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: August 07, 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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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).

Our guidance is separated based on your cohort at Rensselaer.

Town Hall Recordings: Recordings of the Town Halls held by ISSS are available within each cohort.

Freshmen

All freshman students will be taking classes on-campus, unless arrangements are made to begin your program online.

  • NOTE:  Transfer Students may be considered a different cohort based on the number of transfer credits.

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 6th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to new students: https://mailchi.mp/536af5369f9d/isss-update-to-fall-sevp-guidance-4

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a new student:

  • If you are a new student who is outside of the U.S., and intend to take at least one in-person or hybrid course, you are eligible to seek entry to the U.S.
  • If you are a new student who is outside of the U.S., and intend to take “100% online” courses, you are not permitted to seek entry to the U.S.
  • If you are a new student who is currently inside of the U.S., in F-1 status, you are able to begin a new program of study, whether your coursework is online or is an in-person/hybrid mix.

If you are unable to obtain your F-1 visa for any reason, we encourage you to begin your program online.  Admissions will work with you to issue you a new I-20 to arrive on campus for the Spring 2021 semester.

Town Hall Recording

Sophomore

According to the campus return plan, sophomore students will be pursuing online-only coursework in order to de-densify the campus.   

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 4th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to the sophomore cohort: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-04

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a continuing student:

  • You will maintain your F-1 status, regardless of your physical location and your course type, as long as you:
    • Continue to maintain a full-time course load in Fall 2020 (or have an approved Reduced Course Load from ISSS)
    • Report your location to ISSS (survey forthcoming)

Town Hall Recording

Junior

According to the campus return plan, junior students in the Arch should be pursuing classes on-campus.

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 4th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to the junior cohort: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-04

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a continuing student:

  • You will maintain your F-1 status, regardless of your physical location and your course type, as long as you:
    • Continue to maintain a full-time course load in Fall 2020 (or have an approved Reduced Course Load from ISSS)
    • Report your location to ISSS (survey forthcoming)

Your Semester Away will occur in the Spring 2021 semester.

  • The exception is students who have secured a Fall Away opportunity and have been granted an exemption by The Arch.

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.

Town Hall Recording

Senior

According to the campus return plan, senior students should be pursuing classes on-campus.

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 4th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to the senior cohort: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-04

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a continuing student:

  • You will maintain your F-1 status, regardless of your physical location and your course type, as long as you:
    • Continue to maintain a full-time course load in Fall 2020 (or have an approved Reduced Course Load from ISSS)
    • Report your location to ISSS (survey forthcoming)

Town Hall Recording

Incoming Graduate (Master’s + Doctoral)

All incoming graduates students will be taking classes on-campus, unless arrangements are made to begin your program online with your academic department.

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 6th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to new students: https://mailchi.mp/536af5369f9d/isss-update-to-fall-sevp-guidance-4

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a new student:

  • If you are a new student who is outside of the U.S., and intend to take at least one in-person or hybrid course, you are eligible to seek entry to the U.S.
  • If you are a new student who is outside of the U.S., and intend to take “100% online” courses, you are not permitted to seek entry to the U.S.
  • If you are a new student who is currently inside of the U.S., in F-1 status, you are able to begin a new program of study, whether your coursework is online or is an in-person/hybrid mix.

If you are unable to obtain your F-1 visa for any reason, we encourage you to begin your program online.  Admissions will work with you to issue you a new I-20 to arrive on campus for the Spring 2021 semester.

Town Hall Recording

Graduate (Master’s + Doctoral)

According to the campus return plan, continuing Graduate students should be pursuing classes and/or research on-campus (including hybrid classes).

For a detailed breakdown of the SEVP guidance, including what we know, what we don't know, and the August 4th Town Hall details, please reference this email sent to the graduate cohort: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-04

This overview is how the federal guidance impacts you as a continuing student:

  • You will maintain your F-1 status, regardless of your physical location and your course type, as long as you:
    • Continue to maintain a full-time course load in Fall 2020 (or have an approved Reduced Course Load from ISSS)
    • Report your location to ISSS (survey forthcoming)

Town Hall Recording

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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 28, 2020: Update to Fall SEVP Guidance #4

A message to F-1 visa holders was sent in the afternoon of July 28th by International Services for Students and Scholars.

July 24, 2020: Update to Fall SEVP Guidance #3

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of July 24th by International Services for Students and Scholars.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-03

July 24, 2020: Update to Fall SEVP Guidance #3

A message to F-1 visa holders (new freshmen and new graduate students) was sent in the afternoon of July 24th by International Services for Students and Scholars.

Please see the message content at this link: https://mailchi.mp/818681dff652/isss-update-to-fall-sevp-guidance

July 16, 2020: Update to Fall SEVP Guidance #2

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of July 16th by International Services for Students and Scholars.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-02

July 16, 2020: Pending Update to Fall SEVP Guidance & Town Hall Details - Incoming Graduate Students

A message to F-1 visa holders (new graduate students) was sent in the afternoon of July 16th by International Services for Students and Scholars with information regarding the federal guidance and upcoming Town Hall meeting.

Please see the message content at this link: https://mailchi.mp/baf847709598/important-isss-update-regarding-sevp-guidance-gr

July 14, 2020: Pending Update to Fall SEVP Guidance

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of July 14th by International Services for Students and Scholars.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/SEVP-guidance-update-01

July 14, 2020: Town Hall Details - Freshmen

A message to F-1 visa holders (new undergraduate students and parents) was sent in the afternoon of July 14th by International Services for Students and Scholars with information regarding the upcoming Town Hall meeting.

Please see the message content at this link: https://mailchi.mp/2761b4699767/isss-town-hall-details

July 13, 2020: Town Hall Details - Current Students

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of July 13th by International Services for Students and Scholars with information regarding the upcoming Town Hall meetings.

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

July 13, 2020: Fall 2020 International Students: Message from ISSS

Revised messages were sent by International Services for Students and Scholars to student groups by cohort.

Graduate students and freshman were not sent new messages, as there were no changes to those cohort groups.

July 10, 2020: Fall 2020 International Students: Message from ISSS

Messages were sent by International Services for Students and Scholars to student groups by class.

July 07, 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 afternoon of July 7th by International Services for Students and Scholars Director Mary Nellis.

Please see the message content at this link: http://mailchi.mp/030f89d3a3da/isss-newstudent-fa20-update1

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

A message to F-1 visa holders (current students) was sent in the afternoon of July 7th by International Services for Students and Scholars Director Mary Nellis.

Please see the message content at this link: https://rpi.box.com/v/FA20-ISSS-Update-1

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.