We hope this list of COVID-specific FAQs helps you navigate these tumultuous times.
Housing & Dining
Can I return to my home country during spring 2020?
While you are able to return to your home country, the Office of Global Citizenship strongly advises you to remain in the U.S. for a number of reasons: risk of exposure to COVID-19 by traveling, risk of not being able to re-enter the U.S. as a foreign national in the fall, time differences or internet connectivity issues that affect your ability to attend online courses, and the closure of U.S. consulates abroad. Again, the Office of Global Citizenship strongly recommends that you remain in the U.S., especially if you intend to enroll at Sewanee in the fall or will graduate and are applying for OPT.
Can I stay on campus for the spring 2020 semester?
Yes. International students may petition the Office of Residential Life to remain on campus for the spring 2020 semester. The Office of Residential Life decides who may stay on campus, and those staying on campus will be assigned to residence hall rooms according to social distancing regulations. This means that we will require all students to reside in a private room with a private bathroom. In so doing, we hope to limit unnecessary interactions and allow for more focused cleaning and sanitization efforts.
If you are living on campus, review Res Life's COVID-19 updated procedures.
I traveled over spring break and have since returned to Sewanee. Do I need to self-quarantine?
Maybe. If you are returning from a CDC Level 3 country, then you need to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you are returning from a CDC Level 2 country, you should self-isolate. Please read this guidance written by the CDC.
WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING?
Social distancing means that you stay six or more feet away from other individuals in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information on prevention and self care, visit Sewanee's COVID-19 quicklinks.
What is the Safer-At-Home directive?
The Safer-at-Home directive promotes the well-being of the entire Sewanee community by encouraging all Sewanee residents to stay at home. All students living on campus or in Sewanee should review the Safer-at-Home directive.
Are there meals on campus during spring 2020?
Yes. Students who are approved to stay on campus will have a meal plan option in McClurg Dining Hall. Details:
- Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) at McClurg Dining Hall
- Dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at McClurg Dining Hall
- A take-away breakfast will be available for pick-up during the evening dinner service
When going to dine at McClurg, you should make a point of keeping appropriate distance. With a very quiet dining hall, you will still be able to speak with one another from a safe distance of six feet. As always, it is important to thoroughly wash your hands after coming into contact with others and shared surfaces such as tables and chairs.
Please note that access to McClurg for meal service is available only to students who are approved to reside on campus. Students who return to move out of their halls and/or students residing off-campus will not be permitted to access McClurg for meals.
If I move off campus, will I receive a refund for room and board?
As a result of transitioning to remote learning for the balance of the semester, the University will refund 43.7% of the family contribution to room & board for time away from campus. Details were emailed to students and parents.
Can I stay on campus during summer 2020?
We do not know. We are waiting on guidance from Residential Life.
Is there on-campus storage available for international students?
Yes. While there is limited free storage on campus, we highly recommend that you reach out to your friendship family (or other friends in the area) about storing some of your items. Below is our on-campus storage policy for international students:
- International students will be allowed to store up to four items in storage. No additional items will be allowed.
- All items must be stored in boxes or containers (no garbage bags), with the student's name, date checked into storage, and anticipated move out from storage.
- No food containers or food items are allowed in storage (clean pots, pans, etc., are acceptable).
- Someone from the Office of Global Citizenship will unlock storage for you at an agreed-upon time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and will register your belongings. Please contact Andrea and Sarah as soon as possible if you need access to storage.
There will be no exception to this policy.
Due to current constraints, it is unlikely that the Office of Global Citizenship can help you transport items between your residence hall and Humphreys at this time. Please plan accordingly.
If you need to leave a bicycle or car on campus over the semester and/or summer, contact campus police.
Can I receive mail at the SPO (Student Post Office)?
Yes. While you can receive mail and packages at SPO, there has been a change to the way mail and package services will work:
- The SPO window will be closed through April 10th. The status of the window will be re-evaluated then.
- Customers will have access to their mailboxes during the opening hours of the BC.
- If you need to retrieve or send a package, purchase postage, or need other types of assistance, call ext.1102 or email email@example.com. We will make arrangements to meet at the SPO dock or lobby area at a safe distance.
I have moved off campus. do I need to tell someone my new address?
Yes! If you have moved off campus, you need to email your new address to:
- Andrea Del Balso: Mrs. Del Balso will update your address in SEVIS.
- SPO: SPO will forward your mail to your new address.
Is dupont library closed?
Yes. In consultation with the University’s Emergency Management Executive Team (EMET), the decision has been made to close the Jessie Ball duPont Library building to the public. Access is limited to LITS employees.
Can I still check out materials from duPont library?
Yes. While the Jessie Ball duPont Library building is closed to the public, the library offers a pick-up service for library materials, Monday - Friday. To request library materials from the collection, please call (ext. 1664) or email the following information to our circulation staff by noon:
The title of the material(s) you want; a call number would be appreciated, but not required.
Your contact information: name, phone number, and email address.
Items will be available for pick up between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. the same day on a book truck on the library's covered front porch. Materials will be checked out to your account by the Circulation staff and then shelved alphabetically by your last name on the book truck. Materials not picked up during that period will be re-shelved. If the pick-up time does not work for you, contact the library.
Here are special borrowing policies that are in place during this period:
- You may check out more than the normal number of videos and audiobooks during this time.
- Fines will not be assessed for late returns.
- You can return library materials 24 hours a day to either of their book drops–on the front porch of duPont Library or at the entrance of the rear parking lot.
- Overdrive offers easy access to our ebooks and electronic audiobooks. Visit https://sewanee.overdrive.com/ to learn more. You can make recommendations for purchase through this website also.
Health & Wellness
Is the wellness center open?
Yes...through telemedicine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Wellness Center is now following a telemedicine model. Students can call and receive health counseling through Zoom, but please note that the Wellness Center can only provide this online service to those still in Tennessee. For those of you in other states, talk to those who are hosting you about what to do should you begin to feel ill. See here for the announcement from the University Wellness Center.
International students on Sewanee's Lewermark Insurance Plan have access to a Nurse-on-Call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How can I talk to a mental health counselor?
International students on Sewanee's Lewermark Insurance Plan have access to counseling through Morneau Shepell, and you can access this no matter where you are, any time of day or night. They have counselors who speak different languages, including Chinese and Spanish, and they are experienced with cross-cultural issues. According to their website, they can help students deal with issues from nutrition to stress, from mental health issues to loneliness and more.
In addition, Sewanee's CAPS Center offers telecounseling to those in Tennessee.
Does my international student insurance cover COVID-19?
Yes. The Sewanee Lewermark Insurance Plans covers COVID-19 testing and treatment according to its standard policies. You may review the plan here. If you are a student athlete, you should have a copy of your policy. If you have any questions, or need another copy, contact Andrea Del Balso.
Are there any COVID-19 tests in Sewanee?
Yes. Sewanee Family Practice has informed us that there are COVID-19 tests available in Sewanee, though patients must meet specific criteria in order to be tested for the illness. These criteria include having fever, cough, shortness of breath AND history of traveling to a high risk country OR contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Is the Fowler Center open?
No. Fowler remains closed, but Sewanee has arranged access for students to remotely participate in workouts. See below:
- Follow the Wellness Commons on Instagram (@uwcsewanee), Facebook, (@uwcsewanee) and Twitter (@WellnessCommons) and join their weekly movement challenges. Use the hashtag, #fitwellbewell and they will share your posts!
- Sewanee FitWell partner, MOSSA, has offered all Sewanee students, faculty, and staff a 60-day free trial of the digital workout platform MOSSA MOVE. If you are looking for workouts in MOSSA MOVE that don't need equipment, check out Fight, Athlete30, Groove, and Centergy. Click to sign up.
International Student Services
Can I REMAIN in the U.S. during summer 2020?
Yes. As an international student, you are allowed to remain in the United States over the summer, as long as you are a continuing F-1 student who will be enrolled in classes during fall 2020. You can apply for CPT, find a research opportunity, work on campus, take summer classes, or just relax and do nothing!
Can I work in a summer job?
Yes. During the summer, international students are eligible to work on campus, and they are also eligible for off-campus internships, as long as they qualify for CPT. More information on CPT can be found here. To search for a summer job, you are encouraged to use:
- Handshake, which is managed by the Sewanee Career Center.
- Interstride, a career search platform for international students and students who are interested in working internationally. Log-in instructions are found here.
How do I file my taxes?
Andrea Del Balso sent all international students an email outlining the process for filing as non-residents for spring 2020. Please check your email, or contact Mrs. Del Balso to receive another set of instructions. The University partners with Sprintax, a tax filing software specifically designed for non-residents, to assist international students with filing their taxes. Mrs. Del Balso's email gives international students a unique code to use Sprintax's services for free. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15th, 2020. International students filing as resident aliens for tax year 2019 should be eligible for the COVID-19 stimulus, but you must file your taxes as soon as possible. You may read more information about the CARES Act and its tax interpretations below.
how can i print documents that i need?
The Office of Global Citizenship is happy to help international students print important documents. If you need to print a document, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll print your document and leave it in a folder, with your name on it, outside our office door. Please allow 24-48 hours turnaround on printing requests. If you email us on the weekend, the turnaround time will be longer.
Can I meet with someone in the Office of Global Citizenship to talk about a question or concern?
Yes! While Sewanee has directed all employees to work remotely, we are available to you for one-on-one advising and group advising sessions through online platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts is simple to use, and we’ve provided a couple of video tutorials:
We will periodically schedule Google Hangout or Zoom Sessions to cover important topics such as international student taxes, CPT, OPT, and health insurance. Please check your email for announcements of these group advising sessions.
If you’d like to arrange a one-on-one Google Hangout or Zoom with a member of our office staff, email them directly.
I'm having financial difficulty due to COVID-19. Are there any emergency COVID-19 funds available for students?
Yes. Advancement is currently collecting funds, and the Dean of Students is working on a plan of action for students to apply for that funding. Please direct any questions to the Dean of Students office.
Maintaining SEVIS Status
how do i remain in status during covid-19?
All SEVP regulations remain in place for remaining in status, with the following exception: International students are now allowed to take a full load of online courses. This means that you must be attending, and successfully completing, your online coursework requirements. As a gentle reminder, here are general regulations for staying in status:
- International students must be enrolled in, and actively attending, a minimum of 12 credits.
- International students are only allowed to work on campus, 20 hours a week or less, during class sessions. International students may only work off campus if they are approved for CPT.
- International students must report any address changes or telephone changes to the PDSO/DSO within 10 days.
WHO ARE THE PDSO'S AND DSO'S ON CAMPUS?
Sewanee has three SEVIS officials (DSOs and PDSO) who can sign necessary paperwork. Visit our staff page for more information.
if i leave the U.s. because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, does the "Five Month Rule" apply to me?
Yes. The SEVIS Five-Month Rule is still in effect. The Five-Month Rule states that international students (who are not studying abroad) may not be outside of the U.S. for more than five months. If you are outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you must re-enter the U.S. in initial status. For example, if you choose to return to your home country during the spring semester, you must re-enter the U.S. within five months; if you are unable to return within five months, you must apply for a new I-20 (with a new SEVIS ID) and pay the SEVIS fee again. As long as the dates on your F-1 visa are still valid, you do not need to apply for a new F-1 visa.
what is Authorized Early Withdrawal?
International students who would like to withdraw from their courses and return home may do so under “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” Once students withdraw from their courses, they have 15 days to leave the country and return home. Once they leave the country, the Five-Month Rule goes into effect, meaning that in order to stay in active SEVIS status, they must return to the U.S. within five months. If you would like to discuss this option further, contact Andrea Del Balso.
am I eligible for a Reduced Course Load if i get sick?
Yes. In the event that an international student is diagnosed with COVID-19, they may contact Andrea Del Balso for a reduced course load. A reduced course load allows students to stay in status while taking fewer than 12 credits. In order to qualify for this exception, you must submit a doctor’s note verifying that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
What countries are under Travel Bans?
Please be aware that travel bans are in place for foreign nationals trying to enter the U.S. from several countries around the world: China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland. The situation is dynamic, and other countries around the world may also become subject to travel bans. While international students may be able to return to their home countries, a return to the United States may be difficult or impossible with the travel bans and suspensions in place.
my f-1/J-1 visa expires in the next 6-12 months. do i need to go to my home country to renew it?
No, as long as you remain in good status with a valid, active I-20 or DS-2019. While you must have a valid U.S. visa to enter the U.S. (F-1/J-1), you simply need a valid I-20 or DS-2010 to remain in the U.S. This may seem confusing, but the visa’s validity is only important for entry (and re-entry) into the U.S. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., but your I-20 or DS-2019 is up to date, you are still in status (legal to remain in the U.S.).
As long as you remain in status, we recommend that you do not leave the United States. U.S. Consular Services (they oversee the issuing of visas) are not in operation in numerous countries around the world, and there is no anticipated re-opening date. If a U.S. Consulate is closed, visa wait times are irrelevant, and likely, inaccurate. If and when the U.S. Consulate reopens, there will be extreme delays for visa interviews and the processing of new visa paperwork. In other words, if you leave the U.S., there is no guarantee that you could get a new visa to re-enter the U.S. by fall 2020.
How do I attend online classes?
You will use Blackboard to access your online classes, and the classes will be held through Zoom. Some classes will be synchronous, and some will be asynchronous. Each professor will tell you what you can expect from their class and how your attendance and participation will be graded. Read these instructions on attending a virtual classroom.
NOTE: In order to attend your classes, you must ensure that you have a reliable internet connection and a working computer.
are online textbooks available for my courses?
Yes. Your course materials (books) will be made available to you online, either through Blackboard or another site, so contact your individual professors for details. You should also read the guidance sent out by duPont library.
My computer isn't working. What do I do?
If you need a computer, DuPont library has agreed to loan computers to certain students. If you need to request a computer for the remainder of the spring semester, you will need to contact Kelly Andy.
My internet connection is poor. What do I do?
Here are some resources on internet/hotspots:
- Information on companies offering free / inexpensive hotspot or internet activation
- Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for two months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
- Charter Free Internet offer for two months
- AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
- Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge
- T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge
- How to set up a Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad
- How to set up a Personal Hotspot on an Android Phone
Can I change my spring grades to pass/fail?
You may decide to change one or more of your spring classes to a “pass/fail” grade. A “pass” grade gives you credit for the class, but it does not count in your grade point average. The regular College policy on pass/fail grades permits you to convert two grades during your four years at Sewanee to pass/fail rather than standard letter grades. This semester, because of the unusual circumstances, you may convert one or more of your letter grades to the pass/fail option without it affecting your ability to use the pass/fail option for two other courses during your time at Sewanee. While this will relieve a great deal of stress for some students, you should also consider that grades in your classes may be important for applications to graduate school and medical school or qualification for the order of the gown, our academic honor society.
Will there be graduation in May?
No. Please watch Vice Chancellor McCardell's video message to graduating seniors.
We do not know when commencement will happen; however, seniors who are approved for graduation will have their degrees conferred on May 10th, the original date for commencement. Knowing when you'll officially have your degree is helpful for starting a job right away or providing final transcripts to graduate and professional schools.
Staying updated on COVID-19
How can I ensure that I receive the latest information about COVID-19 on Sewanee's campus?
You should check your Sewanee email daily. In addition, we recommend you regularly check the University's COVID-19 Website.