As a trusted leader in intercultural exchange, nothing is more important to us than protecting the safety and wellbeing of our participants across the world. We have been closely monitoring the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and assessing the impact this global situation might have on the AFS community.
After careful consideration, we have determined it necessary for AFS Intercultural Programs to suspend hosting programs currently ongoing in Italy. It pains us to have to end early what we know to be a transformative experience for these participants. However, we must act in the best interest of our participants, our families and our respective communities. We would like to acknowledge the staff, board members and volunteers at Intercultura (AFS Italy), who are working tirelessly to manage this challenging situation and protect AFS participants in their country.
AFS Network Organizations are currently in the process of reaching out to those participants and families directly affected by this situation, and we will work closely with them as we begin the process of returning them to their home countries over the coming days. AFS will work to return operations to normal in Italy as soon as the situation allows.
Our staff and volunteers are highly experienced in dealing with all kinds of situations that can occur at any time, and in any country, where students study abroad. If this situation begins to affect the safety of participants at other AFS locations worldwide, we will keep you informed of our contingency plans. To this day, AFS has ended ongoing hosting programs in mainland China and Hong Kong due to COVID-19. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.