Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Student FAQ

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Vaccinations

When will the vaccine be available for students? (1/7/21)

USF students aged 65 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine through USF Health. USF has contacted those students and they are asked to submit a survey gauging their interest in receiving the vaccine. For those students under 65 years old, USF remains in close contact with representatives from the state of Florida and our surrounding counties regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans. When the governor expands eligibility to additional age groups, USF will share updates with our students, faculty and staff as soon as we have more information.

Where can I find more information about other vaccination locations within my community? (1/7/21)

Which vaccine is currently being administered by USF Health? (1/8/21)

USF Health has been provided a limited supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. You can learn more about this vaccine through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the university has been provided an initial limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine, it is possible USF will receive other vaccines moving forward.

What if I still have questions about vaccine distribution on USF campuses? (1/7/21)

For additional questions, please email vaccine-info@usf.edu.

Course Schedules and Delivery

If there is a significant spike in COVID-19 cases at some point during the spring semester, will face-to-face courses shift online? (12/7)

As in fall, USF’s plan for spring 2021 is designed to be flexible, and the university can revert to a previous phase based on COVID-19 conditions. Faculty have been advised to prepare for quality online delivery at any point in the coming semester should conditions dictate.

If I get sick and can’t attend class, what should I do? (7/24)

Notify your instructor and seek medical treatment from Student Health Services/Wellness Center on campus or your personal medical provider. If you feel well enough to continue the course online, do so. If you are too ill to attend the class online, you will need to discuss your options with your instructor.

Healthy Campus Environment

How will the university keep students safe when we return to campus? (12/7)

The health and safety of our faculty, staff and students is our highest priority as we plan for resuming additional operations on campus. Our enhanced safety precautions include installing thousands of signs with reminders that face coverings are required, to maintain physical distancing and practice good hygiene. Adjustments have been made to our facilities, such as plexiglass shields and limits on room and elevator capacities. New outdoor spaces have been identified and will be furnished as places to work or study between classes.  

As in the fall, all faculty, staff and students will be required to complete our Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment prior to the start of the semester on Jan. 11, 2021. Additionally, individuals returning to campus will also be placed in a pool for weekly random COVID-19 testing, which the university will continue to utilize as an important part of our disease-mitigation strategy. Those selected at random will receive specific instructions to receive a test. If you are selected, you must participate, unless you can provide a COVID-19 test result from within the past 14 days.

You are also now required to self-report if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive. You should self-report through the Daily Symptom Checker app and notify your instructors and/or your supervisor.

All members of the USF community are encouraged to get tested if you develop any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The success of our plan relies on USF’s culture of caring and a shared sense of responsibility to sustain the well-being of our community, even in our daily lives when we’re not on campus. Anyone who feels sick should stay home.

Are students required to complete the Returning to Campus Training module before the start of the semester? (1/4/21)

Yes. Before coming to campus, students, faculty, and staff are required to complete an online training module, if you have not completed it previously. The purpose of the training is to make sure everyone is fully informed of the university’s guidelines, policies and the consequences of not following them. It is further intended to encourage responsible actions and choices and to provide tips so members of the university community can engage in collective action to promote health and safety. 

Will students be expected to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus? (12/7)

As in the fall, all faculty, staff and students will be required to complete our Return to Campus COVID-19 Assessment prior to the start of the semester on Jan. 11, 2021. Additionally, individuals returning to campus will also be placed in a pool for weekly random COVID-19 testing, which the university will continue to utilize as an important part of our disease-mitigation strategy. Those selected at random will receive specific instructions to receive a test. If you are selected, you must participate, unless you can provide a COVID-19 test result from within the past 14 days.

To learn more, please review the December 7 update and the Testing page in the Returning to Campus section.

Can I get a COVID-19 test on campus? (1/13/21)

All members of the USF community are encouraged to get tested if you develop any symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

  1. Tampa campus: The Hillsborough County testing site on campus is located in the parking lot adjacent to the USF Health Therapy (MDT) building. Please check the county website for details. Students can also contact Student Health Services for possible testing accommodations.
  2. St. Petersburg campus: The testing site will be open every Wednesday on campus outside of the Student Life Center (SLC) between noon-4 p.m. by appointment only. Individuals who wish to be tested must register for an appointment.
  3. Sarasota-Manatee campus: Testing will resume on the Sarasota-Manatee campus the week of Jan. 18, 2021. Additional details about times will be posted here once they become available.

Where do I find information on the USF Daily Symptom Check, random testing and cluster screening protocol? (12/7)

Please review the Testing page in the Returning to Campus section for more information on the USF Daily Symptom Check, random testing and cluster screening. 

Will I be required to wear a face covering when returning to campus?  Will USF provide coverings? (9/3)

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, completely enclosed office or residence hall room. Based on the latest research that suggests the coronavirus can travel through the air and transfer from person to person, face coverings should be worn in cubicles even if they are spaced at least six feet apart and have vertical barriers in place between workstations.

USF requires wearing face coverings in outdoor public spaces on campus when in the presence of others.

USF will provide cloth face masks to those who may need them. Cloth neck buffs (also known as neck gaiters) will no longer be distributed.

How will you enforce health and safety guidelines, like face coverings and physical distancing? (12/7)

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.

Read more about maintaining a Healthy Community Environment.

Will residence halls be open in the spring? What modifications will be in place? (12/7)

Yes. Residence halls will be open in the spring on the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses. You can read more about plans related to housing on their websites

If there is an unexpected uptick in COVID-19 cases in the spring, does the university have a contingency plan? (12/7)

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.

What are the guidelines to returning to campus after being exposed to COVID-19 and/or testing positive/negative? (8/11)

Campus Life, Facilities and Fees

Can I still study on campus with the restrictions and reduced capacity of facilities? (9/3)

USF has introduced study/gathering spaces outside of many of our academic buildings to ensure students can continue to study on our campuses. Physical distancing is encouraged in these areas and a mask should be worn when around others. Please review the following maps to see the locations available.

Will you refund fees, such as parking, if USF has to scale back operations due to COVID-19? (12/7)

USF has every intention of resuming more on-campus operations as the semester progresses. 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.

If student activities and campus life will be heavily restricted, why haven’t fees been lowered to make up for those changes? (12/7)

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.

Why do online courses require fees? (8/7)

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.

Will tuition and fees be adjusted for spring 2021? (12/7)

Tuition and fees are regulated by Florida Statute, Florida Board of Governor’s Regulations and USF Regulations. Tuition and fees are assessed per USF Regulation 4.0102.

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.


WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

For additional questions about USF and coronavirus, contact usf.edu/covidquestions.