Virtual platforms, phone, and social media will likely be a primary mode of engagement for all parties this cycle, as in-person engagement remains challenging. As such, we can expect to make more allowances to students this year than in years past with regards to technology use. It will therefore be very important to work with students and host families to establish a balance between engaging with others and limiting technology use. Some suggestions include designating regular technology-free family time and establishing times or “technology curfews” to put devices away. Student technology use should focus as much as possible on connecting with others here in the US, and on participating in school if classes contain virtual content. Student social media use should also be focused more on their friends and connections in the USA- not just at home. Please see the article on Expectations for Student Contact with Friends and Family Back Home.
In addition, we recommend encouraging student engagement with local young people to take place as much as possible on platforms that allow open conversation, such as phone calls and videoconferencing, as opposed to just social media. We recommend working with your team, your local schools, and local community organizations to find out what kind of virtual activities may be available for participation. Be creative! We encourage you to organize virtual events. Talk to your Support Coordinator or Support Specialist if you need any help.