Dear HB Artists, Friends, and Colleagues,
We were shocked and disappointed to learn of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) July 6th directive which states that, starting in Fall 2020, international students on F-1 visas whose classwork is wholly online will no longer be allowed to remain in or enter the United States. The news was sudden and is raising confusion and concern across the educational sector. New York State has not yet cleared New York City’s cultural and educational organizations for reopening. Our theater work requires interactive and vocal practices that amplify the transmission of the aerosols that are known to spread COVID-19.
HB Studio is resolutely committed to supporting the international students affected by this policy. We will do everything we can to ensure that we are meeting SEVP standards and requirements and that students are able to continue their studies at HB without interruption. The artists from abroad who work and study with us are essential to the character, culture and ethic of our Studio, of our city, and of the world we wish to foster. We are working with our colleagues in the academic community to understand the full implications of the directive and to frame reasonable and safe solutions for “hybrid” (online + on-site) study for our full-time students. Our International Student Office will help address your questions and concerns, and we will keep you informed as we learn more. In adjusting to these guidelines HB will put the health and safety of its students, and its community of artists, first. As previously planned, HB Studio will host its regular suite of studio classes online.
In responding to the current pandemic, the cultural and educational communities have worked tirelessly and responsibly to adapt their programs in accordance with public health guidance and the evolving understanding of the virus. HB Studio joins its University colleagues in urging the Department of Homeland Security to continue a more flexible approach to visas for international students for the Fall 2020 semester.
Executive & Artistic Director