Internship, Co-op, and Job Guidance for Spring and Summer 2020

As LSU continues to monitor the coronavirus pandemic, the below guidance is in place to support students in their pursuit of internship, co-op, and job experiences for Spring and Summer 2020. 

FAQs for on-campus Student Employment

General Guidance

The health and well-being of students is paramount to LSU. Under all circumstances, students and employers should observe the health guidelines provided by the CDC including social distancing and handwashing guidelines.  

Internship, co-op, and job experiences are a critical part of career preparation for many students. In these uncertain times, it is important to weigh the benefits and potential risks related to the completion of an experience.

If a student has not heard how their position could be impacted, students should reach out to their supervisor or HR contact to confirm the continuation of the role, and whether there are useful or appropriate tasks that can be performed remotely while social distancing measures are in effect. Students may choose to utilize these template emails to craft a message regarding this topic. 

If an internship, co-op, or job offer is rescinded (or canceled,) students should remain optimistic and identify alternative experiences that would add value to your summer.

  • Many companies are still hiring at this time and many non-profit and local government organizations are seeking volunteers. Whether these opportunities are in your intended career field or not, any volunteer or work experience provides an opportunity for you to build skills that are marketable across all careers. For example, most of these opportunities (virtual or not) could help you build skills in communication, collaboration, problem-solving, organization, customer service, and work ethic. Students are strongly encouraged to ensure social distancing during any in-person volunteer or work opportunity. Look to job search sites like Handshake or LinkedIn to identify industries that are still hiring.
  • View the Alternatives to Internships website for additional ways to improve your career skills in place of this work opportunity.  
  • Start or continue networking and refresh existing connections online. Touch base with your industry contacts to see how their industries and companies are adapting to the current crisis. Ask them what you could be doing to stay connected to industry trends. Eventually the economy will recover and you want to be as current as possible to enter the workforce.

Students in credit-bearing internships should review Additional Guidance on Credit-Bearing Internships below

Travel Guidance

Please review university requirements surrounding travel. 

Note: The University strongly recommends against travel to cities and countries where the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading. If you do travel to countries with a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, you can only return to a university campus, facility or activity after 14 days from the date of departure from that country and if you have no symptoms. You should also make every attempt to return with enough lead time to self-isolate prior to when your university responsibilities begin.

Additional Guidance for Spring 2020 Credit-Based Internships and Co-ops

If the organization continues to operate but does not currently have a role for interns: 

The academic department contact should evaluate the work-to-date and consider such options as A) if a passing grade can be established, B) if additional work can be assigned to the students such as a set of readings related to that industry sector work environment or short research projects conducted related to the subject matter, C) if a short term transfer to another sponsoring agency to finish off the semester would be useful, or D) if an ‘I’ grade should be given and a completion plan established.

The student and supervising faculty member or department should work together to try and make the most of the experience given the current limitations.

Professional disciplines that have accrediting bodies for required internships or field placements should review guidance from their accrediting bodies and determine the parameters of acceptable practice provided by them.

As a general practice, given the crisis conditions under which we are currently operating, every effort within reason should be made to demonstrate compassion toward the plight of the students and the sponsoring agencies and promote an enriching learning experience supportive of student success.

Additional Guidance for Summer 2020 Credit-Based Internships and Co-ops

If the sponsoring agency has resumed normal on-site operations and the student feels comfortable with an on-site placement:

The student should follow CDC established health guidelines related to minimizing the transmission of COVID-19.

If the sponsoring agency has resumed normal on-site operations but the student does not feel comfortable with an on-site placement: 

First, the student should discuss with the sponsor/supervisor the possibilities for a virtual internship. Students may choose to utilize these template emails to craft a message regarding this topic. If a virtual internship cannot be accommodated, students should work with their academic department to determine alternate internship partnerships. Students can also review with their academic advisors the utility of deferring the internship opportunity to a later semester and taking academic classes during the summer instead.

If the intended sponsoring agency has not resumed on-site operations: 

Students should inquire about opportunities for virtual internship work. If virtual internship work is not feasible, work with your academic advisor to seek out another opportunity. 

For Internship, Co-op and Job Coordinators and Supervisors

The University maintains the capability to manage internship and co-op courses online throughout the summer session and students are eager to continue their experience with your organization.

Transitioning Your Internship(s) or Summer Job(s) to Remote Format

The LSU Olinde Career Center is available to consult with organizations seeking to transition their opportunities into a remote format.  If your organization is considering canceling or scaling back the experience, please consider the following first:

  • Consider assigning your hires to work that can be completed remotely.
  • Assign your hires to a new project or allow them to conduct research for the organization from home.
  • Have your hires use this pandemic as a way to provide your company with a business continuity plan to re-establish normal operations once the pandemic restrictions are lifted or for future large scale events.
  • Have your hires sit in on virtual meetings to observe management of the crisis by leadership in order to develop their own problem-solving skills.

If your organization makes the decision to cancel your internship or summer job program, please let us know as well as communicating with your hires. You can email Kyle O'Neal, Associate Director of Employer Development and Relations at koneal10@lsu.edu.

Tips for Securing New Hires Virtually

For further questions, contact the LSU Olinde Career Center at career@lsu.edu.