Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for International Students

Current/Continuing International Students (F-1 Visa Holders)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Part III (as of 03/24/20)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Part II (as of 03/17/20)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (as of 03/09/20)

Dear International Students at Bellevue College,

We hope this message finds you well and staying healthy.

*Please read this entire email and review attachments thoroughly*

We are here to help you to interpret some of this information, but also expect that you can take this opportunity to read and learn about these policies that may impact you as a student and an F-1 visa holder.

The topics shared in this email are the following:

Documents and Links for your reference:

FAQ Part III about your Student Insurance and Spring Quarter*:

 The FAQ Part III page gives more detailed information but in general here are some key points:

1.     If you are studying outside the U.S. for Spring 2020, you have two choices for your insurance:  

1)    You can ask to have the insurance fee waived/refunded.  This means you don’t need to pay for it while you are at home and you will have a gap in your coverage.  You WILL be eligible to restart insurance for Summer Quarter 2020 or Fall Quarter 2020 if that is when you plan to return to the U.S. and will be subject to a 6-month pre-existing waiting period if you get ill or injured during the three months immediately before your new coverage beginning date.

2)    You pay for a ‘holding fee’ to keep your insurance from being cancelled.  This means you cannot use the insurance benefits in your home country during Spring Quarter, but you will be able to continue purchasing the insurance during Summer Quarter when you return to the USA. 

2.     * Please refer to the FAQ Part III page for details and contact IE if you have more specific questions about details of insurance coverage

F-1 Status Update from ICE/SEVP regarding COVID-19:

 The F-1 Status Update from ICE/SEVP (in PDF) is the latest from ICE/SEVP regarding the COVID-19 situation and how the Department of Homeland Security has slightly modified the ways you can maintain your F-1 status during this unique time.  

There are at least three important items in this bulletin for you as F-1 Students:

  1. You are allowed to study remotely during Spring 2020 related to COVID-19 changes.  This means you can do your homework and class interaction remotely.   As long as you continue to complete assignments and maintain your F-1 status in all other ways your advisor will be allowed to register your SEVIS (I-20) record for Spring Quarter.  
  2.  You are allowed to study in your home-country during this unique time and can be taking your Bellevue College courses from home if you already departed the U.S. and do not want to return at this time.  In order to meet this requirement it is important that you communicate with your instructors, complete your assignments and also let your advisor know that you are studying form your home country and not in the U.S.   As long as you maintain your F-1 Status in all other ways your advisor will register your SEVIS (I-20) record for Spring Quarter in this case.
  3.  You may be allowed to get approval to be under-enrolled just for Spring Quarter, but only if you have specific classes you need to complete your degree and they are cancelled for Spring Quarter.   If you have a class cancelled or other similar situation that makes it difficult to be 12 credits or more for Spring Quarter, please contact your advisor.  This option must be due to class cancellation only and must be pre-approved by your advisor.  

Spring Quarter 2020 Updates:

You can continue to view any updates for Bellevue College regarding COVID-19 and Spring Quarter at the Flu Page:  https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/publicsafety/flu/  

Here are a few tips about how to interpret these changes and how they may impact you as an international student:

Spring Quarter Starts April 8th – This means you have an extra week to relax and enjoy time with your friends, family and your hobbies, although from a distance… This is also an extra week to prepare, order books online and plan your schedule.

Spring Quarter will be remote – Classes will be delivered remotely for the spring quarter.  This means you will need to adapt your thinking and learning style to work within this online format.  If you are concerned about this then please start planning now for how you will plan your time and structure your study sessions.  I spoke to a student who set-up their apartment space with a little study area and made a deal with their roommate to have daily study sessions to stay on-track.  This kind of pre-planning will really pay off for Spring Quarter, especially if you are not familiar with online courses. 

Remote Classes? – How are classes delivered remotely you might ask – well even classes that obviously seem to need to be in-person like Life Fitness (PE110) are going to be taught remote by requesting that you do some activity on your own, do some research and reading and write about your experiences.  The ideas is that learning continues during this time, even if we have to adjust the format some to keep it going.

Late Registration Process – You will be getting updates soon regarding any Late Registration Process or if there will be any other changes to the way that registration and class adjustments are being handled for Spring 2020.  The best advice we can give regarding late registration is to have all of your registration done and settled this week or next so that you don’t even have to deal with any last minute changes.  

International Advising services update:

Accessing your Advisor via email is the best way to make contact and get questions answered at this time.

As we have been given the mandate to stay home and most businesses even are asked to remain closed for the next couple of weeks, our services are modified.  It is best at this time to contact your advisor via email first to ask any questions you have.  

The International Student Portal is where you can continue to submit requests for enrollment letters, Vacation Requests and many other paperless applications.  We will be continuing to update the types of requests you can submit in the portal and will let you know when these changes are made.

If it seems you need more time with them they can help you set-up a call or a Teams video or call meeting.  Some special one-on-one meetings for things like CPT or OPT may need to be relegated to document pick-up and a Team’s meeting to review information instead of meeting in-person.  

We promise to make this as workable as possible to provide service to you while we are also abiding by the mandate to not meet in person at this time.  As our service plan changes or we are allowed to go back to in-person meetings, we will let you know.

We know this is a unique and challenging time and appreciate your flexibility while we adjust our work styles as well to meet your needs.  We will not only get through this but you will be able to continue your education and even get back to the joy of Spring as this all slowly works back to normal.  

We will continue to send you updates regarding BC policies for Spring, changes in any procedures for International Education and even some fun and interactive online workshops that we are working on to keep you all engaged and able to socialize and learn during this time.

Sincerely,

IE Staff

Dear Current International Students at Bellevue College,

This is an important update:  PLEASE READ the entire email before contacting your advisor.

This message has three parts:

  1. BC F-1 Student Update – outlining some options and IEGI services
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (attached) – read this entirely as well
  3.  Stress Reduction Tips – these are from Counseling Center at BC – at the end of this email

Bellevue College – F-1 Student Update:

As of this week, Bellevue College will have limited availability for on-campus resources until April 27. This means that many courses for Spring will continue to be temporarily modified to continue as “Remote”, and all meetings with advisors will be held through video call or phone call. 

Some relatively good news is that DHS/SEVIS has approved some special exceptions for students to be allowed to do temporary modified remote learning while we are dealing with the mandatory social distancing protocols.  However, you must still pay attention to these requirements and let your advisor know if you have questions. 

To maintain your F-1 status for Spring quarter, you will need to still be enrolled in at least 7 credits of on-campus or hybrid classes, and 12 credits total. While these classes will be “remote” for a few weeks, they are not counted as “online” courses by SEVP/SEVIS and you can be registered for your F-1 status accordingly.  Intensive English Language students will need to remain taking all their classes, but in the temporary remote format. 

You have a few options for the Spring quarter: 

1) Stay in the US 

  • Courses will be “remote” until at least April 24th, and BC is now offering many resources online to help with students while they study from their homes. 
  • International Education will be available to support you from online, but we will have very limited time in the office as we are mostly working from home. Please email your advisors if you have any questions. 

2) Stay home for part of Spring quarter 

  • Classes currently are planned to return to in-person by April 27 (you will be emailed if this changes: check your BC email regularly for updates) 
  • Plan to be back within the US by that time. If you are not back to return to your courses, you may fail your courses and may also be considered out-of-status for not returning to study on-campus. 
  • If you need a travel signature, contact your advisor for a letter to show when you enter the US 
  • Print your schedule of classes to bring with you back into the US, as well 
  • You may have difficult re-entering the US due to flight cancellations, mandatory quarantine times, or more. Please plan ahead as best you can. If you do not think you will be able to return, please see Option 3. 
  • Email your international advisor your plans! 

3) Stay home for entire Spring quarter  

  • If you have been studying for three consecutive quarters, you may have a vacation quarter. You would need to: 
  • Submit a Vacation Quarter Request Form 
  • Withdraw from your current courses or change them to be “online” courses by March 31, 2020 
  • If you are not approved for a vacation quarter, you can withdraw your F-1 status for Spring quarter. You will need to contact your international student advisor about returning to study full-time in the Summer quarter so we can request that your status is changed back to active. If you want to return for Fall quarter, you will need a new I-20 and may need a new visa.  
  •  You will need to be taking “online” courses only, if you decide to take courses while you are in your home country. You have until March 31st to change courses for the Spring quarter. 
  • Email your international advisor your plans! 

We are here for you! 

We know this is a challenging time for people across the world. Bellevue College and the staff of International Education and Global Initiatives are here to help answer your questions and support you making informed decisions.

Below is a listing of stress-management resources and other supports shared by our own BC Counseling Center.  I found a couple of the articles and Apps to be quite useful and you might as well.

Please email us if you have any questions. 

Sincerely,

IEGI Staff

Book and CD Recommendations

  • 10 Simple Solutions to Stress, Claire Michaels Wheeler, MD, Ph.D, 2007.

This book is small and inexpensive and has some practical exercises. Counselors also use it in their stress management courses. Students tell us that they enjoy this book and find it helpful!

  • The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, Sixth Edition, M. Davis, E. Eschelman, M. McKay, 2008.

This is one of the most widely sold stress management workbooks. I use many of the exercises in my stress management class.

  • Breathing, The Master Key to Self-Healing, Andrew Weil, M.D; 1999.

Dr. Weil is an internationally known “holistic” doctor. The “4-7-8” exercise breathing is especially effective and one of the students’ favorites in my classes. The BC library has this CD.

Free Phone Apps

  • Insight Timer
  • Headspace
  • Buddhify
  • Calm
  • Stop, Breathe, and Think

Guided Imagery and Meditation Links (Free)

Many of these guided meditations are short, easy, enjoyable and effective. I recommend trying several to see what works best for you. Students in my classes always find at least several that significantly help them feel calmer and less stressed.

Dartmouth College

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~healthed/relax/downloads.html#guided

Ohio State University

http://www.osuhealthplan.com/online/guidedimagery/

Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion meditations

https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/

Progressive Relaxation

9 minutes, based on script from The Relaxation and  Stress Workbook, 5th Edition, Chapter 4

http://www.hws.edu/studentlife/counseling_relax.aspx

Sitting Together, various meditation recording and handouts

http://sittingtogether.com/meditations.php

Other Links about Mindfulness and Happiness

Jon Kabat Zinn on mindfulness

Dalai Lama: Why meditate (to not be irritated)

Positive Psychology. “What It Takes to Be Happy”

Dr. Ronald Siegel, Psy.D., Harvard professor

TED Talk about the factors that create happiness (and it’s not money, beauty or fame)

 “What Makes a Good Life”

CDs

8 Meditations for Optimum Health, Andrew Weil, M.D. 1997

Guided Meditations, Margi Lantos, 2004.

This Moment Is the Perfect Teacher, Pema Chodron, 2008.

Pema is a Buddhist monk from Canada who makes Buddhism accessible. She is great story teller who weaves humor into her talks. I recommend her CDs over her books, which are both comforting and engaging.

Self-Healing with Guided Imagery, Andrew Weil, M.D. & Martin L. Rossman, M.D. 2003

Books

The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor, 2010

Creative Visualization, Shakti Gawain, 1995.

Learned Optimism, Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D, 1990.

Loving What Is, Byron Katie, 2002.

The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris, 2008

Acceptance Commitment Therapy is a “new” therapeutic modality that is becoming increasingly popular. ACT incorporates mindfulness techniques and techniques to help “diffuse” stressful thoughts. Students find the strategies easy to learn and effective.

Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes, William Bridges, 2004.

When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron, 1997.

Recommendations come from Belle M. Nishioka

Bellevue College Counselor/Instructor

Dear Bellevue College Current International Students,

Last Thursday, March 5, 2020, Bellevue College’s (BC) Acting President sent out an official email to all BC students and employees about COVID-19 Response.  Please go to the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for all related campus messages.

International Education (IE) office remains open, and there will be several IE staff available to help you in person and remotely by email and phones between March 9 and 27, 2020.  IE office’s regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. 

View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for current BC international students (F-1 visa holders) above for more information.  Please check this site regularly for more updated specific information for F-1 international students.

Please stay connected and follow the guidance of health officials to minimize the risk. 

New International Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (as of 03/17/20)

Hello, 

Currently, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State has temporarily restricted access to different resources within the state. This means that all restaurants, events, and activities are cancelled or closed. Grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, and more are still open. Below are links for what is currently being done in the Bellevue/Seattle area and at Bellevue College: 

What will campus be like? 

Bellevue College is prioritizing the health of our students, faculty, and staff during this time. To do this, we will be changing most courses to be “Remote” from April 8 to at least April 24.  This means you will be starting your courses through online sessions and will begin the in-person portion near the end of the quarter. 

Bellevue College will have limited availability for on-campus resources until April 27th. All meetings with advisors will be held through video call or phone call. We will provide you with a list of resources that have moved online at orientation. 

Orientation and mandatory Check-In will be moved to an online format. You will need to make a BC NetID / Email and log in to your International Student Portal account by April 8 to complete both tasks. After completing these tasks, you can email your advisor about courses for Spring. More information will be available in a separate email. 

What do I need to do? 

Because your Spring quarter I-20 still has the start of the program as April 1, 2020, you need to enter the US by April 1 if you will be a new student for the Spring quarter. If you do not believe you can enter the US before that time, please consider coming for a later quarter (deferring) or email us for more information. There are currently no exceptions for new F-1 students, even though courses will be held remotely for a few weeks. 

If you would prefer to come to Bellevue College for a future quarter, we can defer your I-20 start date. You will need to tell us this by April 1. Below are the next quarter start dates: 

Summer 2020:  

  • Orientation for English Language and Bridge programs: June 25, 2020 
  • Orientation for College programs and International High School Completion: June 24, 2020 

Fall 2020: 

  • Orientation for English Language and Bridge programs: Sept. 14th, 2020 
  • Orientation for College programs and International High School Completion: Sept. 10th, 2020 

If you are already in the US and do not want to continue for this quarter, please email us as soon as possible. We will explain what you can do next. 

We are here for you! 

We know this is a scary time for people across the world. Bellevue College and the staff of International Education and Global Initiatives are here to support you. Please email us if you have any questions. 

Best, 

Katie Pappas, M.Ed.  (she/her)

Assistant Director of  International High School Completion and Admissions

International Education, Bellevue College

Hello, 

Currently, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State has temporarily restricted access to different resources within the state. This means that all restaurants, events, and activities are cancelled or closed. Grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, and more are still open. Below are links for what is currently being done in the Bellevue/Seattle area and at Bellevue College: 

What will campus be like? 

Bellevue College is prioritizing the health of our students, faculty, and staff during this time. To do this, we will be changing most courses to be “Remote” until April 24. This means you will be starting your courses through online sessions and will begin the in-person portion near the end of the quarter. Classes for Spring quarter will now begin on April 8. 

Bellevue College will have limited availability for on-campus resources until April 27. All meetings with advisors will be held through video call or phone call. We will provide you with a list of resources that have moved online at orientation. 

Orientation and mandatory Check-In will be moved to an online format. If you have not already done so, you will need to make a BC NetID / Email and log in to your International Student Portal account by April 8th to complete both tasks. More information will be available in a separate email by the end of the week. 

What do I need to do? 

You will need to make sure your F-1 SEVIS record is transferred by your current school to Bellevue College before April 1st. If you choose to remain at your current school and wish to transfer in a future quarter, please let us know before April 1st

You can email your international student advisor to schedule a time “meet” virtually if you have questions about classes. The last day to register for classes is March 31st. An advisor has pre-registered you for some courses, but you can review them to choose different ones, if you would like. Instructions for adding classes and additional information will be in the Online Orientation you will receive soon. 

Intensive English and Bridge students will have courses added for them.

Please create a Bellevue College email (NetID) as soon as possible so that you can do this. 

Advisors:

We are here for you! 

We know this is a scary time for people across the world. Bellevue College and the staff of International Education and Global Initiatives are here to support you. Please email us if you have any questions. 

Best, 

Katie Pappas, M.Ed.  (she/her)

Assistant Director of  International High School Completion and Admissions

International Education, Bellevue College

March 9, 2020

Dear Spring 2020 International Students,

This is to inform you about the current Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation at Bellevue College (BC).  As of writing this message, we are NOT aware of any member of the BC community who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.Please go to BC homepage (www.bellevuecollege.edu) for updates.

BC offices including International Education (IE) and on-campus housing remain open and continue to provide services both in-person at a limited capacity and via phone, email, and online meetings.  Effective March 6th, most winter quarter classes have moved to online for the remainder of the term until March 20th.  Following the public health guidelines, BC has cancelled all events and meetings with more than 10 people between March 6th and 27th, 2020. 

What are the potential impacts for the Spring 2020 new international students?

After the first U.S. presidential proclamation went into effect on Feb. 2, 2020, IE sent two emails on Feb. 7, 2020.  One was sent to all new spring 2020 international students who had been admitted as of February 6th and the other was to the student’s listed referred agency about the U.S. entry restrictions.  

Since then, situations are changing quickly with no certainty of “containment” in the near future.  While BC is still open, below are the potential impacts on the new spring 2020 students:

1. New Student Orientations are scheduled on March 24th (College & IBP) and March 26th (Intensive English & Bridge) and delivery-format will change. IE will let you know as soon as we have more details.

2. There is a possibility for more classes to be taught online, which creates a challenge for F-1 visa holders.  IE staff have been in close communication with U.S. immigration, and we are currently waiting for more clear guidance for new students.

3. We respect each student’s and their family’s decision about whether or not to start studying at BC in Spring 2020.  In case you decide to delay your study below are the future dates. 

QuarterApprox. ArrivalNew Student OrientationFirst Day of the Quarter
Fall 20209/9/20College & IBP: 9/10 & 9/11/20
Intensive ESL & Bridge: 9/14/20
9/21/20
Winter 202112/27/20All programs – 12/28/201/4/21
Spring 20213/31/21All programs – 4/1/214/8/21
Summer 20216/28/21All programs – 6/29/217/6/21

Spring 2020 New students coming from outside of the U.S.A. to BC:

If you are arriving in the U.S. from another country (not from China, Iran, Italy and South Korea), as of today, there have been no special guidelines issued by the U.S. government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html)

Option 1 – Keep your plan to start studying at BC from spring 2020
1. Email your international admissions specialist that you are still coming
2. Give us your personal email and/or start using your BC student email
3. If you are under the age of 18 by the time you arrive in the US, be sure to bring the most recent contact information about your Attorney-in-Fact person.

Option 2 – Change your starting quarter to a future term
1. Email your BC International Admissions Specialist to tell to which term you wish to start
2. Your International Admissions Specialist will work with you to update your new I-20 form
a. You may be asked to submit an updated bank statement
b. There will be no additional cost to you to receive a new I-20 form for this time only

Option 1 (Strongly recommended) – Change your starting quarter to a future term: 
1. Email your BC International Admissions Specialist to tell to which term you wish to start
2. Your International Admissions Specialist will work with you to update your new I-20 form.
a. You may be asked to submit an updated bank statement
b. There will be no additional cost to you to receive a new I-20 form for this time only

Depending on your travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice) including South Korea, Italy, China, and Iran.  Unless your immediate family lives near Bellevue and have a secure place to stay for the 14-day self-quarantine, this option will be extremely difficult.  BC International Education strongly advises you take Option 1.

Per the recent U.S. Presidential Proclamation on Novel Coronavirus, foreign nationals (i.e., non-U.S. citizens) who have visited China or Iran within 14 days prior to their arrival in the U.S. may not enter the U.S.

Option 1 (Strongly recommended) – Change your starting quarter to a future term: 
1. Email your BC International Admissions Specialist to tell to which term you wish to start
2. Your International Admissions Specialist will work with you to update your new I-20 form.
a. You may be asked to submit an updated bank statement
b. There will be no additional cost to you to receive a new I-20 form for this time only

Lastly, Bellevue College and International Education have been primarily focusing on helping students and instructors who are currently here. Although the spring quarter is just around the corner, please carefully discuss your plan with your family and make an informed decision.  We will continue providing information and support to the best of our ability within our authority.

Sincerely,
(Signed)
Kazumi Hada
Director, International Education
Bellevue College

BC Updated Information About Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Last Updated March 25, 2020