unwell, they are asked to be proactive for their own health and speak up immediately to staff.
  • Staff will communicate with GLA and families in event of sickness
  • We ask all students to respect the privacy of others and their health should anything occur.

If students or  staff  present symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath:

  • Take temperature, we classify fever at 100.4F or 38C.
  • Separate the person presenting symptoms into their own space to minimize contact with other group members.
  • Call our identified clinic to check symptoms and consider screening options.
  • Reach out to insurance and consult their guidance.


If anyone presents symptoms upon return and/or test positive for COVID 19, notify GLA immediately.