Spring 2021 Updates

Spring 2021 Updates

All of us at The Washington Center are excited to have you join us this spring!

As we prepare for the spring semester, we’ve made some changes to ensure the health and wellness of our TWC community. Some of these adjustments will impact your internship, programming and living experience, so we encourage you to review the details below.

While we are excited to welcome students to the nation's capital, we also understand that some schools have issued alternative policies regarding off-campus programs this spring. To ensure everyone has access to the opportunity, we will be offering a virtual option in addition to our Washington, D.C. option

Washington, D.C. Option

While many aspects of the program will remain the same, we’ve made some updates to ensure your safety and that of our staff.

Check-In Updates

Below are some of the changes we've made to ensure the safety of our TWC community during the check-in process.

  • We recommend that you practice social distancing for two weeks prior to check-in. If you experience any symptoms related to COVID-19 before you arrive at TWC, please let us know and we will reschedule your arrival for a later date. 
  • Check-in will be staggered over multiple days (to limit exposure to COVID-19), so you’ll have a specific time when you and one other person can move your belongings into the building. You'll select a time slot for your arrival at the time you complete your Community Profile. Instructions and log-in information for the Community Profile will be sent to accepted students on a rolling basis, beginning in early November.
  • Once you arrive at our Residential and Academic Facility, you and anyone arriving with you will undergo a no-contact temperature check. Anyone showing a high temperature or other symptoms will not be allowed to move in and will be asked to return after testing negative for COVID-19.
  • Several housing policies have been updated to ensure alignment with the D.C. Health and CDC guidelines. While those have been shared with you via the Community Profile, we’ve created an agreement to highlight those specific policies. All students will need to download and sign this agreement before receiving their keys. 
  • In accordance with D.C. Health guidelines, anyone traveling to D.C. from a high-risk state must quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in the District. If you’re from one of these high-risk states, that means that once you get to our Residential and Academic Facility, you’ll need to stay in your apartment – unless absolutely necessary – for two full weeks. 
  • All students will participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing on Monday, February 1. TWC will cover the costs for this initial testing. Students who refuse to test will be asked to move out of the Residential and Academic Facility. Test results will arrive within 48 hours and will be shared with students and TWC’s Student Services team. Positive test results will initiate TWC's COVID-19 protocols.  

Internships

Once you arrive in the nation’s capital, you’ll most likely be working with your internship site remotely. A hybrid schedule (remotely on some days and in the office on other days). This will depend on your internship site’s working status, so it's important to discuss work hour and location expectations with prospective internship sites as you progress through the matching process.

TWC Programming

If approved by your campus liaison, you’ll have the option to take an online course with your home institution in lieu of TWC’s evening course. If you elect this option, you should be sure to choose a course that is asynchronous or scheduled for evening hours, as you’ll have internship obligations during business hours.

TWC's evening courses and career readiness programming will take place exclusively online to help limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Career readiness sessions will be offered throughout the week (not just on Fridays).

While TWC will not host any large gatherings, we will provide virtual networking opportunities and let students know about networking activities and other events around the city that meet Washington, D.C.’s social distancing guidelines.

Housing and Community Life

If you plan to reside in TWC housing, you must have health insurance and provide your policy information prior to check-in. 

To maintain social distancing, you’ll be housed in a private bedroom and have a private bathroom. You will have a shared living area and kitchen. You’ll be required to disinfect and clean your apartment each week, and TWC will conduct monthly inspections.

TWC has revised its Emergency Response Plan with new procedures for Spring 2021. We have also implemented the following policy changes for our housing facilities:

  • You will be required to wear a mask in all public spaces of the Residential and Academic Facility (RAF). We encourage you to bring a personal supply of reusable masks, but TWC will also maintain a supply of disposable masks if you lose or forget your face covering.
  • You will be limited to no more than one guest in your TWC apartment at any one time. A guest is any building resident who is not an occupant of that unit.
  • Non-resident visitors (excluding staff) will not be allowed in any TWC residences during the Spring 2021 semester (with exceptions for check-in).
  • The following occupancy limits will be in place for spaces within the RAF and residents will be required to sign in and out with the front desk for contact tracing purposes:
    • The fitness center will be limited to four residents at any one time and masks will be required for use.
    • The computer lab will be limited to two residents at any one time and masks will be required for use. Please note: The computer lab does not have printing capabilities for students; however, there are several local printing services that students can use if needed.
    • The patio at the RAF will be limited to gatherings that adhere to Washington, D.C.’s current social distancing/gathering guidelines. 
  • The elevators at RAF will have a maximum capacity of two persons at any one time.
  • Select classroom spaces will be available as socially-distanced remote work spaces for your use between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., as your apartment will not have a desk (it will have a kitchen table and coffee table in the common area). Residents will be required to sign in and out at the front desk in order to use this space and there are disinfectant supplies provided.

Program Disruption

If public health conditions deteriorate, TWC will work with the D.C. government to determine whether it is safe for you to stay in Washington, D.C.

If you are sent home early due to public health concerns, TWC will make the following program adjustments:

  • Your evening course and career readiness programming will continue virtually for the remainder of the semester. 
  • TWC will work with your internship site and encourage them to continue your internship in a fully virtual format. Each internship site will make the final decision regarding its ability to provide a virtual internship experience. 
  • If your internship site is unable to transition to a virtual experience, TWC will work with your school to identify alternative projects to fill the remainder of the semester.

If you are sent home early due to public health concerns, TWC’s standard refund and cancellation policies will remain in place, with the following refund adjustments: ​

  • Housing Fee​: TWC's standing policy is that housing refunds are not provided after you have checked into TWC facilities. However, given the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, TWC is prepared to refund up to 25% of your housing payment* to TWC in the event of an early spring 2021 closing due to public health concerns. If you decide to leave Washington, D.C. for other reasons, refunds would only be considered on appeal. 
  • Program Fee​: Consistent with standing policy, TWC will not offer program refunds after you have started your internship. As noted above, in the event of disruption, programming will transition to a virtual experience. If you choose to self-terminate your experience, you will receive grades based on work completed (grades may be incomplete) and remain responsible for the program cost.

* Your housing payment is the amount you paid to TWC for housing, after accounting for any scholarships received from TWC. Please note: TWC's scholarship awards are always applied to your housing balance first.

Virtual Option

If you decide to participate in the Virtual Option (or attend a school that has selected this option for its students), you’ll be engaging in a virtual internship and joining TWC’s evening course and career readiness programming online.

Internships

If you’re participating in the virtual option, you’ll have a more limited array of internship site options to choose from. TWC does not expect to have any virtual internships available in federal law enforcement and cyber/national security-related roles. We also expect more limited options with federal government agencies, Capitol Hill offices, and legal or law-related positions. Your options may further vary based on fluctuating site availability.

Once the program begins, you should expect to work 20-36 hours per week, depending on your site. You’ll arrange a work schedule directly with your internship site, so you may work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule, a shorter set number of hours each day, select days each week or another varied schedule.

In order to participate in this virtual program, you will be required to have access to a computer with a stable internet connection.

TWC Programming

If approved by your campus liaison, you’ll have the option to take an online course with your home institution in lieu of TWC’s evening course. If you elect this option, you should be sure to choose a course that is asynchronous or scheduled for evening hours, as you’ll have internship obligations during business hours.

TWC’s evening course and career readiness programming will take place online along with students participating in the D.C. program. Career readiness sessions will be offered throughout the week (not just on Fridays), and TWC will provide you with access to virtual networking opportunities.

Program Cost & Credit

The cost of the virtual option is the same as the Washington, D.C. option, with the exception of the housing fee. Your final cost of participation will depend on how the program works at your school and your eligibility for state funding. If you go to school in AR, AZ, FL, MD, MS, PA or TN, funding may cover most or all of your program cost. 

The amount of academic credit you’ll receive for your participation in the virtual option also depends on how the program works at your school. 

Contact your campus liaison to confirm the cost and credit arrangements for the virtual option. If you need help identifying your liaison or if your institution does not have a liaison, contact info@twc.edu.

Program Disruption

Since you’ll be participating virtually, you will be expected to maintain your participation throughout the semester, regardless of the status of the Washington, D.C. internship program.

Next Steps

We are working with our partner schools to determine which program may be the best fit for their students, and we will update you on your school’s decision (if we haven’t already)!

If your school is allowing you to choose either the Washington, D.C. or virtual option, be sure to review the information above. Once you're in your advising session, you'll work with your pre-arrival advisor to explore your options and make a decision about your plans for the spring.