Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Student FAQ

Course Delivery for Fall 2020

Will fall semester courses and services be delivered online? (6/23)

As of June 15, the university is in Phase I of its four-phased reopening plan. The expectations of the campus environement in Phase I include all course instruction being delivered remotely. When announced, Phase II also provides that instruction continues to be provided remotely. 

Please read President Currall's June 12 announcement for further information.

When will we be told if our classes are online or in-person? (6/23)

We are currently finalizing our class schedules for the fall with the goal of balancing the health of our students, faculty and staff with access to high-quality class delivery necessary to ensure student success and timely graduation. To that end, we plan to deliver classes using a flexible hybrid approach that includes a mix of fully face-to-face courses, fully online courses and some courses with a blended mode of instruction. We will prioritize certain courses for face-to-face delivery, such as labs or studios, with a focus on achieving successful learning outcomes and meeting specialized accreditation standards. We anticipate having class schedules finalized by late-July.

If all my classes are online for fall, do I have to come to campus? (6/23)

While USF will transition some courses back to face-to-face delivery, students will not be required to attend face-to-face classes in Fall 2020. Students will have a mix of in person, fully online and hybrid courses that best fit their academic needs and interests. We certainly encourage students to return to campus, but we also understand that some will choose online options that don’t require their presence on campus. 

I am not comfortable returning to campus and do not learn well online. Am I able to defer my enrollment for a semester without penalty? (6/23)

Continuing students who are not willing or able to return to campus or are not comfortable in the online environment may be inclined to defer enrollment for another semester, but we strongly encourage students to stay on track to four-year graduation. We’ve boosted support services to help students and instructors transition to the online environment. 

Students who defer continuing their education may not meet the renewal requirements for any scholarship that they may have received, and as a result, would have to petition for an exception to the renewal requirement. New students admitted to enroll in the fall semester cannot defer to the spring semester without authorization from the Dean of Admissions.

Note that any scholarship or waiver awarded by the Office of Admissions is only valid if the student starts in Summer or Fall. Deferring to Spring will result in the cancelling of any scholarship or waiver.

Healthy Campus Environment

Is there a plan for keeping students safe when we return to campus? (6/23)

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as we plan for resuming additional operations on campus. A variety of mitigation measures will be implemented to maintain a healthy environment, including requiring face coverings in enclosed spaces such as classrooms or conference rooms, enhancing cleaning protocols and following CDC guidance on physical distancing and limiting the number of people in spaces.

As members of our community, you must take it upon yourselves to stay home if you feel sick and practice good hygiene by frequently washing hands and using hand sanitizer. It is imperative that we all see this as a shared responsibility to adopt these new behaviors for the health and safety of the entire university community, especially staying mindful of any individuals who are at high risk or may have family members considered as such.

Will students be expected to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus and is returning to campus back in the fall likely at this time? (6/23)

No. Prior to the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester, all students, faculty and staff will receive and be required to complete a Baseline Symptom Tracker Survey to evaluate their exposure to COVID-19, current state of COVID-19 symptoms, and whether they will be physically returning to any of the USF campuses for the fall semester.

A certain segment of the USF community will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing before the start of the fall semester, including student-athletes, students returning from international locations, and those returning from locations with COVID-19 positivity rates of more than 7 percent.

Additionally, residential students and a random sampling of 10 percent of students will be required to be tested. Any student, faculty and staff whose COVID-19 test comes back positive will be notified of their test results and instructed to self-isolate away from campus until medically cleared. Additional details will be available in the complete plan.

Will I be required to wear a face covering when returning to campus?  Will USF provide coverings? (6/23)

The University of South Florida requires students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear face coverings inside university facilities on campus including, but not limited to, classrooms, conference rooms, shared work spaces, academic and administrative buildings, lobbies and lounge areas, research facilities, residence halls, student unions, performance spaces, retail spaces, museums, libraries and dining facilities.  Anyone using a dining facility should cover their face until they sit down to eat and then put the face covering back on immediately after.  

Face coverings are required when moving through shared spaces (lobbies, elevators, stairwells, lounges, etc.), when using campus public transportation and while inside university vehicles or golf carts if more than one person is present.

Face coverings may be removed when inside of a private building space, such as a single use office or residence hall room.  Face coverings can also be removed in cubicles that are spaced at least six feet apart and have vertical barriers in place between workstations. 

USF recommends wearing face coverings in outdoor public spaces on campus when six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Any individuals who fail to comply with these requirements may face consequences, starting with removal from the class, workspace or activity until university guidance is followed.  

  • Students who have medical issues that may make wearing face coverings difficult should contact Dr. Joseph Puccio at USF Student Health Services:jpuccio@usf.edu.  Faculty and staff should contact Dr. Asa Oxner at USF Health: aoxner@usf.edu.         
  • Children under age 2 are exempt.
  • Both washable cloth and disposable face coverings are acceptable, as long as the employee is not in an area or performing a task in which a higher level of Personal Protection Equipment is required.

The university has purchased and will issue two (2) reusable and washable cloth face coverings for each student, staff and faculty member. These will be made available upon your return to campus.

How will you enforce health and safety guidelines, like face coverings and physical distancing? (6/23)

There will be expectations of all members of our university communities, including all visitors and vendors, for all health and safety standards. Physical distancing, face coverings and surface disinfection protocols will be in effect and will be enforced for everyone on any of our campuses. We will also provide guidance to our faculty, staff and students on our expectations for how they comport themselves when out in public outside of campus.

The primary goal remains to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 on our campuses and in our communities; this is both an individual and a collective responsibility. As part of our final plan, which we expect to share later this month, we will clearly outline each risk mitigation strategy and associated enforcement measure, so everyone understands what is expected. For example, if a student decides NOT to wear a face covering in class, they will be asked to comply with university guidance. If they still chose to not comply, the student may be removed from the class and face further consequences.

Will there be a limit on the number of people allowed in a class? (6/23)

University space has been extensively mapped and evaluated in light of current CDC, state and local physical distancing guidelines and a revised student capacity, by classroom and laboratory, has been established. Certain classes are identified as high priority for face-to-face delivery due to specialized accreditation standards, access to equipment (e.g. upper division and graduate STEM labs), and/or the essential need for experiential learning (e.g. studios in the performing arts). In the case of face-to-face classes, reduced student density will adhere to CDC guidelines (at approximately 25-30% capacity for classrooms and 50% for labs).

Will residence halls be open in the fall? What modifications will be in place? (6/24)

Yes. Residence halls will be open in the fall on the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses. You can read more about plans related to USF Housing & Residential Education on their website. 

Will residential students be allowed to return to campus after Thanksgiving? (6/23)

Yes. Residence halls and dining options will remain open after Thanksgiving break for students who need access until the end of the fall semester.

If there is an unexpected uptick in COVID-19 cases in the fall, does the university have a contingency plan? (6/23)

Yes. The university's phased approach to reopening limits the number of individuals on campus and includes precautions to reduce community transmission of coronavirus and mitigate the possible exposure of returning students, faculty and staff. Our decisions to progress to the next phase, or scale back operations if COVID-19 conditions change, will be made by analyzing factors such as public health and epidemiological data; governmental orders and recommendations; and the availability of personal protective equipment.  

Please read President Currall's June 12 announcement for further information.

Campus Life, Facilities and Fees

What are the plans for Summer Commencement? (6/23)

On June 4, the State University System of Florida announced that all state universities, including USF, were directed to develop alternative plans for Summer Commencement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. After discussions with various stakeholders, including current Student Body President Claire Mitchell and former Student Body President and spring 2020 graduate Britney Deas, the university has decided to host another Virtual Commencement the weekend of August 7-8 for our summer 2020 graduates. More details on the virtual ceremonies will be announced in the coming weeks. For updates, visit www.usf.edu/commencement.

When will the USF Bookstore reopen on campus?

As of June 29, 2020, the USF Bookstores on all campuses have reopened. 

 Currently, hours are as follows (please check their websites for updates):

Students who rented books for summer can still print their free shipping label. For fall, students who order their books online and have them shipped to their house will be able to return through the mail using a prepaid shipping label. If students order for in store pick-up, they will need to return them in the store or pay shipping out of pocket.

Will you refund fees, such as parking, if USF has to scale back operations due to COVID-19? (6/23)

USF has every intention of resuming more on-campus operations in the fall. Our hope is that, with the support of the mitigation measures we will implement, we’ll be able to continue in-person activities throughout the fall. However, we have to prepare for a range of possible scenarios and develop contingency plans if we have to scale back operations due to COVID-19. Our contingency plans give us the flexibility to allow our students to continue taking courses and accessing services online to keep them on a path to timely graduation without providing refunds. 

When will facilities such as the Marshall Student Center, Recreation & Wellness and the Library open up? (6/23)

We expect some facilities to begin to open in a limited fashion, with restrictions in place to promote health and safety, during Phase II. Our plans allow for more facilities to open in phase III, which we hope to move into by the start of the fall semester. 

If student activities and campus life will be heavily restricted during the fall semester, why haven’t fees been lowered to make up for those changes? (6/23)

Engagement and involvement in activities are important aspects of the college experience. While some large on-campus student events will be restricted to protect the health of our community, we still intend to offer a blend of in-person and virtual activities and events throughout the fall semester. Students will also still have the opportunity to get involved in student organizations.

Although the necessary public health protocols may at first seem to minimize social interaction, the focus is on physically distancing rather than on social distancing. USF departments will continue to hold events and students will have opportunities to engage in social activities both face to face and virtually. For example, we expect recreational facilities on all campuses to be open with appropriate adjustments to provide physical distancing. There are costs associated with student and professional staffing and programming, whether in person or online, and the fees are designed to cover those expenses.

Will mail service continue? (3/26)

Tampa Campus

  • Please pick up any mail and or packages from the mail centers before leaving campus. Ensure all of your carriers have an updated address on file for you.
  • Update your forwarding address in the Housing Portal and contact any pending deliveries with your updated delivery address. This includes updating your default address in Amazon.
  • To access the mail forwarding form in the Housing Portal, choose My Account, My Profile, and choose Mail Forwarding Information.
  • As of April 6, mail and package services will be available only to residents who have been approved to remain on-campus. All other packages will be returned to sender.

St. Petersburg Campus

  • Mail and package systems will be suspended as of Monday, March 30. Any mail or packages that are currently in-transit or on-site will be collected and held for check out.
  • Any mail or packages shipped or received after Monday, March 30, will be returned to sender.
  • Please update your mailing address with all appropriate parties (i.e. Amazon, USPS, etc.) immediately.
  • If you have shipped sensitive materials such as medication to campus and have not yet received them, please reach out to Stephen Harris at sjharris1@usf.edu as soon as possible.
  • Please read the March 26 update to St. Petersburg campus residential students for more information..

What bookstore resources are available? (5/15)

USF bookstores are offering many options to help improve and supplement the remote learning experience and support students' online efforts.

Why do online courses require fees? (4/20)

Designing and delivering quality online learning requires investment in faculty development and support, instructional designers, media producers, assessment staff, and administrative personnel. In addition, student authentication and accessibility, academic quality assurance, help desk support, proctoring, learning management system and software are all resource intensive.

Tuition and fees for online courses have been calculated by a thorough Cost of Online Education report conducted by the State University System of Florida to determine accurate and fair costs. The university will also contribute funds necessary to support quality online learning in Summer 2020.

For summer 2020, USF students will NOT see an increase in total fees compared to the summer of 2019. Due in part to the temporary pausing of most course-related material and supply fees during summer sessions A, B, and C, some students may experience a reduction in total fees compared to the summer of 2019.

Will tuition and fees be adjusted for fall 2020? (5/15)

Tuition and fees for the upcoming academic year have not yet been approved by the Board of Trustees. USF Regulation 4.0102 will be updated upon approval. View complete information about tuition and fees.

Admissions

Have admissions deadlines for summer and fall changed? (3/31)

Yes. Given uncertainties brought about by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), USF extended its Admissions deadlines for Summer and Fall 2020.

What does this mean for recently admitted students? (5/15)

Rest assured that USF is working hard to ensure that you have a great first semester at USF. We have developed a New Student Toolkit that includes an Admissions FAQ to help you and your family. 

Technology Resources

How do I access my @usf.edu email account or Microsoft Teams? (4/3)

Visit Information Technology’s Remote Resources site for up-to-date information on accessing Office 365 email and other IT services.

How can students work in groups outside of the classroom? (3/17)

All students have access to Microsoft Teams and Office 365, providing an additional resource for collaboration with faculty and student peers. Find more details on how to use Microsoft Teams.

I don't have access to a computer for participating in remote learning. What do I do? (5/18)

The university has a limited number of laptops available for students. Please email the LibraryServicesDesk@usf.edu and provide your name, U#, and physical mailing address. If a laptop is available, Library staff will mail it to you for your use for the full semester.

Financial Aid

Am I eligible for CARES Act funds? (5/15)

As stipulated by the US Dept. of Education, only current degree-seeking students enrolled at least half time in spring 2020 who are eligible to apply for federal Title IV financial aid are eligible to apply for CARES Act funds. Students enrolled in fully online graduate programs, international, and undocumented students are not eligible. Funding is limited and, therefore, prioritized for students who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), exhausted all their funding options, and been impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways: student and/or spouse loss or reduction of employment (i.e., layoff/furlough or job loss), parental loss or reduction of employment (i.e., layoff/furlough or job loss), or other unexpected circumstances.

Learn more about applying for CARES Act funds.

I applied for the USF United Support Fund prior to the CARES Act funding for students. What should I do? (4/27)

If you applied for an award from the USF United Support Fund and did not receive an award before those funds were depleted, or you received less than the $1,000 maximum, you can apply for a CARES grant. If you received an automatic CARES Act grant payment, you do not need to apply again.

Student Employment

Will GAs, TAs, and RAs be required to continue to work during this period? (3/13)

Yes, they are assigned to their normal duties, although those duties may have been altered to allow remote access. Find more information regarding telecommuting policies and procedures.

Will student employees, including federal work-study students, tutors and those in paid student government positions, continue to be employed while campus is closed or restricted? (5/15)

Yes. Many students depend on this source of income, so all efforts have been made to retain currently employed students, even if it means redeploying them to fulfill other duties or having them deliver their assignments remotely. However, students (and all USF employees) will not be required to work if they are ill. If they are in self-isolation yet still capable of completing work assignments, an opportunity to complete the assignment remotely may be provided. Please note one potential exception: if a worker is being paid by a grant and cannot perform their duties related to that grant, it may be illegal to pay them from the grant. Find more information regarding telecommuting policies and procedures.

Can students continue to work in laboratories, studios and field sites? (3/13)

Please contact your chair or supervisor for guidance. 

 


WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For additional questions about USF and coronavirus, contact COVIDquestions@usf.edu.