General COVID-19 Information
What do I need to know?
- The novel coronavirus is a newly identified strain of a known virus family called coronaviruses. The common cold is an example of another strain of a coronavirus. The novel coronavirus causes a disease called COVID-19.
- The physical risk to young, healthy individuals is thought to be low, however, the concern should be taken seriously as countries who are days and weeks ahead in the pandemic are indicating risk of severe illness at all age levels.
- Evidence thus far in the pandemic indicates that people are contagious and spread the virus 2-3 days before showing symptoms of illness, if they ever show symptoms. The COVID-19 pandemic is very different from prior serious outbreaks largely because of the spread by non-symptomatic individuals.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19, and how can I stay safe?
- Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure and to follow everyday preventative actions to reduce the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of household surfaces, including your cell phone and computer.
- The CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks to protect healthy individuals.
- You can help protect others by staying home when you are sick, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue and throwing the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into your elbow. Avoid coughing or sneezing near other people.
Is it safe to travel?
- The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong.
- As of March 7, there are no domestic travel warnings for US residents.
- The most up-to-date travel information from the CDC can be found at CDC Travel - FAQ and Answers and CDC COVID-19 Information for Travel.
How is Springfield College responding and preparing?
- Springfield College is following guidance from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), and is working closely with state and local public health authorities to develop protocols and to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19, including recommending a 14-day self-quarantine for any person deemed at risk of exposure.
- Springfield College has a plan to care for members of the campus community who need to observe the 14-day self-quarantine period, including a care plan for the affected persons, a prepared location removed from other community members for affected persons who cannot return home, and a communication plan to get information to those affected.
- The most up-to-date information from Springfield College can be found here.
- The Springfield College Health Center staff are available to answer additional questions.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19?
- The CDC and the WHO are both excellent resources for comprehensive information and up-to-the-minute information.
- If needed, updates specific to Springfield and Massachusetts will be posted on the following websites:
- Johns Hopkins University is maintaining a live map of the COVID-19 outbreak, including global distribution of cases and information on the outcome of confirmed cases.
How can I stay healthy?
- The advice that you’re used to for cold and flu season applies here. Get enough sleep, reduce stress, eat healthful foods, and of course, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently when you are out of your home. In between hand washings, avoid putting your hands near your eyes, nose and mouth.
- The good news is that viruses generally don’t live for very long on your hands and skin, but the bad news is that people touch their faces constantly. If you keep your hands away from your face while you’re out in public areas, any virus that gets on your hands will likely die on your hands without affecting you. Especially if you wash your hands regularly.
- The novel coronavirus can live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for up to several days, and for shorter durations (up to 24 hours) on softer surfaces like cardboard and fabrics. This means that if no one has been in a room for several days that room will likely be safe, but high traffic areas should be cleaned regularly.
- The novel coronavirus spreads from person to person primarily through respiratory droplets, and people who are infected may be able to infect others 2-3 days before they have symptoms. This means that limiting contact with other people is the best way to stay healthy. This is what “social distancing” is about:
What is social distancing? What am I supposed to do?
- The goal of social distancing is to both remain healthy and to avoid being a carrier of disease within the community.
- To observe social distancing, you should remain in your home, in your yard, or in non-public outdoor locations where you are 6+ feet from anyone not in self-isolation with you. This means not going to coffee shops, bars, restaurants, malls, and other public locations.
- You should not visit others and others should not visit you. It is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.
- Being outside is great! Go for walks, hikes, and bike rides, always remaining 6+ feet from others.
- Everyone in your house should practice social distancing. If they are not or can not, you should follow the precaution of remaining 6+ feet away from them, washing hands frequently, and not sharing space with them as much as possible, including bathrooms and bedrooms.
- You do not need weeks of supplies stockpiled. It is scary to see the grocery stores with empty shelves! They will restock. You can go to grocery stores and pharmacies for essentials. Wash your hands before you go, stay as far away from others as you can while you are there, don’t touch your face while out, and wash your hands when you return home. Ordering takeout is thought to be fine.
- Practice social distancing, to the best of your ability, until this is over. It is difficult to estimate when this will be over.
Why does social distancing matter?
- Social distancing is the best protection from personal infection with COVID-19, as well as from spreading the disease and overwhelming the capacity and resources of the United States healthcare system. Severe illness may require hospital resources that will become scarce if immediate measures are not put in place to reduce the rate of transmission.
- Social distancing also protects those who are at greatest risk of (e.g., elderly and those with underlying health conditions).
- Without social distancing, as many as 2 million Americans may need intensive care within the next 2-3 months. At maximum capacity, the US healthcare system can accommodate 95,000 intensive care patients at one time. Many of those beds are already taken by patients with other conditions. Healthcare providers will be forced to make difficult decisions about which patients will receive life-saving measures, and which will not.
What is the difference between social distancing, quarantine, and isolation?
- Self-quarantine is voluntary, and means that healthy people who suspect potential exposure (e.g., have had known contact with an infected individual) do not go to work, school, or public areas, and avoid other members of their household, including using a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible.
- In some situations governments may make quarantine mandatory, although this is uncommon in the US.
- Self-monitoring is appropriate when exposure is possible (e.g., you attended an event that an infected person also attended), but there has been no known direct contact with an infected person. Self-monitoring might include regularly checking your temperature and watching for signs of a respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. It also involves limiting interaction with others (i.e., social distancing).
- Isolation occurs when confirmed cases of COVID-19 are separated from others for the duration of their illness (until they test negative for the virus twice 24-hours apart).
- The CDC recommends anyone with potential exposure (including returning home from an affected area) self-quarantine for 14 days.
Will I receive a refund?
Credits Applied to a Student’s Account: Students who have a zero balance or whose credit will exceed their balance will receive a refund.
Payment through Accounts Payable: Students that made direct payments for college-sponsored trips that were cancelled will be refunded in their entirety, regardless of whether the student has a credit balance on their student account. Please see the sections below on Student Travel – Athletes and Student Travel – Other for additional information.
How will I receive my refund?
eRefund: Students who have set up their eRefund account will receive their refund faster and safer. Once their account shows a credit balance, the refund will be processed that following week. Banks typically make those funds available to the student within one to three business days.
Check: Students who have not set up their eRefund account will receive a paper check mailed to the address the College has on file. It may take up to five days or more to receive the check and an additional one to three days before the bank makes those funds available to the student.
When will refunds be processed?
If a credit has been posted to the student’s account which results in a credit balance, the refund will be processed by the following Friday. If a student’s account is credited by April 10, 2020, the refund will be processed by April 17, 2020. eRefunds are processed first, and transmitted as soon as they are fully reviewed and approved; check refunds are paid on Fridays. As such, eRefunds may be available earlier in the week, while check refunds will be mailed on Friday.
How will my refunds be processed?
Credit Applied to a Student’s Account: The following refunds will be processed during the next two weeks, and posted to student accounts no later than Friday, April 10, 2020: residence hall charges, meal plan charges, Pride Dollars, Spring PEAC Skills Classes and other second half semester fees, and parking permit fees. Students who have a refund posted to their account that results in a credit balance will also receive a check or direct deposit, unless the College is notified that a student/family would like the credit balance to remain on the student’s account. This notification can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be aware that federal regulations do not allow the College to hold Federal Title IV credit balances to the next academic year. As such, all Federal Title IV credit balances will be refunded. Any credit balance refunds posted to a student’s account by Friday, April, 10, 2020 will be processed by the following Friday, April 17, 2020.
How much of a credit will be applied to my student account?
The following is a breakdown of the amount that will be credited to a student’s account:
Residence Hall Charges:
Students no longer living in our residence halls or graduate housing will be credited residence hall charges from March 23, 2020 until the end of the semester, which represents seven (7) weeks out of the 15 weeks of housing for the Spring semester. The table below details the specific credit amounts based on the original housing charges.
|Original Housing Charge:||Amount of Credit to be Applied:|
Meal Plan Charges (Required and Voluntary):
Students will be provided a credit of charges from March 23, 2020 until the end of the semester, which represents seven (7) weeks of out 15 weeks of meal plans. The table below details the specific credit amounts based on the original meal plan charges.
|Meal Plan Selected||Original Meal Plan Charge:||Amount of Credit to be Applied:|
|224 Block Meal Plan||$2,945.00||$1,374.33|
|All Access Meal Plan||$3,555.00||$1,659.00|
|160 Block Meal Plan||$2,215.00||$1,033.67|
|80 Block Meal Plan||$1,480.00||$690.67|
Pride Dollars (Meal Plan and Bookstore):
Students who have funds remaining on their Pride Dollar and/or Pride Dollar Bookstore accounts will receive a credit of their 100% of their remaining balances to their student accounts.
Spring PEAC Skills Class / Other Second Half Fees:
Skills class and other fees related to a student’s academic schedule that began after March 1, 2020 will be 100% credited to a student’s account.
Parking Permit Fees:
Students with parking permit fees will be credited 7 weeks out of the 15 weeks of parking for the Spring semester. Annual permits amounts will be divided in half before the calculation for the Spring semester. The table below details the specific credit amounts based on the original parking permit charges.
|Parking Permit||Original Permit Charge:||Amount of Credit to be Applied:|
|Full Time Resident Annual Permit||$130.00||$30.33|
|Full Time Resident Spring Only||$65.00||$30.33|
|Part Time Commuter Annual Permit||$65.00||$15.17|
|Part Time Commuter Spring Only||$32.50||$15.17|
|ROCE Annual Permit||$25.00||$5.83|
Payment through Accounts Payable: (Travel-related Refunds)
Travel-related refunds will be processed through Accounts Payable and a check will be mailed to the current address on file, in order to provide families with financial resources as soon as possible. These payments will be processed as requests are received and approved. Requests received and approved by Accounts Payable by Monday are paid out and mailed on Friday of the same week.
Student Travel - Athletes: Refunds for any amounts provided by students or their families as direct payments for college-sponsored trips that were cancelled will be refunded in their entirety.
Student Travel – Other: Refunds for any amounts provided by students or their families as direct payments for college-sponsored trips that were cancelled will be refunded in their entirety.
How can I sign up for eRefund?
To sign up for eRefund, please follow the process below:
- Log into PrideNet and click on "My Profile".
- Click "My Student Financial Portal" (on the left side of the page).
- Click "Student eBill/Payment Plan".
- Click "View eBill".
- Click the "Setup eRefund" button located below your account summary.
This will bring you to the CASHNet Portal, please complete the following steps:
- Click on your name on the top left.
- A page will open up. Click on Direct Deposit Refunds, half way down the page.
- Please note you will need your bank account and routing number for direct deposits. Confirm with your bank that you have the correct numbers for direct deposit.
- Follow the steps (please review the routing and account number to ensure they are accurate. Otherwise your refund will not go through).
Who do I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions about your credit or refunds, please contact the Business Office at email@example.com or (413)748-3183.
Please be aware the College is mainly working remotely, with limited staff available in the office for direct phone coverage. Staff are able to respond to emails and voicemails, and will do so as quickly as we can. Because we are using our own phones to return calls, our telephone number is blocked to protect a staff’s privacy, so returned calls from the College may not show on Caller ID.
We thank you for your patience and cooperation through this difficult time, and wish you and your family safety and good health.
Pass / Fail Policy
With the guidance of their advisors and the chairs of their departments, students may petition to take one, some, or all spring 2020 courses as Pass / Fail. Courses earning Pass do not count toward GPA but may count toward graduation and major, minor, or general education requirements; the decision to take a course Pass / Fail should be made in careful consideration of the requirements of the student’s program and future plans (see below). Courses earning a grade of a Fail would be counted in the GPA calculation.
Students who choose the Pass / Fail option are expected to fully participate in the course.
Students who take fewer than 12 credits for letter grades are ineligible for Dean’s List recognition.
While students are normally restricted to taking 12 credits Pass / Fail, none of the courses taken Pass / Fail in spring 2020 will count toward this total.
The following notation will appear on all transcripts:
A global health emergency during this term required significant course changes. Unusual enrollment patterns and grades may reflect the tumult of the time.
For undergraduate students:
- a letter grade of D- or above would result in a grade of Pass.
- a letter grade of F would result in a grade of Fail.
- grades of Pass will not be used in GPA calculations.
- grades of Fail will be used in GPA calculations.
For graduate students:
- a letter grade of C- or higher would result in a grade of Pass.
- a letter grade lower than a C- would result in a grade of Fail.
- grades of Pass will not be used in GPA calculations.
- grades of Fail will be used in GPA calculations.
Course Withdrawal Policy
The course withdrawal deadline for Spring 2020 will be extended to May 12.
Incomplete Grade Policy
Under these unique circumstances, faculty are encouraged to use as generously as possible the incomplete contract process to help maintain a student’s progress toward degree.
- Students with existing incomplete grade contracts should be aware that they may request a deadline extension for completing them. The Registrar’s Office will notify these students and provide them instructions on how to extend their contracts; academic advisors will be cc’d on this email notification.
- Students petitioning for incomplete grades for Spring 2020 courses must complete incomplete grade contracts by the final exam period using the usual process. If they later require an extension beyond the contracted date, they may petition for an extension up to one year.
Does this Pass/Fail option apply to all students?
Some majors or programs for accreditation reasons do not allow students to take courses Pass / Fail. Students in these programs will be advised on their options by their departments.
What happens if a student makes a mistake in selecting a Pass/Fail option for a course that they need to have graded; is there an option to recover the grade?
Yes, the faculty will submit letter grades for all students. After grades are submitted an adjustment will be made to the submitted grade based upon the selected option. Should we need to make adjustments, chairs can submit a request to have the Pass/Fail option for that student and course overridden.
Can General Education courses be taken as Pass / Fail?
In many cases, yes. If the student's academic major or program allows it, then the course can be taken Pass / Fail, and a grade of Pass will fulfill the student's General Education requirement. However, if a major or program requires that a student receive a specific grade in a required General Education course, departments should advise their students to take that course for a letter grade.
Pass / Fail Option Requests
Students enrolled in coursework offering a letter grade in the Spring 2020 semester will be able to request to take one, some, or all of those courses in a Pass / Fail option through a portlet in PrideNet between April 13 to May 8. Additional details about the location of this portlet will be forthcoming in a follow-up communication.
Note: Students enrolled in study abroad at a partner program are also eligible to take their Spring 2020 semester coursework in a Pass / Fail option. Students enrolled in study abroad at a partner program will not be able to make any Pass / Fail requests using the portlet mentioned above; however, the scheduled follow-up communication will detail the appropriate steps this group must take to make their request(s).
Course Withdrawal Requests
The course withdrawal deadline for the Spring 2020 semester has been extended through May 12. In an effort to make this process more efficient for all parties, course withdrawal requests no longer require the approval of the course instructor prior to submission (the process will still require the approval of the student’s advisor.) Further, the course withdrawal request process can now occur via email if the following steps are completed as listed:
- A student sends a communication from their Springfield College email account to their advisor’s Springfield College email account clearly indicating what course(s) they intend to withdraw from in the Spring 2020 semester.
- The advisor forwards the communication in step 1 from their Springfield College email account to the Registrar’s Office email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a statement clearly indicating approval/disapproval for each course withdrawal request.
The Registrar’s Office is also finalizing the details on several additional methods that course withdrawal requests will be accepted. Information about these other methods will be forthcoming in the scheduled follow-up communication.
Note: Regardless of whatever method is used, the Registrar’s Office will still contact the instructor of record to determine the student’s last date of attendance once an approved course withdrawal request is received. The last date of attendance may have financial aid implications for the student.