The United States announced Friday, July 24, that it will not take in any new foreign students seeking online-only study.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced the policy change in a statement on Friday. This announcement comes a week after the agency rescinded a hotly contested order to expel those already in the US and preparing for online study because of the pandemic.

ICE has now announced that new foreign students will be barred from entering the United States if they plan to take their classes entirely online this fall.

US President, Donald Trump, has suspended several kinds of visas for foreigners during the coronavirus crisis.

The original policy change of revoking the visas of foreign students whose classes will move online in the autumn was taken to court by top universities including Harvard and MIT, teachers unions, and at least 18 states. This made ICE rescind its decision on July 14.

That measure had been seen as a move by Trump to put pressure on educational institutions that are adopting a cautious approach to reopening amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

President Trump is eager for schools at all levels to reopen with in-person classes as a sign of a return to normality.

Harvard has said all its classes for the 2020-21 academic year will be conducted online, “with rare exceptions.” However, most US colleges and universities have not yet announced their plans for the fall semester.


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