Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED: 10:30 A.M. FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020






How will classes be conducted during the fall 2020 semester? 

Currently, the fall 2020 semester is set to begin Aug. 24, 2020, and run until Dec. 11, 2020. However, no face-to-face classes will be held after the Thanksgiving break. The university will offer as many face-to-face courses as possible, with an emphasis on selected lab and experiential courses. There also will be both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning as well as hybrid classes that are a mix of face-to-face instruction and remote learning. For in-person instruction, classroom capacity will be limited to 25 to 50 percent of capacity. The FSU Board of Trustees approved the plan June 18, and it goes before the Florida Board of Governors on June 23.

What does this mean for the residence halls?

FSU will decrease density in residence halls as much as possible by offering voluntary contract releases. An announcement was sent to all on-campus residents in May 2020, informing students of likely policies and procedures for residence halls. All students who want to be released from their housing contract will receive their full financial deposit back. We will communicate and enforce reduced capacity limits in all lounges, laundry rooms, and kitchen areas. FSU will limit residence hall program size to reduced capacity of lounges and incorporate social distancing/masks protocols when students are not in individual rooms.

I’m a first-time FSU undergraduate student who was scheduled to start in-person classes during Summer Session C?

Knowing that many students will be first-time FSU students — either as freshmen or transfers — during Summer Session C, we have prepared an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions to help address questions and concerns.

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 library open?

Physical locations of FSU Libraries are currently closed, but their extensive online resources are still available. Additionally, the libraries are offering curbside pickup for items not available online.  Visit their website for the most updated information.

What about campus recreation facilities?

All FSU Campus Recreation fitness, indoor, and outdoor facilities are closed 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.

Are services at University Health Services available? 

Due to this unprecedented health crisis, UHS is taking steps to safely serve our population for acute needs. This includes telehealth options. To learn how to schedule an appointment, please visit the UHS web page.

Will students, faculty and staff be tested for COVID-19?

All individuals who intend to be physically present on campus will be strongly encouraged to undergo clinical testing for COVID-19 through a recognized testing procedure of their choice before returning to campus. The university also is partnering with the Florida Department of Health to establish the FSU Contact Tracing Initiative. Students, faculty or staff who are identified through contact tracing will be notified and required to isolate for 14 days.

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 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?

No final decisions have been made about the fall schedules for athletics. The university continues to monitor advice from local, state and federal health officials and will follow guidance from the ACC and NCAA.

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  summer 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 Aug. 2, 2020 and will be under continual review. 

Will my summer or fall program abroad be affected? 

The university has canceled summer and fall 2020 International Programs. Spring programs are currently expected to proceed as scheduled. For more on FSU International Programs, visit


Is university-sponsored travel affected? 

All university-sponsored domestic and international travel continues to be restricted.

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

Both domestic and international travel, including cruises, is discouraged but not prohibited. Those traveling in the United States will no longer be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Tallahassee unless they present symptoms of COVID-19. However, those who travel internationally should not return to campus until they have quarantined and been free of any COVID-19 symptom for 14 days.

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 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.


Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his Phase 1 plan to reopen the state. How does that affect my job?

Florida State University issued guidance for university employees regarding  Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Phase 1 plan to reopen the state. Details can be found here.

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 still working remotely?

Although on-campus operations remain restricted, departments may allow employees to return to their work location as long as no more than 25% of staff are present at one time. Employees who are able to work remotely may continue to do so. We anticipate the university moving to 50% capacity on July 6.

What if my job cannot be done remotely? 

Employees who have previously be unable to perform their work remotely may now return to campus to perform their job duties if the work is available. Employees who report to campus should obtain supervisor approval and continue to practice the CDC Guidelines for Social Distancing. Flexible or rotating schedules for on-campus employees may be appropriate to reduce the amount of people in the department. Continue to refrain from conducting in-person meetings with groups of people. Masks are required for employees working on campus.

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 has temporarily removed 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.


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.