From: International Student Services
Date: March 17, 2021
Subject: ISS News, March 17, 2021: Surveillance Testing, Career Prep Virtual Events, Global Citizen Award Nominations, Tax Info, OPT & CPT Workshops, Pitch CWRU, Wellness Events, Good Vibes, & More


March 17, 2021


in this issue:

  1. OPT & CPT Workshops
  2. Features
  3. Campus Happenings
  4. Other Opportunities
  5. Good Vibes Only
  6. Survey: Pandemic's Impact on International Students
  7. Understanding USCIS Flexibilities for OPT
  8. Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year
  9. Surveillance Testing- What Everyone Needs to Know


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.

surveillance testing image

Surveillance Testing- What Everyone Needs to Know

Who needs to be tested through the university’s COVID-19 surveillance testing?

Anyone coming to campus in any capacity, even if just for a few minutes, needs to get tested. Case Western Reserve students—including graduate, professional and commuter students—as well as faculty and staff must follow this policy.

Even if you’ve been partially or fully vaccinated, you still need to complete the weekly COVID surveillance testing.

The only exceptions to testing at this time are individuals who:

  • Have had a positive PCR test for COVID-19 in the past three months;
  • Are in isolation or quarantine, as directed by University Health Services or a public health department; or
  • Are having symptoms of COVID-19. (If you’re experiencing symptoms, do not come to campus; call University Health Services at 216.368.2450 for next steps.)

What exactly does “coming to campus” mean?

For COVID surveillance testing purposes, “coming to campus” means entering a Case Western Reserve University building at any time—including student housing, administrative offices, classrooms, labs, services, fitness centers, dining facilities or any other CWRU-managed or -owned buildings. (If you’re only accessing a parking lot, you do not need to get tested.)

Bottom line: If you use a CWRU ID card to enter the building, you need to be tested—even if you’re only entering the building for a few minutes, such as to pick up a book or stop by a lab, and even if you don’t have any interaction with others.

When—and how often—do I need to get tested?

You can come for testing any weekday, 6 a.m.–6 p.m., during the week you’re on campus. The week is defined as Saturday through Friday, as testing isn’t available on weekends.

While testing is mandatory, you do not have to be tested or receive your result before taking part in your planned campus activities.

What is the test?

The university uses a company called Vault Health to provide a saliva—not a nasal swab!—test. The test, RT-qPCR, detects specific genes from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. After you provide a sample of your saliva, the virus’s genetic material is extracted, and a laboratory test looks for these specific genes. If they are detected, the test is considered positive (that is, you are positive for SARS-CoV-2).

How do I sign up for a test?

Visit to schedule your appointment. (This link also is available on the university’s COVID-19 website,, for easy reference.)

Walk-in appointments also are accepted, but you must arrive no later than 5:40 p.m. for a walk-in test.

Where do I go for testing?

Testing is offered at the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center on Adelbert Road. If you’ve never been there, here’s where it’s located on campus.

Where can I park?

Free parking is available in the adjoining Veale Parking Garage (Lot 53) if you’re getting a test. Simply let the parking attendant know you’re there for your mandatory COVID test.

What do I need to do before testing?

We recommend you hydrate well in the hours before the test to make sure you have enough saliva for the test—but do not eat, drink (including water), smoke, chew gum or vape 30 minutes prior to your appointment.

Why do I need to get tested?

Testing represents another one of several measures—along with masking, physical distancing, sanitation, and more—we are taking to try to protect the campus community at a particularly perilous phase of the pandemic. Each measure helps reduce risk and keep our friends and loved ones safer.

OPT and CPT workshop branding telling students to check the schedule

OPT & CPT Workshops

ISS is offering Optional Practical Training (OPT) and CPT Workshops to go over in detail the application process, student responsibilities, and other important considerations.

Being well informed before applying for either authorization is extremely important and applying early is critical!

USCIS is publishing that it takes 3-5 months to process submitted OPT applications. Plan to complete a required OPT workshop as early as possible to be best prepared. Remember, you do not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT!

You do need to have a job offer before applying for CPT authorization and you are not eligible to begin your experience until you have proper authorization in place. It can take several days to become authorized.

Virtual workshops led by an advisor have been scheduled and information about required registration, attendance, and the application process can be found on our website under the OPT and CPT sections.

USCIS Update on OPT graphic

Tax Information for 2020 Filing Year

tax time clip art

Tax Deadline in April: Forms & Sprintax Availablity

Sprintax is a tax-return-preparation software program designed primarily for international students and other educational visa holders. It can help you prepare your U.S. federal income tax return and assist you in preparing Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.

You may access Sprintax and begin preparing your tax return by following these steps:

  1. Register and follow the simple instructions
  2. Complete the online questionnaire
  3. Enter Case Western Reserve University’s unique code.  This code was sent to you via email on February 17.
  4. Sprintax will prepare your tax return

If Sprintax determines that you are required to file state taxes, you will have the opportunity to prepare those state taxes. You are not required to use Sprintax to file state taxes but, remember, it is your responsibility to comply with the law and properly file all taxes.

If by now, you haven't received your W-2 from CWRU, contact Payroll at If you were authorized to work for another employer, you should contact their payroll department.

For more information regarding the 1098-T, please visit Financial Services website to download the Nonresident Alien 1098-T Request Form.

1042-S forms will be prepared by mid-March and sent to students by Payroll. Please contact Payroll if you have questions about the issuance of your 1042-S.

There is more on our website called Information on Filing Taxes and if you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat function or email  ISS staff members cannot advise you on your questions, which is why we partner with the experts at Sprintax.

image from Sprintax's blog at
Sprintax logo

Sprintax Offers Tax Webinars to Prepare for Tax Filing Season 2020 

ISS partners with Sprintax to provide international students, who are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes, with expert assistance when filing their US taxes.

The Sprintax team will be hosting a series of free open tax webinars to provide helpful information around non-resident tax filing obligations.

You can find the details and registration links below for each (these are all in EST). 

The informational webinars will cover the same topics on each occasion:

  • An overview of tax for nonresident students and scholars
  • Who must file a 2020 US tax return
  • What income forms students/scholars may receive
  • Forms that need to be completed and sent to the IRS
  • We cover terms like FICA, ITIN and Form 1098-T
  • What happens if students don’t file, or misfile
  • State tax returns
  • IRS stimulus payments
  • Sprintax overview
survey image

Participate in a Study about the Pandemic's Impact on International Students

Dear Friend,

We trust you and others are staying safe and healthy, and are glad that you are back in school after the interruption because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose of this research study is to understand the impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic on international students. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are conducting this study. The questionnaire should take 5-10 minutes to complete. If you are willing to participate, please click on this survey link:

Thanks in advance of your participation in this study.


May Lin                                                                           Sena Narendran


Etiquette Events Flyer 2021
Global citizen award flyer

Global Citizen Award Nominations are Open

The Center for International Affairs invites the university community including faculty, staff and currently enrolled students, to submit nominations for the 2021 Global Citizen Awards.

The awards honor outstanding students, faculty or staff, campus partners and student organizations that enhance the international student experience, create a sense of community and champion internationalization at Case Western Reserve University.

Winners of the Global Citizen Awards will be announced during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, April 22.

Completed nominations are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 26, 2021.

You can learn more and make a nomination here:

the future of immigration, daca, opt & legal rights flyer

If You Were Unable to Attend Last Week's Presentation, You Can View it Now.

Study Abroad Deadlines
CLE Bucket List Flyer

Campus Happenings

Pitch CWRU logo

Submit Your Big Idea to the Pitch CWRU Competition

image from UCS campus groups page

Upcoming Student Wellness Groups

The programs below are held virtually and open to all CWRU, CIA, CIM and KSU Podiatry undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Zoom links will be sent after registration. 

writing collage crop

Call for Nominations- Teaching Awards for Writing Instruction

SAGES and the Writing Program are pleased to announce that they are seeking nominations for two awards for excellent writing instruction. These awards honor faculty who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to and success in teaching academic writing to CWRU students.

Please consider nominating faculty for one of the following teaching awards here: Teaching Awards for Writing Instruction (2021).

All nominations are due by Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Winners will be honored with recognition by the Writing Program and a monetary award.

The Jessica Melton Perry Award for Distinguished Teaching in Disciplinary & Professional Writing

This award recognizes teaching that has contributed to the development of student writing within academic and professional fields across the university (other than English). Nominees can be tenure-track or non-tenure track regular faculty currently employed in any school or college of CWRU. This award is designed to recognize instructors who have helped their students publish academic/scholarly work, instructors/mentors of graduate/professional students, and/or instructors of SAGES Departmental Seminars and Senior Capstones (where discipline-specific writing is taught).

The SAGES Excellence in Writing Instruction Award

This award is given annually to an instructor in the SAGES program who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to and success in teaching academic writing to CWRU undergraduates. Nominees may be at any rank, from graduate student writing instructor through tenured full professor, but they must have provided substantial writing instruction as part of one or more SAGES seminars during the previous or current academic year. This award is designed to recognize faculty working in SAGES First and/or University Seminars.

Please contact Martha Schaffer ( with any questions.

clip art of diverse people

Cleveland Humanities Festival 2021 explores why identity matters, especially in a reshaped world

The 2021 Cleveland Humanities Festival explores “Identity” from a variety of humanistic perspectives. The festival, taking place in March and April, addresses basic questions about why identity matters, especially in a world reshaped by pandemic and economic distress. The question of how we identify ourselves, always important, takes on added significance now. Read more.

lab dish with pink liquid

Plan Your Research Experience with SOURCE

Ready to start looking for research and creative project opportunities? Attend an upcoming 50-minute information session offered by Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors.

These sessions provide you with the basic information for finding research on and around CWRU during the academic year and provides some guidance for students looking for summer research.

All times are Eastern time unless otherwise noted.

  • Friday, March 19, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, March 29, 8:30 a.m.

  • Thursday, April 8, 4 p.m.

  • Friday, April 16, 8:30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m.

  • Monday, April 26, 8:30 a.m.

All workshops will be conducted via Zoom.

Register for an upcoming workshop in Handshake.

Other Opportunities

brite winter logo from

Brite Winter

Brite Winter is the premier Cleveland event between New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day and a showcase for Northeastern Ohio’s artists, musicians, and creative culture.

Brite Winter marries fire, participatory art, food, music, and games to build community while helping us embrace the cold winter months.

Learn more about this year's virtual line up for the final event on April 9, 2021!

Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge logo

Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Trail Challenge, a guest led program where you discover new trails throughout Cleveland Metroparks on your own, move to better health, discover the wonders of nature, and earn awards along the way! 

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!

rollin' wild clips, image from

Round Animals!  WHAT?

deer drawn like corn

What if They Looked Like Vegetables!