UVM Faculty and Staff: I am writing to share guidance on summer 2020 elective internships. Elective internships are those that are not required as part of a degree or licensure program.
Recognizing that our students will be in different locations during the summer, with varied conditions related to COVID-19, while also acknowledging the importance of elective internship experiences to students’ preparation for post-graduation success, the university will be allowing students to engage in in-person elective internships for credit during the summer. However, we strongly recommend that students explore remote options for their internships, and we expect students to abide by local recommendations/requirements regarding social distancing and stay-at-home orders in their internship locations. The academic portion of the internship, i.e. the credits for which a student registers, must be conducted remotely. This guidance applies to internships taken for INTN or SINT credit, and for internships that are supported by college scholarships/funding.
Whether the internship is remote or in-person will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Health and safety restrictions particular to the geographic location of the internship
- Whether it is feasible to undertake the internship remotely
- Whether the internship site requires that the internship experience occur through a particular modality (e.g. online, in-person, remote)
As we all know, conditions throughout the country are changing rapidly and will continue to do so throughout the summer. Students may begin an internship remotely, and be able to switch to an in-person experience later in the summer, or need to change an in-person internship to a remote experience. Both of these actions will be allowed with academic supervisor approval. As a reminder, the start and end dates for summer internships are flexible within the May 18-August 7 window, provided students have the 40 hours of internship experience required per credit. This flexibility allows students to begin an internship later in the summer if opportunities arise that are not currently available.
Health and safety concerns are, of course, paramount. The university recommends that all internships occur remotely where possible. However, the decision about whether or not to engage in an in-person internship will be that of the student and the internship sponsor. The following statement must be included in all Learning Contracts signed by the student prior to beginning the internship, even if the internship is expected to be conducted remotely:
"If this internship includes in-person components, the student agrees to observe COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including the wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and all other health and safety protocols as required by the employer and by local, state, or federal regulations."
All summer 2020 internship documentation including internship course syllabi and internship contracts should include a statement recommending remote internships, and noting that abiding by health and safety guidelines is required. The university’s Internship Memorandum of Understanding, which will be updated to include this information, is available on the Career Center website.
The guidance in this memo does not apply to required internships/practica that are part of degree or licensure requirements. Those experiences should be presented to Deans for approval, in consultation with the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, including the necessity of in-person components to meet degree/licensure requirements, health and safety protocols to be followed, and concrete plans for how required internships will be completed if in-person work is halted due to changing local conditions.