I-House South to Reopen for Fall 2021
On May 9, 2021, International House announced that it will re-open I-House South for the Fall 2021 semester at a reduced level of occupancy, with move-ins starting as early as August 1st. Vaccination against Covid-19 will be a requirement for all residents and staff on site.
Due to the pandemic, the dormitory-style South building was closed in March 2020, and the I-House community shrank from 700 residents to 100 during the 2020-21 academic year. Operations and programming throughout the year continued but were drastically reduced and redesigned, with events usually held onsite and in person pivoting to virtual. As conditions allowed, I-House carefully reinstated in-person gatherings of residents with strict limitations and protocols for safety.
Despite these restrictions, I-House produced more than 30 events over the course of the year, which included virtual programs for residents and alumni reunions, socially distanced versions of I-House traditions like the Ice Cream Social and Salon Night, and group outings to explore New York City led by Resident Fellows.
Says Megan Amouzou, Director of Admissions and a member of the I-House Covid-19 Task Force, “As operations return to normal, we are even more confident in our ability to offer new and returning residents the safe and meaningful experience that characterizes life at I-House.” She added, “With the expansion of the community for the upcoming academic year, we remain committed to the health and well-being of the residents. We will build upon our 90+ years of traditions, as well as the innovations and enthusiasm of the past year, as we welcome more international residents and continue our mission to promote peace through international understanding.”
As the pandemic continues to evolve, I-House will continue to update its policies to reflect the latest state and federal guidelines on health and safety. One policy being instituted for the 2021-2022 academic year will be a requirement for all residents to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Amouzou notes that incoming residents who are not able to get the vaccine prior to arrival will be able to do it shortly after arrival, with guidance and assistance from the I-House staff and fellow residents on the Resident Support Services team. Residents will also be expected to obtain a PCR Covid-19 test on a regular basis. To assist with this, I-House offers free onsite testing to residents and staff in the Frohlich Gymnasium every Thursday.
As a result of these measures and the cooperation of the community, I-House has been gradually opening up the common spaces for Residents to enjoy, including the Study Center, the Main Lounge, and, most recently, the outdoor terraces of the South building’s 9th floor. Under the leadership of new I-House President Sebastian Fries, the Task Force is reviewing the possibility of re-opening more common spaces and assessing the ability to program in-person events once again and allow guests.