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COVID-19: Safe Return FAQs for Students

Notice: This is an Archival Document

Please visit Fall 2021 Safe Return site for current information.




Please see Covid-19: Commencement 


Pass/No Pass


Please see Pass/No Pass FAQs 


Teaching & Learning

Will classes be online or on campus in the Spring 2021 semester?

The university will be providing classes in both online and blended formats in which courses such as science labs, studio and performing arts, and selected seminar and capstone courses will combine online and in-person instruction. We have invested in technology and faculty development to ensure we deliver the highest quality education.

How will online classes be delivered?

All Spring 2021 semester courses at BSU will have an online component. There are three formats in which courses will be delivered:

  • Asynchronous: fully online with no specific day/time virtual class meetings.
  • Synchronous: online with virtual class meetings on specific days/times.
  • Blended: combining online with some in-person class meetings.

Approximately 80% of BSU online classes in the Spring 2021 will be delivered in a synchronous format.

What is an “asynchronous” course?

An asynchronous course is a course that is offered in a fully online format with no specific days or times for required virtual class meetings. 

What is the instructor’s role in an asynchronous course?

In context of the flexible format, faculty and students do interact regularly in these courses. BSU has retained its commitment to small course sizes in both our online and in-person courses. Note too that all courses at BSU are designed, taught, and graded by the professor. While we offer some peer support programs, there are no teaching assistants at BSU—by design. The contact typically takes place through discussion forums, video or audio presentations, journal and writing feedback, group projects, virtual tools, and, often, one-on-one virtual meetings.

How are assignments typically completed in an asynchronous course?

Most asynchronous online courses have weekly deadlines for work that must be completed. You can also expect to use a wide variety of tools in a course with this format including streaming multimedia lectures, virtual labs and simulations, and case studies to cover the course material.

What are the advantages of an asynchronous course format?

The advantage in an asynchronous course is that it provides students the flexibility to access the course material on their own schedule. They are great option for students with busy lives and complex schedules.

What is a “synchronous” course?

Synchronous online classes are instructor-led classes that have regularly scheduled group meetings using an online meeting platform such as Zoom, Teams or Blackboard Collaborate. 

How are assignments typically completed in a synchronous course?

You can also expect to use a wide variety of tools in a course with this format including streaming multimedia lectures, virtual labs and simulations, and case studies to cover the course material. Class meetings require a student to logon at specific times and be present virtually using a webcam, microphone, and speakers.

What is the advantage of a synchronous course format?

These courses are ideal for students who want to interact with the instructor and the other students in the class all in a group setting.

What is a “blended” course?

Blended classes or hybrid courses are instructor led classes that will meet partly on campus and partly online. During the in-person portion of the class the instructor and the students will follow all CDC and MDPH guidance on physical distancing and personal protective equipment to help keep everyone as safe as possible.

Are there many courses being offered in this format?

This is the smallest group of courses at BSU as this option is only being used for courses that have some aspect that can’t be easily recreated online. 

What does the “Hyflex” option mean?

The “Hyflex” Option means that faculty will also livestream their class meetings online for students who cannot or choose not to meet in person. Some faculty will also record their sessions and post them online for students to review later.

Will faculty members have office hours?

Yes. Faculty members will hold virtual office hours during the spring semester. The office hours and contact information of specific faculty members will be posted to their class syllabus.

Will the library be open during the spring semester?

Yes. The library has remained open throughout the pandemic and will continue to remain open to serve BSU students. Any library users will be expected to follow safety protocols, including maintaining physical distancing and wearing a mask. The density of seating in the library has also been reduced.

If I have classes during the day with time in between where can I study?

The Library will be open for students to study, as well as space in the large open areas of Burnell Hall and the Moakley Open Access Lab. We are working with the College of Science and Mathematics to create designated spaces in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science & Mathematics Center and developing plans for additional designated study spaces elsewhere on campus. View  Study Spaces for Spring 2021.

Will BSU continue to offer undergraduate research and the Honors program?

Yes. Both our undergraduate research and Honors program will continue to be offered to students and will largely function as they always have. BSU’s undergraduate research program, which this year was ranked among the top three programs in the nation, will continue to operate, although more student research will be conducted virtually.

Which classes will be offered in blended formats?

BSU has worked with faculty and deans to determine which of the university’s 2,700 course sections will be offered in a combination of in-person and online instruction. Students can find that list of classes here. We will be updating this list as the university determines which capstone and seminar classes will be offered with an in-person component.

Will classrooms be reconfigured for social distancing?

Yes. BSU has retrofitted classrooms, labs and studio spaces to allow for appropriate physical distancing and expanded protocols to ensure each of these spaces is cleaned and disinfected after each use. There will be reduced seating in classrooms to permit 6’ physical distancing between students. Classrooms, labs and studio spaces will be disinfected twice a day and there will be Bear Buckets in each room, which will augment cleaning of high-touch areas.

How will students conduct scientific research in labs or utilize studio space for classes such as dance or pottery?

BSU will be adopting a reservation process for student lab and studio time for research, creative endeavors, and course work. Connect Card access will help ensure safe and controlled access to spaces that are integral to teaching and learning. Research teams in the sciences will ensure safe distancing in all lab spaces, recognizing that only a limited number of students may be able to work in a research lab at any one time. Use of performing and visual arts studios will be arranged to allow for proper social distancing.

Will students be able to study abroad in the spring?

No. In light of the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths globally, BSU has canceled all study abroad programs and all foreign travel for the spring semester.

How will academic advising be provided to students?

Advising students remotely will continue to be the dominant mode of faculty advising since most faculty offices are too small to ensure social distancing. Faculty were successful in advising their students remotely during the spring semester using online tools and techniques. The Academic Achievement Center will continue to provide many of its services remotely, although it is reconfiguring its space for social distancing to accommodate limited by-appointment in-person advising.

Will I still be able to reach my advisor?

Yes. You will still be able to contact your faculty advisor. You can find the name of your faculty advisor at the top of your DegreeWorks audit.

I am concerned about taking online courses. How can I get help?

To become a successful online student, there are important tools, resources and strategies you will need to employ to stay engaged with your classmates, instructors, the course content and assignments in your online courses. Visit our Students Resources for Online Learning website to learn more.

What can I do if I do not have reliable access to the technology necessary for online classes?

BSU is making loaner devices, including laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, wireless hotspots, etc., available for students to borrow. Please see Access to Technology.

Will BSU be offering the full array of academic support services in the fall?

BSU will continue to provide exceptionally strong academic support, services, and resources to help each student succeed. Our Academic Achievement Center will continue to provide a comprehensive array of programs, whether students require advising, learning assistance, disability resources, or other individual needs. All these services will be delivered remotely, although the Academic Achievement Center is reconfiguring its space for social distancing to accommodate limited by-appointment in-person advising and support.

With BSU moving academic support and tutoring online, how will I arrange to get the services I need?

The Academic Achievement Center will be open by appointment, but all services will also be provided remotely. Below is the contact information for each of the Academic Achievement Center’s departments:

If you are unsure which team to contact, please email

How will students be able to access accommodations?

All accommodations are managed and administered by the Student Accessibility Services Office at 508-531-2194, which will contact and coordinate with faculty members on students’ behalf.


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Building Access

How will building access work when I return to campus?

Updated 1/25/2021

When you return to campus, you can expect that most buildings will have restricted access. This means you will need to have your BSU Connect ID Card with you at all times. Students are expected to swipe into each building they enter in order to support the best possible COVID-19 tracking and tracing protocols. During this semester, students are asked to avoid holding doors open and avoid allowing multiple students to enter without swiping. Students will have access only to the Residence Hall where they reside, and all students registered for a face-to-face class will be given access to those buildings where face-to-face classes are scheduled to be conducted. Generally, student access to classrooms and labs will mirror hours the building is scheduled to be open.

Upon entry into these spaces, patrons will traverse the public area and upon entry into a department, store, or dining service vendor be logged in via safe-swipe, blackboard, or other means to facilitate COVID-19 tracing and tracking.

There are places on campus where entry doors will remain open with unrestricted access. They are:
  • The Welcome Center
  • the rear lower level entrance to the Teaching & Learning Center at Maxwell
  • the East Campus Commons
  • and Crimson Dining & Student Lounge

When are the buildings open?

Updated 1/19/2021

Please see the Condensed Building Access Chart for the spring semester schedule of hours.


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Residence Halls/Dining

What has BSU done to ensure safety in our dining halls?

BSU’s food service provider, Sodexo, has developed an extensive safe return plan for Bridgewater State University based on its far-reaching global experience in managing food preparation and delivery in a way that protects students and food service staff. Dining hall tables have been distanced for safety and a reservation system has been established to ensure that dining halls are not overcrowded. We have eliminated buffet-style dining options and will have grab-and-go meals. BSU will have additional staff in the dining areas to ensure students are sanitizing their hands and wearing face masks upon entry and will utilize one-way entry and egress from the dining halls. Employees will sanitize high-contact service areas multiple times a day, disinfect and sanitize dining areas twice a day during a one hour midday shut down and at closing, keep a safe distance during deliveries, wear gloves, wash hands, and wear face coverings in the kitchen and serving areas.

What will grab-and-go meals be like? How do I meet my specific dietary needs if meals are going to be grab-and-go?

The dining program and menus will be very similar to last year. The main difference will be with grab-and-go packaging to ensure their safety. The grab-and-go can be customized with cold and hot meals if students call ahead. Students will continue to be able to work with dietitians to help them with any questions/concerns they may have.

Will BSU’s dining halls be open?

Updated 1/25/2021

Following student input from the Student Government Association, the Residence Halls Association and an ad hoc student dining planning committee, Bridgewater Dining will provide services in the Bear’s Den and East Campus Commons based on current service schedules for the entirety of the Spring semester 2021. Starbucks will remain open in Crimson Dining and Student Lounge. In addition to the very popular Bear Bites food truck, which was launched towards the end of the Fall semester, BSU will be the first college in New England to offer a new robot food delivery option in the Spring 2021.

Flynn Dining Commons, Tinsley Bear Trap and Crimson Food Court (with the exception of Starbucks) will remain close due to COVID-19.

Will students be able to live on campus this semester?

BSU will be opening each of its residence halls. Students will be able to live in single rooms or double occupancy rooms with one roommate, although we have eliminated all triple and quad living. Rooms that are traditionally used as triples and quads will now have double occupancy. We are doing everything possible to ensure all students who wish to live on campus can be accommodated. This may include creating some off-campus housing accommodations to meet the high demand.

Even with residence halls open, BSU is significantly “de-densifying” its campus as we expect no more than one-third of our total student population of nearly 11,000 to be present on campus at any one time.

If you have any questions about living on campus, or would like to live on campus at any time during the spring semester, please feel free to contact Residence Life and Housing at or 508.531.1277.

How many students will be able to live in a suite? Are suites an exception to the two-person per room rule?

Suites and apartments will operate at full capacity with the very few exceptions of a small number of suites that have triple occupancy bedrooms within them. Those bedrooms will now house two students.

What if a resident student(s) contracts the coronavirus?

BSU has set aside 48 rooms for students that need to isolate or quarantine for a two-week period to further ensure everyone's safety. 

What responsibilities do I have as a student living in the residence halls or studying on campus?

Living, taking classes and studying on campus during this pandemic comes with certain responsibilities and obligations that are in place to protect you and your fellow Bears. We have to think about how our actions may be affecting our friends, fellow students, professors, librarians and staff. We expect students living and studying on campus to follow these public health practices limiting the transmission of the virus:

  • Maintaining physical distancing of six feet;
  • Wearing masks or face coverings at all times except when in your residence hall room or when eating in one of our dining halls;
  • Submitting to regular COVID-19 testing. BSU has developed a testing protocol (tests are simple and not invasive) and all resident students will be required to be tested upon first arriving at BSU and every two weeks thereafter. Testing will also be available to commuter students who take classes on campus, but not required.
  • Limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people, based upon Governor Baker’s current mandate;
  • Assisting with COVID-19 tracing procedures; and
  • Agreeing to BSU’s Code of Public Health pledge.


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Student Life

If I have free time on campus, are there designated places where I can hang out?

Most access will be restricted and you will need to swipe-in to buildings where your classes are being held using your connect card. The East Campus Commons bookstore will be open for in-store shopping and University Park picnic tables will be available during nice weather.  Dining in the Bear’s Den, ECC, and Crimson will be open. The Rondileau Student Union will be available to all registered students for scheduled student activities and we continue to develop plans for designated spaces that students can use across campus.

Will BSU continue to run the shuttle and bus service for students?

BSU will continue to operate the shuttle and bus service for students. Buses will have passenger limits of approximately 50% of normal capacity in order to help maintain social distancing. As a result, most of our buses will have a maximum capacity of 20 students, with our largest buses being able to accommodate up to 30 students. Because of reduced capacity, we will run increased buses and routes to service students.

How will BSU make sure that buses and shuttles are cleaned?

Bus drivers will be continuously cleaning, disinfecting high touch points during down times and between bus routes. All of our shuttles and buses will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using electro-static sprayers at least once every 24 hours.

How will mail service work for students?

Mail Service will operate Monday-Friday. Students will be informed by e-mail if they receive mail and/or a package for pickup. The BSU Mail Services is located in Tillinghast Hall room 022.


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Will the BSU bookstore be open to customers this semester?

Updated 1/21/2021

The bookstore is currently open. We strongly encourage students to order their course materials online before arriving on campus to avoid the large crowds and lines that occur during the first week of classes. Course materials, clothing, and gifts that are available at the store are also available on our website for home shipping or in-store pickup.

What are the bookstore’s hours?

Updated 1/12/2021

Effective January 2021, the bookstore will operate on a new schedule. See the BSU Bookstore Hours for Spring 2021 for hours of operation.

How will the bookstore aisles look this semester?

In a change from past semesters, the bookstore aisles will be laid out in A-Z author order rather than by course.  Log on to and enter your Banner ID for a personalized alphabetical list of your course materials. Additionally, one-way aisles will be implemented to aid with physical distancing.  

Do I need to wear a mask at the bookstore?

Yes, a mask is required to enter the bookstore  

How will I enter and exit the bookstore?

Updated 1/21/2021

While we encourage students to order their course materials online before arriving on campus , we understand that it may be necessary to come to the physical bookstore. Students will enter through the main entrance in the ECC atrium. Store occupancy will be closely monitored by bookstore staff. If the maximum number of customers is already in the store, there will be a queue in the ECC atrium with a one in, one out policy.

Customers will exit the store through an exterior exit in the back of the store rather than through the main door in the ECC atrium. There will be signage and stanchions directing customers to the exit.

How do I place an online order at the BSU Bookstore?

The bookstore's website can be accessed at or through the "find my textbooks" link in InfoBear.  

How do I order textbooks from the online BSU bookstore?

  1. Click the "textbook" link at the top of the bookstore’s website,
  2. Use the dropdown menus to choose your term and courses and click "find your course materials." 
  3. Select the course materials you need for each course and click "add to bag." 
  4. When you are finished adding items to your bag click "view bag and checkout."
  5. Follow the steps to enter your payment information—if you are using book advance funds or any type of book voucher, select "financial aid" as your method of payment. 

Where do I pick up online orders?

Updated 1/21/2021

Online order pick-ups will take place across the ECC atrium from the bookstore in the Executive Dining Room 113.

What are my textbook options?

Textbooks are available in new, used, rental, or digital formats. The bookstore has been working throughout the summer to make as many titles available in digital format as possible to complement the increased numbers of online courses this fall.  

Which methods of payments are accepted at the bookstore?

Online customers can pay using a credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Campus Cards, Financial Aid Book Advance funds, or book vouchers/scholarships. In-store customers can pay using credit card, cash, check, Campus Cards, Financial Aid Book Advance funds, or book vouchers/scholarships.

Are shipping fees and digital delivery fees covered by my book voucher or book advance?

Shipping fees and digital delivery fees are covered by Financial Aid Book Advance funds. If you have a scholarship through BSU or a third party, please contact the bookstore to find out if shipping and digital delivery are covered by your award.  

What is the bookstore’s return policy?

Updated 1/21/2021

Textbooks/Course Materials

  • Refunds are given for Course Materials returned or postmarked before February. 3, 2021.
  • Course Materials purchased after February. 3, 2020 must be returned within three business days of purchase for a full refund.
  • Course Materials purchased during the last week of classes or final exams are not refundable.
  • To support the delivery of digital content to you, a non-refundable digital delivery fee is applied to each digital material.

Hardware & Software 

  • Bring back unopened computer hardware and software within 14 days of purchase for a full refund. Electronic Software Download (ESD) purchases are Final and Non-Returnable.

Other Merchandise

  • All other merchandise that is unopened and in original condition can be returned within 30 days of purchase. 
  • Gift Cards are non-refundable

How do I rent textbooks?

Search for your course and section, select the rental items available for your course, and add them to your shopping cart. During checkout you will be prompted to provide rental collateral (e.g. a credit card) and sign the rental agreement.
Completing the rental agreement signifies your commitment to returning your rental book back by the check-in date.

Who should I contact if I have a question for the bookstore?

In order to decrease foot traffic in the bookstore at the start of the semester, we ask that students reach out the bookstore with questions via email or phone. Our phone number is 508.531.6198. Questions about textbooks can be sent to Questions about online orders, book advance/scholarship funds, or general inquiries can be sent to We will make every effort to respond to emails within 24 hours.

How do I apply for BSU CARES Act Book Assistance?

BSU CARES Act Book Assistance is designed to help relieve students of the financial burden of the cost of books during the COVID-19 pandemic for the spring 2021 semester beginning January 4, 2021 and ending February 19, 2021. Books can be obtained ONLY at the BSU Follett Bookstore via a onetime credit issued in the student's name. Students will NOT be able to obtain funding twice via this grant, during the spring 2021 semester. This credit will be good for books necessary for student's spring 2021 classes only. To apply for funds, please complete the BSU CARES Book Assistance application  .


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Athletics & Recreation

Will there be a full season of competition for spring sports?

The Council of Presidents of all the State Universities will be meeting in February to determine the feasibility of having external competition for our spring sports as well as spring competition for the fall sports that were canceled earlier in the year.

When will I return to campus? What about preseason?

Student-athletes that have been assigned housing through Residence Life and Housing will return to campus with the general student body. There will be no winter athletics intersession practices.

Will fall sports have the opportunity to compete during the spring season?

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) has canceled all spring conference competition for fall sports. BSU is committed to providing every opportunity for all of our student-athletes to compete in a safe and healthy manner. We are currently exploring the opportunity for limited, non-conference games.

What about winter sports?

The MASCAC canceled all winter sports competition. Those teams are practicing 3 times per week until late February.

Does practice include Sports Performance, the Thornburg Fitness Center or the Moriarty Pool?

The Sports Performance staff intends to hold modified strength and conditioning sessions for varsity student-athletes. The schedule will be different from past years to allow for increased sanitation and social distancing procedures as well as the use of outdoor spaces. Additional safety procedures will be communicated to student-athletes by the Sports Performance staff.

How does this decision affect my NCAA eligibility?

According to NCAA rules, student-athletes would not use a season of participation if they compete in less than 50 percent of the maximum number of competitions as allowed by the NCAA. Specific compliance questions should be directed to Sue Crosby Tangen, Associate Director of Athletics, at 508-531-2280 or email directly at

What will it look like to participate/practice this winter/spring?

All teams will follow state and university guidelines for practices including increased physical distancing, mask-wearing, and small group workouts. Public Health, Commonwealth and University guidelines will dictate our progression through the phases, which includes increased group sizes, with physical distancing, and increased access to equipment and indoor facilities.

Do I still need to get a physical prior to practice?

All student-athletes practicing in the spring semester will need to complete all medical clearance processes prior to practice as outlined at

If I am enrolled and live off-campus can I still participate in practice and team activities?

All team members will have the opportunity to fully participate in practice opportunities, both virtually and on-campus, in accordance with Public Health, Commonwealth and University guidelines.

Will there be Intramurals?

We are planning for a modified intramural offering that is consistent with Public Health, Commonwealth and University guidelines. Specific intramural offerings will be announced as students return for the semester and throughout the spring.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Athletic Eligibility and Compliance: Sue Crosby Tangen
Sports Medicine and Medical Clearances: Jeanne O’Brien
Club Sports: Erica Adams
Recreation: Dan Rezendes
Athletic Facilities: Glenn Gonsalves
All others: Marybeth Lamb


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Access To Technology

What if I need support with Blackboard, Email, Office 365, or other technical support?

You can contact the IT Service Center at 508.531.2555 or for questions about Blackboard, Email, Office 365 and other IT-support technology services. The IT Service Center located in the ground floor of the Maxwell Library (next to Starbucks) is also open M-F 9:00am – 4:00pm.

What can I do if I do not have reliable access to the technology necessary for online classes?

The Maxwell Library First Floor (Shaw Road entrance) will be open for computer access. Additionally, the Library circulation desk has loaner devices, i.e., laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, wireless hotspots, etc. available for you to borrow. For more information, please contact the Circulation Desk at 508-531-1392 or visit IT Loaners.

BSU has recently deployed Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)   to replace Cloud PC 2.0. This service provides students with access to a virtual Windows 10 computer in the cloud pre-loaded with academic software. WVD can be accessed anytime (24/7/365) and from any device (PC/Mac/Tablet) and provides a very similar experience to our on-campus computer labs.

Finally, internet and wireless service providers are providing discounted or low cost internet services to households that don’t have access to affordable internet services. In addition, the federal government has established the Lifeline program to provide monthly service discounts. To learn more, review offerings from the programs below.

Are the computer labs open?

The Maxwell Library First Floor (Shaw Road entrance) computer lab and the Moakley computer lab (first floor) are open for computer access. Please reference the Condensed Building Access Chart for the latest building hours.

Are printing services available?

The WEPA printing kiosks are available in the Maxwell first floor and in the Moakley Open Access lab (room 130). Resident students can also utilize the WEPA print kiosk in their residence hall.


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Student Code of Public Health Training

Added 9/2/20

Where is the Code of Public Health training for students?

Please visit the Student Code of Public Health Training for the Code with training details.

Where is the Bear Paw Pact?

Please visit the Student Code of Public Health Training for the training attestation (aka Bear Paw Pact).


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Safety: Testing & Tracing


Is BSU changing its testing requirements this Spring?

New 1/25/2021

BSU is expanding the frequency and availability of testing this spring. BSU will provide enhanced surveillance testing through its partnership with the Broad Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology throughout the Spring semester under guidance of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

All residential students will be tested at the time they move into their residence hall and will be tested every week thereafter. All students coming to campus for classes or for use of campus resources are strongly encouraged, and will be regularly invited, to test at least every other week. BSU has increased the number of COVID-19 tests we will provide to the campus community accordingly. There is no cost for testing for members of the BSU community.

Last semester, BSU administered 18,842 tests (with only 177 positives, a positive rate of 0.94%), and plans to administer approximately 22,000 tests in the Spring of 2021. COVID-19 testing results are published weekly on Thursday and viewable at the COVID Dashboard.

Our Broad Institute partnership has been very successful, and the rapid turnaround of test results within 24 hours or less has allowed BSU to react quickly in isolating students with a positive result and quarantining any potentially affected members of the BSU community.

FAQs Regarding Testing Results

See FAQs Regarding Testing for answers to your  most frequently asked questions regarding testing.


Why is the COVID-19 swab different than what hospitals use to administer tests?

The method of testing was very important to us, as we know that the nasopharyngeal swab (the deeper one) is often very uncomfortable for people, so that is NOT what we will be using. We are contracting with the Broad Institute for our testing process, and their method involves a dry nasal swab that is placed just inside the nostril and is MUCH less invasive for our students.

What can I do to help manage the stress and anxiety I feel right now?

It is perfectly understandable that students feel heightened levels of stress. Please see Coping with COVID-19 Related Stress (pdf) for helpful ways to get through difficult moments.

Will students be charged for testing?

There will be no cost to students for testing. The university is assuming this cost.

Will testing be mandatory for resident students or students attending class on campus?

All residential students will be tested at the time they move into their residence hall and will be tested every week thereafter. All students coming to campus for classes or for use of campus resources are strongly encouraged, and will be regularly invited, to test at least every other week. BSU has increased the number of COVID-19 tests we will provide to the campus community accordingly.

How will BSU notify the campus of testing results?

COVID-19 testing results are published weekly on Thursday and viewable at the COVID Dashboard.

How will BSU notify students who may have unknowingly come in contact with a someone infected with the virus?

Tracing will be a key component for the continued monitoring of the campus and rapid response for preventing further transmission and new spread of the virus. Tracing will be carried out by a specific contact tracing team led by Health Services, leveraging technology developed by the Division of Information Technology. Only the information required to enable immediate contact tracing will be collected and reported.

BSU’s contact tracing system will allow us to quickly identify and contact any members of our community who may have come in contact with an infected person. The system will draw from multiple sources of data that affords us a high level of precision in determining where a person with COVID-19 has been and with whom they may have come in contact:

  1. SafeSwipe Contact Tracing Application – Information Technology has developed a contact tracing application to quickly “check-in” students, faculty, or staff as they visit student-facing offices on campus. Individuals can be checked in by swiping their BSU Connect Card or by providing their username or Banner ID. Non-BSU community members can also be manually checked-in by providing the same information. Data is automatically purged after 20 days.
  2. BSU Mobile App – The BSU Mobile App is used by 97 percent of students and has native Quick Response (QR) Code scanning functionality which can be used for contact tracing purposes. QR codes will be generated for locations where an individual may not be present to “check-in” a person using the SafeSwipe contract tracing application. Example locations include the Maxwell Library and Moakley Computer Labs.
  3. University Dining & Building Access – The applications used to authorize the entry into a university building (card access) and any purchases at one of the campus dining facilities or vending machines will be queried for contact tracing purposes. It is critical that students do not let other people enter a building without swiping their own card.
  4. Reporting and Alerting – Upon the notification of a potentially COVID-19 positive individual, the Wellness Center will leverage pre-built reporting functionality to rapidly identify and notify any BSU community members or guests who may have been in the same physical location as potentially COVID-19 positive individual. Community members will be notified through one or more of the following mediums until communication is established — BSU email address, phone call, text or BSU Mobile push notification.


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Please see COVID-19: Prevention Mask & Face Shield Guidance

When do I need to wear a mask on campus?

Masks are mandatory on the BSU campus including in indoor and outdoor public spaces. There are very limited exceptions to when students may take a break from wearing their mask, including when they are in their own residence hall room with the door closed, showering or brushing their teeth, and when eating or drinking.

What if I am unable to wear a mask?

Students who are unable to wear a mask may seek ADA accommodation through the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS, formally known as the Office of Disability Resources or DRO) or Title IX/Disabilities Office. Accommodation for students will generally result in online learning support.

Can I wear a gaiter mask or mask with exhalation valves?

Some mask styles such as “gaiters” or masks with exhalation valves or vents are not permitted on the BSU campus because they do not meet the medical criteria for use as personal protective equipment (PPE).

If I have an on-campus class, what are the requirements for mask wearing?

Students will need to wear a mask in the classroom. It is also important to note that for some in-person courses, face shields are a part of the safety plan and consent to participate in the class indicates consent to wear a face shield. Faculty teaching the course will have the appropriate face shields available to students in these circumstances.


What if I am in an internship or a practicum placement?

If students are in internship or practicum placements that are not on the BSU campus, they are still expected to follow the BSU guidance and any additional guidance provided by the host specific to their placement.



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Facilities/Cleaning & Disinfecting

What can I expect with regard to cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and other areas on campus?

BSU Custodial Services operates 24 hours per day/seven days per week. We run three shifts that perform routine cleaning and disinfecting. Our maintainers complete heightened disinfecting of high touch points throughout the day and evening, as well as cleaning common spaces, classrooms, labs, restrooms and residence halls on campus.

I am concerned about indoor air quality. How does BSU manage this?

All BSU buildings meet or exceed building ventilation air change rates established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Our building preventative maintenance schedule includes the timely change of air filters that ensure systems are operating efficiently and safely.

When I get to campus what can I expect a typical classroom to look like?

BSU has worked hard over the summer to ensure 6-foot social distancing is maintained for all of its classrooms and labs, with classrooms and labs having reduced seating capacity. Our custodial staff will be servicing and disinfecting these spaces a minimum of two times a day and disinfecting high touch points such as elevator buttons, handrails, and doorknobs throughout their shift. We will also be providing “Bear Buckets” that will be stocked with disinfectant, gloves, paper towels and information on how to use the disinfectant for individuals utilizing these spaces.

If I have a question or concern about my residence hall or classroom facility who do I contact? Our Facilities Management customer service representatives are available at extension 1296, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m., to answer any questions you have. Our customer service representatives can also dispatch our Custodial, Trades and Grounds staff to assist with emergencies. We also have one of our Facilities Management managers on call overnight and on weekends. For non-emergencies you can submit a work order through the work order system link on our web site.


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Student Finances

Why are students paying the same tuition and fees although classes are mainly online?

We understand the cost of attendance is a major concern for students and families. That is why BSU froze its tuition and fees for the 2020-2021 academic year. Further, BSU disbursed approximately $4.5 million in emergency support to students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. BSU is increasing its student emergency funding by 35% in 2021 by allocating $6 million in new COVID-19 related student emergency funds and student support this calendar year.

Our cost structure is mostly fixed with a majority of our costs being for faculty and staff that deliver and support your academic experience, including the technology that allows flexibility in how we deliver courses and student support services. While you may think that BSU is realizing significant savings related to the operation and maintenance of the campus, these expenses unfortunately do not go away despite our facilities being less utilized. In fact, we have increased costs to implement enhanced operational and cleaning protocols to keep our facilities safe now and in the future.

Despite everything we do to keep the price of BSU affordable, we understand that higher education remains a large investment. We hope you understand that we are doing our best to maintain an affordable, high quality academic program.

Will commuter students need to pay for parking stickers?

There will be no charge to commuter students for parking, although they will still need to acquire a sticker to park in BSU lots.

Does the fact that classes are being offered more in an online format impact my student financial aid eligibility?

No. Students’ Financial Aid will not be impacted. However, if you have not completed your FAFSA, you will need to do so to be eligible for financial aid. For any financial aid related questions, students should contact their specific financial aid counselor:

What is BSU doing to help students who have been financially impacted by the pandemic?

BSU disbursed approximately $7 million in emergency support to students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 academic year. BSU is continuing to distribute federal stimulus and recovery funding known as HEERF II & HEERF III (student relief) to enrolled BSU students throughout 2021-2022 academic year.

What if I am experiencing extreme financial hardship?

First, you should contact your Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your current situation. Visit the Office of Financial Aid website.

The COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund (SEF) is a fund created to assist currently enrolled students who are experiencing a financial hardship related to COVID-19 pandemic. To be considered for a grant through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund, please complete this online application  . Students will be notified through BSU Info Bear only portal if approved. If a further discussion of the application is needed Financial Aid will reach out. More information about the Student Emergency Fund   and the new COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund can be found on the intranet.

How do I apply for BSU CARES Act Book Assistance?

BSU HEERF Book Assistance is designed to help relieve students of the financial burden of the cost of books during the COVID-19 pandemic for the fall 2021 thru spring 2022 semesters. The application will open August 16, 2021 for fall semester requests. Books can be obtained ONLY at the BSU Follett Bookstore via a onetime credit issued in the student's name. This credit will be good for books necessary for student's fall 2021 classes only. 

What if I need to pay a bill or have questions about my account?

Our electronic billing function – eBill -- is always available through the BSU website. Student Accounts personnel will respond quickly during normal business hours to billing questions submitted via email at or voicemail at 508-531-1225.

Is the Student Accounts Office open?

For the health and safety of our staff, the Student Accounts’ office is working remotely but has full capability to answer calls. Please email or call 508-531-1225. For those calling into Student Accounts, if your call is not immediately answered, please leave a message with your name, Banner ID and details of your inquiry and a dedicated team member will reach out to you. In addition, students may access their account information online via eBill.


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Is BSU permitting in-person, on-campus events this semester?

BSU is working with student organizations to offer a variety of student programs. As a result of ongoing public health restrictions, the university will continue to emphasize virtual programming with limited, on-campus, in-person meetings/events. Strict physical distancing and state gathering guidelines currently limit the size of any indoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 persons and outdoor gatherings to 25 persons. Further, BSU will be unable to permit any off-campus organizations from holding events on campus until further notice.

Student organizations will need to seek approval for any in-person meetings or activities by initially submitting an event plan to the Center for Student Engagement. Students should also consult the list of specific requirements and activity limitations that are in place for current operations.

BSU will continue to keep student organizations and the campus informed as state guidelines evolve and we are able to expand in-person, on-campus gatherings.

Is there a process for scheduling/hosting a virtual event?

Leaders of recognized student organizations should contact the Center for Student Engagement at in advance of planning any virtual experience to ensure they are registered, reserved and supported appropriately. If student organizations require support from University Events or other departments, it is strongly recommended that they submit requests online through the University’s Event Management System (EMS) .

Similarly, we are asking all other members of our campus community who wish to hold virtual events to submit requests online through the University’s EMS. This will allow University Events to ensure the appropriate campus technical and human resources are available to support virtual events and avoid too many competing events occurring at the same time.

How do I make a request to hold an in-person event?

BSU will be permitting select, but limited, on-campus in-person meetings/events.

We are asking departments and organizations on campus that wish to hold in-person events first obtain the approval of their divisional vice president; or, in the case of student organizations, of the Center for Student Engagement; or, in the case of academic departments, their respective college deans. Event requests will then be submitted to University Events through the EMS and will be reviewed for final approval by the COVID Events Planning Committee, chaired by Dan McHugh, Director of University Events.

Does BSU have any plans to expand on-campus, in-person events?

BSU had adopted a four-phased plan for expanding in-person, on-campus events. Our ability to allow additional in-person, on-campus events will be determined first by our priority of ensuring the health and safety of our campus community and will be based on guidance received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We will continue to keep the campus informed if and when we are able to move to new phases of the plan.

BSU is currently in Phase 2/Step 1: Hybrid Model with limited Face to Face (F2F) of its plan. Under this phase, Virtual programming continues with select, but limited, on-campus in-person meetings/events. Strict physical distancing guidelines imposed limiting students to small groups (based on current guidelines), enhanced cleaning measures, close monitoring of students & employees for outbreaks.


Most meetings will continue to be virtual programs. Only approved meetings with limited attendance (based on current guidelines) can be held face to face.

Campus Event Programming

Most campus programs will continue to be virtual programs only. For events where visitors or guest are presenting, when possible these events should be virtual. When artist/speaker is expected or contractually required or event can only be presented on campus, minimal participants should be allowed at program. Events should also be live streamed to minimize attendance size if feasible.

Events with Food

No events with food will be permitted unless event is done as a grab and go type of event. No sit down served functions will be permitted and all foods should be pre-packaged.

Outdoor Events

Outdoor events on a limited basis will be approved pending appropriate plans and procedures have been put in place to ensure a contactless event by participants. For events where visitors or guest are presenting, when possible these events should be virtual. When artist/speaker is expected or contractually required or event can only be presented on campus, minimal participants should be allowed at program. Livestreamed and large screen video projection should be considered if feasible.

Organizational Activities

All organizational activities should be conducted virtually when possible. Other face to face activities will be approved on a case-by-case basis pending the ability to follow approved guidelines and safety and health precautions.

Large Scale/Traditional Events

Large scale/traditional events should be conducted in a virtual environment when possible. The viability of holding a safe large scale/traditional event in person should be assessed prior to significant planning of said event.

Will outside organizations be able to lease space for events at BSU?

BSU will be unable to permit any off-campus organizations from holding events on campus until further notice. We regret having to make this decision as the university has many wonderful partners who regularly utilize space on our campus. We will be revisiting this decision on an ongoing basis and look forward to welcoming our friends back to campus when it is safe and feasible to do so.


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Student Teaching

Will I be able to undertake my student teaching in the Spring 2021 semester?

Yes. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is encouraging P-12 schools in the state to leverage the skills and knowledge of teacher candidates as much as possible to assist in maintaining the continuity and quality of education. BSU is embracing this important call to move forward with the field-based components of our teacher preparation programs, but in an altered or alternative (virtual) format. The CEHS faculty have been busy researching best practice options for completing observation/field experience assignments for the upcoming academic year.

The College of Education and Health Sciences is also working with our vast network of P-12 professional development schools (PDSs) to safely place our fall 2020 student teachers. We anticipate that these placements will take place in virtual or hybrid formats. Our student teachers are asked to follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines for their assigned school/district.


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Student Employment

Will there be student jobs for Spring 2021?

Yes, there will be a Student Employment program for Spring 2021. It will, however, be a modified program in that some positions may not be available this Spring for hire. With the implementation of certain safety protocols (i.e., physical distancing) and the changes to campus programming and student activities, not all departments will have the capacity to support hiring a student to work within the department. Offices and departments may have remote work options for student employees and there will be other positions offered on campus that are new and will be assisting the university as we navigate the current circumstances.

What are the work options for student employment during this time?

There are three work options for the Spring semester. Depending on the position responsibilities, a department may hire you to work:

  • On-Campus
    Safely perform the job duties in the office/department (office capacity of 25%).
  • Remote
    Telecommuting workplan is established to perform job duties remotely. Work will either need to be documented within the office or submitted at the end of the assignment.
  • Blend
    If circumstances arise and the campus moves to remote work, the job duties can be performed in a remote capacity.

When will jobs be posted for the Spring?

On campus jobs are currently being posted for the Spring semester.

When can I begin working?

You may begin working once all of your paperwork has been processed and you receive communication from Student Employment and your supervisor. Hire dates for Spring semester depend on the position that you hold on campus (see below). With offices working remotely, the hiring process may take additional time to complete. Please wait for an official start date from Student Employment and your supervisor. You may not begin working until all paperwork is complete with the Student Employment office.

  • Non-Work Study Positions begin on or after January 24, 2021.
  • Work Study Positions begin on or after January 27, 2021.
  • Graduate Assistants begin on January 25, 2021.

With offices working remotely, the hiring process may take additional time to complete. Please wait for an official start date from Student Employment. You may not begin working until all hiring paperwork is complete with the Student Employment Office.

Am I eligible to work on campus?

You must be enrolled in a program of study, maintain good academic standing, and register for at least 6 credits per semester.

What safety precautions are being taken for student employees?

All of the Commonwealth of Mass and University safety protocols are being followed. Offices are allowed to staff the office at 25% capacity and supervisors are scheduling around this capacity for work being performed on campus. A safety training is being required for all student employees. If you feel sick – please take care of yourself and others by staying home.

Do I have to be tested to work on campus?

No, however, all students residing on campus will be tested every two weeks throughout the semester. Testing will be made available to commuter students and all employees through the university’s Wellness Center.

What are the rules that I must follow as a student employee?

There is a Student Employment Manual on the Student Employment website. All policies/rules are included here. Students are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week (combining all positions held). This allows you to be a student first and gives you time for your studies. All hours worked must be recorded weekly on a timesheet and submitted for approval to your supervisor. All work must be performed outside of your scheduled class times.

What do I need to do if I want to become a student employee?

All job postings are on our recruitment website. You will create an account and then search for student jobs. You will need to attach a resume and cover letter to attach to your job application. Work study positions will be listed as such and students with work study as part of their financial aid package are eligible for these positions. Non-work study positions are available to all undergraduate students. This year we will ask departments to list where the job will be performed (on campus, remote, or blend in case of emergency). You will be contacted directly by a department to interview for the position.

As a student employee is there a maximum number of hours per week I can work?

Students are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week (combining all positions held). This allows you to be a student first and gives you time for your studies. All hours worked must be recorded weekly on a timesheet and submitted for approval to your supervisor. All work must be performed outside of your scheduled class times.

Through the Financial Aid Office, I received a Work Study award. What does this mean?

If you received a Work Study award through your financial aid package, you received funding that can be earned by working on campus. Work Study jobs will be listed as such on the job postings. Students who received a Work Study award as part of their financial aid package are eligible to apply for Work Study jobs.

I did not receive a Work Study award through Financial Aid. Can I work on campus?

Yes, students who did not receive a Work Study award are also eligible to work on campus. These students can apply for Non-Work Study jobs. Non-Work Study jobs will be listed as such on the job postings.

What happens after I apply for a student employment job?

After you apply for a student employment job, your application will be reviewed by the hiring department. If you meet the qualifications for the position and there are still open positions, you may be contacted by the hiring department to interview for the position.

What happens if I am hired?

If you have worked on campus before, you do not need to complete paperwork with Student Employment. If you have never worked on campus, you will need to complete a new hire packet which includes a personal data sheet, federal tax form, state tax form, direct deposit, CORI/SORI and I-9. In order to complete the I-9 Form, we will need to collect copies of personal ID’s from you:

  • Picture ID (example: driver’s license) and:
  • Birth Certificate or
  • Social Security Card or
  • Passport

What happens to my position if the health crisis forces offices to work remotely?

This will depend on the status of your position.

  • If your position is approved to work remotely, you can continue to do so.
  • If the position is working on campus but can be converted to remote with a telecommuting workplan in place, you would be approved to work remote.
  • If the position is on campus and cannot be performed remotely, the position would unfortunately end on the day the campus had to change.

When campus closed in March, I was paid for my regularly scheduled hours or average hours as a work study student. Would this be an option if the health situation caused campus to move to all remote?

Unfortunately, payment will not be possible as we had processed in the Spring 2020 semester. That was an emergency situation that we were able to manage as such. Payments will be made only for work performed either up until the position can no longer be performed on campus or remote work is complete.

What are the risks associated with being a student employee during this time?

The risks are the same as any position in these circumstances. Bridgewater State University has put safety protocols in place to keep faculty, staff and student safe. There is a COVID Risk Notice document on the Student Employment website. The link to that document is COVID-19 Notice of Risk.

Is there staff on campus that I can meet with?

The majority of our staff is working remotely at this time. If you have questions or concerns with regards to Student Employment, please contact us at Someone will get back to you to answer your question(s). If you do need to come to the office, we will schedule an appointment with you and trace your attendance in the office.


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