(Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP, File)

Foreign students must leave U.S. if college classes go online, ICE says

It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the U.S.

International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.

The guidelines, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, provide additional pressure for campuses to reopen even amid growing concerns about the recent spread of COVID-19 among young adults. Colleges received the guidance the same day that some schools, including Harvard University, announced that all instruction will be offered remotely.

President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and universities return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. After the guidance was released, Trump repeated on Twitter that schools must reopen this fall.

Under the updated rules, international students must take at least some of their classes in person. New visas will not be issued to students at schools or programs that are entirely online. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students will be barred from taking all their classes online.

It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the U.S. last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to move online. Those attending schools that are staying online must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,” according to the guidance.

Dozens of U.S. colleges have announced plans to provide in-person classes this fall, but some have said it’s too risky. Harvard on Monday said it would invite first-term students to live on campus, but classes will continue to be held online. The University of Southern California last week backtracked on plans to bring students back, saying classes will be held “primarily or exclusively” online.

The new guidance is likely to create “enormous confusion” among colleges as they prepare for the fall, said Terry Hartle, senior vice-president of the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents.

Of particular concern is a stipulation saying international students won’t be exempt from the rules even if an outbreak forces their schools to move online during the fall semester. Hartle said it’s unclear what would happen if a student ended up in that situation but faced travel restrictions from their home country.

“ICE is clearly creating an incentive for institutions to reopen, regardless of whether or not the circumstances of the pandemic warrant it,” he said.

Collin Binkley, Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusStudentsUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Smithers man leaves $1 million to children’s hospital

Jim Bolster wanted to help out children with health problems like his own

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

New ownership resurrects BV Taxi

The new owners expect to be taking fares by mid-August

Tahltan Nation closes hunting and recreational activity access points

The remote and vulnerable territory has limited medical capacity

Kinsmen plan to host scaled-down version of Telkwa BBQ

Club hoping to serve traditional Beef on a Bun and keep status of longest running event in B.C.

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read