COVID-19: Updates, Resources and Information

Welcome to our COVID-19 planning site, designed to keep our community informed of the steps Framingham State University is taking in response to this public health emergency. I encourage everyone to visit this site regularly for the latest information and updates on our planning for the fall.

We are keenly aware of the toll this crisis has taken on those of you who have had family and friends become sick, have lost loved ones, or have had to battle the virus yourself. My thoughts are with you, and if there is anything the University can do to support you at this time, please let us know.

President Cevallos

President F. Javier Cevallos

Preparing for Fall 2020

Based on guidance from the Baker Administration and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and in coordination with our fellow state universities, Framingham State University will start the semester on its regularly scheduled date of Wednesday, Sept. 2, in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – complying with social distancing and public health guidelines – and remote courses. Testing data for our students, faculty and staff will be posted on FSU's COVID-19 Data webpage.

COVID FAQ

Will Framingham State University be open in the fall?

Yes, we are not cancelling the fall semester. Based on guidance from the Baker Administration and Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and in coordination with our fellow state universities, Framingham State University will start the semester on its regularly scheduled date of Wednesday, Sept. 2, in a modified in-person capacity, which will include a mix of in-person instruction – complying with social distancing and public health guidelines – and remote courses. 

How is the University preparing to operate in the fall?

Seven continuity teams made up of more than 100 faculty, staff and administrators from across campus are currently working to ensure that Framingham State continues to offer an excellent educational program and academic experience in this new environment, while protecting the health and safety of our community. Many of the details of these efforts can be found in FSU's Plan for a Return to Working and Living on Campus.

Will in-person courses take place in the fall?

Approximately 15% of courses will be offered fully or partially on-campus during the fall. Academic Affairs has prioritized those courses that are better suited to an in-person experience. For courses that will be taught remotely, extensive training is being offered to faculty throughout the summer months to ensure a high quality remote learning experience.

Where can I find a list of courses that will have a face-to-face component?

A list of courses that will have a face-to-face component can be found here.

If I am taking a course available on campus, am I required to attend in person?

No, all classes will allow for remote participation for students who are unable to attend due to health concerns or family concerns. Students should make the best decision for themselves based on their individual situations.

What safety precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of the community?

The safety of our students, faculty and staff is paramount. The University is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Baker Administration, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to ensure we reopen in a manner that is as safe as possible.

  • Classrooms: Classrooms are being reconfigured to ensure that there is plenty of space for six feet of physical distancing. The need for the instructor to have access to a white board and to move around in front of the class will be considered in this configuration. Face coverings will be required for all participants in all classrooms in accordance with the Commonwealth’s requirements. All classes will allow for remote participation for students who are unable to attend. Recordings will be available for students unable to participate at the time of the class meeting.

  • Residence Halls: At this time, we are projecting residence halls to be open at approximately 43% capacity, which will allow us to reconfigure spaces in a way that reduces the number of students using shared bathrooms. Students who have reserved rooms for the fall semester should have received an e-mail from Residence Life with further details about specific policies and procedures related to COVID-19.

  • Dining Services: Dining Services will be open with public health compliant safety modifications and will offer individual meals and takeout options.

  • Face coverings: Everyone on campus will be required to wear a face covering on campus. Further details on this requirement will be released soon outlining individuals’ responsibilities for complying with this directive.

  • Campus Health and Safety: The university will adhere to CDC and State guidelines related to cleaning, providing protective barriers, controlling foot traffic flows, and using elevators and stairwells. Requested work adjustments will be reviewed for anyone who falls into a high risk category for complications resulting from contracting COVID19.

  • Screening and testing: The University, in coordination with the Department of Higher Education and Department of Public Health, will develop plans over the summer to address screening and testing for campus community members. No matter how careful we all are, we must anticipate that we will face Covid-19 cases in the fall. Therefore, we want to be confident that we have the capacity to spot an outbreak quickly and limit its spread.

Will tuition and student fees for fall 2020 be reduced if there is a switch to remote learning?

Tuition and fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be refunded in the event instruction occurs remotely for any part of the Academic Year. We are focused on ensuring that the resources student fees cover remain available in a remote environment, should we need to transition to one. This includes our library, e-tutoring, our Blackboard license, health and wellness services, maintenance and IT support, career services, student engagement and much more. Transitioning to remote courses does not reduce the University's overhead in any substantial way, as savings in certain areas are offset by increased expenses in other areas. We remain committed to ensuring that, regardless of instruction format, students receive the highest-quality liberal arts education that enables them to think critically and creatively and positions them for a satisfying and successful career.

Will there be student housing for fall 2020?

Yes, we are planning to offer student housing at a reduced capacity in the fall. For more information, please see the Residence Hall Information FAQ.

COVID-19: Residence Hall Information for New and Returning Students

The Residence Life and Housing staff has worked hard to determine how FSU’s residence halls may be best configured to support students who want to live on campus within the guidance and direction received through development of the University’s plans to repopulate our campus. Assuming we are able to proceed within the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, we do anticipate operating with a significantly reduced residence hall capacity for Fall 2020.

How might reduced capacity impact my housing assignment if I'm a returning student?

While we plan to provide housing for as many students as we can while mitigating the public health risks related to COVID-19, we anticipate that we may not be able to provide housing to all students who want to live on campus this fall. We plan to review and adjust as many returner housing assignments as possible before assigning new resident students to housing.

If you are a returning resident with a room selection roommate scheduled to live in an area with shared community bathrooms, you will be contacted (on a space available basis) to see if you are interested in being reassigned with your roommate to a room/suite with a private bathroom. Otherwise, one or both roommates will likely be reassigned to another residence hall space without a roommate.

In living areas with shared private bathrooms (suites and/or conjoined rooms in West, Miles Bibb and Linsley Halls) residents will be allowed to live in “household units” with roommates. Household units mean that the residents in these units will commit to live as a household (similar to groups living in apartments and houses off campus) and will be expected to manage health and cleaning precautions together within their room/suite.

If you are a returning resident in a conjoined room or suite with a shared private bathroom, you will be contacted to see if you are interested in maintaining your assignment with your roommate(s) in a household unit arrangement. If you and your roommate are not interested in living in a household unit, you may be reassigned to a space alone in a hall with shared community bathroom on a space available basis.

Given the University’s significantly reduced housing capacity and space usage constraints returning residents may be reassigned to other residence hall spaces at the discretion of the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

How might reduced capacity impact my housing assignment if I'm a first-year student?

Instead of allowing students to self-select, resident students placed in campus housing will be assigned by Residence Life beginning July 20th. It is important that new students interested in on-campus housing complete the online housing application by June 26th if not already completed.

What safety precautions are being taken in the residence halls?

It is important to recognize that there are health and safety risks associated with interacting with others during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we cannot anticipate, much less eliminate all risks, a number of residence hall policies and adaptations are planned to support public health and reduce risks. At this time, these include:

  • The required use of face coverings in all residence hall public areas.
  • There is a no guest policy in the residence halls to limit the number of people entering each hall. This includes guests who live in other halls.
  • Elevator occupancy limits will be in place. Use of stairwells will be strongly encouraged for residents medically able to use stairs.
  • Social distancing guidelines will be in place, and there will be limitations on gatherings.
  • Certain residence hall lounges and common areas will be closed to allow staff to concentrate sanitation efforts in high touch/traffic areas.
  • A reduction in the number of residents in areas with shared community bathrooms. In these areas most residents will be assigned to rooms without roommates.
  • Security desks will implement a no-touch self-scan process and plexiglass will be placed between SDAs and scanners.
  • Soap dispensers are being added to all community bathrooms.
  • Certain common areas and stairwells will have directional indicators directing foot traffic.
  • Residents will be asked to provide emergency travel plans and off-campus treatment and isolation plans in case the halls are required to close or in case of illness or medically recommended self-quarantine.
  • The maximum number of persons allowed to be present in any residence hall bedroom will be limited to the number of occupants plus 1 person. Suites will be limited to the number of occupants plus 2 additional persons.
  • Community bathroom use will be restricted to a designated number of users at any given time and use will be limited to floor members. In some areas schedules will be created to help provide predictable shower access given lower occupancy limits.

Can I still live in the residence halls if I have a pre-existing condition that puts me at higher risk for complications from COVID-19?

Students with pre-existing medical conditions placing them at greater risk for COVID19 are encouraged to speak with their doctor(s), assess risks, and make a personal determination about whether living in a shared residential community is in your best interests at this time. If you decide you want to remain a resident student please provide documentation and advise the Health Center and Laurie Carr, Residence Life Assignment Coordinator by July 1, 2020. We will evaluate available assignments which may mitigate, but cannot eliminate, risks. If you need accommodations beyond room assignment, please contact Disability Services.

What is expected of all resident student in terms of helping reduce the risk of COVID-19?

If we are allowed to repopulate the campus as planned, it is important to realize that spikes in COVID19 cases in the state or on campus may jeopardize our ability to remain on campus. Accordingly, we need the commitment of all residents to respect campus policies and adaptations related to public health and to personally follow everyday preventative actions. Residents living as part of a household unit will undermine the spirit of this arrangement if they regularly are close to others in multiple household units. Residents are asked to carefully consider when and how they expose themselves to others on and off campus because such behavior could increase risks for others. We ask that during the 16 weeks of the semester you limit travel and excessive mixing with others – particularly without taking protective measures and social distancing – in interest of your academic community.

It is also important for all members of the community to remember that there are students – including some residents -who have pre-existing medical conditions placing them at greater risk for COVID19 illness. Similarly, faculty, staff, and those close to your friends and neighbors may also have increased risk. We ask all RAMS to act in a way that shows we care about one another’s well-being.

Will students receive credit for their room charges if the residence halls need to close during the Fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19?

Yes. Students who are required to leave campus will receive prorated adjustments; if these adjustments result in an overpayment, then the student will receive a refund.

Will students receive a credit for unused money on their meal plans if the residence halls close to due to COVID-19?

Yes. Students will receive a prorated adjustment for mandatory meal plans; if these adjustments result in an overpayment, then the student will receive a refund.

If I have a balance due will I still receive a refund for room and board due to COVID-19 closures?

If the residence halls are closed during the Fall due to COVID19, students living in residence hall who move out completely, will receive a prorated adjustment of their room and board costs for the semester. The credit will be applied to any outstanding balance owed to the University first; if the adjustment results in an overpayment on the account, then a refund will be issued.

Will students receive a tuition refund or a reduction of tuition/fees?

We hope the semester will not be disrupted by a shift in learning modes such as face-to-face or remote learning due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. If a shift is required, tuition and fees for the fall 2020 semester will be the same, regardless of the method in which the University delivers your academic experience. The tuition and fees that you pay are in exchange for learning, academic credit, and/or certain non-academic services that will be provided to you, regardless of the format in which they’re offered. The University cannot guarantee an on-campus experience, because health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 and its spread on campus, and/or directives from appropriate federal and state health authorities, may require that your academic experience during the fall 2020 semester be offered though a hybrid model of on-campus and remote experiences or entirely remotely. Any interruption due to COVID-19 that results in a change in the way your academic services are being provided, including any suspension of in-person instruction and campus activities, will not entitle you to a reduction or reimbursement of tuition or fees.

Will there be varsity athletics during the fall 2020 semester?

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) announced on July 16th the suspension of upcoming fall varsity athletics for the fall 2020 semester, due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. This very difficult decision was made with the safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff in mind. 

What about Club Sports?

Unfortunately, Club Sports have also been cancelled for the fall semester.

Will there be any practice or training opportunities for varsity athletes to participate in this fall?

Although there won’t be fall contests, the state universities are planning to provide student-athletes with on-campus, in-person practices, conditioning and training opportunities during the fall semester to support their physical and mental well-being.

Will participating in these practices and conditioning opportunities impact my NCAA eligibility?

These practice and training opportunities will not use a year of NCAA Eligibility and will be done in compliance with the campus, city, state, federal and NCAA COVID guidance and protocols.

Are any alternative athletic schedules being considered?

The conference is considering alternative completion options such as shifting fall athletics to the spring. The conference is working with the NCAA, conference teams, MASCAC presidents and state officials to determine the viability of such a plan.

What about Winter and Spring sports?

Winter and Spring sports are still being evaluated and will be addressed in the fall.

Prevention

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.

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.

CDC Prevention Tips

CARES Act

CARES Act

Framingham State University is receiving funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) under Section 18004 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT).  Half of this funding will be used for emergency grants to students and can cover expenses due to the disruption of campus operations from COVID-19. Such expenses may include housing, food, technology, health care, or child care.

Full CARES Act Disclosure

Helpful Links

Campus Contacts

OfficeEmailPhone
University Police508-626-4911
Health CenterView Email508-626-4900
Counseling CenterView Email508-626-4640
Dean of Students OfficeView Email508-626-4596
Academic AffairsView Email508-626-4582
Human ResourcesView Email508-626-4530

Anyone with an @framingham.edu e-mail address is welcome to submit comments or suggestions on the University’s response to the COVID19 pandemic to c19suggestions@framingham.edu.

Virtual FSU

Our students often say they feel it as soon as they step on campus. The sense of community and fRAMily is something in which we take great pride. We want you to feel it, too, even if you can't physically visit our campus. We have built a number of virtual experiences for students and families who are new to our community so you can connect virtually with faculty, students and staff.