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Parents and Schools: Working Together for a Fun and Safe Spring Vacation

Woman wheeling black suitcase through airport

Over the past two years, international travel has seen much change. As new restrictions are announced, parents and families find ways to adapt. Timing can make this a little difficult, especially when it comes to the school calendar.

China implemented new travel policies in January 2022, including a requirement that all travelers must be tested for COVID-19 at specific labs before entering the country, as well as quarantining upon arrival.

What does this mean for international students studying in the United States?

First, get the facts. We all know how quickly things change; talk to the International Program Director at your child’s school to make sure you have the most up-to-date information. Ask questions about the new testing rules: Are school officials bringing students to testing sites? If there are extra costs, what should parents expect to pay?

Once you have those answers, the next thing to think about is timing. Spring break typically lasts for about two weeks. Current travel policies state that people traveling from the U.S. into China must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days after arrival. Does it make sense for your child to come home if you won’t be able to spend much time together as a family?

If you decide to let your child stay in the U.S. over spring vacation, you need to know where they will be housed and whether the school will be open or closed. Working with your International Program Director, arrangements can be made to help your child enjoy their time off in a safe and enjoyable way. Be sure to ask the Director, friends, volunteer, or host family detailed questions such as:

If the School Campus Is Open

Will parents be allowed to stay on campus to spend the vacation with their child? What are the rules for testing and vaccinations? Will meals be provided for parents and students? Are there any extra costs?

If parents cannot travel to the U.S., how will supervision be handled at the school for those children who are staying on campus or with local families? Will there be any programming or activities?

If the School Campus Is Closed

If your child’s campus is closed, you may be asked to give written permission when choosing other options.

Has your school found a host family to take care of your child during school vacation? Ask the International Program Director to set up a time to “meet” them virtually. You can get to know each other a bit, share helpful information about your child, and ask questions about activities they may be planning.

Has your child been invited to spend time with your own family members or friends in the U.S. during the break? This is a great way for students to learn more about the culture and experience new adventures! The International Program Director can work with you to make sure everyone is comfortable and clear about the details.

Are you able to travel to America to see your child? Even though the campus will be closed, you can explore the city or town where the school is located or visit other parts of the country. Share your plans with the school before you travel, and be sure that school officials know when you will pick your child up and return them to campus.

Traveling during scheduled vacations may be a bit more complicated these days, but parents and students don’t have to do this alone. Together, schools and international families can achieve the same goal: keeping students safe, comfortable, and happy—not just during school break, but throughout the entire school year.

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
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