April 2, 2020

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Health Resources & Effects on the Gap Year

One of Interim's primary concerns is the safety of our students. Given the current situation with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), we are monitoring the most informed news about it so that we can share the best information with our families.

The following resources provide reliable and timely sources of information:
The Center for Disease Control
The United States Department of State
The World Health Organization for International Travel and Health
The National Association of International Educators
The EPA released a list of Sanitizers for Use

We understand that families are feeling concerned about COVID-19 and its potential long-term effects on the coming gap year. It is difficult to know for certain what the landscape will be like by fall, so we have outlined three possible scenarios and how it is possible to respond effectively given the range of available options:

  • The most challenging scenario is that travel restrictions remain in place and all students planning on college in the fall have to engage in online courses, a continuation of what most current high school seniors are doing this spring. In contrast, the online options that gap year students can consider are far more varied and tailored to specific interests. We continue to add to our extensive Online Resource List that we have been compiling since early March and these resources can be utilized for now through the fall as needed.
  • The next scenario is that we can all move around more freely by fall but international travel might still feel too risky. US based options would be the focus and these also offer a good way to buy time before planning potential Jan-May 2021 international experiences. Given the many years we have been researching placements for students, we have compiled another extensive list of US based options for 2020-2021. These possibilities range from group gap year semester programs to shorter skill-based intensives, some internship options (tougher to find in the US for gap year students), and finally volunteer placements. There are quite a few options in the US and ideally enough variety for students to be able to pinpoint enough that appeal.
  • The ideal scenario is that we are all sufficiently reassured to return to normalcy by summer or fall and can continue with existing plans.

  • A great benefit of taking gap time is that there is so much flexibility involved with relative ease to make fairly quick changes in plans as needed. Gap year learning is all about rolling with change and the challenge of becoming comfortable with shifting plans, whether due to internal or external reasons. Our current situation with this virus definitely poses one of the more challenging external pressures for change, but we do believe it is possible to successfully carry on nonetheless with the above array of potential adjustments and options.

    An interesting Chronicle of Higher Education article on how students are feeling about college in the fall: https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Is-Covid-19-Changing/248316

    And another from Forbes about the potential effects on colleges:

    Stay healthy and well, everyone.

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