News for Homestay Staff Across North America / June 2020
Homestay programs consider
how to re-open safely

As a homestay host, my number one priority is to keep everyone safe - myself, my family and the student we are hosting. The modest hosting fee and the experience of meeting someone from another culture will never outweigh the fundamental importance of safety. I am sure that the vast majority of hosts would agree.

Therefore, it's vital that homestay programs prepare for the return (or fresh arrival) of international students this fall as the world begins to re-open. The Canada Homestay Network and a team from the Canadian Association of Public Schools - International (CAPS-I) should be commended for the hard work that they have put into building a set of safe arrival protocols. Read all about it in this issue of the Homestay Times. 

To help you prepare for re-opening, we've put together a series of three webinars, covering quarantine, host/student agreements and emergency planning. The first session is next Tuesday and we hope you can attend! Please see below for details. 

I know that the pandemic has created a lot of work for many people in the homestay sector. Thank you for everything you do to keep hosts and students safe, while ensuring that they have a great experience!

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

(613) 888-9560     
  You're invited: Webinar Series
   on Re-Opening under COVID

With students expected to return to Canada in the coming months, it's essential that international education programs take steps to protect the safety of everyone involved and to minimize liability risk. Therefore, we are offering three webinars to help organizations prepare. Join us for one, two or all three of these vital sessions.  

Risk Management in Quarantine Planning
Tuesday, June 23 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)

All students returning, or arriving for the first time, will need to undergo precautionary quarantine. It's essential that you dictate the terms of this quarantine, rather than relying upon student due diligence. In this webinar, we will cover how to:
  • Safely transport a student from the airport to your facility
  • Establish a safe, secure, and diligently monitored quarantine
  • Protect host families, school staff and faculty
  • Respond to a positive Covid-19 quarantine test

A properly managed quarantine will be essential to ensuring the safety of everyone in your program. Be sure to attend this webinar to get started on the right foot.

Cost is just $49 plus tax.

There are two additional webinars in the series. Click on the links to learn more and to register. 

Friday, July 17 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)

Tuesday, August 18 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific)
These webinars will help you protect your organization, students and staff when you re-open. Be sure to attend! 
Safe Arrival Protocol designed
to protect hosts and students

As international students are expected to arrive in Canada in the coming months, two key homestay questions must be addressed:
  1. Will homestay hosts be willing to take students even as pandemic worries continue?
  2. How can programs ensure both host and student safety?

The Canada Homestay Network, the nation's largest homestay organization, recently surveyed hosts across Canada to find out how they are feeling about hosting during the outbreak. 

Asked whether they would be willing to take an international student this fall, 74 percent of hosts said yes. A further 16 percent said "maybe", depending on the state of the pandemic at the time and other factors. Only 10 percent said they did not want a student.
Jennifer Wilson

"We found the survey quite encouraging since we were afraid some hosts would not want to take an international student," says Jennifer Wilson, Managing Director of CHN.

With the Canadian government requiring a 14-day quarantine for incoming students, CHN asked hosts whether they would be willing to provide quarantine at their homes. Half said yes while a further 28 percent said it would depend on what country they were coming from or the pandemic conditions at the time. 

"Given that there is expected to be a decrease in the number of students coming to Canada, it appears that we will have enough hosts to meet the need for both quarantine and ongoing hosting," Wilson says. 

CHN will pay hosts $25 per day for the quarantine (a total of $350 for the 14 days). That's in addition to the regular homestay fee of approximately $30 per day. "It's a tall order to ask hosts to open up their home to someone who may be at risk, so we wanted to provide compensation," Wilson says. The quarantine fee will help hosts cover the cost of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. 

CHN has been working with the Canadian Association of Public Schools - International (CAPS-I) to establish a Safe Arrival Protocol for both students and hosts. This covers everything from pre-departure preparations to traveling from the airport to the host's home to cleaning procedures. 

For example, it advises students: "Use a separate bathroom if possible. Clean the bathroom regularly with household cleaning products. Flush the toilet with the lid down."

Educating students will be a key to ensuring the success of the protocol. During the March lockdown, a number of hosts expressed concerns that some students were not respecting the rules. 

CHN is talking to its education partners (high schools, language schools, colleges and universities) to make sure that students understand the importance of the protocol and of ongoing safety measures once the quarantine is completed. 

Of course, this all depends on the state of the pandemic in the coming months and whether it will be safe to travel to Canada. Ultimately, that decision is in the hands of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.