Last updated August 4th, 2020

Verto Education’s Fall 2020 Programming Scenario Plan

From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S., we at Verto Education have remained focused on providing our families and students with open, honest, and transparent dialogue regarding academics, programming, and their college options. This has been a long and difficult road for all of us.

When we began sharing our fall semester scenario planning back in April 2020, no one knew where we’d find ourselves several months later. Through the hundreds of conversations we’ve had with students, families, school counselors, and college partners, we continue to be amazed at the compassion, thoughtfulness, and positive responses we’ve received. Your belief and enthusiasm in Verto’s mission has been inspiring and has continued to strengthen our commitment to the work we do.

As of July 22nd, we made the difficult and final decision to move forward with our Scenario C plan and postpone our in-person programs for the Fall 2020. This decision was extremely challenging to make as each semester’s location had its own set of unique challenges towards student and staff safety, local culture and community impact, airline availability, and uncontrollable factors imposed by government agencies. We made incredible progress in so many areas, but in the end, we didn’t feel comfortable placing students in environments that do not meet our high standard of care. As such, we are focusing on our Global Impact Year, which provides an engaging hybrid online learning environment with innovative, timely, and relevant academics, a two-week in-person Leadership Summit, and return of our campus and field semesters in the Spring of 2021. This unique learning opportunity will combine 15 semester hours of rigorous coursework, community and relationship-building opportunities, and deep engagement with our global partners. Contact us to learn more and enroll.

Verto Education’s Spring 2021 Programming Scenario Plan

Verto Education has always kept student success and personal safety at the forefront of everything we do. Throughout the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, we have remained open and transparent with our scenario planning to ensure students, families, counselors, and college and university partners have the necessary insight to make educated decisions to best fit each student’s individual situation. Our role is to inform and not to convince, and we’re proud to continue providing this level of open communication and stability in an otherwise changing world. Below you will find our Spring 2021 Scenario Plan detailing the forward-thinking of our programs.

Scenario A: Verto Education Semesters Abroad, as Planned

We remain optimistic that the United States will reach a stable point with controlling the pandemic by the end of the calendar year and other nations will have more confidence in Americans traveling abroad. As a result, we anticipate several changes that allow Verto students the ability to travel on our campus and field programs beginning Spring 2021 including:

  • U.S. State Department would loosen travel advisories allowing international travel to resume.
  • U.S. passport services and international flight routings are expected to return to a more normal state by the end of the 2020 calendar year, so these aspects won’t likely be a limiting factor for the Spring 2021 semesters. 
  • Covid testing with expedited results, both domestically and internationally, would allow students to be tested before departing for a Verto semester and as needed within the region of travel. 

The anticipated changes taking place over the next six months are important considerations since these specific aspects prevented us from running our Fall 2020 programs. 

Verto Education semesters are different from attending traditional college or university campuses. Here’s why…

Multiple Locations

Verto Education: With locations in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, England, Italy, Spain, and the United States, Verto will have multiple options to run our semesters safely. As always, safety is our top priority, and we will continue closely monitoring progress in each location in partnership with our local partners and medical and security experts.

Traditional Colleges: A college typically only has one location. If that area remains a high-risk area (Los Angeles, Austin, or Miami, for example), they are likely to cancel in-person classes and continue online for the Spring 2021 semester since these colleges are limited in alternate options.

Small Class Sizes

Verto Education: With a 7 to 1 staff to student ratio, we have small group sizes. Simply put, we don’t have large lecture halls and auditoriums full of students. Our field semesters, in particular, are mobile units prioritizing immersive education experiences without the need to gather in large groups. If necessary, this will allow us to more effectively implement social distancing and other safety measures fluidly.

Traditional Colleges: College campuses are essentially small cities, and they will likely have a harder time opening up, much akin to concerts and sporting events. Even if they do open up, students will likely need to practice social distancing on campus which could include alternating between days in a lecture hall and online for their courses.

Student Experience

Verto Education: Verto always puts every dollar of tuition directly towards ensuring the best student experience both inside and outside the classroom. Our investment in the student experience also benefits local economies and communities in the areas we visit. This mutually beneficial experience provides positive real-life impact that students can see, feel, and experience firsthand.

Traditional Colleges: Many colleges continue to struggle with managing student expectations and demonstrating actual value to justify their price points. Only a portion of tuition at traditional colleges goes to the student experience with limited visibility on the benefits offered to local communities. A tragic yet factual outcome of the pandemic is that many colleges are struggling financially, and how this instability affects the student experience is worthy of consideration.

Scenario B: Flexible Departure Dates or Consolidated Destinations

If at any point we see that progress towards travel is occurring, but slower than we’d desire for our scheduled departures, we’ll look to adjust the departure and time frame of the semester(s) as necessary. This could mean that we delay the start of a program from February 1st, 2021 to February 21st or an interval that makes sense under the given circumstances. Our academic calendar maintains some flexibility, so a delayed start of the Spring 2021 semester for safety reasons is something we can accommodate. We’d know this months in advance and help guide students, families, and counselors for this scenario should it be required.  

If any region where we offer programming shows a trend of spiking infections, local uncertainty, or lingering government regulations barring travel, Verto would identify these concerns early and provide recommendations focusing on the integrity of the student experience, completing college credit, and supporting our local communities. This could mean implementing modest adjustments to a semester’s itinerary or moving to an alternate program in another region of the world. We’re flexible and adaptable and have proven that we can remain nimble while successfully providing students with ample time to focus on their interests. 

Scenario C: HYBRID ONLINE AND IN COUNTRY MODEL

Verto Education guarantees students will always have the ability to earn transferable college credits regardless of how learning is delivered. While unlikely, and as an absolute last resort, we are prepared to develop another hybrid semester with a relevant and rigorous college curriculum and engage with local communities. In reality, this option will likely become part of a new normal for all of higher education, and Verto Education is prepared to deliver this better than anyone else. Our experienced Course Directors are able to customize academics based on current events, and our local partners provide global perspectives that allow students to learn as global citizens through empathy, impact, and understanding. 

The Verto Education Promise

Simply put, Verto Education is the most dynamic and agile college experience in the world. Our guarantee is to always put the safety of our students first, to provide the best 1st-year college experience in the world, and to innovate within higher education. We will continue to communicate with you transparently about our plans and remain agile with adjustments as needed.

Do you have further questions about Verto Education’s semester planning? Our President and Executive Leadership Team is available and cares. Reach out to us directly, anytime.

– Mitch, Mallory, Ben, Michael, Erin, Steve and Dave

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