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Health & Safety Announcements

MARCH 19, 2021

NAU has cancelled all Study Abroad programs for Summer 2021.  As a result of this decision, we will not be operating the BVAR field school again this summer (2021).  

As a project, BVAR will plan to roll over students to our Summer 2022 roster. Together with NAU, we also hope to offer a shorter field school opportunity over this coming Winter session.  We're proposing an online lecture format over the week of December 13th-17th, followed by two weeks of fieldwork in Belize from December 26th-January 8th.  Credit will be available again through NAU for those who would like that option. 
If you did apply for the cancelled 2021 season, you will be individually contacted, but in the meantime please feel free contact Myka Schwanke ( with any questions.  

We are so sorry for this disappointing news.  Although we feel encouraged by the availability of vaccines and declining COVID-19 numbers overall, it makes sense that we follow the lead of our affiliated institutions and postpone the project out of an abundance of caution.  We truly appreciate your patience and determination in getting through this with us.   


DECEMBER 22, 2020

The BVAR Project is currently planning to hold a field school in summer 2021, operating under the auspices of Northern Arizona University. Tentative dates can be found on the Fieldwork page. NAU is pre-screening factors to determine that baseline safety measures are in place to support student learning and travel. We plan to follow all established protocols and follow risk mitigation plans and health and safety recommendations provided by NAU. Along with NAU, we are working with organization internationally to create and/or identify the best student support strategies possible. We plan to follow all recommendations made by NAU for cancellation.

Given the ongoing and global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to assure you that we are actively monitoring the situation in the Americas and around the world. Should the situation change, and the program be cancelled, 100% of paid fees will be reimbursed. Because there are many unknowns about the future of this global situation, back-up plans for the upcoming summer 2021 field season are strongly recommended in order to respond to changing circumstances. We also recommend that, should you purchase any airline tickets, that you also purchase travel insurance.

We will provide regular updates about our summer plans in the new year, but please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns to

Please visit the NAU Coping with COVID 19 while traveling website for more information:


MAY 12, 2020

The BVAR directors had a meeting earlier this week, and we have decided to go ahead and cancel the July session.  Belize seems to have the virus under control within its borders, but we don't know when they will begin to open up to international travelers.  As of right now their airport will be closed at least through the month of June.  Many of our staff members are also being required to postpone their research, either because grants have been delayed or their universities are prohibiting non-emergency travel.

This final decision to cancel the entire field season is disappointing and upsetting for all of us, but we are going to put our energy and focus into planning for Summer 2021!  I have already communicated with many of you about rolling your applications over to next summer's roster.  Our plan is to go ahead and do that for everyone, and then we'll get back in touch in the Fall when we have our dates set and have a better handle on the situation (I hope!).  If your email address will change in the next few months, or if there's a better way to reach you for future communications, please let me know.

We'll be in touch with those of you who still need deposit refunds, and we want everyone to feel free to contact us at any time with questions or concerns.  You can also continue to check and our other social media sites for information and communication.  


MARCH 31, 2020

Several weeks ago, we noted that we would provide you with another update after we heard back from Northern Arizona University’s Center for International Education on the status of their 2020 Summer Study Abroad programs.

We learned late last week that the 2020 Summer Study Abroad programs through NAU are officially cancelled.  As a project, we have decided to follow their lead and cancel BVAR's June session.  

Belize has been taking proactive measures to control the spread of the virus, including closing their borders and their international airport.  As of today, they only have three confirmed cases.  They have discovered, however, that community spread has likely started, and they just today declared a state of emergency and are imposing a lockdown for the entire country.  

Since we have no way of knowing how long Belize will be closed to incoming visitors, we are VERY TENTATIVELY allowing for the possibility of conducting our July session. There is, however, a high possibility that the July session will be cancelled, as well.

If you are signed up for our June/First session for this summer, please let us know if you are interested in changing over to the July session and remaining in a "holding pattern" for more information as time goes on.  If you know at this point that you wouldn't be able to participate in July, please contact us about a refund, if you have paid your deposit.  If you haven't paid your deposit but need to decline participation for this summer, please inform us so we can remove you from the 2020 roster.


If you are signed up for the July/Second session for this summer, please let me know if you are interested in remaining on the TENTATIVE roster and are willing to wait for updated information as time goes on.  If you know at this point that you will no longer be participating in July, please contact me about a refund, if you have paid your deposit.  If you haven't paid your deposit but need to decline participation for this summer, please inform me so I can remove you from the 2020 roster.  

Our plan at this point is to keep in contact with everyone who is unable to participate this summer and roll those applications over to a 2021 roster.  You will not need to reapply for 2021, but will just need to inform us that you still want to participate in 2021, as well as make any relevant updates or changes to your current application (session choice, any new medical conditions, etc.). 

We're really holding out hope that the global situation will improve and that we'll be able to operate in some capacity during the later part of the summer.  We realize, however, that there are many factors that come into play, including the involvement and influence of multiple universities, states, and countries.

We would really love to hear from each of you regarding your personal BVAR status for this summer.  You may do so by emailing Myka at Please get in touch with her so we can answer any questions you may have, and we'll figure out where to go from here.

FEBRUARY 27, 2020

Given the ongoing and global nature of the Coronavirus situation, we want to assure you that we are continuing to closely monitor the situation in the Americas and around the world.  At this time we are proceeding with the project under normal protocols.  Should the situation escalate and the program be cancelled, 100% of paid fees will be reimbursed.  As there continue to be a number of unknowns about the future of this global situation, we highly recommend you purchase travel insurance on all airline tickets.  

Here is the latest on the Coronavirus:

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