Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED: 3:39 P.M. MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2021







I’ve never taken classes remotely. Where do I start?

The Office of Distance Learning has compiled the Student Guide to Learning Online that includes tools and tips to help students stay connected to your instructors and classmates as well as maximize learning at a distance. The guide includes options for free internet access, instructions on how to use tools like Canvas and Zoom and directions on how FSU students can access free software like IBM’s SPSS.

Is the library open?

FSU Libraries physical locations are open. Hours and locations are available at For the most up-to-date information on the Libraries services, visit

Are Campus Recreation facilities open and are activities available?

Campus Recreation will offer in-person programs and services in Summer 2021. The Leach Recreation Center, Fitness & Movement Clinic, Main Campus Fields, Westside Courts, and the Rez: FSU’s Lakefront Park and Outdoor Center are open for recreation.  Facility operations and programs will prioritize the safety of our students and community, following all University health and safety guidelines.

Walk-in participants are welcome at all Campus Recreation facilities.  No reservations are required, however, capacities are limited at each facility.   Available amenities and activities may also be restricted.  Group Fitness and Intramural Sports offerings will be available throughout the summer with limited class and team sizes. Visit to view available opportunities, register for a program or event, or simply prepare for your visit.

Will services at University Health Services available this summer? 

University Health Services will offer a combination of virtual telemedicine visits and in-person visits, with the visit type matched to the service being provided. UHS will meet students’ needs through virtual services whenever possible to promote social distancing. Face coverings, screening questions and temperature checks will be required upon entry to the building and CDC guidelines for healthcare facilities will be followed. To learn how to schedule an appointment, please visit the UHS web page.

Is there a difference between a course designed for online learning and a course that is traditionally offered face-to-face but is being delivered remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

There is a difference. In a traditional on-campus course, students gather in a classroom with their instructor and engage with learning activities in real time. Interaction between students and instructors is organic and usually very high. This summer, because of the pandemic, some traditional in-person classes are being taught remotely through video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, and FSU’s learning management system, Canvas. These classes are not normally delivered remotely. Remote instruction is an alternative teaching method that allows instructors and students to practice proper social distancing.

Courses developed and delivered online exclusively for distance learning incorporate alternative teaching strategies and instructional design to ensure that students experience interactions with peers and instructors even when learning at a distance. Designing and delivering an online class that offers similar engagement to on-campus courses for students typically takes more time, planning, and effort to create content and develop interactive activities. Faculty use instructional designers, instructor training, media production services, specialized software, and teaching assistants trained to support students in an online environment.

I am enrolled in a distance learning course. Why do I have to pay distance learning fees when students who are taking courses that are being taught remotely do not?

Courses developed and delivered online exclusively for distance learning students are significantly more expensive than their traditional on-campus counterparts. Costs include things like instructional designers, instructor training, media production services, specialized software, and teaching assistants trained to support students in an online environment.

To offset those additional costs, FSU charges a distance learning fee for courses exclusively developed and delivered online. Fees vary by course and consider the cost of curriculum design and development, technology for online delivery, course mentors, and online program support services. Distance learning fees only serve to recover the cost of providing the course online and are not used as a source of revenue.

Traditional on-campus courses do not assess a distance learning fee. Although additional expenses have been incurred to deliver these courses remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, FSU is absorbing these costs in order to prevent students from paying additional, unexpected fees for courses that would not typically have them.

For students enrolled in fully online programs, the distance learning fee is often offset by other fee reductions and waivers. For example, FSU waives student health, transportation, and facilities use fees for distance learning students and significantly reduces athletics and activities/services fees.

I didn’t realize that I enrolled in a distance learning course. The same course is being offered remotely. Can I switch? 

Students who are enrolled in a distance learning course can contact their academic advisor to check availability for a section of the course that is ordinarily offered face to face.

When registering for classes, how do I know if I’m enrolling in a traditional, classroom-based course taught remotely or in a course developed exclusively for online delivery?

When registering for classes in Student Central, note the location field in each course and section. It’s possible for a course to have multiple sections, some offered remotely and some online. Class sections offered remotely will list the location as remote. Class sections designed exclusively for online delivery will list the location as online. If you need help finding remote course sections in Student Central, your advisor can assist you. Academic program specialists with the Office of Distance Learning are also available by emailing

I’m taking classes remotely during the summer semester and miss campus life. How can I stay connected?

‘Return to Student Life’ will continue to offer engagement opportunities and community building for new and returning students throughout the Summer 2021 semester. Check out for virtual health and wellness information, services from the Career Center and the Counseling & Psychological Services, food pantry and case management support as well as links to virtual opportunities to be active, meet about wellness and find engaging things to do online.

My student organization would like to host an event. What are the guidelines?

The Division of Student Affairs has limited student gatherings to 100 persons in a good faith attempt to reduce the number of contacts and exposures that can place our community at risk of spreading the contagion of COVID-19. For more information, visit Guidelines for Events and Gatherings.


Will face coverings be required?  

The University will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The University recommends the use of face coverings while indoors, in accordance with CDC guidance. This represents a shift from the previous face-covering requirement and reflects our substantial efforts to vaccinate the university community, along with a low number of COVID-19 cases on campus.

For additional information on face coverings, visit (May 7, 2021)

I have come in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends self-quarantine or self-isolation only for individuals who were in close contact with a case of COVID-19. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). If you were in close contact with a case of COVID-19 or during the next 14 days feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please seek medical advice and call ahead before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Also, please avoid contact with others, do not travel while sick and avoid using public transportation.

If you did not come in close contact with a case of COVID-19, here are some reminders on how to stay healthy.  Please remember to avoid close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your face, stay home when you are sick, clean frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipes and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Is the university conducting contact tracing on campus? Will I be contacted if I’ve been exposed?

The university’s Secure Assessment for FSU Exposure Response (SAFER) team works with students, faculty, and staff who have been exposed or tested positive for coronavirus. The SAFER Team provides contact assessment for FSU-affiliated cases and makes on-and off-campus referrals for support. The SAFER Team is working closely with the Leon County Health Department, which performs community contact tracing.

If you are exposed while on campus or if you test positive for coronavirus, expect a confidential call from the SAFER Team. Please be prepared to answer SAFER at 644-5555 and the Health Department should they call.

If you are asked to quarantine due to exposure, the SAFER team will help you know when you are approved to return to campus activities.

What is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation?

Quarantining in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but are not yet symptomatic from others who have not been exposed to prevent the possible spread of the disease. Self-isolation means the separation of a person or group known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the disease.

How are common areas being maintained in each building?

Building Services is committed to enhancing, providing, and maintaining clean, safe, and sanitary conditions for all academic, administrative and support buildings. Your assistance in helping us maintain these facilities, classrooms, and workspaces is critical in keeping a safe and clean work environment. All cleaning on campus currently follows CDC standards and utilizes EPA registered cleaning agents, including the wiping down of common area tables/chairs, etc. For more information on general cleaning protocols, visit

Are there any measures being taken regarding the air conditioning system?  

As a precautionary measure, the HVAC air filtration system has been evaluated for all campus buildings. While all systems meet current filtration standards and are deemed extremely low risk for transfer of pathogens, the University has opted to install higher efficiency air filters for additional protection. These high efficiency filters use mechanical and electrostatic filtration and have been demonstrated to protect against water droplets and many aerosol particles released from coughing or sneezing.

Do you have any recommended information on cleaning and disinfection? 

The CDC has provided an easy-to-read printable on workplace, school and home cleaning.


I have some questions for HR. Where should I go?

Visit HR’s COVID-19 Resources page. You can also email your questions to

I am over 65 or have a chronic health condition that puts me at a higher risk of greater illness from COVID-19. What should I do?

All temporary remote work agreements will expire on July 31, 2021. Effective August 1, 2021, the University will return to our standard, pre-pandemic operations, schedules, and staffing levels. Exception requests will be reviewed for approval through normal Central HR processes. Accommodation requests for medical reasons must go through the Reasonable Accommodations process in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) facilitated by HR.

I thought telecommuting with a child at home wasn’t allowed. My kids are home because of the school closures.

Human Resources has temporarily removed any childcare requirements for remote work. Effective August 1, employees should not be solely responsible for providing child/dependent/elder care during their scheduled work hours regardless of the specific work location.

What is the status of research operations?

As the State of Florida has slowly reopened, Florida State University has taken steps to incrementally expand on-campus research operations.  We continue to follow the guidance of local, state, and federal officials to maintain the health and safety of our campus community while also looking for ways to increase our research capacity. Please consult the Office of Research’s website for more information.

What are some ways I can secure my Zoom meetings?

Here are some scheduling options and in-meeting features you can use to secure your Zoom Meetings and limit unwanted disruptions.


Is university-sponsored travel affected? 

All university-sponsored domestic and international travel continues to be restricted, however, effective April 1st, vice president’s approval will no longer be required for travel within the State of Florida. Concur will allow all in-state travel to be processed without an exception.

Are employees restricted from traveling? 

Effective July 1, vice president approval will no longer be required for domestic or international travel. Once the University’s travel system (Concur) is back online following year-end activities, it will allow all travel to be processed without an exception. As a reminder, all air travel must be booked in Concur or over the phone with World Travel Services, Inc. at (855) 967-2818 (M-F, 8 AM-6 PM ET). For questions, please contact

Please note, the Centers for Disease Control issued an Order requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19, for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021. For additional information, visit:

Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick after you return:

  • When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick.

Notify your supervisor if you have experienced COVID-19 symptoms, traveled internationally, or recently been on a cruise. Supervisors can consult with HR regarding the 14-day quarantine period, if needed.

What about travel for student organizations?

Effective April 1, 2021, Student organizations and groups will be permitted to resume approved travel throughout the state of Florida when COVID-19 mitigation strategies are in place and the travel has been approved in advance by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee. Visit for more information.


Florida State University is carefully monitoring developments related to the Coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will provide updated information and guidance as it becomes available. Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

About the Coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

For the latest information on the outbreak, click the link below:

CDC Official Updates

What are the Symptoms?

For confirmed cases, symptoms have ranged from infected people having few to no symptoms to people becoming severely ill. Symptoms appear within 2 through 14 days and can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

What areas are currently affected?

For the latest information on cases in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health. 

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

The virus causing COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person, according to the CDC. Someone who is sick with the virus can spread the illness to others. The virus spreads through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes.

What does exposure mean?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure is defined as being within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (such as caring for or visiting a patient) or having unprotected direct contact with a patient, such as being coughed on or touching a used tissue with a bare hand.

How is it prevented?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

For more information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing site.

What is FSU doing to prevent coronavirus?

Florida State University is taking aggressive steps to prevent the spread of disease, such as COVID-19, by promoting healthy habits and enhancing its existing cleaning and disinfection practices. This cannot be achieved without the help of the entire campus community. First and foremost, this means engaging in healthy habits such as washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; covering your cough or sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding those who are sick; and staying home when you are sick. Signage promoting this is posted throughout campus.

University partners including Facilities, Recreation, Housing, and others have reviewed cleaning protocols and products and are taking extra measures to disinfect frequently touched areas like doorknobs, stair rails, elevator buttons and other surfaces (such as exercise equipment and classroom AV equipment). High traffic areas such as student housing, libraries, dining halls, bathrooms, locker rooms, as well as recreation centers also receive more cleanings. Additionally, Star Metro buses are cleaned daily and being deep cleaned weekly.

University units that would like to contribute to the ongoing prevention efforts are able to purchase reasonable supplies for disinfection and sanitizing their areas. 

Will getting the flu shot help?

The flu shot will not prevent coronavirus; however, people with the flu are more susceptible to other illnesses, so a shot is still recommended.