How will classes be conducted during the fall 2020 semester?
Currently, the fall 2020 semester is set to begin Aug. 24, 2020, and run until Dec. 11, 2020. However, no face-to-face classes will be held after the Thanksgiving break. The university will offer as many face-to-face courses as possible, with an emphasis on selected lab and experiential courses. There also will be both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning as well as hybrid classes that are a mix of face-to-face instruction and remote learning. For in-person instruction, classroom capacity will be limited to 25 to 50 percent of capacity. The FSU Board of Trustees approved the plan June 18, and the Florida Board of Governors approved it on June 23.
Office hours for the FSU PC campus are posted on the Return to Student Life Guide. Students, faculty, and staff will need to have their FSUCard present to access campus facilities. Guests will need to report to the Holley Academic Center to sign in.
I’ve never taken classes remotely. Where do I start?
The Office of Distance Learning has compiled the Student Guide to Learning Online that includes tools and tips to help students stay connected to your instructors and classmates as well as maximize learning at a distance. The guide includes options for free internet access, instructions on how to use tools like Canvas and Zoom and directions on how FSU students can access free software like IBM’s SPSS.
Is the library open?
The FSU PC Library is currently open for individual study with a limited capacity based on social distancing. Ready reference questions will be answered both in-person and virtually; and circulation of physical items will be handled in-person during open hours and accomplished through a distanced, sequential hands-free method. Individual research consultations and group bibliographic instructions on research skills and citation management tools will be offered through videoconference, e-mail, or phone.
Study rooms are limited to one person per room to prevent disease transmission in confined spaces. No food or drink will be permitted.
Library hours are:
Monday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 6:00 p.m.
Is there a difference between a course designed for online learning and a course that is traditionally offered face-to-face but is being delivered remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
There is a difference. In a traditional on-campus course, students gather in a classroom with their instructor and engage with learning activities in real time. Interaction between students and instructors is organic and usually very high. This fall, because of the pandemic, some traditional in-person classes are being taught remotely through video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, and FSU’s learning management system, Canvas. These classes are not normally delivered remotely. The remote instruction is an alternative teaching method that allows instructors and students to practice proper social distancing.
Courses developed and delivered online exclusively for distance learning incorporate alternative teaching strategies and instructional design to ensure that students experience interactions with peers and instructors even when learning at a distance. Designing and delivering an online class that offers similar engagement to on-campus courses for students typically takes more time, planning, and effort to create content and develop interactive activities. Faculty use instructional designers, instructor training, media production services, specialized software, and teaching assistants trained to support students in an online environment.
I am enrolled in a distance learning course. Why do I have to pay distance learning fees when students who are taking courses that are being taught remotely do not?
Courses developed and delivered online exclusively for distance learning students are significantly more expensive than their traditional on-campus counterparts. Costs include things like instructional designers, instructor training, media production services, specialized software, and teaching assistants trained to support students in an online environment.
To offset those additional costs, FSU charges a distance learning fee for courses exclusively developed and delivered online. Fees vary by course and consider the cost of curriculum design and development, technology for online delivery, course mentors, and online program support services. Distance learning fees only serve to recover the cost of providing the course online and are not used as a source of revenue.
Traditional on-campus courses do not assess a distance learning fee. Although additional expenses have been incurred to deliver these courses remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, FSU is absorbing these costs in order to prevent students from paying additional, unexpected fees for courses that would not typically have them.
For students enrolled in fully online programs, the distance learning fee is often offset by other fee reductions and waivers. For example, FSU waives student health, transportation, and facilities use fees for distance learning students and significantly reduces athletics and activities/services fees.
I didn’t realize that I enrolled in a distance learning course. The same course is being offered remotely this fall. Can I switch?
Students who are enrolled in a distance learning course can contact their academic advisor to check availability for a section of the course that is ordinarily offered face to face.
When registering for classes, how do I know if I’m enrolling in a traditional, classroom-based course taught remotely or in a course developed exclusively for online delivery?
When registering for classes in Student Central, note the location field in each course and section. It’s possible for a course to have multiple sections, some offered remotely and some online. Class sections offered remotely will list the location as remote. Class sections designed exclusively for online delivery will list the location as online. If you need help finding remote course sections in Student Central, your advisor can assist you.
What is a FLEX course and how do I know if my course is being offered as a FLEX course this fall?
Courses offered by FSU PC will be offered as online, face-to-face, remote, or as a PC FLEX course (new).
A PC FLEX course is designed to provide flexible attendance options for students. In a FLEX course, students can choose to 1) attend face-to-face (FTF) class sessions (conducted on campus in accordance with CDC recommendations and university safety protocols) or 2) participate in the course remotely without physically attending class. All enrolled students will work with their individual professors throughout the semester to let them know whether they will attend in-person or remotely.
You can see if your course is scheduled as a FLEX course by looking at the course attribute value on the schedule of classes. When viewing search results, under the enrollment information you can identify PC Flex.
Will tutoring services be available?
Peer Tutoring services will be provided virtually and in-person. For more information, contact the Academic Advising and Student Success Center at (850) 770-2288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will the computer labs be open?
No specific hours will be posted for the computer lab. If the lab is not being used for classes students can call (850) 872-4750 to request access.
Is the Testing Center at GCSC open?
The GCSC Testing Center is open for currently enrolled FSU Panama City students. Information about the GCSC Testing Center, including how to schedule an appointment can be found at https://www.gulfcoast.edu/admissions/testing-services/index.html.
I’m taking classes remotely during the fall semester and miss campus life. How can I stay connected?
FSU PC will continue to offer virtual engagement opportunities and community building for new and returning students throughout the fall semester. Check out https://studentaffairs.fsu.edu/virtualfsu/ for virtual health and wellness information, services from the Career Center and the University Counseling Center, food pantry and case management support as well as links to virtual opportunities to be active, meet about wellness and find engaging things to do online.
What programs, services, and events are being offered this fall?
FSU PC will offer virtual and on-campus engagement opportunities and community building for new and returning students throughout the fall semester. Check out the FSU Panama City Calendar for a list of upcoming events. The Return to Student Life Guide also outlines programs and services being offered this fall.
My student organization would like to host an event. What are the guidelines?
FSU encourages virtual gatherings via Zoom and other platforms whenever feasible in order to minimize the risks of COVID-19, however, some in-person indoor and outdoor events will resume with a measured and controlled approach. In-person events should be limited; those events that take place should adhere to Guidelines for Events and Gatherings whether events are on or off campus.
The maximum capacity for indoor campus events and gatherings could be up to 50 people. Depending on the venue layout and space available, the maximum attendance for the event could be set at less than 50 persons in order to ensure the minimum prescribed physical distancing requirement is met.
The maximum capacity for outdoor campus events and gatherings is 50 people. No events of greater than 50 persons will be allowed.
Can I utilize the fitness center and weight room at Gulf Coast State College?
Yes. Information about the GCSC fitness center and weight room can be found on their Fitness Center/Weight Room website at https://www.gulfcoast.edu/current-students/academic-divisions/wellness/weight-room.html.
What dining options will be available?
FSU PC food venues will be open to students, faculty, and staff to purchase “grab and go” items in compliance with state guidelines. Venues will provide cashless services only. Customers will be required to follow directional signage and social distancing indicators.
Shane’s Rib Shack will be open with hours of operation Monday–Thursday from 10:30am-2:30pm. If it's busy, they will stay later.
Grizzly Brew Coffee will be open Monday–Thursday, 7:45 AM to 3:00 PM.
Will scheduled FSU athletic events move forward?
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced July 29 that if public health guidance allows, all ACC-sponsored fall sports will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12. Florida State’s football team will play a 10-game ACC schedule with home games against Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia. The Seminoles also participate in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and women’s soccer in the fall, but dates have not been set for competition in any of these sports. The university continues to monitor advice from local, state and federal health officials and will follow guidance from the ACC and NCAA. For more information, visit seminoles.com.
Will my fall study abroad program be affected?
The university has canceled fall 2020 International Programs. Spring programs are currently expected to proceed as scheduled. For more on FSU International Programs, visit https://international.fsu.edu/.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What is the Daily Wellness Check?
Participating in a daily wellness check supports the overall health and wellness of the Florida State community. All students should complete the Daily Wellness Check Tool in the MyFSU MobileApp or portal each day before coming to campus. The Daily Wellness Check Tool asks if you have experienced symptoms or if you have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. Students who pass the wellness check can move about campus, observing social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering. Students who do not pass the wellness check are highly encouraged to follow the instructions provided on the MobileApp.
Will face coverings be required?
Yes, face coverings are required in all indoor facilities on campus. Individuals will not be permitted to attend face-to-face classes, take part in other events or access services indoors without the proper face coverings. Face coverings will be available in multiple locations on campus if a student does not have access to or has forgotten their face covering. For more information, visit the CDC’s guidelines on How to Wear Masks .
Will FSU supply face coverings?
FSU has purchased face coverings to distribute to students. Staff will distribute face masks August 24-27, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CT in the Holley Rotunda. If you are unable to pick up your mask at these times, please contact the Office of Finance and Administration at (850) 770-2110.
Will students, faculty and staff be tested for COVID-19?
It is critical to the safety and well-being of the entire campus community that we all do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The University is strongly encouraging all individuals who will be present on campus to undergo testing for COIVD-19 through a recognized testing procedure of their choice before returning to campus.
I have come in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends self-quarantine or self-isolation only for individuals who were in close contact with a case of COVID-19. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). If you were in close contact with a case of COVID-19 or during the next 14 days feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, please seek medical advice and call ahead before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Also, please avoid contact with others, do not travel while sick and avoid using public transportation.
If you did not come in close contact with a case of COVID-19, here are some reminders on how to stay healthy. Please remember to avoid close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your face, stay home when you are sick, clean frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipes and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
What if I exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19?
Students who are symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate themselves according to the CDC guidelines for isolation. Students experiencing symptoms should remain in isolation until at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication, and symptoms have improved. Students who have been hospitalized with symptoms may need to remain in isolation longer according to doctor recommendations. Students who have tested positive but had no symptoms should remain in isolation until at least 10 days have passed since the date they tested positive.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, we highly encourage you to let us know by accessing the Daily Wellness Check Tool in the myFSU mobile app or portal so the FSU Panama City COVID Response Team may provide the proper support and response.
Is FSU PC conducting contact tracing? Will I be contacted if I’ve been exposed?
If you are tested through the FSU testing program, results will be reviewed by University Health Services. If authorized, the test results will be shared with the FSU Panama City COVID Response Team. This will ensure proper response including sharing isolation guidelines, referrals to university resources, and conducting appropriate contact assessment to mitigate the spread of the virus.
If you are exposed while on campus or if you test positive for coronavirus, expect a confidential call from the FSU PC Response Team.
If you are asked to quarantine due to an exposure, the FSU PC Response Team will help you know when you are approved to return to campus activities.
What is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation?
Quarantining in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but are not yet symptomatic from others who have not been exposed to prevent the possible spread of the disease. Self-isolation means the separation of a person or group known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the disease.
Why does FSU recommend a flu shot?
Annual vaccination against seasonal flu may help to prevent illness, the severity of flu, and serious complications caused by flu. People who receive the vaccine miss less class or work due to illness. The vaccine also helps prevent others from getting the flu from you. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm.
What assistance is available to help students cope with COVID-19 or other life events?
Counseling Services are available for virtual and in-person appointments. Please call Kathleen Duval for assistance at (850) 770- 2174.
How are common areas being maintained in each building?
Facilities is committed to enhancing, providing, and maintaining clean, safe, and sanitary conditions for all academic, administrative and support buildings. Your assistance in helping us maintain these facilities, classrooms, and workspaces is critical in keeping a safe and clean work environment. All cleaning on campus currently follows CDC standards and utilizes EPA registered cleaning agents, including the wiping down of common area tables/chairs, etc. Classrooms will be cleaned in between every scheduled class.
Are there any measures being taken regarding the air conditioning system?
As a precautionary measure, the HVAC air filtration system has been evaluated for all campus buildings. While all systems meet current filtration standards and are deemed extremely low risk for transfer of pathogens, the University has opted to install higher efficiency air filters for additional protection. These high efficiency filters use mechanical and electrostatic filtration and have been demonstrated to protect against water droplets and many aerosol particles released from coughing or sneezing.
Do you have any recommended information on cleaning and disinfection?
The CDC has provided an easy-to-read printable on workplace, school and home cleaning.
Is university-sponsored travel affected?
All university-sponsored domestic and international travel continues to be restricted.
Are employees restricted from traveling?
The University has canceled all international and domestic university-related travel. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to refrain from personal international or domestic travel, unless the reason for such travel is designated as essential. However, personal travel is not prohibited. If employees choose to travel, they should review COVID-19 data at their anticipated destination in order to make an informed decision about their exposure risk. Personal domestic travel will no longer require a 14-day self -quarantine unless the employee presents COVID-19 related symptoms upon return from travel. Individuals who travel internationally and/or on any cruise to any location, should not return to campus until they have been COVID-19 symptom free at their normal place of residence for 14 days. Notify your supervisor if you have experienced COVID-19 symptoms, traveled internationally, or recently been on a cruise. Supervisors can consult with HR regarding the 14-day quarantine period, if needed.
What about travel for student organizations?
FSU student organizations and recognized groups will not be permitted to travel outside of the Panama City area to attend an event or otherwise represent Florida State University in any event or competition through December 31, 2020. Any such travel, regardless of funding source (University, organization, or personal funds), is not permitted for group travel. For more information, see the Student Travel Policy in the Student Affairs Return to Campus Life Guide.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19
Florida State University is carefully monitoring developments related to the Coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will provide updated information and guidance as it becomes available. Our highest priority remains the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
About the Coronavirus
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC Official Updates
What are the Symptoms?
For confirmed cases, symptoms have ranged from infected people having few to no symptoms to people becoming severely ill. Symptoms appear within 2 through 14 days and can include:
- Shortness of breath
What areas are currently affected?
For the latest information on cases in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Health.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
The virus causing COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person, according to the CDC. Someone who is sick with the virus can spread the illness to others. The virus spreads through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes.
What does exposure mean?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure is defined as being within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (such as caring for or visiting a patient) or having unprotected direct contact with a patient, such as being coughed on or touching a used tissue with a bare hand.
How is it prevented?
The best way to prevent infection is avoid exposure to the virus. As a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
For more information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing site .
What is FSU doing to prevent coronavirus?
Florida State University is taking aggressive steps to prevent the spread of disease, such as COVID-19, by promoting healthy habits and enhancing its existing cleaning and disinfection practices. This cannot be achieved without the help of the entire campus community. First and foremost, this means engaging in healthy habits such as washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; covering your cough or sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; avoiding those who are sick; and staying home when you are sick. Signage promoting this is posted throughout campus.
FSU PC facilities and maintenance have reviewed cleaning protocols and products and are taking extra measures to disinfect frequently touched areas like doorknobs, stair rails, elevator buttons and other surfaces (such as exercise equipment and classroom AV equipment). High traffic areas such as libraries, bathrooms and eating areas also receive more cleanings.
What is the COVID-19 Random Testing Program?
The Random Testing Program (RTP) is planned for ongoing testing of asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff physically present on campus during the Fall 2020 semester. Monitored by epidemiologists at the Bay County Department of Health, random testing allows FSU Panama City to monitor and respond to infection levels in the campus community. The University’s goal is to test at least 10% of those who are on campus daily based on the average from the prior week. Testing of faculty and staff is job related and consistent with business necessity. The program will begin on Monday, September 14. Voluntary testing will continue to be available through Thursday, November 19, 2020.
Each week, students, faculty, and staff who are engaged in on-campus activities will be randomly selected to participate and notified by email and a MyFSU push notification on Sunday with a reminder sent on Monday. Those selected will be directed to make a testing appointment by clicking this link: https://uhs.fsu.edu/covid-testing-dates-panama-city-campus. All testing on the Panama City Campus will take place in the Barron Building, Room 125 on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9AM to Noon. Appointments must be scheduled no later than Tuesday, and specimen collection must be completed by Thursday at the end of testing.
Will getting the flu shot help?
The flu shot will not prevent coronavirus; however, people with the flu are more susceptible to other illnesses, so a shot is still recommended.