Welfare and safety webinar for US-bound students

On Thursday 22nd July, a webinar on welfare and safety, with particular emphasis on Covid and its associated rules and regulations, was held for students planning to enrol on a course with us in the US this Fall.

The session was introduced by Director, Jose Flores, who gave a useful overview of the current situation regarding Covid and the vaccination program in the US:

  • As of July 21st, over 339 million vaccines have been administered in the US. Currently, 68.4% of all people aged 18 and above in the US have received at least one dose. 59.6% are fully vaccinated.
  • In the US, anyone aged 12 and over can be vaccinated, and ALL Kings students coming to the US are eligible for a free vaccine.
  • International students who arrive at a major airport can get vaccinated at the airport. Most of the major US airports are equipped to vaccinate students upon arrival. This appears to be unique to the US for now.

Traveling to the US

When students travel to the US from another country, they have to have been tested for Covid and have results showing that they are negative prior to boarding.

There is an exemption that allows students who are on F1 or M1 visa (effectively any student who studies in the US) to come to the US under the ‘National Interest Exemption Scheme’.

Coronavirus and international students

The next part of the webinar highlighted some of the main differences between current protocols in the US and Canada, making it clear that – for now – the US offers more flexibility in terms of recognized vaccinations and quarantine policy when it comes to North American destinations.

Learning overview and Kings Covid-19 policies

A general summary of the current situation regarding Kings programs, locations and general policies is as follows:

  • Kings schools and partner universities are fully open for the Fall 2021 semester.
  • Continuing GO: program students should plan to study in person.
  • All GO: programs will continue to run according to the published schedule.
  • English courses are available in-person or online.
  • University transfer applications continue as normal.
  • Vaccination is required (without exemption) for all staff members.
  • WHO-approved vaccines are all accepted.
  • Students should have had at least their first dose of the vaccine before they join in-person classes.
  • Regardless of their vaccination status, students will be required to wear a mask indoors.

The next section of the webinar involved detailed information from Senior Director, Enrollment Management and Compliance, Joe de la Torre, about what students planning to enrol with Kings this Fall can expect when they arrive at each location. This includes students taking the GO: Prepared program at our partner university locations.

California State University, Fullerton

  • The University is located in California, where 63% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July).
  • CSF requires students to be vaccinated, like Kings schools, and will accept any vaccine on the WHO approved list.
  • They require a 7-day quarantine for unvaccinated students, fully vaccinated students don’t need to quarantine.
  • Unvaccinated students must arrive early for quarantine and receive a Johnson and Johnson vaccine for quicker compliance (it only requires one dose).
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at three locations in LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and is free for anyone aged 18 and above.
  • Fully vaccinated students at Cal State, Fullerton may still wear a mask, but it is not required by law.
  • Online courses will be available for some programs for any students unable to travel.

Kings Los Angeles (Hollywood)

  • Vaccination is required (without exemption).
  • WHO-approved vaccines are all accepted.
  • Students should have had at least their first dose of the vaccine before they join in-person classes.
  • Their vaccination appointment date and time will be shared upon arrival.
  • Students under the age of 18 can be vaccinated if they have a signed Kings parental consent form.
  • Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine.
  • A ‘soft’ 7-day quarantine is required for unvaccinated students – the school will help them to get their vaccination within this time.
  • We will require students and staff to wear masks inside, and when gathering in groups outside, regardless of vaccination status.

Kings New York (College of Mount Saint Vincent)

  • Located in the state of New York, where 67.63% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July).
  • Vaccination is required (however students can apply for medical or religious exemption).
  • WHO-approved vaccines are all accepted.
  • The College of Mount Saint Vincent will be running a vaccination clinic on campus during Welcome Week (September 3 or 6).
  • Students need to report that they have received the full vaccine by 15 October 2021.
  • Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine.
  • Unvaccinated students are required to self quarantine for 7 days after arrival (regardless of test results) and must do a Covid test on day 5 of their quarantine.
  • Fully vaccinated students may still wear a mask – it is recommended, but not required.
  • Online courses will be available for some programs for any students unable to travel.

Kings Boston (Fisher College)

  • Located in the state of Massachusetts, where 73.9% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July).
  • Vaccination is required. Students can apply for medical or religious exemption, and if approved, must wear a mask and complete weekly testing at their own expense.
  • WHO-approved vaccines are all accepted.
  • The arrival date is 31 August. Fully vaccinated students need to report that they have received the full dose by 6 September.
  • ALL students (regardless of their vaccination status) will be required to test on campus upon arrival.
  • Unvaccinated students must test on arrival, quarantine for 24 hours whilst they await confirmation of their negative result. They then receive the first vaccine, and will continue testing weekly until they are fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the second shot).
  • Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine.
  • Fully vaccinated students may still wear a mask – it is recommended, but not required.
  • Students enrolled on a language program (including GO: Prepared) will be required to wear masks inside.
  • Online courses will be available for some programs for any students unable to travel for visa reasons.

Kings Wisconsin

  • Currently, 62.5% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July) in the state of Wisconsin.
  • In Wisconsin, vaccination is not currently required, but we will be highly recommending it for all of our students.
  • UW Oshkosh will be running a vaccination clinic on campus on 27 August and 7 September, and students will be guided through the vaccination process by Kings staff.
  • On-campus testing is also available on August 27, August 30 and September 7.
  • There is a soft 7-day quarantine for unvaccinated students. Fully vaccinated students will not need to quarantine.
  • Fully vaccinated students may still wear a mask – it is recommended, but not required. Unvaccinated students will need to continue wearing one.
  • Online courses will be available for some programs for any students unable to travel to the US.

Southern Oregon University

  • Currently, 65.9% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July) in the state of Oregon.
  • Vaccination is required. Students can apply for medical or religious exemption.
  • WHO-approved vaccines are all accepted.
  • Their final quarantine policy is TBC in the coming weeks.
  • Fully vaccinated students may still wear a mask – it is recommended, but not required.
  • Online courses will be available for some programs for any students unable to travel to the US.

The Gilbert School (Connecticut)

  • Currently, 73.9% of adults (over 18s) are fully vaccinated (as of 21 July) in the state of Connecticut.
  • The Gilbert School will not require vaccination, but we will be highly recommending it for all of our students.
  • Students can receive their vaccine upon arrival, provided they have a signed permission form from their parents. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use for anyone aged 12 and over.
  • There are two different arrival dates – one for vaccinated students and one for unvaccinated. New students – Aug 15 (unvaccinated), Aug. 19 (vaccinated). Continuing students – Aug 18 (unvaccinated(, Aug 22 (vaccinated).
  • Vaccinated students will quarantine in their room for 3 days, and take a Covid test. Once a negative result is confirmed they are no longer required to quarantine.
  • Unvaccinated students must quarantine for 7 days, even if the Covid test comes back negative.

Q and A

At the end of the webinar, Recruitment Director for Kings Premium Universities Kaylee Hong hosted a Q and A session with webinar participants. Below are some of the main questions posed, along with the answers provided.

What is the NIE scheme?

It is something that was recently announced – in the last month or so. For a while, students from certain countries, including China, were unable to travel to the US because of Covid restrictions. Now, though students with an F1 student visa are allowed to enter into the country as of August 1st.

Is there in an on-site vaccination facility at JFK or Boston Logan airport, like at LAX?

Our understanding is that there are around 25 international airports in the US that have introduced it.

Even if the specific airport you fly to doesn’t have one, then great thing is that it’s very easy to get vaccinated at pharmacies quickly and easily in the US. Often you can walk in without even having an appointment.

Do students who have to quarantine do so in our accommodation, or would they need to find a hotel?

They would quarantine in our housing. It’s worth noting too that we call it a ‘soft’ quarantine as there is no tracking or police involvement, as may be the case in other countries with stricter policy. Students are still able to get food etc, but we ask them to stay away from other students as much as possible.

Is life relatively normal in the US now?

California has probably always had the most strict approach throughout the pandemic and to an extent the 50 states are almost like their own countries. What is happening in California now in a way almost tells the story of how the country is slowly or gradually returning to normal. Our school is fully operational, you are allowed to go to restaurants and eat your meal indoors, you can go to shopping malls and regular places. For a while you didn’t have to wear a mask but as of this Monday (26 July) LA county is being expected to wear masks indoors. So, with the exception of masks, everything is returning to normal.

In this respect, because California tends to be the most strict and cautious, it is likely that other states have an even greater degree of normalcy now.

From abroad, you may hear stories about the number of Covid cases rising, and yes, they have started to increase, but the vast majority of these cases are among people who chose not to be vaccinated and this is an important distinction to make.

During quarantine do students take online classes?

The quarantine will be done before classes for our degree seeking students, so no.

What happens to our students if there is a positive Covid case?

It’s mainly about isolation. For example, at Fisher College if a student gets Covid, it’s likely the student will have minor symptoms, but they are monitored and isolated. A meal plan is devised to they get meals delivered etc.

Is regular testing happening as standard on campus?

It was, but won’t any more as vaccinations ramp up.

If students require hospitalization with Covid would it be covered as part of the F1 health insurance?

Each university has their own insurance but they are generally quite good and would be covered. It’s likely they might have to pay a little, but it would be covered as a standard type of procedure.

If a student has a flight plan that transits in a country that is medium or high risk, is there any issue?

No, as long as the student is an F1 student visa nothing would be different.

Next steps

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the webinar, and please get in touch with us at enquiries@kingseducation.com should you have any further questions.