Skip to main content
Search Icon
SEARCH

Student Information for Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Answers

Q:

What is the CARES Act Emergency Student funding?

A:

The Department of Education awarded funding to higher education institutions to provide emergency assistance to students. The funds are to be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. These expenses could include student expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, transportation, health care and child care.

Return to Top
Q:

Which students are eligible for the CARES funding?

A:
  1. Only students who are eligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as determined by Federal regulations are eligible for consideration under this grant. This would include (but is not limited to) U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a valid SSN. Additionally, students who were exclusively in online classes prior to the CARES Act funding (March 13, 2020) are not eligible for funds nor are Minnesota State employees using tuition waiver.
  2. Students who meet the conditions as defined above, will be eligible for an initial/base grant of $100.
  3. Students who are eligible for the initial base grant (#2), and who also have an EFC of 0-6500, or are eligible for Federal Pell or Minnesota State Grants during the spring semester are eligible for an additional, supplemental award of $737.
  4. An emergency grant fund has also been established for students who incur more expenses, related to the disruption of campus life from COVID-19, than what they receive from the first two grants (#2 and #3.) Students must be eligible for the initial base grant (#1) to be eligible to apply for this emergency fund. Students may apply for these emergency grants at https://smsu.academicworks.com/opportunities/5306
  5. All student, eligible for the base and/or supplemental grant (#1 or #2, will receive an email from President Jayasuriya regarding their award(s) when the grants are disbursed. Grants will be disbursed to students via established direct deposit accounts or by mail (paper checks).
  6. Questions can be directed to financialaid@smsu.edu or by calling at 507-537-6281.
Return to Top

What Grading OPTIONS are available to me Spring 2020?

Q:

What should I know about Credit(CR)/No Credit(NC)?

A:

What Is It?

Most classes at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) are typically graded with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. For the Spring 2020 term, we are giving students the option of choosing to be graded using either CR for “Credit” or NC for “No Credit.” With all of the time and effort you have invested in your courses already this grading option will provide a low-risk way for you to finish the course and continue to make progress toward your ultimate goal of graduation.

How Does It Work?

Faculty in A-F graded courses will continue to grade you on an A-F scale, but if you choose the CR/NC option, your A-F grade will be converted to either “Credit” or “No Credit”. When you receive a CR grade, this means that you have achieved enough of the essential learning outcomes of the course to have passed the course. You should make these decisions on a course-by-course basis through consultation with your instructor. You will have until April 27th to decide and submit the request to change to CR/NC. This form can be found on the Forms Page on Registration & Records. https://www.smsu.edu/campuslife/registrationrecords/forms/form621.html

CONSIDERATIONS to DISCUSS with INSTRUCTORS and ADVISORS

Before deciding to choose the Credit/No-Credit option (CR/NC), students should discuss the changes with their academic advisors to ensure there are no unforeseen consequences of switching to credit/no credit.

  1. Courses earning a grade of “CR” will count toward credits to graduate, but courses earning a grade of “NC” do not earn credits. CR and NC grades are not included in the calculation of your grade point average (GPA). Thus, if the circumstances of this semester make it harder this semester to get as high a grade as you would otherwise, this will protect your cumulative GPA. Although a CR/NC grade cannot hurt your GPA, it also can’t help your GPA. If you determine your GPA will increase by sticking with the A-F grading method, you should do so.
  2. A No Credit (NC) grade will have the same impact on GPA, completion rate, and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as does a Withdrawal (W).
  3. Accreditation requirements and/or SMSU catalog requirements within the major or minor may prohibit CR/NC grades. Many accrediting bodies and other entities recognize the unprecedented nature of this semester across the nation and are adjusting such requirements. Please consult your advisor for guidance.
  4. Although many other universities are going through the same changes, we do not know how graduate or professional schools will accept CR/NC grades. If you are planning to apply to graduate school in the future, talk to your advisor about how CR/NC grades might affect your eligibility. We will share information with advisors as we learn more.
  5. If a certain GPA is required for admission to a program or major, students should know that “CR” will not be included in the GPA calculation. Students should consult with the appropriate major and other advisors prior to changing their grading option. For example, admission to Teacher Education requires a 2.8 GPA.
  6. Students on academic warning should check with the Advising Office, specifically Jill Schlemmer (jill.schlemmer@smsu.edu) or your academic advisor to determine the effect CR/NC grades might have on their academic standing.
  7. SMSU requires a minimum of 12 graded (A-F) credits to be considered for Deans List and a minimum of 32 of 42 graded (A-F) credits to be considered for Honors categories at graduation.
  8. SMSU graduation policy allows a maximum of 20 credits of CR coursework toward your degree.
  9. If you are repeating a course this semester, SMSU will allow the previous A-F grade earned to be replaced by a CR grade for this semester only. Our repeat policy is to take the grade that has the best impact on GPA.
  10. International students are encouraged to contact International Student Services before choosing an option to learn of any potential consequences: call 507-237-6018 or email ISS@smsu.edu for assistance.
Return to Top
Q:

What should I know about the Withdrawal timeline?

A:

What Is It?

The Minnesota State system typically sets a deadline for students to withdraw that is set at the point when 80 percent of the term has been completed. The system had extended that point to 90 percent of the term, which means SMSU students in full-term courses will have until April 27th to decide whether to withdraw.

How Does It Work?

Students in full-term courses can withdraw (and get a grade of W) at any point between now and April 27th. If you are in a shorter-term course, please view the course schedule to see the new date.

CONSIDERATIONS to DISCUSS with INSTRUCTORS and ADVISORS

  1. Compared with the earlier withdrawal deadline, this will give you time to determine whether your new learning environment and personal circumstances will allow you to academically succeed in the current term.
  2. A Withdrawal (W) grade will have the same impact on GPA, completion rate, and Satisfactory Academic Progress as does a No Credit (NC) grade.
  3. A Withdrawal (W) might be particularly useful in some instances but, in general, students might pursue another option such as an Incomplete (I) (see below), which will provide the opportunity for you to complete the course and not have to pay for it again. A “W” at this point in the term does not allow students to receive any tuition dollars back.
  4. Students should contact the SMSU Financial Aid Office financialaid@smsu.edu to determine the effect a “W” might have on their financial aid status.
  5. This form to withdraw from a class can be found on the Forms Page on Registration & Records.
  6. International students are encouraged to contact International Student Services before choosing an option to learn of any potential consequences: call 507-237-6018 or email ISS@smsu.edu for assistance.
Return to Top
Q:

What should I know about Incompletes?

A:

What Is It?

An Incomplete (I) grade gives students a chance to complete coursework after the semester ends when a plan is set up and agreed upon with the instructor.

How Does It Work?

The instructor may give students a “I” grade at the end of the course, and then change the grade to an A-F or CR/NC grade when the work is later completed. There is a time limit for completing the work; if a student does not complete the work by the deadline, the “I” grade is automatically changed to an “F” on your transcript. Normally, SMSU policy only allows faculty to give students an Incomplete in limited circumstances. SMSU will be expanding options for faculty to use “I” grades in cases where a student or an entire class cannot finish the necessary coursework by the end of the semester as a result of COVID-19.

CONSIDERATIONS to DISCUSS with INSTRUCTORS and ADVISORS

  1. In some situations, an Incomplete may be a student’s best option. If it comes down to the student withdrawing from a course or being granted an Incomplete, an incomplete should be seriously considered. We want you to continue and succeed.
  2. Incompletes assigned in May of 2020 will automatically become a grade of “F” at the completion of the Fall 2020 semester if nothing is done to change it. Incompletes can be extended by another semester at the request of the faculty member to the Registration Office.
  3. PLEASE NOTE: Many students who receive a “I” end up never completing the work later, and they end up getting an “F”. Therefore, for some students, the best option will be to continue the course through the end of the semester with a CR/NC grade method instead of opting for an Incomplete.
  4. International students are encouraged to contact International Student Services before choosing an option to learn of any potential consequences: call 507-237-6018 or email ISS@smsu.edu for assistance.
Return to Top

Q:

Is the bookstore open and how do I return my books?

A:

The Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore is currently closed to the public. They remain open online through their e-commerce site and mobile app. They have extended the grace period for rental returns through the first week of fall classes.

Students with specific questions can contact the Barnes & Noble team at:

Cindy Peterson | Store Manager
sm021@bncollege.com

Ph. 507.337.1450
Fax 507.337.0352

Return to Top

Q:

Where can I access tutoring during Spring Semester?

A:

To assist you with your coursework, tutoring support will still be available. We are here to support you. Please see below for specifics from each area/department:

Writing Center - The SMSU Writing Center is following its regular schedule but conducting only online appointments as of March 15th. Please know that there are two types of online appointments:

  1. online chat meetings in real-time (which now have audio/visual capability if students choose it); these include an interactive white board in which students and tutors can work on the paper together, and
  2. eTutoring appointments, which are like appointments for their papers: students upload their papers by the appointment time, and tutors take that time to review and insert comments and send it back. (This is similar to the drop-off essay review by Tutor.com, but with SMSU tutors who know the professors and classes and with a designated time for review.) Writing Center appointments are available during the weeks of suspended classes as well.

Please visit the online schedule to make and log in to online appointments: https://southwestmsu.mywconline.com/  If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Lori Baker, Writing Center Director, at Lori.Baker@SMSU.edu.

Speech Center - The Speech Center will offer Zoom consultations with tutors at its regularly scheduled times. Zoom meeting links for various times will be posted on the Speech Center website ( https://www.smsu.edu/campuslife/speechcenter/index.html ). Tutors will be available for drop-ins during those times. The email contacts for tutors is also posted so that students may contact tutors directly if they would like to try and arrange for appointments at other times. If you have additional questions, please contact Mark Fokken, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, at Mark.Fokken@SMSU.edu .

Math Learning Center – The Math Learning Center will be offering online appointments utilizing WCONLINE and Zoom meetings. For more information, please contact Charles Bingen, Instructor of Mathematics/Math Learning Center Coordinator, at Charles.Bingen@SMSU.edu. Additional information will soon be posted on their website: https://www.smsu.edu/campuslife/mathlearningcenter/index.html

Interdisciplinary Tutors - Tutoring in the sciences and for introductory business-type classes will be available by appointment using WCONLINE and Zoom meetings. For more information, please contact Linda Nelson, Director of the Academic Commons, at Linda.Nelson@SMSU.edu . More information will be posted at https://www.smsu.edu/campuslife/academiccommons/index.html

Tutor.com – Accessible through D2L Brightspace, SMSU offers free online/on-demand tutoring through Tutor.com. Students can connect with over 3,000 qualified tutors 24/7 in a variety of subjects and have 15 hours of free tutoring support to use per academic year ( see flyer). If a student runs out of hours, they can request more through Linda Nelson. This service is provided by Minnesota State system-wide. If you have additional questions, please contact Linda Nelson, Director of Academic Commons, at Linda.Nelson@SMSU.edu .

Return to Top

Q:

I don't have internet access at home, what are some options for me?

A:

There are a number of MN broadband internet providers who are offering free installation and service for K-12 or college student households for the next 60 days.

Return to Top

Q:

Where can I get emotional support?

A:

College is a time of change that can be very exciting as well as stressful and challenging. Stress, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, loneliness, or other personal issues can affect students' well-being. SMSU Counseling Services is staffed by mental health professionals who provide confidential, short-term counseling services to enrolled students. Students do not have to be in crisis to access counseling services! To schedule a confidential appointment please call 507-537-7150 or email Counseling.Testing@SMSU.edu.

United Healthcare is offering an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT HELP LINE FOR ALL STUDENTS through one of their subsidiary companies called Optum. Their toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary and the service is free of charge and open to any student, not just international students. Students would have access to specially trained mental health specialists to support them if they feel they are experiencing anxiety or stress related to the recent developments around COVID-19.

Return to Top

Q:

What happens if I become ill?

A:

Please do not come to campus or attend classes if you are likely contagious. Contact your healthcare provider.

Return to Top

Q:

If I traveled, should I self-quarantine?

A:
Return to Top

Q:

Will the University suspend classes?

A:

Southwest Minnesota State University is extending spring break through March 30, 2020. All classes are suspended through March 29, 2020. On March 30, 2020, classes will resume in alternative format, such as online. Information will be forthcoming from Faculty regarding the alternative methods of delivery.

Return to Top

Q:

Will the campus be open?

A:

The campus will be open. While there are no classes the extended week of spring break, March 23-27, all administrators, faculty, and staff shall report for work. At this time, all campus services will continue to be open while classes are moved to alternative delivery modes, such as online.

Return to Top

Q:

Will classes continue through the end of Spring Semester in the alternative modes of delivery, such as online?

A:

Yes, the remainder of the semester will continue with the alternative modes of deliver such as online. Classes will not go back to on campus delivery during Spring Semester.

Return to Top

Q:

Will Residence Halls and Dining Services be available?

A:

Students may return to their residence halls as they wish.

Dining Services

Chartwells Food Service Update:
Starting Monday, March 30, all meals will be served to-go via online ordering. All dining locations will have the previously stated hours through Sunday, March 29. On March 30, the main dining hall, coffee shop, State Street Subs and the C Store will be closed until further notice. For further information, and a link where meals can be ordered, go to: https://www.dineoncampus.com/southwest/togo-meal-ordering

Return to Top

Q:

When will Fall Registration open?

A:

Fall 2020 course registration was originally planned to start next week. With the extension of Spring Break, we will now be opening the registrations windows starting on Wednesday, March 25. Registration windows will continue to open based on earned credits over the 5 days following March 25.

Students who have not already done so, should reach out to their academic advisors beginning Monday, March 23rd for assistance in choosing their fall 2020 classes. Your academic advisor and their contact information are listed on your degree audit in eservices.

For now all students should log back into eservices and check when their registration window opens. Keep checking your email for additional information. If you have any questions please email us at registration@smsu.edu or call 507-537-6206 which is answered 8:00am-4:30pm.

Return to Top

Q:

I am a student worker on campus, can I work?

A:

Yes, students are welcome to return to their positions on campus. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions.

Return to Top

Q:

Can student athletes continue to practice?

A:

Student-athletes may continue to work out and train on their own without direction from a coach. All traditional Countable Athletic Related Activities (CARA) are suspended for the duration of the Spring 2020 semester. If you have further questions please reach out to your respective coach or Allison Monson, Director of Athletic Compliance.

Return to Top

Q:

Will student fees be refunded?

A:

SMSU is following Minnesota State guidelines regarding student fees. Since fees are tied to tuition and since students are receiving credit for completing courses, no refunds for student fees will be given for services such as the fitness center, student center, student life, parking, etc.

Return to Top

Q:

Students who need assistance accessing free eTexts

A:

Students who need assistance accessing free eTexts can visit https://get.vitalsource.com/vitalsource-helps

The Bookshelf Login is close to the bottom of the page under "Helpful Links".

Your Barnes & Noble Team at SMSU
Cindy Peterson | Store Manager
Analisa Zaske | Assistant Manager
Ph. 507.337.1450
Fax 507.337.0352

Follow us on:
Facebook - Southwest Minnesota State University Bookstore
Twitter - @SMSUBookstore

Return to Top

Q:

What technology services are available?

A:

What if I don’t have Internet access at home?

Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are making services available. In some cases, free access is being provided for K-12 and college students for a limited time period. Details for the following ISPs are provided below:

Will computers be available for use on campus?

The answer to this question is continuously evolving. It is anticipated that computer workstations will be available in the Residence Halls that are open to students that will remain on campus. Current plans also call for computers to be available for use in the Main Floor of the Library during its open hours.

How will the University and faculty communicate with me?

Your University email account will be a primary source of information from the University. It is also advised that you routinely check the SMSU website for updates. SMSU Alert will also continue to be used for emergency notifications. As always, check with your instructors on communications channels they will be using.

How do I get technology assistance and when can I get it?

Current plans are for the Technology Resource Center to be staffed in person from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday – Friday. Evening hours support will be provided by phone from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday. Weekend hours phone support will be posted on an ongoing basis on the ITS Website. In addition, emails can be sent to TRChelpdesk@smsu.edu.

In addition, remember to utilize the ITS website available at this link Information Technology Services for much other technology services information.

What technology will be used for courses?

Most courses will be taught using a combination of D2L Brightspace and the Zoom web conferencing tool. Please check with your instructor on any other specific tools or services they plan to use.

Some faculty plan to use the Pulse app in conjunction with their D2L Brightspace supported courses. Information on Pulse is available here. The app is available from either the Google Play or Apple App Stores.

Can I get my own Zoom account?

Yes. Students can create their own Zoom account. To do so go to this website Zoom and create your account using your StarID and password. As a reminder, you also have access to the use of Skype for Business in your Office365 account.

Are there any other tools I can get access to from off-campus?

Yes, among other tools for which you can get accounts by using your StarID credentials ( StarID@go.minnstate.edu) to include:

Updates on other tools availability will be provided on an ongoing basis. Should you need any assistance, contact the Technology Resource Center.

Are there any guides for students available to use these tools and services?

Yes. Check out this website to find guides that are available for many tools including D2L Brightspace, Zoom, Kaltura, Teams, and many more.

https://asanewsletter.org/academic-continuity-students/

How do I get access to specialized software used in my classes?

ITS is working with several software vendors and your instructors to make available at no cost for a limited time, in a remote fashion, software that is used in certain classes. In many cases, this software is available on lab computers. Examples include SPSS, Minitab, and ARCgis. Please check with your instructors for details or contact the Technology Resource Center on how to obtain for your own computers. Otherwise, we expect that the level of access to different software packages available to students will evolve over the coming days and weeks.

Are there some general purpose software packages available to me from off campus?

Other than the Microsoft Office tools and Skype for Business available in your Office365 account, the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of products is available to students for a limited time.

What if I am having technology challenges at home and I’m not able to come to campus?

Please visit with your instructors and/or advisors regarding any computing needs and/or Internet access challenges you are having. ITS is actively evaluating options to support students that are having technology challenges.

Return to Top

Q:

What tips for maintaining information security do you have?

A:

During events like the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID 19), cyber attackers often use these opportunities to, unfortunately, try to take advantage of the situation. We ask that you pay close attention to your emails & communications during this time. Cybercriminals may try to scam you, or launch phishing attacks that attempt to get you to click on malicious links or open infected email attachments. Here are some of the most common indicators that the phone call or email you may receive is probably a scam or attack:

  • Emails that end up in your junk mail often do not need to be opened. Only open an email in your junk mail if you were expecting a message.
  • Any messages that communicates a tremendous sense of urgency. The bad guys are trying to rush you into making a mistake.
  • Any message that pressures you into bypassing or ignoring our security policies and procedures.
  • Any message that promotes miracle cures, such as vaccines or medicine that will protect you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be very suspicious of any phone call or message that pretends to be an official or government organization urging you to take immediate action.  

Please keep in mind Coronavirus scams and attacks can happen at work or at home, via email, text messaging or even over the phone.

How to report a suspicious email at Southwest Minnesota State University:

  • Highlight the suspicious message in your inbox. Do not forward it.
  • Utilize the  Report Message button on the right-hand side of the Home ribbon. If you do not see the Report Message button, please complete the following steps:
    1. Highlight the suspicious message in your inbox.
    2. Use the key combination  (CONTROL)(ALT)(F) on a windows machine to create a new email that automatically attaches the suspicious email (this is important).

Anytime you receive a suspicious email:

  • NEVER click on the links.
  • NEVER act on an email that asks for your login credentials.
  • ALWAYS report it immediately. Use the instructions above.
Return to Top

Last Modified: 5/7/20 3:29 PM