I already have a valid US F1 visa but I'm stuck in my home country and am waiting for the international flights to resume. Not certain they will resume in the next month or two.
My department also gave us the option to defer to either Spring or next Fall. They said they will be designing some classes for the Spring if a sizable number the first-year cohort cannot make it this Fall.
And, yeah, I don't want to waste any more time as well. I will be 28 later this year, and I don't want my PhD to be pushed a year further. Also, I am finishing my job contract next month, so job opportunities look grim to occupy me for the Fall.
I very much prefer in-person classes to online classes, and am not sure if I will want to take classes online. May be take one course if not three. But I am also thinking it would be good to start reading related research papers and even start with Mas-Colell and Greene books if I will need to wait for the next five months.