COVID-19 Academic Updates
COVID-19 Academic Updates
Starting Monday, June 1, students will be returning to UConn Storrs on a staggered, pre-selected schedule to gather their belongings and move out of their residence halls. The move-out process will continue through June 14. It had been delayed as campus operations changed due to the pandemic.
The process includes mandatory safety and social distancing guidelines, which are spelled out in an FAQ on the UConn Residential Life website. UConn Stamford residential students will be notified separately of arrangements to retrieve their belongings.
Dear UConn Students:
The CARES Act Grant application is now available for the second phase of awarding. The second phase is designed to assist students who did not meet initial eligibility in the first phase.
More information is available on eligibility and how to access the application, along with a list of FAQs.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was approved by Congress, a large portion of which is intended to provide emergency financial grants directly to our neediest students who are facing unexpected expenses due to the university’s transition to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sent on behalf of Scott Jordan, Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer; and Nathan Fuerst, Vice President for Enrollment Planning & Management
Dear UConn Students,
We are writing to inform you of UConn’s plans to distribute CARES Act emergency grants.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was approved by Congress and includes support for higher education, including emergency grants for students facing expenses due to COVID-19. UConn is set to receive approximately $21 million, of which $10.7 million is designated for emergency grants to students. The remaining funds are designated for use by the institution to cover unexpected expenses, such as the pro-rated refunds for room, board and other fees.
The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance on distribution of these emergency grants to students, requiring that all recipients be Title IV eligible. In simplest terms, this means that students must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application to UConn for the 2019-20 academic year to be eligible. To fulfill the Department of Education’s guidance, UConn will be issuing grants to our neediest students across all levels (undergraduate, graduate, law, medical, dental) as determined by the FAFSA, with amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000.
Students who are recipients of CARES Act emergency grants will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Aid Services via email in the coming week. To help expedite distribution of funds, we encourage students who have not already done so to sign up for Direct Deposit through the Bursar’s office.
Additional support is available to any student facing unexpected financial hardships due to COVID-19. To inquire, students can simply email email@example.com for assistance. Also outside of the CARES Act emergency grants, UConn will use an identical approach to awarding emergency grants to students who submitted the Institutional Aid Application for Undocumented Students.
Communication to Students from Office of the Provost
The University Senate, faculty, and administration recognize the many ways that the extraordinary circumstances of this semester and the continuing crisis have been felt across the student body.
Yesterday the University Senate voted to extend to May 15, 2020 the deadline for undergraduate students to choose to make a class Pass-Fail. This change provides further flexibility to you by allowing you to choose a class to be Pass-Fail after you know your final grade in the class. Please note that this rule applies only to classes taken in the spring 2020 semester.
Specifically, the by-law change states:
“For spring semester 2020 only, the usual limitations on students for electing to take courses on a Pass-Fail basis will be suspended. Individual schools and colleges will determine which courses may count toward major and minor requirements if taken Pass-Fail. General Education courses which are taken Pass-Fail will count toward the general education requirements. The 26-credit and scholastic probation restrictions are suspended. Pass-Fail courses from the spring 2020 semester will not count toward the three-course limit. Students may elect Pass-Fail grading at any time up until May 15, 2020.
All courses will be graded in the usual way by the instructor; and the instructor will submit a letter grade. Should students elect the Pass-Fail option, this letter grade will be translated into a P (D- or above) or will remain an F. In neither event will a course taken under the Pass-Fail option be included in the computation of the semester or cumulative grade point average, but a grade below C makes the student ineligible for Dean's List. Students should consult with their advisers before electing to complete courses on a Pass-Fail basis. Students who chose the Pass-Fail option prior to the adoption of these changes will have the option of reverting to a letter grade by notifying the Registrar by May 15, 2020.”
I know that many of you are facing much stress through this difficult time, and my thoughts are with all of you. I hope this change will give you more flexibility through the remainder of this semester and relieve some of that stress.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate complex new challenges presented by the global spread of COVID-19. As announced and approved by the Board of Trustees on March 25, students may receive a prorated credit for the following fees:
- Education Abroad
- Housing Charges
- Dining Charges
- Parking Permits
When Will I Get My Credit/Refund?
Eligible students will be contacted via email by the Office of the Bursar and provided options for their credits. We will also note on our website when each of the credits have been completed. Students who receive institutional funds for their Education Abroad fees, or room and board will not be eligible for a refund of this credit.
Our offices began issuing Education Abroad credits on April 13, 2020 and will be communicating to all impacted students shortly after that time.
Prorated parking permit refunds will be credited back to the original source of payment, (i.e. credit/debit cards). All others will be issued as a refund from Parking Services.
I have a balance on my account, will I receive a credit or refund?
If a student has a current balance due, the credit will be applied to that balance first, with the remaining credit applied to the next semester fee bill.
I want my credit to apply forward to a future bill, do I have to take action?
No, you do not need to take action for your credit to apply forward.
I am experiencing a financial hardship and would like to request a refund for the credit balance, how can I do so?
If experiencing financial hardship and seek a refund, please complete the appropriate form provided in our communication to you.
Refunds will be processed via direct deposit. Please ensure you have signed up. Instructions are available at Direct Deposit. Students who do not sign up for direct deposit will receive a paper refund check. This process can take two weeks, plus mailing time.
Can I donate my credit?
UConn Nation, we’re in this together. The UConn community is addressing the needs of students who are facing unprecedented hardships due to the rapidly developing situation with COVID-19.
You can join us by donating your 2020 refund to support UConn students who need it most. Your gift to the Students First Fund can help UConn put every effort behind easing the burden students are experiencing by paying expenses for transportation, gift certificates for grocery stores, and other convenience measures appropriate in their time of need.
If a student would like to redirect all or part of their credit to the Students First Fund, through the UConn Foundation, please fill out the Donation Request Form provided in our email communication and the UConn Foundation will provide a charitable gift receipt for your contribution in a timely manner.
Will I be receiving a refund for Spring 2020 tuition and/or fees?
No. At this time, all courses have transitioned to online learning and therefore, tuition and fees will not be prorated or refunded for the Spring 2020 semester.
Feeling overwhelmed, confused or unsure how to navigate life in a global pandemic?
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Health, Business and Society is a new multi-disciplinary course that brings together unique insights from faculty in Allied Health, Public Health, UConn Health, Public Policy, Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Nursing, Psychology, Management, and Finance.
Learn from UConn experts the science behind COVID-19, how to recognize stress and adopt coping mechanisms, and gain insight into the business and financial implications of the pandemic.
This one (1) credit UNIV course is free and open to all undergraduate, Ratcliffe Hicks, and PharmD students. The course begins Monday, April 6 and ends Friday, May 1.
Interested students should complete the online registration form by Tuesday, April 7 to have access to the first module when it becomes available, but registration will be accepted through Friday, April 10 at noon.
This online course will be taught asynchronously. There are no scheduled class meeting times so you can engage with course content when it’s convenient to you within module timeframes: http://s.uconn.edu/covid19coursereg
A parallel version of the course will be available to all other groups including graduate students, faculty, and staff starting on Monday April 13. Additional instructions regarding how to register will be available in the coming days.
These are uneasy times on our campuses, in our state and throughout our nation as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic forces all of us to confront difficult decisions and unprecedented change.
UConn’s students have risen to the challenge admirably. They have transitioned to online learning and left the residence halls as we comply with the state’s efforts to limit the spread of the virus by restricting crowd sizes, now at a five-person maximum.
For most of our students, this meant the unavoidable postponement of our move-out process, which had been intended for March 30 through April 10. We apologize, and share your disappointment.
If you are among those students, your possessions will remain in your locked room until the university is fully reopened and relevant state directives have been lifted, hopefully later this spring.
However, with circumstances changing quickly, the state might need more space in UConn’s residence halls in coming days or weeks. In those situations, we would need to clear your room, with a professional company packing and storing your belongings until they can be returned.
This is already the case for students in Buckley and Sprague halls, whose items will be packed and stored as the state takes over the space. Rooms also will be packed up in Charter Oak and part of Shippee so remaining students at Buckley and Shippee can be relocated there.
It is also occurring in Stamford, where 900 Washington Blvd. will be turned over to state use and unoccupied rooms will be packed up. Students still living there will be moved to the other two student housing properties nearby, where some rooms might also need to be packed up to accommodate the consolidation.
We are committed to handling your belongings responsibly and respectfully. And while we do not yet know if and when the state might need to use additional UConn residence halls, we will keep you updated as circumstances evolve.
Again, we are very sorry that you are being inconvenienced by this necessary and unavoidable
circumstance. Although it benefits the greater good and is critical to the state’s efforts to address
the pandemic, we understand that it may add to your unease during these unusual times.
The university looks forward to welcoming you and your fellow Huskies back to our campuses
as soon as we can, and we wish good health to you and your loved ones.
UConn has extended the last day to withdraw from a course and/or to finalize pass/fail enrollment to May 1. The Office of the Registrar has created FAQs on this and many other topics that can be found at registrar.uconn.edu. All students should consult with their adviser before placing courses on pass/fail or withdrawing from a class.
Message About Student Support Services
During this uncharted time of transition and change, we all know that we will have students that need more support and assistance due to their move home, financial struggle, distance learning challenges and so much more.
Please know that the services students received while on campus are still available to them remotely. If you speak to a student or find a student in distress, you have the following services who can assist you in providing the best overall care for the student.
Emergency Situations: If you have students who you perceive are in imminent danger to self or others, please call 911. This is difficult as many students are working on-line from their homes and are not living on campus. Please give police as much detail of concern and inform them of last known location or address if you have it.
Care Referrals: If you have students who you perceive to be threatening, harming or disruptive and it does not require an immediate emergency response, please let the Student Care Team know via the "Report A Concern" link on the Student Care Team website. The Care Team phone line is a non-emergency line that is monitored during regular business hours. If you have any specific questions regarding the Care Team or submitting a referral, you can contact Marci Schneider, Care Team Program Manager at 860-486-7777 or you can email Dr. Claudia Arias-Cirinna, Associate Dean, Director of Student Care and Concern at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean of Students: If you have students that need to identify possible solutions to challenges they face as they navigate this change in routine, please refer them to the Dean of Students Office. Examples of things that this office can assist students with would be any academic, personal or financial stress they may be experiencing. For more information, please visit their website. If a student is unsure which office to contact, the Dean of Students Office is a great place to direct students to and the team will work to get them connected to the right resource. If you are working with graduate students please refer them to The Graduate School for a specialized response. For more information please visit their website.
Student Health and Wellness-Mental Health Services: If you have students that want to see a mental health professional, SHAW-Mental Health will be moving to exclusively online or phone platforms. The office has moved primarily to same day consultation appointments for students reaching out for support to help assess needs. SHAW-Mental Health will continue to be available for crisis assessment 24/7 through the end of the semester. To schedule an appointment, they ask that students call the office at 860-486-4705. Their goal is to make sure that students have the support and resources they need whether that is with SHaW-Mental Health or at a provider in that student's home community. For more information, please visit their website.
Student Health and Wellness-Medical Care: UConn students, including those on our regional campuses, may speak to one of our nurses with health questions related to COVID-19 by calling 860-486-8987 during SHaW's regular business hours. Messages will be returned within one business day. If students are experiencing respiratory virus symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please have them call the Advice Nurse at 860-486-4700. They should call first rather than walking in without an appointment. For more information, please visit their website.
Thank you for all that you do and we look forward to partnering together to make sure that we continue to care for our students and offer the best support.
Students who are facing unexpected financial hardship due to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact to the Office of Student Financial Aid Services at email@example.com. Financial Aid will work to determine what, if any, supplemental financial support may be provided, or may refer students on to the Students First Fund, which is administered by the Dean of Students office.
I write to you with information regarding new rules on Pass/Fail and an update with regard to add/drop in these current circumstances.
The University Senate has voted to amend the requirement for Pass/Fail for this semester and the Provost’s Office supports this change. Therefore, effective for spring semester 2020 only, the usual limitations on undergraduate students for electing to take courses at Storrs and regional campuses on a Pass/Fail basis will be suspended.
- Individual schools and colleges will determine which courses may count toward majors and minor requirements if taken Pass/Fail.
- General Education courses which are taken Pass/Fail will count toward the general education requirements.
- The 26-credit and scholastic probation restrictions are suspended. Pass/Fail courses from the spring 2020 Semester will not count toward the three-course limit.
- Students may elect Pass/Fail grading at any time by the last day of classes of spring 2020.
- In the event that students select Pass/Fail grading, the course is graded in the usual way by the instructor and the instructor submits a letter grade. This letter grade is translated into a ‘P’ (‘D-‘ or above) or remains an ‘F.’ In neither event will a course taken under the Pass/Fail option be included in the computation of the semester or cumulative grade point average, but a grade below ‘C’ makes the student ineligible for Dean's List. Students should consult with their advisors before electing to complete courses on a P/F basis.
Our current By-Laws related to dropping a class state, “No student is permitted to drop a course after the ninth week of classes or to drop more than one course after the first ten days of classes unless on the recommendation of the advisor, an exception is made by the dean or designee of the school or college in which the student is enrolled. Exceptions are made only for extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control.”
We feel that the current situation clearly constitutes a case of extenuating circumstances beyond students’ control and, therefore, students may be permitted to drop courses up until the last day of classes.
If there are any questions, please work with your appropriate school or college Dean’s Office.
As you may know, on March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. In response, the U.S. State Department increased its Global Health Advisory to Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Under these circumstances, the University of Connecticut has decided to cancel all summer 2020 Education Abroad programs.
We will refund to you all fees you have paid to UConn as part of your application process, including the $25 application fee. We will not charge you any other fees related to your summer 2020 program application. You don't need to take any further actions to withdraw your application at this time.
We know that this is extremely disappointing news and that you may have questions about your specific program or situation. Given the difficulty of addressing these concerns as part of a group email message, we ask you to connect with us personally in Education Abroad.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'd be happy to arrange for a time to talk over the phone or via Skype. We look forward to working with you in the near future to advise on alternative Education Abroad programs that best suit your academic and professional goals.
Message from Education Abroad
Dear UConn students,
We hope all is well. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation worldwide, we wanted to update you regarding UConn's Summer 2020 Education Abroad programs.
As you may know, global conditions are fluid and changing daily. UConn is monitoring the situation closely to safeguard your well-being and our community.
As of today, UConn has suspended all student international group travel until further notice.
Given that decision, Education Abroad will suspend commitment deadlines for all Summer 2020 programs until further notice. We aim to provide each program's applicants with specific details in the coming weeks, including whether your program will run, a final commitment date, and when to purchase a flight.
If you are still interested in a program abroad, you may commit to your application. If so, you will not be charged unless the program continues to operate.
If you have already committed to a Summer 2020 program but choose to withdraw before its final commitment date, UConn will not charge you any fees, including the otherwise non-refundable $475 Education Abroad Fee and the $25 application fee.
We know full well that this situation is extraordinary and that its ambiguity is confusing and frustrating. That said, your physical and mental health are always our highest priority.
Please do not hesitate to contact us or your Education Abroad adviser if you have any questions.
Message from John C. Volin, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment
To all Students:
As you have no doubt noticed, the winter flu season is upon us, compounded by the current concerns regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
As part of our efforts to minimize opportunities for transmission of disease, we are writing to urge you to take special precautions with respect to your own health. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please do not attend classes or other group activities that might increase your exposure to others.
Instructors have been reminded to exercise flexibility and understanding toward students who miss class work as a result of illness.
You should exercise caution and practice self-care if you are feeling sick. Seek the advice of Student Health and Wellness or your own primary care provider.
Thank you for helping to keep our community healthy.
International Student Information
UConn’s office of International Student & Scholar Services has published an FAQ with information about questions received from international students, scholars and OPT participants. They include visa issues, ISSS operations and remote learning/work due to COVID-19. It might also be helpful for academic staff and faculty with questions related to their international advisees. The FAQ is featured prominently on the ISSS home page, where a red button marked “ISSS COVID-19 FAQ” connects users to the document.
International Student and Scholar Services is now providing nearly 100% of services remotely. During this temporary change, we strive to meet your international advising needs and we thank you for your flexibility. Please read for important changes to our application processing and advising services, including remote advising, travel signatures, I-20/DS-2019 forms for new students, and other applications. Remember that all UConn international students, visiting scholars and OPT participants must complete the Remote Learning – ISSS Check In form during this time, and re-submit if your information changes.
We will offer chat-advising through Office 365 weekday afternoons between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. ISSS advisors will be available on the following schedule:
To contact an advisor during their scheduled day/time:
- Go to https://email.uconn.edu/office-365/
- Click on Launch Office 365 (on right side).
- Use your UConn email and password to login.
- Click on Microsoft Teams.
- Once in Teams, click on the Chat icon on the left.
- Click on the new chat icon at the top of the screen (looks like a pen on a paper).
- In the new chat window type the name of the ISSS Advisor on duty for the day you are chatting and type your message. Be sure to include your full name and UConn student ID# to assist us. Please be aware there may be many other students chatting at the same time and it may take several minutes to get a response. You are not required to contact your normally assigned advisor. Temporary changes to the advising schedule will be posted on the ISSS website. If you need to schedule an appointment to chat with your advisor through Microsoft Teams outside of the scheduled hours, send your advisor an email with this request.
Travel Signatures -Travel Outside the U.S.
- Students and scholars who will depart the U.S. before normal operations resume should submit the Travel Information Record following these instructions and depart without getting the travel signature on the I-20/DS-2019.
- We will temporarily waive the requirement to submit a full time enrollment verification.
- If you do not have a valid travel signature on your current I-20 for return, you can select the option “I am traveling due to COVID-19 outbreak and I need ISSS to reprint my I-20".
- We will track your return date to the U.S. (listed on the travel information record) to ensure that your I-20/DS-2019 can be mailed to you before you return.
- When normal operations resume, ISSS will send you an email asking you to select a shipping method and pay for express, international shipping to your address outside the U.S. This way you will have the I-20/DS-2019 for your return.
- ISSS will continue to issue initial I-20 forms for new students and initial DS-2019 forms for new exchange visitors.
- Once complete, we will email you the information from your form (SEVIS ID and School Code or Program Number) so that you can fill out your DS-160 visa application form and schedule your visa appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Please note that some U.S. embassies/consulates are not currently taking visa appointments. You should check the website for the U.S. embassy/consulate in your country every few days to see if appointments have opened up.
- When you confirm your visa appointment date, send an email to the person who sent you your pre-arrival email, OR email@example.com . This way we can mail your form to you in time for your visa appointment.
OPT/STEM OPT Applications
- ISSS will continue to process applications for F-1 OPT and STEM OPT.
- Your advisor will send you an email with advising documents related to your application once your OPT has been processed by ISSS in SEVIS.
- Your updated I-20 that you will need to mail your application will likely be printed several days later. When printed, you will receive an email when your I-20 form is printed asking you to confirm the shipping method and address.
- Once you have your I-20 and other required documents for your application, you will be able to mail your application.
All other applications
- ISSS will continue to process all other applications. Please submit your applications through the TDS portal and they will be handled by an ISSS advisor or international services specialist.
- ISSS will determine if the printing of your document must be completed now, or can wait until normal operations resume. We anticipate that the majority of documents will be printed later.
- You will receive an email from ISSS after your document has been printed. You will be able to view and download an unsigned version of your updated I-20/DS-2019 through the ISSS Portal.
- If you would like to make a phone appointment with your ISSS advisor, please email them to set up an appointment. They will call you at the scheduled time (U.S. numbers).
- The front desk phone line 860-486-3855 will be monitored during business hours, 9 am-5pm. If your phone call is not answered, leave a message with your name, UConn student ID number, U.S. phone number and/or email address. Please speak slowly and clearly. If you have already sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to your advisor, please wait at least two days for a response.
As the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. continues to evolve, ISSS has important information for international students, scholars and OPT participants.
UConn has announced that courses will move to an all-online format for the rest of spring semester.
If you decide to return to your home country:
- You must maintain your full-time UConn online coursework for the rest of the semester, unless you are otherwise approved for part-time study.
- If your online courses require you to participate in real time, then you will be expected to participate, even if during inconvenient hours (e.g. the middle of the night). You will also be expected to complete all work, despite anticipated technological difficulties such as internet firewalls in your country.
- 5 month rule: Normally there is a rule that international students on F-1 visas may not be outside the U.S. for more than 5 months and return with their current I-20/SEVIS number. Exceptions apply for students on approved study abroad programs. ISSS has asked the U.S. government to provide guidance about whether the 5-month rule will apply to students who return home now to complete coursework online, and return after more than 5 months. If the government says F-1 students may not be outside the U.S. more than 5 months, then we will need to issue you a new I-20 for return. You may still use your old, unexpired F-1 visa with the new I-20, even if issued under a different SEVIS number. We will provide more information on this when we have a confirmed answer.
- If you travel home you must research entry restrictions and arrival requirements for your destination city. ISSS has become aware that some locations will be requiring quarantine for all travelers, even citizens of the country. You must be aware of the arrival requirements for your intended destination.
- We do not know when entry restrictions to the United States from other countries will be lifted. We also do not know if other countries will restrict travel to the United States. Therefore by leaving the U.S., there is uncertainty about when you will be able to return. This is a risk you need to consider. However, ISSS will advise you and support you to the extent that we can for your successful return.
- If your U.S. visa has expired, or will expire, before you return you will need to renew the visa while outside the U.S. You may complete the DS-160 visa application and schedule your visa appointment at any time. Some U.S. embassies and consulates are currently not taking visa appointments, or are scheduling far in advance due to the COVID-19 situation. Contact ISSS if you are having difficulties scheduling your visa appointment.
- Complete both the Remote Learning - ISSS Check In form and the Travel Information Record, if you have not already done so. Bring your current I-20/DS-2019 home with you now, and ISSS will mail you a signed I-20/DS-2019 for your return after normal operations resume.
- Students who are graduating this semester will not be able to return with your I-20/F-1 visa after the semester ends. However, you may be able to return with your F-1 visa if you applied for post-completion OPT with the U.S. government before leaving, or if you have obtained a new I-20 to continue studies in summer or fall in a new program. You may be able to apply for a B-2 visitor visa or ESTA (visa waiver program) to return for a short stay in the future.
If you decide to stay in the U.S. for the rest of spring semester:
- Students who live on campus must make sure they have arranged to remain on campus by completing the proper forms with Residential Life. Residential life will provide you with any information about housing and dining during spring semester. Contact email@example.com with your questions.
- You must notify ISSS of any changes to your address by completing the Remote Learning-ISSS Check In as soon as possible.
- Essential services such as medical services for both mental and physical health, are still providing services on campus to students. Call the office or check the website of the service you would like to access to learn how you can get assistance. In the community, grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, in addition to take-out food, will remain open. For other offices/services, check the website for the office/business you would like to visit.
- Please contact ISSS if you need any assistance during the semester. We will do our best to get you the help that you need.
- Students who are on OPT must complete the Remote Learning-ISSS Check In form by this Friday, and again after if there are any changes.
- The government has indicated that it is OK for training supervision to change from in-person to remote during the emergency period. Just be sure to report this change through the Remote Learning form to ISSS so that we can note it as a comment in your SEVIS record (not for printing on I-20).
- ISSS will hold any I-20s issued for employment changes (like change of employer) until normal operations resume, and you can access an electronic copy of the I-20 (without signature) for the time being through the ISSS Portal.
- Applications for OPT and STEM OPT will still be processed. While any advisory documents will be sent to you electronically, a paper I-20 with DSO signature will be mailed. ISSS will email you to confirm the mailing method/address after your document is printed.
- The 90-day unemployment rule still applies during this time for post-completion OPT participants (or 150 day for STEM OPT, including any prior unemployment time during the initial 12 months). If you cannot participate in your work/training, but still remain an active employee/trainee of the internship provider/employer, we will still report you as actively employed in your SEVIS record. If you lose your training opportunity, you must report it to ISSS as unemployment and it will be reported to your SEVIS record accordingly.
J-1 Visiting Scholars:
- If you travel home due to concerns over Covid-19, the Department of State has indicated that we may maintain an active SEVIS record for you while you are out of the country, provided you will return to resume your exchange program after the situation calms.
- We will temporarily waive the 30-day travel rule for visiting scholars that would normally limit personal travel to 30 days or less. Submit a Travel Signature request through the Scholar/Employee Portal. Login with your email address and password (do not use your NetID to login). More information here.
- If you will intend to continue your UConn exchange program activity while abroad, you must also complete with your hosting academic department the J-1 Research Scholar Out of Country Request Form, and in some cases your research plans will need to be approved by OVPR for compliance with export control rules.
- If you are a paid employee of UConn, you will still need to adhere to standard employee leave rules.
- If you will end your program early, you must notify your hosting department and ISSS. Submit an End Program request through the Scholar/Employee Portal. Login with your email address and password (do not use your NetID to login).
We will provide another webinar/live chat at a soon to be determined date to take your questions related to these announcements. We hope that you are all doing well and staying healthy. Please let us know if you have any concerns or questions at this time.
I hope this brief note has found you well and healthy. In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to provide you with some updates from UConn.
We have decided to take the following steps:
- Beginning on Monday, March 23, UConn will move to online course delivery for classes held at the Storrs and regional campuses. It is expected that this will remain the case until at least Monday, April 6. If this is extended, the university will communicate that well in advance. Students will be graded and given credit as they normally would. The provost and deans will work with their faculty to develop individualized accommodation plans for courses such as labs, law clinics, internships, and clinical placements that are not amenable to online delivery.
- For those exchange students who remain at UConn during spring break or have no alternative but to return to campus following spring break, Education Abroad and Student Affairs/Residential Life will work directly with them to assess needs and ensure accommodation. The Rec Center will be closed, as will other facilities. A dining facility and other essential services will remain open.
- In effect now, no events larger than 50 people will be permitted on any campus. This includes all events, meetings and performances, which will be canceled or postponed if they involve more than 50 people. Extension faculty who work regularly with groups of people throughout the state on programming may continue to do so, provided the group is fewer than 50 people.
We realize that you may have lots of questions about your exchange students. Given the difficulty of addressing these concerns as part of a group email message, you are always welcome to speak with us personally in Education Abroad. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'd be happy to arrange for a time to talk over the phone or via Skype.
We will continue to communicate with you and your exchange students directly with any further updates. Please reach out to us for questions or additional information.
Dear International Students and Scholars,
ISSS would like to provide you with important updated information regarding ISSS operations.
To reduce risk, we have decided to move all ISSS functions to remote services only, starting Monday March 16 until Sunday, April 5. This applies to all ISSS offices at all campuses. This will have important implications for advising and processing services.
Please contact ISSS by email with your advising questions. If an appointment is needed, we can arrange for this by phone/skype/etc. Email your ISSS advisor or email@example.com and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
Most ISSS immigration applications can be submitted online through the ISSS website. See ISSS Forms. If you cannot find the application you are looking for, email or call ISSS (860-486-3855). Students and scholars who submit applications must check their UConn email daily for important updates.
Specific information about form submission and delivery can be found below:
Travel Signature Requests:
Continuing students and scholars who are departing the U.S. must submit a Travel Information Record to ISSS for each trip outside the U.S. ISSS will not require students to submit the Enrollment Verification with your Travel Information Record request during this period of remote service. If you are leaving the U.S., simply submit the Travel Information Record through the online form. You do not need a travel signature to depart the U.S.
Check your I-20/DS-2019 form to see if it already has a valid travel signature (signed within 12 months of your expected return date, or last 6 months if on post-completion OPT). Often students already have a travel signature, and do not realize it. If it does have a valid travel signature, select in the form “I do not need a travel signature at this time. I am just reporting my travel to ISSS.”
If you need a travel signature, select “I require a travel signature and will bring my original I-20/DS-2019 to ISSS.” in the form. However, because you cannot bring your form for signature to ISSS, we will reprint a new form for you, and arrange to have it mailed to your address in the U.S. (if you will not depart within the next two weeks) or outside the U.S. (if you will depart within the next two weeks). For international mailing or express mailing, you will need to pay for the shipping of your document - ISSS will email you shipping instructions when your travel signature is complete. For domestic mailing within the U.S. we will mail your document at no cost to you through USPS. If you dropped off your form to ISSS for processing last week and have not picked it up, we will contact you regarding mailing.
OPT and Program Extension Requests:
Students who are applying for post-completion OPT authorization should submit their application forms through the ISSS website. Remember, you must complete all parts of the application and hit the SUBMIT button before your application will be considered complete.
Once processed, ISSS will send you all advisory documents related to the application by email, and we will send your updated Form I-20 with OPT recommendation by mail. Remember, students must be in the U.S. to apply for OPT. We will mail the form using standard USPS mail unless you request express shipping, which would be at your cost.
CPT, Reduced Course Load and Other Requests:
Most other ISSS requests do not require immediate paper production. For all other requests that do not require an immediate paper I-20/DS-2019 letter we will send you the document electronically with ISSS signature, and hold the paper form in our office for pick-up at a later date.
Initial I-20/DS-2019 Forms
Requests for new student and exchange visitor I-20s and DS-2019s will still be processed. We plan to mail all forms directly from the ISSS offices through express mail. We will send you instructions for paying the express shipping fees by email.
Students/Scholars who are Finishing their Programs Early/Finishing from Home:
If you will depart the U.S. and do not plan to return to complete your program here, or wish to end your program early, submit the Program Update-Completion/Shorten record. Submit this form only if you do not plan to return to the U.S. to continue on your visa. Do NOT complete this form if you plan to continue your program, apply for OPT, or begin a new program in Fall.
Thank you all for your flexibility during this time, and please let us know if you have further questions. We will continue to provide important information to you through both the International-L listserv and the ISSS Soapbox. If any of the above information changes, we will let you know as soon as we can. Please stay connected.
Recently, the University announced a temporary move to online courses starting March 23 as preventative measure to reduce risk of student exposure to COVID-19 (coronavirus). This has many implications for international students, visiting scholars and family members. Please read the following carefully:
Live Chat for International Students and Scholars:
ISSS hosted an online Live Chat on Friday, March 13, to provide information to students and scholars related to their visa status, options to stay in residence halls, and ISSS services during the break. The recorded live chat will be posted on the ISSS website in coming days.
ISSS Business Hours until April 6:
ISSS at Storrs campus plans to remain open Monday through Friday during Spring Break, as well as after when classes move online. We will have limited on-site staff, but will be open to the public for assistance from 9 a.m. to noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
ISSS offices at Stamford and GBLC will not be accessible to students for the time being. However, all ISSS offices will continue to process student and scholar immigration benefit requests and advise international students and scholars remotely, even if operating under reduced office hours or office closure.
ISSS Law hours are still to be determined. Regional ISSS advisors will remain in contact with their respective populations regarding services.
Remote Learning – ISSS Check-In Form:
The F and J visa rules require you to notify ISSS where you are physically residing. This is particularly important during a pandemic of this nature. All international students, scholars and OPT/ Academic Training participants on F-1 and J-1 visas will be required to complete a Remote Learning-ISSS Check In form through the ISSS Portal by Friday, March 20.
You will be required to update this form any time there are changes to your physical location (where you are living), your course load (if you are participating in full time courses or not) or your work location (OPT/Academic Training and Visiting Scholars).
Online Classes and F/J Visa Status:
Under normal circumstances, students on F and J visas are limited in the number of online courses they may take. The government will allow an exception to this rule because of the emergency circumstances. You will not endanger your F-1 or J-1 visa by taking all online courses in the United States during the period when the University moves to online coursework, as long as you continue to participate on a full-time basis, or otherwise have an approved reduced course load.
Students who will Complete Online Courses from Outside the U.S. (travel home or to another country):
You are required to notify ISSS if you will depart the U.S. and complete your coursework from abroad. Notify ISSS by completing both the Remote Learning-ISSS Check In form and the Travel Information Record.
At this time, the government is allowing students who will participate in UConn online courses to maintain an active SEVIS record while abroad. This guidance could change. If courses remain online through the rest of the semester, we anticipate that your SEVIS record can remain active and you can use your current I-20/unexpired visa for return, provided you are not subject to any further entry restrictions at the time of your return.
If courses resume in-person instruction, and if you cannot return to take the courses in person, it is likely that your SEVIS record will be terminated. While terminated, you will not be able to use your I-20/student visa for return. ISSS will work with you to get a new I-20, or to reactivate your current I-20, for return. You must submit a Travel Information Record with accurate travel dates so that we can assess your situation and advise you on next steps.
Exchange Visitors (J-1 visa holders) must also notify ISSS and submit a Travel Information Record if you will depart the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns. If you will end your program early, please email ISSS.
Processing for Summer CPT/OPT:
Students who were planning to apply for CPT/OPT can still do so while the University moves to online courses. We will work with students so that you can either pick up your documents, or have them mailed to you. If you have a OPT application pending with the U.S. government and you have moved, remember that you must notify both ISSS and USCIS of your address update.
I-20 Processing for New Students:
ISSS will continue to process new I-20 and DS-2019 forms for admitted students who meet all criteria for the form. Due to uncertainty related to international postal services, you may experience delays in receiving your document.
Federal taxes for income earned in 2019 must be mailed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service by April 15. Students and scholars with U.S. based income may request a tax code from ISSS to use the Sprintax service to self-prepare a federal tax return for free. This service is available to students who are nonresident aliens. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a tax code. If you need to prepare a state tax return, you can also do this, at cost.
Receive Text Alerts:
F and J visa students (not scholars) who would like to receive text alerts from ISSS on their U.S. phone number should update the SMS Text Number field in your ISSS Portal profile.
- Visit https://isssportal.uconn.edu/
- Click “Login” in the upper right corner
- Select “F-1/J-1 NetID Login” and Login with your NetID and PW.
- On your User Homepage, Click on the “Edit Profile” button in the Profile Section with your SEVIS ID and Photo.
- Enter “SMS (mobile text) Phone Number” and select mobile carrier.
- Click “Update”
Please contact ISSS with any questions you have at email@example.com . We will do our best to answer you quickly, but we are dealing with a very high volume of inquiries right now, and so we thank you for your patience.
Graduate Student Information
To address concerns raised about the challenges facing graduate students during the pandemic, the Graduate Faculty Council recently approved a motion to temporarily allow any graduate student to convert a course taken in spring 2020 from “graded” to either “pass/fail” or “withdraw-audit,” with approval of the student’s major adviser and/or program director.
This option is available to all graduate students in a degree or certificate program under the jurisdiction of The Graduate School. The deadline for conversion of courses is May 22, 2020. Students can, but need not, wait until after receiving their grade to decide whether to seek a conversion. However, once a course is converted, it cannot be converted back to a letter-graded course.
For graduate students, a passing grade in a course converted to P/F is defined as an overall grade of C- or higher. A course for which the student has a P grade can, with approval of the major adviser (or, if appropriate, the program director), be included on the student’s graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report. Courses that have been converted to Audit will appear on the student’s transcript as “WAU”. A course that has been converted to Audit cannot be used on a graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report.
Any student wishing to convert a class to P/F or Audit should email their major adviser and/or program director requesting the conversion, indicating in the email the course number (including subject area), their Peoplesoft ID, and the requested conversion.
If the major adviser and/or program director approves, they should forward the student’s request, indicating approval of the request, to the Registrar’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copy the student on the approval email.
The request should be sent by the student to the major adviser and/or program director no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. The approval email must then be sent from the major adviser’s and/or program director’s UConn email address to the Registrar’s Office by Friday, May 22, 2020. Extensions of the deadline (due to extenuating circumstances) will be allowed only with the approval of The Graduate School.
The Provost’s Office and The Graduate School have received many questions about how University policies concerning COVID-19 affect graduate education.
The Graduate School has developed an FAQ for faculty, staff, and students providing answers to questions from applicants to graduate programs, current students, students planning to graduate in May, and faculty and staff.
The FAQ is on The Graduate School website at https://grad.uconn.edu/coronavirus/. It will be updated as new or modified information becomes available.
If you have questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ or if the answers there are ambiguous or confusing, please contact The Graduate School at email@example.com.
The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn Law community and around the world. We recognize that these unusual circumstances create significant uncertainty and unease as it relates to the law school application and enrollment processes.
To help you navigate the significant amount of information that these circumstances have required, here’s an overview of UConn Law’s major admissions- and enrollment-related announcements to date:
For Prospective Applicants:
The application deadline for Fall 2020 admission to the J.D. Program has been extended to July 1, 2020.
In response to the cancellation of the March 2020 LSAT administration, UConn Law will accept scores from both the April and June LSAT administrations for purposes of fall 2020 admission. June LSAT registrants should plan to submit their (incomplete) applications by the July 1st deadline, while waiting for release of their scores.
The application fee associated with applying to the J.D. Program has been waived for the remainder of the application period.
For Admitted Applicants:
- We are pleased to launch the fully virtual Customizable Admitted Student Experience Program ("CASE Program"). The CASE Program recognizes that each admitted student has different questions and preferred methods of content delivery. Based on our review of your unique responses to the Program survey, our office is committed to delivering to you the exact virtual admitted student experience you’re looking for. If you have not already done so, please complete the Admitted Student Virtual Programming Survey to opt into the CASE Program.
- We encourage all admitted students to request membership to the Admitted Students Facebook Group, where we have posted a live-streamed campus tour and will host Facebook Live discussions on a variety of topics in the coming weeks.
- We are pleased to offer admitted students the option to attend an online sample class taught by Joseph A MacDougald, Professor of Law and Executive Director of our Center for Energy and Environmental Law. A digital invitation will be e-mailed once details are finalized.
- Discussions are taking place regarding adjusting the deposit deadline for those who may not have an opportunity to visit campus before April 15th. No decisions have been made yet, but rest assured your concerns have been heard.
Please note we have canceled all on-campus admissions events and visits through Monday, April 6.
This includes all in-person campus visits (i.e., tours, class observations, and meetings with staff) and Admitted Students Day, which was set to be held Saturday, March 21. We will keep you well informed should we need to extend cancellations past April 6.
Finally, because the J.D. Admissions staff will be working remotely at least through April 6, our preferred method of contact will be e-mail. Our e-mail addresses are as follows:
For general inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Majchrowski, Director of Admissions: email@example.com
Rachele Torres, Assistant Director of Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Funke, Admissions Assistant: email@example.com
We wish you peace and good health as we all continue to navigate this uncertain time together. Thank you for considering UConn Law for your J.D.
This message is intended for all faculty.
As you know, the University has restricted travel and has taken other measures to reduce the chances that our activities contribute to the spread of COVID-19. We are writing to remind you that PhD students defending their dissertations, master’s students defending their theses, and their advisory committees have the option of conducting the defense via teleconference. The only requirements for the defense are that:
- The public defense be open to any interested person with the ability for any member of the audience to ask questions of the student.
- Any interested member of the faculty has the opportunity to participate.
- All members of the advisory committee participate in the defense simultaneously.
Many different combinations of in-person and remote videoconferencing could satisfy these requirements. If you have questions about formats, please don’t hesitate to contact Kent Holsinger (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions about the technology options available, please contact email@example.com or 860-486-4357.
Faculty & Staff Information
Sent to All UConn Faculty
This has been an extraordinary time for all of us navigating the abrupt changes in our lives, both at home and at work, and I greatly appreciate the extra efforts you have made for your students, your colleagues, and staff.
I wanted to share that we are hearing from many students who are having a challenging time with the abrupt transition to online teaching and learning, in particular with regard to assessments. While this is not surprising, and a certain amount of discomfort and challenges are to be expected during this transition, I would like to bring your attention to the various resources CETL has collected on alternative assessment approaches (see: https://ecampus.uconn.edu/keep-teaching-strategies.)
In general, faculty are encouraged to be flexible and understand the limitations that may exist when we shift to this online mode of delivery. Please note that using some approaches for online assessment will require that a student has access to a webcam. If students do not have this technology available, we should be prepared to offer alternative options. If any of us needs support to identify options for students who do not have the necessary technology, we are encouraged to consult directly with CETL and Ed Tech.
The University Senate has also received reports from concerned students that final assessments are being scheduled during the last week of classes. We need to remember that this would go against Senate By-Laws.
In addition, because of the scheduling of some assessments, many of our international students in their home countries are being required to take exams in the middle of the night. Addressing this concern, too, may require some flexibility, and CETL’s alternative assessment webpage above is a wonderful reference.
For our entire university community, the last few weeks have been an extraordinary endeavor, both professionally and personally, and this is particularly true for our students. I know that having to create flexibility with regard to assessment in order to support our students requires extra work on the part of faculty at a time when many of us have additional responsibilities outside of the classroom.
We – students, faculty, and staff – are in this together, and this is why I want to make sure you are aware of all available resources so that every one of us can properly address problems as they arise.
We are writing to provide information about Zoom and alternative collaboration technologies.
As we work collectively from disparate locations and in alternate ways, we often prefer applications and approaches that are most familiar. ITS and Information Security strongly encourage the use of centrally contracted and supported software and services, wherever possible, for university activities.
We also recognize the desire to use tools such as Zoom rather than supported alternatives. While it is not advocated that you use unsupported tools, it is not prohibited either.
If an individual chooses to employ a tool such as Zoom, then it is their responsibility to ensure that it is done in a safe and responsible manner. Helpful information on the secure use of Zoom can be found here: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/20/keep-the-party-crashersfrom-crashing-your-zoom-event/
All confidential or protected institutional data must continue to be stored on University supported resources.
To all Faculty:
While a decision to suspend on-campus operations has not been made at this time, in light of the COVID-19 virus, all faculty must begin preparing now in the event UConn chooses to transition to remote teaching online after Spring Break. Faculty should have plans in place, based on guidance below, to make that transition as soon as March 23. This is to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for all courses should the university make this choice in the near future in the best interests of public health. Faculty should also get in the habit of taking their laptops home every night to prepare for the possibility of a short-notice decision to restrict access to campus.
The Academic Affairs working group has developed a plan with key features outlined below to help ensure we balance the need to be sensitive to the health and safety needs of our community while also being sure to meet our academic obligations to our students.
Restricting access to our physical campuses does not mean classes should be cancelled. All faculty should be reassured that it is possible to effectively conduct classes and assess students remotely, and that they have a number of options to do so. The core technology that facilitates all remote teaching and learning is the university sponsored learning management system – Blackboard HuskyCT. Many faculty are already familiar with HuskyCT (there are more than 5,000 unique course sites this semester).
In an effort to be as proactive as possible the university has created a HuskyCT site for any lecture or discussion section currently taught this spring semester that did not otherwise have one. Faculty who are not familiar with HuskyCT are strongly encouraged to become so as soon as possible. CETL has compiled extensive resources to guide the effective use of HuskyCT for novices through experts.
The University administration will continue to provide updates based on the best information from public health officials, and will continue to provide general guidance and support. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to work with their deans and department heads to determine the best way to implement these guidelines in their respective areas. Additional communications will be forthcoming with guidance for clinical placements, lab courses, performance courses, or other special circumstances.
We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that at the present time, May, summer, and fall 2020 terms are proceeding as normal. The Registrar’s office will open registration appointments for continuing undergraduate students for all these terms beginning on March 23rd as planned.
Finally, we hope you understand that it is almost impossible to communicate precise options for all class situations. If you have a unique situation that you would like to discuss, have any additional questions, or need additional support about planning course continuity in an emergency, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-486-0457