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COVID-19 Updates for KU International Community

Enrolling Students | International Students Study Abroad

Travel | International Community Support  

 Parents | Student Experience 

Last updated Feb. 22, 2021

This spring all KUIA units will remain open virtually. Additionally, several offices will be open for shorten hours for in-person visitors. Virtual and in-person hours are as followed:

International Affairs is open virtually.

Academic Accelerator Program is open virtually. In-person meetings may be scheduled by appointment.

Applied English Center is open virtually from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Office hours and instruction, as well as advising and tutoring appointments, will continue to be held online throughout the spring semester. LEO lab hours will vary.

International Admissions is open virtually. Documents can be delivered in-person by appointment.

International Short Programs is open virtually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

International Support Services is open virtually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Virtual drop-in hours are 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for quick questions and processes taking 15 minutes or less. Appointments can be made at iss.ku.edu. Beginning Monday, Feb. 1, the office will be open to in-person visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday and Thursday for general questions and for picking up and dropping off documents. It will not be open to in-person visits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Passport Office will remain closed until further notice.

Study Abroad & Global Engagement’s front office in 108 Lippincott will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday beginning Monday, Jan. 25. Also, the office will be open virtually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students can schedule appointments by calling the main office at (785) 864-3742 or by using the online scheduling site.

KU COVID-19 Info

Enrolling Students

Undergraduate Students 

Summer Application Deadline:
April 1 application deadline for students outside the United States
May 1 application deadline for students within the United States or planning to study online
Fall Application Deadline:
May 1 application deadline for students outside the United States
June 1 application deadline for students within the United States or planning to study online

International Admissions is committed to offering flexibility to students who are affected by COVID-19 and may extend application deadlines as needed. 

English Testing: Students who cannot provide an English proficiency test score may request an exemption to this admission requirement. Students who are granted an exemption must take the Applied English Center (AEC) Proficiency Test during the online orientation program prior to the start of their online program or their arrival on campus.

Visiting Campus: KU is offering in-person visits along with expanded virtual visit options. 

Here are ways to connect with KU International Admissions:

>> Visit KU

>> Schedule a call online

>> Connect with KU online

>> Take a virtual tour of campus

Graduate Students

Prospective students should reach out to their specific program of interest. 

>>Graduate Program List and Contacts

Check the testing services websites below for the latest information on exam postponements.

What opportunities are available for newly admitted students who may not be able to come to in-person KU due to COVID-19?

KU has online enrollment options for students who want to attend KU, but are unable to leave their home country due to COVID-19. KU has hundreds of high-quality online options that will allow students to begin their academic careers anywhere in the world. Depending on a student’s English proficiency, online options include:

  • Full-time English study through the Applied English Center.
  • Courses focused on KU Core requirements, allowing students proficient in English to begin their freshman year with a solid foundation.

KU has full advising plans to serve a wide range of majors across the humanities, social sciences and STEM fields. These online courses are designed specifically for delivering classes remotely, are aligned with KU Core requirements, and will allow students to earn credits toward their degree.

>> More information on online enrollment option

>> Immigration information for newly enrolled students


International Students 

COVID information related to international students can be found on the ISS website


Study Abroad

Programs for Spring 2021

Study Abroad & Global Engagement is supporting student participation in a limited number of study abroad programs to select destinations during the Spring 2021 semester. 

>> Additional information on the process being followed by Spring 2021 students

Programs for Summer 2021

Domestic and international travel restrictions are loosening as COVID-19 transmission slows in many regions of the world and local communities and national governments successfully implement staged reopening plans. While the risks associated with travel and Covid-19 will continue through the summer term, with meaningful and practical application of risk mitigation strategies, SAGE is planning to offer a limited portfolio of on-site summer programs to students.  

Study Abroad is currently partnering with the KU academic departments and partners abroad on program planning and development for the summer term.  As it works to construct programs that meet both academic and cultural immersion goals as well as the constraints of international travel during COVID-19, it will offer a more limited portfolio of programs, modified to incorporate best practices in mitigating COVID-19 transmission and spread.

>> More information on study abroad and university-affiliated student international travel

Programs for Fall 2021

SAGE is currently planning to offer a full portfolio of study abroad programs in diverse countries during the Fall 2021 semester, provided travel restrictions, public health contexts, and host institution planning permits programs to operate.

>> Fall 2021 programs are currently open and available



If I live outside the United States, will I be able to get a visa to come to KU?

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and began a phased resumption of routine visa services in July. The resumption of routine visa services is occurring on a post-by-post basis, in coordination. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. 

>> More information from the U.S. State Department

What travel restrictions are in place for KU?

Staff, faculty and scholars may travel only if it is essential to fulfilling their job’s core function, or if it provides essential support to the university, such as some research or lab work. Most conference presentations are not considered essential. Any travel request by a university employee must follow all regular university pre-approval processes.

For faculty members and graduate students, essential, time-sensitive fieldwork or other travel may be permitted but requires approval from department chairs or center directors and completion of a safety plan, overseen by the Office of Research, that covers both activities at the site and travel for researchers to and from the site.

Faculty members and graduate students asking for an exemption to the university’s COVID-19 travel restriction should ensure that there are not non-COVID-related Level 3 or Level 4 designations from U.S. State Department or a CDC Level 3 warning (for health issues other than COVID-19) in place for the intended destination. In cases where those warnings are in place, faculty and graduate students need to follow both the process articulated by the Office of Research, as well as KUIA's process for assuming risk for the non-COVID related reasons.

>> More information about academic work in countries with federal travel advisories

Personal Travel

Individuals are encouraged to minimize nonessential travel in keeping with the State of Kansas guidelines. Essential travel includes that which is necessary for urgent and necessary family, medical, and personal business-related needs. Individuals will be expected to follow KDHE travel and quarantine guidelines for travel to high-risk areas. 

If you do plan to travel internationally for personal reasons, KU asks you registered with KU ahead of time. This will enable KU to help and provide tailored support if circumstances around COVID-19 change.

Travel Registration Resources

As a matter of public health and safety, it is important that all travel by members of the university community is registered in advance

For questions related to international travel, contact KUIA in Lawrence, the Office of International Programs at KU Medical Center, or the Office of Global Operations and Security.

>> More information

Americans who are abroad and affected by travel restrictions due to COVID-19, are encouraged to register online so the U.S. government can account for them.


Support for the International Community

Unfortunately, a rise in anti-Asian harassment and discrimination has been documented globally, nationally and locally. KUIA is actively and vocally showing our support for our diverse community and lack of tolerance for racism, bigotry, violence and oppression. KU is not a bubble and our entire community must actively vocalize our support for every member of our wonderful community – at KU, Lawrence, Kansas, the nation and the world. We continue to be 100 percent committed to building and maintaining a diverse community. The value of that diversity and our common humanity and interdependence has only been reinforced by this pandemic. We are in this together and the solutions will include us all.

We have several initiatives in place already, including community discussions with groups that have been the target of harassment and discrimination. The KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA) is vigorously addressing emergency issues. KUIA and Office of Diversity & Equity affirm our support of every member of our community and our opposition of those who espouse hate or seek to blame individuals or groups for this pandemic. A virus does not discriminate based on race, nationality or politics. Our society must stand together.

If needed, the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access remains open and ready to assist students, faculty, and staff with any concerns about harassment and discrimination. Complaints can be filed by emailing ioa@ku.edu, by calling 785-864-6414, or by filling out an online complaint form. Also, KU units have created a resource guide with additional resources and support for the Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.


Parents of International Students

Where can I go to find information on COVID-19 in Lawrence?

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) provides regular updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas and each of its counties. Lawrence is in Douglas County. The KDHE, which is the state organization tasked with responding to COVID-19, also holds regular press conferences and issues state-wide health notices.

>> Kansas Department of Health and Environment

For local updates, visit Douglas County Coronavirus Response Hub. Using information from health agencies and local governments, this site provides information on the daily number of cases in Douglas County.  It also gives information about COVID-related regulations (such as wearing masks in all indoor public spaces) and answers frequently asked questions. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, which is the local agency organizing response efforts in Douglas County, is also a good source of information.

>> Douglas County Coronavirus Response Hub

>> Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health 

For a broader view of what is happening in our community and state, you can read our community’s local newspapers. The Lawrence Journal-World and Kansas City Star provide daily coverage of COVID-19.

>> Lawrence Journal-World

>> Kansas City Star

What should my student do if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified a fever, cough and shortness of breath as symptoms associated with COVID-19. Visit their website to learn more about these symptoms. The site also has a helpful guide to determine if seeking medical care is appropriate.

>> CDC information on COVID-19 Symptoms and Self-Checker

If your student develops a fever and symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, have them call their healthcare provider immediately. Their health care provider will provide guidance on testing. For students who use Watkins Health Services as their health care provider, they should call 785-864-9500. If your student needs to call outside of regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), they can call the Nurse Helpline at 785-864-9583, which is available 24 hours a day.

>> Watkins Health Services COVID-19 Information

Where can my student get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who believes they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and does not have a primary care provider can call the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Coronavirus hotline, 785-856-4343.  Nurses will provide initial screening and if needed, directions on how to get tested.

>> Lawernce-Douglas County Public Health

The Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH Health) is conducting COVID-19 tests. But first, a patient must call their primary health care provider. If a health care provider determines a test is necessary, the patient’s physician will place an order with LMH Health, then direct the patient to the hospital’s testing site, the Respiratory Evaluation Center.

>> LMH Health Information

When can my student get vaccinated?

The State of Kansas' plan details five phases for vaccine distribution. KU will adhere to the guidance of the County and State with regards to vaccination distribution. At this time, KU has not been asked to distribute vaccinations to its campus population, but stand ready to support the County and State should they require help.

>> KU vaccine info

Douglas County residents can complete a survey at dgcoks.org/vaccineinterestform. The form allows residents to indicate their interest in receiving the vaccine and how they want to be notified when the vaccine becomes available. 

>> Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health vaccine info

Student Experience 

In a Zoom panel discussion recorded on June 11, KU international and domestic students shared their experiences adapting to COVID-related challenges during the spring and summer semesters. The panel brought together the perspectives of domestic students who traveled abroad and remained in their host country as well as returned to the United States and the experiences of international students who returned home and those who remained in Lawrence or relocated elsewhere in the United States. The conversation highlighted the creative and resourceful solutions KU students found in meeting the academic and personal challenges presented by COVID-19. 

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