• Public Health Information FAQs

    Common queries regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    We understand that the situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. The following reflect the university’s current responses and Worcester State is working in real-time to provide updated, accurate information to our community and to continue to answer questions as they arise.

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

    Updated: March 30, 2020 6:30 p.m.

  • For Campus

    Are There Any Confirmed Cases at Worcester State? (Updated March 18)

    There are no confirmed cases at Worcester State at this time.

    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

    Will I be allowed a pass/fail option for courses? (New March 31)

    Yes, a special change in policy has been adopted granting undergraduate students a number of options for the Spring 2020 semester only. See the policy for exact details. In summary:

    • Course withdrawal deadline moved to April 21, 2020.
    • Advising period adjusted to April 6—April 17, 2020.
    • Pre-registration period scheduled by class year to April 21—April 24, 2020.
    • Students can designate any undergraduate course "pass/fail" by May 22, 2020 (after grades have been determined).

    Will I receive a refund for residence? (New March 27)

    Worcester State will be crediting resident student accounts for a pro-rated portion of room and board charges as of March 30.

    Pro-rated adjustments will be posted to the student's account. If these adjustments result in an overpayment, the student will receive a refund. Processing of adjustments and refunds will begin the week of March 30. Refunds to the student will be processed via direct deposit to the student's bank account. Instruction regarding enrollment in direct deposit can be found on WebAdvisor.

    Will I receive a refund for my resident meal plan? (New March 27)

    Similar to consideration of refunds for residence, resident students’ accounts will be credited for a prorated portion of the cost of the meal plan during the week of March 30.

    Will I receive a refund for my commuter meal plan? (New March 30)

    Students who receive a commuter meal plan will be credited the unused value of the spring semester costs to their student accounts beginning the week of March 30. If this adjustment results in an over payment, the student will receive a refund.

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

    WSU has long supported students in need with the Student Emergency Fund, which assists WSU 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/.

    Is Worcester State canceling classes? (Updated March 12)

    Spring Break begins on Monday March 16th. Worcester State has suspended any class that is not fully online for the following week. Classes will resume on Monday March 30th.

    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.

    Are the residence halls closing? (Updated March 18)

    The Worcester State residence halls will be closed effective Monday March 30. 

    All resident students have been sent information via email on when to retrieve their personal belongings from campus. Move out will be completed in two-hour blocks between 9am and 5pm, March 18-20. This will ensure that we limit the number of people in any area to under 25 at a time. 

    If you cannot move out during your assigned date/time, you will need to contact ResLife at (508) 929-8074 or reslife@worcester.edu for further assistance.

    The university is working with the State of Massachusetts to determine when and how refunds may be made available to resident students. At this point no decisions have been made and we are awaiting guidance from the Commonwealth.

    Are resident students permitted on campus between March 13-29? (Updated March 13)

    Resident students whose circumstances allow have been asked to leave residences by 7pm on Friday March 13th. Students with extenuating circumstances who need to remain in the residence halls between March 13-28 must submit their request to stay by Thursday March 12 at 10pm. Requests will be responded to by Friday March 13 at 12pm.

    Students who are approved to remain on campus will not be allowed to have visitors during the residence closure.

    What if I have to return to campus between March 14-29? (Updated March 15)

    Residential students who have questions with regards to accessing their room should contact Residence Life at 508-929-8077.

    If you need to visit a specific office or offices, please call prior to coming to campus.

    Are student and work study employees allowed to work the remainder of the semester? (Updated March 19)

    Students should not be working on campus until further notice. Students may work for their supervisor remotely if the work can be monitored or otherwise supervised effectively. 

    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 Congrats Day still be held? (Updated March 19)

    Congratulations Day for Accepted Students, originally scheduled April 4th, has been canceled. 

    We are currently exploring options to offer accepted students this important programming in the future when it is safe to do so. 

    Information regarding upcoming events will be posted on our COVID-19 admissions page, as well as on our accepted student website.

    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.

    What should I do if I have traveled or intend to travel outside the United States? (Updated March 18)

    Staff and Students: Please follow the CDC recommendations regarding returning to the United States from countries with widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission

    Staff: If you traveled to, or intend to travel to, a country deemed Level 2 or 3, you must notify Human Resources prior to returning to work.

    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.


    Are on-campus events being canceled? (Updated March 15)

    In accordance with directives from Governor Baker and to protect the health of all within the university campus and the larger community we are limiting public gatherings on campus to no more than 25 people.