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    June 2014

    Boarding Schools: Housing International Students Over Holiday Breaks

    A boarding school’s duty to supervise its international students doesn’t end over holiday breaks. Due to time and expense constraints, international students often have difficulty returning home. With proper planning and good communication, boarding schools can meet their supervisory responsibilities and offer engaging activities for their international students who remain at school during breaks.

    Step 1—Identify and Meet Supervisory Needs

    Before the school year or during orientation, survey your international students and their parents to determine their needs for student supervision during school breaks. Follow up with families during the year to confirm plans.

    Some schools may need programming or supervisory options for every break including summer vacation, while others may only need options for shorter holidays. Needs may vary based on the size of the school’s international population and the students’ distance from their home countries.

    Consider providing these options during school breaks for international students:

    • Offering small, intensive courses
    • Opening some residence halls with limited staff
    • Using a host family program
    • Sponsoring trips
    • Partnering with another school or organization to provide options

    Step 2—Manage Risks of School Partnerships

    When partnering with schools or other organizations, consider these actions:

    • Thoroughly research the organization’s practices for safety, daytime and evening supervision, residence halls, and food services. Investigate these practices online and by speaking with schools that have used the organization’s services.
    • Ensure the contract with the organization has a well-written indemnity provision that specifies how the parties will allocate responsibility for any claims or losses.
    • Make sure the hosting organization has adequate insurance to cover liability, accident, auto, property, and other risks. For guidance, see Improving Contracting on Campus: Allocating Risks Between Parties.
    • Ensure that the organization conducts adequate screening and background checks for its employees, contractors, and volunteers who have access to students.

    Step 3—Set Clear Expectations About Campus Support

    For students at school during breaks, your institution should:

    • Review all communications to international students and their families, such as housing contracts and promotional materials. Ensure that written and verbal communications are accurate and do not include broad guarantees of supervision or safety.
    • Contact international students two or three months before the start of the fall term, during orientation, and throughout the year with information about opportunities available over breaks.
    • Consider providing a 24-hour phone number where students can reach a staff member in case of emergency.
    • Conduct evaluations to get student and parent feedback on school programs and other options provided.  Use the results to guide adjustments for the following year.

    Resources

    Youth Homestay Placements
    Hosting Motivation and Satisfaction Study

    Keeping Our Students Safe: Exchange Student Safety Guidelines

    By Melanie Bennett, assistant risk analyst

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