Coronavirus Forum FAQs

March 11, 2020

Questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity.



Dr. Frank Merckx, Vice President of Campus Life and Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Dr. Jessica Lakin, Associate Provost for Academic Administration

Dr. Juliette Lantz, Associate Dean of Curriculum 

Dr. Brianne Barker, Associate Professor of Biology

Andrew Bonamici, University Librarian

Joan Galbraith, Director of Health Services 

Max Zhang, Chinese Language & Culture Advisor



Can video classes be watched later or do they have to be watched live?


Lakin: If you’re sick, you should prioritize getting well. You’ll get specific plans for your classes over the next few days, faculty members will reach out to you about how courses and attendance will work. There will, to an extent, be a relaxing of various policies.


Lantz: Professors have been asked to stick to the academic schedule


Do students need to purchase Zoom?


Lakin: No — please do not spend money. Your faculty member hosting the call will have a professional license which does not restrict the time use — make sure to follow the link from your faculty member.


Do you advise students to move off campus or stay on campus?


Merckx: No one knows which is safer — if you want to go home, go home; if you want to stay here, stay here. Students should make their own decisions on whether Drew or home is safer for them.


Will letting people leave increase the risk that someone brings back a disease to campus?


Merckx: Some schools — like Harvard — kicked everyone out. If Drew did that, some people would be homeless, some people wouldn’t have a place to go. On the other hand, some people need to go home because of immune system issues, and it would be wrong to not let them participate in social distancing. 


Will this semester’s room and board fees be reduced for those not staying on campus?


Merckx: Not at this time.


What is the plan if the situation has not improved by April 3, and would students be able to pick up belongings?


Merckx: Yes — if you’re going home and want to pack up items for summer storage, you’re able to do so; but we’re hoping that it doesn’t come to that. Scientists don’t have the answers for how long this will last.


What are students with jobs on campus, especially work study students, supposed to do?


Merckx: The reality is that some positions may be furloughed — if there’s no need for a student worker to be at their student job, they won’t be able to work. However, if your student job is remote, such as some health services jobs, then you may be able to work. You'll receive guidance from your employer.


Will Commons be accepting points?


Merckx: Yes — and if you want to change your meal plan type because you’re staying on campus that could be considered. 


Will students returning to campus be tested and will Drew monitor who’s on/off campus?


Merckx: Students returning to campus will not be tested, though there are some students who the university asked after spring break to self-quarantine in their own homes.


Can commuters come and go from campus?


Merckx: Technically yes, but there’s not a need for commuters to be here unless they’re working their job. As a reminder, there is a no guest policy in the dorms. 


Will NCAA sports continue practice?


Merckx: Yes — any NCAA team who is in season currently will continue practice and games. Much of this guidance will come from the Landmark Conference and NCAA. Out of season NCAA sports and club sports have been suspended, including practices.


Will WiFi access be impacted?


Merckx: We’re hoping that wifi service will actually be better with some people gone; Zoom is not resource intensive so problems are not anticipated.


Will Drew give students who return home advance notice if the remote learning period is extended?


Merckx: Yes, but we don’t know how much because we don’t know the timeline yet. Some airlines are suspending fees for changing flights, if it comes to that.


Lakin: The next three weeks will be remote, no matter what. 


Is Junior/Senior cancelled?


Merckx: Currently it is postponed.


Will we be notified if a Drew community member contracts COVID-19?


Merckx: Yes.


Is the Center for Academic Excellence conducting tutoring through Zoom?


Lakin: The CAE will be conducting online tutoring, but not necessarily through Zoom. The details are being worked out and information will be sent out in the coming days.


Bonamici: The library is working with IT to create resources for CAE, students, and faculty. These will be sent out in the next day or two.


Update (3/11/2020): The CAE has announced in an email that it will be providing tutoring via WCOnline


Lantz: Faculty have been asked to have online office hours, they will give you more information on this. If you have an accessibility concern, reach out to Dean Redling. 


If students choose to go home, why can they not return until the end of remote learning?


Merckx: Primarily so Drew can have an updated and accurate roster, and partially for security reasons. You're more than welcome to go off campus (as examples, into Madison for grocery shopping or into NYC for a Broadway show) for any reason, but if you choose to go home your ID card access to the dorms may be disabled. Please remember to fill out the form linked in President Baenninger's email.


Will single use water bottles be available with a meal swipe?


Merckx: No. No business is using reusable cups right now as a best practice, but you can get water as a fountain drink.


Will public safety be ticketing cars?


Merckx: Public safety policies will continue as normal.


Will graduation be affected?


Merckx: There are no plans for graduation to be affected.


Will the DoYo and academic buildings be open for students?


Lakin: This has not been decided yet, as the university is still determining which staff will be on campus. 


If exams or papers were scheduled for this week, what happens?


Lakin: Faculty members will let you know for your specific courses — this may mean changes to the class structure. You’ll get more information soon.


What’s the plan for library hours?


Bonamici: The library is open Wednesday, further hours are TBD due to staffing. Check the library website for updates, and remember all the possible remote services that the library offers.


Why isn’t the university testing for COVID-19?


Galbraith: First, the university isn’t quarantining anyone on campus — this is social distancing. Quarantining and isolation are for sick/potentially sick individuals, and this is not happening on campus. In regards to testing, there is testing available — but you have to meet certain criteria (symptoms, risk exposure) set by the state and federal governments. This is not Drew mandated. If health services determines a student is displaying symptoms, the student would be sent to the emergency room where a test could be conducted by the state lab. Health Services will be open for their usual hours. 


For off campus internships, are students expected to continue to get required hours?


Lakin: There are lots of specific issues here — there's an academic team working to figure this out, and it may have to be on a case-by-case basis. If you’re able to continue your internship please do so, if you have questions please contact the career center.


Have summerTRECS been cancelled?


Lakin: No decision has been made, hopefully those will continue as planned. 


What about stress and pressure on international students?


Zhang: INTO has been working with students from highly affected countries such as China and South Korea. We’ll be working closely with both counseling and academic services to ensure support is provided to international students. Immigration and visa questions should also be directed to INTO.


Should students move everything out of their rooms?


Merckx: Unless there’s a specific reason why you’re not coming back, there’s no reason to move all your things out. Students going home can treat this as a normal break. Talk to ResLife if you’re an international student who may not be able to return to campus due to CDC guidelines.


Will normal quiet hours/residence hall policies be practiced?


Merckx: It’s possible that 24 hour quiet hours will be put into effect. An 80 person party in the suites is not good social distancing — try using Zoom for parties instead.

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