FALL 2020 SEMESTER AND CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESPONSE

FALL 2020 SEMESTER AND CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESPONSE

The University has been made aware of COVID-19 cases that affect our campus. Cal U is working to mitigate risk for our students, our employees, and the communities where we live and work. Learn more

Cal U's plan for remote operations aligns with the State System of Higher Education's Fall 2020 Framework.

Cal U Campus.

Guide to Operations, Fall 2020

 

Learn about Cal U’s plan to provide a rigorous and engaging academic experience while protecting our campus community.

Read the Guide 

 

Student on computer at Cal U.

FAQ for Students

 

The FAQ for Students has answers to many of your questions.

GET ANSWERS

 

Student on computer at Cal U.

COVID-19 Response

 

Review previous messages to the campus community about Cal U’s pandemic response.

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PLEASE NOTE

To reduce the risk to our University community, no in-person University events will be held on campus during the fall semester.

Family members who have additional questions may call the Cal U Information Hotline at 724-938-5600 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please leave a message so we can return your call.

It’s important for you to have timely, accurate information as Cal U responds to the evolving public health situation. This webpage will be updated with current, accurate information pertaining to Cal U. Please check back regularly so you can stay informed.

Important Messages to Students, Faculty and Staff

Aug. 18, 2020: COVID-19


To our campus community,

Unfortunately, no community is immune from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our University has been made aware of a Cal U employee who is presumed positive for the coronavirus.

Our thoughts are with this employee, who is isolating at home. To preserve the individual’s privacy, no further details will be provided.

Please know that Cal U is taking steps to mitigate risk to our campus community.

We have notified the state Department of Health and identified individuals who may have been in close contact with the employee who is ill. Those individuals have been notified and instructed to quarantine, following Health Department guidelines.

Information about COVID-19 cases that affect our campus are posted on Cal U’s Coronavirus Response website. It will be updated as needed, based on information reported to the University.

Now more than ever, we have a responsibility to care for every member of our Cal U family.

Please take care of yourself and those around you.

Sincerely,

Geraldine M. Jones
University President

July 31, 2020: Cal U Returns to Remote Instruction (Students)

 

Watch a video message from President Jones.

Dear students,

Your health and safety have always been paramount as we plan for the fall semester.

With the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in western Pennsylvania, across the Commonwealth and throughout the country, it has become apparent that the on-campus experience we all anticipated presents too great a risk to our students, faculty and staff.

COVID-19 can have serious consequences for people of all ages, including young adults. Hundreds of colleges across the country are seeing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 as students return to campus. This is not the experience we want for you, our University or our local community.

Today I am announcing a major change in our plans for the fall semester: Cal U will return to remote instruction, and all on-campus residence halls will remain closed throughout the semester.

I understand that many of you have already made plans for fall. But it is never the wrong time to make the right decision – and your safety is, and must remain, our University’s primary concern. Despite the ongoing public health crisis, your Cal U journey will continue, and we will be here to guide you every step of the way.

How does this affect my classes?
Cal U remains committed to offering a high-quality academic experience. We learned a great deal this spring, when the coronavirus pandemic required a sudden shift to virtual learning. Since then, our faculty have engaged in additional training, including innovative approaches to teaching labs and other hands-on classes in a virtual environment, and the University has made adjustments based on feedback from students.

Although some fully online courses will be offered this fall, the majority of classes will utilize real-time remote learning. You will join these classes on a regular schedule and participate with your professor and classmates just as you would on campus. Many students find this approach provides a more rewarding learning experience. Remote learning courses will be identified on your schedule with the letter “R” as the first character in the course section.

In addition, faculty will be available during virtual office hours to guide, advise and mentor you. The Office of Academic Success will provide resources, including skills-building workshops and tutoring, to help you stay on track toward your degree.

Classes will start on August 24. You can check your schedule in VIP early next week. Watch your campus email for more information from your professors.

How does this change affect campus housing and dining?
All residence halls and dining services will remain closed this fall. If you planned to live on campus, your housing deposit will be credited to your account, along with any fees you’ve already paid for main-campus housing and meal plans.

The Vulcan Village apartment complex will remain open under the auspices of the Student Association Inc. Students whose special circumstances require them to remain in California may contact Vulcan Village at 724-938-8990.

Will tuition or student fees be reduced?
Cal U delivers high-quality coursework whether classes meet in person or via technology. Students can expect to achieve equivalent learning outcomes and earn the same credits as they would in face-to-face courses.

For this reason, tuition at Cal U will not be reduced. The Academic Support Fee and Technology Fee also remain the same.

Other fees will be reduced or waived.

  • The Student Association Fee will be reduced to $140. The reduced rate supports services provided virtually while in-person activities are suspended.
  • The Herron Recreation and Fitness Center fees and Natali Student Center fees will be reduced by 50%. These reduced fees cover costs to maintain the buildings, pay for utilities, etc.
  • The Transportation Fee, which covers costs for the Vulcan Flyer shuttle service, will be waived.

What about student services and events?
Although classes will move online, Cal U staff will be available to support you throughout the semester. The Counseling Center will continue to offer tele-counseling to students in Pennsylvania and other approved locations.

The UTech Helpdesk can assist with technology issues, and the Career & Professional Development Center can help with career counseling and services for job seekers.

No in-person gatherings will take place on campus this fall – but you will have many opportunities to have fun and stay connected through virtual events.

Welcome Weekend, Homecoming and the second annual Vulcan 5K Race are moving online, and our Student Affairs professionals are planning a full schedule of activities.

#CalUTogether
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives – but it cannot stop you from earning your degree. Our Cal U community demonstrated tremendous strength and resilience last spring, and we will continue to persevere. By staying apart this fall semester, we are protecting ourselves and those we care about most, including our friends, classmates and mentors on campus.

I encourage you to read the FAQ for Students, which will be updated regularly as we address the questions raised most often by students and their families. We’ve also posted our Guide to Operations, which outlines the Level 4 plan in effect for Fall 2020.

I have no doubt that our Cal U family will be together again once the virus is defeated. Until then, please take care of yourself and those around you.

With warmest wishes,

Geraldine M. Jones
University President

July 31, 2020: Cal U Returns to Remote Instruction (Faculty/Staff)


Watch a video message from President Jones

Dear faculty and staff,

Throughout the summer, we listened to your concerns as we planned to return to campus. Our plans were thorough and thoughtful, and they were developed in the sincere belief that we could reopen responsibly this fall.

However, with the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in western Pennsylvania, across the Commonwealth and throughout the country, it has become apparent that an on-campus experience presents too great a risk to our faculty, staff and students.

Nationwide, hundreds of colleges are seeing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 as students return to college towns. This is not the experience we want for you, our students, our University or our local community.

Today I am announcing a major change in our plans for the fall semester: There will be NO in-person instruction this fall, and on-campus residence halls will remain closed throughout the semester.

Classes now will begin August 24. Faculty will deliver their courses via online instruction or real-time remote learning. Student services will be provided virtually as well.

I understand that many of you already have made plans for the fall semester. But it is never the wrong time to make the right decision – and safety is, and must remain, our University’s primary concern.

What does this mean for faculty?
Cal U remains committed to offering a high-quality academic experience. We learned a great deal this spring, when the coronavirus pandemic required a sudden shift to virtual learning. Since then, many faculty members have completed Zoom, Mediasite and D2L/Brightspace workshops. This training is required to be completed by August 31, and additional workshops are available to help you master advanced skills for teaching in a virtual environment. Watch for additional emails from Acting Provost Engstrom.

Although some fully online courses will be offered this fall, most classes will be delivered using real-time remote learning. Students will join these classes on a regular schedule and participate with their instructor and classmates. In a survey taken last spring, many students reported that this approach provides a more rewarding learning experience.

Virtual office hours will present opportunities to advise, guide and mentor our students – and these interactions will be more important than ever as students continue their studies remotely.

Faculty members will receive more information about the fall course schedule and training for online instruction in the days ahead.

What does this mean for staff?
A small cohort of essential employees will continue working on campus to maintain facilities and public safety. Otherwise, all campus operations will be conducted remotely this fall.

Student support services will continue to be offered virtually. No on-campus events will be held during the fall semester.

Each Vice President will determine which employees will be approved to be on campus, and Human Resources will be communicating that process to all employees. 

The Human Resources Office will provide more information for staff in the coming days.

#CalUTogether
Our Cal U community demonstrated tremendous strength and resilience last spring, and we will continue to persevere. Although it presents significant financial challenges, the shift to remote operations will mitigate risk to our employees, our students, our families and our communities. Nothing matters more.

I encourage you to read our Guide to Fall Operations, which outlines the Level 4 plans in effect for Fall 2020. And please familiarize yourself with the FAQ for Students, which  will be updated regularly as we address the questions raised most often by students and their families.

Now more than ever, Cal U’s success hinges on your expertise, your resolve and your commitment to the tasks ahead. I have no doubt that our Cal U family will be together again once the virus is defeated. Until then, please take care of yourself and those around you.

With warmest wishes,

Gerladine M. Jones
University President


WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STAY WELL?

There is no vaccine or anti-viral treatment for COVID-19. To reduce your risk of becoming ill, the CDC recommends these commonsense measures:

  • Stay home when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use a regular cleaning spray or wipes to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, keyboards, computer mice, cellphones, etc.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS AND COVID-19

CARES ACT FUNDS

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security program (CARES) Act provides institutions like Cal U with federal funds to offer emergency aid “to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted, many of whom are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be considered for these funds, degree-seeking students must have been enrolled in a face-to-face, on-campus academic program, have filed a 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and have met other eligibility guidelines. 

Learn about CARES Act eligibility in our FAQ for Students or read Cal U’s CARES Act Report.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Studying or working from home? Check our these helpful resources:

 


Use your Cal U login and password to read the University’s 2020 Pandemic Response Plan and unit/department plans for responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.