HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Student and Exchange Visitor Program released new guidelines for the fall 2020 semester, and now remote learning could send some international students back home.

A local international student said this is an inconvenience for her in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think this is a very inconsiderate and not well-thought-out policy,” said Siqi Lu, an international student at Holyoke Community College.

Lu, an international student from China, studies mathematics at the college. She expressed her frustrations with the new policy released by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program said:

“Students on F1 visas who attend schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.”

Also, F1 students attending schools that have a hybrid model, the student must take the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. For those in a hybrid class, the school must certify the program is not completely online and the student is not taking a complete online course load.

For Lu, this impacts her because Holyoke Community College announced back in May they’re only holding online classes for the fall 2020 semester.

“The previous immigration policy before the pandemic was that you had to do the majority of your classes in person,” she said. “They’re not really considering the fact of this pandemic.”

Now Lu has to figure out where to go to school in the fall in case she can’t return to HCC.

“For me, that means trying to figure out a college that still has in-person classes and transferring to that college in this country,” she said.

There is also a White House petition asking to allow international students to complete their degrees.

Copyright 2020.  Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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