Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Please refer to Mason’s Coronavirus COVID19 information page (https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus) for the most up-to-date information on coronavirus and links to other resources, including Student Health Services, the Virginia Department of Health, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Summary Advice

  • Follow guidance on preventing the spread of flu and coronavirus.
  • Promptly read OIPS e-mails for updates on maintaining your legal status.
  • Visit https://www2.gmu.edu/coronavirus for University updates.
  • Consult with websites (below) for the most up-to-date travel information..
  • Stay home if you’re sick, and contact your physician for advice.
  • Conduct business by phone and e-mail when possible.
  • Schedule virtual appointments with OIPS advisors if you have questions.

Information Specific to International Students and Scholars

Travel: Anyone who wishes to depart the United States is always free to do so. The University has announced that online instruction will continue through the end of the semester.  This means that as long as you have access to reliable web access you can complete your spring classes from anywhere in the world.  The University will continue to monitor the coronavirus emergency and release announcements as changes occur and/or new information becomes available.  It is impossible to know at this time what travel advice may be appropriate at the end of the semester and over the summer.  Restrictions on entry to the US and many other countries change frequently and without advance notice.  Visit the web page of your country’s embassy for the latest information.  The web links below will be updated with respect to travel to and within the United States.

Many commercial airlines are reducing the number of flights and offering flexibility to passengers who wish to change or cancel their travel plans.  If you have already booked travel and want to change your plans, please consult the airline’s website for guidance.

Additional details about travel restrictions, travel-related health notices, and port-of-entry screening procedures can be found on the following sites:

US Department of State:                                                https://travel.state.gov
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:           https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection:                            https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry

Online Study Limits for F-1 and J-1 Students:  Both SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) and the US Department of State (which oversees the Exchange Visitor Program) have announced temporary flexibility in online study limits for F-1 and J-1 students.  For classes that are temporarily migrating online, F-1 and J-1 students now qualify for fully online courses during the health emergency. (When the University returns to in-person classes, the usual restrictions will apply for both F-1 and J-1 online study.  To learn about these restrictions, go to https://oips.gmu.edu.)

New J-1 Scholar Arrivals:  Every new scholar needs to check in with the J-1 Responsible Officer in OIPS and receive orientation materials.  This is part of your responsibility for maintaining your J-1 legal status in the United States.  Please e-mail ichizhov@gmu.edu for instructions. 

J-1 Program Extensions:  For Exchange Visitor students and scholars whose programs may be ending but who cannot return home at this time, the US Department of State has authorized some flexibility with respect to program extensions.  Please consult with a member of the J-1 advising staff in OIPS if you need a program extension.

Connecting with OIPS Advisors:  OIPS is currently delivering services virtually. Because of the health emergency, to protect both staff and students, our offices in Fairfax and Arlington are not open to walk-in visitors.  Advisors will be available for appointments by phone and will respond to e-mails.  Please use the e-mail addresses that appear at the bottom of this notice.

Please call OIPS (703.993.2970) or e-mail us to schedule an appointment or ask a question.  We check e-mail regularly:

  • For Appointments and General Questions:                            oips@gmu.edu
  • F-1 Status Questions:                                                             oipsregs@gmu.edu
  • J-1 Student Questions:                                                           cbodziak@gmu.edu
  • J-1 Scholar Questions:                                                           ichizhov@gmu.edu
  • OPT Questions :                                                                     oipsopt@gmu.edu
  • Events/Activities/Orientation:                                                 oipsprog@gmu.edu
  • New Student I-20 Questions :                                                oipsadmi@gmu.edu
  • INTO Mason Visa Questions :                                                oipsinto@gmu.edu
  • Mason Faculty H-1B Questions:                                            mthapa4@gmu.edu
  • Mason Faculty LPR & Invoices:                                             ichizhov@gmu.edu