Health and Safety Considerations
Messiah University's International Risk Management Committee is comprised of the following individuals:
- Director of Off-Campus Programs (Chair)
- Vice Provost of Student Success and Engagement
- Assistant Dean of General Education, Common Learning, and Advising
- Academic Coordinator for Cross-Cultural Courses
- Agape Center representative
- AROMA Sports Ministry representative
- Collaboratory representative
The International Risk Management Committee reviews all international locations where students are traveling in a given year. This Committee has a variety of policies and protocols that it follows in order to assure, to the best of its ability, student health and safety while traveling abroad and reserves the right to alter, delay, suspend, or cancel a program at any point when student health or safety is deemed, by the Committee, to be at risk. The following key criteria serve as “trip wires” for Messiah’s International Risk Management Committee to convene to discuss and/or plan for program cancellation/student evacuation: (Note: This list is not exhaustive and is not in rank order. It is ultimately within the International Risk Management Committee’s discretion to determine whether student health and safety is at risk in a given location.)
- Declaration of war by the U.S. against the country or an adjacent neighbor
- Declaration of war by a third country against the country of a program’s location
- Significant terrorist or military activity in the program city
- Protracted or indefinite closure of the overseas university where Messiah students are studying
- Inability of on-site program staff to organize and carry out an academic program, including at potential relocations outside the university or program center
- Disruption of public utilities and/or services
- Wide-spread civil unrest, violence, and/or rioting
- A declaration of martial law in the program city
- Recommendation of suspension/cancellation by the program staff in-country
- U.S. State Department Travel Advisory of Level 2, 3 or 4 and/or specific directives or alerts by the in-country U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- Evidence of increase in violent crime
- Student complaints of insecurity
- Pandemics and national epidemics
- Widespread infection in the region where program is located
On-Campus Program Coordinators should pay particular attention to locations where there are current U.S. State Department travel warnings, travel alerts, or where Messiah is currently not sending students for safety reasons. (See http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html/ for a list of current travel warnings and alerts.) When considering a high risk location, if Program Coordinators still feel that they wish to pursue approval, they must be prepared to identify safety risks outlined by the U.S. State Department as well as information provided by their partner organization. Additionally, the Program Coordinator should be prepared to address safety precautions and may be asked to present information to the International Risk Management Committee to ensure that students are in a safe learning environment.
International Medical Insurance
All educators and students traveling internationally through Messiah University are required are covered under the University's United Healthcare Global international medical insurance with $100,000 of basic international medical expense coverage, including at least $20,000 for repatriation and $100,000 for medical evacuation. This insurance is coordinated through the Intercultural Office.
First Aid Kits
Program Coordinators are also responsible to help students or groups obtain first aid kits. Standard first aid kits can be purchased at a local pharmacy or through the Engle Health Center (firstname.lastname@example.org or x6035) at least one month prior to group or student departure. Every participant on an international trip should also be reminded to bring their own supply of cold, flu, or stomach medication to sustain their symptoms for 7-10 days.
Program Coordinators are also required to inform all educators or students that they are responsible for contacting the Engle Health Center, their primary care physician or local travel clinic to obtain any necessary vaccines prior to traveling internationally.
Obtaining international cell phone coverage can be handled in two ways. A leader can upgrade their personal plan to include international coverage and be reimbursed for usage through the University program they are working with. Most groups choose to purchase pay-per-use phones in-country, as often these provide greater in-country coverage at much less expensive costs.