• Public Health Information FAQs

    Common queries regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Worcester State

    From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the situation rapidly evolved, and new information continues to be made available. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff is of the upmost important to us. The following questions and answers reflect how the university is responding to the global pandemic while operating remotely. Many of our in-person services can now be conducted online and by phone. Worcester State continues to work in real-time to provide updated, accurate information to our community and to continue to answer questions as they arise.

    Student Health Services is available to provide students with support and information related to the coronavirus. Student Health Services can be reached at 508-929-8875.

    Employees who have questions and concerns about the coronavirus should contact Human Resources at 508-929-8117.

    Note: see our Learning in Times of Disruption FAQs for information specific to the shift to distance learning at Worcester State.

    Updated: May 26, 2020 4:00 p.m.

  • For Campus

    Are There Any Confirmed Cases at Worcester State? (Updated May 26)

    Worcester State University has been notified of 21 self-reported positive cases (19 students, 2 employees), and 12 presumptive positive cases (11 students, 1 employee) of COVID-19 to date. The positive cases were self-reported by either a student, staff, or faculty members. The university worked with Student Health Services and the Department of Public Health, following protocols on contact tracing for the reported cases. It was determined these cases did not pose a risk to the immediate campus, its students, faculty, or staff.

    Is campus closed? (Updated March 26)

    We are open with most employees working remotely. Buildings on campus are closed and notice to University Police and card access is required in order to enter buildings.


    For Students

    Is Worcester State offering any financial support for students in need? (New March 27)

    Worcester State has long supported students in need with the Student Emergency Fund, which assists Worcester State students by providing limited emergency financial support when they need assistance with unexpected, unforeseen, and unavoidable circumstances that jeopardize their ability to successfully continue in school. More information about this fund can be found at https://www.worcester.edu/Student-Emergency-Fund/.

    Additionally, information related to the CARES Act funds received by Worcester State can be found at https://www.worcester.edu/CARES-Act/.

    Will Worcester State be moving classes online? (Updated March 16)

    The decision has been made to move to remote instruction beginning March 30 and continuing for the rest of the semester.

    Will tutoring services be available? (Updated March 19)

    Tutoring Services will be available through the Math Center, the Spanish Clinic and the Writing Center. Details can be found here.

    What library services are available? (Updated March 19)

    In-person services in the library and the Learning Resource Center are closed as of March 16.

    The library has transitioned to offering services remotely. A full list of resources available remotely is located here

    How will my learning accommodations work with the transition to online learning? (Updated March 19)

    Training for faculty is currently in process to introduce new (remote) modalities for teaching and learning. You can find all the relevant information and training schedules here. This includes accessibility considerations, as well as methods of teaching that are not fully online

    To discuss your personal situation, please reach out to Student Accessibility Services at sas@worcester.edu.

    Will commencement proceed as scheduled? (Updated March 27)

    After consulting with class officers and soliciting feedback from academic department chairs, President Maloney has decided to postpone the 2020 undergraduate and graduate ceremonies until August.

    The new time for undergraduate ceremony will be Friday, August 14, 2020, in the evening, at the DCU Center in Worcester. Our graduate ceremony will take place on Friday, August 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Wellness Center on campus.

    What should I do if I think I have COVID-19? (Updated March 19)

    Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, must inform Health Services at 508-929-8875.

    Close contact is defined as:

    • Living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19;
    • Caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19;
    • Being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes;
    • Being in direct contact with secretions from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g. being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.). 

    For Prospective Students

    Will admissions events (tours, information sessions, transfer decision days) be held on campus? (Updated March 19)

    All on-campus admission events, including campus tours, information sessions, transfer decision days, and group tours have been canceled through Monday, April 6th. Please do not visit campus during this time. We will update our admissions events calendar as more information becomes available. 

    If you would like to speak to an admissions counselor, please call 508-929-8040.

    Will the deposit deadline be extended? (Updated March 19)

    Yes. The admissions deposit deadline has been extended from May 1 to June 1, 2020. We want to ensure that you have the information and time you need to make an informed decision on choosing to enroll at Worcester State. 

    Deposits can be made online at deposit.worcester.edu.

    Is Worcester State still reviewing applications? (Updated March 19)

    We continue to accept and review applications for the fall. Additionally, we will be as flexible as possible with students trying to submit documents to complete their application. We understand there may be a delay in submitting high school and/or college transcripts. Documents may be sent electronically directly from the high school and/or college to admissions@worcester.edu. As a reminder, Worcester State is a test-optional institution and students have the option to self-report their test scores.

    For Faculty/Staff

    What should I do if I have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19? (Updated March 19)

    Faculty and staff must contact Susan Moore, Executive Director for Human Resources, at 508-929-8117 if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

    Close contact is defined as:

    • Living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19;
    • Caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19;
    • Being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes;
    • Being in direct contact with secretions from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g. being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.). 

    Please call in sick per your normal departmental protocol and use sick time to cover your absence. If you are absent in order to care for a family member, you should use sick-in-family.

    What if I don’t have enough accrued time to cover my medical absence due to COVID-19? (Updated March 13)

    With appropriate medical documentation, employees may be allowed access to the relevant APA or MSCA sick leave bank (if they are a member) or an AFSCME sick leave extension for this purpose, without being required to go off the payroll first.

    What should I do if my child’s school closes but the university is open? (Updated March 13)

    Employees should use personal, vacation, and/or compensatory time to cover their absence for the purpose of caring for a child until they can arrange for alternative childcare.

    Depending upon the employee’s role at the university, and with authorization from Human Resources, other options may be available. Please contact Susan Moore, Executive Director for Human Resources via email to inquire about your options.

    What should I do if I am considered higher-risk according to the CDC guidelines, or if I live with someone who is? (Updated March 13)

    The University is committed to working with employees and their health care provider to determine appropriate avenues for the maintenance of their well-being. If you have concerns about your ability to remain in the workplace because of a pre-existing medical condition or similar higher-risk situation, please contact Sue Moore directly for further discussion at 508-929-8117 or by email.

    Supervisors should not approve any work-from-home or other alternative modality options for their employees without the authorization of Human Resources. Specific parameters and guidelines will be set for any reasonable accommodations put in place. The supervisor will be involved in the conversation as it relates to the responsibilities of the job. Medical information will remain confidential in Human Resources.

    How are absences handled for 03 contractor (part-time, non-benefited) employees? (Updated March 13)

    03 contractors do accrue sick time, and they may apply that sick time to their absences. Otherwise, 03 contractors will only be paid for time worked. 03 contractors may continue to work during spring break and the following week (March 14-29).

    Health & Prevention

    What should students, faculty and staff do to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19 on campus? (Updated March 26)

    On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of over 10 people in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued a Public Health Advisory advising residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and activities.

    Given that the best way to prevent the virus is to avoid being exposed to it in the first place, all members of our campus community are encouraged to be vigilant in practicing social distancing (minimum of 6' between individuals).

    Please follow the CDC's guidelines on how best to protect yourself. This includes:

    • Washing your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds and especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Using hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water is not available.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.

    For information regarding the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, please visit their coronavirus information page.

    Am I still able to travel on university-related business? (Updated March 19)

    No. Travel restrictions – including local, New England and out-of-state – will continue until further notice. 


    Are Lancers teams playing/practicing? (Updated March 16)

    Worcester State University, the MASCAC, and the NCAA have canceled the spring season and championships. 

    All athletics activities, including all athletic events, team meetings, practices and contests, both on and off campus, have been suspended.