We at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health strongly oppose the decision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to restrict the ability of students with F-1 visas to remain in the U.S. while pursuing academic studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance states “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States." It further states that “active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.”
The decision disregards the health and well-being of students seeking to start or continue academic studies safely in partnership with their chosen academic institutions. It also fails to acknowledge the complexities of supporting academic pursuits while assuring the safety and health of learners and faculty amid an evolving global pandemic. As a public health institution, we are committed to both educating the public health leaders the world needs and protecting their health.
Maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and nurturing environment and one that embraces international students is core to our values at the Bloomberg School. We are working quickly and in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University leadership, legal counsel, and the Johns Hopkins Office of International Services to understand, address, and oppose the announced changes. We remain committed to fully supporting the many international students in our community who may be impacted by these changes. We recognize these students have a number of concerns and questions at this time, many of which we cannot yet answer. We will work as quickly as possible to gather more information and provide direction that we hope will both assure continuity of studies and protect health and safety during these incredibly challenging times.
Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins University