COVID-19 Webinar FAQs: Remaining in the U.S.

REMAINING IN THE UNITED STATES

If we have to stay here for the summer, will Pitt provide housing?  What kind of housing? What about dining options? How much will we have to pay to stay in housing over the summer? 

For Pittsburgh campus students, the answer is yes, Pitt is opening up on campus housing for any Pittsburgh campus student who needs it. Dining options will be available, though we can’t say exactly what they are. More details will follow, including the cost. Financial aid is being considered also for any student who needs it to cover these expenses.  We do not want cost to be a big factor in your decision-making.  If you are a student on a Regional Campus, please check with your housing department with these questions.  OIS will also attempt to provide answers as soon as we have them. 

Will there be possibilities for on campus jobs this summer?

On the Pittsburgh campus, we anticipate that there will be student jobs on campus this summer to cover as many students as possible. 

I am completing my current academic program at Pitt this semester. What are my options?

F-1 Students have a 60 day grace period after they complete their academic programs. J-1 students have a 30 day grace period. OIS uses April 30, 2020 as the I-20/DS-2019 end date for Spring 2020 graduates. The following advice is for F-1 students; we expect to receive more guidance about J-1 students from the State Department soon. 

  • Option 1: If you don’t want to apply for OPT, then you could depart the U.S. now, or during the 60 day grace period. Check with your academic advisors and make sure that you complete all of your academic requirements / graduation procedures so that you can graduate. 
     
  • Option 2: If you will start a new academic program at a different school in the Fall 2020 term, submit a “Transfer Out” request via My OIS. You can remain in the U.S. as you wait to start classes at your new school. If your F-1 visa stamp will NOT expire, then you can use your valid F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. with your new school’s I-20.
     
  • Option 3: If you will start a new academic program at Pitt, then OIS will work with you to create a new I-20 for your new academic program. You can remain in the U.S. as you wait to start your new program. You can use your F-1 visa stamp, as long as it is still valid. 
     
  • Option 4:You can apply for Optional Practical Training.  You must be physically present in the U.S. to apply for OPT. You can remain in the United States while your OPT application is pending, even if it is pending after your 60 day grace period. If you need more time to make your decision, you can start the OPT process in June.    

Who will be responsible for our safety if we remain in the United States? 

No one can guarantee your safety no matter where you live.  You need to make the decision that you deem best for your safety and health. If you decide to stay on campus, Pitt is making every effort to disinfect all common areas on a regular basis. In addition, we encourage the entire community to do their part in keeping spaces as clean as possible, and to slow the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing to the extent possible.  Wash your hands, clean off common surfaces often and well.  Avoid social touching as much as possible, and remain at least 6 feet from others to the extent possible. 

Will the facilities on campus, such as the library and gym, operate as usual? 

The best place for updated information on Pitt services is www.emergency.pitt.edu/covid-19.  This is really a comprehensive website and will provide all details that you may need on what is available as the situation continues. 

What is Pitt doing to protect and ensure the safety of students who are remaining in the residence halls? 

Housekeepers will be disinfecting communal restrooms on a daily basis.  They will also disinfect high touch point areas such as door knobs/handles, railings, etc.  They will also continue cleaning restrooms per their standard procedures with a greater emphasis on disinfectant.  

Having said that, everyone should assist with the ongoing fight to disinfect.  You are encouraged to wipe off touch points prior to and after you have utilized common facilities.  Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer, but also wipe things down as you use them.