Triad university officials have spent much of the last week fielding questions from worried international students after new immigration regulations were revealed Monday. The rules bar those students from remaining in the country if their classes are entirely online. 

Maria Anastasiou, the Associate Provost for International Programs at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, says this has added another layer of confusion for students already struggling to make plans for the school year.

“How do they continue their research? Some of them are very close to graduating,” she says. “They're asking ‘should we transfer somewhere else?' But there's no guarantee of their transfer. 'Should we defer?'”

She says several have already done just that. She's advising others to register for at least one hybrid online, in-person class to secure their residency. But, they're worried that if COVID-19 case numbers rise, classes could shift entirely online in the middle of the semester.

“Then they will have to leave. And then, you know, the question is, will they be able to find flights? How quickly will they be able to do that? We don't have guidance right now as to how many days they will have before they depart the U.S.,” Anastasio says. “So there's a lot of unknowns here still.”

UNCG and Wake Forest University have issued statements in support of their international students. And, Wake Forest has joined an amicus brief backing a lawsuit challenging the new regulations. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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