For Current Updates on COVID-19: http://go.middlebury.edu/covid19

ISSS COVID-19 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Last updated 3/26/2020

For what period are Middlebury courses being offered remotely?
  • COLLEGE Students:  We will deliver courses through distance learning methods beginning March 30. The College will re-evaluate that process in the first two weeks of April, and make a determination as to whether this temporary approach will continue.
  • INSTITUTE Students:  We will deliver Spring 2020 courses via distance learning methods through May 15, 2020 (from the end of spring break to the end of spring semester).
Can I return to my home country to take my classes remotely?
  • SEVIS Guidance (issued on March 9, 2020) offered U.S. colleges and universities greater flexibility regarding temporary adaptations to the delivery of courses and programs during this worldwide health crisis.

  • The Department of State Academic & Government Exchange Program also offered guidance that acknowledged the need for flexibility with administering J-1 programs.

  • Middlebury has determined that offering our courses through a distance learning method of delivery will be sufficient for making normal progress in a full course of study.

  • Students in F-1 or J-1 visa status will be able to maintain their status while enrolled in a full-time course load delivered remotely.  This applies to students participating in remote learning from within the U.S. or from abroad.

  • This is a temporary accommodation by the U.S. government in light of COVID-19.
Can I travel internationally during the spring break and spring semester?

ISSS strongly advises students who have chosen to remain in the U.S. not to travel abroad.

As of March 16, 2020, there are travel restrictions related to COVID-19 for non-U.S. citizens who have been physically present in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Schengen Area, as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Schengen Area includes 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

If you decide to travel to these countries, you are taking a significant risk regarding your return.  It may be difficult to return to the U.S. until the U.S. government modifies or removes these travel restrictions.

The U.S. government also may enact additional restrictions.  This could happen at any time, even while you are in transit.

Do I need to notify ISSS of any international travel?

ISSS would like to ensure that students are aware of any travel restrictions that may affect your ability to the return to the U.S.

If you know that you will travel internationally, and plan to return to the U.S. during the spring semester, please let ISSS know in advance of your departure.

Can I travel within the U.S.?

If you decide to travel within the U.S. for personal reasons, ISSS encourages you to be aware of cities and states that could be impacted by the COVID-19 virus. As of March 13, there are no restrictions for domestic travel, however, this situation is changing every day. Check the state and territorial health department websites for the latest information.

How long will these travel restrictions last?

This is currently unknown.  There are two types of restrictions:

1.  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines:

  • For the CDC guidance, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will advise on whether the restrictions continue, change or end on the 1st and 15th of every month, or as needed.  Information about travel restrictions can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

2.  U.S. Department of State (DoS) travel restrictions:

How do I maintain my U.S. visa status under these conditions?

We expect students to continue maintaining their F-1 and J-1 status during the spring semester, while engaging in classes remotely.

Maintaining your status requires you to:

  • Participate in a “full course of study” (i.e. full time) for the duration of Spring Term. 
    • We expect you to continue participating in all courses in which you are enrolled.
    • If you relocate to another U.S. state or return to your home country to engage in remote courses, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that you can “attend” your courses.
    • If you are unable to continue with your coursework, please alert ISSS prior to dropping a course or stopping your participation in courses.
  • Report changes to your physical location:
    • As is outlined in the federal regulations, F-1 and J-1 students are required to notify ISSS within 10 days of moving to their new address.  ISSS must maintain information regarding your current address and report it in SEVIS. 
    • Given the unique situation that we are in, and knowing that some students may return to their home country, ISSS will request that you complete a physical location form so we know where our international students are located during this time. We will send this form the week of March 30. This form will allow you to indicate if your location update will also serve as your address update for Spring Term.
    • For any subsequent address changes (to your permanent foreign address or your U.S. address), you will be expected to complete a revised SEVIS Address Update Form, to be posted by April 1.  The updated Address Form will allow you to indicate a non-U.S. location as your primary address.

  • Off-campus employment approval:
    • F-1 and J-1 students MUST have authorization to work off-campus in the U.S.
    • Students are not eligible to engage in any off-campus work without prior approval in the form of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
    • Students may only apply for OPT from within the U.S.  We recommend that students who have a pending OPT application with USCIS remain in the U.S.
    • ISSS will provide further guidance with regard to pending and approved OPT cases in a future communication and FAQ.
    • ISSS will also offer advice about pursuing CPT and OPT  while being enrolled in courses remotely, and about travel and re-entry while OPT is pending.
What travel documents do I need for re-entry to the U.S.?

For any international travel, please carry with you the following documents, which you will need to request re-entry to the U.S.:

  • Valid Passport (valid 6 months into the future)

  • Valid Form I-20 or DS-2019, with valid travel signature
    • An I-20 travel signature is valid for 12 months and a DS2019 signature is valid for 6 months. Even so, ISSS recommends obtaining a signature every semester (Fall & Spring).
    • For Spring Term 2020, ISSS recommends that you obtain a new travel signature (on page 2 of the I-20 or bottom right corner of page 1 of the DS-2019), dated after February 10, 2020, ideally.
    • If your document does not have a signature dated after that, please contact ISSS to determine if you need one.

  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa– (if applicable)
    • You will need to apply for a new visa before returning to the U.S. if you are outside the U.S. and your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired—unless you qualify for automatic visa revalidation or are from a country that does not require a visa (Canada or Bermuda).
    • If you have questions about the visa application process, please contact ISSS

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Service Building - Second Floor
84 South Service Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
P: 802 443-5858
F: 802 443-2063
isss@middlebury.edu