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COVID-19 FAQ for Students

Please note: This page will be updated as more information is provided. Please check back often for updates.  *Last updated: July 31, 2020


What are the plans for fall 2020 classes?

KU intends to offer a flexible, hybrid model Fall 2020 of in-person, hybrid and online classes.  KU is trying to provide as many flexible options as possible to meet students wherever they are so students can enroll full time and continue to make progress on their degrees.

What if I went home in March and am having trouble returning by the start of fall classes?

We know that not every student will be able to come to Lawrence in time for the start of the semester.  KU is working on offering hybrid courses and online classes which can be started from abroad, to allow extra time for arrival.

Even though students may need to arrive late, they should enroll full-time before classes begin August 24.  The course schedule will be available August 3 once all the instructional formats are updated.

I have an I-20 and have F-1 immigration status.  What are the limits of online enrollment?

July 14, ICE rescinded their July 6 message announcing international students had to leave the U.S. if all of their classes would be online.  Now, continuing students, may enroll in any courses required for their program no matter what format KU offers the course in (in-person, hybrid or online).  Course formats will be revealed August 3rd.

Announced July 24, new students entering from outside the U.S. cannot enroll in 100% online classes; however, they can take more online classes than normally allowed.

Can I study full-time online from outside the U.S. in Fall 2020?


KU is working on providing more hybrid and online options for the fall so you can continue to make progress toward your degree even if you cannot attend classes in-person on-campus. The schedule with updated course formats will be available August 3, 2020.

The government’s July 6 announcement that was not clear if students could maintain F-1 status from outside the U.S. was rescinded July 14.  KU can now maintain your I-20 if you enroll full-time even if you cannot return to campus Fall 2020.

Can I keep my GTA or GRA if I enroll from abroad?
No. You cannot keep an on-campus job in fall 2020 if you are outside the U.S.. In some situations, you may be able to enroll in a combo of hybrid and online classes and arrive late to start a GRA. If you cannot be in Lawrence for the entire fall semester, do not expect to hold a GTA position at all.
How can I get tutoring?
Information about tutoring through the Student Success Center and the Writing Center will be available through the AAAC website soon.
What will my academic advising check-ins be like?
You can schedule appointments with various academic advisors across campus through Jayhawk GPS or by emailing the advisor directly. 
What is the instructional format for dissertation or research hours?
Dissertation and research hours are considered in person.
If I can't arrive due to visa/travel restrictions, can I cancel my student housing contract for Fall 2020?
If you are inside the US and have questions about canceling your contract, please see the KU Housing cancelation policy. Cancelation fees may apply. Please also contact KU Housing directly at housing@ku.edu.

If you are outside the US and you must cancel your housing contract because you cannot travel to the US, you may be able to waive the cancelation fees. To waive the cancelation fees, you must contact KU Housing before August 24th and notify them of your cancelation request. 


I’m F-1 and graduating in August. How do I extend my stay?

There are limited options for remaining in the U.S. as an F-1 student after completion of your academic program. Possibilities, depending upon your personal situation, are described below. If you have questions or would like to explore any of these in greater detail please contact ISS to schedule a time to speak with one of our advisors.

  1. You automatically have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S. following the completion of your academic program. This time is allowed for you to prepare to depart the U.S. During this period you may also pursue one of the following three options. If you do not take action on one of these options within this 60-day grace period then you must exit the U.S. before the end of the grace period.
  2. Apply for post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). See http://iss.ku.edu/opt for details.
  3. Apply for and be admitted into a new academic program (non-degree may even be an option). The new program must have a start date within 5 months of the end of your current program. If the new program is at a school other than KU you will need to request ISS to transfer your SEVIS record to the new school. Information about the transfer process can be found at http://iss.ku.edu/leaving-ku-1.
  4. Apply for a change of status to B-2 (tourist) or another status for which you may be eligible. This application can take 6 months or more to process, but you will likely be legal to stay in the U.S. while your application is pending. See http://iss.ku.edu/change-status#changeinside for more information.

Please note that F-1 students are not eligible to extend their stay except in one of the situations described above. Information on the USCIS webpage is a bit misleading and could be misunderstood to imply that it is possible to extend status by filing an application for an extension of stay This is not correct. Filing Form I-539 is not an option for extending F-1 status.

My visa expires soon. Is it okay if I stay in the U.S. after it expires?

Yes, it is okay for your visa (in your passport) to expire while you are in the U.S. It was issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate and only needs to be valid when you enter the U.S. Other documents such as your passport, I-20, or DS-2019 should remain valid while you are in the U.S.

Can I apply to get a new visa in the U.S.?

No, unfortunately you cannot apply for or renew a U.S. visa from within the U.S. You must apply at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad.  Note: ALL U.S. Embassies and Consulates have suspended non-immigrant visa services as of March 20, 2020.  Also, it doesn’t matter if your U.S. visa (in your passport) expires while you are in the U.S.

Will I have to buy insurance if I am outside the U.S. taking all online classes for fall 2020?
If students are outside of the USA from 8/1/2020-12/31/2020, they can submit an "Out-of-Country" insurance waiver request in iHawk. the fall insurance fees should be assessed to student accounts by the first week in July.

What opportunities are there for me to stay engaged and connected with the KU community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

ISS Programs have moved online for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the ISS programs calendar to get involved and follow us on social media. In addition, many companies are offering adjusted services or online services for free. Examples of such services may be found on our Support Services Webpage.


Will I be expected to quarantine upon my return to Kansas?

For more details, please see our ISS COVID-19 Information webpage.

What do I need to consider if I am planning to travel outside the U.S. for the summer?

Factors you should consider before traveling summer 2020:

  • Return Flight
    • Many airlines have significantly reduced flight options, especially internationally. You may have trouble getting a return flight.
  • Travel Restrictions to Enter the U.S. or Leave Country In
  • Quarantine Upon Return
    • Expect to spend at least 14 days in self-isolation after your return.  In other words you need to return at least 14 days before classes start.
    • CDC’s Suggestions on Returning from International Travel
  • Expired Visa
  • COVID-19 Testing
    • We have heard some reports of negative tests results for COVID19 being required before travel is being allowed.​

How do I get a travel signature on my I-20 or DS-2019?

ISS created an eform in iHawk to request a travel signature. 

  • Submit the appropriate eform in iHawk
    • F-1 Student Services
      • COVID-19 Travel Signature I-20 Request
    • J-1 Student Services
      • COVID-19 Travel Signature DS-2019 Request

Is your question not listed here?  Email ISS with your question.  


Other Resources:

SEVP's Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

KU Campus-wide COVID-19 Updates

International Affairs - COVID-19 Updates

KU On-Campus Housing - COVID-19 Updates

KU Dining's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page

Watkins Health Center - COVID-19 Updates

Human Resources - COVID-19 Employee Information

KU Transportation - COVID-19 Updates


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