COVID-19: Updates, Resources and Information

A message from the President

Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a flu-like illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell. The spread of the disease changes daily. For the most up-to-date information on its spread, you can review the daily Situation Reports provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Preparing for the fall

In managing Framingham State University’s response to COVID-19, we have been engaged in scenario planning in key areas of operation. To accelerate this work, we are supplementing our current COVID19 Working Group with six focused groups in specific areas called Continuity Teams. The charge to these teams is to design concrete plans, incorporating feedback from others on campus, that align with the college’s overall scenario planning.

We are grateful to those who have served on the COVID19 Working Group and subcommittees and to the people serving on the continuity teams. We thank them for the hard work and careful coordination that this effort requires.

We are interested in your ideas as well. All members of the Framingham State University community with a Framingham.edu email address are invited to share their ideas about planning and managing through the COVID-19 pandemic at C19suggestions@framingham.edu.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. On its website, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face covering.
    • The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The face covering is meant to complement other social distancing measures, not as a replacement for social distancing.
    • The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

  • 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.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty

For more information, visit the CDC’s prevention website. If you are a student experiencing a fever and symptoms of a respiratory illness (such as cough or shortness of breath), please contact your PCP or University Health Services (508) 626-4900. The Health Center is also available to answer questions from faculty and staff, but those who are experiencing symptoms should contact their PCP. 

Remote Learning

Following the guidance issued by Gov. Charlie Baker, Framingham State University is joining the rest of the State University System in moving entirely to remote methods of instruction starting on Monday, March 30th, and continuing through the end of finals on Friday, May 15th. Our faculty have been preparing diligently and collaboratively for this eventuality.

Remember that even though you may be using a computer in order to engage in some aspect of remote learning at an off-campus location, you are not alone. If you need help, contact Information Technology Services at Framingham State University by calling 508 215-5906, sending an E-mail to it@framingham.edu or visit https://myit.framingham.edu. You can also refer to the University’s “IT Guide for Students” for making technology related preparations for your remote studies.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your ability to move to remote learning, the Center for Academic Success and Achievement (CASA) and the IT Department are available to assist you. CASA will continue to offer tutoring, supplemental instruction, and academic coaching to help students with this transition; Disability/Access Services will ensure that academic accommodations continue to be available.

Spring Semester Housing/Meals/Parking Credits and Adjustments

Dear families,

We know that many of you are anxiously awaiting news on the University’s plan to provide relief from this semester’s housing, meal plan, and parking expenses, given that we have had to move to remote learning. The University has been working hard to ensure that we do what’s right for our students and their families.

To that end, we plan to begin issuing prorated adjustments or credits to student accounts by mid-April. There is a small delay as we await guidance from the U.S. Department of Education about the impact, if any, of this situation on federal financial aid and loans. We anticipate there will not be, but cannot adjust accounts until we have confirmation.

A comprehensive Q&A guide for these credits and account adjustments can be found on the Student Accounts Page at the following link:

https://www.framingham.edu/admissions-and-aid/student-accounts/faqs/index

Library and Student Services Center

The Henry Whittemore Library and the Student Services Center (SSC) are closing to foot traffic as a health and safety precaution, until further notice.

The Student Services Center includes the Office of Financial Aid, the Student Accounts Office, and the Office of the Registrar. If you need assistance from any of these offices, please plan to call or e-mail them.

The library will continue to offer video tutorials for student instruction. Materials that can be scanned (articles etc.) will be sent to faculty and students electronically.

Spring Athletics and Weight Room

The Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) has cancelled the remainder of the spring athletic season. This includes both NCAA and club sports. Framingham State University is also closing the FSU weight room and both gymnasiums until further notice. 

Domestic and International Travel

Framingham State University has cancelled all University-related domestic and international travel for this spring. We strongly advise against personal travel outside of Massachusetts and ask that anyone who returns from out of state quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days before returning to campus, per Gov. Charlie Baker's executive order. 

Campus Preparedness

Framingham State University cares deeply about the health and well-being of our academic community. A subcommittee of the University’s Emergency Preparedness Committee is meeting daily to review the most up-to-date information regarding the spread of COV-19, and responding to any issues that arise that could impact our students, faculty and staff.

We recognize that the emergence of this public health situation may give rise to anxiety. We encourage you to contact the University Counseling Center at 508-626-4640 if counseling support would be helpful.

The Human Resources Department has helpful information for teleworking, including resources on ergonomics, health and wellness, and more.

Campus Events

The University is canceling or postponing events on campus that include members who are not part of the FSU community through the end of July. Gatherings involving members of the FSU community are limited to 10 people, in accordance with Gov. Charlie Baker's emergency executive order. We will revisit these policies in the coming weeks based on evolving conditions and guidance from state and national agencies.

Stay Informed

This is a rapidly changing situation. We recommend that everyone return to this webpage regularly to stay up to date with the latest information.

Helpful Resources

Mass Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control

American College Health Association

World Health Organization