This page will be updated often as we receive guidance about reopening from the CDC, the Department of State, USCIS, the State of CT, and planning updates from the administration of the college. We ask that you check back for new information. The latest update was on July 31, 2020.
I hear that international students won’t be able to come back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Is that true?
No, this is an unfortunate rumor that students have heard. International students who can and want to travel back to Trinity for the Fall 2020 semester will be able to return.
If I’m coming back to campus, what will arrival procedures be like? What about testing/quarantine? Can my family help me move in?
Please see the Return to Campus FAQ for all the answers related to moving back to campus in August: https://www.trincoll.edu/reopening/fall-2020-reopening-faq/
I’m worried about COVID-19 in the US and not sure I want to return to campus. Can I take a gap semester?
You can take a gap semester if you’d like to. Please know that we absolutely understand the concerns that you or your family may have about returning to campus. We have various teams that are working on returning plans that follow the State of CT guidelines and keep of all our students as safe as we can. Instead of a gap semester, you may want to consider taking remote classes for the fall and winter instead. This is especially important if you are a senior and plan to apply and use your Optional Practical Training. The regulations require that students must be in active SEVIS status for two consecutive semesters before applying for OPT. Taking a gap semester in the fall jeopardizes your ability to use OPT.
I heard that there is a requirement for students to take one course in person if they are in the US. Is this true?
The guidance from USCIS for the Fall 2020 semester was rescinded and is no longer valid. Students may take any combination of courses that they would like as long as you take at least 4 credits between the Fall and January terms combined.
I want to take classes remotely for the Fall but don’t know what courses are available yet.
Here is the link to the course schedule online now: https://internet3.trincoll.edu/ptools/CourseListing.aspx
Pay special attention to the Mode of Instruction in the course description as it will be listed as either Remote or In Person.
Will students who take remote courses in their home country remain Active in SEVIS?
Yes, with the rescission of USCIS guidance for the Fall 2020 semester, the new FAQs posted by SEVP notes that students may remain Active in SEVIS if they are outside the US taking remote courses. Further, OPT eligibility will not be affected as the FAQ notes that “An F student accrues eligibility for practical training whether they are inside or outside of the United States during the COVID-19 emergency if the student is in Active status in SEVIS and meets the requirements of their school’s procedural change plans submitted to SEVP.”
What about students in the Class of 2024 who want to take remote courses?
If you are in the Class of 2024 and plan to be remote in your country for the fall and winter terms, we will defer your start date to the Spring semester on your I-20 (please note that in this case deferral means only a change on your I-20). This means that you may take remote courses in the fall and winter term and during that time, you can apply for your visa in time for the start of the Spring semester on March 1.
Will international students be able to remain on campus during the break between Fall and Spring semester?
The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community staff are in the process of developing an appropriate housing plan for the upcoming academic year. We recognize the importance of sharing decisions about housing with our students. Our goal is to communicate this information to students as soon as possible.
What about meal plans over that break?
We are working with Chartwells on this point and will update when we have more information.
I’ve heard that there will be a semester program in Fudan this Fall. Where can I get more information?
Yes! We are working with Fudan University in Shanghai to develop a fall semester there with a combination of classes in English and Mandarin. The program coordinator is Dean Xiangming Chen and he will be able to answer any questions about the program. Please note that this program is only open to Chinese citizens. You can get in touch with him at Xiangming.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve heard about the protests in the United States and am worried about safety. Can you tell me more about what is happening in the US?
There has been a widespread anti-racism movement throughout the United States after the death of George Floyd. This has included protests in many major cities, small cities, and in every state. While it is true that there has been some violence at these protests, the large majority of these protests have been peaceful gatherings to demand justice and accountability for those murdered by police in the US. We have had protests in Hartford mainly focused at the Capitol Building but also in public parks. These protests have been peaceful. We do expect them to continue throughout the year and we do not expect any impacts on safety within the US or Hartford or on campus as a result of this movement.
What about the travel ban that the US has on my country?
All COVID-19 based travel bans are still in effect at the moment. There has been a lot of advocacy on behalf of students and scholars to remove the travel ban or edit it to allow international students and scholars to be permitted to enter the US. Exceptions to the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland travel bans will be allowed for F-1 students. You must update your I-20 to note that you will take an in person course at Trinity in the fall. Contact Katie for this updated I-20.
I’m planning to travel back to the US and want to buy my tickets now. When should I arrive?
The arrival date for international students will be Wednesday, August 26th. This is the date that students will be able to move in to their housing on campus.
I need to renew my visa or apply for the F-1 visa for the first time, but the embassy/consulate in my country is closed. What do I do?
It was announced that visa processing would resume as of July 15 dependent on the local conditions in each country. We suggest checking your embassy/consulate website frequently for news about reopening appointments. You may also want to log in to your visa application daily to see if earlier appointments begin to open up so that you can reschedule. As we get closer to September 1, you may be able to request emergency appointments.
Does the 5 month rule of being outside the US apply to me? Do I need a new visa?
The 5 month rule is not applicable to students who are Active in SEVIS including those who studied away last academic year. It only applies to students who take time off from the US and their studies. If you have a valid visa currently and did not take time off for the Spring semester, then you do not need to renew your visa. All Class of 2024 students who have valid F-1 visas from attending a US high school may use this visa to come to Trinity and there is no need to renew the visa until it expires.
Does the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) for international students provide COVID-19 coverage?
Yes, our SHIP provider, ISO, does provide COVID related coverage for students in all of their plans. A statement on their site notes that “ISO plans provide coverage for sickness and injury, including COVID-19. Medically necessary pre-tests and treatments for COVID-19 will be covered as any other sickness, according to your plan benefits”. For more information, please see the ISO page on COVID-19.