International Student Homestay Guide for Host Families During COVID-19

Thank you for your commitment to supporting and caring for our international students! We recognize and appreciate our host families’ tremendous flexibility and compassion for opening your homes during this time. Every successful study abroad experience that a Cambridge Network student has is largely due to the time spent in their host’s home.

As news related to coronavirus continues to develop, we are committed to guiding our community with the most up-to-date recommendations to ensure the well-being of our hosts and students. Below we have compiled a list of general guidelines to help your family adjust to hosting international students during COVID-19.

General Safety Guidelines

We recommend that all of our hosts and students follow the latest CDC guidelines to keep yourself and others safe.

Cleaning and Washing Hands

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Avoid close contact

Face Coverings

  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are sick.
  • Everyone should wear cloth face-covering public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are hard to maintain.

Talking about COVID-19 and Other Difficult Topics with Students

Your international student may have concerns about how specific incidences are perceived in the United States. Host families should be aware of how your student’s emotional outlook may be affected by these events. Students may feel overwhelmed and anxious, especially international students, who may be having difficulty processing how this information affects them. Host families should practice cultural sensitivity and have an open discussion with your international student to help them understand, cope, and even make a positive contribution to others. To see our suggestions for how to approach this critical conservation, click here.

International Student Homestay Guidance

Preparing for Student Arrival

Here are a few recommendations for when your international student arrives:

  • Student Health Insurance: make sure they have their insurance info and card handy, it might be wise to have a photocopy or cellphone photo of this important information, just in case.
  • Health Care Provider: international students may need help in locating an in-network health care provider near your home or their school. We suggest sitting down and doing this together!
  • Other Precautions: As a precaution, it may be helpful to have the hours of availability and locations of nearby COVID-19 testing sites on hand which can reassure your student that procedures are in place in case of emergency.

Daily Routines

As school districts to finalize their operational plans for the start of school in the fall, many schools may choose a temporary period of online learning or a hybrid learning model with both in-person and virtual instruction. In either case, it is beneficial for the students and hosts to set a daily routine. Whether it’s study time, dinner, or household chores, it gives everyone a sense of clarity and something to look forward to each day.

Encouraging Healthy Habits

Maintaining healthy habits is now more critical than ever.  Daily self-care benefits our physical as well as our mental well-being. Whether the student is distance learning from home or going to school, international students should keep healthy habits such as regular personal hygiene, eating, and sleeping through the school year. A great way to bond with your new student is to exercise together, and getting outside to walk, run, and play sports are just a few ideas.

Engaging Students While at Home

With some schools opting to have at least some part of their instruction online, international students may spend more time than usual at home. But it doesn’t mean learning and fun should stop. Luckily, there is plenty to do at home with your international students, including learning through activities and engaging games. Check out our list of suggestions on fun ways to sharpen minds and create happy memories with your students and family.

Your Student Development Manager

As always, your Student Development Manager (SDM) should be the main point of contact for any residential or student-related questions or issues that may arise.  To limit the amount of person-to-person contact, your SDM will be utilizing virtual options more frequently to check-in on your student and family. But your SDM’s availability for residential and student issues will not change. Our SDMs have also hosted many great online activities to create new ways to love, guide, and nurture each student during this challenging time. These activities have included weekly cooking classes, virtual game nights, Cambridge UP online classes, etc. To learn more, ask your SDM to see what weekly activities are being planned for your students.

Travel Policy

Cambridge Network is closely monitoring developments in global travel advisories and local and state mandates around travel. We continue to advise all our students, hosts, and employees to stay vigilant and adhere to all policies and guidelines provided by their authorities. These recommendations include:

  • International students must observe their state, local, and school policies on self-quarantining upon entry into The United States.
  • After entry, all unnecessary domestic and international student travel should be avoided until further notice.
  • Students should limit exposure to crowded public areas.

As the situation evolves, we will continue to work hard to ensure regular communication with our community and to keep your informed of any new recommendations. We will be sending out more detailed notifications of our policies to our hosting community shortly. The safety of our community remains our top priority.

Thank you for your continued support, collaboration, and understanding as we work our collective recovery.

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