Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED: 4:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2020


ACADEMICS/STUDENT LIFE

TRAVEL

EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19


ACADEMICS/STUDENT LIFE

Are classes moving online?

Beginning at the end of the day on Friday, March 20, Florida State University moved from face-to-face to online instruction and other alternative methods. This shift to online instruction includes the FSU Panama City campus. In addition, all courses for FSU’s Summer Sessions A, B, F, and Law (8 week) will be conducted remotely in adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing protocols and guidance from the State University System of Florida. A decision about Summer Session C, which begins Monday, June 22, will be made at a later date. At this time, no decisions regarding the 2020 fall semester have been made.

Does that mean the residence halls will be closed?

Residence halls are closed to visitors and for those residents who departed for spring break. Those students who remained in residence halls during spring break and did not travel outside of the Tallahassee area will be allowed to remain in the residence halls through the end of the semester. However, they will not be allowed to return to their residence hall if they travel away from Tallahassee for any reason before the end of the semester.  Students who departed Tallahassee for spring break should not return to campus for any reason until further noticeSpecific instructions for the retrieval of personal belongings from campus and residence hall move-out will be announced at a later date. 

Will we get a refund for housing and dining services? 

Florida State will implement a refund plan for students no longer utilizing those services with March 23 being considered the last possible day of service. For University Housing residents, we will refund the respective spring semester rate per individual resident based on their number of unutilized bed nights and the specific rate for the residence hall in which they lived. For students on the Residential Dining Services All-Access Meal Plan, we will refund the respective spring semester rate per unused days and Flex Bucks. Block Meal Plans will be refunded based on the unused meal balance and Flex Bucks. Garnet Bucks will automatically roll over based on the Meal Plan Terms and Conditions. More information is available here.

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 temporarily gain free access to Adobe Creative Cloud and IBM SPSS.

Is the FSU Testing Center Open? 

The main campus Testing Center is closed and will remain closed through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. In the absence of on-site, live proctored testing, instructors may be using a variety of methods to assess their students during the closure. Some instructors may opt to use Honorlock, an online proctoring service used commonly in online and distance learning courses to ensure academic integrity. Instructors choosing to use Honorlock will communicate instructions to their students. Students who are facing challenges that make online proctored testing difficult (eg, not having access to a computer or reliable internet) should communicate with their individual instructors. See distance.fsu.edu/testing for more information and Honorlock Security and Privacy FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.

Have grading policies changed for the 2020 spring semester?

This is an unprecedented time in Florida State University’s history as the entire campus has moved to remote learning, and we realize this may be a difficult adjustment for some students. In response, FSU has modified its undergraduate grading policy for the 2020 spring semester. For more information, please reference Student Guidance on Spring 2020 Grading Options for Undergraduate Classes.

Is the library open?

FSU Libraries closed Strozier Library and Dirac Library at 5 p.m. March 19, 2020, until further notice, to help slow transmission of the coronavirus. FSU Libraries will continue to provide services remotely during the period of online instruction. For information about accessing online resources, including e-books, articles, and more, visit the FSU Libraries’ Off Campus Access page.

What about campus recreation facilities?

All FSU Campus Recreation fitness, indoor, and outdoor facilities are closed effective immediately, until further notice. These are necessary, preventative measures that Gov. DeSantis, the State University System and Florida State University are taking to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and to minimize health and safety risks to our students, faculty, staff and community.

What if I have an appointment scheduled at University Health Services?

Due to this unprecedented health crisis, UHS is taking steps to safely serve our population for acute needs. As part of this change, please call back at a later time to reschedule your upcoming appointment. If you are in need of an urgent appointment, click here. We thank you for your understanding and will assist as much as we can in this process.

I miss campus life and all of the services that FSU offers. How can I stay connected?

Florida State empowers and supports all students to achieve their full potential, and our departments continue to support students through the transition to remote classes. Check out  https://studentaffairs.fsu.edu/virtualfsu/ for virtual health and wellness information, services from the Career Center and the University Counseling Center, 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.

Will scheduled FSU athletic events move forward?

On March 17, Florida State Athletics and the Seminole Boosters announced the cancellation of all spring sports and the spring football game. They also extended the deadline to renew 2020 season football tickets.

Will Opening Nights performances be canceled? 

Due to ongoing concerns about large events, Opening Nights has canceled the balance of the season.  This includes George Hinchliffe’s Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain on March 22, Chris Botti on March 30, The Second City on April 1 and Dala on April 27.  If you already purchased tickets for any of these events, you will automatically be mailed a refund. Please allow for up to four weeks to receive a refund.

My campus organization had a speaker or event planned. What should we do?

Units that have invited an external speaker or group to campus for the spring semester should postpone, cancel or virtually conduct those events. In accordance with interim guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that in-person events consisting of 10 people or more be canceled or postponed to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus, the State University System directs all state universities to take the following actions to minimize the health and safety risks to students, faculty, staff.  This policy shall be in effect until May 3, 2020 and will be under continual review. 

Will my summer or fall program abroad be affected? 

The university will make decisions about summer 2020 International Programs at the end of March. Program participants will be notified directly of any cancellations. A status update regarding fall programs will be made at a later date. For more on FSU International Programs, visit https://international.fsu.edu/.


TRAVEL

Is university-sponsored travel affected? 

All university-sponsored domestic and international travel is canceled until further notice. Any domestic travel previously approved by FSU Travel Services and must be reevaluated by your respective university vice president. Only travel deemed essential by a vice president will be re-approved. The university strongly recommends that all students, staff and faculty refrain from personal domestic and international travel except for emergency purposes.

I went on a cruise for spring break. Does that mean I have to self-isolate or self-quarantine?

Florida State University requests that students, faculty and staff avoid all cruise ship travel and ferry boat travel worldwide. The university requires all individuals who have been on a cruise ship or ferry boat to self-quarantine for 14 days upon reentry to the United States.

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.

I attended a conference where COVID-19 was present. 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.


EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

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

FSU’s Office of Human Resources has created a COVID-19 workplace guidance page as well as a COVID-19 FAQ specifically for HR questions.

Are employees moving to remote work?

In an effort to adhere to social distancing recommendations, FSU is now strongly encouraging all faculty and staff that can perform work remotely to do so during this emergency situation. On campus functions should be limited to duties that cannot be performed remotely beginning March 20, 2020. Employees can access the remote work agreement here.

What if my job cannot be done remotely? 

Departments and supervisors should show flexibility to employees who are not able to perform their essential job functions remotely.  Human Resources advises developing temporary work schedules to rotate shifts for employees who need to be on campus to perform their duties or keep the department operational to promote social distancing.

The governor has urged anyone over 65 to stay home, but I have employees who can’t do their jobs remotely. What should I do? 

If you identify employees over 65 who are unable to perform their work remotely and choose not to work on campus, contact the Office of Human Resources for assistance. HR is currently preparing for implementation of the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and will work with your employee to utilize this leave if applicable. Additional information regarding benefits under FFCRA for all employees will be forthcoming.

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

Human Resources will temporarily remove any childcare requirements for remote work and provide automatic, immediate approval upon receipt.

How will this affect research operations?

The Office of Research is ready to help any researchers facing unexpected circumstances related to their research agenda. However, all research-related services are continuing to operate. Please consult the Research FAQ 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.


GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19

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 illness 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 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.

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.

The CDC has also provided information for facilities with suspected and confirmed cases and recommendations for homes where a person has a suspected or confirmed case.

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. 

How is it treated?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019. People who think they have been exposed should contact your county health department and consult a health care provider as soon as possible.

Call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about any recent travel to an area with cases and your symptoms. Avoid using public transportation if possible.

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.

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.