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COVID-19 UPDATES

 Frequently Asked Questions - Found at bottom

 

Government Announcements

USCIS Announcements - Changes in policies and flexibility for International Students - Updated May 29, 2020

SEVP Updates - Updated May 21, 2020

California State Announcements - Announcements about COVID-19 - Updated frequently

California State Community College Chancellor's Office - Announcements about COVID-19 - Updated frequently

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  - COVID-19 Travel recommendations by country - Updated frequently

Grossmont College / College District Announcements

GCCCD District Announcements - Announcements regarding COVID-19 and Services - Updated May 19, 2020

International Student Health Insurance Covering COVID-19

Student Resources - housing, tutoring, how to use zoom, how to use canvas

Grossmont College International Students Facebook Page - like the page for updates and info on your newsfeed, you can also live chat staff, ambassadors, and current housing ads which are no longer in the monthly email - Updated Frequently

  

Transfer Information

Transfer Center Application Assistance
Resources for Transfer CSU San Bernardino, CSU Northridge, SDSU, UCSD
Transfer Center Workshops - How to appeal, How to accept your admission, many more
University Virtual Transfer Fairs

Counseling Appointments

Current Students can make an appointment with a counselor using our new eSARS online appointment scheduling program.

You will need your Student ID number and your birthdate in the MMDDYYYY format.  If you do not see any appointments available, they are all booked. New appointments will be available every Monday. (Updated April 28, 2020)

In the comments section, please put your questions you want answered, major, and if you are transferring and to where.

To find your Student ID Number, you will need to log into your WebAdvisor, go to Academic History, click submit and it should be in the top left. 

These are the times that a counselor will be available to schedule. 

  • Mondays - Marissa Lizarraga - 8AM-4PM
  • Tuesdays - Stephanie Barnes - 8AM-5PM, Narges Heidari 10AM-4PM
  • Wednesdays - Lynn Gardner - 8AM-3:30PM, Narges Heidari 10AM-4PM
  • Thursdays - Narges Heidari 9:30PM-5PM
  • Fridays - Valerie Ky - 8AM-1PM
 *please note that if you are late 15 minutes or more, you will need to reschedule your appointment for another time.

Coming Soon 

Making an appointment with International Student Specialist is coming soon
Bryan Lam, Mika Miller, Yumiko Hudson

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19


Please note these FAQ apply to the COVID-19 situation only and the information is temporary. All information is subject to change without prior notice.

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Academic

Q: I've never taken an online class and I need some tutoring for canvas.
A: Tutorial for Canvas is available here. Other helpful links are on the Student Resources Center website. You may apply for Pass/No Pass if you don’t need a letter grade.

 

Q: All the classes are supposed to be converted to online until the end Spring 2020 semester but I haven't received any online instructions from one of my instructors. I am very worried. What should I do?
A: Possibly, your instructor is still in the process of converting the program from in-class to online format during the spring break, March 23 to 29. Please contact your instructor if you still don't hear by the end of spring break. Check your spam mailbox as well.

If you continue to have no response, please contact the Department Chairperson.  - (Updated April 3, 2020)


Q: Due to COVID-19, my lab classes are not functioning. What should I do?
A: Keep your lab class as is, and follow your instructor’s directions. It is important for you to keep your full-time load.

 

Q: If I choose to remain in the class, but I'm worried about my grade, can I choose a Pass/No Pass option? 
A: Yes. You may request to be graded on Pass/No Pass basis even though it is past the deadline to elect this option. The deadline for this request is extended through the last day of the spring semester on June 1. 

*Before you choose to have Pass/No Pass, talk to an international counselor if your class is eligible for this option.

*If you choose to have Pass/No Pass, you must let your instructor know and still try your best to pass the class. You might be dropped from the class if you stop submitting assignments or attend virtual meetings. If you were dropped from the class, you may fall to below 12 units which jeopardize your F-1 status. - (Updated April 3, 2020)

 

Q: If I choose to remain in my class, will I be given extra time to complete my coursework beyond the end of the semester? 
A: If you need additional time to complete your coursework beyond the end of the semester you may request an Incomplete symbol from your instructor. Once an Incomplete is assigned by your instructor, you will have one year to make up the coursework. Students may petition for an extension of the one year deadline based upon extenuating circumstances. Faculty are committed to doing everything possible to help students complete their classes given the extraordinary circumstances facing our country. 

*International students must register in 12 degree applicable/transferable units in Fall 2020 and still need to complete the Spring 2020 incomplete class within a year.


 

Q: I am taking a supplemental class (non-degree applicable class such as ENGL-020, MATH-020, 060, 075, 076, 078 etc.) attached to a core class (ENGL-120, MATH-120, 160, 175, 176, 178 etc.)  I want to drop the supplemental class because it is now converted to online and I am doing everything by myself anyway.
A: If those classes require concurrent enrollment, for example ENGL120 and 020, you cannot drop the supplemental class only as they were designed to take together. 

As long as you still have 12 units of degree applicable units in Spring 2020, you may drop the class. - (Updated April 2, 2020)

 

Q: I need a tutor. 
A: Online tutoring is available at Grossmont College.

 

Q: How do I speak with a counselor about my academic plan? Do you have a live chat?
A: Counselors will be having sessions online through E-SARS as well as Zoom. 

 

Q: I heard the Summer and Fall 2020 semester classes will be offered online as well due to Coronavirus pandemic. Is that true?
A: In summer 2020, Grossmont College will offer 6-week session from June 22 to July 30,  2020, all online classes. There will be very limited classes offered. Class schedule will be out by the end of April and registration will start in the middle of May. Please check your email and Webadvisor account.

For Fall 2020, most of courses will be offered online except for a few Allied Health lab courses (Nursing, Cardiovascular etc.) 

Immigration regulations allow F-1 International students to continue enrolling in full-time load via on-line courses regardless of their current locations, in the U.S. or their home country.

Full time students who left for their home country remain active F-1 visa students with Grossmont I-20 while COVID-19 situation allows them taking online courses. - (Updated May 28, 2020)

 

Q: Can I take a class at another institution because Grossmont College is not offering enough classes due to the COVID-19? - (Updated May 28, 2020)
A: Please refer the Concurrent Enrollment information.

 

Q: I am struggling with online classes. As Fall 2020 will be online instruction again, I want to take a leave of absence until the classes will be offered on-campus. What is the process for the request? -(Updated May 28, 2020)
A: Please contact grossmont.international@gcccd.edu.

F-1 Status

Q: Due to COVID-19, my classes are all online. Am I maintaining F-1 status?
A: Yes, temporarily the US Department of Homeland Security announced it is allowed. Immigration regulations allow F-1 International students to continue enrolling in full-time load via on-line courses regardless of current locations, in the U.S. or their home country. - (Updated May 28, 2020)

 

Q: Due to COVID-19, my second eight week class got canceled and I am having less than 12 units. Am I maintaining F-1 status?
A: Please submit Int'l petition to grossmont.petitions@gcccd.edu including the name and section number of the cancelled class. - (Updated March 26, 2020)

 

Q: Due to COVID-19, my semester-long class has been canceled. Am I maintaining F-1 status? Can I get a refund for this class?
A: If you are still registered in 12 units or more, you are in good status. If the class was cancelled, you get the refund automatically.

If you have less than 12 units because of the cancellation of the class due to COVID-19, full course of study would be waived. Please submit an Int'l petition to grossmont.petitions@gcccd.edu with COVID-19 notation including the name and section number of the cancelled class. The refund wil be made automatically. - (Updated April 17, 2020)

 

Q: Can I drop the class and receive a refund even though the deadline has passed? 
A: Late drops and refunds from Spring 2020 courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis due to extenuating circumstances resulting from COVID-19. Students can make this special request via the college's petition process. However, international student need to have 12 units to keep your F-1 status active.

If you need to drop your classes due to COVID-19 reasons, please follow the Self-Service Drop Steps Instructions. - (Updated April 17, 2020)

Financial

 

Q: My family in the home country has lost their business due to COVID-19 and I'm unable to pay the rest of the Spring tuition signed up for the payment plan. What should I do? 
A: Please contact Nelnet about payment options (https://www.nelnet.com/nelnetforms/emailus) or call 888-486-4722.

You can pay off the tuition balance by the end of semester. Please remember that you wouldn't be eligible to register for Fall classes until you paid Spring balance in full.


Q: My family in the home country has lost their business due to COVID-19 and they cannot send the expenses for my education. Can I apply for off-campus employment to support myself?
A: You may apply for Off-Campus Employment due to Financial Hardship. Please be reminded that it would take 3 or more months to get your application processed and you are not allowed to work until you receive your work authorization card.  

There is no guarantee for jobs under current circumstances as there is a current shelter in home order by the California State Governor.

If you want to apply, collect documents and make an appointment with our international counselor Narges Heidari at narges.heidari@gcccd.edu to go over your I-765 application form. 

 *As Grossmont College has been closed since March 16 until further notice, we are unable to physically collect your application documents. We have to do all the process remotely by exchanging scanned documents.

Please send all the required documents as a scanned format to grossmont.international@gcccd.edu. Make sure to send the 7-pages of Form I-765, 2 of your US passport-size pictures front and back with rest of the documents.

You can download a free app such as the "CamScanner" through your smartphone for quick, easy, and free scanning. - (Updated April 2, 2020)

 

Q: I’ve received a $1,200 stimulus check from the IRS on April 15. Am I qualified for this money as an F-1 international student? - (Updated April 17, 2020)
A: A stimulus check is a payment that a taxpayer receives from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

If you’ve been living in U.S. more than 5 years, having a social security number that is valid for authorized employment (working on campus or on CPT/OPT), and filed tax in 2018 or 2019 as a resident (for tax purposes), you might have received the check. However, this is for a U.S. citizens or a U.S. resident alien (for immigration purposes.) Also, since this is a tax credit, you will need to pay it back to the IRS. We recommend you to talk to your tax preparer to make sure you filed tax correctly. 

IRS Information:  Economic Impact Payment Information Center
                          Determining Alien Tax Status
                          Aliens - Which Form to File
                          References for Foreign Students and Scholars

 

Q: Are there any other resources available? - (Updated March 26, 2020)
A: 
Grossmont College is helping students in need!

Apply now for a Student Equity & Achievement (SEA) Grant.
This is how you do it:
Confirm your BankMobile account: www.gcccd.edu/bankmobile
(You should have received something from BankMobile in the mail at your house with your pin. It came in a green envelope with the words "Your college may have money for you." Due to high demand, the link may not be working right now, but check back later)

Students in need are eligible for up to $500 awards, thanks to available funds and donors.

 

Graduation

Q: I am planning to graduate at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Will I be able to graduate? 
A: As long as you submitted the application for graduation by the deadline March 6th, your degree audit will be reviewed. You will be contacted by an Evaluation Advisor by email before the end of this semester. As we have limited access to verification software, please be patient.

Please make sure that we have your most updated address so that we can mail you your diploma. 

 

Q: I am graduating at the end of this semester and I want to receive my diploma in my home country. What should I do?
A: Evaluation Advisor will let you know by email once they review your degree audit in the next few months. Then, you need to let them know that you want to change your mailing address by submitting the address change form. Please remember that updating your address on the Webadvisor/Self-Service doesn't change your mailing address written on the graduation request form. You must let your Evaluation Advisor know your change of address. - (Updated April 2, 2020)

For your information, your diploma for Spring 2020 will be mailed in September, 3 months after your graduation. For Fall 2020 graduation, diploma will be mailed in March or later.

 

Q: I am graduating at the end of this semester and I forgot to submit the Request for Degree and/or Certificate by the deadline. What should I do?
A: You may submit an Evaluations petition with the request form. - (Updated March 28, 2020)

 

Q: I will be graduating in Spring 2020. Is the Commencement still taking place on June 4? 
A: Grossmont College has decided to have a Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, June 4, 2020 5pm Pacific Time. Please check the link for more information. - (Updated April 9, 2020)  

Health Related

Q: I am very worried about the COVID-19 pandemic. I am scared to leave my house and I cannot focus on my class work at all. Maybe I need to go to a clinic but I don't have my insurance and I am afraid to go outside.
A: The Student Health Services is currently offering Distance Health Consultation for your medical and mental health. The International Student Insurance for COVID-19 information is available.

Q: I think I have COVID, what do I do?
A: It is recommended that you consult with this website by the County of San Diego:

Look at this PDF and see if you have any of these symptoms:Do I need to get get tested?
If you have a doctor in San Diego, please call your doctor. 
If you don't have a doctor, you can also call 2-1-1 on your cell phone and talk to a medical professional who will give you advice and how to seek help if you need to. 
If you have mild symptoms, meaning you aren't feeling well, but still can breathe, you will be asked to stay at home and not talk to anyone for at least 7 days, and the recommended 14 days. 
This is a fact sheet provided by the County of San Diego about COVID-19 in:

 

Center for Disease Control Resources

Q: I'm feel depressed and I need to talk to someone, who do I talk to?
A: To make an appointment with a mental health counselor: Request Appointment

More info found at Grossmont College Student Health Services

OPT (Optional Practical Training)

Q: I am planning to graduate at the end of semester and apply for OPT. What do I do?
A: If you didn't attended the OPT workshop, please contact Narges Heidari at narges.heidari@gcccd.edu to go over the OPT procedure and application. If you've already met her, you should have received an email from Narges detailing the process and timing. 

Please remember that you need to submit all the documents to the International Admissions and Records Office first in order to obtain an updated I-20 with OPT information. Don’t send your application packet to USCIS without a new OPT I-20!

*As Grossmont College has been closed since March 16 until further notice, we are unable to physically collect your application documents. We have to do all the process remotely by exchanging scanned documents.

Please send all the required documents as a scanned pdf format to grossmont.international@gcccd.edu. Make sure to scan the 7-pages of Form I-765, 2 of your US passport-size pictures front and back with rest of the documents.

You can download a free app such as the "CamScanner" through your smartphone for quick, easy, and free scanning. - (Updated April 2, 2020)

 

Q: I am currently on OPT but my employer closed the business. What do I do?
A: Please ask your employer if you can still work (or volunteer) remotely from home to keep your working hours. If your employer no longer was able to keep you, you need to:
1) contact us at Grossmont.international@gcccd.edu and 
2) start recording your unemployed hours. You are only allowed to accrue 90 days of unemployment.

 

Q: I was employed under my OPT status until now but I was laid off and am currently unemployed due to COVID-19. Can I apply for unemployment benefits?  
A. Student under OPT who is unemployed due to COVID-19 should contact the local or state employment agency for more information. 

Employment Development Department (EDD) in California: 
https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/Disaster_Unemployment_Assistance.htm

*Make sure to keep recording your unemployed hours. You are only allowed to accrue 90 days of unemployment. - (Updated April 9, 2020)

 

Petitions


Q: I need to submit a petition but I cannot find the form.
A: Petitions are available online on the Admissions and Records website.

 

Q: Since the campus office is closed, how can I submit my petition and find out the result? 
A: Petitions can be submitted by email to grossmont.petitions@gcccd.eduPlease be patient for the result and look for announcements from the petition committee. It may take weeks.

 

Q: What is the COVID-19 Late Withdrawal Form? Who can submit it? 
A: The COVID-19 Late Withdrawal Form is for a student who wants to drop classes due to impact of COVID-19 either directly or non-directly. You can request for a refund and committee would review your case. 

Remember, international student needs to have 12 units to keep your F-1 status active. Student who may submit this form needs to be under conditions of the followings: 

  • One of the registered classes was CANCELLED by instructor due to the impact of COVID-19 (i.e. lab class is unable to converted to online platform) 
  • You still have 12 degree applicable/transferrable units after dropping this class
  • The current semester is your last semester at Grossmont College (transferring out to another institution or going back to home country and not planning to return) 

*This form states no additional documentation is required. However, international student needs to submit a statement explaning why you have less than 12 units / need to drop the class.


 

Transfer


Q: I am planning to transfer to a university upon completion of the semester. How would that work? 
A: If you are transferring to another institution after current semester, please email your admission/acceptance letter from the new school and your statement of transferring your SEVIS record to International Admissions and Records Office with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Student ID number
  • Date of birth
  • SEVIS ID number on I-20

As Spring 2020 semester officially ends on June 1, we will transfer your SEVIS records to your new school on or after June 1 upon your request. To obtain a new I-20, please contact your advisor at the new school. - (Updated April 2, 2020)

Fall 2020 transfer date will be on or after the official end date, December 14, 2020. - (Updated May 28, 2020)

 

Q: The school I am transferring to is requesting my transcript from Grossmont College. Where can I order it?  - (Updated April 29, 2020)
A: You can order your transcript from here.
Make sure to check with your new school what's considered as an OFFICIAL transcript. Some schools require transcript directly sent from college. Receiving transcipt via student might be considered as an UNOFFICIAL.

During the college closure since March 16, it is taking more time to mail your transcipt. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Currently, Grossmont College sends electronic transcript to San Diego State University only. We are working on adding electronic options for other schools in the future. Please check the link below for more updates and questions.
https://www.grossmont.edu/student-services/applyenroll/transcripts.aspx

 

Travel, I-20 Travel Signature, Visa

 Q: I left the United States and I don’t have a recent travel signature on my I-20. Will I be able to get back into the United States?
A: The International Admissions and Records Office will email you a supporting letter you can show at the port of entry. Please send email to grossmont.international@gcccd.edu 4 weeks before you return to the United States so that we can get the letter to you in time.

We will work with you to get you an electronic copy of a signed I-20 later. We are working on the details of how that will happen and what is permitted. Please make sure you have filled the International Student Status Check in the email sent on March 20-21 and May 28 for Fall 2020 plan, so that we know which students we need to prepare electronic I-20s for. - (Updated May 28, 2020)

 

Q: I am going back home and not planning to return to Grossmont College for good. What documents do I need to submit?
A: Please fill out the NEW Status Check online for FALL 2020 we emailed you on May 28. Also, please submit the Completion of Studies form. Make sure to check travel advisory before you plan to leave U.S. Travel safe and let us know when you arrive home safely.

Travel advisory is available at COVID-19 Country Specific Information. - (Updated May 28, 2020)

 

Q: Now I am in my home country and finished Spring 2020. Can I come back to resume study in Fall 2020?
A: As long as you kept your Spring 2020 class in full-time and good standing, and you have a valid F-1 visa with travel signature on I-20, you may come back to Grossmont College for Fall 2020. Registration information will be notified by the middle of June by email and on the WebAdvisor. 

 

Q: My parents told me to go back home as I can take all the classes online this Spring. I am planning to come back for Fall 2020 but my F-1 student visa will be expiring before I return to United States. What should I do? What if the U.S. Embassy in my county is still closed to renew my visa?
A: If your visa is expired, you will have to reapply in your home country before you return to the United States. 

As of now, it is unknown if the US Embassy in your country would be open when you reapply. Also, it is not guaranteed that your visa would be granted. If your visa is expiring before you return, it is safe not to leave the U.S.

 

Q: I decided to stay in home country as Fall 2020 will be mostly online classes. As I left the U.S. in March 2020 and plan to return for Spring 2021 in January, I will be out of the U.S. for 10 months. Even my F-1 visa is still valid until June 2023, do I need to get a new visa because I will be out of the U.S. more than 5 months? - (Updated May 28,2020)
A: If you are taking classes outside of the U.S. and maintaining full-time and remain in Active status, while the temporary measures related to COVID-19 are in place, the 5-month temporary absence will not apply. You can still use the valid F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S.

 

Q: It is challenging to take online classes from my home country due to time difference. I want to take a leave of absence in Fall 2020. What should I do? -(Updated May 28, 2020)
A: Please contact grossmont.international@gcccd.edu.

Other Questions


Q: I need to order a transcript and the midterm report to a university as a part of the application but the college is closed. What should I do?
A: Transcript and Verification requests can be sent via online and/or email. Please contact  grossmont.transcripts@gcccd.edu for more information.


Q: Where can I find forms for international students?
A: Forms are available online. Please submit by email at grossmont.international@gcccd.edu. 



Q: I've recently moved to a new residence. How can I report my new address to school? (Updated - May 20, 2020)
A: When you change your address, phone number and/or email address, you must report to school within 10 days of the change by submitting the Address Change Form


Q: I received an email from Bryan regarding filing tax and the deadline is on April 15. Do I still need to file it under current circumstances? (Updated - April 10, 2020)
A: Yes, please fill out the 8843 form by June 15th.

If you have worked at any point in time in 2019, you can use a software program to figure out your taxes. Sprintax and Glacier Prep are 2 programs you can use that will help international students with their tax forms. There is a cost in using these programs. The deadline to file is July 15th. Watch this webinar for more information, presented by Sprintax.


Q: As a F1 visa student, do I get the $1200 stimulus check that was given by the U.S. Government?
A: No, you will need to talk to your tax preparer about how you filed, as the stimulus check excludes students on F visas. Please hold onto it as you may need to file an amendment and need to pay that money back to the IRS. - (Updated - April 19, 2020)


Q: I was only on campus for half of the semester.  Can I get a refund of my parking permit? - (Updated - April 10, 2020)
A: Yes, a 50% refund will be automatically be credited to your account. 


Q: I rented a book from the bookstore. How can I return the book when I'm done with my class? - (Updated - April 10, 2020)
A: You can return your book up until the beginning of Fall 2020 (August 17, 2020)


Q: I registered for classes for Summer 2020 but the bookstore is closed.  How do I buy my books? - (Updated - April 10, 2020)
A: You can buy your books through webadvisor, and the bookstore will ship your book to you, so you don't need to come onto campus to get it.



Q: Is the Social Security Office open for applying social security number for authorized employment? (Updated - April 14, 2020)
A: No, the office is not accepting any mail-in (or in-person) applications from F-1 students at this time. Please wait till it opens again after the pandemic.


Q: What is the semester schedule for Fall 2020?  - (Updated - May 29, 2020)
A: Fall 2020 is from August 17 though December 14, 2020. 
Spring 2021 is from Februray 1 through June 7,  2021.
Academic Calendar is available here

 

 

Last Updated: 05/29/2020
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