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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Last Modified: 10/7/20 3:07 PM