Covid-19 Internship & Co-op Guidance for Students

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. The term “internship” is used broadly in these recommendations to encompass the range of student experiences and opportunities outside of the classroom, including internships, co-ops, field experiences, whether for academic credit or not.  Using a set of developed guidelines based upon internship best practices, the following guidance has been put into place.  Here is the link to the full Career Services Internships & Cooperative Education Guidance for Covid-19.

▼   Are in-person internship and co-op opportunities allowed?

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 students are required to participate in an in-person experience or if a virtual option is not available, they must follow the guidelines approved by the USA Campus Reopening Committee.

▼   What is required of me as a student participating in an in-person internship or co-op experience?

Regardless of the nature of the internship, students must ensure that they are taking appropriate precautions and are familiar with the health and safety guidelines in the locality in which they will be participating in the intern experience.  Students are expected to comply with the COVID-19 protocols of both their internship site and that of USA.  As a rule, if either protocol has a higher degree of constraint, students should adhere to the practice with the more precautionary protocol. We recognize that the nature of internships may vary; however, all internships must meet or exceed the standards outlined in the USA Reopening Plan.

Students must follow the USA face-mask and social distancing requirements while participating and contact their faculty advisor/internship coordinator or the Career Services director if the following requirements are not practiced at the site:

  • 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
  • individuals are able and expected to maintain six (6) feet of social distance from others
  • the expectation that indoor gatherings of more than ten (10) people are not permitted
  • frequent handwashing/hand sanitization

All students who participate in an in-person internship must complete a health screening form before attending on-campus classes or other activities and will be referred to Student Health if the screening indicates issues or concerns. Health screening will be completed through the Jag Healthcheck program or by downloading the recommended GuideSafe™ exposure notification app.

▼   What if I experience symptoms of COVID-19 while participating in an internship or become aware that I have been exposed to COVID-19?
Students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while or after participating in internship-related activities or who becomes aware that they have been exposed to COVID- 19, must:
  • immediately comply with the protocols established by the internship site. 
  • stay home, indicate this information on Jag Healthcheck, and contact Student Health.
  • immediately report confirmed cases of COVID-19 to USA’s contact tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu. Instructions on how to report are contained in the student section of the University’s reopening website.  
  • report a probable or confirmed case to their faculty/internship coordinator who will then email the director of Career Services at bwgreen@southalabama.edu.

Students may not return to the internship site until they receive clearance from the USA Contact Tracing team or Student Health. The student should report their clearance to their faculty supervisor to receive approval for their return to the internship site.  Additionally, the student should comply with all requirements of the internship site before returning.

▼   What if I have recently participated in an internship experience and have tested or am positive for COVID-19?

Any student who has recently participated in a required internship experience that has tested/is positive for COVID-19 must send an email to their Department Chair/Director AND to the Director of Career Services at bwgreen@southalabama.edu, in addition to immediately reporting the case to USA’s Contact Tracing team at ReportCovid@SouthAlabama.edu following the instructions on the University’s reopening website.

Students may not return to the internship site until they receive clearance from the USA Contact Tracing team or Student Health. The student should report their clearance to their faculty supervisor to receive approval for their return to the internship site. Additionally, the student should comply with all requirements of the internship site before returning.