Covid-19 Internship & Co-op Guidance for Employers

Internships and Cooperative Education provide valuable, practical, industry/degree-related experience to students. While their significance is undeniable, students’ health and safety are of utmost importance.

Amid the current health crisis, internship sites are strongly encouraged to offer remote or virtual work options whenever possible. Using a set of developed guidelines based upon internship best practices from industry organizations including the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA), and Department of Labor, internships that are maintained in the career management system, Handshake, are being reviewed by Career Services staff to determine their suitability for student participation.  Here is the link to the full Career Services Internships & Cooperative Education Guidance for Covid-19.

▼   Are students allowed to work in an in-person internship or co-op opportunity?

Virtual experiences are promoted as the most appropriate means for students to participate in an internship while avoiding potential exposure to COVID-19. However, if a virtual option is not available, employers must follow the guidelines approved by the USA Campus Reopening Committee.

▼   What is required of an employer that hosts a USA student intern for an in-person experience?

If the required internship is part of an existing or new agreement with an internship site, the agreement should be amended to include:

  • face masks are worn by all individuals in all indoor public areas of buildings and facilities, except when alone in a private office.
  • face masks are worn in outdoor areas when individuals are within six (6) feet of one another.
  • requirements that individuals maintain social distancing by remaining six (6) feet apart.
  • the expectation that indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted.
  • frequent handwashing/hand sanitization.
  • all other applicable USA Reopening Plan Guidelines.

In addition to your regularly scheduled check-in with your student/intern, ensure all parties are in compliance of the protocols listed above.

▼   What if the student intern tests positive or suspects they have been exposed to COVID-19 while participating in an in-person experience?
If a student/intern experiences symptoms of COVID-19 while working or becomes aware that they have been exposed to COVID- 19, the employer should:
  • ensure the student has complied with the reporting guidelines as detailed in the student section of the university's reopening website
  • pause the internship experience.
  • NOT ALLOW the student to return to the internship site until they receive clearance from the USA Contact Tracing team or Student Health
  • After receiving clearance from USA Contact Tracing and their faculty supervisor, the student should comply with all requirements of the internship site before returning to the site.