ISSS COVID-19 INFO

Welcome to the COVID-19 page for ISSS!

Here is where you can find information from ISSS regarding office changes due to COVID-19, institutional information about COVID-19, and the impact of COVID-19 on your immigration status.

This page was lasted updated on: July 02, 2020

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Rensselaer Information

All information from Rensselaer regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is available here: covid19.rpi.edu. This website is a way for you to remain informed about campus-wide decisions and information. 

You can view all campus-wide communications here: covid19.rpi.edu/communications 

You can view the return-to-campus planning website here: covid19.rpi.edu/return-to-campus#

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Services

As Rensselaer moved to telework on March 18, 2020, all ISSS services are now online. Please expand each section below to view information by selecting the + sign.

How to Reach ISSS

You can contact ISSS via email, phone, or virtual advising appointment.

If your question does not require an appointment, you can send your inquiry via email to ISSSoffice@rpi.edu. We aim to reply to all messages within 1-2 business days.

Virtual Advising

ISSS has moved all advising online. You are able to schedule a 15 minute meeting with an ISSS advisor during our Open Hours every weekday, Monday-Friday.

Schedule a Virtual Advising appointment here: https://go.oncehub.com/RPIISSSOffice

Appointments will be held using the WebEx platform. Within one business day after you schedule an appointment, the advisor will send you a calendar invitation with a link to access the meeting.

Submitting Documents to ISSS

To submit forms and other documentation to ISSS, please send them via email to the ISSS office at ISSSoffice@rpi.edu

Your documents should be scanned by a scanner or mobile app. These scans must be clear and easy to read. For some free mobile scanning apps, see this Wirecutter article: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-mobile-scanning-apps/

ISSS has developed a digital signature policy for use during COVID-19. Please review our policy here: https://info.rpi.edu/isss/isss-forms/#ISSSFormPolicy

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Communications

ISSS has been in regular communication with students via email to provide updates and information on COVID-19 and your immigration status. We post all email messages to this website as a quick reference for students, alumni, and their families.

Please expand each section below to view the messages by selecting the + sign.

ISSS COVID-19 Update Messages: July 2020

July 02, 2020: Fall 2020 International Students: Message from ISSS Director

A message to F-1 visa holders (new undergraduate students and parents) was sent in the morning of July 2nd by International Services for Students and Scholars Director Mary Nellis.

Please see the message content at this link: http://mailchi.mp/371dfa4a6e77/fa20-new-student-message-from-isss-director

July 02, 2020: Fall 2020 International Students: Message from ISSS Director

A message to F-1 visa holders (new graduate students) was sent in the morning of July 2nd by International Services for Students and Scholars Director Mary Nellis.

Please see the message content at this link: http://mailchi.mp/214881134419/fa20-gr-new-student-message-from-isss-director

ISSS COVID-19 Update Messages: June 2020

June 17, 2020: Fall 2020 Campus Return: Message from ISSS Director

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 17th by International Services for Students and Scholars Director Mary Nellis.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/COVID19-DirectorMessage-June

June 12, 2020: Incoming International Student Outreach and Support

A message to incoming F-1 international students was sent in the morning of Friday, June 12th by the Vice President for Student Life and the Director International Services for Students and Scholars.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/incoming-intl-outreach-support

June 10, 2020: COVID-19 Update #13 (Fall Updates - PLEASE READ)

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 10th by International Services for Students and Scholars with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update13

Town Hall link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2X6GBseysY&feature=youtu.be

June 5, 2020: International Students and Alumni Outreach and Support

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the morning of Friday, June 5th by the Vice President for Student Life and the Director International Services for Students and Scholars with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://mailchi.mp/rpi.edu/international-students-and-alumni-outreach-and-support

June 4, 2020: COVID-19 Update #12 (Advising, Immigration Information, Presidential Proclamation)

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of Thursday, June 4th by International Services for Students and Scholars with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update12students

June 4, 2020: COVID-19 Update #12 (Alumni Information #4)

A message to F-1 visa holders (alumni) was sent in the afternoon of Thursday, June 4th by Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update12alumni

ISSS COVID-19 Update Messages: May 2020

May 4, 2020: COVID-19 Update #11 (Alumni Information #3)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Monday, May 4th by Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link:https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update11

ISSS COVID-19 Update Messages: April 2020

April 23, 2020: COVID-19 Update #10 (Immigration Updates, Current Students - Reporting Location)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Thursday, April 23rd by ISSS Director Mary Nellis or Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update10

April 16, 2020: COVID-19 Update #9.5 (Alumni Information #2.5 - New Information)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Thursday, April 16th by ISSS Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update09-5

April 14, 2020: COVID-19 Update #9 (Alumni Information #2)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 14th by ISSS Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update09

April 10, 2020: COVID-19 Update #8 (Letter Request Process, Reporting Location)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Friday, April 10th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update08

April 2, 2020: COVID-19 Update #7 (Digital Signature Guides, Remote Work, ISSS Programs)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the evening of Thursday, April 2nd by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update07

UPDATE - Link Correction for NPZ COVID-19 Workshop registration: https://npzcovid19workshop-rpi.eventbrite.com

ISSS COVID-19 Update Messages: March 2020

March 25, 2020: COVID-19 Update #6 (Five-Month Rule, OPT Workshops, Letter Request)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update06

March 19, 2020: COVID-19 Update #5 (Alumni Information)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Thursday, March 19th by ISSS Assistant Director Emilie Buse with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update05

March 18, 2020: COVID-19 Update #4 (Location Reporting, OPT Application Info)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update04

March 17, 2020: COVID-19 Update #3 (Documents, Virtual Advising, General Communication)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 17th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update03

March 16, 2020: COVID-19 Update #2 (Visa Status, Open Hours Protocol)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the evening of Friday, March 13th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update02

March 13, 2020: COVID-19 Update #1 (Housing)

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the evening of Thursday, March 12th by ISSS Director Mary Nellis with an update regarding COVID-19 and student concerns.

Please see the message content at this link: rpi.box.com/v/ISSS-COVID19update01

March 12, 2020: Protocol Development

9:16 a.m.: ISSS is currently developing protocols for international students regarding the email from President Jackson that remote instruction has been extended to the end of Spring semester 2020.

We will communicate to you via your RPI email with updates and information, and anticipate the first communication will be sent by the end of today, March 12th.

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Fall 2020 Information

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson announced detailed information regarding the plans to re-open campus in Fall 2020 during the President’s Town Meeting.

Our intention is to provide you with as many options as possible within the scope of the regulations and to support you through this situation. 

Based on the institutional decisions, we are formulating advice for the international community and developing answers to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). As of June 11, 2020, the unknown factor is what is the anticipated guidance from the federal government.

Federal Guidance: In the Spring 2020 semester, federal guidance was issued that permitted students to maintain their F-1 status while taking only online coursework. This was an exception made due to COVID-19, as normally, students may only take one online course towards full-time enrollment. What ISSS does not know yet is if the current federal guidance will be extended to permit online coursework for fall.

  • The last update on this guidance was issued June 4, 2020. The update indicated that SEVP is actively working to issue guidance for the fall semester and that the academic community will be updated as soon as SEVP finalizes guidance.

Our guidance is separated based on your cohort at Rensselaer.

Freshmen

RPI plans that you will be coming to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your courses may be a mixture of in-person classes, hybrid classes (partially in-person and partially online), and entirely online classes. 

ISSS is awaiting guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, the agency that administers SEVIS), to provide freshmen with guidance regarding your visa status.

Sophomore

RPI plans that you will not be coming to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your courses will be entirely online courses.

ISSS is awaiting guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, the agency that administers SEVIS), to provide sophomores with guidance regarding your visa status.

Junior

RPI plans that you will be coming to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your courses may be a mixture of in-person classes, hybrid classes (partially in-person and partially online), and entirely online classes. 

Your Semester Away will occur in the Spring 2021 semester.

  • The exception is students who have secured a Fall Away opportunity. You will work with The Arch to request an exception to take your Semester Away in the Fall.

All Junior students participating in summer arch who are enrolled for 12 credits during the Arch summer, have been registered in SEVIS as a full-time student in the Summer 2020 term. Therefore, in the Fall 2020 semester, you can take your coursework - online or in-person - and maintain your visa status. In the Spring 2021 semester, you will take your Semester Away and maintain your visa status.

Senior

RPI plans that you will be coming to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your courses may be a mixture of in-person classes, hybrid classes (partially in-person and partially online), and entirely online classes. 

ISSS is awaiting guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, the agency that administers SEVIS), to provide seniors with guidance regarding your visa status.

Graduate (Master’s + Doctoral)

RPI plans that you will be coming to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Your courses may be a mixture of in-person classes, hybrid classes (partially in-person and partially online), and entirely online classes.

ISSS is awaiting guidance from the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, the agency that administers SEVIS), to provide freshmen with guidance regarding your visa status.