ENROLLING AND PLANNING A PROGRAM

As a teacher/parent/other adult, how do I organize a group?

If you're a trip coordinator, your exciting role usually begins by selecting a high school, middle school or customized program and a date you would like to participate with your group. Once you've registered your group, we’ll send you brochures and posters to help you promote the Close Up program you selected. We will also provide you with a school ID and password so you can view your account, enroll participants, and access resources and tools online to help you recruit, plan, and fundraise for your program.

When are enrollment forms and fees due?

All enrollment forms must be submitted online by both students and teachers/adults. If you are participating with a school or group, your trip coordinator will provide you with an individual participant ID and password so you can access your account online and complete your enrollment form. If you are participating without a school or group, please call us at 800-256-7387 or email us and we can provide you with your login information.

All enrollment forms should be completed at least 120 days prior to the start of your program. Payment schedule, cancellation policies and all deadlines are available through your account online.

Can a student enroll after the enrollment deadline?

Yes. Late enrollments are subject to availability and/or may incur additional fees. Any late enrollments should have full payment as outlined in the dates and deadlines for the specified program week. Dates and deadlines for your program are available through the school and individual accounts. In the event space is not available, Close Up will contact you to provide the option to participate in another week or provide a full refund.

Is there a Close Up staff member available to help with planning?

Yes. Each school has the support of their own Close Up representative throughout the entire planning process. Your representative is available to help you in all phases of preparation for your program, and is also able to travel to your community if needed.

PROGRAM PARTICIPATION

Who can participate on a program?

Students in grades 6-8 can participate on our Middle School programs. Students in grades 9-12 can participate on our High School programs. All customized programs depend on the grade levels determined by the trip coordinator. A minimum GPA or previous leadership experience is not required. Close Up welcomes participation on its programs without regard to gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or disability.

Our programs are physically and mentally demanding. Students should be able to be on program for 10+ hours per day and be able to interact positively with peers, our staff, and the other people with whom they will have contact on program. Check out our Middle School Video or High School Video for more information.

How do I get a Participant ID and password?

If you are participating with a school or group, your trip coordinator will give you a participant ID and password to login to your account. If you are participating without your school, we are glad to have you with us. Please call us at 800-256-7387 or email us and we'll give you an ID and password. You will utilize your account to complete your enrollment form, make payments, and access resources for your program.

What are my responsibilities as the trip coordinator on program?

Close Up coordinates all travel, lodging, security, site visits, and activities for your trip. However, you should be prepared to cover at least one meal a day. Our exciting Washington Teacher Program runs parallel to our flagship student programs for high schools and middle schools so that teachers and their students can participate simultaneously. This gives educators the flexibility to gain professional development and bolster their classroom resources while experiencing the nation’s capital. While you spend time on our teacher program, Close Up will supervise your students on our student program. We’ll also supervise your students on out-of-town programmatic activities including; Jamestown, Williamsburg, Philadelphia, and New York City. You’ll be there as our guest! If you prefer to observe the student program anytime throughout the trip, we are happy to accommodate you too (based on available bus space).

For high school teachers, you will attend Capitol Hill Day with your students and supervise them during independent time. We encourage you to participate in our feedback sessions and to complete the surveys to help us better serve you in the future. See our Middle School Video or High School Video or call 800-CLOSEUP for more details.

Can students leave program to visit family, friends, or local colleges?

Yes. Students can visit family, friends, and local colleges during their independent time or before or after program. Students must receive prior approval from their trip coordinator and Close Up Program Leader, as well as provide a signed permission slip from their parents.

Does Close Up offer financial aid or scholarships for students?

Close Up provides need-based tuition assistance based on family income guidelines and the total number of participants per school. To find out more about Close Up's financial aid program, please contact your school's Close Up teacher/trip coordinator regarding your eligibility and required forms.

What do teachers do on Close Up?

Close Up’s one-of-a-kind Teacher Program draws on the expertise of our many partner institutions which provide outstanding speakers, resources, and simulation designs to give teachers their very own Close Up experience! Participants gain valuable knowledge to bring back to their classrooms as well as connections to educational resources in DC. Teachers can also earn graduate credit through Colorado State University.

Will my student need their laptop or tablet on program?

Students will not need these for program, and we suggest leaving them at home if they are not needed for school work, as they are cumbersome and fragile to transport on flights or carry while walking on program.

CAPITOL HILL DAY: HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM ONLY

Does Close Up schedule appointments with Members of Congress and their offices?

Yes, we schedule well over 1,000 of these meetings per year and have regular contact with Congressional schedulers. Our focus on Capitol Hill Day is to provide you and your students an opportunity to directly interact with Members of Congress and/or their staffs. Close Up will schedule meetings with the offices of both of your states’ Senators and with the House Member from the Congressional district of your school. Your schedule for Capitol Hill Day will be available to you when you arrive on program. We kindly ask that you not contact the offices directly regarding these meetings, however feel free to contact Close Up Government Relations if you have any questions.

How can I prepare for Capitol Hill Day?

In extra preparation for Capitol Hill Day, teachers and trip coordinators are encouraged to attend the in-depth Capitol Hill Workshop on Tuesday as part of the Teacher Program. This workshop will cover all logistics of Capitol Hill Day and is especially recommended for first time Close Up teachers. Prior to program, you can help students prepare for Capitol Hill Day by learning more about your Congressional delegation, keeping up to date on current events, and utilizing Close Up’s sample lesson plans available on your School Account page.

Should teachers attend Capitol Hill meetings with their students?

Yes, we strongly encourage this. While a Close Up staff member will almost always be present at meetings to help facilitate, these meetings are for you and your students. Interacting with a Member’s office is a vital part of our program and a great opportunity to ask questions and learn! Close Up will have a Capitol Hill Day orientation for all teachers to ensure they are prepared.

Are there security restrictions on Capitol Hill?

Yes. Security is extensive; the less you carry, the easier it will be to get through the checkpoints. Government-issued ID is not required for entrance. All House and Senate office entrances have security checkpoints. Entrance into the Capitol and Capitol Hill Visitor Center is more restrictive. Please see the Capitol Visitor Center site for list of prohibited items.

What are the Capitol Hill Day activities other than the Congressional Office meetings?

A day on the Hill is a window into democracy in action and the history of our nation, so there are many activities that can fill the time between your scheduled meetings! Close Up will list the day’s committee hearings on your Capitol Hill schedule. You can also obtain gallery passes from your Members’ offices and view the Senate or House in action. You may also be able to tour the Capitol and view exhibits in the Capitol Visitor Center. If time allows, you can visit the Library of Congress and Supreme Court. The Court is in session at various times throughout the year, so you may be able to actually observe oral argument! Check the Court's docket for scheduled oral arguments. If the Court is in session, a summary of the cases will be included in your Hill Day Schedule.

Can I arrange a tour of the Capitol Building?

Yes. Staff led tours can be arranged through your Congressional office or you can schedule a docent led tour in advance through the Capitol Visitor Center. If you do arrange a tour for your group, it is essential that you contact Close Up Government Relations as soon as possible so that we can schedule your Congressional meetings accordingly and provide any assistance you may need. Please note, while we do our best to work schedules around pre-planned Capitol tours, scheduling conflicts may arise with some of your meetings with Members due to the complicated and often fluid nature of the legislative schedule.

Can I arrange a visit of the White House?

Yes. White House tours are arranged through your Congressional Office usually three months prior to your visit. Unfortunately, Close Up cannot schedule these tours on your behalf. If possible, please schedule White House visits during times that do not conflict with the Close Up schedule.

PAYMENTS

What is included in the student tuition?

Hotel accommodations, three meals per day, all in-town transportation, all curriculum and instruction, 24-hour supervision, night monitors, access to Georgetown University Children’s Medical Center, all entry fees, all tips/gratuities, etc. are included in the overall student tuition. Should a school choose Close Up’s transportation package, round-trip airfare and transportation to and from the airport in the Washington, DC area are also included.

How do I pay for my program?

Please check with your teacher regarding payment instructions and school policies for payments. All payments can be made to your school or through your account online. Participants have the flexibility to set up payment plans through their account online. Payments made by electronic check are preferred, but we also accept credit/debit cards. Go to your Individual Account Login, enter your participant ID & password (given by your teacher), and follow the instructions provided. If you use a personal check or money order, make it payable to Close Up Foundation and mail with a payment coupon printed from your account to:

REGULAR MAIL
Close Up Foundation
c/o Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co.
P.O. Box 25228
Alexandria, VA 22313

OVERNIGHT OR EXPRESS MAIL
Close Up Foundation
1330 Braddock Place, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314

IMPORTANT: Your participant ID must be written on your check and a payment coupon must accompany all payments.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Your check must identify both your school's registration ID (found on the payment coupon) and the participant ID numbers to which the payment(s) should be applied.

Can I receive donations to my account?

Yes. Please have sponsors visit our donation page and provide them with your Close Up participant ID# so they can contribute directly to your account or your Close Up school ID# to contribute to your group. Sponsors can pay online using a credit card, debit card or electronic check. Close Up is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and our tax ID # is 23-7122882. Please consult your tax advisor to see if your contribution may be tax-deductible. Donations made to schools or individuals are non-refundable. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Mia Charity at support@closeup.org or call 800-CLOSEUP today.

How do I print payment coupons?

Teachers can print payment coupons by going to Teacher: School Account, select ‘Manage Account’ and click on ‘Print Payment Coupons’. Individuals can print their own payment coupons by logging in to Individual Account Login, select ‘Make a Payment’ and click on ‘Mail’.

Can my school pay using a purchase order?

Yes. Purchase orders from school districts must be signed and include the school’s name and school ID number. They can be mailed to Close Up’s Finance Department at:

Close Up Foundation
1330 Braddock Place, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314

Please do not send checks to this address, as it may delay processing. Purchase orders can also be faxed to 571-481-2640.

How long does it take for payments to process and post online?

Online payments made by credit or debit card before 10:00 PM EST will be posted to your online account after 10:00AM EST the next day. Electronic check payments take 7 business days to process and post to your account. Payments by mail generally take about 2 weeks to process from the date they are mailed.

When are my payments due?

The dates and deadlines for your program can be reviewed through your individual and school accounts online.

Are payments refundable?

Per Close Up’s terms and conditions, the initial $400 payment(s) to an account is non-refundable and non-transferable at the time of payment. Should you request a refund prior to the 100% cancellation deadline, Close Up will refund any amounts paid over the initial $400 unless it is noted otherwise on your individual or school account "Dates and Deadlines" page. All dates and deadlines for your program, including the 100% cancellation deadline, are available through your Close Up account online.

TRANSPORTATION

Will Close Up arrange my transportation?

Yes. Close Up offers roundtrip group transportation from a designated departure point in your community to Washington, DC. We use all three DC metro airports which include: Washington Dulles (IAD), Reagan National (DCA), and Baltimore Washington International (BWI). To take advantage of this, choose the Close Up group transportation option when you enroll your school or group online. Whether you choose to travel with us or on your own, we strongly urge you to buy travel insurance from Travel Guard. Participants will elect to purchase travel insurance upon completion of their enrollment forms online.

What are the benefits of choosing Close Up transportation?

The Close Up travel package is designed to provide our customers peace of mind. Close Up's group transportation package includes:

- Round-trip airfare using major U.S. airlines and ground transportation through Amtrak or privately chartered motor coach buses to get you to and from the Close Up program.

- Round-trip airport/train station transfers on private motor coach buses.

- Close Up staffing at the airport or train station to meet you upon arrival and facilitate the transfer to your assigned hotel. Return service on your departure is also provided.

- Close Up travel support. Our toll-free number is staffed by our transportation team during your travel and we monitor all arriving and departing flights throughout the day. If any problems arise (delays or weather), please call 800-336-3689 and we will work with you in finding a solution.

Can one student travel independently or groups arrange their own transportation to DC?

Yes. The student must complete and submit an independent transportation form and fax it to 703-706-3625. This form must be received by Close Up at least 120 days prior to the program start date. A late fee of $50 per participant is charged for late forms. No forms will be accepted later than 60 days before travel. By choosing this option, however, the student must make his or her own airport transfer arrangements to and from the hotel. For groups choosing to make their own travel arrangements, please indicate this option through your school account by selecting Independent Transportation on the ‘Confirm Price’ page. All independent travel itineraries should be emailed to transportation@closeup.org at least 30 days prior to the start of your program so we can accurately plan for your arrival.

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you choose our group transportation package, we'll greet you at the airport, escort you to a coach bus, and transfer you to your hotel. If you book your own travel, you will need to make arrangements to get to and from the hotel via taxi, airport shuttle, Metro or other means.

Can I arrive in Washington a day before my program starts or stay late?

Yes. Please select the Early Arrival or Late Departure options when you enroll your school or group online. These options can be selected through the ‘Confirm Price’ page in your school account.

Do I need identification to travel?

Adult passengers (18 and over) at the time of travel are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight. Please refer to www.tsa.gov for a list of acceptable identification. Effective for travel beginning in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security will begin enforcing the Real ID Act for airline travel. For frequently asked questions regarding this new guideline, please visit www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs. All participants, including adults, must complete an enrollment form online. Date of birth is required for Close Up’s transportation department to secure tickets. Please monitor your school account online to ensure all participants have completed their forms.

Is it possible to board a domestic flight if I lose or forget my ID?

Yes. It is possible to board a domestic flight as long as you are willing to provide additional information about yourself that will assist TSA in using multiple public databases to confirm your identity. This process takes extra time, and you may or may not be subject to additional security screening so please be sure to allow plenty of time.

Can Close Up issue my airline ticket without my date of birth?

No. Close Up like most tour operators is required to include TSA mandated Secure Flight information which includes; date of birth, gender, and the passenger’s full name when an airline ticket is purchased.

What are the new airline travel security rules?

Please go to the Transportation Security Administration's website for the latest updates and frequently asked questions before you travel. TSA recommends that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.

Are baggage fees included in the transportation package?

No. Baggage fees aren't included in the package price. All travel related fees are the sole responsibility of each passenger traveling and checking luggage. Please check your airline's website for the most current and up-to-date information regarding fees.

What do I need to know before I travel?

For a complete list of travel requirements and suggestions, print and read your Travel Checklist before you travel. Resources regarding what to wear and pack, sample schedule and more are also available through your account online.

Should I buy travel insurance?

Yes. Close Up strongly recommends you purchase travel insurance through Travel Guard International, America's #1 travel insurer. This will protect you against delays, flight cancellations, and other travel-related issues, including illness that may prevent you from traveling. To assure the full promotion benefit of the policy, travel insurance should be purchased 15 days after making your first payment. You may elect to purchase Travel Guard coverage up to 48 hours before the trip begins, but coverage is limited. To purchase travel insurance from Travel Guard, please select "TOUR/AIR PACKAGE" in the Airline field and "CLOSE UP FOUNDATION" from the list of Tour Operators once you have selected to purchase your insurance package. Residents of Washington State must call Travel Guard at 800-826-4919 directly to buy this insurance. Please click here to visit Travel Guard’s website and purchase your insurance.

When will my travel itinerary be available?

Your flight itinerary will be available online through your account 45 days prior to the start of your program. Close Up staff will make transportation arrangements to ensure your group arrives and departs DC in time for all program-related activities. If you have any travel preferences you can enter that information through your school account online at the time of enrollment or by providing it to your Close Up Representative. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee your preferences due to the schedule and space restrictions of the airlines.

Can I earn frequent flyer mileage?

Frequent flyer miles can be accrued on most airline carriers. Please contact your member airline to request frequent flyer credit. Unfortunately, Close Up cannot add frequent flyer account information to our flight records.

Can I use frequent flyer mileage to purchase my airline ticket or to upgrade?

No. Our airline contracts do not allow our group tickets to be purchased or upgraded using mileage. If a passenger prefers to use mileage for an airline ticket, s/he can elect to travel independently from the group. Please see our independent travel conditions under our transportation FAQs.

LODGING

Where do participants stay during their program?

We use national hotel chains such as Marriott, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn. Participants stay in convenient, quality hotels located in the DC metro area. Each hotel is carefully inspected to be of the highest quality possible at an affordable price. Our ability to secure hotels close to the city and/or DC Metro system allows for more time learning and less time commuting.

When will the hotel information be available?

Hotel information is available through your accounts online 45 days before the program start. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee your preferences due to the schedule and/or space restrictions of the hotels.

How are students housed during the week?

Students are housed four to a room. Each room has two double beds. On our high school program, each student chooses one roommate from his/her school. Another pair of students from a different community will be assigned to the room at random upon check-in. In the event a school brings an odd number of participants, the participant without a roommate from his/her own school will be placed in a room with up to three other students that may be from a different school or community. However, they will be placed in the same workshop and bus as many of their classmates. Close Up’s proven methodology indicates that by mixing students in their roommate assignments and during program activities helps to enhance “an understanding of pluralism in the United States and helps to develop civic skills and attitudes.” The diversity of the program also allows the students to learn formally and informally from other students across the country.

For our middle school program, students are housed four to a room with students from their own school. If a school does not have multiples of four, students may have to room with students from a different school. We will do our best to ensure there are at least two students from the same school housed together. Teachers, please fill out the Middle School Rooming Request and email it to us or fax it to 571-481-2635.

For all customized programs, your Close Up Representative will contact you regarding your preferences and any roommate blocking.

How are adults housed during the week?

Adults are housed two to a room. Adult rooms may be located on the same floor as student rooms. Each room has two double beds. Adults may indicate roommate choices on their enrollment forms. Adults may also request a private room for an additional charge. All private room requests are subject to availability and full payment must be provided at the time of request. Private rooms not paid in full prior to participation will not be booked or subject to additional fees upon check-in.

What time will my hotel room be ready?

Although hotel check-in times typically range from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, Close Up rooms will be ready by 6.00 pm. This helps to ensure that our student rooms are blocked close to each other, improves the safety of participants at night, and creates a more enjoyable environment for all hotel guests. We work closely with our hotels to ensure rooms are ready by the start of program but occassionally, due to circumstances outside of our control, room keys may be delivered after the listed check-in time. Please be prepared for this possibility, especially during peak travel season.

MEDICAL

What are the required medical forms for participants on program?

Each student must bring to Washington: 1) a completed Medical Questionnaire and Consent for Treatment Form and 2) your Health Insurance card or a copy of the front and back.

What if someone gets sick on program?

Close Up partners with several leading health care providers; including Georgetown University Children's Medical Center (GUCMC) to ensure that students have access to quality health care should they get sick while on program.

911 emergency services are available around the clock -- from when our program starts until it ends. Fortunately, our program activities and the hotels students are housed at are close to a number of excellent hospitals. Thus, help is usually not far away.

For a non-911 situation, typically we will be in contact with a triage nurse at GUCMC to determine what course of action to take. In some cases, we will transport the student to GUCMC for diagnosis and treatment. Their hours are Mon-Thurs 8AM-7PM, Friday 8AM-6PM and Saturday 9AM to noon. If treatment is required outside these hours, GUCMC maintains a pediatric doctor on-call who will assist and make appropriate referrals. In the more serious cases, the student may be referred and transported to a specific medical facility for diagnosis and treatment. In others, a student might simply drink fluids and rest in her or his hotel room under the periodic supervision of Close Up staff.

As an added precaution, Close Up program staff is trained in CPR, AED, and First Aid. We also maintain a dedicated staffer on each program to assist students who are ill. Typically, this assistance includes accompanying them when they're taken for medical treatment, waiting with them at the facility while they're being treated, and accompanying them back to the hotel as well.

Close Up, along with the trip coordinator will work together to ensure that students get timely access to quality health care should the need arise while on program. We have dedicated staff members to stay with any students that are not able to participate on program.

Does Close Up staff receive any medical training?

Yes. Our program staff is trained in CPR, AED and First Aid.

Will my child/student have to pay a co-pay for visits?

The amount of the co-pay depends on your primary insurance carrier. If your child/student doesn’t have money for the co-pay at time of service, Georgetown will bill the responsible party.

Will Close Up's secondary insurance cover medical bills?

You can apply for reimbursement through Close Up’s secondary insurance after using any travel insurance benefits and your primary insurance. Just like many other insurance policies, our secondary insurance has a $100 deductible for which participants are liable if they use this insurance while on program.

What if I don’t have health insurance?

We recommend that all participants purchase travel insurance that has medical coverage. To purchase travel insurance or to receive additional information, please contact Travel Guard or call 800-826-1300. Our secondary insurance may also reimburse any paid, qualified expenses after the deductible.

Who do I contact for special medical needs?

If you have questions or requests for students with special medical needs, contact Sharon at 800-256-7387, ext. 3499. Although we defray some of the costs, students who require specialized assistance such as health techs or sign language interpretation may incur additional charges.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

Close Up provides students with three hearty meals a day starting with dinner on Sunday. We have adopted a nut-free policy for our hotel meals and sit down dinners. Voucher meals all include nut-free options. We also provide vegetarian options at each meal. If you require any accommodations at meals due to medical or religious reasons, please contact our program services staff. Additional fees may be incurred for any special arrangements.

Should I bring my own prescription medicine?

Yes. You need to bring an adequate supply of medication and will be responsible for self-medicating while on program. Please notify us in advance if you require your medication to be refrigerated. Additional charges up to $60 may be incurred for hotel refrigerator use or rental.

Should I bring my own over the counter medicine?

Yes. You should bring an adequate supply of medication. We are not able to provide participants with medications.


Click here for a downloadable PDF version of this FAQ.

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