Dear AuPair.com community,
Given the worldwide concerns about the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, we decided to deal with the topic from the Au Pairs’ and the Host Families’ perspective
. Being the Au Pair program
an international project which involves people from all over the world, our priority is to inform our users about how this virus is going to affect the Au Pair program. We know that you have many questions and we will do our best to clear the possible case scenarios when it comes to au pairing.
We will provide you with technical information about the virus and will give you an overview of the measurements taken by most countries. We are going to update our information in order to keep you informed about the situation. In any case, there is no need to panic!
What is the Coronavirus
Before beginning to delve into the details, we recommend all our users to get the information only from reliable sources. The Internet is blowing news concerning the Coronavirus: always check and verify what you are reading.Taking advantage of the situation and spread the panic, even more, is extremely easy, let’s try to avoid it!
The World Health Organization
explains that the COVID-19 belongs to a whole family of Coronaviruses, transmissible between animals and people.
The virus spreads from person to person, through the droplets of mouth and nose, on objects and surfaces, through contact with respiratory droplets. The symptoms are of respiratory nature, including fever and cough, and they can get worse causing lung problems.
The incubation period is the time between catching the virus and beginning to develop the symptoms and it can last from 1 up to 14 days.
When did it spread
As the majority of us knows, the COVID-19 (first) appeared in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei Province of China
, in December 2019. The origin of the virus is still unknown but there may be a connection with the animal markets of the city. The bond with animals lies at the heart of other viruses, such as the MERS and the SARS.
After seriously affecting China, it quickly spread all over the world: from Japan and South Korea (where it already reached its peak, according to the health minister
), to Europe (especially Italy), Africa (Egypt), the Middle East (Iran) and the United States.
The virus is particularly aggressive towards older people and those with already compromised health. The virus is currently reaching its peak in many countries. Click on the Worldometers
to check the updates day by day.
Case scenarios for Au Pairs and Host Families
Au Pairs who are already au pairing abroad: there is no need to worry and to leave before time. Follow the instructions of your Host Country and you will be fine. If you are not supposed to leave in the next weeks, just wait until the situation gets better.
Au Pairs who are going to travel to the red areas: avoid unnecessary trips. You’ll definitely have the occasion to visit those places once the situation will come back to normal.
Au Pairs who are going to work abroad in the next weeks/months: keep updated with the Host Countries’ regulations and with the travel companies. Ask your Host Family about the situation.
For the Host Families: ask the institutions if it’s advisable to hire an Au Pair now and consider to put out the Au Pair stay. AuPair.com can help you figure it out.
Host Families who host Au Pairs who have recently travelled: if the Au Pair doesn’t show any symptom or hasn’t been back in her hometown in the last weeks there is no need to worry. You may consider to prolong her stay, if she is supposed to leave the next days.
Host Families who already signed a contract and want to quit: think about it and don’t make decisions that you may regret. Keep updated with the news and eventually decide to postpone the stay.
Families who are worried about their kids: kids appear to show milder symptoms. Older people are more likely to have complications.
Host Families who are currently looking for an Au Pair: we are receiving many requests from Host Families who need childcare support as soon as possible but the current restrictions prevent Au Pairs from many countries to travel abroad. Therefore, hosting an Au Pair who is already in your country could be a good solution for you.
You can easily filter out those Au Pairs using the filter "Currently living in" and selecting the country where your family lives. The system will automatically show you the candidates who are already in your country. You can have a look at their profiles and contact the Au Pairs immediately.
Host Families who are currently hosting an Au Pair: please consider that this extraordinary situation doesn't change the meaning of the Au Pair program. Every Au Pair is allowed to work a limited amount of hours per week and even if your children can't go to school now, your Au Pair doesn't have to work additional hours even if she's obliged to stay at home. Au Pairs are not employees but young people taking part in a cultural exchange abroad.
However, given the current situation, if you ask the Au Pair to help you more than usual, the candidate should agree with it.
It is important that you appreciate the Au Pair work and help in such a difficult time, compensate them accordingly and also motivate them. Otherwise, the Au Pair could feel exploited and leave your family.
How is the virus going to affect the program?
The worldwide economy is already facing the huge effects of the pandemic and there will be direct - temporary - consequences for the Au Pair program as well.
Less registrations overall: in order to respect the measures taken by every country, there may be a minor number of Au Pair jobs or Au Pair candidates for the time being.
Impossibility to travel: again, given the measures taken by the countries, there may be serious restrictions on travelling. We suggest that you check the travel companies' websites to get updates. Consider that most airlines refund the cost of the cancelled flights. You have to check your flight status in order to get more information. See the information regarding the locking of the Schengen borders below.
Problems in getting a visa: there may be delays due to the impossibilities of embassies to submit visa documents. Please, check the Host Country’s embassy website in order to know whether they are working regularly or not.
Language schools may be closed, according to the area. Call your Host Family and ask them for more information about it.
Changes in the Au Pair daily schedule: since many countries are now closing schools, the Host Kids will be at home most of the time. Therefore, your daily tasks and schedule could change, in order to handle this extraordinary situation as best as possible. Flexibility and cooperation are required now more than ever, but the terms and the nature of the Au Pair program have to be respected, without exploitation or misuse.
If the Au Pair works less hours: Changing the Au Pair schedule means reducing the amount of hours she/he has to work? If the answer is yes, please remember that the pocket money he/she receives isn’t a proper salary but a compensation for the provided childcare. Therefore, the Au Pair still has to be paid during the quarantine, as agreed in the contract, considering the necessities and the resources of the Host Family.
Update: measures taken in every country
the first area affected by the virus, its government
already took the necessary precautions some months ago in order to contain it. People are monitored every day, they are obliged to wear face masks and to pass a daily health check. Cities have been locked down, public gatherings have been suspended.
In February, the virus began to spread in Europe as well, especially in Italy.
At the moment the quarantine measures are lighter than before: people still have to wear masks and to leave their homes only if necessary (a self-certification is required). Schools and universities will remain closed, until September. From the 4th May there will be some reopenings in the industry field, whereas restaurants, pubs and other shops will have to wait the 1st June.
As for Italy, many countries have adopted the same restrictions on travels and large gatherings.
also decided that the population can’t go out without a self-certification. The only reasons allowed are to go shopping, to see the doctor, to go to work if teleworking is not possible, to work out close to home, to take pets for a walk or to visit the family if necessary. Until a few days ago, only people who were hospitalized, suffering from severe symptoms or in intensive care were tested. Now, some hospitals are trying to set up a new system to test as many people as possible. The lockdown in France will continue until the 11th of May. President Macron announced a progressive reopening of schools and kindergartens after May 11th.
The day after the start of containment in France, Belgium
took very similar measures, followed by Spain
who hopes to see the results of the lockdown the next days.
The situation in Germany is more stable: from the 27th it’s mandatory to wear masks on the public transports and inside the shops, whereas the Kontaktverbot will last until the 4th May.
stopped all the flights from Europe and extended the shutdown for further 30 days, being now the country with the majority of COVID cases in the world. From the 24th March, the UK
is also under lockdown.
The European Union has also decided to close its borders
. No international flights can enter the Schengen area, except for repatriations.
Many countries are preparing for the “second phase” of the COVID-19 crisis. Australia launched the COVIDSafe app, which should provide people with all the useful information concerning the tracking of the virus thanks to the Bluetooth technology.
Let’s keep it simple. Preventing the virus is possible, we just have to take care of ourselves and to follow these steps. They can really make the difference!
Wash your hands - how many times have you told your Host Kids to do that? It’s time for you to lead by example.
Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth): if you don’t wash your hand, you shouldn’t touch your face. It’s actually something that we should never do. No news!
Maintain at least 1-meter distance: especially in crowded places. The new indications suggested 4,5 metres.
Don’t cough and sneeze on the face of somebody else - again, no news!
Avoid crowded places, especially if you already feel ill.
Don’t panic: viruses like panic, don’t feed them!
If you have travelled abroad recently, stay at home for 14 days. It’s just a means to prevent the eventual diffusion of the virus. It’s time to check all the series on your Netflix list, 14 days can go very fast.
To read more about the protective measures click here
This situation is pretty new for everyone but we can really help each other taking all the prevention methods seriously. It’s a sign of respect for all the people who already have compromised health and for the professionals who are working nonstop in clinics and hospitals. Let’s try to do our best! #stayathome
We are going to keep you updated with all the information concerning the Au Pair programs and the restrictions in every country. Stay tuned!
If you are running out of ideas to entertain the kids during the quarantine
and you are wondering about the best way to deal with this serious topic with them
, check out our new blog post
! We will find tips and ideas which will be useful for the quarantine!