July 29, 2020

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


(This post contains sections on Safety, 3 Response Scenarios, & Articles)

Safety:
Interim's primary concern 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

For updated travel restrictions by country:
IATA - International Air Transport Association and US Dept of State

3 Scenarios in Response to COVID-19 Potential Restrictions:
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:

  1. Ideal Options: If students are eager to head internationally this fall, they apply and see how things go in terms of travel restrictions.
  2. Backup Domestic Options: Students also apply to US-based program(s) which can range from group gap year options, to shorter skill-based intensives, a few 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 students will ideally have enough variety to pinpoint some that appeal, even if these weren't a first choice for fall.
  3. Backup Backup Options: Our  ORL (Online Resource List) of over 85 links include courses of all kinds, internships, volunteer work, seminars and certifications, arts, fitness, etc. These options can be utilized as filler, if need be, and allow students to buy time if they have to quarantine again before stepping into the next hands-on experience.

One great gap year benefit, especially this year, is how much flexibility is involved with swift and easy changes in plans as needed. Program variety allows students to still engage in interesting experiences as they wait to see how the world landscape unfolds, and with increased freedom of movement, they can turn on a dime to step into options further afield. Gap year learning is all about rolling with change and the challenge of becoming comfortable with shifting plans, whether due to internal or external factors. 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.

Articles:
The following articles address how students and parents are feeling about college this fall, how colleges may weather the potential challenges of continued online classes and reduced enrollment, and when they make a final decision about online or on campus classes, and also some positive effects of quarantine on students.

Chronicle of Higher Education (5/19/20) - see updated list of college decisions about fall classes:
https://www.chronicle.com/article/Here-s-a-List-of-Colleges-/248626

Bloomberg Businessweek (5/15/20) - Holly Bull, Gap Year Counselor at Interim, quoted in this article on the economic implications for this year's gap year:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-15/the-covid-19-college-gap-year-exposes-a-great-economic-divide

PBS News Hour - Education (5/5/20) - students continuing to contemplate a gap year this fall
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/coronavirus-fears-may-lead-to-big-gap-year-for-college-students

LA Times (4/30/20) - colleges considering viable on campus life 
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-30/coraonavirus-will-change-college-life-and-learning-for-campuses-open-in-the-fall

Forbes (4/28/20) - suggestions on how to make the most of a gap year
https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherrim/2020/04/28/thinking-about-taking-a-gap-year-due-to-covid-19-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-it/#2d2da6fb111c

Forbes (4/26/20) - It's Time to Reinvent the Gap Year
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brandonbusteed/2020/04/26/its-time-to-reinvent-the-gap-year/#e305c3b458de

ABCNews (4/24/20) - More students are now considering a Gap Year because of COVID-19
https://abcnews.go.com/US/students-now-gap-year-covid-19/story?id=70286753

CNBC (4/16/20):
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/16/how-the-coronavirus-pandemic-has-changed-college-admissions.html

NYTimes (4/15/20):
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/us/coronavirus-colleges-universities-admissions.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Diverse: Issues In Higher Ed (4/12/20):
https://diverseeducation.com/article/172993/

Chronicle of Higher Education (4/8/20)
https://www.chronicle.com/article/6-steps-to-prepare-for-an/248463?cid=wcontentgrid_hp_9

Forbes Magazine (4/3/20):
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lucielapovsky/2020/04/03/the-corona-virus-will-be-the-death-knell-for-some-colleges/#e3d551744aff

New York Post (3/29/20) - the potential upside for students with a notable decrease in anxiety and chance to develop useful executive functioning skills:
https://nypost.com/2020/03/29/coronavirus-is-providing-the-course-correction-kids-desperately-needed/

Stay healthy and well,

Holly Bull & Kate Warren
Center for Interim Program Gap Year Counselors 


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