Frequently Asked Questions
AU PAIR TRAVEL, VACATION & HOLIDAYS DURING COVID
Can au pairs travel internationally during COVID?
Agent Au Pair does NOT recommend any international travel at this time due to COVID-19. Risks include being infected with COVID, experiencing a delay in return to the US, or not being allowed to return to the US at all. There is no guarantee you will be able to travel due to changing regulations, possible quarantines, travel bans, flight cancellations and/or delays. In some cases, au pairs have been unable to return to the US following international travel, leaving host families without childcare.
If you understand the risk and still plan to travel, your DS-2019 form(s) must be signed for travel by Jodi 30 days prior to your trip and you must bring your extension DS-2019 form to prove you are approved to be in the US for a 2nd year. You host family should have a plan in place in the case you are unable to return.
Still thinking about Traveling Abroad? Read these resources:
- COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination
- US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page
Can au pairs still travel in the USA during COVID?
Yes, au pairs may travel within the USA. While taking precautions discussed with their host families. Au pairs and hosts should review the CDC guidelines on Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic together here. Au pairs need to consider the risks to their host family when they travel. Hosts need to consider the emotional well-being of the au pair and her need for a vacation away from the host family.
Depending on the level of risk associated with a travel destination, hosts may ask au pairs to quarantine, monitor health and temperature, wear a mask, pass a COVID test, or take other reasonable precautions upon their return for up to 14 days.
Thinking about traveling in the USA?
- Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination?
- During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
- Protect yourself from COVID-19 on different types of transportation.
- See advice for traveling overnight.
- See the CDC’s guidance on how to clean and disinfect your travel lodgings.
- Check the state and local health departments where you are, along your route, and where you are going. Follow recommendations or requirements after travel.
What is a staycation and how do I plan one?
A staycation, or holistay, is a period in which an individual stays local to their home and participates in leisure activities without traveling to another destination. Au pairs who prefer not to travel to potentially high-risk destinations may choose to rent a local airbnb / vrbo, stay at a friend’s place, or maybe take a local camping trip. After staying at home for months, this may be a good opportunity to explore your host city or even just have some time to relax away from your host family in a new environment. Host families who prefer their au pair stay close to home for vacation, may offer to help offset costs of a staycation as a compromise as long as the au pair mutually agrees.
Check out these staycation ideas:
- 20 Great Staycation Ideas for Vacationing at Home
- 27 BUDGET-FRIENDLY STAYCATION IDEAS THAT ARE ACTUALLY FUN
- 90 Staycation Ideas to Get You Through 2020 Sane, Satisfied and Smiling
Can au pairs take their two weeks paid vacation at the end of their program and go home earlier?
If the host and au pair are both mutually agree, the au pair may take her vacation at the end of her program and “leave early”. The return flight request form must be submitted to our operations manager no later than 30 days before the intended departure. Departure dates may vary + / – by three (3) days.
If an au pair requests to change their departure flight to a date or location with a higher flight cost (such as around the holidays) the au pair needs to be prepared for potential surcharges. This option also only applies to au pairs who have successfully completed the au pair program, including the education requirement and monthly meeting attendance.
Are au pairs required to work on holidays?
Agent Au Pair does not have a policy against au pairs working holidays. Hosts may schedule au pairs to work on holidays occasionally if needed. This is a topic that needs to be discussed between the host and au pair to come to a reasonable compromise together. It is best to have these conversations now before the holiday season begins and holiday hours should be posted in the au pair household guide.
COVID-19 HOUSEHOLD PRECAUTIONS & SOCIAL DISTANCING
What if au pairs and hosts don’t agree on household precautions and social distancing guidelines?
Au pairs and their hosts can be expected to follow the COVID guidelines of the federal, state and local governments during participation in the au pair program.
If household precautions are more restrictive than local guidelines, they must be:
- Reasonable and agreed upon by all family members
- Apply to all members of the household
- Provided to the au pair in writing and reviewed verbally (such as outlined in the household guide emailed to the au pair and discussed at your weekly check-in).
Au pairs must be permitted to have in-person access to a “COVID circle of friends” as well as access to daily activities and going out as long as agreed-upon precautions are followed.
It is important to find a healthy balance between minimizing COVID household risks by practicing everyday preventive actions and maintaining emotional and mental health of family members. Some au pairs may not thrive in households with heightened restrictions for extended periods of time.
If your household includes people at increased risk and you have implemented heightened restrictions, please do discuss this with your au pair to assess whether or not she feels she is able to maintain her emotional and mental health while living in your home.
Resources for Hosts & Au Pairs to Review Together:
Does a host have the right to know where an au pair is all the time?
We are living in unprecedented times with the COVID-19 global pandemic and social distancing precautions. It is expected that au pairs and hosts are communicating more often and in more detail than usual regarding family member whereabouts, persons they are in contact with, and precautions that are being taken to ensure proper social distancing. Hosts should respect their au pair’s privacy as much as possible, but it is reasonable to inquire about whereabouts for the purposes of minimizing risks associated with COVID.
HOMESCHOOL & EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
Can au pairs assist with homeschooling? To what capacity?
Hosts and au pairs should discuss to what capacity an au pair is qualified and able to assist with homeschooling. Some au pairs may have special training or experience that qualifies them to provide limited academic instruction while others may not.
Au pairs can be expected to supervise children during remote / virtual learning and to assist with recess and electives such as art, music, foreign language, PE, etc.per the au pair’s skills and qualifications. Additional training, structure, guidance and supervision may be required from the host.
Au pairs may not provide childcare or supervision to any children outside of the family if children are homeschooled in small groups. All children supervised by the au pair must be family members and listed on the host family’s application at the time of the match with the au pair.
How can I fulfill my education requirement during COVID?
Please review the Au Pair Portal for information on the Education Requirement and suggested course offerings. Agent Au Pair will accept online classes to fulfill your educational component through the end of 2020.The course must be offered through an accredited US institution and you need to make sure you receive a transcript, letter of completion or certificate clearly stating how many hours/credits are completed. The institution cannot be outside of the US.
We will be discussing how to have a meaningful education experience during the personal development webinar on Sunday, September 20th at at 7:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM CT / 4:00 PM PT. All au pairs are encouraged to attend this optional webinar. Additional topics covered in September’s webinar include- ways to improve your English and activities to do with your host kids.