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COVID-19 update: What we’re doing, and how you can help

19 January 2021

As a global organization with schools, short courses and national committees around the world, the UWC movement has been heavily affected by the outbreak and global spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been taking measures to safeguard the health and well being of our community in compliance with national health authority and government guidelines, while ensuring that the UWC experience and community life continues to flourish. 

Yet, in the midst of the most difficult time this organisation has ever faced, the UWC community rose to the challenge and found new opportunities: opportunities for cooperation and innovation, for improving the way we teach and learn, and for pushing us to understand what it means to live the UWC values in our everyday lives, on and off campus. 

"COVID-19 is making us unwilling to settle for less than a community that shows up for one another. There is more in our community than we knew – and I, for one, hope not to settle for less as we enter this remarkable school year together."

- Victoria Mora, President of UWC-USA

Current School Status

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and the status of each school largely depends on different national regulations and guidelines, we are keeping the following overview updated as we go. Please refer to it for the latest information regarding the status of our schools.

In the first part of 2020, all UWC schools had to partially or fully close their campuses for varying lengths of time. Students had the option to return home or, where this was not possible, stay with host families or on campus. Most of our schools were able to welcome their students back on campus from August 2020, the month which sees the beginning of the new academic year for most UWC schools. Since then, some of them have had to modify or halt in-person teaching again in compliance with national regulations. Boarding facilities do remain open and online or blended learning continues. Due to very strict visa and travel restrictions, Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa, where the new academic year started in January 2021, has not been able to welcome students back to campus yet - and online learning carries on. 

Where in-person teaching is not possible, students continue their education through an online learning and teaching system that ensures the continuity of the academic programme. UWC educators have done (and continue to do) an incredible job adjusting to significant challenges, continuously learning and improving as we all figure out how to best provide a UWC education and experience online.

While each individual school can add greater detail and nuance for their own context, the flyer below provides an overview of the general principles and ideas that have guided our journey in offering a high quality and inclusive UWC education online. 

UWC Short Courses

For information on the consequences of COVID-19 for UWC short courses and summer camps, please read here

Be Involved: the UWC Unlocked Talks

This is also where UWC Unlocked comes in, the UWC wide initiative with the mission to unlock the enormous capability we have as a global organisation of change-makers during these unprecedented times. This initiative was launched in March 2020 with a series of online talks offered by UWCers for UWCers - UWC Unlocked Talks - exploring a range of topics to help stimulate our minds, fuel connection and spark new ideas. 

Thank you to the UWC community

We are grateful to all the hundreds of volunteers, host families, partners and donors who have been standing by our side with unwavering support during these challenging times. We also thank all UWC educators and students, who have shown incredible resilience and adaptability. 

We will continue to do our very best to ensure that the UWC community stays united during these difficult times and that our students are supported to continue living the UWC mission of making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future, wherever in the world they are. 

Donate to UWC

All UWC schools are responding to the changing needs of students during  this evolving crisis in an attempt to alleviate some of the stress and disruption that many are experiencing at this time. Now more than ever, the UWC movement requires your support to not only recover some of the costs that have been incurred in  response to the pandemic, but also to ensure that future generations can benefit from a UWC education.

We are encouraging those who are able to consider making a regular donation to assist us in supporting current students, and in protecting a UWC education for years to come. All donations, large and small, can be made by visiting the Support Us section. Donations can be made to UWC International or they can be passed on to a UWC school or UWC national committee of your choosing. Donations made by UK residents are eligible for the Gift Aid scheme, and donations from other countries may also be eligible for tax relief.

By supporting UWC at this time, you will join a global community of alumnus, donors, students,  staff and volunteers, united in pursuit of the UWC movement’s mission – to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.