Federal Officials altered education policies of international students amid COVID-19 that says that international students could not stay in the US if their courses are online completely or they change their school if they want to stay in the country.
The decision was announced after the Harvard University and Masseuses Institute of Technology announced to shift their all courses and classes online of graduate and undergraduate students on Monday this week.
According to the policies, the international students or nonimmigrant students would lose their legal status if they would go back their country. Hence, they have to apply again for nonimmigrant visa to come again.
Therefore, there are some points in the policy. The policy says that nonimmigrant students are not allowed to take all courses online. They could take one course that three credit hours online and other in-person (in classroom).
The nonimmigrant students have option to go for leave. They have to apply for “request a temporary absence” in which they will be permitted to go at their homes for less than five months and could come back. Yet they have to issue some documents or files to get back to classes.
International students can remain in US if their school have arranged “hybrid model”, mixture of in-person and online classes. Many of the schools have arranged it because of lab classes which the students cannot perform online.
The policy stated four main points:
- Requesting a temporary absence
- Remote learning in the summer
- Taking online classes in the fall, and
- Flexibility with OPT required hours.
Requesting a temporary absence is explained above.
Remote learning in the summer is specifically for students whose courses are moved online completely. Besides, the point discusses the matters of those students who are not in the US. It is important for them to come back as soon as possible but till then they should attend courses online whatever is available or they would be terminated.
Taking online classes in the fall says that international students could attend courses online in the fall semester. It further says that the government would not grant them visas if their courses are on the internet.
Flexibility with OPT required hours says that international students have to employ themselves through Optional Practical Training or work program. The program says that students have to do either paid jobs or volunteer work or both and it should make more than 20 hours of work.