As the cities, states, and countries where American Councils operates begin to reopen, the senior leadership team continues to prioritize the safety of our participants, partners, and staff worldwide. While the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed our work, American Councils remains committed to continuing to deliver the highest quality programming throughout its global network. Difficult times like these highlight the need to continue to provide access to international education opportunities, which develop the type of skills, perspectives, and professional networks required to create lasting solutions to global problems.
Immediately following the onset of the pandemic, American Councils began working with the US Department of State, foreign governments, and embassies around the world to safely and quickly return participants to their home countries. Operations shifted to remote work in all offices. The organization has remained fully operational throughout the pandemic and staff shifted swiftly and seamlessly to virtual programming where possible.
In this complex environment, American Councils remains committed to continuing to support language acquisition, cultural exchange, and professional development for participants around the world. Applications for a number of our AC Study and Research Abroad intensive summer language programs remain open until June 10. Virtual NSLI-Y will soon open applications for language study in a digital classroom, beginning in the fall. To ensure the continuity of language testing services in a safe environment, the National Examinations in World Languages moved to an at-home administration of language tests, allowing hundreds of language students to secure the test scores they need to seek college credit for their language skills. Extensive support of program alumni continues virtually, managed by our overseas and Washington, DC-based staff.
American Councils’ senior leadership continues to work closely with our overseas staff to carefully plan for a return to our offices. Such a return will only occur when the local health situation allows. We anticipate, however, that the situation will remain fluid. As such, office openings and the requirements under which they reopen will be handled on a case-by-case basis. During our gradual reopening, American Councils’ senior management will always keep the safety and security of our staff, participants, partners, parents, and other stakeholders in the forefront of our decision-making.
We continue to encourage all American Councils participants and stakeholders to closely follow CDC and other US government guidelines for slowing the spread of infection.