Publication Date: March 13, 2020
Publication Location: Brattleboro, VT
Contact: Kate Casa   |   kate.casa@sit.edu

SIT moves quickly to bring home students from abroad, implements staff work-from-home policy

School for International Training and its parent organization, World Learning, Inc., have announced safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective Monday, March 16, faculty and staff based in the organization’s headquarters in Brattleboro, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., have been instructed to work from home.

Nearly 150 World Learning and SIT staff members work on the Vermont campus. The mandatory directive is in effect through March 27 and will be reassessed at that time. SIT and World Learning have faculty and staff worldwide. The organization will be open and fully operational during this time period. 

“This decision was taken out of concern for you, your families, and our communities,” said World Learning, Inc. CEO Carol Jenkins, in an announcement to staff. “It will support social distancing and help ‘flatten the curve’ in ways that support public infrastructure and improve safety and health outcomes for everyone. We also believe this will lessen the anxiety caused by the daily unknown yet inevitable virus-related closure of local schools and other urgent announcements that will continue to interrupt work routines.”

The spread of COVID-19 has required both SIT and World Learning to act quickly to ensure the safety and well-being of students.

SIT currently has more than 900 undergraduates enrolled in SIT Study Abroad programs in more than 50 countries. After cancelling a spring 2020 China program before it started and moving a Mongolia program online in January and February, SIT this week suspended all programs in Europe, including Iceland, changing flights and rerouting students so they could repatriate as swiftly as possible. Students returning home early will complete their coursework online.

To that end, SIT is currently accepting gifts and donations to the F. Gordon Boyce student emergency fund, established in 1988, to help safeguard students and minimize disruptions to their studies.

The Experiment, which provides summer study abroad programs for high school students, has preemptively suspended programs this summer in China, Italy, and South Korea.

SIT Graduate Institute, which offers master’s degrees in global locations and low-residency MAs on the Vermont campus, continues to carefully monitor the development of COVID-19. SIT Global Master’s degree students are currently studying in Africa and will move into independent practicum programs throughout the world later this semester.

SIT has also postponed a major international research conference that was scheduled on the Vermont campus May 14-16. The Critical Global Issues Symposium on Migration and Human Resilience was set to bring SIT and partner institutions’ students, faculty and staff to campus from throughout the world. It is expected to be rescheduled in 2021.

At the current time, low-residency master’s degree programs on the Vermont campus are expected to continue as scheduled, with graduate students on hand for capstone presentations in May and classes during the summer. The CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program is also still expected to take place May 31-June 13 in Brattleboro.

Learn more about SIT Study Abroad, SIT Graduate Institute, The Experiment,and World Learning.