Change in COVID-19 Protocols for Global Travel Impacts International Students at IU – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 security protocols for international travel officially took effect on Monday.

This means that anyone entering the United States must provide proof of a negative test within one day of their flight, regardless of their vaccination status. The changes were announced last week after the omicron variant was detected in the United States.

Indiana University said the updated regulations impact international students ahead of vacation. The university’s international services office said fewer international students were planning to return home because there were too many travel uncertainties.

John Wilkerson, acting vice president of the office, said that at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, some students have not seen their families for almost two years. “We have seen and experienced students stranded in the United States or overseas.”

Wilkerson said many have decided not to leave the country for the winter break in part because of the uncertainties surrounding the omicron variant, and that’s also what international students have become accustomed to.

“This is really the very specific challenge that international students face, it’s not that simple for students returning home for vacation in Singapore who can now enter Singapore, but what happens there if in two weeks they can not? So it’s not quite the same as the college student trying to make the same trip to San Diego to get home for vacation, ”Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said that throughout the pandemic, in some ways, international students have had to be more careful with changes in protocols than other students.

“They have come to rely on the information that we disseminate, that the university shares with them, in terms of how best to protect themselves and ensure that they are aware of the challenges they may face and if, in fact they face these challenges, how best to use UI as a resource to best help them overcome them, ”Wilkerson said.

According to the Indiana University website, more than 7,200 international students from 164 countries are enrolled in the university. Wilkerson said the number of people who would stay over the winter break is unknown, but added that IU’s COVID response team continues to increase its resources to prepare.

“The literal social distancing that has occurred has exacerbated a lot of feelings of anxiety and loneliness and, you know, everything we’ve all felt to some degree. But, imagine having these experiences, feeling these feelings, stresses, anxieties and being away from your loved ones for years at a time, ”Wilkerson said.

An IU spokesperson told News 8 the school is encouraging booster shots and will be holding a clinic for students in the coming days. However, so far there are no plans to require callbacks at the university.

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