Illustration by Lucy Marx (Lucy Marx)
Illustration by Lucy Marx

Lucy Marx

International students advised not to leave US amidst COVID-19 crisis

March 13, 2020

City College’s international students have been advised not to leave the country amidst spreading fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

International students who travel to a country that has been quarantined are likely to lose their student visas, and would possibly be unable to return to the United States. 

On March 9, the Dean of International Education Carola Smith sent out a campus-wide email addressing the fact that traveling outside of the U.S. might jeopardize the status of student visas, but some international students may not be willing to cancel their plans.

“We still have students who want to travel even though it was advised not,” Smith said. “I hope they really consider it. I definitely do not recommend traveling, even in the U.S.”

Smith said the situation is extremely fluid at the moment and the travel ban on other countries could change at any time.

If the border closes, students will be quarantined and most likely miss their classes and be dropped, which can lead to the loss of their F-visa status.

As of March 12, most classes have been moved online—which normally would be a major concern since international students are usually restricted to one online class per 12 units—but the school is attempting to be flexible in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some international students benefit more from face to face interactions with professors due to language barriers. The online shift could be hard on these students, especially the 10% who are in the English as a Second Language program. 

City College will continue to provide resources like tutoring sessions and office hours via Zoom.

The 26 exchange students who were in the study abroad program in Florence, Italy had their classes moved online as well as they were forced to return home to the U.S. 

Most of the students came back on March 2, and were put into quarantine for 14 days.

Other exchange programs that were scheduled to take place this summer might be canceled as well, even though some students have already made payments. 

“We have until April to decide,” Smith said. “We don’t want to cancel prematurely. We rely on information from the U.S. state department and the center of disease control and prevention.”

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