This is the most recent update from ISSS staff to the international student and scholar community, sent Wednesday, March 18 at 6:14 pm. Only the most recent ISSS update will be reflected on this page.

If you have any questions, please contact isss@jmu.edu.

Weds, March 18 Update
International students –

As we navigate the evolving Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, we want to send you some important information for F-1 visa-holders in light of President Alger’s most recent email.


  • USCIS is temporarily allowing F-1 students to maintain their full time status (at least 12 credits; 9 credits for graduate students) with online courses, as universities move courses online due to COVID-19. This means you can complete your spring courses online, but you must continue with a full course load (unless already authorized for a reduced course load).
  • If you decide to leave the US and there is a firewall in your country, limited access to internet, or other restrictions that will limit your ability to fully participate in your Spring 2020 courses, you may need to take a Leave of Absence from the Spring 2020 if you cannot maintain your fulltime enrollment.


  • The situation is continuing to change and there may be travel restrictions put in place (by the US or other countries) at any point in time. Unfortunately, if there is a US travel restriction on your country in August 2020, you may not be able to enter the US for the Fall 2020 semester. If you cannot return to JMU for the Fall 2020 semester, you will need to take a Leave of Absence for Fall 2020 and your F-1 immigration record will be terminated; you would then need a new I-20 and a new F-1 visa to enter the US for the Spring 2021 semester. Please be sure to consider your options as you make decisions about travel.
  • Before you leave the US, make sure you have a valid travel signature on your I-20 Form. Signatures are valid for 1 year.
    • If it was signed in November 2019 or after, you do not need a new signature.
    • If you need a new travel signature: (1) drop off your I-20 at CGE, (2) write your name, Dukes email, and date of travel on a Post-It note, (3) slide I-20 and note under the CGE main door. A member of the ISSS team will get in touch with you after your I-20 has been signed.


  • If you are enrolled in the JMU health insurance coverage (through CISI), treatment and testing for coronavirus are covered as any other illness under your CISI policy. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
    • Note: if you go to the Sentara RMH Emergency Room and it was not a life-threatening emergency (i.e. you are not admitted into the hospital for an inpatient stay), you will be responsible for at least a $500 deductible payment. If you are feeling unwell and feel that you might need medical care, please do not hesitate to go to the University Health Center if it is open or an urgent care facility such as Emergicare.
    • If you have questions about CISI health insurance or need help filing a claim, email Molly at mcgillmm@jmu.edu.
  • If you submitted a waiver for health insurance for Spring 2020, please contact your insurance provide to ask about their Coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage.


  • If you are living in a JMU residence hall, contact your residence hall staff to ask about storage, moving out, and the limited option of staying for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.


  • Summer 2020 classes are scheduled to meet in-person, however this could change. We will keep you informed.


  • The CGE is physically closed, but ISSS staff are working remotely and are available by email.
  • If you have something that needs to be dropped off, please follow the instructions at the front door of CGE. You will need to put your item(s) in an envelope and write your name and contact information on it, then just slide it under the door!
  • Madison Hall is open from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Please let us know if you have any questions. This is a challenging time for all and we want you to know that we are here to support you!

- Your ISSS Team

More Information

For more updates and communications from JMU regarding COVID-19, please see the COVID-19 Information Page.

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