Winthrop University: Emergency Information - Coronavirus - Frequently Asked Questions
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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

This page documents the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from March - July 2020. Please visit the university's Return to Learn site for the latest FAQs.

 

 

Academics/Coursework

    In the interest of safety for our students and campus community, we have made the decision to delay in-person instruction until September 8.  The academic calendar will remain the same, but classes will begin on August 24 and be delivered remotely until September 8.  Revised dates and other information for housing will be shared in the coming days.
    Concerning instruction beyond September 8, we are encouraging students who have concerns to reach out to their advisor, department chair, or student services office.

    This is a tough time for many students and their families financially, as it is for the university.  But our top priority--no matter the cost--remains to provide continued instruction while minimizing health risks to our students, faculty, and staff.

    Unfortunately, several comments on Winthrop’s social media regarding the university’s adjustment of fees/reimbursements plan incorrectly state that the move to remote instruction costs the university less than traditional face-to-face or hybrid course instruction. It is important to note that the move to remote instruction has not reduced any instructional costs in terms of faculty and staff pay.

    In addition, Winthrop has incurred costs for laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and material rentals to ensure student learning continues. Many materials funded through fees are purchased at the beginning of the semester and have already been used by students in classes, studios and labs. The university also has provided at-home licenses for software purchased on behalf of students and faculty/staff.

    The decision to not refund any portion of tuition was made carefully and in unison with other institutions across the state after extensive discussion with the Commission on Higher Education. 

    Despite online cost increases for summer that are associated with training and quality assurance, as well as purchase of laptops and software, the Board of Trustees agreed to substantially discount summer tuition for all students in regular programs to help students stay on track for degree completion. In late July the decision was made by trustees to hold tuition at 2019-20 rates for fall 2020.

    Online instruction typically refers to coursework that is fully digital and usually asynchronous (an online course, for example). Remote delivery is not fully online; rather, it is providing instruction that might normally be face-to-face in another way, usually digital. In the spring, Winthrop did not expect faculty to transform face-to-face classes into fully online classes, but to use digital tools (Blackboard, email, social media, etc.) to maintain continuity of instruction for the two-week time period. For fall 2020, there are many more courses available that are either fully online or hybrid, in addition to face-to-face classes. Students can check Wingspan to see the instuctional delivery mode for classes they are registered for, as well as made changes as needed.

    The Division of Academic Affairs is working to address whether changes to the regular S/U process that helped undergraduate students during the spring can continue this fall. Check this Records and Registration page for more information as it is determined. The following chart explains the spring 2020 only changes.

     

    Usual Grading System

    Grading System for Spring 2020 only

    Letter Grades

    Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory

    Letter Grades

    Satisfactory/Credit/ Unsatisfactory

    A

    S

    A

    S

    A-

    A-

    B+

    B+

    B

    B

    B-

    B-

    C+

    C+

    C

    C

    C-

    C-

    D+

    U

    CR

    CR

    D

    D-

    F

    UN

    UN

    GPA—Full impact

    GPA—No impact

    GPA—Full impact A to C-

    but no impact below C-

    GPA—No impact

    If you are not on campus and have rented textbooks, they can be returned free by mail. You will need your order number to print the shipping label. This can be found in the confirmation email from your online order or if you rented your textbook in store, find it in any of your rental reminder emails. The UPS label can be printed on or before your Charge Date. Below is the direct link on the bookstore's website:

    Print rental return

    Students are now able to sell their textbooks back on the store's website by visiting this page.

    This fall most of these courses will be back to face-to-face with faculty members having a plan to complete instruction if the university must pivot to remote. Please reach out to your professor if you have concerns.

    Winthrop has made the decision to delay in-person instruction.  Classes will begin as scheduled on August 24 with remote instruction, with a transition to in-person instruction on September 8.  

    Students should not have to purchase additional technology for their courses, unless they choose to do so on their own. Please talk to your faculty about technology needs and licenses that have been made available to students. Chromebooks do not support the software needed to complete some course requirements and should be avoided if possible. 

    Tutoring services remain available. Students can receive remote tutoring from the Winthrop University Writing CenterMath Tutorial Center, and Academic Success Center at https://www.winthrop.edu/success/how-to-receive-a-tutor.aspx.

    Dacus offers online chat every day and every evening, and on Saturdays.  You can also Book-a-Librarian from their site for a virtual walk-through on how to do your research.  Follow Dacus on social media for regular updates about resources and guides.  You can also request course reserve readings though ILL.  For more information, follow this link: http://libguides.library.winthrop.edu/libraryservices_covid.

 

Support Services

    Delivery of these courses will continue according to their approved schedule unless you are otherwise notified.

    Yes, the help desk is available. Call 803/323-2400 or email helpdesk@winthrop.edu.

    With the cancellation of all on campus events for the spring semester, students who are graduating in August 2020 will have the remainder of their cultural event requirement waived.  For students who are not graduating August 2020, we are working on a plan for how we will be able to host cultural events this fall.  More information will be available as plans are finalized. For more info, see the cultural events page. 

 

Athletics/Recreation

    The West Center will open to our students and patrons on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

    All group fitness and intramural activities will be virtual through September 8.  Our website and social media outlets will contain more information about this programming soon.  There will be changes and adaptations to group fitness, intramurals, club sports, free play, equipment/furniture placement and classroom spaces once we are back on campus, to allow for social distancing.  The weight room and cardio stations will be available for use once the West Center reopens, with spacing and social distancing protocols and procedures in place.  Towel service, day use lockers and sports equipment checkout will not be available.  Long term locker rentals will remain in effect.  More information regarding use of the track, climbing wall and pool will be available closer to the Tuesday, September 8, reopening date.

    While some facilities remain closed to the public, the complex has been largely reopened for walking, biking and green space use (disc golf course, as an example). The expectation remains for individuals to use social distancing while on the property. The sand volleyball court is not currently available.

     

 

International Students/Study Abroad

    There are many plans in place to assist international students during this unpredictable time. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact our International Center.

 

Residence Life

    The check in process has physically moved from the hall office/lobby to a drive through location where everything will be handled curbside. Resident students will complete a health screening questionnaire before they can complete the move-in process and enter the residence halls. See this communication for more information on the changes.

    With the university's recent decision to delay in-person instruction, dates for move-in are being reevaluated.  More information to come from the Department of Residence Life.

 

Commencement

    During these stressful times, it’s important not to lose sight of your accomplishments as you’re about to become a graduate of Winthrop University. Here is information on regalia from the bookstore:

    If you pre-paid for regalia on the website and would like the items sent to your house--Please email the first and last name of the student and the shipping address to sm8167@bncollege.com. In light of the Coronavirus situation, you may experience longer shipping times. You will have your regalia to take photos to share with family and friends, wear at a later commencement, and have as a keepsake for this important milestone.

     If you pre-paid for regalia on the website and will not be able to participate in a postponed ceremony and, therefore, would like a refund--Please email the first and last name from the order and the order number given at purchase to sm8167@bncollege.com.  In light of the Coronavirus situation, you may experience a longer return timeline. Bookstore personnel will work diligently to get your money refunded.

    If you have yet to order/pay for regalia and would like to do so now and have it shipped to your home--Starting April 7, 2020, please visit  http://winthrop.shopoakhalli.com to purchase regalia and have it shipped to your home.

    All May Commencement ceremonies are postponed. An in-person Commencement ceremony was tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15; however, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, the ceremony had to be delayed again. The Commencement Planning Committee is working to determine how to best move forward in honoring these graduates - more information to come.

 

General COVID-19 Information/Campus Safety & Infection Prevention

    Winthrop is requiring all staff, faculty and students to wear masks or facial coverings in social settings, such as in university buildings, including classrooms, residence halls and dining facilities, and in outdoor spaces on campus where appropriate social distancing cannot be guaranteed. Facial coverings are not required when alone in private offices, when alone in on-campus residence hall rooms and when not in close contact with another person, such as walking alone outside. A facial covering mandate also recently went into effect in Rock Hill. The mandate requires people to wear facial coverings in public places within city limits.

    Before faculty and staff come back to work, they have to review health guidance online about Winthrop’s requirements and expectations of employees and complete an online acknowledgement form. Resident students will complete a health screening questionnaire as part of move-in, and all students will receive information on symptoms and preventative measures, as well as agree to an online acknowledgmentof Winthrop’s expectations for self-monitoring, masking and social distancing.

    If you are prescribed self-quarantine, stay home. Do not come to campus. This will protect your health and the health of others. The Dean of Students office will handle student absence verification and resulting faculty notification. Faculty and staff members who self-quarantine should contact Human Resources.

    Practice respiratory etiquette to include:

    • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% rubbing alcohol.

    • Avoiding touching of eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

    • Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; immediately discarding used tissues in a trash can.

    • If tissues are not readily available, the cough or sneeze may be caught by the sleeve at the elbow or shoulder. Remove mucus or debris with a tissue and then wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Change or cover clothing contaminated with mucus to prevent spreading.

    • Washing or sanitizing hands after using tissues and after contact with respiratory secretions.

    • Washing hands after interacting with people, touching high volume places (door handles, tables, shopping carts, gas pumps, etc.), before eating, and once you arrive home.

    - Avoid shaking hands or other greetings that involve touching another person.

    - Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    - Stay home when you are sick.

    - Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    The university is taking additional sanitizing measures throughout campus, including disinfecting high-contact surfaces such as light switches, desks, doorknobs, and handrails throughout the day. Custodial staff are restocking hand soap and sanitizer in all restrooms frequently. Social distancing is strongly recommended, so some common study areas may be closed so custodial staff can focus more on more frequently used open spaces, labs, restrooms, etc. 

    Campus event guidelines have been modified to assist with planning and executing in-person events and meetings as safely as possible.  Please follow the restrictions within these guidelines while planning events and meetings on campus.  For more information pertaining to virtual and in-person events, please visit the University Events resources webpage

 

Faculty/Staff Information

    Yes, Computing and Information Technology has created a page on its website with resources and advice to more effectively work remotely and collaborate with co-workers. View the page.

    Faculty and staff may review workplace-related COVID-19 information here.

    The uncertainty of this unusual situation may cause high levels of anxiety and stress. Employees have access to counselors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 800-633-3353 or 704-529-1428. To access work-life services, log in to mygroup.com using the username "winthrop303" and password "guest".

    We are currently in Phase 2 of a three-phased return to work plan, with no more than approximately 50% of our workforce on campus any given day.  Get more information and details in our Return to Work Plan and Office Etiquette Expectations and continue to look for updates from Winthrop Administration on Phase 3.

 

CARES Act

    This is information provided in this Department of Education FAQ document: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/heerfstudentfaqs.pdf (pdf)

    At institutions that provide both online and ground-based education, those students who were enrolled exclusively in an online program on March 13, 2020, the date of the President’s Proclamation, “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337- 38, are not eligible for emergency financial aid grants. The formula provided by Congress for calculating the distribution of funds to institutions excludes students who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses. Additionally, the emergency financial aid grants to students are for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and students who were enrolled exclusively in online programs would not have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

 

Other Questions

    Student Affairs has prepared this info form as a way for you to ask questions if you’re not sure to whom to direct your inquiry. Your info will be routed to the appropriate office or department.

 Submit a question.

 

Last Updated: 8/12/20