Message Sent From AFS-USA President to All Host Families and Students (Core Programs Only)

Message Sent From AFS-USA President to All Host Families and Students (Core Programs Only)

The following message was sent to all host families and students (Core program only, not including YES and FLEX) to clarify information concerning the change in length of their AFS program.

Dear Host Parents and Students on AFS Year and Semester Programs,

As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly changing in countries around the world. In our 70+ years of history as a global organization working through all kinds of crises and challenges, this situation is unprecedented. We have announced that the AFS International Network has made decision to shorten programs, in every country where we have programs, and to return students home to their families. We are well prepared with a plan that is being implemented across more than 50 countries in our AFS Network—a plan that involves more than 7,000 students worldwide, their families, and their host families.

This does not mean that every student in the United States will be sent home immediately. What this does mean is that our plan of action is focused on shortening all programs and returning all US-based hosted students back to their families. AFS-USA is taking a staggered approach of when to send hosted students home. We are dealing with nearly 2,000 international students here in the US. This plan will take weeks to implement as we continue to decide when to send students home, and depending on travel arrangements and other logistics. Students from some countries will depart the US earlier than other students. 

This will not be a short-term process lasting for days—it will take weeks. We are aware that not every parent, host parent, or student agree with the decision that our Network has made to shorten programs and return students to their families. However, please understand that while we believe that it is in the best interest of students to return to their homes, every student, host parent, and natural parents/guardians will be communicated with individually when arrangements are able to be made to return the student home. AFS-USA is moving forward as thoughtful and cautiously as is possible.

NOTE: If you are also living with or hosting a YES or FLEX sponsored program student, the Department of State Youth Programs Division makes decisions about changes to these programs. At this time, we have not received word of any changes for students on YES and FLEX programs. If there are changes, these students will receive a communication from the US Department of State.  

In the meantime we hope that this information will help to reassure you.

With warm regards,

Tara M. Hofmann
President & CEO