Safety and Risk Management Plan for St. Lawrence University Programs Abroad
For frequently asked questions and answers about St. Lawrence programs and plans, please check this related Web page.
St. Lawrence University offers international programs in 14 countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Cost Rica, Denmark, England, France, Japan, Kenya, India, Italy, Spain, and Trinidad & Tobago. Students can also direct-enroll in foreign universities in more than 20 additional countries through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). We also offer domestic programs in Washington, DC and in the Adirondacks, and an exchange program at Fisk University.
The following safety and risk management plan has been forwarded to all program directors in St. Lawrence's employ, and shared with on-site managers of programs sponsored by sister institutions or organizations.
1. Register all students immediately with the U.S. consulate or embassy (and, for international students, with their country's consulate). Provide the consulate with a list of the students' names and addresses and with emergency numbers for yourself and all members of the staff. Include a photocopy of page one of the passport of each student.
2. The director or assistant director should be designated as a "Warden" by the consulate and should receive emails on any alerts, announcements, etc. from the U.S. State Department. Make sure that U.S. consular officials know how to reach director and assistant director day and night.
3. Prepare a list with local emergency numbers to be kept in the program office in a visible, known location, including telephone and fax numbers for the United States consular and embassy officials and for the Center for International and Intercultural Studies in Canton. Keep with you at all times a list of students' cell phone and home phone numbers in the host country and the USA.
4. Establish and maintain contact with the local police near the program office and with any organizations of student international programs.
5. Provide each student with a wallet-sized card with telephone numbers of the director and the assistant director (including home and mobile, if possible) and other appropriate emergency contact numbers.
6. Keep on file sources of information and key contacts for arranging evacuation if it becomes necessary. Identify a travel agency and a transportation company that you can trust in case the students need to be evacuated. Familiarize yourself with possible exit routes and means of transportation for students in case of an emergency or crisis.
7. Make sure that you have sufficient funds to pay for a range of emergency situations, including quick evacuation form the country. Each program should have an in-country banking/credit card. St. Lawrence University maintains a financial "cushion" for each program. Assess and report on its sufficiency. Program administrators may also wish to avail a university corporate credit card.
8. If we are in a high risk period, advise students to have a cellular phone connected 24 hours a day except during class time. Make sure each student has her/his passport and visas, as well as photocopies of same. Consider whether it might be best for the director to have in hand all return tickets, in the event that the director has to arrange for
emergency evacuation. Identify students who have special needs (mobility issues, physical or emotional health concerns, etc.) and formulate plans to accommodate them. Go over the advice about safe comportment with students and let them know all the plans you are formulating in the event of an emergency.
9. In case of any incident or emergency that may have implications for U.S. students, call the American consulate and ask them for advice on any special precautions that are necessary at this time. Check the U.S. State Department web site. Consider contacting the consulate before group excursions if there are regional safety concerns. Contact national organizations for study abroad programs or make direct contact with other colleges' study abroad programs.
10. When there is any international or in-country emergency, immediately contact the Center for International and Intercultural Studies (CIIS) at SLU. Remember that we may be receiving calls from parents and we need to have accurate information from you to respond to them. Communicate with CIIS preferably before taking, or as you take, any steps that change the operation of the program (e.g., having students stay with host families, canceling a field trip, etc.). Bear in mind that in such emergencies, CIIS has an email list of parents of students who are on your program; we are able to provide them with very current and detailed information about your planning and responses.
11. Keep a written log of all actions taken in emergency situations (involving individual students or the entire group). Make good notes each day detailing what has happened, what steps were taken, with whom staff members spoke, what follow-up actions were necessary. Note the time of each event and the time you are recording the notes.
12. When talking with the students, you should ask them to take the following precautions:
· Avoid congregating at American hangouts such as bars, restaurants, clubs, stores, etc. that might be targets for terrorists.
· Avoid speaking loudly in English when walking in groups. They should speak in the local language at all times.
· Avoid dressing in ways that identify them readily as Americans (e.g., baseball caps on backwards, American College sweat shirts).
· Exercise care on how much information they give to strangers about themselves and our program (activities, excursions) and its location.
· Tell them to be discreet and avoid any personal opinions on political or religious issues.
· Advise them to inform you of any travel plan outside of the program city: where are they going, means of transportation, where they can be reached (address, phone number), when they will be back. They also must discuss any individual travel with their parents.
· Remind them that in the event of a crisis, they will be instructed not to travel independently and to remain at a location where they can be reached.
· Keep abreast of local news through TV, radio, and newspapers.
· Stay in touch with their families so that they know the students are safe and they know where to reach them in case of an emergency.
· Encourage them to contact people at home to reassure them of their safety.
· Advise students to keep cash available and easily accessible. You should do the same.
· Inform the students about the preparations that have been made and instruction in the procedures for them to follow in case of an emergency.