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COVID-19 Disrupts International Student Exchange in Both Directions

For international students studying at U.S. universities that suspended in-person classes, the last week has not been easy.

The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that international students can take classes online without it adversely affecting their visa statuses. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to partially close their campuses, many unanswered questions remain.

The American Council on Education and six other major higher education associations wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on Monday raising some of those questions. Among them: whether there is a possibility to extend the status of students whose visa statuses are set to expire but whose home countries are under health-related travel advisories, making them unable to go home.

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