Letter from Nacel Open Door Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


March 13, 2020

Dear Nacel Open Door Families,

At Nacel Open Door, we take the safety and well-being of our students and host communities very seriously.  As you know, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the U.S. and global community have imposed temporary travel restrictions, limited gatherings of ten or more people, while most states are extending school breaks, implementing distance learning, or enacting temporary closures. Like you, our hope is that these efforts will be successful in slowing down, and eventually eliminate the spread of this virus. In the meantime, we know that the news and information being reported is continually evolving – at times contradictory – with the added complexity of different messages and guidelines by state and community. As such, please be assured that we will work closely with host families, students and natural parents to ensure that each unique situation is addressed to the best of our ability.  

We are continuing to monitor the CDC and WHO publications daily to keep abreast of the situation, and are advising appropriately.  We are asking that all host families and students follow the CDC guidelines for proper hygiene and self-care. If you are not aware of this guidance, you can find it here: CDC Coronavirus, (COVID-19) Recommendations.

In an effort to keep our students healthy, Nacel Open Door is also currently imposing travel restrictions for travel outside of the continental United States. We are encouraging our students to stay in their host communities if possible, and consider delaying all domestic travel plans. For new travel proposals, we will carefully evaluate the destination and make the appropriate recommendation. If travel has already been approved, we will work individually with you to determine an appropriate course of action. If you have questions regarding eligibility for travel, please email travel@nacelopendoor.org.  

Please be aware that it is normal for students to be concerned about their health here in the U.S., and to also worry about family and friends back home in their own country. If you or your student are feeling anxious, we encourage you to reach out to others and to talk about your feelings. We have a staff of Student Advisors that are available to take calls and offer support. You can reach our Student Advisors directly at Advising@nacelopendoor.org or you can call the National Office at 800-622-3553.  

We also encourage students to keep in touch with family members back home, and receive updates as needed. Some natural parents have also inquired about the return of students to their home countries, and this is understandable. However, we encourage students and families to educate themselves on the situation in their host communities as well as their home countries before they make this very serious decision. Some things to consider would be the current state of the virus in each location, the current health conditions of students and natural families, and the impact an early return could have on any academic progress.  We will not impose any mandatory returns, but will work individually with each student and family to assist with whatever course of action they feel is best for their individual situation.

This is unfamiliar territory to all involved, and we are making decisions with as much clarity and guidance from the experts as possible. However, with that said, due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we ask you to be patient and understanding with us that the likelihood that those decisions will be adjusted as new information and guidelines are issued.

We thank you for your continued patience during this time.  Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

The Nacel Open Door National Office

Nacel Open Door a nonprofit organization dedicated to international understanding and language education