George Mason University

Coronavirus: FAQs for Students

Health Questions

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

If you have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, or shortness of breath, and think you have been exposed to coronavirus, 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 doctors’ 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 who live in a residence hall and are ill, are self-quarantining or isolating, to order a sick meal through the website. 

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)..

I recently visited a country the CDC designated Level 3. Can I return to campus housing?

No. Per Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, anyone returning from a Level 3 country, such as China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Eruope, and the United Kingdom, must self-isolate at their permanent off-campus residence.

If a residential student is unable to return to their permanent residence and must return to their residence on campus, they must email Housing and Residence Life or call to share this information.

For more information, call 703-993-2720 during business hours and 703-993-9880 after hours.

Be advised, you MUST email to request residence hall access. Permission cannot be granted over the phone. 

One of my roommates just returned from an area that has been affected; what should I do?

If you begin to experience any of symptoms of coronavirus, or have other concerns about your health, contact Student Health Services at 703-993-2831 or your health care provider as soon as possible. 

If both you and your roommate are healthy, and travel was not to any area affected by COVID-19 as indicated by the CDC, continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations to minimize your chances of becoming ill.

If you're concerned for the health and well-being of your roommate who has recently traveled, contact Student Health Services and Housing and Residence Life immediately.

For more information, call 703-993-2720 during business hours and 703-993-9880 after hours.

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

If you have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat, headache, mild fatigue andaches, and/or nausea/diarrhea, you do not need to formally notify anyone at Mason. Contact your health care provider for guidance. 

If you:

  • Have a fever of 100 degrees or more, AND, a cough, shortness of breath, and severe fatigue and muscle aches.
  • Are awaiting test results.
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19.

Call Student Health Services at (703) 993-2831 if you have had contact with other students on campus. 

If you have not, use the secure Student Health Services portal to report your condition.


 

Academics and Remote Learning

How can I prepare to take 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

Am I still responsible for course assignments and exams as stated on a course syllabus?

Yes, unless you hear otherwise from your instructor.  

With classes offered remotely, will we still have final exams?

As of now, you will have exams; they might move to a system such as Respondus, but they will occur.   

Will library services be available?

Mason library facilities, including Fenwick, will be closed starting Monday, March 23.  Library services will continue to operate, will expand virtual access as feasible, and will be available virtually to support faculty and students in accessing needed materials for online classes and assisting with other resources and services.  

Mason Libraries has posted information about expanded online resources.  The Health Sciences Librarian is available for virtual library service, online consultations, and reference.

Find more details about library services and accompanying policy changes during this period.

Will taking classes remotely affect my graduation?

Based on the changes to the academic calendar this semester, commencement will be postponed by at least one week. Therefore, commencement will not be held as scheduled on May 15. Degree celebrations that were scheduled for May 13-16 will also be rescheduled.

We are tentatively looking at rescheduling commencement for May 22,  if future developments make large gatherings feasible then. We will provide additional details as soon as possible. 

Will this affect my grades?

Mason's Faculty Senate approved an alternative grading mode for undergraduate students for spring 2020 classes.

  • Students in A-F graded classes will be able to log into Patriot Web and select the new grade mode on a class-by-class basis. Students do not have to select it for every class, they can pick and choose.
  • If a student takes NO ACTION, the grading mode will default to A-F grading, as originally registered in the class.
  • The interface to make grade mode selections will be available in early April and will remain open through the end of the semester.
  • The deadline for selecting the new grade mode has not yet been finalized. Until the deadline, students can change their mind, log back into Patriot Web and change their selection as many times as they want.
  • If an alternative grade mode is selected, none of those grades will count in the GPA.
  • None of the classes graded with the alternative grade mode for spring 2020 count against the undergraduate academic policy of only 6 credits taken as Satisfactory/No Credit (AP 3.3).
  • There will not be a Dean’s List for Spring 2020 for undergraduates.
  • There will be a transcript notation for Spring 2020 indicating the change in grade schemes.

The grades that will appear on the student’s transcript if the student selects the alternative grading mode for Spring 2020 classes are:

  • XS (Extraordinary Circumstances – Satisfactory) – The student earns credit in the course by meeting a minimum grade threshold; at the undergraduate level that would be a C or higher, at the graduate level it would be a B- or higher.
  • XP (Extraordinary Circumstances – Pass) – The student earns credit in the course but has not met a minimum grade threshold to apply the course to requirements with a minimum grade requirement; at the undergraduate level this would be a C- or D, at the graduate level it would be a C.
  • XN (Extraordinary Circumstances – No Credit) – The student does not earn credit in the course.

Note: Eligible students will be able to change their grade mode soon. Look for communication from the Office of the University Registrar, which has a selection of FAQs about the grading system.

What about grades for graduate and law students?

Students enrolled in cohort sections or special programs will follow the decisions of their professional school or of the unit about which courses, if any, are eligible for the credit/non-credit option. 

The Antonin Scalia Law School will separately determine the grading policies for its courses.

Graduate students can find detailed information on the Graduate Education - Spring 2020 Alternative Grading Options for graduate students page.

Additional details can be found on the Office of the University Registrar - Spring 2020 Grading Options page. 

To ensure graduate students make the best selection for themselves and maximize their potential for long-term academic and professional success, we strongly encourage you to:

  • Seek advice and guidance from your advisor, mentor and/or coordinator prior to making a decision about course grading.
  • Determine the impact electing an alternative grading option may have on financial aid, licensure, admission to professional programs, scholarships, and fellowships, as well as anything else this option could affect.
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?

Yes. You can apply for emergency assistance funding from Mason

Eligibility criteria:

  • You are currently enrolled as a degree-seeking full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate student at Mason.
  • You are experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

Expenses covered by coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency funding include:

  • Emergency medical and dental expenses
  • Technology/equipment needed to ensure continuity of online learning
  • Travel expenses
  • Homelessness or sudden loss of housing
  • Overdue utility bills reaching a turn-off notice
  • Loss of child care
  • Health insurance
  • Tuition and fees related only to the fulfillment of payment plans for the spring 2020 semester
  • Other financial needs arising from individual and/or special circumstances to be determined on a case-by-case basis

If you have any questions, contact University Life

You might also look into the Stay Mason Student Support Fund, which assists matriculated Mason students at risk of not continuing their education due to unexpected financial situations. The fund is for all students – undergraduate and graduate, full-time and part-time – enrolled in degree-seeking programs.

To qualify, you must meet certain criteria:

  • Have been admitted as a student at Mason in a degree-seeking program;
  • Have completed at least 12 credit hours of coursework at Mason in their degree-seeking program;
  • Be enrolled or eligible to be enrolled during the semester for which the funding is being requested (no academic or conduct suspensions, or full academic withdrawals);
  • Provide necessary supporting documentation, as it may be required by the university;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in Mason policy.
  • Attend and participate fully in a no-cost financial literacy program, provided by the university, as requested by the committee.
What are Mason's plans for summer classes?

For summer 2020, all classes will move to online delivery, shifting from the alternative virtual learning model to a more robust, intentional online experience.

Registration for Summer Term will now open on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, to allow for flexibility. Before June 30, all in-person summer programming—such as conferences and camps—will either be offered in an online, virtual environment, or canceled.

Further decisions will be made by May 31 about summer programming that could be offered in person after July 1. Find additional information on summer classes (PDF).


 

Housing and Residence Life

How will I get news about changes in Housing and Residence Life Services?

Any changes to the university’s standard operations—including academic classes and campus events—will be communicated through your Mason student email account. More time-sensitive updates will likely also be communicated through the Mason Alert notification system.

Can I stay in university housing until the end of the semester?

Only students who receive written approval from Housing and Residence Life may stay past March 25. Only students who have the following circumstances will be approved:

  • International Students and students who cannot travel home due to a travel restriction.
  • Student who works for university has been deemed critical (letter/verification required from supervisor)
  • Academic department has deemed internship, clinical, or practicum that cannot be continued without physical presence (letter/verification required from supervisor/mentor for internship/clinical/practicum).
  • Extreme personal circumstances (e.g. being in foster care system, no permanent home, home is quarantined, returning home poses a health/safety threat, unable to access online courses due to insufficient internet/electronic capability, etc.)
When will students need to move out of the residence halls?

Housing is taking a staged approach to move out this year.

During the first stage students are encouraged to return to the residence halls from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 17 to March 25 to retrieve any necessary belongings.

The second stage will include students moving out of the halls beginning on April 13.

Students should check their email for more information closer to April 13.

Is there an assigned time for students to pick up things/move out?

Not at this time. Students are encouraged to practice social distancing while picking up their belongings/moving out of the halls and not crowd into the rooms.

Where can students park when picking up their belongings? What if a non-Mason member is helping students pick up belongings/move-out?

Students will be sent an electronic parking pass that they should print out to place on their dashboard or share with parents/friends if they will be assisting with picking up belongings/moving out of the residence halls. Passes will only be valid during the days listed.

Can I designate someone else to pick up my belongings?

No. Students will need to return to the residence halls from April 13 to May 17 to retrieve their belongings. Any belongings that have not been claimed will be bagged and kept for 120 days.

What happens if I leave something in my room?

Students can return after April 13 to pick up the rest of their belongings or anything they may have forgotten.

Are there any resources to help with my relocation?

Mason has the Student Emergency Assistance fund that students can submit a form to request financial assistance. 

Due to the number of colleges and universities that have had to close their residence halls early due to COVID-19, many national companies have created affordable options to help students access their classes electronically and relocate their belongings.

These offers include:

Is there storage available on or near campus?

The UPS Store on campus offers safe storage services for students who will be going back home in light of the school changes that are taking place.

We are accepting summer storage items early to assist students in their time of need. We will store items safely now and have them ready for pick up in August.

The charge for this is $285.00, we are not charging more due to the need to put items in storage early. This standard cost covers 5 boxes to store, we provide tape and up to 5 - 18 by 18 by 16 boxes.

There is room for more than the standard 5 boxes; please contact us for pricing. Visit GMU Storage to sign up. For questions, call 703-865-5544, or email the UPS  store.

How do I apply to remain on campus?

Students will be able to access a form in StarRez beginning March 18 to request extended stay past March 25.

What if I filled out the initial form and was granted permission to remain on campus for the rest of the semester?

Housing no longer considers permission that may have been granted with the original forms valid. Students will need to fill out the new form to have access beyond March 25.

What if my request to stay on campus is denied?

Students can submit supporting documentation to Housing if their circumstances meet certain criteria:

  • International Students and students who cannot travel home due to a travel restriction.
  • Student who works for university has been deemed critical (letter/verification required from supervisor)
  • Academic department has deemed internship, clinical, or practicum that cannot be continued without physical presence (letter/verification required from supervisor/mentor for internship/clinical/practicum).
  • Extreme personal circumstances (e.g. being in foster care system, no permanent home, home is quarantined, returning home poses a health/safety threat, unable to access online courses due to insufficient internet/electronic capability, etc.)
What should students expect if they are allowed to remain on campus?

Although the university remains open, there will be a modified schedule in place for offices and access to certain services.

Student Health Services (SHS) is available to help students in the event they need medical assistance.

There will not be any student engagement opportunities available for the remainder of the semester, and students are discouraged from gathering in large groups on or off campus.

Dining:

  • Southside Dining remains open under modified hours, providing carry-out meals for those remaining on campus. Mason Dining has posted updated hours of operation. 
  • Most retail dining establishments have now closed with the exceptions of the Starbucks Northern Neck (open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Wingzone (delivery via Starship from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.).
  • One Stop will be open via Starship beginning March 30 from 5 to10 p.m. for those on campus. One Stop will continue to be assessable via Starship Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m.
  • All other on-campus other dining options are now closed. 
If students move out now, or have already moved out, will students be reimbursed or receive a credit for the remainder of the semester?

The university is committed to refunding money to students for housing, dining and parking. The Student Accounts Office has information on refunds in a series of FAQs

We also have refund tables set up showing amounts based on your Mason residence, your parking plan, and your dining plan. (PDF)

Can a student who currently does not live on campus be eligible for on-campus housing?

Housing and Residence Life is not able to accommodate students who do not currently live on campus.

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. 


 

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 for these purposes?

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.