Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Novel Coronavirus

FAQs updated on at 4:47 a.m. on Monday, April 6.

COVID-19 Precautions and Exposure

More FAQs to follow! Submit your question on the form embedded here: www.plu.edu/coronavirus

Should I wear a mask? — April 5

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated recommendations for the use of face coverings by the general public. For more information, click here for some additional guidance from Dr. Elizabeth Hopper, Director of the Health Center.

What should I do if an employer or someone I know is being tested? – March 19

If you must go to work, ensure you don’t have symptoms.

You should: Monitor yourself for symptoms.Practice social distancing.Stay home if you develop any symptoms.Wash your hands.

Each disease investigation is unique. When appropriate, the Health Department provides specific guidance to organizations, businesses, schools and government officials based on possible disease exposure risk.

As part of the investigation process, the Health Department notifies close contacts of a confirmed case.

We encourage as many people as possible to stay home if able. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case or are experiencing symptoms, ensure you can stay home.

What is a close contact? – March 19

Close contact is defined as:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

– or –

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

How has the University changed its campus-cleaning protocols to address the risks of the disease? – March 16

In response to COVID-19, cleaning services has twice daily Team meetings to ensure that every staff member is familiar with most up to date CDC cleaning requirements for their assigned areas and the resources needed. Staff are increasing disinfecting touch points in common use spaces to hourly with a focus on door handles, hand rails and restrooms as well as increasing the frequencies of thorough cleaning in high use spaces. Custodians are triple checking dispensers to ensure that there is always soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer available to our community.

What is the risk of exposure to COVID-19? — March 15

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

According to the CDC, the COVID-19 pandemic is a global outbreak. (Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.)

Different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity. The United States nationally is currently in the initiation phases, but states where community spread is occurring are in the acceleration phase. The duration and severity of each phase can vary depending on the characteristics of the virus and the public health response. Let’s work to reduce risk to ourselves and our communities and neighbors.

I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go? — March 15

There are several Puget Sound testing facilities newly opened by CHI Franciscan Medical Services. This link will take you to a list of the different facilities, with instructions and guidance.

What's the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation? — March 15

Self-quarantine is when has been a direct contact of someone who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19, and for a period of 14 days.

Self-isolation is when someone develops symptoms of COVID-19, may be waiting for test results, or if not tested, waiting to recover, usually for a period of up to 7 days.

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)? — March 5

COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in at least 75 countries internationally, including cases in the United States (U.S.).

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people.

This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified and much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
  • There is no vaccine yet available to prevent this infection.

NOTE: The flu has similar symptoms as COVID-19, so it should not be assumed that all sick people have COVID-19. It is also important to not discriminate against people who are sick.

How does COVID-19 spread? — March 5

Symptoms of COVID-19 primarily include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

COVID-19 appears to  spread when a sick person coughs or sneezes within 6 feet of others. Coughing and sneezing create droplets in the air that can cause disease if you breathe them in. The virus may spread before people show symptoms.

Touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after being around someone sick with COVID-19 is also a possible but unlikely way to become infected. It may also spread by touching a surface or object with the virus on it.

What are the symptoms of this infection? — March 5

Novel Coronavirus Symptoms usually appear within 2- 14 days after exposure. Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

What do I do if I feel sick? — March 5

Monitor your symptoms closely. Remember that the likelihood is low that you have coronavirus. Take your temperature if you believe you have a fever.

Stay home from school and work until at least 24 hours after your fever ends. If you must go out of the house or be around others, wear a mask and avoid close contact. Be especially careful around pregnant women, infants and small children as well as people who have compromised immune systems and/or are over the age of 65. If you returned from China in the last 14 days, and your arrival date was February 2 or later, you will have received instructions from the CDC and from the local or state health department. Please follow these instructions. Guidelines for travelers returning from other countries are available from the CDC.

Take care of yourself. Rest as much as possible. Drink lots of fluids.

The CDC also advises you to:

  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If no soap and water is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Additionally, if you have NOT returned in the past 14 days from travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak OR have NOT been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19 but do have fever and respiratory symptoms, please seek medical advice and call ahead to your health-care provider or nurse advice line. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first.

  • Students should call the Health Center at 253-535-7337 or may start with a visit through Lute Telehealth.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their primary healthcare provider.

What if I HAVE symptoms and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or I am a traveler returning from an affected geographic area? — March 5

If you develop symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of your return from personal or official travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak OR you have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, please take the steps listed below.

Before you go to the PLU Health Center, any clinic or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your exposure to COVID-19, your recent travel, and your symptoms. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

Seek medical care right away.

  • If you are a student call the Health Center at 253-535-7337 or your primary care provider and tell them your symptoms before coming in. You may start with a visit through Lute Telehealth.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their primary healthcare provider.

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and report your symptoms to the dispatcher.

  • Students on the campus may contact the Health Center at 253-535-7337 or your primary care provider.You may start with a visit through Lute Telehealth.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their primary healthcare provider.

What if I am a traveler returning from an affected geographic area and do NOT have symptoms? — March 5

As you are returning from a country with a COVID-19 outbreak, please plan to stay home for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms.

  • Stay home and away from others for 14 days
  • Self-monitor your health for symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Avoid close contact with others (at least 6 feet apart)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water—if not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • If you become ill during the 14 days, notify theTacoma Pierce County Health Department at (800) 525-0127 and press #.

We recommend that anyone returning from a country with a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Notice check in with secondary Pacific Lutheran University contacts even if you have mild or no symptoms.

What if I am sick with COVID-19 or have been tested for it and don’t know the results? — March 5

If you are sick with COVID-19 or your health care provider suspects you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and you have been tested, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water—if not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms
    • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
    • If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

What is the treatment for COVID-19? — March 5

According to the CDC, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

What should I do if I have an underlying health condition or am immunosuppressed? — March 5

According to the Washington State Department of Health, people with preexisting health conditions are at higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. Your health is the top priority, so public health officials may recommend that you stay home if there are more community infections. The Department of Health has created guidelines to help you plan and prepare in the event of needing to limit time in public or if you become sick. Your health care team can also assess your current medications and conditions to help you think about actions that can minimize risk to you and your household.

Are there steps individuals, families and communities can take to help prepare if there is widespread transmission of COVID-19? — March 5

The CDC has a guide for individuals, families, and communities on prevention and mitigation of the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. These steps include many of those listed above for personal health, as well as others relevant for broader community efforts.

I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do? — March 5

We understand that some community members are concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students through campus mental health services:

You can help prevent the spread of colds and other viral ailments by doing the following:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

I have family and friends in an area directly affected by COVID-19. How can I manage my concern for them? — March 5

If you have family or friends in an area affected by COVID-19, you may have concerns about them. We encourage you to be in contact with them. It is also helpful to stay informed and up to date by monitoring the CDC website. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available:

How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces? — March 5

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, keyboards light switches). Use a disinfectant registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a 10% bleach/water solution to clean surfaces. Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.

How is PLU managing COVID-19? — March 5

The PLU Emergency Management Team is in direct contact with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and is working on contingency plans for all possible scenarios associated with spread of the virus. Counseling, Health and Wellness Services is following strict guidelines developed by public health officials for care of students who have concerns about COVID-19. PLU employees should work with their healthcare provider for questions about COVID-19. The Human Resources department is available to help employees with questions about their healthcare benefits and resources.

Classes, Student Employment and Work Study

More FAQs to follow! Submit your question on the form embedded here: www.plu.edu/coronavirus

Is it possible to request a lab fee refund? – April 3

PLU has discussed the idea of issuing students a partial lab fee for their science courses. After careful consideration, we have decided not to do so for a variety of reasons.

Lab fees are used to support lab instruction in multiple ways including:

  • purchasing lab supplies
  • saving over multiple years to purchase expensive equipment
  • paying the support personnel (lab manager positions and student TAs) required to set up labs for faculty and grade student work

We typically purchase our lab supplies in bulk either in the summer or prior to the start of each semester in order to achieve savings and to not have to pay for expedited shipping. Thus, we had already purchased the vast majority of supplies for Spring 2020.

Many of our instruments used in our lab courses cost a great deal to purchase. Therefore, the costs associated with purchasing these pieces of equipment are spread out over many years’ worth of collected lab fees.

Additionally, we still have lab personnel (our lab managers and student TAs) working in support of faculty providing on-line lab instruction.

Finally, while we are not currently using many of the lab supplies purchased for this semester, there have been a number of unexpected expenses that we have incurred associated with the shift to remote lab instruction for this semester, including the need for various faculty to purchase materials and technology to teach remotely.

If you have questions email nsci@plu.edu.

Are studio spaces open in the School of Arts and Communication areas? – March 31

With the closure of all academic buildings on campus, all School of Arts & Communication studio spaces are closed due to safety concerns.

How can I connect with networking and mentoring opportunities? – March 24

Lutelink – The university’s official online community where students can connect and network with PLU alumni to gain their support and perspective.  Gain assistance from alumni with informational interviews, resume reviews, mentorship, job shadows, internships, and much more: https://lutelink.plu.edu/

What will be happening with Career events? – March 24

We are working to move many of our upcoming career events including lunch and learns, Education Career Fair, and career treks to virtual options. Continue to check our calendar of events for updated information.

Will student career advising appointments be available? – March 24

Students may schedule appointments with career and internship advisors via phone, email, or virtual appointments using Google Hangouts and Zoom.  Schedule an appointment by email at career@plu.edu or with the PLU Opportunities Board.

Will the Bulk Buy program be available in the Old Main Market? – March 20

Yes, the Bulk Buy form will be available through the GET PLU app (https://www.plu.edu/dining/get-app/) or online at https://get.cbord.com/plu starting on Wednesday, April 1st. The last day to place an order will be Friday, May 15th. The last day for pick up will be Friday, May 22nd. You will be notified by OMM when your order is ready for pick up. For more information go here https://www.plu.edu/dining/get-app/omm-bulk/

I ordered my textbooks through PLU and got an email that they have been delivered, where do I pick them up? – March 20

Old Main Market will be able to access textbooks that have been delivered. The modified hours of operation for OMM can be found on the Campus Restaurant’s website.

With in-person classes cancelled, what is the status of my student-employment job? – March 17

We have heard concerns from many of you about the ability to maintain your employment and work hours as we moved to remote learning. The Alumni & Student Connections office is dedicated to helping maintain as many of your hours as possible during this time. If you have decided to leave the local area, you should communicate that with your supervisor. You will not lose your job for deciding to leave. Your job will be waiting for you when we return to in-person learning.

To help maintain your work hours, we have created a new alternative work assignment program. If the number of hours available for you to work in your current position has changed due to the move to remote learning, your supervisor can now request an alternative work assignment for you to fill the gap.

If you have concerns about your hours, please contact your supervisor directly. Only your current supervisor can make a request for an alternative work assignment and the hours needed.

Once we receive a request from a supervisor, we will be in touch to allow you to select from the options available and connect you with the supervisor for your alternative assignment.

If you have decided to leave the local area, you should work with your supervisor to determine if there are options to work remotely. Remote work may not be possible, and your supervisor will make that determination. There are currently no remote alternative work assignments available.

Please reach out to your supervisor or the Alumni & Student Connections office if you have any questions.

What are the implications for student workers? — March 10

The Human Resources has prepared a document here: Coronavirus Supervisor Guidance for Staff and Student Employees.

As the university transitions to distance learning, what does that look like for students with science labs? — March 9

The Natural Sciences faculty are currently working on developing alternative plans for teaching labs using distance learning strategies, and each faculty member will be responsible for clearly communicating changes to students. Through this period of distance learning, faculty members may use a variety of strategies, including providing electronic resources and assignments for students to learn lab content and skills remotely, focusing on alternative ways to achieve laboratory learning outcomes. Faculty will be in contact with each student in a lab this semester to review expectations.

Housing and Meal Plans

More FAQs to follow! Submit your question on the form embedded here: www.plu.edu/coronavirus


Subsections

What if I am quarantined on campus and need food? – April 6

You can contact your Community Director and they will supply you with a Meal Pick Up form. You will then designate someone to pick up your meal from any of our open on-campus units and your Dining Dollar account will be charged. You can do the same with a Sick Meal. Details for both options can be found HERE.

Is the Anderson University Center (AUC) Open? – April 1

The building’s exterior doors are locked, you can access the building via card swipe with a valid PLU Lutecard from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Is the Food Pantry open? – April 1

PLU’s Pantry will remain open, stocked, and available to PLU community members who are experiencing food insecurity during this period of time. The pantry is located in the Campus Ministry suite of offices on the first floor of the Anderson University Center (AUC). PLU community members may gain access to the pantry by contacting Campus Safety at 253-535-7441. ID required.

Are PLU students required to leave residence halls? — March 15

Current PLU residents are able to remain in their assigned university housing during this time of remote learning. Please complete the virtual Roll Call to indicate your plans.

What happens if students leave personal belongings in their rooms? — March 15

Any current resident who chooses to depart campus during this time of remote learning can leave any of their belongings they do not wish to take with them in their assigned room. They should lock their door and take their key/LuteCard with them.

Meal Plans

What if I am not a graduating senior or returning to PLU in the fall and I have a balance of Dining Dollars at the end of the semester? – March 20

While we are unable to provide a refund for non-returning, non-graduating students, your dining dollars may be used to purchase merchandise through our Bulk Buy program.

What if I am on Meal Plan G? – March 20

Meal Plan G is Dining Dollars only, and not eligible for the AYCTE Conversion. Dining Dollars will be carried over if the student is returning for the next academic year. If the student is a graduating senior they will be refunded unused Dining Dollars at the end of Spring semester.

For any student with an active meal plan, how will the meal plan credit work? – March 18

Recognizing that students are unable to fully access dining services, we have made the determination to first convert a portion of all-you-care-to-eat (AYCTE) funds to Dining Dollars, and then offer an option for students to request refunds.

First, the University will convert AYCTE funds from Meal Plans A, B, C, D, E, or F to Dining Dollars.

Once AYCTE funds have been converted to Dining Dollars, students will be allowed to request a Dining Dollar refund for any amount up to the amounts specified below. To request a refund for all or a portion of your converted Dining Dollars, please use the AYCTE Fund Conversion Refund Form. Refunds will be issued to your student account after May 1st. Please refer to the FAQ for Accessing Room and Board Refunds for further information about requests and timing of refunds.

The amount to be converted to Dining Dollars, and therefore eligible for refund, depends on which meal plan you purchased. Refunds will be granted up to the amount listed below or the remaining Dining Dollar balance, whichever is less when the refund is requested.

Meal Plan A    $500 

Meal Plan B    $500

Meal Plan C    $500

Meal Plan D    $500

Meal Plan E    $200 or the remaining balance, whichever is less

Meal Plan F    $135 or the remaining balance, whichever is less

How do I get into the Commons during AYCTE periods if I don’t have my AYCTE plan during this time period? – March 18

Starting on Tuesday, March 16th, all AYCTE meal periods will be converted to à  la carte.

Will Dining Dollars still expire on May 23rd, 2020? – March 18

No. Given the circumstances, Dining Dollars will be rolled over to Fall 2020 for use by continuing students. For students graduating in May or Summer 2020, an option to request a refund of unused Dining Dollars will be made available at the end of the term.

Housing

If I cancel my housing, will I still get a refund? – March 19

  • Any student who cancels their housing will receive a refund according to the processes outlined below. Such students will not receive the $500 credit.
  • Because housing and meals involve the same contract, students canceling their housing (except those living in South Hall) will automatically have their meal plans canceled as well. AYCTE meals will be prorated and 100% of unused Spring Meal Plan Dining Dollars will be refunded. The usual Late Meal Plan Change Fee to cancel meal plans at this point in the semester will be reduced by half to $25.
  • The Traditional Hall Housing Guide outlines this process for residents of all buildings other than South Hall. Eligible students (see University Residency Requirement below) who cancel their housing at this point in the semester will receive a refund that is prorated from the date that checkout is completed, and the usual Cancellation Fee will be reduced by half to $200 to help cover the fixed costs of operating residence halls. Contact the Office of Residential Life (rlif@plu.edu) for an estimate of your refund based on your room type and intended checkout date.
  • The South Hall Housing Guide outlines this process for South Hall residents who cancel their housing. At this point in the semester, South Hall residents will receive a refund that is prorated from the date checkout is completed and a Cancellation Fee. The standard Cancellation Fee is based on the monthly equivalency of their space. The Fee will be assessed to help cover the fixed costs of operating South Hall, but will be reduced by half in recognition of the current circumstances. Contact the Office of Residential Life (rlif@plu.edu) for an estimate of your refund based on your apartment type and intended checkout date.
    • Students living in South Hall will need to complete a Meal Plan Cancellation Form to cancel their meal plan. AYCTE meals are prorated, and 100% of unused Spring Meal Plan Dining Dollars will be refunded. The usual Late Meal Plan Change Fee to cancel meal plans at this point in the semester will be reduced by half to $25.

Now that remote learning is extending through the semester, the president’s email (Important Announcement from President Belton — March 16) identified that a portion of room-and-board costs would be refunded to my student account. How much is that amount and how do I get it? – March 18

ALL current residents, whether they are actively living on campus or not, will receive a $500 housing credit to their student account. Please refer to the FAQ for Accessing Room and Board Refunds for further information about requests and timing of refunds.

I would like to remain in my on-campus residence through the end of the semester. What do I need to do for this to happen? – March 18

If you have already completed the Residential Life Virtual Roll Call Form indicating a plan to stay on campus for the duration of the distance-learning time, we will consider this extended to the end of the semester. If your plans change, please complete an updated form.

I would like to remain in my on-campus residence during portions of the remaining semester. What do I need to do for this to happen? – March 18

Please update the Residential Life Virtual Roll Call Form to indicate your current plans.

I am now planning to leave campus or have already left campus, and do not plan on living in my PLU residence again this semester. When do I need to come back to move out? – March 18

Your belongings will remain in your room, as you left them, until the scheduled end of the semester. You may return at any time up to 6:00 pm on Friday, May 22, 2020, to complete your move-out. Please make arrangements with the Office of Residential Life at least two working days before your planned move-out.

I have already left campus, and took all of my belongings with me. Can I cancel my housing and be checked out without returning to campus? – March 18

Provided you have removed all of your belongings and left your room in good condition, you may cancel your housing and complete an Express Checkout. If your residence hall uses any room keys, you will need to mail them to Residential Life. Please email the Office of Residential Life with your request and to receive details.

I have already left campus, can the University provide me with assistance in packing up and shipping my belongings while I am at a distance? – March 18

By extending the time to pack up and move out through the end of the semester, it is our hope that we will allow sufficient time for students and their families to be able to make arrangements. The University does not have plans to pack or ship students’ belongings at this time. Before being able to consider this, we would need to address issues of liability and cost. If this creates a hardship for you, please contact the Department of Residential Life to discuss your particular circumstances and options.

I would like to cancel my housing and check out of my room. How do I do that? – March 18

Will the University Residency Requirement remain in effect? – March 18

Yes. The refund options outlined above were established to simplify the process as much as possible for students, families, and staff. Therefore, the University Residency Requirement and all other university policies will continue to be enforced. The opportunity to request a waiver is explained below, and the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19 will be taken into consideration when granting waivers. For more information about this university policy, including the process for applying for a waiver, view this Residential Life document.

If I haven’t already, how will I request on-campus housing for next year? – March 18

The continuing student-housing application deadline for Fall 2020 has been pushed back one week, to 11:59 p.m. on March 26, 2020. Residential Life is developing a process for remotely gathering learning community, hall, and room preferences for Fall 2020 housing, and for making assignments. Information will be emailed to all Spring 2020 residents and posted on our webpages.

Accessing Room and Board Refunds

When will the credit for room and meals be issued to my student account? – March 18

The credit for room and meals, should you request a refund, will be reflected on your student account no sooner than May 1st. Students will be notified to check their student account on Banner self-service once credits have been issued.

How can I request a refund once the credit is issued? – March 18

Credits for room and meals will first be applied to any owed balance. If the credit results in an overage on your student account, you can request a refund here.

I am thinking about requesting a refund that is less than the full amount of the converted AYCTE funds associated with my plan. Can I request a second refund later in the semester? – March 18

No. You can only request a refund once, and the refund must be equal to or less than the converted AYCTE refund associated with the meal plan you are signed up for.

Will this impact my financial aid? – March 18

No.

Emergency Resources for Students

What are some of the emergency resources that are available to me while PLU is utilizing remote learning? – March 24

PLU students, staff, and faculty continue to have a number of existing PLU-hosted emergency resources available to them. A number of new community and business COVID-19 related emergency resources also are becoming available to community members during this time and may be relevant to the emerging or current needs of PLU students, staff, and faculty. Please check back on this FAQ periodically as it will be updated as we become aware of new resources that have become available.

PLU hosted emergency resources

PLU food pantry – March 24

PLU’s food pantry will remain open, stocked, and available to PLU community members who are experiencing food insecurity during this period of time. The pantry is located in the Campus Ministry suite of offices on the first floor of the Anderson University Center (AUC). When the AUC is closed, residential students should contact their Community Director for access to the Campus Ministry Office and then use their PLU ID card for access to the food pantry. PLU community members not living on campus should access the pantry through Campus Safety by calling the Campus Safety non-emergency number 253-535-7441.

Community hosted resources

A number of businesses have stepped up to offer financial support or financial relief to college students during this time. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list that reflects resources that we have discovered or that have been shared with us to this point in time. We will continue to update this list as new resources are identified or become available.

Rental Assistance – March 31

Share & Care House is providing a program for those needing rental assistance to help households maintain existing housing due to circumstances related to COVID-19, such as loss/reduction of employment, quarantine, etc.. Households must be at or below 50% AMI and must live in Pierce County, outside the borders of the City of Tacoma. The program launches April 1.

Those who are interested can contact Share & Care House directly at 253-841-8886 ext. 800 or COVIDRA@shareandcarehouse.org.

See and share this flyer for more information.

Emergency Funding – March 24

United Way has a Community Economic Relief fund that is available to help with rent, purchasing food, bills. and other urgent needs. To learn more, individuals should call 1-866-211-9966 and be prepared to share their zip code to receive information about agencies in their area that are providing direct financial support.

Textbooks – March 24

Many textbook publishers are responding to colleges moving to remote learning by offering e-textbooks for no cost. The link below allows students to set up a log in and to search titles.
https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/user/signin

Internet Access – March 24

The FCC has implemented a “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” and internet providers are updating their services to comply. Below are links for common providers and their current responses to this FCC commitment. This overview gives you the information you will need to get free internet or a hotspot, if you need service.  Right now they are offering free service for new accounts. If you already have service but need to improve it, most are offering to upgrade your speed during this time, eliminate data limits, waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open local hot spots.

Be sure to read the contract, many of these servicers will provide free internet for 60 days; after that they will charge for a monthly service. If this is the case, make a note of the end date and cancel the service on that day so you are not charged. It’s best for you to contact a company that’s near where you are staying.

Connectivity for students who don’t have it or who need to improve what they have to be able to participate in remote learning:

  • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
  • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.
  • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
  • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.
  • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge

Storage units – March 24

Some local storage facilities are offering college students use of storage units for no cost or a reduced cost. U-Haul is among the facilities offering 30-days of free storage to college students during the COVID-19 outbreak.  https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/About/20625/College-Students-U-Haul-Offers-30-Days-Free-Self-Storage-amid-Coronavirus-Outbreak/

Health and Well-being

What are some easy options for making face coverings to use in public when participating in essential activities and physical distancing is not fully possible? – April 6

This is a helpful overview of updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control regarding face coverings.

There are a growing number of patterns for homemade face coverings being offered online. Some require sewing; and many don’t. Here is a selection of some of the easier patterns that are available right now.

DIY patterns for sewn face coverings:

DIY face coverings that don’t require sewing and use easy to find items:

What mental health resources and supports are available to students, faculty, and staff right now? — March 23

Students:

  • Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services (CHWS) currently remains open during their regular, published business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 am- 5:00 pm. In most cases, students will first be offered a phone appointment, ensuring continuing access to Counseling Services for PLU students who remain in Washington State, but who may not be on campus right now and also upholding public health physical distancing guidelines.
  • Lute Telehealth remains available 24/7/365 to all PLU students who currently are anywhere in the United States, as does PLU’s after hours urgent mental health support and crisis line – 253-535-7075.

Faculty and staff:


Links to helpful online mental health resources:

The Counseling Center staff also have organized a COVID-19 specific list of online mental health resources that offer helpful guidance for coping during this unprecedented period of uncertainty. Those resources can be found on the Counseling Center website and a few resources that members of the PLU community have found especially helpful so far are included here for your easy access:

CWHS: Coping with Anxiety

The Oregonian: 10 ways to deal with coronavirus-related stress and anxiety

Active Minds Blog

Active Minds Blog: Mental Health Amid the Coronavirus

The Conversation: 7 science base strategies to cope with coronavirus anxiety

Are health services still available through the remainder of the semester? – March 23

The Health Center will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the remainder of the semester.

Please call to schedule an appointment, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty breathing.

Urgent mental health support after-hours (including weekends and holidays), contact the Counseling Center Crisis Line at 253-535-7075.

Urgent medical advice after business hours, contact the MultiCare Consulting Nurse Line at 253-792-6410.

Lute Telehealth:  24/7/365 medical and mental health services.

I’m staying on campus. Can I use the fitness center and pool? – March 17

Names Fitness Center and Memorial Gym are closed until further notice. The recreation website has some suggestions for fitness while these facilities are closed.

Is there some kind of guide for students to help us transition to distance learning? – March 16

Sure! The information below written by Sean Michael Morris provides some helpful and easily digestible tips to help you through this transition.

Pivot to Online: A Student Guide

If you have found yourself suddenly dealing with:

  • Abruptly online courses
  • The loss of student employment
  • A sudden move off campus

I hope the ideas below will help. Most of these involve being pretty direct with your instructors. I’ve put a little note at the bottom with some additional recommendations for how to make being direct work well.

Technology. Not everyone is going to have the same access to the same technology. Be proactive in reaching out to your teachers to let them know what tools you can use. Think about everything in your toolkit: email, text messages, phone calls, video conferencing/calling tools, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.

Internet access. Assess your internet access. If you have only a mobile phone, then insist that any technology used during this pivot to online be mobile-friendly. If you only have access to a computer for a few hours a day, at work, or at a library, don’t hesitate to make that known to your instructors.

Class hours. A lot of colleges are insisting that students and teachers keep to their class schedules. This may not be realistic for you. Write to your instructor and let them know when you can meet, and why you may have trouble meeting during regular class hours.

Captioning. Insist the video lectures be captioned. Even if you don’t need this, someone in your class may need captioned videos for accessibility.

Help each other. If possible, reach out to other students in your classes and create a support network. Use whatever digital means necessary to stay in touch. There are free tools, like Slack, that are good places to “gather” online; you can also create a Facebook group, a hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. Email works. Group text messages work. Find a way to stay in touch so that no one of you feels stranded or alone.

Seek help. There are resources that will remain available to you. Find out who the Dean of Students is at your school, locate a CARE team, or reach out to other student support services. Your school may have a food pantry, or emergency funding for students. If you don’t know how to find your college’s emergency aid fund, you can Google your college’s name and “emergency aid fund” to find it. Your IT department might have laptops, mobile hotspots, tablets, or other equipment you can borrow during this crisis. There are people at your school who are not only trained to help you, but that is their job. So don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Also, take a look at this toolkit for coronavirus anxiety.

Be forgiving. And here’s the thing: your instructors are just as anxious about all of this as you may be. They are nervous, they are unprepared, they are worried they will fail to teach you, worried that you will not meet the course requirements now, that they will not be able to figure out how to administer exams, grade homework, and more. Very few college or university instructors received any training in teaching. And even fewer have been trained, or sought training in, digital teaching. Be patient with them even as you ask them to be patient with you.

Refer faculty to The Hope Center . This tireless group has created a resource guide for teachers during the COVID-19 crisis.

This is a time to work together. In all of the above suggestions where I’ve recommended that you reach out to teachers, that you insist on certain kinds of accommodations, the key is to be kind. Take me at my word here. I’ve worked directly and indirectly with faculty on six continents, and most of them will respond to kindness. If they know you are trying your best, they will also try their best. (Some of them are reading this right now, too.) Remember that faculty are human beings who have been caught just as much by surprise by this pivot to online as you have… only many of them are not as tech- or web-savvy as you are.

COVID-19 and PLU Operations


Can I order something on Amazon and have it delivered to the Amazon Locker Topanga in the AUC? – April 1

Topanga, the Amazon Locker in the AUC, is currently offline with Amazon. If you have questions regarding when deliveries to the Amazon Locker will be reinstated or general questions about mail delivery services, please contact Marketing & Communications/Mail Services at 253-535-7434 or 253-534-7436.

Is there an open building on campus that can provide access to printing? – March 23

Copy center is available for printing limited hours 7:30 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.

Are Spanish language translations available for COVID-19 updates to parents and families? — March 17

Yes. Updates will be coming in as soon as possible and can be found at Actualizaciones del Coronvirus.

Are there confirmed cases at PLU? — March 15

As of March 15th, there are no cases of COVID-19 at PLU.

Visit the Human Coronavirus page with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for county updates.

How will PLU respond if there is a confirmed case on campus? — March 15

Should a laboratory confirm that an individual on PLU’s campus has tested positive for COVID-19, the Health Center will work with the Tacoma Pierce County Public Health (TPCHD) to identify and contact anyone who may have come into close contact with the affected person. The university will provide all close contacts with detailed CDC and TPCHD information on related healthcare and monitoring, testing and isolation procedures. Should this situation arise, the university will also share relevant information immediately with the campus community via email and will post that update here.

Has PLU cancelled classes? — March 15

The university has transitioned to remote learning until April 24. Classes were cancelled on March 16 to allow faculty to prepare materials for the first two weeks of remote learning. Following Spring Break, classes will be cancelled on March 30-31 to provide extended respite for students and additional planning time for faculty.

Why did we transition to distance learning and physical distancing? — March 8

Campus is open for business and all operations are normal, with the exception that we have shifted classroom teaching to a distance format and cancelled or postponed some co-curricular activities directly related to teaching or co-curricular events in which social distancing may be difficult to implement. Our classrooms require students and faculty to sit indoors in direct proximity to groups of ten or more people, presenting a social-distancing challenge we wanted to proactively minimize.

Having said that, we recognize that a priority in completing our non-teaching work must be the health of our employees. Public-health guidance suggests that to minimize risk, gathering in groups of 10 or more should be avoided, and that a distance of six feet should be maintained as a proactive measure to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Technology Support

Are there wifi lots on campus, or a place to access wifi outside?– March 30

These areas have reasonable (read: workable/usable) coverage:

  • AUC Lot around the CCES house
  • Columbia Center & Ivy parking lots around the Columbia Center
  • Athletic Fields around the Observatory (note: 124th St along the fields is not great)
  • The East & West Hauge lots are usable to great depending on where you are in the lot
  • Rieke Lot near the Greenhouse
  • Red Square generally (this area is covered as spill-over from adjacent buildings, so there are some strange “shadows” in the coverage based on the walls/structure of those buildings)
  • MBR Amphitheater
  • Library entry portico
  • Area surrounding Greenhouse
  • Wang & Health Centers’ parking lots

Where can I find information about how to use technology? – March 23

Our Knowledge Base (https://kb.plu.edu) contains helpful articles about using technology tools at PLU.

Library

Do I need to turn in my books? – March 23

No. Please keep them until the library reopens.

Will there be late fees? – March 23

All fines will be waived.

What about Interlibrary Loans? – March 23

Please keep your interlibrary loans and return them when the library reopens.

Will there be late fees for interlibrary loan items? – March 23

Late fees will be waived.

Can I request interlibrary loans? – March 23

You can request articles from journals but not physical items from other libraries.

I usually access my textbooks via the Lute Library & Course Reserves, is there a way to do this virtually? – March 23

There is no way to access the physical materials via the Lute Lending Library and Course Reserves. We are, however, working with faculty and others to locate materials in support of your courses. Please check the library website (https://www.plu.edu/library) for the most up-to-date information.

Events (Admissions, Alumni, Athletics)

Will PLU still hold Commencement? — April 3

Commencement 2020 will be held on Saturday, September 5th, at 2 p.m. (PDT) at PLU to honor the accomplishments of graduating students that have brought them to this moment, and also to honor their transition into their Lute alumni community. The event will be livestreamed for those unable to attend.

Read the full announcement.

Will PLU be hosting off-campus alumni events? – March 16

PLU is following guidance issued by our local Health Department, as well as the Health Departments of any area where an alumni event would be taking place. Many of our alumni events through the May 4 have been cancelled or postponed, and we are continuing to monitor the situation to make appropriate adjustments to future events. Changes to events are being communicated as quickly as possible. Please call the office of Alumni and Students Connections if you have a question about an event in your area at 253-535-7415.

If I'm a spring sport student-athlete, what happens to my eligibility since the spring season was cut short? – March 16

On March 13, the NCAA approved a blanket waiver for all student-athletes participating in spring sports to:

a). Waive the use of a season of participation for all student-athletes in spring sports; and
b). Waive the use of the spring semester towards the student-athletes limit of 10 semesters, regardless of if they used a season or not

So spring sport student-athletes will regain this year of eligibility.

Are the Athletics spring sports seasons canceled? – March 16

Yes, on March 12 NCAA President Emmert canceled all remaining winter and spring sport NCAA Championships (DI, DII, DIII). As such, PLU and the Northwest Conference has also suspended practices and competitions.

What is the status of LuteOverknight? — March 15

Unfortunately, our two Lute OverKnights have been cancelled. However, we’re working hard on putting together a virtual event for you! Missed it? Take a look at VideOverKnight.

What is the status of campus visits and events for Admissions? — March 15

Hello, Future Lute! For all questions related to Admission, please visit our Future Lute FAQs for information on visits to campus, faculty meetings, and more. We are happy to connect you soon!

Travel, including Study Away

What does the U.S. State Department Global Live 4 Advisory mean? – March 23

The U.S State Department has released a Level 4 advisory, which is a Do Not Travel advisory.

“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”

Find out more

What is the current status of PLU's study away programs? – March 17

All spring short-term programs are now cancelled and all semester programs are now suspended. By suspended we mean that semester study away students are returning home but will continue their coursework online and will receive credits for their semester abroad.

Has PLU restricted travel? – March 17

The university has restricted travel in all current study away programs. Shortly, it will be making a decision regarding summer programs. The Wang Center, in collaboration with the COVID-19 Incident Response Team, will continue to monitor fall semester program locations and maintain all fall study away applicants informed on a regular basis until a final determination has been made.

If I have just returned from travel from an area of the world impacted by COVID-19 such as Iran, Italy, South Korea, China, Europe, and Scandinavia, can I return to campus? – March 17

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, state and local authorities are recommending that all students return to their permanent home and self-isolate for fourteen days (see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html).

If returning to a permanent home address is not an option, please contact PLU Assistant Director of Residential Operations, Jasen Nieves-Herrera at nievesje@plu.edu. He has been assigned to work with returning study away students to provide room and board at PLU at no additional cost.

I recently traveled internationally and am feeling sick, what should I do? – March 17

If you develop symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of your return from personal or official travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak OR you have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, please take the steps listed below.

Before you go to the PLU Health Center, any clinic or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your exposure to COVID-19, your recent travel, and your symptoms. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

Seek medical care right away.

  • If you are a student call the Health Center at 253-535-7337 or your primary care provider and tell them your symptoms before coming in. You may start with a visit through Lute Telehealth.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their primary healthcare provider.

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and report your symptoms to the dispatcher.

  • Students on the campus may contact the Health Center at 253-535-7337 or your primary care provider.You may start with a visit through Lute Telehealth.
  • Staff and faculty should contact their primary healthcare provider.

For International Students

More FAQs to follow! Submit your question on the form embedded here: www.plu.edu/coronavirus

I need to get my I-20 signed for travel ASAP! What can I do? – March 30

The International Student Center is closed as Heather Jacobson and Hiro Kuroiwa-Lewis work from home. However, a travel signature is something that we can delay and take care of later by physical mail. You don’t need a valid travel signature to leave the U.S., only to enter it, so if you’re not planning to return until next fall there will be plenty of time to mail a new I-20 to your home country. Please contact Heather for instructions on requesting a replacement I-20.

Since the university is moving to remote learning, I plan to leave campus and come back by April 27th. What should I do before I depart? – March 16

If living on-campus, contact the Office of Residential Life regarding checking out of your room prior to departure. Please also notify International Student Services of your travel plans.

If I don't feel comfortable returning to my home country due to COVID-19 or other concerns, can I stay in my residence hall? – March 16

Yes, you can remain living in your on-campus residence.

Does transitioning to distance learning affect international students' immigration status? – March 16

Given the extraordinary circumstances we are in, the U.S. government has announced that restrictions on online learning will be relaxed temporarily. International students will maintain their F-1 or J-1 visa status while PLU transitions to distance learning, even if they choose to return to their home country for part of the semester.

I am graduating in May and plan to apply for OPT, but I want to go home for a few weeks. What should I do? – March 16

Students will maintain their F-1 status and eligibility for OPT, even if they choose to return home for part of the semester. However, OPT applications must be mailed from within the U.S., so students are advised to complete their applications before returning home. Please contact Heather Jacobson, Coordinator of ISS, if you have additional questions about OPT.

I am on CPT right now: Do I need to stop my employment? – March 16

Students on CPT are not required to stop their employment. However, they should discuss with their CPT employer whether alternate work arrangements (such as working from home) are feasible.Please contact Heather Jacobson, Coordinator of ISS, if you have additional questions about CPT.

Will it affect my PLU scholarship if I return to my home country? – March 16

No, as long as you stay enrolled. If you withdraw from your classes and receive a tuition refund, then your scholarship might be prorated.

What else will International Student Services do to support international students? – March 16

International Student Services remains committed to supporting international students as they navigate these challenging times. If you have questions or concerns, we are available to advise you and we will help liaise with other offices as needed to support you.

If I'm interested in applying for Fall 2020 as an international student, what do I do? Are you still accepting applications? – March 16

Yes, we are still accepting applications. Please follow our standard application procedure for undergraduate admission HERE.

For graduate admission, please go HERE.

I have been admitted for Summer/Fall 2020. Will PLU open as scheduled? – March 16

Yes. At this time, no change is planned for the 2020-2021 academic year. Please refer to our Academic Calendar .

Faculty and Staff Resources

More FAQs to follow! Submit your question on the form embedded here: www.plu.edu/coronavirus

Tips for a successful web meeting – April 3

How do I mitigate Zoom meeting vulnerabilities? – April 3

Many of you may be aware of a recent security vulnerability related to Zoom products which has hit the news in a significant way.  PLU, like many institutions across the world, turned to Zoom as a reliable tool helping us deliver classroom content in a remote setting.  We are still confident in that decision and want to share with you ways you can mitigate risk and feel confident in continuing to use the product.

The main concern revolves around unwanted guests accessing publicly shared meetings and disrupting the session by sending inappropriate content through video, chat, and screen sharing. The term that is being used to describe this behavior is “Zoombombing.” There are ways to prevent unwanted guests from accessing Zoom sessions and disrupting your meeting.

To secure your meeting, consider the following options:

  • Keep meeting URLs in a private location such as a Sakai Site or email directly to attendees. URLs placed on publicly facing sites are highly vulnerable.

  • Disable screen sharing for participants by default. This will prevent unwanted users from sharing their screen to display inappropriate content. Hosts can allow attendees to share their screen during the meeting.

  • Activate a waiting room to provide a holding area for people attempting to join the meeting. Users can be allowed in at the start and throughout the session.

  • Add a password to your meeting. The password must be shared with attendees and adds a step to join the meeting, but prevents trolls from randomly accessing your meeting URL.

More information regarding Zoombombing & Meeting Security can be found in the PLU Knowledgebase. If you have additional questions or need support, reach out to Instructional Technologies, itech@plu.edu.

Further Reading:

Are there any remote work guidelines? – March 31

Is the university allowing faculty and staff to bring visitors to campus? — March 31

No, as part of Gov. Inslee’s ‘stay home’ directive, only essential employees are allowed on campus.

What leave resources are available to me as a staff member? – March 16

Should on-site interviews be rescheduled or moved to virtual? – March 16

Yes, on-site interactions should be minimized. The use of video conferencing technology to conduct interviews is strongly encouraged. To ensure consistency in the interview process and avoid the perception of one candidate having an unfair advantage, ideally all interviews should be conducted in the same manner (i.e. all on-site or all virtual). For questions, contact Human Resources at (253) 535-7185 or humr@plu.edu.

What are some issues around equity and access that I should practice when transitioning my class to distance learning? – March 16

First and foremost, keep your course student centered. Like all of us, students are feeling an extraordinary amount of anxiety and uncertainty now. Provide them with opportunities to share these concerns with you, whether in a synchronous and asynchronous manner. If your class is meeting on an online platform, you might begin class by asking each student to check in with one word describing how they are feeling. You can also encourage students to share something that they are grateful for to help them balance their perspective. Holding each other’s humanity and considering the whole of our students are of the utmost importance right now. Thus, focusing on our students has humans first and the content of the course second is important for their sense of belonging and persistence.

  • Consider sending your students a survey, as we transition into distance learning for April, that asks them about their availability to continue meeting during the regularly scheduled class time, the technology resources they have available to them, their access to WiFi and data, etc. You can also survey your students about what other obligations they may be facing (such as child or elder care), what is causing them the most anxiety, and what kind of support they might need.
  • Please do not require your students to participate in synchronous class meetings. Now is not the time to hold on to the idea that students “signed up for that class time.” Our students may not have regular access to WiFi or a computer, may now be watching kids who are home from school, may soon enough may be taking care of sick loved ones or may be sick themselves, and might be trying to find work due to the loss of their or their caretakers’ job(s).
  • Keep due dates fluid. To repeat: Our students may not have regular access to WiFi or a computer, may now be watching kids who are home from school, may soon enough may be taking care of sick loved ones or may be sick themselves, and might be trying to find work due to the loss of their or their caretakers’ job(s).
  • Do not use/enforce an attendance policy. See two bullet points above.

As you move material online, refer to these minimum guidelines for online accessibility:

  • Information presented in a video format should be captioned. (If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical.)
  • Information presented in an audio-only format should be accompanied by a transcript. (If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical.)
  • When you are creating your own content, create well-structured documents and consider the accessibility of the content. Review guidance for making Word or PowerPoint documents accessible.
  • If you post documents as PDFs in Canvas, be prepared to share the original documents, as they will be more accessible.
  • If you must use scanned documents rather than native digital documents, they need to be of high visual quality and a resolution of at least 300dpi.
  • Text should not be highlighted or underlined, binding shadows should not be present, lines should not be clipped, and text must be readable, even when enlarged.
  • When providing timed quizzes or exams, use the Time Extension Guide for Sakai.
  • For a comprehensive guide, see this resource from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You can also seek guidance from PLU’s Office of Accessibility and Accommodation.

Consider altering course objectives in light of the circumstances to reflect the skills students will acquire during this transition. Granted, these are not objectives that you will assess, but framing them for students as skills/habits they will acquire may help them as they engage in this new normal. These may include:

  • Adapt in the face of unforeseen and quickly changing circumstances
  • Recognize the humanity of those behind screens
  • Develop ways to maintain community
  • Practice flexibility Learn time management beyond the rigor of a set class time

Begin creating your own set of principles, use this Core-Values Framework for Deciding How to Adapt Classes for Online Learning in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It can also be useful in helping you to determine your priorities as an instructor during this unprecedented time.

What mental health resources and supports are available to students, faculty and staff right now? – March 16

Faculty and staff can access mental health care through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-777-4114. First Choice Health EAP also offers BetterHelp – licensed professionals who can be reached for online therapy available 24/7, via text, chat, phone, or video.

What are the implications for staff employees? — March 11

Where can faculty get guidance for teaching through online distance-learning? — March 8

Instructors teaching face-to-face courses may need to utilize online teaching strategies to ensure instructional continuity during exceptional circumstances. When students and/or faculty cannot participate in face-to-face class sessions, instructors may opt to conduct virtual class meetings, record screencast videos, or develop online lessons and activities in Sakai; below are resources to explore these three strategies.

Individual consultations are the best way to receive advice and support tailored to your specific instructional needs, technology skills, and circumstances.

To schedule a phone, in-person or virtual consultation contact the PLUTO team at pluto@plu.edu. A member from the PLUTO team will follow-up with you as soon as possible, typically within 24 hours.

Find more information

Logistical considerations for facilitating meetings in adverse conditions? — March 8

Some logistical considerations:

  • Decisions about planned meetings shall be determined and coordinated by meeting facilitators/leaders.
  • While a decision to maintain in-person meetings may present the best option for a group, facilitators and participants should be mindful that not all members experience the same level of risk. When in-campus meetings are continuing, accommodations should be available for members who choose to opt out because of their own health circumstances (or complicating factors, such as closure of schools or daycares. See guidance for supervisors on the Human Resources website.)
  • Virtual and distance meetings can be less effective as the numbers of participants grow. In these cases, it may be helpful to postpone and/or reschedule meetings or to organize into smaller groups with a structure for reporting back centrally (ex.GoogleDoc etc).

Taken together, the recommendation for campus work follows the recommendation for students and faculty regarding teaching and learning: flexibility and creativity will be key mindsets to hold. Thank you!

Suggestions for facilitating work normally achieved through in-person meetings? — March 8

Much of our work requires collaboration and meeting with one another. Here are some suggestions for facilitating work normally achieved through meetings:

  • Maintain your scheduled meetings, and wash your hands before and after.
  • Complete work via phone or conference calls, Google Hangout, Zoom, Google Docs, or email.
  • Relocate in-person meetings to larger campus spaces, providing more distance between participants. Contact Hospitality Services at 253-535-7450 or events@plu.edu if you need assistance.
  • Arrange for smaller groups of meeting participants to work on elements of a project (remotely or in person), reporting back to each other as appropriate.

What is your unit’s Continuity of Operations Planning? — March 5

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) includes the activities of individual departments and their sub-compartments to ensure that their essential functions are performed during a disaster, which could result in the loss of one or more of the following: work or teaching facility, power, water, electricity, communications, personnel, or other resources.

It includes plans and procedures to ensure that essential functions are performed. Plans and procedures should be trained and tested to ensure a viable COOP capability. Contact thompss@plu.edu with questions or to set up a COOP consultation for your department.

Who is Essential Services Core in your office? — March 5

Every university organizational unit is expected to establish a staffing plan that supports the Business Interruption Staffing Decision Guide. Staffing plans should identify essential functions/services within each PLU organization, identify personnel, by title, to perform those functions, and include a training/communication component to ensure essential personnel know who they are and for what function they are responsible. Planners should identify and communicate internal and external dependencies when creating staffing plans. Staffing plans may include student employees when students are on campus.