COVID-19 Information


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

Safety:
Interim's primary concern is the safety of our students. Given COVID-19, we are monitoring the most informed news about it so that we can share the best information with our families.

For finding available vaccines in your area:

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

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:
Families are understandably concerned about COVID-19 and its effects on taking gap time and travel. Since the fall of 2020, we have witnessed most all of our students attending programs safely on site, with peers and leaders in the US as well as some locations abroad. Spring 2021 students engaged in group programs as well as more independent internship placements and volunteer work, both domestically and internationally. These students were not yet vaccinated. In the gap year community at large, of the few students we heard about who tested positive for the virus, all had either mild or no symptoms and quarantined on site before rejoining programs. Now that most students are vaccinated, the chance of serious infection has been considerably reduced and more locations in the world have opened up. However, we continue to recommend considering the three response scenarios below in the face of the range of available options and any necessary last minute changes:

  1. Ideal Options: If students are eager to attend programs out of the US, they apply and see how things go in terms of travel restrictions - this worked well in 2020 with students able to step into programs in Ireland, the UK, Israel, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Croatia, and Costa Rica.
  2. Backup Domestic Options: Students also apply to US-based programs which can range from group gap year options, to shorter skill-based intensives, some internship options (tougher to find in the US for gap year students), and volunteer placements. We had many students in 2020 on group programs in Hawaii and the mainland US, as well as clearing trails in national parks, doing business and physical therapy internships, and attending Wilderness EMT certification courses. 
  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. Most of our 2020 students did not have to utilize these options and few current students even need to consider the ORL options.

One great gap year benefit is how much flexibility is involved with swift and easy changes in plans as needed. Program variety, even if more limited than usual, allows students to still engage in interesting experiences, 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 due to internal or external factors. Our world situation with COVID-19 definitely poses one of the more challenging external pressures for change, but we have seen first hand that it is possible for students to successfully carry on and derive the same core benefits that make gap time such an extraordinary option to experience.

Articles:

CNN Travel (12/20/21) - list of countries open to tourist travel

Stay healthy and well,

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