COVID-19 Tips & Tricks for International Students
Ohio's Stay at Home Order
On March 22, under the direction of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, issued a director's order to require all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent the further spread of COVID-10 beginning at 11:49 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 23, 2020. As Ohio has begun to re-open, the governor of Ohio has released a series of updates for the State of Ohio. For more information about Ohio's Safe Reopening, you can visit the link for the Ohio Department of Health below.
- Global Cleveland -- Information about COVID-19 and Ohio Press Updates are translated into multiple languages.
- Talking to Children about COVID-19 (multiple languages)
The ISSS team is closely monitoring a variety of professional resources to bring you updated guidance as it relates to your immigration status. As these updates are made available, we will send out a communication to all international students. Maintaining your immigration status is very important, and the ISSS team is here to offer guidance and support.
Travel & Leaving the U.S.
As you are contemplating staying in the U.S. or leaving to return home, we hope that you keep your health and safety at the forefront. We hope that you are making the best decision for you and your family.
From an immigration perspective, you will have the ability to maintain your status if you decide to leave the U.S. Please be sure that you will have the ability to make normal progress towards completing your coursework.
If you return home or require a travel signature, please notify ISSS through the Travel Plans 2020 Form. All travel signatures for F and J students are valid for 1 year. If you are currently on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT Extension, your travel signature is valid for 6 months. We have provided mailing alternatives to collecting I-20's or DS-2019's with a travel signature via the Travel Plans 2020 Form. Please be mindful that normal processing times for mailing documents may be impacted as mail services have decreased.
Things to consider while traveling:
- Any travel restrictions implemented by the country or area to which you are traveling. Be prepared for each destination's response as it relates to the coronavirus outbreak. You can check the Department of State's Travel Advisory website for updated information. You may also consider referencing this list of immigration restrictions from Fragomen on their website.
- Consider your health insurance and whether or not you will be covered in the area to which you are traveling.
- Consider your ability to progress in your coursework (i.e. accessing Blackboard, Kent State applications, and internet services).
14-Day Isolation Period. For students, employees and visitors, it is important to note that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15% or higher and all individuals traveling internationally. Anyone traveling internationally or the states mentioned by Gov. Mike DeWine's travel advisory to Ohio is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. Please visit the CDC website for updated information related to your specific travel questions.
For all new and returning international students, please visit the Enrollment 2020 Page for more information.
If you remain in the U.S. during this time, you are still required to maintain your immigration status. This includes following the rules as it relates to work authorization and employment.
For students who were working on campus, communication was sent out indicating that all student employees will continue to be paid at the level of normally scheduled workloads for the period in which the university is suspending face-to-face instruction and other activities.
If you are interested in seeking work authorizations for off-campus opportunities, F-1 students should review the information on the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) webpage and information about applying for Severe Economic Hardship. J-1 students should read about Academic Training. Please note that working off-campus without authorization is a violation of your immigration status and could result in the Termination of your SEVIS record.
OPT & STEM OPT Extension: F-1 Students Applying & Currently on OPT or STEM OPT Extension
- Applying for OPT -- OPT applications are currently being adjudicated by USCIS as usual. There have been no updates from USCIS regarding any impact to the process as a result of COVID19. As of right now, that means there are no delays in adjudicating applications. Please review the most updated information on the OPT webpage. The OPT tutorials offer an abundance of information on the application process. You may also make a phone appointment for assistance.
- Currently on OPT -- There has not been any updated guidance for F-1 international students currently on OPT or STEM OPT Extension. Therefore, you should be following the rules for maintaining your status as it relates to OPT or STEM OPT Extension. Additionally, you will need to understand the options available to you through your employer for sick time or employer responses to the COVID19 situation. We also encourage you to review your health insurance information offered through your employer in case you need to use it.
- USCIS Offices -- You may have heard about the communication from USCIS that routine in-person services have been suspended until April 1. This does not impact OPT or STEM OPT application processes as these are not in-person services. You can review the communication from DHS about this on their webpage.
Grocery & Food Services
Many local restaurants and grocery stores are now offering free or reduced delivery rates. Additionally, food delivery companies such as Uber Eats and DoorDash are also offering free or reduced pricing. During this time, many people in the Kent community will seek out the assistance of a Food Bank, which will typically provide you with some free grocery staples. Below are some of those services that you may find helpful.
- Instacart -- A grocery delivery service.
- Uber Eats -- Delivers food from nearby restaurants.
- DoorDash -- Delivers food from nearby restaurants.
- Grubhub -- Delivers food from nearby restaurants.
- Giant Eagle -- Now offering grocery delivery. First order is free.
- Acme -- Now offering grocery delivery.
- Campus Kitchen Pantry "To Go" Bags -- Every Friday 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the loading dock of Beall Hall
- Find a Food Pantry -- Find a Food Pantry near you through the Akron Canton Food Bank.
- Kent Social Services -- Serving "to go" meals. Food Pantry Services are being provided but with limited hours.
There are a variety of grassroots efforts provided by individuals in the community to connect everyone to resources. Consider joining some of the facebook groups below or check out local resources listed to stay informed about resources available locally.
- Kent Social Services
- Portage County Family & Community Resources
- Portage County Utility Guidance
- Kent City School Meals for Children
- Portage County Take-Out
Fun Activities at Home & Online
Virtual Tours & Museums
- Akron Art Museum
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Canton Museum of Art
- Children's Museum of Art
- Children's Museum Cleveland
- Cincinnati Art Museum
- Ohio History Connection
- The Louvre
- The British Museum
- National Gallery of Art
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
- Van Gogh Museum
- National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
- National Park Tours through Google Earth
- Ellis Island
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Yellowstone National Park
- Great Wall of China
- Mars on the Curiosity Rover
- Akron Zoo
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
- Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
- Greater Cleveland Aquarium
- Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
- Houston Zoo
- Maryland Zoo
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Reid Park Zoo
- San Diego Zoo
- Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute
- Zoo Atlanta
- Georgia Aquarium
- Ouwehand Park Polar Bears
- Explore Live Cams
Other Fun Things