Please see below the guidance from USCIS for COVID-19 updates for students on OPT/STEM OPT.
4. Due to COVID-19, what is SEVP’s advice to students who want to apply for OPT? Is there any chance that students would be able to apply for post-completion OPT from outside the United States?
A. DHS is evaluating these issues and may issue additional guidance. In the meantime, since USCIS adjudicates OPT employment authorization requests, SEVP recommends reaching out to USCIS for further guidance.
5. Must students cease engaging in OPT if they are now working fewer than 20 hours a week due to the economic impacts of COVID-19?
A. For the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP considers students who are working in their OPT opportunities fewer than 20 hours a week as engaged in OPT.
6. Should DSOs with students on OPT update the students’ employer addresses in SEVIS with their remote work address? Should DSOs with students on OPT update the students’ employer addresses in SEVIS with their remote work address? For students participating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics extension (STEM) extension, do their Forms I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” need to be updated with their remote work address?
A. No. DSOs should not update the employer address information in SEVIS nor on the Form I-983 for students working remotely.
7. Can F and M students who were previously employed and are now unemployed due to COVID-19 apply for unemployment benefits?
A. Students who are unemployed due to COVID-19 should contact their local or state employment agency for more information.
Unemployment guidelines on OPT and STEM OPT still remain the same-
OPT: 90 days of unemployment
STEM OPT: An additional 60 days of unemployment
For any additional questions or specific questions regarding your case, it is recommended to reach out directly to USCIS since they adjudicate the OPT requests. These are unprecedented circumstances and USCIS (not the DSO office) will issue the guidelines regarding any reporting changes.