BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 safety protocols for international travel officially went into effect on Monday.
This means that anyone entering the US, regardless of vaccination status, must have a negative test within one day of their flight. The changes were announced last week after the Omicron variant was discovered in the United States.
Indiana University said the updated regulations will affect international students before the vacation. The university’s International Services Office announced that fewer international students plan to go home because of too many travel insecurities.
John Wilkerson, the bureau’s interim vice president, said at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, some students had not seen their families for nearly two years. “We have seen and seen students stranded either in the United States or abroad.”
Wilkerson said many chose not to leave the country for the winter break, partly because of the uncertainties surrounding the Omicron variant, and it is exactly what international students have become used to.
“That is really the very special challenge that international students face. It’s not that easy for students who are returning to Singapore for vacation and can now enter Singapore, but what if they can’t go back in two weeks? So it’s not quite the same as the student trying to take the same trip to San Diego to go home for the vacation, ”said Wilkerson.
Wilkerson said throughout the pandemic, in some ways, international students had to be more attentive to changing protocols than other students.
“They rely on the information that we post and that the university shares with them to best protect themselves and to make sure they are aware of the challenges they are facing and when they actually are.” They face themselves these challenges, how best to use IU as a resource to best meet them, ”said Wilkerson.
According to Indiana University website, more than 7,200 international students from 164 countries are enrolled at the university. Wilkerson said how many will stay during the winter break is unknown, but added that the IU’s COVID Response Team continues to replenish resources to prepare.
“The literal social distancing that has taken place has exacerbated many feelings of fear and loneliness and, you know, everything we’ve all felt to some extent. But imagine you have these experiences, you feel these feelings, these stresses, these fears, and you have been repressed by loved ones for years, ”said Wilkerson.
An IU spokesman told News 8 that the school is encouraging booster injections and will be hosting a clinic for students in the next few days. However, there are currently no plans to require boosters at the university.