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COVID-19 Updates from the Division of Global Engagement

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Process for Travel Authorizations

The Division of Global Engagement is still processing I-20/DS-2019’s travel authorizations while operating remotely.

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COVID-19 Update

Starting Wednesday, March 18, UL Lafayette will begin remote course delivery to mitigate public health conce

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Dear students and exchange visitors,

The Division of Global Engagement (DGE) understands the concerns that several international students and exchange visitors have regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts travel plans and maintenance of
F-1/J-1 status. Through this rapidly evolving situation, the DGE is working closely with University administration to ensure that the needs of international students are being addressed.

Enrollment & Immigration Status

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will change its method of instruction to remote course delivery effective March 18, 2020 for the Spring 2020 semester. On March 13, 2020 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) confirmed that international students may temporarily take their classes remotely during a university’s period of modified instruction format (online instruction), either from within the U.S. or outside of the U.S.

If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., please stop by the DGE located in room 136 of the Student Union with your I-20/DS-2019.

This temporary transition to remote instruction will not impact your F-1/J-1 visa status. During this time, international students are required to maintain a full-course load (undergraduate students – 12 credits, graduate students – 9 credits) in order maintain F-1/J-1 status for the Spring 2020 semester, unless a student has already received an Authorized Reduced Course Load from the Division of Global Engagement at the beginning of the semester.

It is important that you regularly check your university email as well as the University’s COVID-19 webpage for updates related to the Coronavirus.

Travel

The DGE strongly recommends that you postpone or cancel any nonessential travel to areas affected by the coronavirus. Please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 website for information on Level 2 and 3 countries.

Your safety and wellbeing are of utmost concern to us. Therefore, we ask that you carefully consider international travel during this time.

On March 11, 2020, the President of the United States issued a Proclamation on travel of immigrant and non- immigrant travelers into the U.S. The proclamation includes travel restrictions for 28 countries. It restricts F-1/J-1 students who have traveled to mainland China, Iran and 26 European states in the Schengen areas in the past 14 days.

Restrictions on travel are rapidly evolving. We urge you to review travel notices issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices. Additionally, you should review travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State at travel.state.gov.

If you have decided to return to your home country and have already departed the U.S., please contact our office at oia@louisiana.edu. If you have not departed the U.S. yet, but plan to please bring your I-20/DS-2019 to our office in the Student Union, room 136.

Maintain Social Distancing & Good Health Practices

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Seek immediate medical attention if experiencing fever, cough or having difficulty breathing. Call your doctor or Student Health Services (337-482-1293) beforehand, so they can prepare for your arrival.
  • Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or shirtsleeves – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

This situation is rapidly evolving, it is important that you stay current on the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Louisiana Office of Public Health.

The University is working closely with the Louisiana Office of Public Health and is monitoring the situation. Please visit https://louisiana.edu/covid19-updates for Coronavirus FAQs and University announcements.

Safety & Well-Being

The DGE understands that students may feel fearful and anxious during this uncertain time. Your mental and physical health are of the utmost important to us.

Effective immediately, the UL Lafayette Counseling and Testing Center is offering sessions by phone as well as in person. To schedule an appointment, please call (337) 482-6480 during regular business hours (Mon-Thu 7:30
a.m. – 5 p.m.; Fri 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.). If you are feeling ill or have fever, please avoid in-person sessions. Counseling and Testing is located in OK Allen Hall, Suite 114 (Saucier Wellness Center).

Learn more about taking care of your emotional health on the CDC’s website.

Health Insurance

International students enrolled for the Spring 2020 semester are automatically enrolled in the international student insurance plan through Wellfleet. Insurance coverage for the Spring 2020 semester is effective through May 28, 2020. Students who will remain in the U.S. during the summer, who will not be taking classes, can purchase insurance coverage for the Summer 2020 (May 29, 2020 through August 17, 2020) by June 29, 2020 on the Wellfleet website.

All Coronavirus COVID-19 testing will be covered at no cost to students enrolled in the international student insurance plan through Wellfleet.

Please visit the Wellfleet Coronavirus Updates webpage for FAQ’s and updates.

Students Currently on Post-Completion OPT, STEM OPT or CPT

If you employer is requiring you to work remotely or take a leave of absence, this will not impact your OPT/CPT. Please be sure to update your employer address in the SEVP Portal. Remote work is also possible for students currently on CPT for the Spring 2020 semester. Students on CPT or OPT should contact oia@louisiana.edu with any questions related to their work authorization.

I-20 Program Extensions

If your I-20 will expire in May 2020, please submit a completed I-20 Extension Request Form to oia@louisiana.edu before May 31, 2020. This form will need to be signed by your academic advisor. At this time, we are accepting electronic signatures (including advisor’s signature) on the I-20 Extension Request Form.

Resources

U.S. Department of State Emergency Hotline:

  • From the U.S. & Canada - 1-888-407-4747
  • From Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

UL Lafayette News and Updates Regarding COVID-19

U.S. Proclamation – Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Entry to U.S.

Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline

  • 1-800-985-5990

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Advisory

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