Our Top Priority.

The health, safety, and well-being of all participating students, families, coaches, and staff on all Beyond Sports programs is a top priority for the organization on every level. Beyond Sports is committed to providing clear and comprehensive risk management support, infrastructure, policies, and procedures regarding all health and safety matters for any program participant, whether traveling individually or as part of a collective group. 


We ensure a proactive approach to the safety and security of all participants during the pre-departure, on-site experience, and re-entry phases of each program:

Program Staff & On-Site Support

Emergency Services

International Health Insurance

International Travel

Program Orientation

COVID-19 Pandemic Consideration

Program Staff & On-Site Support

All program staff are trained to provide effective and rapid responses in any emergency situation that could arise in Costa Rica. Our four areas of staff training include health & safety, water safety, mental & emotional health, and sexual harassment prevention. We maintain a 6:1 student-staff ratio through the GLASS program. Our local staff have emergency cell phones with them at all times, and our U.S. staff monitors a 24/7 phone line. Our staff also speak Spanish and are very comfortable navigating the Playa Flamingo and Guanacaste region of Costa Rica as they are full-time residents. 


Emergency Services

  • Beyond Sports has a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year emergency phone line for students, parents and families, coaches, and administrators. Emergency phone number: 1-347-746-3814

  • Prior to departure, GLASS participants will be given a program guide with emergency contact information including local hospital information. 

  • All local staff are required to complete emergency response preparedness training programs which include visits to the hospitals and health clinics in the area.


International Health Insurance

Beyond Sports provides extensive blanket international health insurance coverages to all individual program participants through our partnership with GeoBlue Travel Insurance: https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.comStudents are automatically enrolled in this insurance plan unless they indicate that they will be utilizing pre-existing coverage. Sports-related injuries are also covered through GeoBlue Insurance.


International Travel

Our staff thoroughly prepares our students for the international travel component of GLASS. Prior to departure, each student will receive:

  • A detailed pre-departure guide that includes a full explanation of travel day logistics

  • A GLASS swag pack, which includes a t-shirt to be worn on travel day

  • Access to a private group message where they can quickly communicate with their GLASSmates and Mentors

  • Direct contact information for the program director and our international travel coordinator

GLASS is a first-time international experience for many of our students. Ensuring that all students are ready for travel is a high priority. Our staff is readily available to speak with students and families prior to their GLASS session to answer any international travel questions.


Program Orientation

Upon arrival, all GLASS students will participate in a program orientation. Our orientation covers expectations, health & safety protocols, and our Student Code of Conduct. All students will be required to sign our Student Code of Conduct when registering for a GLASS program. This document is in place to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community members. 


COVID-19 Pandemic Consideration


Due to local mandates in the countries to which we travel, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently a requirement for all GLASS programs in Costa Rica and Spain.

We want to take this opportunity to share our broader thinking as well as some of the specific criteria we used in deciding to offer this program. Student health & safety is and always will be our top priority as an organization.

We are a mission-driven organization that believes international travel and experiencing different cultures is an important ingredient to a fulfilling life, both for what it teaches us about other people and places, and how it helps us appreciate what we have in the United States. We also believe that high school age is a unique developmental period where many 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunities are more available and accessible than in other stages in life.

We know that there is a diverse spectrum of risk tolerance and beliefs about what safety measures are reasonable during the pandemic for both healthy high school-aged students in particular, and also, how that demographic's choices might impact members of our communities who are more vulnerable to the virus. We don't expect everyone will agree with our assessments 100%, however, we hope that by detailing our thinking, students and their parents will be able to make their own informed decisions while understanding what expectations we will have for students in Costa Rica or Spain.

We have been tracking the Covid-19 pandemic closely since January 2020 when evidence of community spread outside of China first emerged. Over that time, we have done our best to filter through overwhelming amounts of information while remaining skeptical of advice that might be politically or financially motivated. We prefer data-backed and scientifically verifiable information while trying to appropriately weigh new information that might not yet hold a scientific consensus.

As has always been the case in our risk assessment and analysis, we recognize that truly 100% guaranteed safety is impossible in our world. Instead, we must assess risks to student safety relative to a realistic alternative.

COVID-19 Health & Safety Topics

Healthy High School Age Students and COVID-19

In the early months of the pandemic, there was significant uncertainty about many of the fundamental metrics that epidemiologists use to assess the threat and determine the appropriate response to a novel virus. Fortunately, as better data emerged, it became clear that mortality risk was heavily weighted to the elderly and patients with a comorbidity. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, 80% of Covid deaths in the US have been in people aged 65 and older with those over 85 with the highest risk of serious symptoms. In an effort to provide context, according to the CDC, more Americans in the 15-24 age bracket have died from Pneumonia in 2021 than COVID-19. This Mayo Clinic Article offers a good summary of underlying health conditions that increase risk and, as always, we recommend getting advice from a medical professional.

Risks Compared to Alternative

While risks to healthy high school age students are low, we understand the stress and uncertainty that students and parents may feel about the virus. In our decision to offer this program, we had to be confident that students would be as safe or safer than they are in the United States.
Of course, individual behavior plays a significant role in the risk of contracting the virus but environment also plays a role in influencing behavior. Our campus environments in both Costa Rica and Spain will reduce the number of transmission vectors simply because students will not be interacting with nearly as many different people. Furthermore, the majority of your time in Costa Rica or Spain will be spent in open air environments around campus, the beach, or the community. Resarch shows the being outdoors significantly reduces the risk of transmission.

Confidence in Costa Rica and Spain

In determining when it is possible to travel again, our organization has been simultaneously focused on both the risks the virus poses to student health as well as potential complications with international borders or other political uncertainty. While COVID-19 is a new consideration for us, we've accessed several other health related risks over the years including Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, and Ebola. Likewise, we've evaluated a wide variety of political risk in each of the countries where we operate.
Costa Rica and Spain opened their borders to US citizens in 2020. There is no requirement for quarantine upon arrival in either country. We are confident that both Costa Rica and Spain will remain open to and accommodating of US citizens for the remainder of the pandemic. In the extremely unlikely event of a border closure, we would have plenty of warning for students to finish out their program or return home.
Another consideration during the pandemic is ensuring that our students would have easy access to high quality medical care for COVID or any other reasons. In normal times, local hospitals in both countries serve the large communities of ex-pats and are equipped to manage large influxes of tourists during the high season. With international tourism reduced during the pandemic, and Costa Rica and Spain's COVID-19 infections per capita lower than the United States, we have no concerns that the local hospitals will be overburdened. We will continue to monitor these factors closely.
The US Embassy in Costa Rica and the US Embassy in Spain provide frequent informative updates.

Your Flight

Airport protocols are similar to those in the US, masks are mandated for all travelers as well as all security people and TSA agents are constantly disinfecting surfaces between travelers. Normally congested security lines are spaced out to allow 6-feet of social distancing. We recommend a surgical mask rather than a cloth mask which studies have shown to reduce risk of transmission. Studies also show that a face shield in addition to a mask further decreases risk.
We recognize that the flight to Costa Rica or Spain is probably our highest risk factor despite research showing that airplanes pose less risk than normal daily activities like visiting a grocery store or eating out.

GLASS - Viral Infection Prevention Protocol

Following guidance from the American Camp Association (ACA), we have implemented new viral infection prevention protocols:

  • Students must demonstrate proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure to Costa Rica.
  • Masks will be required in all indoor facilities and when we are out in the community.
  • Any student who is suspected to have a viral infection or who tests positive for COVID-19 will be relocated to their own room on campus to minimize the chance of spread.
Due to local mandates in the countries to which we travel, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently a requirement for all GLASS programs. *Note: Our COVID-19 management protocol is constantly changing and will continue to change as new data and information emerge. Students and families will be kept up-to-date with changes.