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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

6 May 2020

As a global organization with schools, short courses and national committees around the world, the UWC movement is heavily affected by the outbreak and global spread of the Covid-19 virus. We have been taking measures to safeguard the health and well being of our community against the outbreak since late January and continue to do so each day.

To our knowledge, there is no confirmed case of Covid-19 among current students or staff members at any UWC school. Accordingly, all measures taken remain precautionary and comply with national health authority and government guidelines. They are put in place to ensure the safety of the UWC communities, which remains our number one priority. 

With the increasing spread of the virus, we are continuously adapting our responses to new situations and are ensuring that we are prepared for various scenarios caused by possible infections, increased travel restrictions and lockdowns. 

All UWC schools have been taking action depending on their location, context and advice from local authorities, while acknowledging that the situation is in constant evolution.

Where UWC schools are closed, students are continuing their education from home through an online learning and teaching system that ensures the continuity of the academic programme. We are immensely grateful to all teachers and staff members, as well as our students, who are embracing this new way of learning despite the challenges it entails. 

On 23 March 2020, the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) announced that the May 2020 examinations will no longer take place. Further details about the IB Diplomas, how they will be awarded to the 2020 graduating class and other updates are regularly released by the IBO on their dedicated page

In the meantime, UWC will continue to liaise closely with the IBO on next steps, trusting that they will establish a fair and effective Diploma awarding process. We also hope that the IBO will be adopting a sensible and sensitive approach to ensure that students’ future opportunities are not compromised in any way. In the meantime, all UWC university councillors are working hard to ensure that all UWC students in their second year of IBDP who want to continue their higher education at university next year will be able to do so.

We currently expect admissions for the academic year 2020 to proceed as planned. 

The global outbreak of Covid-19 is also having an impact on UWC short courses, e.g. international travel restrictions and local measures such as lock-downs. Because of this, and in order to protect the health and well being of all involved, short course organisers are currently making decisions about their short course for 2020. In response to Covid-19, some short courses will be deferred until 2021 while others may run online, if possible. As the situation evolves, we will continue to update the UWC short course section of our website. If you have been offered a place at any of our UWC short courses, the organisers will be in touch with you regarding what will happen next.

During the coming weeks and months, we will all need to learn to adapt to a new reality. The last weeks have shown the strength of the UWC movement as it faces adversity and difficulties. We are immensely proud of all our current students, staff members and volunteers who have been dealing with a challenging and unprecedented situation in an exemplary manner. 

We are also grateful to all the hundreds of volunteers, host families, partners and donors who stand by our side with unwavering support during these challenging times. 

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. 

That’s 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 with a series of online talks and presentations offered by UWCers for UWCers - UWC Unlocked Talks - exploring a range of topics to help stimulate our minds, fuel connection and spark new ideas. 


All UWC schools are responding to the changing needs of students in 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 this response, but also to ensure that future generations benefit from a UWC education.

We are encouraging those that are able, to consider making a regular donation to assist us to support current students, and to protect a UWC education for years to come. All donations, large and small, can be made by visiting the donation page of one of our schools, many of which are able to offer taxable receipts for the jurisdiction in which you are residing. Donations can also be made to UWC International by clicking on the link below. 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; see here for details.

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