News for Homestay Staff Across North America / August 2020
Help us by taking our survey /
Emergency Planning webinar

As international education programs begin to reopen, we wanted to take the pulse of the homestay sector by surveying homestay staff. We need your help! We would greatly appreciate it if you could take five minutes to complete our survey.

Everyone who participates in the survey will be eligible for our draw for a $25 gift card from Starbucks or Tim Hortons. It's our small way of saying thanks.

You can complete the survey here. It only takes five minutes!

One of the challenges that international education programs must address is what if a student, staff member or homestay host tests positive for COVID-19. With thousands of people involved in the sector, it's inevitable that there will be some cases.

Therefore, international educators need to be prepared. Be sure to attend the final webinar in our Risk Management series, Emergency Planning under COVID-19. See below for details or register here.

In our feature article this month, we look at Manitoba's Louis Riel School Division's decision to not offer quarantine to incoming international students. Read on to learn more.

As always, please get in touch if you have any questions.
Stay safe!

(613) 888-9560     

Emergency Planning under COVID-19:
Join us for this month's webinar!

It's vital to properly prepare and plan during the pandemic. How will you protect everyone using your classrooms, dormitories and homestays? You will need to provide sufficient staffing to ensure that everyone is following protocols, including hand washing. You must clean and sanitize the facility and monitor physical distancing. You may need to devote additional resources to cleaning and the prevention of infection. What will you do if someone tests positive for COVID-19? When a crisis hits, you will not have time to make decisions on the fly - you will need an already well-prepared and detailed plan that you can put into action immediately. This webinar will enable you to prepare your own comprehensive emergency plan.

Cost is just $49 plus tax. 

Date: Tuesday, August 18 at 12:30 pm Eastern (9:30 am Pacific)

Manitoba school division won't offer
quarantine to new homestay students
Tim MacKay:
"Alternate plan"

The Canadian government's requirement for quarantine for arriving students is vital to ensure safety - but is posing challenges for international education programs. The Louis Riel School Division in Manitoba has announced that it will not be offering to quarantine students in homestays upon arrival.

"Students are welcome to come to our schools in September but they will need an alternate plan for the 14-day quarantine," says Tim MacKay, Director of the division's International Student Program. "Once they have completed quarantine, we will transition them to one of our homestays."

Since the students are minors and require adult supervision during quarantine, MacKay says different options are being suggested.

"Ideally, the student can travel to Canada with a parent (or adult chaperone) and both of them can spend the quarantine in a local hotel," he indicated. Alternatively, some agents are considering traveling with several students and supervising the quarantine in Canada.

MacKay said safety was a key factor in the division's decision not to have hosts quarantine students. "We felt we didn't have a clear sense of all the variables. We believed it would be more responsible to err on the side of caution. We want a robust system that will serve us for the long term and that will ensure the health and safety of everyone involved."

At Louis Riel, the expected number of students is down more than 50 percent compared to previous years. Usually, the division would be welcoming about 60 students seeking homestay; at this point, about 25 plan to come.

Louis Riel School Division is offering affected students the option of deferring their registration or receiving a full refund.

International education programs are taking a couple of different approaches to quarantine. Some, such as Canada Homestay Network, are asking host families to supervise quarantine for students. CHN is paying hosts an extra $25 per day to provide this service. Others plan to quarantine students in hotels and university residences, providing adult supervision.