During these times, amid the what-ifs, worries, sadness, and national and worldwide emergencies, the future can seem unclear for many.
With classes being moved online for the rest of the spring semester at Gonzaga and coronavirus affecting the world by halting travel in and out of the country, the question remains, what about the international students at GU?
“Every student’s situation is different,” GU’s website repeatedly stated on the ‘frequently asked questions’ page regarding the measures GU is taking with coronavirus.
For many international students, going home is not an option. Whether the travel ban prohibits students from going home or students have a fear of contracting the virus while traveling or picking up coronavirus at home, some international students are stuck.
President of International Student Union Ines Marti Devlox said many international students she has talked with are feeling uneasy about their situation.
“Like anyone else, international students are surely worried about what this global pandemic means for them," Devlox said. "However, many of us have different concerns. Do we stay in the U.S.? Do we go back home? How do we keep our student visas with the new online school system?"
These questions are still up in the air for many international students and with new restrictions regularly implemented, uncertainty exists.
“Most of them [international students] seem pretty confused," Devlox said. "It’s a scary process and not knowing what exactly we are doing is intimidating when most of us are here on student visas."
According to President Donald Trump’s travel ban, announced March 11, people will be unable to travel in and out of the United States from Europe for 30 days. The U.S. has enforced a travel ban on China since January in hopes of preventing the spread of the outbreak.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has closed all food operations and suggested heavy restrictions, such as social distancing and canceling social gatherings with over 10 people.
According to an email from GU President Thayne McCulloh on Tuesday, GU’s on-campus residential facilities will formally "close" for the semester on March 27. Students are to move their belongings out of their rooms no later than April 13. However, if students are unable to do so, they can contact the Housing Office at (509) 313-4103.
For international students looking to travel home, GU is working on a plan. The school is also working on a plan to provide students in regards to summer plans, if the virus continues to worsen.
“Gonzaga University is working on a contingency plan in case it is recommended for students to not return to their home country over summer vacation," GU's website said. "As the summer approaches, we will reach out to impacted students, if necessary."
As for future gatherings, their status is unclear. With events like graduation, no decision has been made yet.
“At this time, I have no information about commencement ceremonies,” Harmon said.
GU is collaborating with all international students to ensure they graduate.
“Regarding individual student’s requirements to graduate, we will work with each student individually to support them through this challenging time and address things on a case-by-case basis,” Harmon said.
GU has posted information regarding different situations of international students on its website at www.gonzaga.edu/about/offices-services/emergency-preparedness/zagready/hazard-specific-resources/coronavirus#internationalstudent.
If you are an international student and worried about future plans, GU staffers encourage you to contact International Student & Scholar Services at email@example.com or set up an appointment with your international student adviser.