What is Go Au Pair doing about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

/What is Go Au Pair doing about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

(last updated on March 18, 2020)

Go Au Pair continues to monitor and adapt to the fast-changing decisions made by governments, organizations, institutions, and companies worldwide responding to concerns over the Coronavirus (henceforth referred to as COVID-19).

Our commitment is to keep our entire community informed on the impacts specific to the Au Pair Program.  We encourage Host Families, Au Pairs, Local Area Representatives, International Representatives and our staff at Headquarters to stay informed on the precautions and risks related to COVID-19 (links below).

As a whole, Go Au Pair trusts the decisions coming from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and local and national governments and we continue our daily operations in the meanwhile.  Likewise, we trust the personal decisions made by our Families, Au Pairs and the Go Au Pair Community worldwide.  We appreciate everyone’s understanding and flexibility as we make the most of the situation, and we are updating this page as more information becomes available to us.

High-Risk Individuals
People at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 include older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.  The CDC encourages everyone to be aware of who is at risk so those individuals and those in close contact with them can take necessary precautions.

Precautions
The CDC recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of viruses.  The WHO’s standard recommendations include hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices.  The CDC and WHO recommend proper handwashing to prevent the spread of illness, watch this video from the CDC about the correct technique for handwashing.

The White House has issued safe practices and precautions in the 15 Days to Slow the Spread, Guide for Americans.  We encourage all participants to review and follow the recommendations coming from the White House, Local governments and the CDC and WHO.

We encourage Families and Au Pairs to discuss together as a family the precautions you feel most comfortable with.

Procedures if symptoms appear
The CDC provides the following steps to anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of COVID-19.

Go Au Pair encourages all participants to stay up-to-date with the latest information on COVID-19 in your local area and travel destinations.  We understand local governments have different recommendations and various local institutions may change their operations.  We respect each participants’ personal level of concern over COVID-19 and understand there may be a range of changes to program circumstances.

All Au Pair sponsoring organizations received guidance from The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) within the U.S. Department of State acknowledging that the uncertainty created by COVID-19 requires flexibility.  The ECA encourages participants to consult with Go Au Pair to seek alternative ways to maintain program objectives as a temporary modification due to these pressing circumstances beyond our control.

All exceptions to program operations must first be approved by Go Au Pair with a written record as we are required to report these to the ECA.

Possible Impacts to the Educational Requirement
Some educational institutions are temporarily closing and switching to online classes and some continuing education classes may become unavailable.  If you need to complete online education for your educational requirement please contact Go Au Pair at educoord@goaupair.com detailing the situation of your exception for approval.  Au Pairs nearing the end of their program time are prioritized over Au Pairs with reasonable time remaining for completing the educational requirement.

Possible Impacts to Group Events
Cultural events and Family Day events may be affected due to limited interest of participants or local government restrictions.  If this affects your ability to attend such events, please contact your Local Area Representative so we can maintain a written record of the situation.  Go Au Pair encourages Families and Au Pairs to stay up-to-date with the latest information in your local area and travel destinations and decide what is best for you as a family.  Go Au Pair encourages Families and Au Pairs to stay up-to-date with the latest information in your local area and travel destinations and decide what is best for you as a family.  See below in “Coronavirus Guidelines for America” regarding social gatherings.

Possible Impacts to Travel
Travel is not restricted within the U.S. nor to most international locations.  The CDC and WHO have the following travel advisories.  The recently updated Presidential Proclamation from March 11, 2020 suspends travel from China, Iran and Schengen Europe*, to America with very limited entry to the U.S. for anyone that has visited any of the restricted areas in the past 14 days.

During this rapidly changing environment, we expect a variety of responses from countries, states and cities around the world which could impact travel.  Domestic travel around America could be temporarily suspended and Families and Au Pairs should consider that possibility.  Coronavirus Guidelines for America, released on March 16, 2020, recommend avoiding discretionary travel and social gatherings of more than 10 people.

*Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.  The United Kingdom and Ireland have been added to this list.

Au Pair Health Insurance
We have been informed by Caremed that treatment and testing for COVID-19 are covered as any other illness under your health insurance policy.  If you suspect symptoms of COVID-19 follow the recommended precautions linked above and if you need to see a healthcare provider you can locate one at Aetna Passport to HealthCare.  Contact claimhelp@mycisi.com if you have inquiries about your plan coverage and benefits.

Go Au Pair continues to recruit and screen Au Pairs to participate in the Au Pair Program.  Our available Au Pairs typically come from the following regions:

  • Central & South America = 77%
  • Africa = 8%
  • Europe = 4%
  • Asia & Pacific = 11%

None of our current available Au Pairs reside in Wuhan City, Italy or other Level 3 or 4 countries.

We love all of our Au Pair applicants!  We have Au Pairs available worldwide and all are available to match.  While we cannot predict possible travel restrictions or other arrival delays, we encourage Host Families to interview and match with Au Pairs and still plan for arrival.

Au Pairs waiting for Embassy appointments
Due to the fast-changing restriction on large gatherings of people and travel around the world, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates are altering operations accordingly.  There is a chance your Au Pairs visa appointment is delayed or temporarily canceled.  This could result in delays on Au Pair arrivals but does not mean an Au Pair will be denied a visa. Speak with your Placement Coordinator directly if you have concerns about your Au Pair getting an embassy appointment.

Au Pairs Arriving
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) within the U.S. Department of State has announced a 60 day suspension for all Exchange Visitor Programs, including Au Pairs, on travel to the U.S. from any country worldwide.  This is in response to the U.S. Department of State issuing a Global Level 4 travel advisory and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of program participants.

The suspension on Exchange Visitor travel to the U.S. started March 11, 2020. Go Au Pair understands Au Pairs are able to enter the country again on May 10, 2020 and recognizes the situation is rapidly changing and this date could be earlier or later.

Go Au Pair must authorize all Au Pair arrivals for participants to maintain sponsorship and we look forward to resuming this again in May.

Families or Au Pairs choosing to cancel or change flights are subject to the same cancellation terms as usual.  Arrival flights into the U.S. include two flights (first to JFK, second to family’s preferred airport) so two fees may apply.  Speak with your Placement Coordinator directly if you are considering changes to your arrival flight(s).

Au Pairs Attending the Success Workshop
Host Families and Au Pairs are notified if there is an impact to Go Au Pair’s ability to conduct our Success Workshop resulting from government rulings, travel restrictions, or limited access to the facilities and services we need.  Alternative arrangements are in place and Families and Au Pairs impacted are informed.

Go Au Pair representatives conducting the Success Workshop are not medically trained professionals capable of testing for or diagnosing illnesses.  We encourage all attending Au Pairs to review the precautions from the CDC, WHO, and procedures to follow if symptoms appear (see above).  Medical care is always available to Au Pairs during their stay in America including their time at the Success Workshop.

At this time Au Pairs in an active placement are NOT required to end their time in the program and return home, the Au Pair Program is still operating as usual for active placements.  If an Au Pair or Host Family would like to end their placement early the same Mediation and Termination Policy applies.  Au Pairs are allowed to return to their home country as planned at the end of their Au Pair program or after their 30-day grace period has ended, there may be difficulty for travel to certain areas due to flight suspensions resulting from decreased demand in travel.  Travel, specifically to the area around Wuhan City, is restricted and flights have been canceled to that area.

Argentina has temporarily suspended international flights from the U.S. for 30 days from March 16, 2020, this date may be extended by the Argentinian government if deemed necessary.  Please contact your Placement Coordinator is this applies to you.

Ecuador has temporarily suspended all arrivals (air, land, or sea), including Ecuadorians from March 17, 2020 to April 5, 2020.  Please contact your Placement Coordinator is this applies to you.

Au Pairs nearing the end of their program affected by the travel restrictions have the following options:

  • Contact Go Au Pair headquarters about booking a return flight at flightcoord@goaupair.com.  If a return flight can be booked then the Au Pair should return home and follow all recommended precautions and requirements issued.
  • Leverage the 30-day grace period with your DS-2019 and postpone your return (The 30-day Grace Period (How-to))
  • Consider extending for additional time in the U.S.  Au Pairs have the option to extend their program length for another 6, 9 or 12 months and may stay with the same family, or transfer to a new family (travel restrictions may apply during this exceptional time).

The Office of Private Sector Exchange Program Administration (OPA) within the U.S. State Department has requested that Go Au Pair (and all sponsoring agencies) report any difficulties in returning Au Pairs to their home countries but has advised Go Au Pair that program end dates and rules for departing the U.S. at the end of the Au Pair program and 30 day grace period still apply.  Please notify Go Au Pair if you believe your ability to return home is at risk to understand your options.

Go Au Pair is not able to accommodate any special requests for flights including special airlines or special requests for layovers as there are already difficulties booking departure flights with the current temporary travel suspensions and restrictions.  Families or Au Pairs choosing to cancel or change flights are subject to the same cancellation terms as usual.  Contact Go Au Pair for specific situations and questions.

Au Pairs are allowed to return to their home country as planned at the end of their Au Pair program or after their 30-day grace period has ended, there may be difficulty for travel to certain areas due to flight suspensions resulting from decreased demand in travel.  Travel, specifically to the area around Wuhan City, is restricted and flights have been canceled to that area.

Au Pairs nearing the end of their program affected by the travel restrictions have the following options:

  • Contact Go Au Pair headquarters about booking a return flight at flightcoord@goaupair.com.  If a return flight can be booked then the Au Pair should return home and follow all recommended precautions and requirements issued.
  • Leverage the 30-day grace period with your DS-2019 and postpone your return (The 30-day Grace Period (How-to))

The Office of Private Sector Exchange Program Administration (OPA) within the U.S. State Department has requested that Go Au Pair (and all sponsoring agencies) report any difficulties in returning Au Pairs to their home countries but has advised Go Au Pair that program end dates and rules for departing the U.S. at the end of the Au Pair program and 30 day grace period still apply.

Families or Au Pairs choosing to cancel or change flights are subject to the same cancellation terms as usual.  Contact Go Au Pair for specific situations and questions.

We are committed to preserving the spirit and mission of the Au Pair Program during this exceptional time.  Go Au Pair continues to service Host Families and Au Pairs during the COVID-19 response while also following the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses to help prevent workplace exposures.  Among many precautions, this includes new work-from-home practices and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we adjust.   The entire Go Au Pair Community can expect the same high quality service from Headquarters as always.

A Message from Our Executive Director, Devon Kapler

To the Go Au Pair Community,

Thank you.  Thank you for your outstanding response t
o this unprecedented global event.
 
To our Host Families, thank you for your unyielding commitment to success in your current and upcoming placements.  Your concerns around achieving program objectives, thoughtful questioning and above and beyond accommodation of Au Pair travel delays has been integral to aiding Go Au Pair’s understanding of the dynamic impacts this situation has caused.  You helped us shape policies and communications which have supported the entire community.


To our Au Pairs, you have experienced the most rapid and significant change to child care schedules unlike any Au Pair before you.  As schools close, homes isolate with encouraged sick days, and companies move to work-from-home options, your dedication to your Host Kids and reliability for your Host Parents has been monumental.  You have truly enhanced the definition of 
family and we are so grateful to have you.  Thank you.

To our Representatives across America and across the world, thank you for your integrity and consideration of our Au Pairs and Host Families around the world.  As cases appeared around the world and across America, our Representatives remained dedicated to the safety of all participants while also respecting the responsibility of each individual.


To our staff at Headquarters and the entire community, I applaud you all for the extraordinary teamwork displayed in recent weeks.  Your cooperation, communication and support to one another has been essential and I’m incredibly grateful to be working with you.  
While we may be practicing “social distancing” right now, the Go Au Pair Community has benefited from the unique power of worldwide connection and interpersonal relationships.

Thank you all again.  I am confident facing the events ahead knowing the strength in our Community.


Sincerely,



Devon Kapler

Executive Director

By |2020-03-27T11:01:55+00:00March 19th, 2020|News|

About the Author:

Devon is the Executive Director of Go Au Pair, working closely with all departments.
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