Boarding Schools: Housing International Students Over Holiday Breaks
Your 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, your boarding school can meet its supervisory responsibilities and offer engaging activities for those students.
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 only may need options for shorter holidays. Needs may vary based on the size of the school’s international population and the students’ distance from their countries.
Consider providing these options for international students during breaks:
- Small, intensive courses
- Some residence halls with limited staff
- A host family program
- Sponsored trips
- Partnering with another school or organization to provide options
Manage Risks of School Partnerships
Do this when partnering with schools or other organizations:
- Conduct thorough research. Examine 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. The provision should specify how the parties will allocate responsibility for any claims or losses.
- Make sure the hosting organization has adequate insurance. The insurance should cover liability, accident, auto, property, and other risks. For guidance, see UE’s Improving Contracting on Campus: Allocating Risks Between Parties.
- Ensure that the organization conducts adequate screening and background checks. It should screen employees, contractors, and volunteers with access to students.
Set Clear Expectations About Campus Support
Do this for students at school during breaks:
- Review all communications to international students and their families, such as housing contracts and promotional materials. Ensure written and verbal communications are accurate and don’t include broad guarantees of supervision or safety.
- Contact international students regularly. Two or three months before the start of the fall term, during orientation, and throughout the year provide them 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.
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About the Author
Melanie Bennett, Esq.
ARM-E, Senior Risk Management Counsel
In her role on UE’s Risk Research team, Melanie dives into timely topics affecting education. Her areas of expertise include pandemic response, protecting minors, enterprise risk management (ERM), and technology accessibility. Prior to joining UE, she interned at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.