July 6

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Jul 6, 2020 9:00:00 AM

New Teacher Orientation

Our new cohort of teachers officially begin their orientation today in preparation for the Fall semester of working with ELIC. A couple of months ago, we made the decision to pivot quickly and create a way to host our teachers for a fully online orientation. Though they are all participating remotely, we are looking forward to building community, learning together, and being inspired by the journey ahead. Our team converted the usual 3-week in-person orientation into a 5-week online orientation and includes content and presenters from around the world who are experts in second language acquisition, teaching, cross-cultural living, and more. 

June 30

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Jun 30, 2020 12:04:21 PM

Summer programs for 2020

At this time, all ELIC summer programs have been canceled for 2020. We have been waiting on the final word from one final government partner that was hoping to host our teachers in August. They let us know that, unfortunately, they are unable to host our teachers this summer due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

Most of the teachers who were committed to these summer programs have deferred to 2021 and we look forward to working with them over the coming months to prepare them for another opportunity to serve overseas.

 

May 5

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on May 5, 2020 2:50:10 PM

Update Regarding Our Summer Engage Programs

Throughout the last several weeks, our in-country leaders across the globe as well as our North American staff have been working hard to find answers regarding our summer programs (Engage). Below is a brief update on those programs.

Up to this point, several Engage programs have been canceled, however, a few still remain in question. We continue to wait for confirmation from our partner institutions to determine if the rest will be canceled, changed, or go forward as expected. We are grateful that more than 100 North American participants have been patient and willing to wait to see what will unfold. Their trust in us and their flexibility during this season has been encouraging. 

We have three locations in the MENA region and two locations in Asia where it may be possible to host a summer program in 2020. As more information comes available and more decisions are made, we will be sending individual updates to the participants as well as updating this blog.

April 1

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Apr 1, 2020 5:53:02 PM

In recent days we’ve had a few teachers return to the United States on repatriation flights that are being provided by the US Embassy. Most recently, several teachers returned from Tunisia and arrived safely. There are currently two other teachers in the Middle East who will be returning this weekend. 

Across the organization, we continue to hear stories of hope and joy as our teachers wait. These days are not without their trials and difficulties, but everyone is in a stable, safe location.

March 26

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 26, 2020 11:53:11 AM

Many people have been asking about our summer programs that have been scheduled for May, June, and July departures. Earlier this week, ELIC President, Tim Davis, wrote a letter outlining our plans for this summer. The full letter is available for you to read by clicking here. Below are the action items from the letter that explain the options for each committed teacher. 

While optimism for these programs has been high, the reality is beginning to set in. Given these ever-changing dynamics, we have made a couple of decisions regarding those who have committed to participate in these programs.

1. There is a possibility that a handful of programs will still take place. We don’t yet know which countries or what the teaching needs will be. We are aware that many participants who have committed are willing to wait in the midst of this uncertainty. For those willing to wait to see what unfolds, we are grateful and we will keep you updated on a regular basis.

2. For many of our summer participants, a better option is to simply postpone their trip to the summer of 2021. We welcome you to simply defer your commitment to next summer. Our team of Candidate Advisors will continue to work with you throughout the next year and prepare you for an amazing summer of service next year. Any funds that have been raised so far can be used in any program for the next two years.

3. Lastly, we recognize that neither going this summer nor deferring to a future summer will work for some people. In those instances, your donor can choose to instead support another teacher in the country where you were planning to go or they can request a refund for funds received on your behalf. Simply ask your donors to email ELIC (email addressed removed from the blog post to prevent unwanted spam) to let us know what they would like to do.

March 24

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 24, 2020 1:44:45 PM

Over the last few days we have worked with consulates, embassies, airlines, travel agents, and our leadership teams to help many of our teachers relocate and find a place to settle as borders across the world are closing. We’re happy to report that the teachers who were on the move have arrived safely to their final destinations. Since February, many of our teachers have been unable to return to their primary country of service due to the outbreak. Of those who have been displaced, approximately 90% have now returned to their passport country.  

With everyone now settled into where they will remain for the foreseeable future, we are focusing our efforts on providing ongoing member care resources for them and finding creative ways to utilize technology to bring everyone together.

March 20

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 20, 2020 5:51:36 PM

Yesterday afternoon, the US State Department declared a global Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.  This "advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19."

The State Department urged Americans "in countries where commercial departure options remain available" to "arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

Based on these directions from the US State Department, over the past 24 hours we have talked directly to our leadership teams in every country of service to advise all of our teachers and global families that they have the option to arrange travel back to the US/Canada (or their specific passport country) or to choose to remain in their current location. We have made it clear that in choosing to stay it will be very difficult for us to assist in their return to North America later, or it might be impossible to do so based on travel restrictions. We do not know the timeframe of this advisory from the State Department.

A number of our China-based teachers and families, who were scattered globally, are either already en route to North America or are making plans to return within a few days. The majority of our people, who have been in their countries of service, have chosen to stay put, with a few exceptions.

March 18

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 18, 2020 10:48:51 AM

One specific question we are being asked on a daily basis is in regards to our summer programs. Our summer program participants typically depart in the months of May, June, and July depending on which program or country they are a part of. 

We are still weighing our options for summer programs and continue to work with those who have committed to these programs. We are in constant communication with our leadership teams overseas who are working with our educational partners to evaluate the possibility of these programs. We plan to have a definitive plan in place before the end of March that we will begin communicating to our short-term commits and will also communicate here on this blog. 

March 17

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 17, 2020 11:21:00 AM

As of noon today, our US headquarters in Colorado has encouraged employees who are able to work from home to do so. This is an effort to align with the desires of our local government to minimize groups of people and social interaction. Our normal operations will continue, but from remote locations. Our senior leadership team will continue to meet in the office each day and practice social distancing while continuing to collaborate on our response to this global pandemic. 

Our global teams continue to monitor developments on a daily basis and make necessary decisions that are appropriate for their unique contexts. Our Crisis Management Team is in constant communication with regional directors in every location where we work. We are continuing to hear positive stories of hope and joy in the midst of uncertainty.

Update 12

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Mar 12, 2020 10:49:49 AM

With all of the travel disruptions and fears of COVID-19, our leadership team in the MENA region along with ELIC's President have decided to postpone the Annual MENA Gathering. This gathering was scheduled to take place March 20-23 in southern Spain. Several of our countries in the MENA region gave notices to our teachers or through their embassies that if our teachers were to travel to Spain then they would not be permitted to return until after a 14-day quarantine.

Our plan is to reschedule this gathering for late May. We know this brings disappointment to our teachers, staff, and guests who were planning to attend, but we're confident that this is the wisest decision to benefit the most people.

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