Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are evolving based on the information available. Topics will be added as new questions and answers emerge. For other questions, you can email

 

Academics–Minimester and Spring 2021

Has the pandemic impacted the schedule for minimester and spring 2021?

Towson University announced plans for the 2021 minimester, spring term on October 14, 2020. 

There will be no changes to the academic calendar for the minimester and spring 2021 terms.

Minimester will begin Monday, Jan. 4, with classes ending on Friday, Jan. 22.

Spring term will begin Monday, Jan. 25, with classes ending on Tuesday, May 11.
Final exams will be held May 12–18. 

How will classes be delivered during minimester and spring 2021?

All minimester classes will be offered via remote instruction only. The spring term will begin with the first two weeks — from Jan. 25 to Feb. 7 — delivered as remote instruction, with exceptions for selected laboratories, clinical experiences, internships and experiential courses. Beginning Feb. 8, face-to-face and hybrid instruction will be held on campus and remotely. Our research initiatives, always guided by the highest standards, will continue as well. We are committed to working with students needing labs, studios and performance-based classes that are required for completion of their degrees. 

How much of spring term will be delivered through remote instruction?

During the spring term, approximately 85% of instruction will be offered remotely while face-to-face and hybrid course delivery will be conducted at previously determined, reduced densities in accordance with federal, state and local health and safety guidance.

Can students still participate remotely for classes that are offered in person?

The policy for fall will remain in place — students will be able to select remote learning for all but a very small subset of courses where there is no alternative to face-to-face (such as clinical rotations and some internships).

Will professors have choices regarding the modality of courses?

Faculty will continue to have the ability to determine the modality of their courses. Including synchronous elements to all remote instruction is highly recommended.

Will TU observe spring break?

Spring break will take place from March 14–21.

Will study abroad be offered during minimester or spring 2021?

No study abroad programs will be offered during the minimester or spring terms in 2021.

The TU Study Abroad Office offers virtual group advising sessions for students interested in planning for future study abroad. For information, contact studyabroad@towson.edu.

Do schedule changes apply to TUNE, Hagerstown and Shady Grove?

Yes. Those locations follow TU protocols for schedule changes or campus status.

 

Housing and campus life

What is the plan for on-campus housing in the spring? 


On-campus, university-owned residence halls will house approximately 2,300 students — a much-reduced density, representing approximately 30% of residence halls’ total capacity. Read about occupancy, availability, move-in and other housing information for spring 2021. 

Housing & Residence Life is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. via phone at 410-704-2516, via live chat on the website, or via email at

Will TU relax the “no visitors” rule from fall?

TU will continue to not allow guests in residence halls or on campus to help maintain health and safety of the university community.

Is space set aside for isolation or quarantine? 

Quarantine and isolation space on campus will be doubled to 196 beds, with additional residence halls in queue if needed. More staffing to support and care for students in quarantine/isolation has been added to the Division of Student Affairs. 

Are campus buildings open now?

Campus buildings are accessible with a TU OneCard.

How can I obtain a OneCard?

You only need to get a new OneCard if you do not currently have one. New students, faculty and staff who do not yet have a OneCard should log in to the OneCard website to complete the application process.

You will be notified via email when the card is ready for pickup or if additional steps are required.

Students, faculty and staff who need to replace a lost or stolen OneCard may do so at the Auxiliary Services Business Office. Fees may apply.

Cards can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the Auxiliary Services Business Office located on the first floor of the University Union.

Is the Cook Library open now?

Many of the library’s services and resources are available online. If you need a quiet place to study, contactless pick-up, or more information about our services, visit in-person resources.

Will dining services be available on campus after Thanksgiving break?

Yes. Dining services will be available from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Monday, Dec. 14. View current dining hours and locations

Will my meal plan stay active?

Current weekly meal plans expire on Tuesday, Nov. 24. If you wish to maintain your weekly meal plan through the end of the term, send an email from your TU email account including your name, your TUID and indicate that you wish to purchase an extension to your meal plan to by 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20.  Students with a block plan will be able to continue using meals from that plan through Monday, Dec. 14.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Will TU require a baseline negative COVID-19 test like in August? 

As required this fall, all TU students, faculty and staff must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 14 days prior to returning to campus in 2021. More details about this baseline testing will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

Will sentinel testing be carried into spring 2021? 

Sentinel testing for COVID-19, commenced this fall in collaboration with the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, of a randomly selected sample of our on-campus community will continue in 2021. Further details about sentinel testing will be provided in the next several weeks. 

Why has TU established sentinel testing for COVID-19? 

Since early June, COVID-19 testing has been conducted on campus to help ensure the health and safety of the entire TU community. As our response to the virus shifts based on the latest health guidance, we have implemented a new approach to testing students, faculty and staff.

Sentinel testing, a random sample testing of the university community, now occurs every other week at the University Health Center. Only a sampling of those residing, regularly working and learning on campus will be tested moving forward. These randomized tests are a proven and effective way to monitor the prevalence and spread of COVID-19 within our community.

It is critically important that if you are selected to be part of a random sample group that you schedule and complete a COVID-19 test at the University Health Center as directed. Emails are sent directly to individuals who are randomly selected every two weeks. Your prompt compliance if you receive this email ensures the effectiveness of this recommended testing approach.

Read FAQs on sentinel testing

Will the Tigers Care QuickScan continue?

The Tigers Care QuickScan will continue to be used as another means to monitor the presence of COVID-19 within the campus community. Anyone who regularly comes to campus and all residential students will be required to participate in this program. More details will follow in the weeks ahead.

Will the TU Health Center COVID-19 test site remain operational?

Yes. COVID-19 testing is available at the University Health Center only for students, faculty and staff who need initial return testing, testing at the request of a healthcare provider, or for those selected for sentinel testing. Those selected for sentinel testing will be notified by email.

Will masks still be required on campus? 

Towson University will continue to be a mask-on campus. Inside campus buildings, masks and 6 feet of physical distancing will be required, unless you are alone in a private office space with the door closed. Outside campus buildings, masks are required if you cannot provide 6 feet of physical distancing from others.

Where can I find the most recent COVID-19 testing data? 

TU is updating a COVID-19 Testing Data dashboard every Thursday.  

Do students have access to the Health and Counseling Centers?
 

Yes. The TU Health Center is open by appointment for non-COVID-related services. Please call 410-704-2466 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Health Center’s outdoor COVID-19 test site is open by appointment only for students who need initial return testing, testing at the request of a healthcare provider, or for those selected for sentinel testing. Those selected for sentinel testing will be contacted by email.

The Counseling Center is offering a full array of services, including after-hours assistance. To reach the center, call 410-704-2512 at any time. Information and appointments are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Immediate crisis support is always available by phone outside business hours.

What if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or am in contact with a confirmed case?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or were in contact with a confirmed case and you have concerns, please see information about reporting COVID-19 symptoms

Is there a COVID-19 Nurse HelpLine I can call with questions?

TU is offering a 24/7 TigersCare COVID-19 Nurse HelpLine to our community members (students, faculty, staff, and other university affiliates). The TigersCare Nurse HelpLine provides COVID Screening per CDC guidelines and inquiries about:

  • Symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough or fever
  • Testing questions and understanding results
  • Possible exposure and not having symptoms
  • Diagnosed or suspected symptoms of COVID-19

Written protocols are used to assist any TU community member who experiences symptoms the right level of care. The TU 24/7 TigersCare COVID-19 Nurse HelpLine phone number is 855-278-8610.

What is the standard for campus cleaning at TU?
  • Common areas, lobbies, classrooms and conference rooms will be cleaned daily by ABM, following CDC guidance. Additional cleaning of high touch points and high communal use areas (stairwell and room/building door handles, elevator buttons, etc.) will be done several times a day.
  • Employees are expected to clean individual work areas of keyboard, desk, or surfaces with which they have made contact and wipe down personal workspaces. Cleaning cloths/disinfecting spray will be made available.
  • TU is using cleaning supplies that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19
  • Read more about campus cleaning standards in the Health & Safety Protocols.
Will the campus continue to recognize the COVID-19 health and safety protocols?

All COVID-19 protocols will remain in effect. For more information, read about how Tigers Care.

 

Events

What is the plan for Tigers football and other sports in spring 2021?

The Towson University athletics department will not be playing an intercollegiate football schedule during the 2021 spring season. Towson football will now prepare for the traditional 2021 fall season. Read more about this announcement from Towson Athletics.

Tigers teams continue to prepare for upcoming competitive schedules, abiding by all health and safety precautions, including COVID-19 screening for players, coaches and staff. 

What are the plans for Commencement?

TU is moving forward with plans for a Commencement celebration during the week of May 17-21, 2021. The ceremonies will include spring 2021 graduates, as well as those from spring, summer and fall 2020. TU will continue to follow best practices and guidance from local, state and federal partners to ensure this celebration of our graduates can be done so safely.  

 

Experiential Learning and Internships

What is included in experiential learning?

Experiential learning includes courses and for-credit experiences such as internships, clinicals, practicums, study abroad and service-learning.

As a student, what do I need to know about off-campus/in-person experiential learning?

Where possible, students are strongly encouraged to participate in virtual/remote internships, clinicals, practicums, and service-learning. Decisions to permit in-person, for-credit experiential learning will be made on a case-by-case basis. Students will work with relevant faculty/staff to process the review of a request for an in-person experiential learning activity.

To evaluate a request for an in-person experience, information on the following (at a minimum) will need to be gathered/provided:

  • Will the student be in direct contact with individuals investigated / suspected / diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Does the site understand that the student would need to adhere to Towson University’s procedures for those exposed to or infected with COVID-19?
  • What are the site’s safety protocols (in congruence with CDC guidelines) on: social/physical distancing, PPE, health checks, and contract tracing?
  • Is the state/municipality of the site under a stay-at-home or essential personnel only rule?
  • Does the site have the ability to transition to virtual/remote internship experience if needed?

If a request for in-person experiential learning is approved, the student will need to sign a statement of risk before commencing an in-person experience.

What if a major or program requires an internship or field work for graduation or professional certification?

Students should check with the coordinator of internships or professional experience (PDF) for their program. Many have established priority access and/or viable alternative experience or assignments for students who must fulfill experiential requirements.

Examples of alternatives could include micro-internships.

Faculty who would like to explore additional alternative assignments and learning opportunities for their internship course(s) can review suggestions for internship alternatives (PDF).

As a faculty/staff member, what do I need to know about in-person experiential learning?

Where possible, students are strongly encouraged to participate in virtual/remote internships, clinicals, practicums, and service-learning. Decisions to permit in-person, for-credit experiential learning will take place on a case-by-case basis.

An evaluation form (PDF) has been developed to guide faculty/staff in the review and decision-making process. Considerations in the evaluation include a focus on the site’s safety protocols.

Additionally, students participating in an in-person, for-credit experience will be asked to review and sign a statement of risk document (PDF).

Faculty/staff should work with their Chairs/Deans to establish how these documents are to be collected, evaluated, processed and stored. Faculty/staff also should consult with Chairs/Deans to make necessary adjustments to these documents to conform to the dictates of programs, accreditors and/or licensing boards. As collection of this information for in-person experiential learning will be required, units will need to determine how to build this information collection and storage into their existing processes.

Faculty/staff are encouraged to build in regular check-ins with students approved for in-person experiential learning to continually monitor any changes to local/state regulations, site safety practices, and student comfort with the in-person experience.

If PPE is required by an experiential learning site, but not provided by the site, how should we proceed?

Faculty/staff overseeing a student in this situation should run the PPE request through their Dean or VP who can explore feasibility and options with TU Environmental Health and Safety.

What are the considerations for virtual/remote experiential learning?

Benefits of virtual experiences can include:

  • Accessibility for underrepresented populations
  • Little to no expense incurred for commuting (while reducing carbon footprint), extra professional attire or additional workplace expenses (such as meals out)
  • Increased consultation with faculty coordinator (i.e., advice about work-based projects)
  • Development of in-demand skills: time and project management; organization; research and analysis, communication across multiple platforms; Internet literacy; global and diverse workplaces
  • Opportunity for students to become more self-directed including learning to complete projects independently without constant supervision and increased confidence in their own work production

Robust and impactful virtual experiences should include the following elements:

  • Defines clear expectations; presents a written work plan
  • Identifies a supervisor with a background in the student’s field of study or professional interest
  • Complements/supports identified learning objectives
  • Benefits the student’s professional development
  • Establishes a mentoring environment and includes regular check points with a mentor
  • Equips the student with technology/tools and provides free training
    (Note: students who need financial assistance to secure technology required for their experiential learning activity should explore options available through the TU Student Emergency Fund.
  • Allows insight into a professional culture through staff meetings, training sessions, etc.
  • Includes other team members and a well-balanced experience of the overall organization.

 

Admissions and Aid

Can I defer enrollment and start in the spring?

Yes. Students who submitted their enrollment contract and fee can contact Shaun Belton at  to discuss deferment options.

Will I lose my financial aid package if I defer?

If you are deferring from fall 2020 to spring 2021, you do not need to submit your FAFSA again but your financial aid package may change.

 

Staff and Student Workers

Will some staff still continue to work on campus?

We will continue to encourage and support telework to the extent possible recognizing that some positions cannot sustain partial or full telework. There will still be some positions and work that can and will be performed on campus.

Will administrative leave be available for staff or students?

There are no plans to provide administrative leave for staff. If anyone is unable to work for any reason, they can use their accrued paid leave or in some situations, they may be eligible for paid leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Read more about using leave and the FFCRA.

Student workers are not eligible for administrative leave, including students with Federal work-study awards. Current federal aid regulations prohibit TU from paying FWS funds to students who aren’t working.