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How are Jesuit Summer Trips Impacted by COVID-19?

How are Jesuit Summer Trips Impacted by COVID-19?

Exploring classical Roman architecture, visiting the capital of the country, and walking across the famous Machu Picchu. All these trips are possible through Jesuit Dallas’ global outreach program. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the trips for this year have been greatly affected.

Types of Trips

There are three general types of trips: Academic Immersion, Social Justice Immersion, and Cultural Immersion. These trips can take you all the way from South America up to Asia, and all have a healthy dose of fun mixed in with learning.

Academic Immersion largely includes visits to places where students can enjoy their time, but also learn much about their respective locations. For example, in the Marine Biology course, students can travel to Virgin Gorda, BVI, where they can learn about marine ecosystems while also night snorkeling.

Many Social Justice Immersion programs involve meeting with local residents and learning about their daily lives. In the Sacred Valley trip in Peru, for instance, students visit rural villages and learn about the challenges faced by impoverished communities.

Finally, Cultural Immersion trips allow students to interact with the environment around them, learning about the culture of the nation. In one trip, students can travel to China, working with migrant workers, and visit exotic places such as The Bund in Shanghai.

 

COVID-19

Due to the ongoing pandemic, many trips have been altered or canceled. With academic programs, Dr. Kirby has stated that “the feasibility of the other academic programs is still being evaluated.” For example, the Rome and China trips have been canceled due to travel restrictions, Covid cases, and “the possible closure of many destinations,” stated Dr. Kirby. With the other types, similarly, many things are still being decided. Since students need to complete their service requirements scheduled, more programs have been modified. Safety is paramount for this. Mr. Perry stated that “in order to allow for vaccinations, no service immersion student travel takes place until June 26, 2021.” Furthermore, trips will have a 10 person student maximum with three teachers while practicing social distancing. Students must also be at least 16 years old and must be vaccinated.

The Guadalajara Social Justice Immersion program has been canceled because it involves homestays, but video calls and pen pals will be continued throughout. Because this program is virtual, the program involves over 40 students.

For the Monterrey trip, work will be with the immigration center, while is only an hour and a half from the US border.

For the Guatemala trips, we will work with our partner organization Vivamos Mejor, stay only in Jesuit Dallas cabins, work on farms, and home visits will be outdoors only.

Finally, for the Peru trips, the local Jesuit parish will accommodate with local protocols. This program will be based on food initiatives and community development focused.

Mr. Kirby has said that he is “looking forward to the time when we can resume travel on a bigger scale.┬áMany of the decisions were made out of a response to closures at our destinations. For example, many areas in Rome are currently not available for tourism. Thus, traveling to Rome during the closures would impede on our ability to give a full experience. Some of the islands we visit for Marine Biology are not open for tourism at this point. I am glad that we are responding to the situation with diligence and on a case-by-case basis because each destination is in a different place as it relates to their response to the pandemic, vaccination efforts, and reopening.”

Hopefully, we can start resuming all travels by next summer and fully experience all the destinations that these programs usually allow us to visit.

Stay tuned to the Roundup for more news on Jesuit Dallas summer trips.