FAQ

For Parents & Families

COVID-19

College Operations

Last Updated 4/10/2020 at  4:24 pm EST

Are the Equipment Distribution Center (EDC), editing suites, studio spaces, and Iwasaki Library open?

Student access to all campus buildings is restricted until further notice. This includes computer labs, Media Services Center, Media Technologies & Production (MTP), the Equipment Distribution Center (EDC), production spaces, rehearsal studios, 172 Tremont Street, and the Fitness Center. Members of faculty and staff continue to have access to academic and administrative buildings. 

Regarding the Iwasaki Library, please see the below details.

Is quarantine on campus likely?

We currently do not have anyone on campus in quarantine with COVID-19. Should it be necessary to quarantine someone on campus, the College has a plan in place to facilitate that process.

Will I receive a credit for room and board?

We will be issuing partial credit for spring semester room and board charges, due to these unprecedented circumstances. We are continuing to review our policy and will provide further details as soon as possible. 

Are we still sending athletic teams on travel engagements?

As of March 12, the New England Women's and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) has canceled the spring Regular Season Conference Schedule and NEWMAC Spring Championships.

Will Commencement still take place? What about the EVVYs?

The College has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Commencement Exercises, but is committed to celebrating the Class of 2020 and its achievements. Planning is underway for a virtual ceremony, and the College is will hold an in-person gathering, once it is safe to do so. 

EVVYs advisors also have decided to cancel the in-person April 19 EVVYs Gala and the in-person May 8 EVVYs Award Show. Despite these cancellations, EVVY nominations will still be revealed on April 6. Advisors are evaluating alternative ways to announce the winners and are exploring different modalities to ensure co-curricular credit.

Are campus visits, tours, and information sessions being affected at this time?

The College has cancelled our April 4 and April 25 Picture Yourself at Emerson undergraduate admitted student events, as well as all spring graduate admission events. 

We are not currently offering on-campus undergraduate or graduate admission visits or events. We hope to be able to offer these visit options later this spring, and will update our website as soon as we are able to do so.

We are now offering a number of virtual visit options for admitted and prospective undergraduate and graduate students! We encourage you to explore all that Emerson has to offer and connect with us virtually. Please check back often, we will be adding to our virtual visit options in the coming days and weeks.

All Graduate Admission Events have been cancelled, but we are still offering virtual meetings and calls with current students and admission liaisons. Virtual Accepted Student events will be posted on our Accepted Students and Graduate Events pages and sent via email to accepted students for students to meet faculty and experience the Emerson community. Please contact gradadmission [at] emerson.edu or (617) 824-8610 with any questions or concerns.

We are now offering virtual admitted undergraduate student information sessions and will be offering additional virtual options for both undergraduate and graduate students in the coming days. Please contact us directly so we can assist with virtual visit options.

What is the policy in regards to events in student spaces?

All campus on-campus events have been cancelled
 
We will continue to evaluate the situation at two-week intervals.

Will any Emerson facilities be enlisted to help with the COVID-19 response?

An agreement between Emerson College and Tufts Medical Center for use of Emerson residential space is underway. Tufts will continue to use the hotel across the street from the hospital until either the predicted surge occurs and/or the hotel closes. At that point, Tufts will notify the College 96 hours in advance if its medical personnel need to take occupancy at the Paramount Residence Hall.

How does Emerson clean and disinfect facilities?

Emerson College Facilities Management personnel clean common areas around campus on a daily basis and have implemented measures to clean and disinfect surfaces in public areas that are touched frequently. There are also dispensers throughout campus containing hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, though proper hand-washing technique is deemed to be more effective by the CDC.

The College has increased the number of housekeeping staff and purchased additional equipment to clean all common areas nightly. Common areas include; classrooms, hallways, common bathrooms, dining areas, lobbies, hallways, the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym, and the Fitness Center. Offices are being disinfected twice per week; faculty offices are also being disinfected three times per week. The equipment used is the highly effective Clorox 360 disinfecting and sanitizing machine, which applies a fine mist of anti-viral disinfectant to all hard and soft surfaces. 

In addition, ample paper products and to-go containers for use in the Dining Center are available if needed, and paper towels have been added to restrooms that have hand dryers only.

We will continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC for preventing the spread of the virus.

How do I speak with the Student Financial Services staff?

Student Financial Services staff may be reached at 617-824-8655.

What hours will the mailroom be open?

The mailroom currently plans to be open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am–6:00 pm.
 


Access to Campus Buildings & Services

Iwasaki Library

Beginning March 18, Iwasaki Library will operate as a virtual library.

Research Help 

Reference chat and Zoom consultation services for Spring 2020 will be available for Boston, Emerson Los Angeles, and Kasteel Well students and faculty:

Monday–Thursday: 10:00 am–7:00 pm ET
Friday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm ET
Sunday: 2:00–6:00 pm ET

Contact us via email, IM, SMS, or request a video consultation with a librarian via Zoom. http://ec1880.us/AskLib

EBooks, Online Articles, and Streaming

See our Distance Learning guide: http://guides.library.emerson.edu/offcampus for details on how to access our virtual collections and best practices for online learning.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

ILL is available to students as long as the lending library remains open. We are working with faculty to provide access to learning materials through Canvas courses, in addition to providing students access to materials for research and learning.
http://guides.library.emerson.edu/interlibraryloan

Amazon Smile Wishlists - Kindle Books for Course Readings (No Video)

In some cases, ebooks are not accessible as multi-user licenses to libraries. Faculty and librarians will be consulting on accessing Kindle book content students need to complete their course work. Kindle books may be read on any mobile device using the free Kindle app. More information on this process will be forthcoming.

Returning Materials

The library lobby book-drop will be open to returns when the Walker Building is open. Students who are no longer on campus can return materials in September when they arrive for the fall semester. If you are not planning to return to campus in the fall, you can mail us returns at Emerson College Library, 120 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02116. 
 
Have questions about returning materials? Call us at (617) 824-8668 or email us at circulation [at] emerson.edu. Have questions about accessing materials electronically? Email our reference librarians at reference [at] emerson.edu
 
Please be aware that interlibrary loans need to be returned before you leave campus.

Fines

Overdue fines and recalls are now suspended. Please be aware that if items are not returned in September that you may be charged an item replacement fee. 

Social Justice Center

Out of an abundance of caution and care for the community, the staff of the Social Justice Center will be working in alternative ways that best support community health and well-being. We will continue to be available by phone, email, and online via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, etc. Please contact us if you'd like to connect. 

Social Justice Center

Sylvia, Alayne, Samantha, & Jae
617-824-8528
sjc [at] emerson.edu

Healing and Advocacy

Melanie & Greta
617-824-8857
advocate [at] emerson.edu

Elma Lewis Center

Tam, Ashley, & Jeeyoon
617-824-8526
elmalewiscenter [at] emerson.edu

Title IX

Pam & Ryan
617-824-8999
titleix [at] emerson.edu
 


Classes & Academics

Last Updated 4/10/2020 at 4:27 pm EST

What is the College's tuition policy?

Read the Spring 2020 Credit Policy for information on credit for housing and tuition.

Can you explain Emerson’s decision on the College’s tuition policy?

Emerson College is sympathetic to the multiple ways in which a global epidemic has disrupted the lives of so many people and families, including those currently enrolled at the College. While Emerson students, who are currently enrolled, will receive a room and board credit or refund, Emerson will not grant a tuition credit or refund for students who remain enrolled in classes for which they will receive full credit towards fulfilling degree requirements. Emerson’s tuition decision is consistent with all other institutions of higher education.
 
Although moving our academic program online will present some challenges, our commitment to academic excellence—and to ensuring that our students receive the teaching, guidance, and support they need to achieve the learning outcomes of their coursework—remains steadfast.
 
Moreover, because classes can no longer be measured by being in a room together, but are disaggregated by time and methodology, the focus is on achieving the learning goals of the course. Assignments may become more frequent or challenging; even in the transition week, most students were asked to do readings and complete assignments. Furthermore, participation in a class could be different, placing more importance on writing than speaking, and thereby requiring more time.
 
The College understands the trepidation that some students and their families might have regarding the efficacy of online learning. The College notes that while it is a substantial change for both students and faculty, it also has the utmost confidence in the talent and creativity of our faculty and our students. One of the best aspects of college is learning together with peers and with the guidance of a faculty expert in the field.  While the ways of communicating will be different now and take multiple forms, the learning community itself is intact, and that is essential.

Will students be able to choose whether to take Spring 2020 classes pass/fail?

All currently enrolled undergraduate students will be assigned grades at the end of the term, as is the current practice. However, in keeping with an Emersonian emphasis on student agency and choice, one week after the grades are received, every enrolled undergraduate student may choose to keep grades in any of their classes, or to change their grades to pass/fail in any of these classes by informing the Registrar.

A pass is equal to a D or better, according to Emerson’s grading policy. The registrar notes that a pass does not count in the GPA. For Spring 2020, we will create an F*, and this new grade will not count in the GPA. Also, in response to faculty requests, final grades will be due May 8, not May 4. 

Since graduate programs are offered online, on campus, and in hybrid form, and there are complexities around accreditation and what constitutes failing, the dean of Graduate Studies and graduate program directors will work with individual students to resolve any issues that may arise. 

Finally, Graduate and Professional Studies staff will work with faculty to move as many on-campus, summer school courses online as possible. Pre-College programs also will go online as faculty and staff work together creatively to re-conceive these.

Will the transitional week of March 16–20 be made up at the end of the semester?

There is no plan for classes to be made up at the end of the semester.
 
The plan is for classes to end and grades to be due on the originally scheduled dates, with next week being a transitional week for faculty and students to prepare for classes to be taught online. Students may continue to work on assignments (as they are able, given that many of them are moving out of the residence halls and may experience some level of disruption).
 
How the transitional week unfolds necessarily may differ, as classes themselves differ. Classes resume online during the week of March 23.

Now that classes will be held online, how will faculty account for students in multiple time zones?

Faculty will be using both synchronous and nonsynchronous tools. When planning to teach synchronous (live) online classes, faculty are asked to be aware of the different time zones in which students are located, and to record live sessions so that those who cannot attend in real time can watch later. Advising and office hours can be set by appointment, which will allow faculty to connect synchronously with each student.

Emerson education is highly experiential. How does online learning give my child the kind of education that I’m expecting, and which I paid for?

Emerson education is highly experiential, and undoubtedly the learning experience will be different as we move from in-person classes to online modalities, both synchronous and asynchronous. The learning outcomes of the College focus on the following key skills and habits of mind: students’ abilities to experiment with creative processes and apply foundational theories and practices to their disciplines; to demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills, and to demonstrate competency in information, media and digital literacies; to integrate the liberal arts into the fields of arts and communication; to think critically and to demonstrate a commitment to diverse perspectives, and ethical practices.

Our faculty are experienced and talented practitioners, artists, and scholars who are committed to achieving these learning goals. All of our classes integrate traditional scholarship with applied learning. Through design thinking, faculty will translate the learning goals in their individual classes using multiple tools. Students will have different assignments and will participate differently.  As many art and music schools have shown, it is possible to learn fully and richly in an online environment with students practicing their craft and skill-development in an off-campus environment. The essence of an Emerson education is the special interaction between faculty and students, and also among students in a class, and this will be preserved.

Will summer sessions be held online?

All Summer 2020 courses will be conducted online, including scheduled on-campus summer school courses. No changes will be made in your registration status, and your Summer 2020 schedule will remain as scheduled, unless you are otherwise informed. Any changes to the summer schedule will be finalized by April 21.

The Professional Studies team is doing everything possible to help students meet their needs during these unprecedented challenges. Emerson faculty and staff are working to shift programming online, with the goal of providing a positive and fulfilling learning experience for students.

For summer registration dates or for more information, visit Emerson Summer or email professionalstudies [at] emerson.edu.

Will I still receive credit for my co-curriculars? 

Yes. Co-curriculars are classes and will go online. Dean Sabal, who is leading the co-curricular initiative, has been in touch with faculty leaders about moving online.

Is the Academic Advising Center (AAC) available? 

As you transition to online learning, please know that the AAC staff will continue to provide advising and academic support to all students. Please see below for Virtual Advising Options this spring.  

30-minute meetings 

Phone or Google Hangouts/Meet appointments can be scheduled online with an Academic Advisor by clicking on our schedule a meeting link.

Email

Academic Advisors are available over email (firstname_lastname[@]emerson.edu) to offer fall course selection guidance. 

General inquiries can also be directed to advising [at] emerson.edu.

Phone

The AAC's main line (617-824-7876) will remain open to field any common questions/concerns and make appropriate referrals, as needed. 

Walk-Ins

Virtual walk-ins will be available during the week of fall registration.  Stay tuned for more information.

Should I continue working at my current Internship for Credit employer?

Yes. If you are able to continue working in-person or virtually you should continue to do so. You may continue to complete your internship and classwork from your internship course for a grade.

Students should communicate current COVID-19 plans with their employers as soon as possible. 

If a company shuts down or a student needs to leave Boston and the company will not allow the student to work virtually, the student should continue to work on the course part of the internship and they will still be able to earn a grade for this semester.

Who do I contact if my employer's plans change?

The Career Development Center is currently monitoring all Internship for Credit employer plans. If you are concerned about your current working status with your employer, whether it is for an academic internship or not, please contact careers [at] emerson.edu for the most up-to-date support.


Travel & Study Abroad

Last Update: 4/1/2020 11:45 am EST

Can I travel internationally while there is a Global Level 4 Health Advisory: Do Not Travel due to COVID-19?

The College is currently prohibiting College-funded staff, faculty, and student international travel at this time.

As of March 19, the US State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory: Do Not Travel. This is the highest travel advisory issued by the United States, and advises that those in the United States do not travel anywhere at this time. The notice advises those planning to travel of the following:

  • Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.
  • Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.
  • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.
  • Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.

The College requests that staff, faculty, and students also avoid personal travel except in emergency circumstances.

What should I do if I am currently abroad or have recently arrived in the United States from abroad?

Emerson College is actively working with students and families currently participating in study abroad programs to ensure their return home as soon as possible. Students are instructed to return to their permanent residence in their home country, and may not reside on any of Emerson’s campuses. If students and families are experiencing extenuating circumstances regarding their transition home, please contact abroad [at] emerson.edu with details regarding your individual situation.

Travelers arriving to the U.S. from abroad will be subject to either a required 14-day self-quarantine or 14-day period of recommended social distancing, dependent upon their country of departure as per CDC guidelines. Please also see the section on self-quarantine.

Is Emerson restricting travel to other countries or locations?

At this time, the College is prohibiting College-funded staff/faculty international travel and College-funded student travel to any location, foreign or domestic. The College is also asking staff, faculty, and students to strongly reconsider all non-essential personal travel.

The College will continue to fund Emerson-related domestic travel for faculty and staff. However, we encourage everyone in our community—faculty, staff, and students—to weigh whether any domestic travel between now and at least until commencement is essential and instead to explore options to join meetings or events remotely, especially in the growing number of areas with high infection rates.

I am currently outside the U.S. on College business or am planning an overseas trip. Who can I contact for support or information?

The College is suspending College-funded staff, faculty, and student international travel at this time. The College is also asking staff, faculty, and students to avoid personal travel except in emergency circumstances. If you have questions about upcoming international travel, please contact the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement at abroad [at] emerson.edu.

Is Emerson canceling any future international programs?

The College has canceled a number of Summer 2020 Global Pathways Programs and has communicated current program cancellations to students and families. Questions regarding canceled summer programs can be directed to abroad [at] emerson.edu. The College continues to assess the status of remaining Summer 2020 Global Pathways Programs and will update students and families regarding additional program cancellations as soon as possible.

The College is actively assessing the status of upcoming education abroad programming for Fall 2020.

What does it mean to self-quarantine?

Self-quarantine means:

  • Staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people during the 14-day incubation window. During this time, staff and faculty remain home and students do not attend classes.
  • Have a designated contact person who is working with you or your supervisor to make sure you have the support you need to continue to work or pursue your studies during this time. Please see above contacts.
  • If you live on campus, the College will work with you to reassign or alter your living space to ensure that you are not sharing a room or bathroom with others. Should our ability to do this become limited, we will do our best to accommodate the highest priority cases.

If I must self-quarantine, will I continue to be paid?

If you are medically directed to self-quarantine and you are well enough to work (either full-time or part-time) while self-quarantined, you will be paid for your work time. If you are sick and not able to work, you can use sick time according to the Emerson sick time policy


International Student Considerations

Last Updated 3//31/20 at 9:35 am EST

What should I keep in mind if I am graduating this May or my I-20 is expiring soon?

If you are planning to graduate in May 2020 or if your I-20 is expiring soon, then you may need to take extra steps with the OISA before you depart the U.S. if you intend to return. If you plan to request an I-20 extension or apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training, you should do this before you leave so that your I-20 correctly reflects your future academic intentions upon your return.

I am leaving the US and plan to return in the fall. How can I make certain I can return?

While international students are currently able to depart the U.S., travel restrictions and suspension of visa services in many countries may create a situation in which some students cannot travel or return to the U.S. as expected. If a travel restriction limits your ability to continue full-time enrollment in this semester or a future semester, this may have an impact on your SEVIS record and your continued lawful status.

Feel free to contact the OISA to discuss your specific situation for any questions related to remote registration, maintaining continued F-1 status, or requesting a leave of absence (if needed).

What documents will I need in order to reenter the U.S.? 

As you prepare to reenter the U.S. later in the year, make certain to check your documents:

  • Is your passport valid for your return? 
  • Is your F-1 visa valid for your return? 
  • Is your I-20 still valid (end date in the future) and do you have a valid travel signature from the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) on page 2?

The F-1 visa stamp in your passport must be valid on the day you will reenter the U.S. in order for you to be eligible to return in student immigration status. If your visa will expire before the date of your return, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy while you are out of the U.S.

An I-20 travel signature (found on page 2 of your I-20) is valid for one year (6 months for students on OPT). If your travel signature will be more than 12 months old on the date you expect to return, please contact OISA at oisa [at] emerson.edu to make arrangements for a new I-20 to be sent to you. 

Is there a limit of how many online classes an international student can take? Does the College's decision jeopardize my legal status?

F-1 immigration regulations usually limit students to one online class per semester. However, in recognition of the unique health crisis posed by COVID-19, the Student and Exchange VIsitor Program (SEVP) has issued guidance to allow schools to make temporary academic modifications. 

For students who were enrolled in full-time on-campus courses this spring, The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) has informed SEVP of the College’s plan to move all campus classes to online delivery as a temporary emergency measure. So long as you continue to remain registered and make academic progress in your approved classes, this will meet F-1 requirements for full-time registration. 

What about the five-month temporary absence rule? If I am out of the U.S. more than five months, will that break my F-1 status?

F-1 immigration regulations clarify that students may reenter the U.S. after a temporary absence of no more than five months. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has clarified that the five-month rule will not be in effect for students who continue full-time enrollment from abroad and maintain an active SEVIS record. 

Keep in mind, however, that if you are not able to return to full-time study in the U.S. in Boston for the fall semester, this may cause an interruption of your continuous SEVIS record. If this becomes the case, we will need to discuss options such as continued remote study or possible leave of absence. Keep in mind that taking a leave of absence may require a new “initial” I-20, which would mean you might need to complete two semesters after your return in order to qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Since there are many unknown factors in this conversation, we would recommend that you be in touch with the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) in mid-summer to strategize a plan. 

Will remote learning affect my ability to work on campus or participate in my curricular practical training (CPT) internship?

You are eligible to continue working on campus in qualifying student jobs. Keep in mind that you are limited to 20 hours of on-campus work per week during the semester. This limit is still in place even though the semester will run a little differently.

If you have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization for an off-campus internship this term, you may continue to participate in the internship, so long as there is no interruption in hours at your internship site. Please remember that CPT permission is specific to your approved job, employer, location, and work hours, as well as academic course registration. If there are any modifications to your work hours, employment conditions, or academic registration, these must be approved in advance by the Career Development Center and the Office of International Student Affairs.

What should I keep in mind if I am graduating in May 2020?

By now you may be aware that Emerson has made the difficult decision to postpone the commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 10. We are hopeful that we will be able to celebrate this academic milestone with you in person at a later date.

For international students who complete degree requirements this spring term, May 10 will still be considered your “program completion date” for SEVIS, and will be reflected as the end date of your I-20 immigration document.

There are a few key considerations for May graduates who have not applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permission following program completion:

  • If you are not able to complete your academic requirements this semester, you will need to request an extension of your I-20 extension if it will expire.
  • If you depart the U.S. you must reenter the U.S. before May 10 if you are returning in F-1 status. If you return to the U.S. after your program has ended, you may need to do so in a visitor’s (or other) immigration status.
  • If you remain in the U.S. keep in mind that you will have a 60-day grace period following your program end date to depart the U.S., transfer to another educational program, or apply for change of immigration status.

For May graduates who have applied (or intend to apply) for OPT, please also keep in mind:

  • It is particularly important for you to finish all degree requirements this semester if you applied for OPT on the basis of your May program completion. 
  • If you are unable to complete your degree
    • You may not be able to begin OPT as planned.
    • You should work with your OISA advisor to see if your OPT application can be cancelled before it is approved.
    • You may also need to request an I-20 extension before it expires.
  • If you have not applied for OPT and intend to, we advise that you do this before you leave the U.S. as it may not be possible to do so from abroad. 
  • If you depart the U.S. we advise that it would be safest to return to the US either before your I-20 expiration (May 10, 2020) or with your approved OPT card if you are returning after your I-20 end date of May 10.
  • If you choose to return after May 10 and before you have your approved OPT, you face a risk of complication or additional questions. Be as prepared as possible, including a copy of your USCIS receipt notice to clarify that you are returning for the purpose of OPT.

Since questions related to degree completion and OPT can be quite complex, we would advise that you contact OISA directly with case specific questions. 

What are the US travel restrictions I should be aware of?

The U.S. has suspended entry to the U.S. for many foreign nationals (immigrants, non-immigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) as follows: 

  • March 20, 2020 - Entry to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico through land ports is limited to “essential travel” through April 20, 2020
  • March 16, 2020 - The ban on travel from Europe is extended to foreign nationals arriving from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. 
  • March 13, 2020 - Presidential Proclamation bans entry to the US for non immigrants arriving from the European Schengen area, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland
  • March 2, 2020 - Presidential Proclamation extends entry ban to non immigrants arriving from the Islamic Republic of Iran 
  • January 31, 2020 - Presidential Proclamation banned entry to the U.S. for all foreign nationals (immigrants, non-immigrants, and other non-U.S. citizens) arriving in the U.S. who were physically present in during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry from the People’s Republic of China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau) 

In addition, the U.S. State Department announced on March 18 that general consular and U.S. visa services have been suspended in most countries worldwide. 
Regrettably, these visa and travel suspensions will likely delay the planned return to the U.S. for some students. If you are affected by these restrictions, be sure to contact the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) directly to strategize a plan for return at a later time.

How has the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) responded to this crisis to assist international students?

The SEVP has granted several significant accommodations to ease international student restrictions related to study and travel during this crisis, including: 

  • Allowing schools to report temporary changes to operations, including a move to remote online learning for the spring semester
  • Clarifying that SEVIS records can remain in active status for students who are out of the U.S. more than five months, so long as they continue remote enrollment
  • Allowing temporary use of electronic I-20 signatures by international officials
  • Allowing students on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) to engage in remote work, when possible

Additional updates by SEVP can be found on their FAQ.

Will SEVP flexibility for online only study extend to summer or fall? (ADD)

The flexibility to allow international students to study online only is a temporary provision issued by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) in direct response to the current COVID-19 global health crisis. It is not clear at this time whether colleges will be allowed to continue online only course delivery into the summer or fall semesters.

If you will be returning to study at Emerson in fall, then summer can be considered a “vacation” term and you may take as many or as few online courses as you wish.
However, if you plan to finish your program in summer, then on-campus course work would usually be required in F-1 status. OISA will update students as more clarification becomes available. 

I am a student on current optional practical training (OPT). Are there any accommodations if I am not able to work and exceed my 90-day limit on unemployment?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) recognizes that the spread of COVID-19 may impact students engaging in Optional Practical Training (OPT). In accordance with SEVP guidance, we would encourage you to work with your employer to seek alternative ways to maintain employment, such as teleworking or other arrangements. 

    If I become ill due to COVID-19, what options do I have to request part-time status or a leave of absence and maintain my lawful U.S. immigration status?

    As an international student in F-1 status, you may qualify for a medical reduced course load (either a drop below full-time or a medical leave of absence) if you become ill or have a medical condition. A letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist would be required (1) with a clear recommendation for whether you should drop to part-time or take a medical leave, and (2) the dates for which you would need the accommodation (up to the end of the semester).

    If you become ill due to COVID-19 or suffer from a medical condition that puts you at high risk, you may wish to speak to your doctor about whether a reduced course load is medically advised.

    Please note: While the F-1 medical reduced course load authorization may allow you to remain in the U.S. to seek medical care, you will need to follow all other guidance for Emerson students about self-quarantine and screening. 

    Important note: If you request a medical leave and chose to depart the U.S., the five-month temporary absence rule may apply! Consult your OISA advisor for additional clarification on this matter.
    The doctor’s letter should be sent to the Office of International Student Affairs at oisa [at] emerson.edu.

    How can I reach the Office of International Student Affairs?

    Over the remainder of the semester, OISA will monitor the needs of students—both on campus and engaged in remote study—to make sure you continue to receive immigration support.If you have specific questions about immigration status or travel restrictions related to COVID-19, contact the Office of International Student Affairs at 617-824-7858 or oisa [at] emerson.edu.

    While our campus offices are currently closed, you can reach us by email, phone/ and Zoom, or make a remote appointment from a different time zone. 

    If you leave a phone message or email, be sure to include your full legal name and Emerson ID, as well as the best way and time to reach you. Safe travels and be well!

    Main Office 

    oisa [at] emerson.edu 
     
    Andrea Popa | Director (graduate students, ELA, GBFA)
    617-824-3598 | andrea_popa [at] emerson.edu
    Appts: calendly.com/andrea_popa
     
    Jason Yang | International Student Advisor (Undergraduate students)
    617-824-3453 | jason_yang [at] emerson.edu
    Appts: calendly.com/oisa
     


    Last Updated 3/16/2020 at 10:02 am EST

    Off-Campus Student Concerns

    I live in an off-campus apartment in the city. Can I stay?

    Yes, you are free to do what you want. Students who live off campus are likely in a position of having signed a lease. You may want to check if your lease allows subletting. You may contact Off-Campus Student Services or email desiree_bradford [at] emerson.edu with questions.

    I have a lease starting in a few weeks. What can I do in the meantime?

    Students needing short-term housing may visit Off-Campus Student Services or email desiree_bradford [at] emerson.edu.

    What items are helpful to keep in my apartment to keep me safe/healthy?

    Consider preparing your apartment to ensure you are prepared for any type of emergency throughout the year. Your emergency plan may vary depending on if you have any health conditions or other specific needs. The following suggestions are suitable for anything that can come up throughout the year, including if you needed to stay home for any amount of time.

    • Thermometer
    • First aid kit 
    • Copies of important documents like health insurance, etc. 
    • Prescription medications, eyeglasses, etc. 

    I need to take public transportation to get to work, appointments, etc. What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

    If you take public transportation, please keep in mind the following suggestions to help prevent the spread of germs:

    • Wash your hands often (sing your favorite song for 20 seconds)
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Clean things that are frequently touched (wash hands after taking public transportation)
    • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue
    • Stay home if you are sick
    • Think ahead and prepare your home for things you may need (see below)

    I use a number of on-campus resources. Will I still have access to those?

    Please note that while we are moving to online learning at Emerson, many resources are still available to you remotely, such as Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS), and the Center for Health and Wellness.

    For all general questions related to COVID-19, please direct them to covid19 [at] emerson.edu. If there are any specific questions related to off-campus housing, please feel free to reach out to the assistant director of off-campus student services directly (desiree_bradford [at] emerson.edu; 617-824-8484). 

    Student Employment

    Last Updated 4/7/2020 at 3:00 pm EST

    Should I continue working at my current Internship for Credit employer?

    Yes. If you are able to continue working in-person or virtually you should continue to do so. You may continue to complete your internship and classwork from your internship course for a grade.

    Students should communicate current COVID-19 plans with their employers as soon as possible. 

    If a company shuts down or a student needs to leave Boston and the company will not allow the student to work virtually, the student should continue to work on the course part of the internship and they will still be able to earn a grade for this semester.

    Who do I contact if my employer's plans change?

    The Career Development Center is currently monitoring all Internship for Credit employer plans. If you are concerned about your current working status with your employer, whether it is for an academic internship or not, please contact careers [at] emerson.edu for the most up-to-date support.

    What will happen with my Emerson employment or Federal Work Study position now that classes have been moved to an online structure?

    If you are a student living on campus who had been hired for a Federal Work Study or Emerson Employment position, you should consult your supervisor to determine if the position will remain necessary. The campus remains open, but some areas may have decreased support needs. Some areas may have increased support needs. Student Employment within the Financial Aid Office (617-824-8655) may be able to assist with placement should it be necessary. The goal is to keep all currently employed students who are living on campus employed if at all possible.

    Will student employees be able to work remotely if the campus ceases in-person operations?

    Student employees, both Emerson Employment and Federal Work Study students, will need supervisory approval as well as a justification for working remotely if their department or administrative office ceases in-person operations. Student employees must be able to function in a similar capacity producing similar outcomes if working remotely. Students, please check with your supervisor to ensure that your role warrants consideration and justification. This would only be approved if in-person operations were paused.  

    Will I still have my Federal Work Study position now that courses are online instead of in person?

    As long as the College continues to provide in-person operations, it will still be necessary to have student workers under Federal Work Study (in most areas). Please keep in mind that the work hours for some departments may change. Please check with your supervisor to confirm your work schedule. In the event that in-person operations are paused, we ask that you consult with your supervisor to determine if the work performed in your role can be performed remotely. 

    Will I still have my Emerson employment position (Non-Federal Work Study Position)?

    As long as the College is still providing in-person operations, it will still be necessary to have student workers under Emerson Employment (in most areas). Please keep in mind that the hours of operations for some departments may differ. Please check with your supervisor to confirm your work schedule. In the event that in-person operations are paused, we ask that you consult with your supervisor to determine if the work performed in your role can be performed remotely. 

    Will Emerson student employees receive sick pay?

    Boston-based student employees are not eligible for sick time during the academic year. See Massachussets Earned Sick Time for more information.

    I work in a space that may not be open—the Journalism TV Studio on the 6th Floor of Walker. Is it open? Will it remain open?

    Access to all campus buildings is restricted until further notice. This includes computer labs, Media Services Center, Media Technologies & Production (MTP), the Equipment Distribution Center (EDC), production spaces, rehearsal studios, 172 Tremont Street, and the Fitness Center.
     
    Students who have arrangements with departments to continue reporting to work on campus should email deanofcampuslife [at] emerson.edu to coordinate building access. Special requests to access campus spaces should be made to the same address prior to coming to campus.

    My Federal Work Study position is with an off-campus partner. Do I still have a position there?

    Your position should still be available pending the readiness of the partner to accept you as a student employee. The community as a whole is experiencing the unfortunate and unanticipated disruptions related to the COVID-19 crisis, so please consult with your supervisor at the off-campus organization for more details or potential plans for its operations.

    What if I have a special circumstance that I would like to discuss with Student Employment?

    Please contact Student Employment within the Office of Financial Aid at 617-824-8655. Also, please keep in communication with your direct supervisor so that they know your intention, can plan accordingly, and can help you when possible. 

    I'm an RA and I have questions about my employment. Whom should I speak with?

    Please contact Erik Muurisepp, assistant vice president for campus life, at erik_muurisepp [at] emerson.edu to discuss your situation.


    Emerson Center for Health & Wellness

    Last updated 3/27/2020 at 1:51pm EST

    What is the Center for Health and Wellness (CHW) doing about COVID-19?

    The CHW has created an online resource for community members looking to learn more about COVID-19. In addition, it has been conducting proactive outreach to the community, answering questions, and giving presentations. Students should call the CHW at 617-824-8666 if they develop symptoms of a respiratory illness, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.  

    Miscellaneous

    Last Updated 4/1/2020 at 3:54 pm EST

    I read that the Utah Jazz practiced at Emerson during spring break, and that later two team members tested positive for coronavirus. Should I be concerned?

    During the College’s spring break, the Utah Jazz held a practice in the College’s gym. Emerson has determined that two coaches had minimal contact with the team at that time, and public health officials have assured the College that they are not at risk. Even though these coaches are healthy and not restricted at all, the College has asked them to self-monitor.

    When professional teams use College facilities, access to the gym is restricted; furthermore, the practice occurred when much of our student body was away from campus. In addition, the College continues to take every precaution to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our community, including more frequent and targeted disinfection of facilities and surfaces, which began the day before the practice and continue on a daily basis.

    I heard that Emerson will store my belongings. May I just leave my things for convenience sake? 

    If you have the ability to remove your belongings or store them elsewhere, please do so. There are many who do not have the resources or support to move their belongings, and we do not want concern over where to store belongings to be a barrier at this time.

    I have rented textbooks through the bookstore. What happens if I take them home with me?

    Students who rented textbooks from the bookstore have the ability to print out a return label from the bookstore website to return their books. You can ship rental books back to the store FREE OF CHARGE up until 11:59 pm on Friday, May 1, which is the last day for rental returns. After that date, you will not be able to access the shipping return label and will have to pay shipping costs to return your texts. You may also return textbooks in person if you are in Boston during the appointed times. All students are encouraged to keep textbooks until classes are completed.