From: International Student Services
Date: December 16, 2020
Subject: ISS News, December 16, 2020: SEVP Guidance for Spring 2021, Holiday Hours, Winter Driving Tips, Tax Information, Campus Happenings, CDC Winter Holiday Guidance, Good Vibes, & More!


December 16, 2020


in this issue:

  1. Happy Holidays
  2. Important Tax Info: Make Sure You Get Your W-2
  3. Features
  4. Other Opportunities
  5. Good Vibes Only
  6. SEVP Guidance for Spring 2021
  7. Holiday Hours
  8. 6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio
  9. Campus Happenings
  10. Emergency Food Assistance
  11. CDC Guidance for Winter Holidays
  12. GRADS: Waiver of Registration Information


ISS Staff is available to students, without an appointment, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during advising hours:

11am to 3pm- through virtual advising available online

There are no advising hours on Wednesday.


If you need to speak with an advisor outside of our advising hours, please send an email to to schedule an appointment. Please provide your full, legal name and a brief description of the nature of your appointment when you contact us.

happy holidays clipart

Happy Holidays

To Our International Students,

Finals are wrapping up and the temperatures have dropped (a bit anyway!), which means the semester is coming to an end and the holiday season is upon us!

The ISS staff would like to wish all students and their loved ones, whether near or far, a happy holiday season and a happy New Year. In fact, everyone in the Center for International Affairs is wishing you well this holiday season! If you're traveling, be safe, and if you're staying locally, enjoy your time in Cleveland!  

This will be our last ISSNews for 2020! We'll get back to our regular weekly Wednesday editions shortly after the New Year.

We look forward to working with you all and seeing you in the Spring.

Best Wishes,

Mar, Rachel, Adolfo, Alec, Elizabeth, Angie, and Tanya

holiday hours clip art

ISS Availability in December While Working Remotely

ISS began working remotely on Monday, November 30 and will continue to support students while working remotely until January 4, 2021. As plans evolve, ISS will continue to provide updates through email and update website content as needed. To read more about our services while working remotely, please review the message sent on November 23.

Please also take note that the university will be closed Thursday, December 24 - Friday, January 1. ISS staff will not be available during this period.  
 If you have an emergency situation, please follow the protocol described on our website.

ISS and the university will resume operating hours on Monday, January 4, 2021.

cwru sign on binary walk way

SEVP Guidance for Spring 2021

I write with news about the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) Spring 2021 Guidance.  Inside Higher Education published an article reporting that the federal guidance for fall 2020 will remain the same for spring 2021.  A spokesperson for SEVP, Carissa Cutrell was quoted as saying, “Nonimmigrant students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020.”

The continuation of this guidance will allow schools and students to engage in distance learning that exceeds regulatory limits while public health and safety concerns exist due to the pandemic.

The federal  COVID-19 guidance on the ICE website has not yet been updated regarding Spring 2021 plans, but NAFSA, a nonprofit organization of international educators that advances international exchange, sent messaging to its stakeholders today confirming SEVP’s plans.  As our office learns more, we will continue to update you.  Please check your email regularly, as well as ISSNews and our Communication Corner.

For now our website features the existing fall 2020 guidance on the Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVP) Updates page, and we encourage all students to review this information. We will add any new information that becomes available regarding the Spring 2021 semester.

We know that the Fall 2020 semester has been challenging and that you have all been very concerned about SEVP’s decisions for Spring 2021.  Thank you for your patience and grace in handling this difficult time.  We hope that the news in this message offers some relief and lifts your spirits as you proceed through final exams.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay in touch with ISS so that we can continue supporting you!


Best Regards,

Marielena Maggio, M.A.
Director, International Student Services, PDSO & ARO

images of fresh food with information about emergency food assistance

Emergency Food Assistance

Emergency food assistance will be available for students in a pick-up and go format. Food boxes for current undergraduate and graduate students will be provided by Church of the Covenant thanks in partnership with the UDC student organization UPCaM and the Office of Thwing Center Engagement and Operations. To arrange for a box of nonperishable food items or refer a student in need please contact Shelley Nelson-Bridger (

w-2 image

Important Tax Info: Make Sure You Get Your W-2

Every year, ALL individuals in F and J status must file taxes- including spouses, young children- even if they haven't earned any income!

The W-2 is a critical document for properly filing taxes. Every year between January and February, the university generates W-2 documents for individuals who have earned income from CWRU.

When your W-2 is generated, it's sent to your Permanent Address as listed in SIS. Please take a moment to verify that your correct Permanent Address is listed in SIS (make any updates as needed by December 15) to ensure that you'll receive your W-2.

If your Permanent Address is current, but you would prefer to have your W-2 sent to another address, it is necessary for you to include that address under the W-2 Override option in SIS no later than December 15. Using the W-2 Override function will maintain the integrity of your Permanent Address information and ensure that you receive your W-2 at the different, preferred address.

Please contact Payroll if you have questions about receiving your W-2.

don't forget written on post it notes

Grads: Waiver of Registration Information

If you are a graduate student planning to submit a Waiver of Registration , it is essential that you understand the impact of this decision on your visa status. The Waiver of Registration is an administrative process of the university, but does not fulfill federal regulations that stipulate a requirement to be properly registered at all times. Proper registration is required to maintain your visa status and if you are not properly registered, you need to take other steps to maintain your visa status.

Keep in mind:

  • By virtue of submitting a Waiver of Registration, ISS is obligated to shorten the length of your I-20 to reflect the Drop/Add deadline. Your legal status in the US actually becomes shorter because it is now based on this Drop/Add deadline rather than your future intended graduation date.
  • In order to maintain your visa status after submitting a Waiver of Registration, you must, in a timely manner, either apply for OPT or make arrangements to begin a new academic program.

OPT applications must be submitted within the 60 day grace period following the new Drop/Add deadline. Don't forget, it takes an average of 90-120 days for an OPT application to be processed. If you wait too long to apply, you're not likely going to be authorized for your full 12 months of OPT.

If you intend to begin another academic program, to maintain your current F-1 status (and SEVIS record), your new academic program must start within 5 months of the Drop/Add deadline. Any program beginning later than 5 months will result in you falling out of status.

If you do not intend to maintain your status either through OPT or continued education, you are required to leave the United States within 60 days of the Drop/Add deadline. Remaining in the US beyond the 60 day grace period can have extremely negative consequences such as fines and being barred from the US in the future.

Please get in touch with ISS if you have additional questions or concerns. We are here to help!

CDC Guidance for Winter Holidays

celebrating winter holidays flyer from CDC
celebrating winter holidays flyer from CDC
celebrating winter holidays flyer from CDC
celebrating winter holidays flyer from CDC

6 Tips for Winter Driving in Northeast Ohio

snow driving from


CLE Bucket List Flyer
tink in winter

Winter Programming and Information

Although much of the Case Western Reserve University student community will be finishing the semester remotely, the university will still be providing events, activities, support resources, dining options and some facility access to students who are staying on/nearby campus for all or part of the winter break.

Campus Happenings

Spoke English Programs (SELP) Winter 2020 Seminars

For students on campus or overseas, the Spoken English Programs (SELP) will offer a Seminar during Winter Break to help them enhance their spoken English skills- December 17 – January 7.

Free – join any time you are available

Fast and Fluent Seminar

Thursdays 9:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. US EST

Learn the basic skills of:

· Linking, Reductions

· Trimming, Stress

· Intonation for Spoken English

These skills will help you improve your spoken English and better understand native speakers.

At the end of each session, we will review sentences, questions, and phrases that you use often.

Contact Elise at for the Zoom Link!

You can find more information about the Spoken English Programs here:

cookie decorating and carol singing flyer
schedule for veale gym
university circle shuttle schedule

Winter Service Changes for University Circle Shuttles

Shuttle riders are encouraged to use the TransLoc app for real-time shuttle information and service alerts. Masks are required while waiting for and while riding University Circle shuttles. No University Circle shuttles operate on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Visit the uGO shuttle page for more information and contact 216-791-6226 with any questions. 

Other Opportunities

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Winter Break College Series Contunes

The remaining three sessions in the Winter Break College Series by Cleveland Leadership Center are focused on career readiness and connections. These sessions are also free but do require registration. 

BONUS! Students who register and attend all three sessions will be entered into a drawing to win one of three $100 Amazon gift cards!

Make the most of the networks around youLearn to maximize the time you are spending with family and friends this winter break to get ahead in your internship and job search.

Date: Wednesday, December 16

Time: 4:00 - 5:00pm

Location: Virtual Zoom (link upon registration)

Register Here!

Sector Connect: Finance; Marketing; Engineering – Students have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Finance, Marketing, and Engineering industry sectors to discuss the local job markets, internship opportunities, and career paths. The session is designed for small group connection to kickstart growing your network!

Date: Wednesday, January 6

Time: 4:00 - 5:00pm

Location: Virtual Zoom (link upon registration)

Register Here!

Sector Connect: Nonprofit; Accounting; Healthcare - Students have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Nonprofit, Accounting, and Healthcare industry sectors to discuss the local job markets, internship opportunities, and career paths. The session is designed for small group connection to kickstart growing your network!

Date: Wednesday, January 20

Time: 4:00 - 5:00pm

Location: Virtual Zoom (link upon registration)

Register Here

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ENGL 147 flyet
2021 Pitch Contest flyer

Good Vibes Only

During this very challenging time, ISS staff wants you to know that we are thinking about you- hoping you are safe, healthy, staying positive- and sending out good vibes!

In this section, we are including some things that we hope will make you laugh and smile, help you relax, be entertaining, give you something to do, etc.

This is a good vibes only section!

eclipse performers performing a rudolph the red-nosed reindeer mash up with Hamilton

Hamilton / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mashup... Hamildolph! add about 2020

Ryan Reynolds and Taylor Swift Make a Dating App Commercial that Perfectly Captures 2020