International student advisors are being asked to alert the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) if a school temporarily closes or makes other significant operational changes as a result of COVID-19. They also must include what accommodations are being made for its F and M nonimmigrant population.
To read the full broadcast message from SEVP, click here.
As the coronavirus becomes more widespread in the United States, many schools and workplaces are providing alternate options for students and employees to continue their work without gathering and ultimately be at higher risk to catch the disease. However, when a school makes these changes and student immigrants are being involved, the school must email SEVP at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov with the changes within 10 business days of the change.
Some of the alternate changes that SEVP is providing for schools affected by the coronavirus include online instruction or alternate physical location.
When a school is making these changes, they must alert the SEVP with the change, how the school will offer instruction, maintain students with a full course of study, the names of classes or locations that are changing, as well as the projected length these changes will continue.
This can be detrimental to international students because only one online or distance learning class can count toward a full course of study for F-1 students per term or semester, and no online or distance learning classes may count toward an M-1 or ESL students full course of study.
Therefore, if a school decided to change a class to online instruction to reduce risk of COVID-19, and this class included an M-1 student, ESL student, or an F-1 student that already fulfilled their one online class that semester, that student will have a difficult time proving that they made progress in their study in compliance with federal regulations.
If you are an international student or an international student advisor being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and would like more information on what to do to comply with federal regulations, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (314) 961-8200.