Greetings ServeUP Puerto Rico & Panama City participant
We wanted to provide some perspective to the Panama City and Puerto Rico context and the Coronavirus concern.
InterVarsity’s Global Programs has provided a helpful document (infographic) produced by flyforgood.com which gives a helpful overall perspective on COVID-19 and specific concerns associated with travel. Sources for this document include the World Health Organization, Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University. It is attached and on www.serveUP.org
Regarding our trip to Panama City specifically, we are taking prudent precautions as we plan the trip. Truly the city of Panama City is a very safe environment, as we are staying at a retreat center alone with little or no outside contact. Our work sites in Panama City proper are in a city which is small and 30-40% of the population has not returned since the Hurricane in 2018. Thus, daily contact issues are very minimal....much less than at your campus.
The only potential place where we need to be vigilant would be the Atlanta airport where we will be only for an 1 hour as we deboard, pick up luggage and get into vans and upon return, check in etc.
We will be taking normal precautions for spread of infections in groups by encouraging students and staff to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.
Regarding Puerto Rico specifically, there have been no confirmed instances of COVID-19 on the island to date according to current CDC information. Some of our partnering organizations are taking precautions on the worksites by asking all those working to wear masks regardless of the type of work they are doing. (Even thought the CDC and WHO indicate that masks are not that necessary for protecting healthy individuals but perhaps helpful for those already infected to wear.)
We will continue to monitor the situation and take all possible and necessary precautions to insure the health and safety of our students and staff.
Tom Brink and Rob Knight ServeUP directors
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