COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions:
What is OCEAN’s stance regarding the COVID-19 crisis? Are the students being encouraged to go home?
We are not requiring our students to return home at this time. We are communicating with the host families, students and their natural parents to find an option that works best for all parties. We are taking into consideration each student's specific circumstances, and decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis. Keep in mind that there are stringent travel restrictions in many countries, which prevent travel. Some of the natural parents have chosen to have their children return home, while others feel that they are safer staying where they are. We will continue offering our support no matter what the final decision.
What if schools in our state are closed indefinitely?
If schools are closed indefinitely and online courses are available, the exchange students are required to complete the online courses and follow the same requirements as the American students. If schools will be closed until the end of the year, the students may wish to return home and continue their online studies from their home country. If there are no online classes offered, the students should return to their home countries as soon as they are able to travel.
What happens if the students need to have their transcripts validated?
If the students are required to have their transcripts validated, we will do what we can to assist in this process. In some cases, the students will only be able to have their first semester transcripts validated. If the students are able to finish the second semester via online courses, we may be able to have those transcripts validated as well. School policies vary from one school to another. We highly recommend that the students check with their home country schools to determine if any exceptions will be made to the transcript validation requirement due to COVID-19.
Will the students receive a Certificate of Completion?
We will provide all of our students with a "Certificate of Completion" indicating that they have completed the OCEAN program successfully.
What will happen in regards to the students' return flight arrangements? Who will arrange their flights?
We will be communicating with our international partners who will be assisting the natural parents in arranging the students' return flights.
Do the students still have health insurance?
Yes, the students will have health insurance coverage until they return to their home countries.
What happens to the student's visa?
The student's visa will remain valid until the program end date listed on his/her DS-2019 form. If the student is unable to return home before this date due to travel restrictions, we will discuss our options with the U.S. Department of State.
Is the student allowed to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?
No. Unless the student is returning to his/her home country, he/she is NOT allowed to travel. Most states have stay-at-home orders in place, and we require that all of our students follow local and state directives, as well as CDC guidelines. This is extremely important in order to keep our students and host families safe.
Can the student visit a friend or stay overnight at a friend's house during the pandemic?
No. The student must remain in the host family's home. He/she is NOT allowed to stay at a friend's house and must follow all recommended social distancing guidelines.
What happens if the student becomes sick?
If the student becomes sick, and his/her symptoms are mild, he/she must stay home and follow the quarantine protocol outlined by the Center for Disease Control. He/she must NOT go out in public or expose him/herself to anyone else. If the student's symptoms are of a serious nature, he/she should receive medical attention right away.
Will OCEAN be temporarily closing their office due to COVID-19?
We will be limiting our time at the office; however, we will be working from home and checking our e-mails and phone messages on a regular basis. Our emergency contact is still the same. If you have an emergency, and it is after hours, you simply need to dial our toll-free number (1-888-996-2326) and press "1" to reach the director on call. If it is not an emergency, please call our office during regular office hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Arizona Time) or send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will respond to your e-mail in a timely manner.
Is the high school exchange program being cancelled?
The high school exchange program is not being canceled at this time.
What happens to the students that have been accepted to participate in our program for the 2020/2021 school year? Are they still allowed to come?
The J-1 visa program is not being canceled at this time. Students who have been accepted into our program for the 2020/2021 school year have not canceled their participation, and we are continuing to recruit families to host these students.