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Welcome to our COVID-19 informational FAQ for international students at OHIO. 

ISFS has been communicating with our international students and scholars as appropriate during the global COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to do so via email and update this page frequently with any new information. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via isfs@ohio.edu if you have questions that are not answered with the below information or via the university coronavirus website.


How can I contact International Student and Faculty Services during this time?

Office Hours for EAD Card/Urgent Travel Signature Pickup:

Tuesday: 9:30am - 11:00am

Friday: 9:30am - 11:00am

ISFS will mail all other documents to you via USPS. 

Please email isfs@ohio.edu with all questions and concerns or to schedule a phone appointment with an international student advisor. 

I am outside of the United States, when should I book my flight to the U.S.?

Due to the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 crisis, we highly recommend that you wait until you have secured your visa before you book a flight.  When you do decide to book, please be sure that the flight can be changed or refunded if circumstances change. Please also keep in mind travel restrictions as you plan your flight to the U.S.  

Do you have any recommendations on the process of obtaining a Visa?

If you are still waiting to obtain your visa, it is important to know that you do not need to pay your SEVIS fee until prior to your interview. If you have been unable to secure a visa appointment, please maintain contact with the Graduate College or Undergraduate Admissions to discuss your options. If you have paid your SEVIS fee and have decided that you will defer your admission to the university to a later semester, please know that the SEVIS fee is valid for one year. Even if deferral seems like the best option at this time, you can still attend your visa interview (once it is scheduled) and you can request an updated I-20 from your admissions office to support your new requested start date. 

I am currently outside of the U.S., what should I do if I cannot make it back before classes start?

You will need to contact your department or academic advisor to discuss your situation.  If you can make it back within the first couple weeks of the semester, it may be possible to work with your professors to start the classwork remotely.  If not, they may recommend that you take off the fall semester and return for spring instead.  The only immigration restriction is that ISFS must be able to report your full-time enrollment by our registration deadline. For fall 2021, that deadline is 9/9/2021. Graduate students should also ask departments how any funding may be impacted by a late return. 

If you determine that you will need to take off the fall semester, please contact ISFS (isfs@ohio.edu) for assistance with your immigration record. 

Do I need to quarantine upon arrival to Ohio University?

Unvaccinated Students arriving to campus following international travel are required to quarantine for seven days. You should plan to test, through Vault Health, on day five. Provided you receive a negative result you can end your quarantine following your seventh day (you can resume campus activities on day eight). There is no cost for your COVID-19 test. Shortly after you arrive you will receive an email from a COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) to help you navigate this process.

Students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have selected the Vaccination Pathway in OHIO’s COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program are exempt from quarantine, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

How do I quarantine if I will be living on campus?

Students who will live on campus in a residence hall for Fall 2021 will quarantine on campus in designated quarantine housing. You should plan to arrive at the Living Learning Center to be directed to your quarantine housing, which will not be the same as your permanent Fall housing assignment. You can arrive on campus for quarantine as early as Aug. 1, 2021. Please plan to follow all Ohio University COVID-19 policies, including masking and distancing.

You will need to order food for delivery while in university housing. You can learn more about options from the housing team once you arrive.

How do I quarantine if I will be living off campus? 

The CDC recommends the following precautions after you travel. While a complete quarantine is best, we understand that you may have essential needs such as food, medication, or toiletries that require leaving home for a short time. It is imperative that you take the following precautions if you must leave your home for basic needs:

  • Stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about two arm’s lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you, particularly in crowded areas. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose, mouth and chin covered when you are in shared spaces outside of your home, including when using public transportation.
  • If there are people in your household who did not travel with you, wear a mask and ask everyone in the household to wear masks in shared spaces inside your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.

Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19 and take your temperature if you feel sick.

Is there a mask requirement in Athens?

There is not a mask requirement in the City of Athens or in the State of Ohio. On Ohio University campuses, face coverings are not required outdoors, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. Fully vaccinated individuals (two weeks past final dose of vaccine) do not need to wear masks indoors, except where otherwise required in healthcare or clinical environments, and on public transportation. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks indoors. See the Presidential Health Directives for more details on OHIO’s physical masking policy.

How will COVID-19 affect my on-campus employment?

ISFS is aware that this is a very challenging time for all students.  In addition to worries about your health and the health of families far away, some students are worried about their on-campus employment that is used to cover living expenses. Ohio University has committed to ensuring that students who were working on-campus during the first part of the semester are able to continue by working remotely.  Supervisors should be reaching out to their employees by March 23 to discuss remote work options.  If you don’t hear from your supervisor by that date, please contact your supervisor.  

Is ISFS still be offering OPT, CPT, and AT workshops?

All in-person OPT, CPT, and AT workshops are cancelled for the time-being. Please read the following if you plan on applying for either of the three soon:

OPT: ISFS has transitioned to providing virtual OPT workshops through Microsoft Teams. Please sign-up as you would normally through iCats.ohio.edu. Once signed in, select 'DETAILS' below the workshop you wish to attend, then select 'I'm Going'.  You will receive a link to join virtually prior to the workshop. 

CPT: Please email isfs@ohio.edu and we will schedule a phone appointment with an advisor to go over the CPT process.

AT: Please email isfs@ohio.edu and we will schedule a phone appointment with an advisor to go over the AT process.

What university resources are still available for students to utilize?

Please keep in mind that the response to COVID-19 is constantly evolving and the operating hours of local services are changing often as well.

Baker University Center

Baker University Center is open 7:30 am - 7:00 pm on Monday - Friday , and 10:00 am - 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is printing available on the second floor. 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is here to support the campus community. CPS acknowledges the impact on Ohio University students related to Coronavirus and recognizes that it is typical to experience anxiety, worry, or fear. 

If you are in distress, CPS is there to help. Students may contact CPS at any time by calling 740-593-1616. If calling after hours, press 1 to be connected to a counselor. You can also visit the CPS website at www.ohio.edu/student-affairs/counseling

Alden Library

Alden Library is currently operating on modified hours. You can find an updated hours of operation schedule here

Dining Services

Dining halls will offer to-go options initially with strategic introduction of dine-in options, as determined to be safe and appropriate. Other venues will also offer to-go meals, and we will offer mobile ordering for pickup. Quarantine/Isolation meals will also be available, find ordering options and location hours here.

The Cats’ Cupboard food pantry has transitioned to a twice a week drive-up option of pre-packaged bags of food. This services is by appointment only and students can sign up here

How has COVID-19 had an impact on Athens area transportation services?

Athens Public Transit

Currently, APT is operating on their normal schedule. The current bus map and schedule can be found here: https://www.athenstransit.org/full-map-and-schedule/ .

Effective March 25th, 2020 only 5 passengers at a time will be allowed on a bus at one time. If there are already 5 passengers on the bus, you will have to wait for the next bus. Keep this in mind when judging how much time it may take to get places.


GoBus is still operating on their normal routes and schedule which can be found here: https://ridegobus.com/routes/

Note: Athens Community Center and Hocking College GoBus ticketing centers are currently closed, but you can still purchase tickets at https://ridegobus.com/

Where can I find groceries?

If you have school aged children, many Athens restaurants are offering lunches for them at various sites.  You can find a list of free student lunch resources here.

Athens County Food Pantry

Athens County Food Pantry is distributing food at the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services Center. Please visit their facebook page to read important information about documents to bring if you visit the food pantry.

For more information on food assistance programs in Athens, please visit this link.

Cats' Cupboard

The Cats’ Cupboard food pantry has transitioned to a twice a week drive-up option of pre-packaged bags of food. This services is by appointment only and students can sign up here

Kroger Athens 919 E State St 

For cleaning and replenishing purposes, the Kroger grocery store on State Street will be open daily from 6am-11pm.  

For more informatin and to utilize pickup grocery services, visit: https://www.kroger.com/stores/details/016/00901, make sure you have selected the correct location if you utilize the pickup service. 

Walmart Athens 929 E State St 

Walmart will be open from 7am-8:30pm.

For more information and to utilize pickup grocery services, visit: https://grocery.walmart.com/?adid=1500000000000039636450&veh=wmt, make sure you have selected the correct location if you utilize pickup services. 

Which Athens restaurants are open?

As restaurants and bars begin opening back up again, operating hours for specific establishments will vary. It is recommended you contact any restaurant before you attend to make sure you are aware of any adjusted hours, reservation requirements, and safety protocols they have enacted in response to COVID-19. 

I have questions about my off-campus housing situation as it relates to COVID-19, where can I find more information?

The Center for Student Legals Services has provided this helpful website to inform students on Housing Law. Visit this link to learn about leasing agreements, communicating effectively with your landlord, and more. Be aware that to contact Student Legal Services for advice or representation, you must have not waived the Student Legal Services fee. 

How can I stay connected to other students and ISFS staff during this period of social distancing?

As we navigate these uncertain times together, International Student and Faculty Services would love to provide a virtual space for you to connect with your fellow Bobcats and ISFS staff members. To accomplish this, we've scheduled ISFS Group Virtual Hangouts through Microsoft Teams where you can come and ask questions, voice concerns, or speak about anything you’d like. Keep an eye on your email for more information on the date and time of these events, and how to join. 

Have questions regarding the economic stimulus payment?

Please visit our International Student Tax FAQ for more detailed information on the stimulus payment.

I have questions regarding my academic coursework, who should I contact?

We recommend that you direct any class or academic questions to your academic advisors or program directors.