Safety for Samford University faculty, staff, and students is our number one priority. In order to mitigate risks, adequate planning and preparation is required. The Global Engagement Office (GEO) develops programs that include best practices in health and safety. Planning for safety is essential to all study abroad program designs. The following is a list of ongoing practices and procedures taken by the GEO in order to mitigate risks as well as educate students and faculty leaders prior to and during their time abroad.
- The GEO maintains a continuously updated International Emergency Preparation and Management Plan on which all staff members are trained.
- GEO monitors international events and situations using AlertTraveler, credible news sources, NAFSA website, CDC, WHO, OSAC Google Groups, OSAC Daily Newsletter and Forum on Education Abroad listservs in order to alert students as appropriate to changes in State Department status and information and to respond effectively should adjustments need to be made to programs and program itineraries.
- We require faculty leaders and students to have an international data plan on their phone and to download and activate the AlertTraveler app. AlertTraveler provides health, safety and security alerts based on GPS location. This way, our groups know to avoid any area where there has been an incident or significant safety concern. The AlertTraveler app also allows us to have our participants "check in" if there is an incident near their location, and they can also request assistance through the app which is communicated directly to our office.
- We enroll students and faculty in GeoBlue which provides worldwide health insurance coverage for routine and emergency care. This plan also includes comprehensive security evacuation in the case of an occurrence that places students in imminent danger. The GeoBlue Global Health and Safety Team is available 24/7/365 to assist members with anything from arranging direct pay, coordinating evacuations, booking TeleMD appointments, or getting the proper follow up care.
- Students have been instructed to enroll in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) so they will also receive any Department of State information for their region. This enrollment also ensures that the US Department of State knows where our students and faculty are in case there is an incident or need for evacuation.
- All faculty leaders and students are required to attend a health and safety orientation and students take an assessment on the information.
- All faculty leaders and students are required to carry their insurance card and are provided with GeoBlue policy electronic materials that are posted online for easy access.
- All faculty leaders are required to attend a pre-departure and training where the GEO provides them with full emergency protocols and instructions, resources for health and safety issues, 24-hour emergency contacts, and information about student conduct and conduct policies. Faculty are required to submit an Emergency Communication Plan 30 days prior to travel.
- The GEO also provides faculty leaders with student medical information, emergency contact numbers and copy of insurance cards.
- A criminal background check is conducted on behalf of all unaffiliated traveler that accompany Samford students. The individual travel must bear the cost for the background check.
- Once abroad, students are required to attend an on-site orientation to review safety protocols before the program begins.
- Students Abroad: US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs - A resource for students studying abroad provided by the US Department of State, with a focus on safety, security, and service for US citizens abroad.
- Centers for Disease Control
- Mobility International
- Diversity Abroad