Spring 2021 Guidance & Student and Exchange Visitor Program Updates

Spring 2021 Arrival Information for International Students

We look forward to welcoming our international students to Case Western Reserve University this February, but we recognize that challenges in securing visas mean that many face profound uncertainty as to whether you will be able to get to campus in time for the start of classes, scheduled for February 1.

While we very much hope you are able to be in Cleveland physically, we also want to remind you that Case Western Reserve has committed to a dual-delivery model of instruction and we expect that you will be able to continue much of your coursework remotely even if you are out of the country.

Below are details related to your arrival on campus based on student status. You will see recommended arrival dates based on the commencement of activities specific to different sets of students. That said, if visa challenges prevent you from arriving in Cleveland by those dates—but in time for the first day of classes, please get in touch with ISS at international@case.edu so that we can help get you connected to the appropriate campus resources.

In a typical year, students’ arrival on campus marks the beginning of a time of significant social interaction—whether through first-year student orientation or returning students’ reunions with friends, staff and faculty. We realize that beginning your semester on campus during a worldwide pandemic is an experience directly opposite of what you would want. At the same time, we hope that you can appreciate that such measures are critical in our efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission risks across the campus community.

The move-in process is taking place from Saturday, Jan. 23 through Wednesday, Jan. 27International students will be given priority for move-in times from Jan. 23-25

Move-in Process: All students living in university housing must receive a COVID-19 test on campus before they start the check-in process required before entering their buildings of residence. The university will send additional details regarding Case Western Reserve’s testing process as they are finalized.  Be sure to check your @case.edu regularly.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance recommending that those arriving from abroad ‘stay home’ for seven days after their travel. As a result, international students will be given priority for move-in times from Jan. 23-25 so they have the opportunity to attend in-person classes beginning February 1. Those arriving from outside the United States cannot attend classes in person until after seven days have passed since their arrival in the U.S.

Move-in Times:  You may register for a specific move-in date and time on MyHousing (under the Actions section), beginning at 12noon EST on Monday, January 11.  You may not move in unless you have registered as of Wednesday, January 20.

Move-In Restrictions:  As in August, students will have to limit those assisting them to no more than two individuals—and only one additional person may accompany them on elevators. Everyone on campus is expected to follow all Case Western Reserve protocols involving wearing masks, maintaining at least six feet of physical distance, and frequent handwashing (or use of hand sanitizer, available throughout the buildings).

January 23 to February 1: All students living on campus will follow the same university protocols designed to keep transmission risk as low as possible prior to the start of the semester.

Specifically, students must remain in their rooms or suite at all times other than to get food, do laundry, or walk or perform other physical activity outside. The only exception to this practice is that students working (via co-op or other employment) or conducting/assisting with research are permitted to be outside their campus housing for that purpose. 

As during move-in, students must follow all university health and safety protocols when on campus. These restrictions remain in place until Monday, Feb. 1, regardless of whether students receive a negative COVID-19 test.

For more information, visit University Health and Counseling Services website.

The move-in process is taking place from Saturday, Jan. 23 through Wednesday, Jan. 27International students will be given priority for move-in times from Jan. 23-25

Move-in Process: All students living in university housing must receive a COVID-19 test on campus before they start the check-in process required before entering their buildings of residence. The university will send additional details regarding Case Western Reserve’s testing process as they are finalized.  Be sure to check your @case.edu regularly.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance recommending that those arriving from abroad ‘stay home’ for seven days after their travel. As a result, international students will be given priority for move-in times from Jan. 23-25 so they have the opportunity to attend in-person classes beginning February 1. Those arriving from outside the United States cannot attend classes in person until after seven days have passed since their arrival in the U.S.

Move-in Times:  You may register for a specific move-in date and time on MyHousing (under the Actions section), beginning at 12noon EST on Monday, January 11.  You may not move in unless you have registered as of Wednesday, January 20.

Move-In Restrictions:  As in August, students will have to limit those assisting them to no more than two individuals—and only one additional person may accompany them on elevators. Everyone on campus is expected to follow all Case Western Reserve protocols involving wearing masks, maintaining at least six feet of physical distance, and frequent handwashing (or use of hand sanitizer, available throughout the buildings).

January 23 to February 1: All students living on campus will follow the same university protocols designed to keep transmission risk as low as possible prior to the start of the semester.

Specifically, students must remain in their rooms or suite at all times other than to get food, do laundry, or walk or perform other physical activity outside. The only exception to this practice is that students working (via co-op or other employment) or conducting/assisting with research are permitted to be outside their campus housing for that purpose. 

As during move-in, students must follow all university health and safety protocols when on campus. These restrictions remain in place until Monday, Feb. 1, regardless of whether students receive a negative COVID-19 test.

For more information, visit University Health and Counseling Services website.

The move-in process is taking place from Saturday, Jan. 23 through Wednesday, Jan. 27

All students living in university housing must receive a COVID-19 test on campus before they start the check-in process required before entering their buildings of residence. The university will send additional details regarding Case Western Reserve’s testing process as they are finalized.  Be sure to check your @case.edu regularly.

Move-in Times:  You may register for a specific move-in date and time on MyHousing (under the Actions section), beginning at 12noon EST on Monday, January 11.  You may not move in unless you have registered as of Wednesday, January 20.

Move-In Restrictions:  As in August, students will have to limit those assisting them to no more than two individuals—and only one additional person may accompany them on elevators. Everyone on campus is expected to follow all Case Western Reserve protocols involving wearing masks, maintaining at least six feet of physical distance, and frequent handwashing (or use of hand sanitizer, available throughout the buildings).

January 23 to February 1: All students living on campus will follow the same university protocols designed to keep transmission risk as low as possible prior to the start of the semester.

Specifically, students must remain in their rooms or suite at all times other than to get food, do laundry, or walk or perform other physical activity outside. The only exception to this practice is that students working (via co-op or other employment) or conducting/assisting with research are permitted to be outside their campus housing for that purpose. 

As during move-in, students must follow all university health and safety protocols when on campus. These restrictions remain in place until Monday, Feb. 1, regardless of whether students receive a negative COVID-19 test.

For more information, visit University Health and Counseling Services website.

Per Centers for Disease Control recommendations, students arriving from international destinations are required to complete a 7-day quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 on/after 3-5 days after arrival in the United States prior to returning to campus. 

Students must follow the same university protocols designed to keep transmission risk as low as possible prior to the start of the semester. 

  1. Obtain a test for COVID-19 between January 23- January 30 at Veale Recreation Center (off campus students) or with your move-in (on-campus students). 
  2. From January 23- February 1, students are expected to remain in their apartments or homes other than to get food, do laundry, or walk or perform other physical activity outside- even after receiving a negative test result. The only exception to this practice involves students working (via co-op or other employment) or conducting/ assisting with research; they may leave their residences for that purpose. 

For more information, visit University Health and Counseling Services website.

Students must follow the same university protocols designed to keep transmission risk as low as possible prior to the start of the semester. 

  1. Obtain a test for COVID-19 between January 23- January 30 at Veale Recreation Center (off campus students) or with your move-in (on-campus students). 
  2. From January 23- February 1, students are expected to remain in their apartments or homes other than to get food, do laundry, or walk or perform other physical activity outside- even after receiving a negative test result. The only exception to this practice involves students working (via co-op or other employment) or conducting/ assisting with research; they may leave their residences for that purpose. 

For more information, visit University Health and Counseling Services website.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Updates

On December 9, Inside Higher Education published an article reporting that the federal guidance for fall 2020 will remain the same for spring 2021.  A spokesperson for SEVP, Carissa Cutrell was quoted as saying, “Nonimmigrant students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020.”

The March 2020 federal COVID-19 guidance is on the ICE website.

We want to provide the information below to help provide context as you evaluate options for Case Western Reserve’s Spring 2021 semester.

Please take your time to read through it carefully. We welcome any questions you may have. Please email international@case.edu and we will do our best to answer your questions for you.

Please keep in mind that new developments may arise that require changes to this information; we will provide follow-up information as events warrant.

International students who started their programs at CWRU in Fall 2020 and will continue in Spring 2021 maintain their visa status by enrolling fulltime.  Their coursework cannot be fully online.

If CWRU’s operational plans shift to an entirely online model after new students are activated in the system (a process that occurs in the first month of classes), they should be eligible to maintain their visa status. 

Continuing CWRU international students who had a SEVIS record in Active status as of Spring 2020 (when the March 2020 guidance was issued) can maintain their visa status by enrolling fulltime at CWRU.  Their coursework can be a combination of in-person, hybrid, or online learning or it can be exclusively through online learning.  Continuing students will also be able to maintain their visa status through full-time enrollment from on-campus or abroad.  Continuing students who have properly maintained status through full-time enrollment are not affected by the 5-month rule.  When CWRU resumes normal operation and standard procedure, all students must return to campus and comply with all relevant guidance to remain Active in SEVIS and maintain their visa status.

New students who are not able to obtain a visa or who wish to enroll in all online coursework from abroad, should remain abroad and take classes remotely.  If ISS has already issued an I-20 to you, we will issue a new one to reflect plans for pursuing F-1 student status and arriving at CWRU for the start of a future semester.  ISS has a process through which you will be required to report your plans for Spring 2021 and will communicate more about this closer to the start of Spring 2021.

New students who obtain a visa and enter the United States to start in Spring 2021 must enroll full-time. New students may not enroll in all online coursework.    

If CWRU’s operational plans shift to an entirely online model after new students are activated in the system (a process that occurs in the first month of classes), they should be eligible to maintain their visa status. 

Transfer, undergraduate readmitted, and CEL students, who will begin a program at Case Western Reserve in Spring 2021, will have SEVIS records’ that indicate Initial status, not Active status. Their records transition from Active to Initial status due to systematic processes within SEVIS.  These students must enroll fulltime and may not enroll in all online courses.

If CWRU’s operational plan shift to an entirely online model after transfer and CEL students are activated in the system (a process that occurs in the first month of classes), they should be eligible to maintain their visa status.

Visa Issuance

We are aware that visa services remain limited or are unavailable in some countries.  Each site determines how to resume services and students can get information about specific sites’ plans by visiting https://www.usembassy.gov/.

If new, transfer, readmitted undergraduate, and CEL students cannot enter the United States by the scheduled start of Spring 2021, February 1, they should strongly consider remote education.  Arriving after February 1 is not an option.

I-20 Issuance

ISS is hearing from students that consular officials are asking students to present proof that their coursework will not be entirely online.  Case Western Reserve University’s operational plan will provide coursework offered through face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning modalities.  Students should ask their school or department to provide a letter describing the specifics of their curricula.

Travel Restrictions

The Department of State announced on July 16, 2020 that F-1 international students from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland would be exempt from the proclamations banning certain travelers’ entry to the United States.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) ultimately has discretion about who is permitted to enter the United States; the Department of State’s announcement does not guarantee that CBP will allow students to enter the United States.

ISS recommends that all students monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website for the most current guidance related to international travel and entering the United States.

Quarantine

CWRU’s quarantine guidelines are based on the CDC’s and Ohio’s Travel Advisory.

At present, the CDC is not directing travelers coming from abroad to quarantine for 14 days, so neither is CWRU; however, more information about the university's policies will be shared soon.

Students traveling to campus from other areas of the United States that are listed on Ohio’s Travel Advisory will need to follow the guidance that issued by the university when it becomes available.

Information about CWRU’s implementation and the process will be forthcoming.

Remote Courses

Spring 2021 will look very similar to Fall 2020 in the way that coursework is offered. Our faculty is willing to work with students to make sure that their academic plans continue without interruption. Students who are not able to come to Case Western Reserve can register for both hybrid and fully remote courses. The majority of our courses will list one of these methods of delivery. If a student needs a specific course that is only listed as in-person, we encourage students to reach out to either their navigator (undergraduate students) or academic advisor (graduate and professional students) for support in finding alternate courses or working with the course faculty to accommodate remote learning. 

Communications to International Students

You can view a complete log of communications in the Communication Corner.