Dear Greenheart Program Participant,
Greenheart wants to extend our sincere apologies for your program being interrupted due to COVID–19.
Based on all of the information Greenheart has from government officials and medical professionals, and from what we have seen COVID-19 do to the medical systems and economies around the world, we truly believe having all participants return to their home country is in their best long-term interests.
After careful analysis of the experts’ assessments of the future spread of the virus in the U.S. and around the globe, our decision on 3/16/20 to ask all participants to return home, was made with extreme reluctance by Greenheart’s senior leadership and Board of Directors. Ultimately, the decision came down to one factor: Greenheart is charged, first and foremost, with the health, safety, and welfare of our participants. Projections and concerns about what things will look like in the weeks and months ahead also influenced our decision. Because of the rapid spread and increased severity of the virus in the U.S., along with the complications the virus is causing in standard business operations across all sectors worldwide (including health services & airlines), we were forced to act quickly in asking you to make travel arrangements to your home country.
We know many of you have already made a challenging and disconcerting journey home and we hope your travels went smoothly considering the circumstances. We have received countless confirmations that our participants have returned home safely, which is providing us some peace of mind. We hope being in your home country surrounded by your family is providing additional comfort during this incredibly challenging time.
For our participants who are still in their host country, we strongly recommend that you proactively and individually reach out to your country’s embassy or closest consulate if you are unable to book a return flight home. We know some countries have been working to charter flights for their stranded nationals and are trying to provide regular updates to their nationals abroad via social media. Given the uncertainty caused by the lack of available flights and ongoing travel restrictions, please do follow your embassy’s social media and website for the latest updates on what your country is doing to assist citizens currently abroad and any special communications related to exchange visitors (students and others). The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State has provided the same guidance to Exchange Visitors (J-1 visa holders) currently in the United States. It also remains important that exchange visitors currently in the U.S. keep their U.S. sponsor (Greenheart Exchange) notified of all travel plans.
While our operations have been severely impacted due to COVID-19, we do have staff available to support those of you still on program and seeking guidance.
These are unprecedented times. Never in our lives have we experienced a pandemic of the gravity of COVID-19 impacting the globe so dramatically. The U.S. and many other countries are just beginning to grapple with this outbreak, and the situation in communities all over the world is changing very quickly.
We very much appreciate your understanding as we made these decisions and notified you, your hosts, and agencies in your home country. The situation changes hourly and we are all coping with unchartered territory. We know our actions may negatively impact some of your opinions of Greenheart, but we hope in time you will better understand our reasoning during this crisis.
Thank you and wishing you all much health and safety,
Laura K. Rose
Chief Executive Officer