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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQs

The World Health Organization describes coronaviruses as a "large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV or now COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

There are common coronaviruses that circulate throughout the year, which usually cause upper respiratory tract illnesses much like the common cold. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread like any other respiratory illness, such as the common cold or influenza. Coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms spread coronavirus to others.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness (such as a cough or shortness of breath), the CDC suggests that you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your symptoms and recent travel. Students showing symptoms should schedule an appointment with your Primary Care Pro.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer as much as possible if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid people who may be sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Because of the ever-expanding global outbreak, the federal government recently announced that all individuals (which may include students, faculty, or staff) who have traveled to a Level 3 Country in the past 14 days and returned on or after February 3, 2020, will be requested to remain at home and be monitored for 2019-nCoV symptoms by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Students, faculty or staff who's family members have traveled from a Level 3 Country in the last 14 days (and who are already being monitored for symptoms) do not need to be excluded from school.

Yes. The Columbus State University Police Department is operating at normal capacity. In the event you need assistance, please call 706-507-8911. For additional information on the Columbus State University Police Department go to: https://police.columbusstate.edu

If you are a student, call the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620 prior to coming in if you have: a fever, a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or have traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone who has. A nurse will review your symptoms and determine if you should come in to the Center, and will guide you as to what time and what to expect. We are asking this in order to treat you as quickly as possible and to protect other students who may be in the Health Center.

Student FAQs

The CSU HelpDesk is open and available to assist students, as well as faculty and staff, with any technical questions or issues. The current hours are Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for phone support, or 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for in-person support. The CSU HelpDesk can be reached by email at helpdesk@columbusstate.edu or by phone at 706-507-8199.

We also have several resources available:

The Columbus State University Counseling Center is still open to serve the needs of registered CSU students. At this time, we are trying to limit the number of students who come onto campus. For students with appointments that have already been scheduled, we are arranging to speak with them via phone. New students or students who are needing to speak to a counselor should call the counseling center directly, and they will be able to speak to one of our therapists. Students who must meet face-to-face with a therapist will be able to do so, at least at this time. We are assessing the needs of each individual student and helping them determine how best we can help them. The Counseling Center is devoted to the mental health and welfare of each student and we will continue to make each of you a priority. For more info, visit https://counsel.columbusstate.edu/.

If you are a student, during our business hours it's easy to give us a call at 706- 507-8740 and we'll talk. If it's after hours, this is the number to call: 1-800-715-4225. There's also a great link here with lots of things you can do to keep safe and okay while we are waiting for things to go back to normal: https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/.

If you are faculty or staff, we have services available 24/7 through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Please contact our EAP partner, KEPRO at 1-844-243-4440.

If you are a student, call the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620 during regular business hours of 8-5 Monday-Thursday, 8-3 on Friday, and ask to speak with a nurse. Please have the name of the prescription and the phone number of your pharmacy. We will determine the steps that need to be taken.

The COVID-19 virus is impacting Georgian’s ability to work, access healthcare, and receive education services. Because of the shift to telehealth with “virtual visits”, teleworking, and remote continuity of learning, and in partnership with Governor Brian Kemp and the state Coronavirus Task Force, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs has launched a webpage to provide information to Georgians and resources connect to high-speed internet.

Georgia Department of Community Affairs - Find Public Wifi

Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser. For more information, please visit https://kmph.com/news/local/comcast-offering-free-internet-to-help-with-coronavirus-impacts-03-15-2020

Two internet service providers -- Comcast and Spectrum -- are offering free internet service for a period of time. Comcast is offering Internet Essentials package for free for 60 days during the coronavirus outbreak. See https://www.wxyz.com/news/national/coronavirus/comcast-offering-internet-essentials-package-free-for-60-months-during-coronavirus-outbreak.

Charter Communication announced it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a subscription. See https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/coronavirus-covid-19-information-spectrum-customers.

Refunds FAQs

We intend to have refunds completed and sent to BankMobile by Friday, April 10.

Columbus State University uses a third-party provider, BankMobile Disbursements, to process student refunds. Students receive a refund selection kit via CSU email. This kit goes out when a student registers at CSU for the first time. For more information about BankMobile, visit this link: http://bankmobiledisbursements.com/refundchoicessso/.

Please email bursar@ColumbusState.edu if you have not received a refund selection kit via your CSU email.

BankMobile will send an email to notify you that your refund was processed.

Spring Semester was planned to last 130 days and would have ended on May 11. Instead, we ended residential operations on March 16, and operated for 74 days. Subsequently, we "lost" 56 days, which is 43% of the 130-day total. Therefore, we are refunding 43% of the cost of housing and for unlimited dining plans.

For all other meal plans, you will receive a refund for all unused meals and unused Cougar Cash.

The fees associated with the Rec Center and Parking Deck are used to make ongoing payments for the bonds used to finance the construction of these facilities. Those debt obligations are ongoing.

While we are processing and posting credits to your account, you may notice in MyCSU that some credits appear on your account and others do not. We will continue to post credits and will issue your refund once all credits have been processed. We expect to issue refunds by April 10.

No. Refunds will not be issued for lab or course fees as these funds are necessary for the continuity of instruction in the online environment.

If you owe a past due balance to the University, your refund will be applied to that before a refund is issued. If your fees were paid using sponsored funds or paid by a third party such as VA benefits, the funds will be returned to the third party and not the student.

Most of our fees are charged on a “per semester” basis. Spring Semester was planned to last 130 days and would have ended on May 11. Instead, we ended residential operations on March 16, and operated for 74 days. Subsequently, we "lost" 56 days, which is 43% of the 130-day total. Therefore, we are providing pro-rated refunds of 43% for all or parts of certain fees.

Athletic Fee: $12.04
A portion of the Athletic Fee is eligible for refunding. Most of the fee is used to support fixed costs like student scholarships and coaches’ salaries and cannot be reduced. A total of 14% of the fee is eligible for refunds.

$200 fee X 14% = $28 prorated at 43% = $12.04

Activity Fee: $15.85
A portion of the Activity Fee is eligible for refunding. Some of the fee is being used to support online student activities – many of which are already under way. A total of 55% of the fee is eligible for refunds.

$67 fee X 55% = $36.85 prorated at 43% = $15.85

Campus Access Fee: $12.90
All of the Campus Access Fee is eligible for refunding.

$30 fee prorated at 43% = $12.90

International Support Fee: $6.02
All of the International Support Fee is eligible for refunding.

$14 fee prorated at 43% = $6.02

A few of our fees are charged once per year, rather than once per semester. We expected to have 357 days of coverage for these fees (Fall, Spring and Summer) with the period ending on August 3. Instead, we ended early on March 16, and operated for 217 days. We "lost" 140 days, which is 39% of the 357-day total. Therefore, we are providing prorated refunds of 39% for these types of fees.

Housing Activity Fee - $11.70
A portion of the Housing Activity Fee is eligible for refunding. Some of the fee is being used to support online student activities. A total of 60% of the fee is eligible for refunds.

$50 fee X 60% = $30 prorated at 39% = $11.70

Parking Decal Fee - $17.55
All of the Parking Decal Fee is eligible for refunding.

$45 fee prorated at 39% = $17.55

Graduation Fee - $60
This fee is charged on a one-time basis to graduating students and will be refunded at 100%.

Faculty FAQs

Final exam guidelines:

  • Exam Week is now May 11-14 for courses transformed from F2F to online. In these courses, instructors should end regular instruction and all synchronous activities on May 9 and conduct final exams (or appropriate culminating activities) during Exam Week.
  • Final exams (or any activity during Exam Week) should be conducted asynchronously and be designed to be completed in no more than 150 minutes.
  • Courses that were originally online can proceed with exams as planned, but they should not require synchronous exams or activities during May 11-14.
  • Faculty have the option to use Respondus Monitor, which is built into CougarView, to increase the security of exams. COOL will provide Respondus Monitor training via Collaborate Ultra during the week of April 6–10, and Respondus is offering training webinars daily at this link. (Note that Respondus Monitor may not work with external testing platforms.)
  • Final exams should be designed to proceed without proctoring or proctoring services (other than Respondus Monitor). (USG advises that third-party proctoring services are likely to be overwhelmed and unavailable.)
  • Students with disabilities can usually be accommodated within CougarView. If in doubt, instructors should contact the Center for Accommodation and Access for guidance on accommodations. COOL can help instructors make quiz materials accessible and help adjust quizzes for students who need additional time.
  • Exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the appropriate academic dean.

Final exams end on May 14. If possible, submit final grades by May 16. Grades are due no later than noon on May 18.

The USG has issued the following statement addressing grading practices during the use of remote instruction:

The University System of Georgia is aware some institutions around the nation have decided to shift to pass/fail grading after transitioning to remote education. We are confident our students will rise to the challenge, and the USG will do everything in its power to help them do so. We trust our faculty to teach and grade students effectively.

In times of adversity, we should reach higher, not lower. Maintaining high academic standards is critical to the success of USG students now and in the future. Continuing letter grading for the final few weeks of the semester will allow faculty to assess the performance of students in the same manner as they always have. The USG is confident that faculty and students will rely on the resilience they have shown thus far and continue to meet our high standards.

While online instruction will be new to many, thousands of USG students and faculty have already experienced it through nearly 11,000 online course sections offered prior to USG’s temporary shift to all-online instruction. In addition, the USG has offered resources to assist faculty (https://www.usg.edu/keep_teaching_usg) and students (https://www.usg.edu/keep_learning_usg) make the transition.

In discussing this issue with the chair of the Student Course Evaluation Committee, it was decided that it would be a nearly impossible task to design and approve a new instrument at this late date. However, the committee felt it was important to remind faculty about their own ability to customize additional questions. We are exploring finding or creating a short, user-friendly PowerPoint guide indicating specifically how to do this. This could offer an avenue for faculty who may be concerned about the potential negative outcomes of their student evaluations due to the change in teaching modality.

It is important to emphasize that the Spring 2020 semester is unusual and as a result, tenure and promotion committees, chairs, and deans, must consider this in reviewing portfolios. Feedback from students during this semester may be helpful in a formative sense but may not be an accurate reflection of the instruction in the course. The course evaluations from Spring 2020 will not be considered in the decisions for tenure and promotion or annual evaluations.

COVID19 has had an impact on the research of many faculty members. The USG does not support a blanket pausing of the tenure and promotion clock; however, the USG policies do support the approval of extending the time on a case by case basis. If a faculty member is interested in pausing the tenure and promotion clock, the faculty member will need to submit a formal request to the chair and dean. The dean will forward the request to the Provost for review and it will then be forwarded to President Markwood for approval.

Annual evaluations will continue. It will be important for faculty to highlight the work that has been done during the spring 2020 semester. Reviews of annual evaluations will consider the disruption of research. Student course evaluations from Spring 2020 will not be considered as part of the annual evaluation.

Employee FAQs

COVID-19 Leave Options and Procedures FAQs

USG COVID-19 Campus FAQs for Employees