George Mason University

Coronavirus: FAQs for Students

Find information about the impact of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on Mason students. We also encourage you to review the information on our COVID-19 information page, and information on student success on the University Life site.


We've now shifted our focus to our Safe Return to Campus Plan, which will have our most up-to-date information.

Health Questions

I think I'm sick. What should I do?

If you have symptoms such as a cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or lost/decreased sense of taste or smell, call your local primary health care provider for guidance. Stay home, except to seek medical care.

If you have symptoms, call before going to a doctor's office or medical facility to allow health care workers to take precautions to reduce the spread of illness.

If your symptoms are escalating, such as progressive shortness of breath, don't wait for your regular doctor to return your email or phone call. Seek emergent care.

You may be asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine (stay home and avoid contact with others) and monitor your health. Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. The CDC has information on how to protect yourself and others.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Fairfax County Public Health Department's website.

Students who have returned to their permanent residence should call their local primary care provider, who will determine the need for further evaluation.

Students living on campus or locally can call Student Health Services (703-993-2831), which has developed a triage phone and in-person screening process and has implemented protocols to:

  • Help identify possible cases.
  • Provide optimal care for those with symptoms.
  • Protect the Mason community.

Housing and Residence Life staff will work closely with Student Health Services to monitor suspected cases and to support the residential students’ community. If self-quarantine or isolation is necessary, we will make arrangements based on recommendations from health care providers or the local health department.

Mason Dining Services allows students to order a sick meal on its website if they live in a residence hall and are ill, self-quarantining, or self-isolating. 

Contact your professors to arrange accommodations for missing classes for a temporary time period if needed.

Mason Korea has plans in place if students there get sick.

For more information about Mason's communicable disease response procedures, consult the Communicable Disease Guide (PDF).

If I'm feeling ill, who should I contact at Mason?

Mason has set up notification guidelines for students, faculty and staff, and contracters (PDF).

These guidelines will tell you what to do if:

  • You have mild symptoms.
  • Your symptoms are more serious.
  • You are awating test results.
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19. 


Academics and Remote Learning

Have any decisions been made about fall 2020?

Mason will start the fall semester as scheduled on Monday, August 24, with a mix of in-person instruction and expanded online classes. Research will also continue under this hybrid model. Find out more on the Safe Return to Campus site.

Are there guidelines on taking classes remotely?

Mason's Office of Learning Services offers tips on how to be a successful remote learner.

Some Volgenau professors also have some general advice on maximizing remote studies that applies to everyone. 

Professor Melissa Broeckelman-Post, a professor in the Communications department, has recorded a video offering tips for success in virtual learning

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is offering Academic Success Workshops on such topics as:

  • Exam strategies.
  • Survival skills for finals.
  • Memory strategies.
  • Note-Taking.

Find out more on the CAPS site.

I am an international student and therefore restricted from taking remote/online courses. How does this affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the Department of Homeland Security has granted universities flexibility to change the mode of instructional delivery for students in F-1 and J-1 status for a temporary period. 

Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) students should contact the SACM with questions regarding impacts to scholarships.

Find more information from the Office of International Programs and Services

I'm having financial problems/don't have the resources to take remote classes. Can the university help?

The Mason emergency assistance fund is presently closed, but will reopen for summer semester beginning Tuesday, May 26.

University Life is managing this fund, and will have information about applying, criteria, and other details. 


Are library services available?

Mason’s libraries are supporting the community through virtual workshops, instruction sessions, research consultations, and electronic resources. We’ve also expanded hours for our virtual reference desk.

Libraries will continue to provide expanded virtual services to promote physical distancing amid a staged opening phase.


Housing and University Life

Will I be able to live on-campus this fall?

To minimize chances of an outbreak, Mason has reduced the maximum capacity of residence halls by 25 percent for fall semester. 

We anticipate up to 4,500 students will be living on the Fairfax Campus. They’ll live in single-occupancy spaces, unless they request a roommate. No more than two people per room.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the Housing and Residence Life website.

What if I'm living on campus and must travel somewhere? Can I return to my residence hall?

Residential students who travel internationally or out of state must contact Housing and Residence Life at 703-993-2720 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or via email to gain official written approval before returning to their residence hall so that quarantine accommodations can be made. 

Where can I get information about other university life resources?

University Life has gathered resources from across the university in one place to streamline your student experience during an unprecedented time, including important academic, logistic, and well-being information. Topics include:



Will the Office of Admissions continue to accept housing and enrollment deposits for incoming freshman?

Yes, we will continue to accept the $250 enrollment deposit paid through the Fall 2020 deposit portal. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Admissions Counselor for assistance.

Who can answer questions about financial concerns?

If your family has been financially affected by COVID-19, the Office of Financial Aid has counselors who can talk with you about your situation to see how we can assist you.

Reach out to Mason's Financial Aid Office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET at 703-993-2353.

If you have not submitted a FAFSA and have been financially affected by COVID-19, contact your Admissions Counselor for assistance. 

What virtual visit options is Admissions offering students this summer?

Admissions is offering virtual information sessions, virtual tours, and virtual one-on-one meetings (by request). Visit Admissions to register for a session or to connect with a counselor. The virtual campus tour is accessible online at any time.

Will there be virtual versions of summer orientation?

Orientation for Summer 2020 has been moved online. 

Students will continue to register for an orientation date, and if you have already registered, you'll keep that date.

Some aspects of the virtual Student Orientation will still occur on the same day as the scheduled in-person program, while other content will be pre-recorded to view at your own pace.

We recognize the important role of families and will also offer a virtual Family Orientation at no charge. Guests who have already registered will be refunded.

More information about the Orientation process and next steps will be communicated via e-mail and on the New Students and Family program website.

Does Mason offer freshman scholarships?

Yes. Admissions will send decision notification letters to those awarded merit-based scholarships. We also encourage students to explore external scholarship opportunities. If you have questions about scholarships, reach out to your admissions counselor.

What is the time frame for graduate students to learn of a decision on their application?

The time frame will be determined by the degree program or type. Generally, master’s programs decisions are posted in 4 to 6 weeks after the application deadline. Doctoral decisions are posted 1 to 2 months after the application deadline. For more information, email Mason's graduate program.

When will regular admissions decisions be released?

Mason sends regular decision application notifications to students on a rolling basis. Check your online portal to ensure that your application is complete and for any updates.

Can admitted students set up a Mason email before making an enrollment deposit?

Once you've made an enrollment deposit, you can activate your Mason email. For more information, go to our Next Steps for Admitted Students page.

When will I hear from Housing about my exemption form?

Send questions about Housing and Living Learning Communities for the next academic year to the Office of Housing and Residence Life. Please be patient, as there is a large volume of inquiries.

How can I register for orientation?

The Orientation website will direct you to register for a summer session for your category (freshman, transfer, etc.)..


General Questions

What is the Mail Services schedule for students?

Effective March 17, University Mail Services is still receiving and distributing mail, operating under modified Summer operating procedures. 

Mail Services will hold and forward packages for students as necessary.

Students that do not, or are unable to, return to campus may request to have their mail forwarded to their off-campus address during this time.

To arrange mail forwarding, contact University Mail Services. Package forwarding charges may be applied by postal carriers and will be the recipients’ responsibility.

What's going on with study-abroad trips? Domestic travel?

 Mason has suspended all university-sponsored or university-related domestic and international travel for students, faculty and staff until further notice. This does not include travel to other campuses or within the DMV and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Global Education Office (GEO) will work directly with affected study-abroad students to provide information and address questions. The office is also working to refund program fees for committed students on all spring programs that are suspended. For group flights (purchased through GEO), all tickets were cancelled. You will receive the cost of the ticket in your refund.

Because of the U.S. Department of State Travel advisory elevation to level 4, it is not possible to run our summer abroad faculty-led programs this year.

If I need to selectively withdraw, change my major, or perform other registration activities, will I still be able to come to campus?

Anything that requires formal approval via form should be initiated with your advisor via email.  It is possible to accomplish all of these without coming to offices on campus 

What if I want to leave the university?

There are many implications for withdrawing from the university at this point in the semester.

Students should reach out to their academic advisor to discuss academic implications.

Several resources exist to assist with the process; learn more at the Before You Leave Mason page.

If you intend to return to Mason in a future semester, you should also submit a Leave of Absence form (PDF).

Will I still have access to student services?

Yes. The Mason Student Services Center is available for remote services. Face-to-face operations have been temporarily suspended. You may reach Student Services via e-mail or contact us via virtual check-in.

Students who require services with enrollment, financial aid, student accounts, or the registrar’s office are asked to complete a Student Services online form or email the MSSC to receive service virtually. 

A service member will follow up with each student via email to either provide an answer to the submitted inquiry or offer a virtual conferencing session to engage in further discussion.

Can I still tour campus?

The Office of Admissions has cancelled all on-campus recruitment events until further notice. Admissions is encouraging students to visit the virtual tour, and the team is actively working on video content and virtual options to continue to connect with students and families.

The Admissions Office has also extended the National Candidates Reply date for freshmen from May 1 to June 1.