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Safe Opening FAQs

Last Updated: 6:50 PM Sept. 17, 2020
Check back for further updates

Will the campus be safe to resume classes and live on this fall?

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the University’s top priority, and our faculty and staff have been diligently working to create a safe environment for students in the residential halls, classrooms, and dining spaces. Westfield State continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation, and consults with state and local Departments of Health. It also follows the guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and other measures are part of the standard practices in place on campus to help protect community members and our visitors. A safe campus environment is also dependent upon our students adhering to the Protect the Nest Pledge.


Is there any possibility that the University will change course and send students home for the semester at the Thanksgiving break?

We are planning to have students return to campus after Thanksgiving. The University’s Emergency Management team, Safe Opening Task Force, and Cabinet continue to work with state and local Departments of Public Health, gathering information and ideas from the campus community through open sessions, and planning for several scenarios. We are aware that an unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 remains a possibility. For this, we remain vigilant and continue our contingency planning efforts.


What is happening to academic community events like lectures, workshops, etc.?

At Westfield State, we value the interactions we have as a community of scholars, and we take pride in offering opportunities for students to engage with scholars and professionals alike. During the upcoming weeks, we will hold our community events in a virtual format. We will keep you posted on opportunities to participate in virtual activities and discussions to maintain our community.


Will I be required to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals without prohibitive health conditions, and 6 feet of social distancing (when possible) will be enforced. Hygiene and social distancing protocols will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the campus. All members of the campus community will be required to wear and display their University-issued ID badges when on campus property and to access campus buildi

Will the billing and housing deadline be extended beyond July 24?

Yes, following the billing and housing communication received by students and families, we received much feedback regarding extending the deadlines for billing and for returning students to submit a Petition for Release with the Cancellation Fee waived. The deadline for students and parents/families to pay fall 2020 semester tuition and for returning students to submit the Petition for Release with the Cancellation Fee waived, has been extended from July 24 to July 31. We hope the week extension gives students and their families more flexibility and time as they make decisions and plan for the fall semester.


Will students who have requested housing for the fall 2020 semester be guaranteed housing? 

As of now, all students who have requested housing for the fall semester are guaranteed housing.  


How will the residential move-in process work?

The move-in process for residence halls will mirror the move-out process in March, with students signing up for specific time slots offered over several days. Instructions will be provided by the Offices of Housing Operations and Residential Engagement later this summer.


When will students be able to register for a move-in time?

Students will be able to register for a drop-off time beginning on Monday, July 27 at 9 a.m.


How do I register for a move-in time? 

The first phase of this fall’s move-in process began at 9 a.m. Monday, July 27, 2020, with students being able to register for a drop-off day/time. Drop-off times will occur Monday, August 17 through Friday, August 21 and Monday, August 24 through Friday, August 28. Available times will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. each day. Students will be permitted to have two guests with them during their drop-off day/time. To follow the CDC’s recommendations for social distancing, a small number of students will be able to register for each drop-off period. 

Remember: This is a drop-off period only, and students will need to complete their drop-off and depart their residence hall within the hour they select. 

Follow these steps to select your drop-off period: 

  • Log into your MyHousing account. 
  • Go to the section on your homepage that says “Room Assignments” (be sure the fall 2020 semester is selected). 
  • Click on drop-down list of days/times and select the one you want from those available. 
  • Once you have selected the day/time you want, click on the button “Update My Time.” 
  • The page will reload, and you are all set! 

What if I don’t yet have a housing assignment? 

Students who are waiting on a housing assignment will see “Housing Placement Pending” under their “Room Assignment.” They are able to select a drop-off period as well. Once assigned, we will automatically move your selected day/time for you. 


What if the drop-off period I want is not appearing? 

If the day/time you want to select does not appear on the list, unfortunately this means there are no available spaces in that period. You should select a different day/time from those available on the list.  


One hour is not enough time to move into my room and set it up. What if I need additional time beyond one hour?

The drop-off time is only intended for students to drop off their belongings in their room and to depart the campus. Students should plan to setup their room when they return to move-in on August 30.


Can I wait until August 30 to move-in and avoid the drop-off period if I want?

Students who do not want to utilize the drop-off period may wait until August 30. However, no guests will be allowed in the residence halls beginning on August 30 and students would be expected to move into their rooms without any assistance.


Are students able to move in and stay in their rooms before August 30?   

In order to limit contact between students and their families during the drop-off period, it is not possible to allow students move in prior to August 30. The University must also be prepared to begin enhanced cleaning of the residence halls once students begin living on campus which will not be able to occur until August 30.


Will students be able to check-in at any time during the two week drop-off period if they arrive on campus on a different day from the one they registered for?

In order to limit contact between students and their families during the drop-off period, students will only be allowed to pick up their key(s) and drop off their belongings in their room at their scheduled day and time. Should a student arrive on a different day and time they will not be able to gain access to their room and will be asked to return home.


Will students be able to go into each other’s residence halls?

No guests, including students from other residence halls, will be permitted in any of the residence halls this fall.


Students will be attending classes together and will see each other outside of the residence halls including off campus. Knowing this, why are students not allowed to visit each other in other buildings?

A key recommendation from state and local health professionals, the American College Health Association (ACHA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other relevant agencies is the need to restrict student and non-student guests within the residence halls. Although students may have classes together and see other students on campus, face masks and social distancing will still be an expectation at all times. Guest restrictions will help to ensure a small number of students are potentially impacted should someone test positive for COVID-19.


Can students sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of having guests in the residence halls allowing them to have guests? 

The guest restrictions in the residence halls will be in place during the entire Fall 2020 semester and will not include any exceptions.


Many other colleges have changed their housing to all singles; is Westfield State making this change?

As the number of students planning to live on campus for the coming academic year becomes clearer, it is possible the University will be able to convert some double rooms into premium singles. If this becomes possible, students will be notified via email.


If a student in my apartment/suite leaves housing, are the other students assigned to the apartment/suite responsible for the cost of the open space?

Students assigned to apartments/suites are not responsible for the cost of any open spaces in their apartment/suite.


Can students have housing on campus but only live there part of the semester?

The University strongly encourages residential students to remain on campus during the semester to limit contact with people outside of their residence hall and classes. Should you decide to leave campus students are expected to follow the same face mask and social distancing policies.


Are residential students allowed to go home on the weekends?

The University strongly encourages residential students to remain on campus during the semester to limit contact with people outside of their residence hall and classes. Should students decide to go home, they are encouraged to wear a face mask when necessary and to continue social distancing.


Are residential students allowed to travel off campus?

The University strongly encourages residential students to remain on campus during the semester to limit contact with people outside of their residence hall and classes. Should you decide to leave campus students are expected to follow the same face mask and social distancing policies.


What are the additional cleaning measures being put into place by Environmental Services?

Environmental Services will be conducting daily enhanced cleaning of frequently touched surfaces on campus including residence hall bathrooms, stairwells, hallways, and elevators.


When will the Spring 2021 Housing Agreement be available in MyHousing for students to complete?

Students who will not be living on campus during the Fall 2020 semester but are interested in returning to housing for the Spring 2021 semester will be able to complete the Housing Agreement beginning in October.


Will housing be available for students during the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks?

In order to keep the health and safety of all residential students and residence hall staff as the primary focus of the University, break housing will be available to only a small number of students identifying as housing insecure.

When will my meal plan start?

Meal plans will start August 31 with noon brunch, as planned for those students who are approved to live on or to visit campus. An email communication was sent to all approved students with more information on Dining hours and locations.

Fall meal plans for all students will start September 25 (or the first day of move-in), with lunch service starting at noon.

A large portion of Dining’s options will be available using our new GET Mobile App. Be sure to download the app from your device’s App Store.


What is happening to the rollover (carryover) Dining Dollars from the spring 2020 semester?

These Dining Dollars can be used in any Dining location this fall. They will also roll over to the spring 2021 semester, if needed. They will expire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.


What will campus dining be like for those who are on campus starting August 31?

We will use the GET Mobile app to allow students to order food via the myMeals location at TJ Bistro. Student can order customized meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and book a contactless pick-up time. All pick-ups will be in the foyer area by TJ Bistro (at the Scanlon entrance to the Dining Commons) between noon and 6 p.m. every day. (Please contact dining@westfield.ma.edu if your commitments require a pickup outside these hours.) All customized meals will be prepared cold for reheating in your room—or hot, if requested. Meals will include your choice of an entrée, two sides, fruit, dessert, and a beverage. Utensils, condiments, and some fun extras will be provided in each order. Students can also use the app to order their favorites, such as pints of ice cream, chips, candy bars, soups, and more, using their Dining Dollars, Owl Bucks, or a credit card.

Special requests for purchases, such as health and beauty or specialty items, can be sent to dining@westfield.ma.edu


If I live off campus or in the local area can I use my meal plan before the September move-in?

To ensure the safety of students and staff on campus, during this time only those approved to live on or visit campus will be able to use their meal plan. If you have a need to utilize your meal plan, and are in the local area, please contact the Director of Dining Bill Connor at dining@westfield.ma.edu as arrangements can be made for you to pick up food. (The meal plans for students not approved to be on campus will be paused.)


Will I receive a refund on the unused portion of my meal plan?

A prorated credit will be sent to student accounts for the time in which your meal plans was not able to be used. Students who are approved to live on or visit campus starting on August 31, 2020, will not receive a credit.


How will the dining facilities operate?

Westfield State Dining Services will undergo a significant transformation. Although food selections will continue to be delicious and plentiful, a takeout format will mostly replace a dine-in experience in the Dining Commons. Because of occupancy restrictions and social distancing mandates, Dining Commons hours will be more limited. Retail location hours and offerings will be adjusted to help support students’ dining needs, given the modifications to the Dining Commons hours.


Will hot meals be one of the options available to students, or will all food be served cold?

There will be plenty of pre-wrapped, grab-and-go items at all locations, but we will have a variety of hot meal options available at all of our locations. Through our mobile app—GET Mobile—hot, customizable meals can be ordered with contactless pickup. Visit the Dining Commons for campus favorites like turkey dinner, chicken parmesan, and spaghetti and meatballs. TJ Bistro’s grill will be fired up for burgers and twister wraps. (Wilson and Garden Café will be closed during fall 2020.) A new rice bowl pop-up in Ely as well as Harvest Smoothies will be available only through the app. We also have a lot of new items coming to Marketplace (all items at Marketplace can be purchased with Dining Dollars).


Will the cost of dining be reduced, since only take-out meals will be available?

This fall, although meals may be to-go, there will still be plenty of options and plenty to eat! We are creating additional dining locations and pop-ups to make sure everyone can enjoy every meal, while respecting social distancing and other safety guidelines. We will also be rolling out the GET app to allow for contactless ordering and meal pick-up.

As a result of the changes we have implemented to open as safely as possible, Dining is offering one meal plan for all students in traditional housing, apartments, or commuting: The Owl Plan. The Owl Plan is designed to make sure students get enough to eat, either in the Dining Commons or in our retail locations across campus. Meal swipes can be used in the DC for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or you can “exchange” a meal swipe and pick up food at either Marketplace or TJ Bistro. The Plan includes $250 Dining Dollars, which can be used at Marketplace and TJ Bistro.

The On-the-Go is still only available to students living in either the apartments or commuting.

Please visit Dining Services for more information about meal plans for the fall semester.


Will students be able to re-enter the Dining Commons for additional food?

With each meal swipe, students will be able to take the food they would like and a snack for each meal period. Only one meal swipe can be used for each meal. Meal swipes can also be used (once per meal period) for hot meals and snacks in dining retail locations. Dining Dollars are good for all items that students would like to purchase in dining retail units.


Can you still accommodate my dietary need or allergy?

The DC will offer an entire service line—Clean Eats—that will accommodate the top eight allergens and specialty diets, such as vegan and vegetarian. Please contact us at dining@westfield.ma.edu or 413-572-5410 to learn more about how we can accommodate your specific allergy and to establish a plan for your success. Please do not wait until you arrive on campus to seek help.


Will students be able to sit with each other to eat together, either outside or in residence halls?

Students can sit together, either outside or in the small number of lounge spaces in the residence halls, provided they maintain the 6 feet of social distancing required while doing so. Dining will provide a tent with seating outside Wilson Hall. Picnic tables, benches, and Adirondack chairs will be placed on the campus green for meals and socially distant gatherings. Dining is exploring the use of a reservation system that will allow for a limited amount of dine-in seating inside the Dining Commons—while still dining from all to-go packaging, and limiting visits to once through the serving line.


What happens if I need to quarantine or isolate, can I still eat at the DC?

If you are asked to relocate to an isolation or quarantine space and remain on campus or in Lansdowne Place, Dining will provide instructions to you to order your meals via the GET mobile app. Three meals a day will delivered to you. The meals will arrive cold and packaged in microwavable containers to eat at your convenience. Students will also be provided a meal box when they are moved into isolation and quarantine housing. This will allow students to have the critical items to sustain them until the next meal delivery.


Will the dining hall be safe to pick up meals?

As required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts re-opening criteria, all individuals who visit the Dining Commons will be required to wear a cloth face covering, in accordance with CDC guidelines. The cloth face covering must go over the nose, mouth, and chin. Dining will provide hand sanitizer at all entrances and throughout the locations. Individuals are encouraged to sanitize their hands before, during, and when leaving the location. All members of the campus community should complete their symptom checker prior to entering a campus dining location. All transactions will use a contactless reader, including campus ID cards, to reduce hand-to-hand contact. Dining is encouraging everyone to use an electronic payment where possible to reduce the risk of spread, but cash will still be accepted.


What are Dining Services staff doing to keep me safe?

Dining Services staff will follow the rigorous guidelines and standards established by local and state health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dining Services staff will complete a COVID-19 symptom checker that will establish their ability to come to work on a daily basis. All team members will have their temperature taken throughout the day, to ensure they do not have a fever. The appropriate Personal Protective Equipment—such as goggles, face shields, and masks—will be provided for staff to use throughout the day, as their position requires. Dining Services staff also have received extensive training on the top three prevention techniques: hand washing, physical (social) distancing, and mask wearing. Lastly, each location will have a designated person at each mealtime whose sole responsibility will be compliance, with mandates and ensuring the safety of the community.

When is the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester?

First day of classes for the fall semester was Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. All academic courses will be delivered remotely and online until Sept. 29, 2020, when the delivery of those classes will revert to the originally intended mode—In-person (NORMAL), Hybrid-blended (HYBRID), Remote (synchronous-RMSYNC), or Online (asynchronous-ONLINE).


Could fall opening plans change in September?

Westfield State University continues to plan for welcoming back our residential students and commuters at the end of September 2020. The University has kept in contact with the City of Westfield’s Director of Public Health regarding local COVID-19 trends and has been keeping a close eye on sister state universities and other institutions who began managing an on-campus student presence since the end of August. As of mid-September 2020, all factors and indications remain favorable for Westfield State to move forward with its plan. However, as with all decisions made regarding Westfield State continuity during a very fluid pandemic, the University has contingencies in place, should the current encouraging status of COVID-19 on campus and in the area significantly change.


I have never taken a remote course, and I’m nervous about whether I will be successful. What should I do?

The current environment is creating a good deal of change for all of us, and we understand that some students will be concerned about learning in a new modality. Some faculty are new to this experience as well. Our concern for your success is a part of all that we do, whether you are on campus or off campus. Discuss your concerns with your faculty member or academic/program advisor. Friends who have been in remote classes previously may be able to share their experiences and help relieve some of your concerns. We will also provide resources and assistance along the way. We truly are in this together!

There are many resources available to help you prepare for remote learning. Our Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) offers regular support and tips for online learning. All students have access to online tutoring through the University’s online learning management system (PLATO), here. Other resources with advice for remote learning can be found online as well. For example, please visit Northeastern University’s “8 Strategies for Getting the Most out of an Online Class.” Most resources recommend the following for remote learning:

  • Be sure to check your email/class posting each day, probably a couple times a day to receive instructions from your professors. Be sure to ask them questions if you are unclear about the assigned tasks.
  • Schedule your time as you would for a regular class. That means scheduling time to be “in class” and time for homework and projects as well. Do your best to keep your schedule.
  • Set aside space to do your classwork at home, and keep the work in that space as organized as possible. Take time to organize the desktop on your computer or laptop with specific folders for each class.
  • Engage with the instructor and students. Many students actually enjoy online discussions more than in-class discussions.
  • Save all your work before you submit it so that you have a back-up copy in case anything goes wrong with the technology. This includes assignments, discussion responses, blog entries, etc.)

What if I need help with remote learning?

Don’t forget that your academic and program advisor, department chair, and college dean can all be resources for you. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you’re struggling; we are here to help you. If you’re having difficulty with technology issues in the remote-learning process, please contact the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Helpdesk. At this resource, you’ll be able to complete a ticket to request support.


What if I need academic support? Are tutoring services available?

All students have access to online tutoring through the University’s online learning management system (PLATO) under Student Resources. If you have never logged onto PLATO, you may do that here.

The Banacos Academic Center provides a peer tutoring program which will continue online or by phone. Students should contact their tutor to determine how they will proceed. Students in need of a tutor may request a tutor online.

The Center for Reading and Writing will provide student support through remote means.  Please sign up for an appointment at their website.

STEM Tutoring (i.e., mathematics and sciences) will offer online appointments during their regularly scheduled times. The STEM tutoring website will have directions for securing remote appointments. 

If you are a student with a documented disability, please contact Disability Services at ds@westfield.ma.edu, and if you are part of the Learning Disabilities Program, please contact ldp@westfield.ma.edu.


Will advising and registration proceed as scheduled?

Yes: Advising and registration will take place as scheduled. Please check the Registrar’s website for your advising dates. Students should contact their academic advisor to arrange for a phone, email, or virtual advising session and access to your registration PIN.


Are faculty holding in-person office hours?

No. Faculty will hold virtual office hours and continue to support students’ academic work via phone, web services, and email. If you are experiencing academic issues or have questions about your academic work, please contact your instructor, academic department chair, academic or program advisor, or college dean. We will do our best to address your concerns and questions as soon as possible.


Will my College Dean’s office still be available to assist me?

Yes. The College Dean’s offices will still be available to help you via phone and/or email from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through the end of the semester.

With whom should I speak about my placement/internship/practicum or other experiential learning?

Questions regarding internships, clinical placements/community-engaged learning, internships, field experience, teaching practicum should be directed to your faculty supervisor, coordinator, or department chair.


Will information about courses being moved online be released before the billing deadline?

We plan to have the spring schedule finalized before registration for the spring 2021 semester and have any schedule adjustments made before the spring 2021 bill is due. As we do not have control over the pandemic and may not be able to accomplish this goal, we will do everything we can to have the schedule for spring 2021 finalized before bills are due.


Is there any possibility that the University will change course and send students home for the semester at the Thanksgiving break?

We are planning to have students return to campus after Thanksgiving. The University’s Emergency Management team, Safe Opening Task Force, and Cabinet continue to work with state and local Departments of Public Health, gathering information and ideas from the campus community through open sessions, and planning for several scenarios. We are aware that an unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 remains a possibility. For this, we remain vigilant and continue our contingency planning efforts.


Will the campus be safe to resume classes later this fall?

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the University’s top priority, and our faculty and staff have been diligently working to create a safe environment for students in the residential halls, classrooms, and dining spaces. Westfield State continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation, and consults with state and local Departments of Health. It also follows the guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and other measures are part of the standard practices in place on campus to help protect community members and our visitors. A safe campus environment is also dependent upon our students adhering to the Protect the Nest Pledge.


Will the fall academic calendar change?

The fall 2020 academic calendar will not change. There is always the possibility that we may need to change course modalities to be fully online, if there is an unexpected outbreak of COVID-19.


How will classes be conducted?

All academic courses will be delivered remotely and online until Sept. 29, 2020, when the delivery of those classes will revert to the originally intended mode—In-person (NORMAL), Hybrid-blended (HYBRID), Remote (synchronous-RMSYNC), or Online (asynchronous-ONLINE).


Will I be required to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals without prohibitive health conditions, and 6 feet of social distancing (when possible) will be enforced. Hygiene and social distancing protocols will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the campus. All members of the campus community will be required to wear and display their University-issued ID badges when on campus property and to access campus buildings.


Will Commencement ceremonies still be held as scheduled?

As communicated August 14, 2020, to members of Westfield State University’s Class of 2020, we share with the broader University community the unfortunate news that we will not be able to host the Oct. 24 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremony as planned.

Following recent discussions with the event venue—MassMutual Center in Springfield—we were left with the sad, difficult reality that we would not be able to hold the ceremony. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s August 7 announcement to remain in step one of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, coupled with further limitations related to gathering sizes for events held indoors and outdoors, lead to further uncertainty that current restrictions would loosen in time for our October Commencement event date. After discussing a variety of potential alternate solutions, including a series of smaller events to accommodate fewer guests and more social distancing indoors or outdoors, it became apparent that the University could not offer a prudent and safe solution to host the 2020 Commencement ceremony this fall.

We share the significant disappointment that the Class of 2020 and their families are experiencing in reaction to this news. Commencement serves as the culminating event for Westfield State graduates and an opportunity for the fuller campus community to share in this annual celebration of our graduates’ success.

Currently, more intimate virtual celebrations by academic college or department are being planned. In addition, members of the Class of 2020 will be invited to walk during a May 2021 Commencement ceremony.

We are proud of all our graduates—but especially our 2020 graduates, who persevered to attain their degrees despite the challenges associated with a global pandemic. We look forward to acknowledging their undergraduate and graduate academic success in person next spring. On behalf of the entire Westfield State University community, we wish the Class of 2020 well-deserved congratulations on completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

When is the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester?

First day of classes for the fall semester was Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. All academic courses will be delivered remotely and online until Sept. 29, 2020, when the delivery of those classes will revert to the originally intended mode—In-person (NORMAL), Hybrid-blended (HYBRID), Remote (synchronous-RMSYNC), or Online (asynchronous-ONLINE).


Could fall opening plans change in September?

Westfield State University continues to plan for welcoming back our residential students and commuters at the end of September 2020. The University has kept in contact with the City of Westfield’s Director of Public Health regarding local COVID-19 trends and has been keeping a close eye on sister state universities and other institutions who began managing an on-campus student presence since the end of August. As of mid-September 2020, all factors and indications remain favorable for Westfield State to move forward with its plan. However, as with all decisions made regarding Westfield State continuity during a very fluid pandemic, the University has contingencies in place, should the current encouraging status of COVID-19 on campus and in the area significantly change.


I have never taken a remote course, and I’m nervous about whether I will be successful. What should I do?

The current environment is creating a good deal of change for all of us, and we understand that some students will be concerned about learning in a new modality. Some faculty are new to this experience as well. Our concern for your success is a part of all that we do, whether you are on campus or off campus. Discuss your concerns with your faculty member or academic/program advisor. Friends who have been in remote classes previously may be able to share their experiences and help relieve some of your concerns. We will also provide resources and assistance along the way. We truly are in this together!

There are many resources available to help you prepare for remote learning. Our Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) offers regular support and tips for online learning. All students have access to online tutoring through the University’s online learning management system (PLATO), here. Other resources with advice for remote learning can be found online as well. For example, please visit Northeastern University’s “8 Strategies for Getting the Most out of an Online Class.” Most resources recommend the following for remote learning:

  • Be sure to check your email/class posting each day, probably a couple times a day to receive instructions from your professors. Be sure to ask them questions if you are unclear about the assigned tasks.
  • Schedule your time as you would for a regular class. That means scheduling time to be “in class” and time for homework and projects as well. Do your best to keep your schedule.
  • Set aside space to do your classwork at home, and keep the work in that space as organized as possible. Take time to organize the desktop on your computer or laptop with specific folders for each class.
  • Engage with the instructor and students. Many students actually enjoy online discussions more than in-class discussions.
  • Save all your work before you submit it so that you have a back-up copy in case anything goes wrong with the technology. This includes assignments, discussion responses, blog entries, etc.)

What if I need help with remote learning?

Don’t forget that your academic and program advisor, department chair, and college dean can all be resources for you. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you’re struggling; we are here to help you. If you’re having difficulty with technology issues in the remote-learning process, please contact the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Helpdesk. At this resource, you’ll be able to complete a ticket to request support.


What if I need academic support? Are tutoring services available?

All students have access to online tutoring through the University’s online learning management system (PLATO) under Student Resources. If you have never logged onto PLATO, you may do that here.

The Banacos Academic Center provides a peer tutoring program, which will continue online or by phone for the remainder of the semester. Students should contact their tutor to determine how they will proceed. Students in need of a tutor may request a tutor online.

The Center for Reading and Writing will provide student support through remote means. Please sign up for an appointment at their website.

STEM Tutoring (i.e., mathematics and sciences) will offer online appointments during their regularly scheduled times. The STEM tutoring website will have directions for securing remote appointments. 

If you are a student with a documented disability, please contact Disability Services at ds@westfield.ma.edu, and if you are part of the Learning Disabilities Program, please contact ldp@westfield.ma.edu.


Will all courses through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education be online?

The vast majority of courses taught through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) will be taught online. However, there are some courses that will either be completely in person or have some in person components. Classes are coded to highlight their modality.

  • NRML (Normal) – completely in person;
  • HYBRD (Hybrid) – partially in person and partially online;
  • RMSYC (Remote/online synchronous) – completely remote/online but with meeting/participation on specific days/times;
  • ONL (Remote/online asynchronous) – completely remote/online without specific days/times for meeting/participation, just dates/deadlines for submission of assignments and completion of coursework and exams

With whom should I speak about my placement/internship/practicum or other experiential learning?

Questions regarding internships, clinical placements/community-engaged learning, internships, field experience, teaching practicum should be directed to your faculty supervisor, coordinator, or department chair.


Will the staff in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education still be available to help me?

Staff in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) will still be available by email and phone Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The CGCE office number is 413-572-8020, and all staff will respond to emails throughout the day during regular business hours. CGCE staff can also schedule phone and Zoom appointments as needed.


How does this situation impact on-campus meetings, appointments, and events related to Graduate and Continuing Education?

Any/all business that can be conducted remotely should be until further notice. Staff in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education are available by email and phone during regular business hours and can also schedule phone and Zoom appointments as needed. In the event that something must absolutely be handled in person, CGCE in-person office appointments must be arranged in advance by email or phone. Any guests who do come to the CGCE office will be asked to sign in for contact tracing purposes. 


How does this situation impact Westfield Promise and dual enrollment-related classes and activities?

WESTFIELD PROMISE

The Westfield Promise early college program has migrated to remote learning for the start of the fall 2020 semester, in tandem with the undergraduate day division and CGCE. All grade 11 stretch courses are offered at each partner high school through the “remote synchronous” method until further notice.

Grade 12 students are registered in remote synchronous or fully remote courses for the fall 2020 semester to reduce the number of people on campus, and to eliminate transportation needs from partner high schools to the University. We plan to resume the ability to register for in-person courses for the spring 2021 semester, should guidelines at the time from the state, school districts, and University allow.

All additional early-college programming will be conducted through virtual formats until further notice.

Students and parents/champions should reach out to westfieldpromise@westfield.ma.edu with any questions.

 

DUAL ENROLLMENT

Students in grades 9-12 from Massachusetts public, private, or homeschools are able to participate in dual enrollment for the 2020-21 academic year under the current safe-opening guidelines.

For the 2020-21 academic year, students may only register for fully remote courses, or remote synchronous courses to qualify for Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program funding (available for the spring and summer I 2020 terms only).

Students, parents/champions, and school counselors seeking more information should email dualenrollment@westfield.ma.edu.


How can I make a payment to my student account?

Students may either remit payment for CGCE classes and fees using their myWestfield portal, under the Finance tab, or mail payments directly to the CGCE mailing address (ATTN: Finance Office). Inquiries regarding student accounts can be made to Financial Manager Christopher Riffenburg at either criffenburg@westfield.ma.edu, or by calling 413-572-8832.


Will Commencement ceremonies still be held as scheduled?

As communicated August 14, 2020, to members of Westfield State University’s Class of 2020, we share with the broader University community the unfortunate news that we will not be able to host the Oct. 24 Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremony as planned.

Following recent discussions with the event venue—MassMutual Center in Springfield—we were left with the sad, difficult reality that we would not be able to hold the ceremony. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s August 7 announcement to remain in step one of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, coupled with further limitations related to gathering sizes for events held indoors and outdoors, lead to further uncertainty that current restrictions would loosen in time for our October Commencement event date. After discussing a variety of potential alternate solutions, including a series of smaller events to accommodate fewer guests and more social distancing indoors or outdoors, it became apparent that the University could not offer a prudent and safe solution to host the 2020 Commencement ceremony this fall.

We share the significant disappointment that the Class of 2020 and their families are experiencing in reaction to this news. Commencement serves as the culminating event for Westfield State graduates and an opportunity for the fuller campus community to share in this annual celebration of our graduates’ success.

Currently, more intimate virtual celebrations by academic college or department are being planned. In addition, members of the Class of 2020 will be invited to walk during a May 2021 Commencement ceremony.

We are proud of all our graduates—but especially our 2020 graduates, who persevered to attain their degrees despite the challenges associated with a global pandemic. We look forward to acknowledging their undergraduate and graduate academic success in person next spring. On behalf of the entire Westfield State University community, we wish the Class of 2020 well-deserved congratulations on completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Will the billing and housing deadline be extended beyond July 24?

Yes, following the billing and housing communication received by students and families, we received much feedback regarding extending the deadlines for billing and for returning students to submit a Petition for Release with the Cancellation Fee waived. The deadline for students and parents/families to pay fall 2020 semester tuition and for returning students to submit the Petition for Release with the Cancellation Fee waived, has been extended from July 24 to July 31. We hope the week extension gives students and their families more flexibility and time as they make decisions and plan for the fall semester.


If a student’s classes are setup as either hybrid or in person but move online after the billing deadline, will students requesting to move off campus still be responsible for the Cancellation Fee?

If a student’s courses switch from in-person/hybrid to online only after the billing deadline, the student may submit a Petition for Release attaching the notice they received showing the date and time of receipt. If the change in course delivery occurred after the billing deadline, the student’s petition will be granted and the Cancellation Fee will be waived.


Can I visit campus to pay a student’s bill in person?

Unfortunately, the campus is closed to the public through the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so all payments to the University must be made either electronically or mailed to:

Office of Student Accounts
Westfield State University
333 Western Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085


If I have already paid a deposit for housing but decide to commute this semester, how do I get a refund for my deposit?

If a new incoming student no longer wants to be in housing for the coming year they can contact the Admissions Department to change their status from “Housing” to “Commuter” and the housing and dining charges will be removed from their account. The student should complete this task before they check into housing or they will only be eligible for a partial refund.

For returning students, refunds will be issued automatically if someone paid a housing deposit out of pocket. Or, if the student is on financial aid, a credit will be given in October, when financial aid disbursements are made. Students are encouraged to first check their myWestfield account, then email: studentaccounts@westfield.ma.edu with any questions.


If the University must move to an online learning model after the semester begins, will housing and dining charges be refunded? 

If the campus closes the residence halls at any point during the semester, it is highly likely housing and dining fees would be pro-rated and credited to the student account.  We anticipate following the same process as the spring 2020 semester refunds.


Is financial support available for students in need?

We have created a Student Emergency Fund to support the essential needs of our students who do not have parents or champions to assist them. To make a gift, please visit www.westfield.ma.edu/owlshelpingowls

Will there be on-campus COVID-19 testing for students?

Yes. As part of our plan to keep the campus community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all undergraduate and graduate students planning to return to Westfield State’s campus in late September—either as a resident or commuter student—must participate in University COVID-19 testing Sept. 24-27, 2020. Without completing this testing requirement, these students will not be permitted to physically return to campus. 

Please review the COVID-19 Testing Schedule.


I didn’t sign and submit the two online consent forms for COVID-19 testing by Sept. 8. May I still be tested?

Yes. Simply print and sign the two informed consent forms, and bring them with you to the testing. An email was sent on Sept. 17 by the Dean of Students to students who did not sign and submit the online forms by Sept. 8. That email includes the consent forms as attachments and provides information on the testing schedule. Without completing the testing requirement, students will not be permitted to physically return to campus. 

Please read these important reminders about COVID-19 testing at Westfield State University:

  • COVID-19 TESTING INFO FOR RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS
    • COVID-19 testing for residential students will take place Sept. 25, 26, and 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Woodward Center. IMPORTANT: Each residential student has been assigned a pre-determined day and time to be tested; they should refer to the August 28 email they received from Housing Operations that states their pre-determined testing time/date.
  • COVID-19 TESTING INFO FOR COMMUTER STUDENTS
    • COVID-19 testing for commuter students (who will have any on-campus presence this fall) will take place Sept. 24, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sept. 25, from noon to 4 p.m., in the Woodward Center. IMPORTANT: The time and date of testing for commuter students depends on the first letter of your last name.

Please review the COVID-19 Testing Schedule.


What happens if I get sick?

Students should contact University Health Services for instructions on handling an illness.

Students with a positive or undetermined COVID-19 test result will be contacted swiftly and directly by University Health Services, who will communicate next steps. Although there are specific isolation plans for those students who test positive and will be remaining on campus, students are also encouraged to consult with their champions/parents about creating a plan in the event that they test positive. When residential students move onto campus in late September, they should bring a pre-packed bag with essential items they would need to isolate or quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, students who test positive may be permitted to return home to isolate; however, a separate, designated residence area has been planned for those who will remain on campus for isolation.     \


I live on campus and think I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. What should I do?

If you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19—or if you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath—please stay where you are, and do the following:

  • Call University Health Services prior to coming to the building at 413-572-5415 during normal office hours;
  • Alert the health care provider of the following: your name, date of birth, symptoms, and recent travel history;
  • Follow the health care provider’s instructions, and do not go anywhere, unless told otherwise; and
  • If you need emergency assistance, call Public Safety at 413-572-5262, or call 911.

What will happen if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Students with a positive or undetermined COVID-19 test result will be contacted swiftly and directly by University Health Services, who will communicate next steps. Although there are specific isolation plans for those students who test positive and will be remaining on campus, students are also encouraged to consult with their champions/parents about creating a plan in the event that they test positive. When residential students move onto campus in late September, they should bring a pre-packed bag with essential items they would need to isolate or quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, students who test positive may be permitted to return home to isolate; however, a separate, designated residence area has been planned for those who will remain on campus for isolation.     


If I have concerns about mental health and wellness, what should I do?

Services for students are available through the Counseling Center, and for employees through the Employee Assistance Program at 800-451-1834. The Ferst Interfaith Center can also provide support for community members.

Will it be safe for students to live on campus this fall?

The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is the University’s top priority. Westfield State closely monitors the COVID-19 situation, and consults with state and local Departments of Health and will follow the guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand-washing and other measures will be part of the standard practices on campus to help protect community members and our visitors.


Where will I have to wear a face covering?

Face coverings will be required to be worn by all individuals without prohibitive health conditions, and 6 feet of social distancing (when possible) will be enforced. Hygiene and social distancing protocols will be prominently displayed on signage throughout the campus. All members of the campus community will be required to wear and display their University-issued ID badges when on campus property and to access campus buildings.


What will campus life be like?

Campus environments will be modified—including academic buildings, dining spaces, and residence halls—to support social distancing and uphold health protocols. Directional signs, occupancy limitations signs for elevators and restrooms, and hygiene and social distancing reminders will be prominently posted. An increased number of sanitation stations will be installed in all campus buildings.

Likewise, campus activities will be modified for health and safety. Interactions with staff may be limited to either in-person appointments or online formats.


What is the plan for Athletics?

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference has cancelled the fall season sport competitions. Owls teams will have practice opportunities. The Athletics Department will be in touch with existing and incoming student athletes with additional information. 


When will Ely Fitness Center be open?

Ely Fitness Centers hours for the fall are: Aug. 30 & 31: 9am-4pm (open for tours and waivers only. No workouts.)
Closed Sept. 1 for staff training. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 2, fall hours are: Mon.-Thu: 7am-8pm; Fri.: 8am-5pm; Sat./Sun.: 12pm-5pm
Pool and aerobics begin Monday, Sept. 14 (phased opening)

What is the process for new students to get their student ID cards?

Online photo submission will be available until August 3 at 8 a.m.  You can upload a photo using two methods. Visit:  https://get.cbord.com/wsc/full/login.php. Enter your myWestfield user name and password. On the right side bar, click “Upload a Photo” then choose a file and click “upload”.  Crop photo with gray box and click “Crop”.  You will then have a ‘Pending Photo’ on your file. If your photo is accepted by our staff, you will receive a photo acceptance email.  (Note:  If your photo was accepted, do NOT upload another photo. This will result in a $30 fee.) If your photo does not meet our guidelines, you will receive a photo rejection email and you will have to resubmit a new photo. GUIDELINES: No hats, sunglasses, funny faces, props, filters or snapchat … just a head and shoulder shot with a plain background. A smile is encouraged.


What are the plans for new incoming students?

For updates and details to orient new students to Westfield State, please visit either First Year Students (Class of 2024) or Transfer Students.

Are campus tours available?

While our campus buildings are currently closed, please check out our campus with a Virtual Tour. If you are interested in upcoming events, such as virtual information sessions, click here. For more information about undergraduate admissions, email admissions@westfield.ma.edu or call 413-572-5218. For graduate, part-time and evening admissions, email wsucgce@westfield.ma.edu or call 413-572-8020.

Will COVID-19 testing be available for faculty and staff?

Yes. As part of our plan to keep the campus community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Westfield State University is strongly encouraging onboard and periodic COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff who will have an on-campus presence in the fall semester.  

Employees interested in taking advantage of the onboard and asymptomatic testing offered by Westfield State University should have signed and submitted to the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity two consent forms by Sept. 8, 2020. (Check your email for the two attachments.)

If employees did not submit their two online consent forms by Sept. 8, they may bring their signed consent forms to the testing site and be tested, at the time according to where their last name falls alphabetically. See the onboard testing schedule, below.

Testing will take place in the Woodward Center.

Onboard testing for faculty and staff will be offered on Sept. 24 or 25, based on the following schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 24  

3-4 p.m.:                           Employees from the Student Affairs Division 

 

Friday, Sept. 25  

8-9 a.m.                            Faculty and staff with last names beginning with A-G 

9-10 a.m.:                         Faculty and staff with last names beginning with H-O 

10-11 a.m.                        Faculty and staff with last names beginning with P-Z  

The overall schedule for onboard and asymptomatic testing is as follows:

  • Onboard testing: Sept. 24-27, 2020  
  • October asymptomatic testing: Oct. 13-16, 2020  
  • November asymptomatic testing: Nov. 2-5, 2020  
  • November/December asymptomatic testing: Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2020  

The University has partnered with The Broad Institute to supply test kits and process results, which are expected within 48 hours. The University has also contracted with On-site Medical to manage the administering of the tests, notifications of test results, and to assist with symptom tracking and contact tracing. The test collects samples from the front of the nose, is minimally invasive, and results in less patient discomfort than other types of COVID-19 tests.  

As part of our agreement with On-site Medical to assist with COVID-19 testing, a Wellbility app will be provided for faculty and staff use. As part of our campus community’s collective effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to expedite the communication of test results, students, faculty, and staff who have an on-campus presence for the fall semester will be strongly encouraged to use the app for daily secure self-assessment of potential symptoms. The app will also be used to assist with contact tracing, should the need arise.

Faculty and staff with a positive or undetermined test result will be contacted swiftly and directly by an Occupational Health Professional in the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, who will communicate next steps.

As a campus community, all members will be expected to adhere to the Protect the Nest Pledge to ensure all community members collectively contribute to the safety and well-being of the full University community.  


What if I am exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms?

Our top priority is the health and well-being of the Westfield State community. Employees who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring, including taking their temperature each day before reporting to work. For a list of symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

If you have any symptoms, contact your primary care physician for guidance. Please also email hr@westfield.ma.edu or call either Tina Bonés at 413-572-5274 or Alexa Fiorita at 413-572-8730, in the Office of Human Resources, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (OHRIDE). Consistent with existing university policy, employees are also required to notify their supervisor of all expected and unexpected absences from the workplace (including COVID-19).


What Personal Protection Equipment will I be required to use as I perform my job?

All employees will be responsible for providing their own cloth mask/face covering. PPE that exceeds beyond having a mask requirement, will be provided to select employees based on the nature of their job function and inherent risk. Job-specific PPE requirements will be communicated to employees by their direct supervisors.