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COVID-19 Health + Safety

Celebrating a COVID-Free Summer!

We're proud to announce that we ran our Summer Programs without a single case of COVID-19.

Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Keeping students and staff safe is our top priority at EXPLO (and always has been). With our COVID-19 Task Force, strategic planning, and our community's commitment to the common good, we were able to run our Summer Programs — three programs on three separate campuses in three separate states, with students and staff from across the country and around the world — without a single case of COVID-19.

Thank you to our students, staff, host institutions, and families that made this possible!

Our COVID-19 Protocols

Below are the health + safety protocols implemented for Summer 2021.

We asked all students and families to take the EXPLO Health Pledge that acknowledges that, regarding keeping the entire community safe, the common good is of the highest priority.


We are a not-for-profit organization, and the EXPLO Board of Trustees’ position was clear: if we were unable to run this summer because of COVID-19, families could expect a full refund.


We know that EXPLO is an investment. Therefore, we made arrangements for families to purchase optional insurance to cover their investment at a reasonable cost

Learn more about EXPLO Program/Travel Protection Plans


As of the start of our summer programs, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state regulations included quarantining for a period of time before travel. As such, we asked all students and staff to take precautions before arriving on campus. While not a strict quarantine, we asked that they “lay low before you go.” Specifically, for five days before they arrived on campus, we asked that they not engage in activities that could increase exposure — such as indoor dining at restaurants or attending crowded public events (such as an athletic event or concert). Learn more


We implemented several testing protocols to keep our community safe:

  • Unvaccinated students took a PCR test three days before arriving on campus. They brought their negative test results to registration.

  • Unvaccinated students were required to take both a rapid test and a PCR test upon arrival.

  • We administered additional COVID tests weekly to all unvaccinated members of the community.

  • Vaccinated members of the EXPLO community, including students and all staff, were required to take a test if they experienced COVID symptoms (or were exposed to a community member with a confirmed case).


Based on the recommendations from the CDC and the advice of our medical teams, all members of the EXPLO community wore disposable masks while indoors.


For decades, EXPLO has had dedicated health centers staffed with 8-12 nurses on rotation for 24/7 coverage. This year was no different.

Additionally, on-campus health centers overseen by our partner physician’s practices were expanded this year to include areas for both testing and quarantining or isolation should a member of our community have tested positive for COVID-19. 


EXPLO acquired a new contact tracing system for students that allowed us to respond quickly and efficiently if a member of our community tests positive for COVID-19. The POM Tracer is a small and lightweight Bluetooth device that students wore to track whom they have come into contact with throughout the session. We followed the CDC guidelines to determine and program safe distancing.

Protocols and procedures — ranging from how arrival day was orchestrated to how we approached meals — were adjusted this summer. Other adjustments included:

  • CAPACITY: We limited our enrollment to ensure generous space to distance on campus, including in classrooms and living spaces.

  • RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMS ONLY: In the past, we’ve had EXPLO programs of different lengths on the same campuses contemporaneously. This year, to prevent unnecessary overlap in coming and going, all programs on each respective campus were of the same length so that arrival and departure days aligned. At Wheaton College and Sarah Lawrence College, all programs were three weeks long. At Colby College, all programs were two weeks long.

  • STUDENT HOUSING: Based on guidance from our host institutions and recommendations from public health officials, EXPLO students were housed in single rooms. All EXPLO students were still a part of an Advisor Group, led by Advisors who live on the floor and check in with students throughout the day and keep students informed of what was going on around campus. 
  • ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES: Additionally, we implemented additional staff training, and enhanced sanitation and disinfecting of classrooms, public areas, athletic facilities, and restrooms.