News for Homestay Staff Across North America / May 2020
Homestay programs assess protocols

It seems like this quarantine has been going on forever - hopefully, it will be relaxed soon! 

From my discussions with homestay staff, it's clear that you are dealing with many challenges: 
  • Determining ways to conduct virtual home visits with prospective hosts
  • Dismissing students who refuse to keep social distance
  • Helping students cope with the shift to online learning

In this issue of the Homestay Times, we consider whether the pandemic will change the way that homestay programs are sharing information about hosts and students. Read on to learn more. 

As students return in the fall, homestay programs are facing a wide range of risks. To help you address these, we are holding a Risk Management webinar on May 27. Our expert speaker will discuss how to effectively manage these risks. See below for more information. We hope you can join us. 

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

(613) 888-9560     
You're invited: Risk Management
in International Education webinar

With the pandemic, the world of international education has changed dramatically. Homestay programs and international educators must consider a wide range of new risks. We'll be addressing these in our two-hour webinar on Risk Management, being held Wednesday, May 27 at 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific). 

Our expert speaker, Dave Bird, will be discussing these issues and more: 
  • Quarantine practices for returning or incoming students
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, housekeeping, and other maintenance routines
  • Food preparation, handling, and serving
  • Health monitoring - fevers, masks, social distancing
  • Illness isolation and management
  • Shared bathrooms, kitchens, laundry facilities, and living areas

The cost to attend the webinar is just $89 plus tax. 

Will COVID fundamentally change
info sharing for hosts, students?

Earlier this month, a homestay coordinator contacted a veteran host and asked her to take a student who had to find a new place to live when her college residence closed due to the pandemic. It was only after the student moved in that the host found out that the student worked in a takeout restaurant and took two buses to get there - raising the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The host was worried and told the homestay coordinator so. 

In this time of heightened risk, do students and homestay staff have an obligation to share such important safety information with potential hosts? In this case, the student did not have to include on her application any information about jobs or volunteer service outside the home. Under "normal" conditions, asking for these details would be unnecessary, perhaps even intrusive. With COVID, however, requirements are changing quickly. 

With information about an elevated risk in taking a student, a prospective host can decide if they are willing to take them into their home. 

Similarly, the current practice is for homestay coordinators to match a student with a host - without giving the student (or their parents) the option of turning down the placement. If a host is a healthcare worker, or perhaps a cleaner in a hospital, the homestay staff may have an obligation to advise the student about any potential risk. And give the student the opportunity to refuse the placement.  

Send me an email and let me know how you are dealing with the need for new protocols.