Over the past weeks, schools and international programs have had to adjust and shift their operations to support their students while continuing to manage expectations around the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As educators, our top priority is to ensure the health and well-being of our community. When school campuses closed around the country, international students were left with the unnerving decision to return home or stay in the United States to continue their studies.
While some families were able to secure travel accommodations, others may not have had the option to make this decision on their own. On-going travel restrictions and the impact of COVID-19 globally have prevented some international students from traveling back to their home countries. Currently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State continues to advise the public to avoid international and nonessential travel. International flights are limited and expensive, given the low demand and may not be feasible for many families. Even if students were able to travel, they chance catching the virus through the many airports and crowded spaces they will have to navigate along the way.
As the end of the school year and summer quickly approaches, international students studying in the United States are wondering if and when they will be able to return home to their native countries. While states and schools have begun to release their academic plans for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, but many students are still uncertain about their summer and fall 2020 plans. Schools must also keep their communities informed of long-term plans, give detailed travel policies, and layout options for international students for continued learning, especially for those unable to return home. If international students can return to their home countries, how will schools continue to deliver equitable learning opportunities given the difference in time zones and access to technology?
For some schools and international students, extending their stay through the summer may be the best option for everyone involved. Students have residential and even academic accommodations provided for, and schools can ensure that students will avoid complications with traveling and visas when the fall semester starts.
For international students and programs in need of summer residential or academic accommodations, Cambridge Network extends our Summer Homestay Services (click here for more information) allowing students to stay in the care of one of our carefully screened and verified host families until the start of the fall 2020 school year. Students can feel at ease under the care of dedicated hosts and experienced support staff. Meals and accommodations are included for all students, as well as residential management and emergency support. Additionally, students have the option to purchase additional services, such as one-on-one tutoring with our qualified instructors.
Cambridge Network is certified as a homestay provider by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Our full F-1 certification marks the 7th consecutive year that our program has successfully achieved the highest mark of the standard set by CSIET (learn more here).
If you or your team need assistance in drafting policy language, please reach out to your Cambridge Network Program Manager (PM) or visit our COVID-19 resources page on our website.
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