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COVID-19: Safe Return FAQs for Students

Topics

Teaching & Learning

In recent days, the UMass campuses have scaled back their in-person courses and the number of students living in residence halls. Does BSU have plans to do the same?

New 8/12/2020

No. In all of its fall semester planning, BSU has focused first and foremost on the safety of its students, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we adopted a cautious approach from the outset, with only a small number of courses being offered partly in-person. All BSU residence halls are open for the fall and any BSU student who chooses to live on campus has the option to do so. BSU residence halls already have been de-densified; fewer than half of the students who would typically reside on campus will live in our residence halls in the fall.

Will faculty members have office hours?

New 8/10/2020

Yes. Faculty members will hold virtual office hours during the fall 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 fall semester?

Yes. The library has remained open throughout the pandemic and will continue to remain open to serve BSU students in the fall. 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?

During the fall semester, 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.

Will classes be online or on campus in the fall?

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

  1. Fully online with no specific day/time virtual class meetings.
  2. Online with virtual class meetings on specific days/times.
  3. Blended, combining online with some in-person class meetings.

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.

Is BSU moving to fully online instruction after Thanksgiving?

Yes. In order to mitigate the risk of infection from students, faculty and staff returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, BSU will be shifting all courses and final exams to an online format after Thanksgiving. At this time, we plan to continue to allow students to live in the residence halls after Thanksgiving.

Will students be able to study abroad in the fall?

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

Is BSU offering students the option of Pass/No Pass for courses this semester?

No. The Pass/No Pass system was adopted in response to a crisis in the spring 2020 semester in which all classes needed to be abruptly moved to online formats in the middle of the semester. In the fall 2020 semester, most classes will be online and faculty and students will have had time to adjust to this new format. Faculty also are engaged in intensive training to provide the highest quality online and blended learning experiences and BSU has invested in new technology to enhance remote teaching and learning.

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.

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 academicachievement@bridgew.edu.

How will students be able to access accommodations?

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

 


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Residence Halls/Dining

In recent days, the UMass campuses have scaled back their in-person courses and the number of students living in residence halls. Does BSU have plans to do the same?

New 8/12/2020

No. In all of its fall semester planning, BSU has focused first and foremost on the safety of its students, faculty and staff. Accordingly, we adopted a cautious approach from the outset, with only a small number of courses being offered partly in-person. All BSU residence halls are open for the fall and any BSU student who chooses to live on campus has the option to do so. BSU residence halls already have been de-densified; fewer than half of the students who would typically reside on campus will live in our residence halls in the fall.

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.

Are residence halls closing at Thanksgiving?

No. Residence halls will remain open, although all classes will move fully online after Thanksgiving.

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. BSU is also working on implementing Grubhub, the dining mobile app, which should be ready before students return.

I made a residence hall deposit but am unsure if I want to live on campus. Can I get a refund of my residence hall deposit?

Yes. Students have until August 7, 2020 to request a refund. Prior to making your decision, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine if your financial aid package will be adjusted based on your decision.

Will students be able to live on campus in the fall?

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.

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.

Will BSU’s dining halls be open?

Yes. BSU will be opening its dining facilities in the fall, although we are looking at options for going beyond the traditional dining experience. 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. Going beyond the traditional dining experience, we are exploring the use of food trucks and will be debuting a new robot delivery system that will bring food right to a student’s residence hall for safe and secure pick-up. Employees will sanitize high-contact service areas multiple times a day, keep a safe distance during deliveries, wear gloves, wash hands, and wear face coverings in the kitchen and serving areas.

Will BSU be delivering food to students?

This fall we will debut a new robot delivery system that will bring food right to a student’s residence hall for safe and secure pick-up.

 


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Student Life

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

During the fall semester, 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 the bookstore be open?

The bookstore will be open for online pickup, with some in-store shopping, as well as curbside pickup.

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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Bookstore

Will the BSU bookstore be open to customers this semester?

The bookstore will reopen for in-store customers on Aug. 24. 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?

The bookstore will be open: 
Aug. 24-28: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Aug. 31-Sept. 11: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Additionally, the bookstore will be open Saturday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 5 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.            

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 txbk.info/bsu 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?

While we encourage students to order their course materials online before arriving on campus in August, 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 Bridgewatershop.com 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, Bridgewatershop.com.
  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?

Before Aug. 24, online orders can be picked up at the bookstore. Beginning Aug. 24, 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?

Textbooks/Course Materials

  • Refunds are given for Course Materials returned or postmarked before Sept. 9, 2020. 
  • Course Materials purchased after Sept. 9, 2020 must be returned within seven 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 svachon.bsu@bridgew.edu. Questions about online orders, book advance/scholarship funds, or general inquiries can be sent to jmarino.bsu@bridgew.edu. We will make every effort to respond to emails within 24 hours.

 


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Athletics & Recreation

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

Unfortunately, due to health and safety concerns, Bridgewater State will not be able to participate in traditional varsity or club sport competition during the fall.

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 fall athletics preseason.

Will fall sports have the opportunity to compete at a different time during the year?

BSU is committed to providing every opportunity for all of our student-athletes to compete but no decision has been made at this time regarding the viability of an alternative playing season for fall sports. That decision will be made during the fall semester.

What about winter and spring sports?

BSU and MASCAC will make decisions regarding winter and spring seasons in the fall.

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 did not compete during the fall season or 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 STANGEN@bridgew.edu.

What will it look like to participate/practice this fall?

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 fall practice?

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

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 later in the summer.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Athletic Eligibility and Compliance: Sue Crosby Tangen stangen@bridgew.edu
Sports Medicine and Medical Clearances: Jeanne O’Brien j5obrien@bridgew.edu
Club Sports: Erica Adams e4adams@bridgew.edu
Recreation: Dan Rezendes drezendes@bridgew.edu
Athletic Facilities: Glenn Gonsalves ggonsalves@bridgew.edu
All others: Marybeth Lamb m1lamb@bridgew.edu

 


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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 itsupport@bridgew.edu for questions about Blackboard, Email, Office 365 and other IT-support technology services.

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 https://www.bridgew.edu/technology/itloaners.

BSU has deploying “Cloud PC 2.0,” which provides a BSU Windows 10 virtual computer accessible from any web browser. Cloud PC 2.0 has academic software installed and provides access to the G: Drive and Banner. This service is available to all students, faculty, and staff through Office 365.

Finally, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking to increase access to free or discounted internet/data during the COVID-19 period. The FCC’s “Keep America Connected” (pdf)   initiative pledges to suspend common penalties and expand internet access across the U.S. Several internet and telecom service providers are committed to offering free access to the internet (via WiFi hotspot), discounted internet service and/or increased data allowances to ensure people can get online during this unprecedented time. To learn more, review offerings from the service providers below.

 


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Safety: Testing & Tracing

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 BSU be providing on-campus testing for COVID-19 in the fall?

Yes. Testing individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 will be carried out as a combined effort of the Wellness Center in the case of students, and local physicians and testing centers for BSU employees.

In order to provide for maximum safety of the BSU community, the university will also be implementing an extensive surveillance testing program to help identify anyone who may have COVID-19 but is not showing symptoms, as we know that many transmissions of the virus come from individuals who are unaware they have the virus. BSU has reached an agreement with the world-renowned Broad Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to implement a rigorous testing system on campus that will enable BSU to conduct up to 2,000 tests per week for students, faculty and staff.

All resident students will be tested upon arriving at BSU for move-in days and will be tested every two weeks thereafter. Tests will also be made available on a voluntary, as requested basis, to commuting students taking classes in-person at BSU and to faculty and staff who are physically present on campus. These tests are simple to administer and only require swabbing the inside of a person’s nostril. Test results will be returned to BSU within 24 hours, after which we would immediately commence isolation and contact tracing procedures should this be necessary.

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?

Testing will be mandatory for resident students. All resident students will be tested upon arriving at BSU for move-in days and will be tested every two weeks thereafter. The test we are using is not the invasive one you have heard so much about – they only require swabbing the inside of a person’s nostril – and it will take only a few minutes to administer, collect and label your sample. Testing is for your safety but also for the safety of the entire BSU community. The only way we can control the spread of the virus is if everyone takes some small steps – testing, wearing a mask, social distancing – to help the larger community.

Testing will be available to commuter students taking on-campus classes on a voluntary, as requested basis.

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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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 our classes will mainly be online in the fall semester?

We understand that cost of attendance is a major concern for students. As you are aware, BSU is among the most affordable choices for a great education in the state of Massachusetts — an important reason why our students decide to enroll. As you also know, we froze our academic tuition and fees at the same rate as last year to assist students impacted financially by the pandemic. We also increased our local financial aid by $500,000 to a record level of more than $12.1 million to assist our students who demonstrate need, including changes in financial circumstance created by the pandemic. We also have more than $3 million in emergency funds available for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, which students may apply for by completing a simple form and that provides another channel of resources for demonstrated financial emergencies. We are making these investments despite the potential of our state support being reduced this year due to the dramatic reduction in state revenues caused by the pandemic.

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: https://www.bridgew.edu/office/financial-aid/staff

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

BSU realizes that the pandemic has imposed many hardships on students and families. That is why BSU froze tuition and fees for the upcoming year and will not be charging parking fees for commuter students. With the support of BSU’s generous donors and federal CARES Act assistance, BSU established a Student Emergency Fund. In the spring, the Fund helped more than 1,500 students, disbursing approximately $1 million in aid to help students who had been impacted by the pandemic to pay their bills and other costs. For the next academic year, BSU has approximately $3.4 million available in the Student Emergency Fund to assist enrolled students, and also has invested an additional half million dollars in local financial aid.

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. BSU has $3.4 million in its Student Emergency Fund to assist students with last-minute adjustments and/or who are experiencing hardships. To be considered for a grant through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund, please complete this online application  . Students will be contacted within 48 hours either to discuss their application or to receive a decision about whether any funds can be allocated. More information about the Student Emergency Fund   and the new COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund can be found on the intranet.

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 sao@bridgew.edu 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 sao@bridgew.edu 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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Events

Is BSU allowing on-campus events this fall?

Virtual events will remain the preference for August and September, although it is understood that certain events cannot be held remotely and there is great value in bringing students and members of our BSU community together in person. BSU will be permitting a limited number of in-person, on-campus events to occur in the fall semester.

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

Leaders of recognized student organizations should contact the Center for Student Engagement at bsuinvolved@bridgew.edu 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?

Updated 8/10/2020

BSU will be permitting a limited number of in-person, on-campus events to occur in the fall semester.

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.

All events that are approved must comply with BSU’s mandates regarding physical distancing and wearing a face covering as well as with Governor Baker’s gatherings order (pdf) . Currently, that order imposes the following restrictions:

For indoor events: Indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed indoor space.

For outdoor events: Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 percent of a facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, or to eight people per 1,000 square feet where is no occupancy limit. All outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 50 people in a single outdoor space. Even in outdoor settings, the university’s rules on physical distancing and masks/facial coverings continue to apply.

Will student organizations be able to hold in-person events on campus?

The safety of our students and the entire BSU community is our highest priority. Accordingly, BSU prefers that student organizations hold virtual meetings and events but will be permitting a limited number of in-person, on-campus events to occur in the fall semester. Student organizations will first need to secure the approval of the Center for Student Engagement, after which event requests will 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.

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

BSU is continuing to restrict the use of campus space for events sponsored by external organizations through the end of calendar year 2020. 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 fall?

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, and 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 format. Our student teachers are asked to follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines for their assigned school/district.  

We want our teacher candidates to know that their safety is our utmost priority. If you do not feel comfortable participating in student teaching or a field-based component of your program, we understand and respect your concerns and will work with you to postpone field-based courses or student teaching until you do feel comfortable.

 


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Student Employment

New 8/10/2020

Will there be student jobs for Fall 2020?

Yes, there will be a Student Employment program for Fall 2020. It will, however, be a modified program in that some positions may not be available this fall for hire. With the implementation of certain safety protocols (i.e., physical distancing) and changes made to campus programming and student activities, not all departments will have the capacity or need for student employees. Offices and departments may have remote work options for student employees, and, in light of the current circumstances, there will be other positions offered on campus that support the current needs of the university.

Are all student employment jobs performed on campus? Are there alternative work options for student employees?

There will be three work options for student employment jobs for the fall semester. Depending on the position responsibilities, a department may hire you to work:

  • On-Campus
    Job duties are performed in an office setting on campus. All office spaces have complied with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 Office Spaces Checklist, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 Higher Education Control Plan.
  • Remote
    Job duties are performed by telecommuting. A telecommute workplan will be established by the student employee supervisor and will document how the work will be performed, when the student employee will work, and how the job tasks will be documented or what the job deliverables will be.
  • Blended Work Option
    If circumstances warrant the campus to shift to remote work, the job duties of the position can be performed in a remote capacity.

When will jobs be posted for the Fall?

Jobs for the Fall semester are currently posted.

When can I begin working?

You may begin working once all your hiring paperwork has been processed and you receive a communication from Student Employment with the date by which you can begin work. Hire dates for fall depend on the position that you hold on campus (see below):

  • Non-Work Study Positions begin on or after Aug. 16, 2020.
  • Work Study Positions begin on or after Sept. 2, 2020.
  • Graduate Assistants begin on Sept. 14, 2020.

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?

The University is following and has complied with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Mandated Safety Standards for higher education and office spaces.
Offices will be staffed at 25% capacity to ensure physical distancing can be implemented while employees work. Supervisors are scheduling employees within this capacity for on-campus work and these schedules will include student employees.

All student employees will be required to complete Safe Return training. The Safe Return training informs and educates employees about staying home when you feel sick, maintaining physical distance, wearing face coverings & masks, and practicing good hygiene.

Testing will be made available to students and employees and the University has implemented protocols and technologies to conduct contact tracing.

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?

In addition to complying with the Safe Return protocols, all student employees should acclimate themselves to the policies and procedures noted in the Student Employment Manual located on the Student Employment website. This manual includes all policies/rules for student employees.

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

All job postings are on the Student Employment Jobs website. Student Employment uses an applicant tracking system, which will require you to create an account. After creating your account, you can then search for student jobs. When applying for student jobs, you will need to attach a resume and cover letter to attach to your job application.

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 hiring paperwork with the Student Employment Office. If you are a new student to BSU and have never worked on campus, you will need to complete a New Hire packet, which includes a personal data sheet, federal and state tax forms, direct deposit, CORI/SORI (background check) and an I-9 form which verifies your eligibility to work in the United States. The I-9 Form requires the University to review and maintain copies of two forms of personal identification. Acceptable forms are:

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

Hiring departments will note on the job posting if the work responsibilities will be performed on-campus or remotely, and if a blended work option is available.

If the public health crisis requires the campus to shift to a remote status, what happens to my student employment position?

This will depend on the status of your position.

  • If your position is approved to work remotely, you can continue to do so.
  • If your position is working on campus but can be converted to remote with a telecommute workplan in place (blended work option), you would be approved to work remotely.
  • If your position is on-campus and the job duties cannot be performed remotely, the position would end on the day the campus shifts to remote status.

When the campus shifted to remote status in March, I was paid for my regularly scheduled hours or average hours as a Work Study student because working remotely was not an option for me. If the campus shifts to remote status during the fall semester and I am unable to work remotely, would I be paid for my regularly scheduled hours or average hours as a Work Study student?

The Department of Education, which governs the financial aid Federal Work Study program provided special exceptions to colleges and universities during the Spring 2020 semester. Unfortunately, those exceptions will not be continued during the Fall 2020 semester and the university will not be processing student pay as we had during the Spring 2020 semester. Student pay will only be processed for actual work performed.

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

While the university has made safety a priority and has implemented protocols to protect all campus community members and mitigate risk, there are still inherent risks associated with participating in university required, sanctioned or voluntary activities on or off campus. It is not possible for the university to limit all potential sources of COVID-19 infection. Individuals must rely on their own judgment in assessing the safety of, or risks associated with, participating in university activities. All students should familiarize themselves with the COVID-19 Notice of Risk.

How can I schedule an appointment with Student Employment staff? Is there someone available to answer my questions or address my concerns?

Please contact us at SEINQUIRY@bridgew.edu. Student Employment staff will respond to your email with answers to your questions or will schedule a virtual appointment with you. To mitigate risk during this time, virtual appointments will be used to conduct business. If there is a need to conduct an in-person business transaction, it will be conducted following the appropriate safety protocols established by both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the university.

 


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