FAQ for STUDENTS

What else do you need to know?

Check back often for updates and new information.

How can I help to stop the spread of COVID-19?


Commonsense measures described by the CDC and state Health Department can help to mitigate risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus. These measures include avoiding close contact with others, especially indoors; wearing a face covering; washing your hands frequently; cleaning and disinfecting surfaces; covering coughs and sneezes; and monitoring your own health for symptoms of COVID-19.

Cal U has a customized app to help you monitor your health. Here are instructions for downloading the CampusShield self-screening app:

ACCESS THE MOBILE APP

  1. Using your phone, select the appropriate Campus Shield link:
    1. For iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/campusshield/id1019136154
    2. For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.campus_shield
  2. Next, register and create a profile within the Campus Shield app. You must register with your edu email address to access the customized app. Once you have registered, allow/accept all prompts. When you finish with registration, click the “COVID Health Assessment” tile to complete your assessment.
  3. Use the app each day to answer the self-screening questions. After providing your answers, you will receive one of the following:
  • Green badge – Keep your phone handy to show the badge as needed.
  • Red notice – This indicates you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Follow the instructions on the screen. This will include calling the University’s Health Center.

NOTE: Students may decline to answer and may opt out at any time.

Does Cal U offer COVID-19 testing for students?


Yes! If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call the Health Center at 724-938-4232 for a testing appointment.

Student-athletes are tested on a regular schedule to comply with NCAA guidelines. All other students -- on-campus residents and Vulcan Village residents, as well as commuters -- may be tested free of charge, even if they are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms). The testing station on the mezzanine level of the Convocation Center is open from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday.

Anyone who reports for testing will need to register with our testing provider, Virus Geeks. To create your account, visit pa.virusgeeks.com/testreg?org=CalU. Then follow the registration instructions. You must use your campus email address (ending in calu.edu) to be part of the campus testing program.

As part of the signup process, you must provide all information required by the CDC: age, gender, race, address and phone number. You also will be asked for information about your health insurance (if any). The University will pay all costs for testing that aren’t covered by your insurance plan.

I am a Cal U student. What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?


Commuter students who test positive will be asked to isolate at home and not report to campus until they have recovered.

Resident students who experience symptoms should call the Health Center for guidance. Those who test positive will be sent home (if they can travel safely) or isolated in a single residence hall room. The University Health Center will monitor you while you recover.

All students who test positive with symptoms will remain in isolation until they meet CDC guidelines. Currently, this guidance calls for isolating until:
   a) Ten (10) days have passed since symptoms appeared; and
   b) At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and
   c) Other symptoms have improved.

All students who test positive with no symptoms will remain in isolation until:
   a) Ten (10) days have passed since the positive test and no symptoms have appeared.

For all students, the University will follow up by:
   a) Contacting you to determine possible close contacts.
   b) Contacting other appropriate staff (housing, faculty, etc.) to confirm/find others who may have been in close contact with you.
   c) Notifying those students and employees who were close contacts about the confirmed case, keeping privacy concerns intact.

I am a student and considered a "close contact" of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. What happens now?


If you have been identified as a "close contact" of someone who tested positive, you must follow CDC guidelines. You should:
   a) Quarantine for 10 days (or seven days, with a negative test on or after Day 5 of your quarantine); and
   b) Takes classes remotely during the quarantine period.

When do classes begin and end? When are final exams being held?


For the Spring 2021 semester:

Classes start on January 25. There is no spring break.

Classes end April 30. Final exams will be held May 3-7.

How do I get started using online learning tools like D2L and ZOOM?

This page has information for students about the D2L Brightspace learning tool, including how to find your courses, student help videos, and a useful D2L Brightspace Student Orientation.

The page also has tips for video assignments and using ZOOM web conferencing technology.

Where do I get the Zoom links for my classes?


Your professor will provide you with the Zoom link for your class, either directly via email or via the D2L shell for your course. If you need information, please contact your professor directly.

What is remote learning? How is it different from online courses?
 

Most online courses are “asynchronous,” so you can complete assignments on your own schedule each week. In contrast, remote learning is real-time instruction – you and your classmates will participate in classes at a scheduled day and time, usually through Zoom.

Think of remote learning as a virtual classroom where you, your classmates and your professor meet on a regular schedule to engage in teaching and learning.

How will I know if my class is “online” or “remote learning”?
 

Online classes will be asynchronous (you complete assignments on your own schedule) and delivered through D2L/Brightspace, our learning management system. These courses are identified on your schedule with either “G” or “W” as the first character in the section code. 

Remote learning classes will be synchronous (you and your classmates meet with the instructor at an assigned day and time) and held using Zoom. These courses are identified on your schedule with "R” as the first character in the section code. You will also note that the building is identified as “REMOTE.”

Can I change my classes from on-campus to remote learning?


Cal U has installed cameras in most classrooms, so students can attend on-campus classes remotely. Contact your professor to discuss this option.

Are all remote learning classes held using Zoom?
 

Zoom web conferencing technology will be used for most real-time remote learning in the Spring 2021 semester. Zoom is easy for most people to use. Learn how to log in with the Zoom app here.

Will my remote classes be held at the same time and day(s) each week?


Yes, real-time remote learning is a lot like on-campus classes – you, your classmates and your professor get together at the same time and day(s) each week.

I haven’t heard from my professor. What should I do?

Email your professor directly. (Use the “People Finder” at the bottom of the Cal U homepage to find email addresses for faculty and staff.) If the faculty member does not respond within a few days, contact the department chairperson.

What if I don’t have internet access at home?


Computer workstations in Manderino Library will be open for students who need internet access. For details, check the FAQ item "Is the library open?" on this page.

If visiting campus is not practical for you, check in with your local internet provider. Some companies are providing internet access free or at a reduced rate during this national emergency.

What if my computer doesn’t meet minimum requirements?


Computer workstations in Manderino Library will be open for students who need computer access for classwork or exams. For details, check the FAQ item "Is the library open?" on this page.

A limited number of “loaner” laptops are available from UTech Services. Students who need to borrow a laptop may email eichelberger@calu.edu to request an application.

Will I be required to use Respondus Lockdown Browser for quizzes or tests?

To preserve the value of a Cal U degree, students may be required to use Respondus Lockdown Browser for major exams that are administered online.

If your digital technology does not work well with Respondus Lockdown Browser, contact your professor to discuss alternative proctoring methods.

The library has a limited number of computers equipped with Respondus software for testing. Please bring your own headset. Check the FAQ item "Is the library open?" on this page for library hours and more information.

Is the UTech Helpdesk open?


The UTech Helpdesk is available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Staff may be working remotely, so an email to UTechRequests@calu.edu is the most efficient way to reach the Helpdesk. The phone number is 724-938-5911.

Before you email or phone, see if one of our UTech Tutorials can answer your technology question.

What if I need textbooks or other academic resources?


You can visit the campus store website at: www.calupa.bkstr.com .

Regular hours are: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Cal U Bookstore staff will be available by phone (724-938-4324) weekdays and by email (nash@calu.edu) any time to answer questions and assist with online ordering.

I have questions about my bookstore order. What should I do?

Contact the bookstore during regular hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

You may contact the Cal U Bookstore by phone (724-938-4324) or by email (nash@calu.edu).

I don’t have a computer. What can I do?
 

Computer workstations in Manderino Library will be open for students who need computer access for classwork or exams.

The library has a limited number of computers equipped with Respondus software for testing, and about 35 computers for general use. Please bring your own headset. For details and library hours, check the FAQ item "Is the library open?" on this page.

University Technology Services (UTech) has a limited number of laptops that can be borrowed for short-term use. To request a “loaner” laptop, email eichelberger@calu.edu.

Is the library open?


All four floors of Manderino Library will be open once on-campus classes resume in spring. Occupany and hours both will be reduced. All patrons must wear masks, social distancing will be required and hand-sanitizing stations will be available in high-touch areas.

All regular services library (except for vending machines) will be available. Students may check out books and other materials, and you will have access to course reserves. Touchless curbside service also will be available.

- Library hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. The library is closed on Saturday.

- Curbside service is available from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; and noon-7 p.m. Sunday. There is no curbside pickup on Saturday.

Hours may change; please check the library website before your visit.

In addition, library database resources are available 24/7 via the library’s website for assigned research papers and other assignments. You can also schedule librarian research assistance and chat with a librarian. Check the library website for librarians' hours. 

The library has a limited number of computers equipped with Respondus software for testing, and about 35 computers for general use. Please bring your own headset.

Can I borrow books or other physical materials from the library?


Yes! All regular services library (except for vending machines) will be available. Students may check out books and other materials, and you will have access to course reserves.

No-contact curbside pickup also is available so students, faculty and staff can borrow materials (books, DVDs, realia/teaching aids, etc.) without leaving their vehicles. For details about how to request a book or other loanable materials, visit the library website.

Curbside service is available from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; and noon-7 p.m. Sunday. There is no curbside pickup on Saturday.

Can I complete my internship or student teaching experience?


Internships, externships, field experiences and student teaching will continue as long as the host site is accepting students at their location.

Are professors holding office hours?


Yes, faculty will be available to meet with students online during virtual office hours. Check with your professor(s) to find out when they are scheduling office hours in Spring 2021, or use Starfish to make an appointment. Please note that faculty office hours may change from semester to semester.

How will I know how I’m doing in class?


Faculty will post grades regularly on D2L/Brightspace. If you have concerns, contact your professor directly or use Starfish to “raise your hand” and ask for help.

I’m struggling with online classes. Can I get help?
 

Our Vulcan Learning Commons (VLC) tutors are available to work with you. To schedule an appointment, email vlc@calu.edu or  boukaabar@calu.edu. You also can use the WCOnline scheduling software at https://calu.mywconline.com/.

In addition, Cal U has partnered with Pearson’s Smarthinking, an online tutoring service. Cal U students can request and receive FREE online tutorial assistance from Smarthinking tutors, 24/7, in reading, writing and several other subjects and disciplines. Learn how to get started.

Is ‘Pass/No Credit’ grading available in Spring 2021?


No. The Pass/NC option will NOT be available for Spring 2021.

How can I change my schedule?
 

Contact the Scheduling Center at schedulingcenter@calu.edu and ask to connect with a staff member. They are experts at scheduling!

How do I reach my faculty adviser?


Check the tutorials in VIP for useful information like how to find your advisor. The “People Finder” at the bottom of the Cal U homepage is a useful tool for finding faculty and staff email addresses.

Can I defer my classes for a semester or more?

To request a deferred start, incoming first-year students should contact the Admissions Office at 724-938-4404 or admissions@calu.edu.

Current students should contact the Scheduling Center at schedulingcenter@calu.edu and ask to have their schedule deleted.

Will tuition be different in Spring 2021 since some classes are remote-learning or online?
 

You can expect to learn just as much and earn the same credits via remote learning as you would in face-to-face courses. For this reason, tuition will NOT be reduced or refunded. However, some fees will be reduced while Cal U is operating at Level 3. Check the Guide to Operations for details about financial adjustments.

Will my financial aid, grants or scholarships change because my classes are online in Spring 2021?


Any scholarships or grants you received will NOT be reduced because some courses are being provided remotely. Depending on your situation, there may be a small change in your financial aid award based on the lower cost of attendance. This will be reflected in your updated bill.

Will fees be different in Spring 2021, since we are operating at Level 3?

Cal U maintains its facilities and provides high-quality education and a variety of student services whether it is operating within an in-person, blended or remote learning environment.

As such, these fees are NOT refundable: Academic Support Fee, Lab/Private Instruction Fee, Special Program Fee, Technology Fee and University Services Fee.

When the University is operating at Level 2-4, fees associated with the Herron Recreation and Fitness Center and the Natali Student Center are reduced by 50%, saving students enrolled for 12 or more credits a total of $254.50 per semester. The reduced fees cover costs to maintain the buildings, pay for utilities, etc.

When Cal U operates at Level 3:

- The Student Association Fee will be charged.

- The Transportation Fee will cover the cost of shuttle service between the main campus and Vulcan Village, as well as FREE student parking on campus. A parking permit is still required, and you must park in your assigned lot.

To learn more about University fees and what they pay for, read the Guide to Operations. 

Can I apply for a work-study position this spring?


A limited number of work-study positions are available for Spring 2021. Check Handshake for information about open positions.

Will students get CARES Act relief funds this spring?


The federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) includes funds to assist institutions of higher education and university students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cal U received about $2.1 million to provide emergency financial assistance directly to eligible students. Awards will be made to approximately 3,400 students for the Spring 2021 semester.

Cal U began disbursing this aid on April 1, 2021, via direct deposit and (for those without direct deposit on file) paper checks.

Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education allow Cal U to distribute CRRSA HEERF II funds as direct emergency aid to domestic undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in on-campus and online degree programs during the Spring 2021 semester, and who have a FAFSA on file.

All students received an email with additional details. You can see that information in the Important Messages section of the coronavirus response page, www.calu.edu/coronaplan.

Will Commencement ceremonies be held?


Cal U looks forward to honoring our graduates when it is safe to do so. The Guide to Operations outlines the University’s plans to hold Commencement ceremonies appropriate to the University’s operational level.

At Level 3, Cal U will hold modified, socially distant ceremonies that may be limited to graduates and University personnel (no guests). Face coverings will be required for all attendees.

AS A REMINDER: Whether or not ceremonies are held, graduation is not automatic; students must apply during the semester they intend to graduate. Graduation information and details will be sent ONLY to students who have applied by the posted deadline. Although plans for our formal ceremonies may have changed, students should apply for graduation as usual.

My family’s financial situation has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can my financial aid be adjusted?


Contact the Financial Aid Office (finaid@calu.edu) if medical expenses, job loss or other effects of the pandemic have made a significant change in your family’s income. Financial Aid staff can advise you about updating your FAFSA to ask for an adjustment in your financial aid.

How do I reach the Financial Aid Office?


The Financial Aid staff are here to help you. SOme staff members are in the office and others may be working remotely.

Email questions or concerns to finaid@calu.edu. If you need to speak with someone by phone, provide a callback number and someone will call you back.

Are residence halls and Vulcan Village open?


In Spring 2021, a limited number of residence hall rooms will be available. With few exceptions, residents will be housed singly (one student per bedroom/bathroom). Students in experiential majors will be prioritized when making room assignments; student-athletes will be housed on campus as well.

Vulcan Village, which is owned and operated by the Student Association Inc., remains open this spring. All Vulcan Village apartments have a full kitchen and laundry room. The Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority provides bus service to Walmart and other locations for students who do not have a vehicle.

What about campus dining services? Will they be open?


Dining services will be available.

The Gold Rush will be open from 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily (closed 3:15-3:45 p.m. for cleaning).

Sycamore Bistro (7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday-Friday) and Umami (11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday) will provide “to go” meals only; diners must use the mobile app to order meals from these two locations.

All hours are subject to change. In all locations, diners must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth unless they are seated and eating or drinking.

I need housing near campus. What can I do?


Vulcan Village, which is owned and operated by the Student Association Inc., remains open year-round. All Vulcan Village apartments have a full kitchen and laundry room. The Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority provides access to Walmart and other locations for students who do not have a vehicle.

This apartment complex is located about 1.5 miles from campus. Contact Vulcan Village at 724-938-8990.

Am I allowed to visit campus?


Some in-person activities will resume in Spring 2021, but visitors are NOT permitted in residence halls. Access to other locations (classrooms, common areas, offices, etc.) may be limited; masks and social distancing are required.

What will clubs and organizations look like? How can I get involved?


To mitigate risk, most student clubs and organizations will meet virtually through Microsoft Teams. Check the list of clubs and organizations to see what might interest you.

Watch your campus email, the Daily Announcements, the online events calendar and the Cal Times student newspaper (caltimes.org) for information about activities.

How can I learn about virtual activities at Cal U?


One good source is the Cal Times student newspaper, at caltimes.org. Activities also are listed on the University's events calendar and in the Daily Announcements delivered to your campus email account. And don't forget to follow the SAI, Student Affairs and SAB social media accounts.

How can I stay in touch with the Cal Times student newspaper?
  1.  Go to the Cal Times website
  2.  Find the panel on the homepage: "Get the Cal Times delivered to your Inbox."
  3.  Insert the email address where you want to receive the notifications.
  4. Enjoy your Cal Times subscription!
How can I reach the Student Affairs staff?
 

Student Affairs staff members are ready to assist you, whether they are on campus or working remotely. Please call 724-938-4439 or email stuaffairs@calu.edu.

Where do I go if I feel sick?
 

If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, please contact the Student Health Center at 724-938-4232. The Health Center  they will schedule an appointment (following social distancing guidelines) or provide tele-medicine services.

Is the Counseling Center open?
 

The Counseling Center is accessible by email and telephone for scheduled consultations and tele-therapy appointments for Pennsylvania residents. Staff also can help you find a therapist or mental health resources close to your current location. To schedule a consultation, phone 724-938-4056.

The center is NOT open for in-person or walk-in counseling.

Are other resources available if I need support?


If you are struggling to find the resources you need to complete your coursework, maintain your mental or physical health, sustain your recovery (PARC), address food insecurity, or confront other issues that present as barriers to success, please contact Rachel Michaels, director of Student Wellness Support Services, at michaels_r@calu.edu.

If you need support for recovery, these websites can help you find online meetings:

Is the Vulcan Flyer running?
 

Shuttle service is provided by the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority. Check MMVTA.com for information about bus service in the area.

How can I get a parking pass?


At Level 3, the Transportation Fee covers the cost of parking on campus. There is  no additional cost, but you will need to obtain a parking pass and park in your assigned lot.

Parking passes are issued by the Office of Parking and Transportation. You can reach the office at 724-938-4677.

You can learn more and manage your parking account online at www.calu.edu/parking.