Notifying Students, Faculty and Staff of Rising International Travel Concerns – Is it Your Obligation?

The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently issued an advisory for all people traveling in Western Europe to avoid tick bites. This is the first time in western Europe that this fatal tick-borne disease, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) spread by the Hyalomma genus of ticks, has been detected.  It is critical to alert anyone traveling in your organization about this discovery.  Please read more here

In 2013, the education industry was shocked when $41.75 million was awarded to a former Hotchkiss School student who was disabled after she contracted encephalitis on school trip to China. The jury found the Hotchkiss School negligent after an eight day trial, spread out over three weeks.  This case is still a pertinent reason for educational institutions to take travel abroad seriously and ensure the proper insurance and risk management programs are in place.

The case also sparks the question of whether the negligence ruling constitutes that educational institutions have a legal obligation to warn travelers about all potentially known risks. With the newer warning regarding the fatal tick-borne disease in western Europe, how are you going to mitigate the risk?  We recommend sending an advisory message that includes the risk and the resources for travelers to align medical coverage and evacuation services before their excursion.