Hundreds of international students stuck on a barren Purdue campus

Most of Purdue's 40,000+ students have gone home amid the coronavirus pandemic. However for hundreds of international students, travel restrictions are keeping them in West Lafayette.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 6:47 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — More than 40,000 students have shifted their learning online this week at Purdue University. The sidewalks on campus are empty as many are now learning from back in their hometowns.

However for hundreds of international students, the coronavirus pandemic is keeping them away from home. They're stuck in rented housing still at Purdue.

"Around campus I feel mostly it's international students rather than domestic," said junior Karim El Khoury. " [Domestic students] will come back to move out, but then they go back home."

El Khoury is an international student himself studying industrial engineering from Lebanon. He can't go home, and says his West Lafayette apartment complex is full of international students stuck like him.

"If I had to put all of this into one word, it's uncertainty," said Khoury. "We wake up, we don't know when we will fly back home. When will the airports open? Will the flights allow us to go from one location to the other? It's been hard. It's been very lonely."

Of the nearly 14,000 students staying in University Residence Halls, Purdue reports only about 1,200 needed to stay during this time. Countless other students are staying in various housing across West Lafayette.

"Anyway we cut it, this whole process will be hard," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels in a recorded interview to students. "I'll tell you something else that is hard, and that is looking out these windows and not seeing all of you there."

El Khoury says he is worried what this pandemic will do to his future.

"There's just so much uncertainty for my summer plans and for my after-graduation plans," said El Khoury. "If I'm staying here, will I take courses over the summer or not? Can I graduate early or not?"

The university made it a bit easier on students Tuesday. Purdue will allow Spring 2020 letter grades to be switched to "Pass/No Pass." That means any grade higher than a C- can be switched and not counted toward a student's GPA. However, passing grades will count toward a degree.

El Khoury says the move will help students out academically, but he's worried about their mental health. He says you see an international student around, say 'hello' or smile at them. He appreciates the community welcoming them in these uncertain times.

"We are treated like everybody else, which is so nice."

Purdue is closing nearly all of its academic, research and administrative buildings Wednesday. The exceptions include the Stewart Center (Welcome Center entrance only), Hicks Undergraduate Library, Purdue University Student Health Center and the Purdue Memorial Union.

According to the university , Hicks Undergraduate Library will be monitored and only open to students without WiFi or computer access. Staff will monitor social distancing and will clean throughout the day. It will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The Purdue Memorial Union will have limited lounge seating available from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food service in the union is closed.

There are limited food options at dining courts. Credit cards and meal swipes can be used at Wiley Dining Court, Third Street Market and the food truck at Hawkins Hall for takeout order only.

International students can click here for student services.

West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 82°
Kokomo
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 79°
Rensselaer
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 78°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 80°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 80°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 81°
Quiet Conditions After Yesterday's Storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events