Coronavirus FAQ

Internet Access

Many students and staff have reporting limited or no access to internet from their homes. One option shared by the University System of Georgia is Charter Spectrum internet, which announced that beginning March 16, they will commit to the following for 60 days:

  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps.
    • To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.
    • Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.
  • For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use
  • Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.

This message is provided as one of many possible internet resources available to USG faculty, staff, and students, and does not represent official endorsement of Charter or any other internet service providers by the University System of Georgia or its institutions. We will share additional resources as they are offered. 

Students

  • Dental Hygiene Students

    Due to our campus COVID-19 response, we are currently unable to administer the HOAE exam, a required component of the application process for our Dental Hygiene program.  As a result, we will extend the application deadline to June 15th. We will re-evaluate this should the COVID-19 response dictate a longer period of social distancing.  

    All currently enrolled VSU students with declared majors in dental hygiene have been notified but we would like to place a notification on the program's landing page so that non-VSU students who are planning to apply will be aware.  The website is https://www.valdosta.edu/programs/a-a-s-in-dental-hygiene/

  • Academics

    How can I be successful in learning online?

    Each of you will be getting your own academic coach. This person is your single point of contact for any challenge you may experience for the remainder of the term. They are “your person!” Your coach will reach out to you directly after Monday, March 30.

    Will there be tutoring or supplemental instruction?

    All of your online courses will include a link that can connect you directly to the resources you need for academic support. We will also be offering easily accessible tutoring in one-on-one and/or group sessions online via video chat in every course where tutoring has traditionally been provided. Supplemental Instruction will continue to be available in the same courses in which it was previously available, and this assistance will be easy to access in your course materials in Blazeview.

    How will my tests be given, and do I now need to pay an additional fee for a test proctor service?

    Faculty are currently working to develop secure ways to offer and proctor tests in an online format that will not require you to pay additional fees. Specific information regarding testing will be available in your course materials on Blazeview.

    How do I contact my advisor?

    Academic Advisors are actively connecting with students through VSU email. If you need to send an email to your advisor, a list of the academic advisors and their contact information is available here. If you're not sure who your assigned advisor is, the information is available in the VSU Success Portal. Feel free to send us an email at UAST@valdosta.edu and we will make the connection for you.

    How can I get technology assistance? Is the IT Solution Center available?

    The IT Solutions Center will continue to be available, and all staff will maintain established hours. Solutions Center management will be monitoring the number of requests closely and will be able to add additional resources to meet any increased call volumes. The IT Solutions Center can be reached at 229-245-4357.

    What if I don’t have an internet connection or a computer at my home?

    Most course content will be accessible via a standard smartphone. However, for tests and assignments, student will need an iPad, laptop, or standard desktop computer with internet access. VSU has, therefore, purchased 200 MiFi hotspots for faculty and student use. We are working out a process now that will allow for checkout of these devices. A very limited number of iPads and laptop computers are also being made available for check-out for those most in need. Please contact the Media Center at 229.333.5863 for more information.   

    What if I need to withdraw?

    First, before making the decision to withdraw from any course, we hope that you will give the new format a try. We are offering significant help to maximize your chances of success. If you still need to withdraw, we have adjusted the Withdrawal Policy for you to be removed from a class without penalty, should you, your faculty member, and your academic advisor agree it is best. If you wish to withdraw from one or more of your current courses, email the Registrar’s Office at registrar@valdosta.edu to express your desire to withdraw, the specific classes, and the reasons why If you need to withdraw from all courses this semester due to personal hardship, visit this site to start the process

    VSU is administratively waiving the 5 “W” limit on withdrawals for the remainder of the semester. You can see the updated policy for Spring 2020 on the Academic Affairs website.

    What about my clinical placement, internship, student teaching, laboratories, and studios?

    Unless otherwise directed by Academic Affairs, students should follow the guidance of their placement agency (i.e., school system, healthcare facility, etc.) and remain in contact with their faculty or staff advisor for the placement/internship. Should you be asked to no longer serve in your clinical placements, internships, etc., please contact your faculty or staff advisor immediately. Additional guidance will be provided at a later date.

    What impact does this have on Study Abroad?

    All study abroad trips for Spring, Maymester, and Summer have been canceled. The Study Abroad office is working with students on available refunds. It is our intent to provide full refunds, minus any incurred expenses.

  • Summer 2020

    Valdosta State University and the University System of Georgia’s 26 institutions will continue to deliver instruction remotely (online-only) during May and summer semesters, with only limited exceptions.

    USG institutions are tentatively planning to return to normal on-campus operations for the fall semester, should guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health allow it.

  • Services

    What services are available?  

    Additional campus services remain available with adjusted hours. This includes Odum Library Academic Support Center, Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Career Opportunities, advising centers, and many more. For a list of campus services, hours of operation, and contact information visit our campus operations page.

    Will the library be open?

    The library will remain open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday – Thursday. Only students, faculty, and staff will have access by using their VSU OneCard to swipe in.

    Are counseling services available?

    All scheduled appointments for clients that live in Georgia during this time will remain available through Telemental Health appointments. Students who live out-of-state, or do not prefer Telemental Health, will be offered referral services to local providers.

    New requests for counseling appointments or scheduled intake appointments will be consultation appointments. Student needs will be assessed and referrals provided as needed. Consultations will not become ongoing therapy appointments, but are an opportunity for a student check-in and to provide resources, support, and next steps.  

    Contact information for counseling support services are as follows:

    • 229-333-5940 (10 am – 2 pm, Monday – Thursday)
    • 833-393-3903 (after hours on-call counselor)
    • 800-715-4225 (Georgia Crisis and Access Line)

    Are Health Services Available?

    Health Services will remain open 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Monday – Thursday.
    Students also have access to the “After Hours On-Call Nurse Triage” service hotline. Please note that the on-call nurse will not be able to schedule or cancel appointments, discuss charges on your account, take requests for medical records, or refill prescriptions. Students who require those services should call the Student Health Center.
    Students who would like their prescriptions transferred to another pharmacy may call Student Health to speak with our pharmacist.
    You may also have access to telemedicine through your insurance provider. Contact your insurance provider for additional details.
    Contact information for health services are as follows:229-333-5886 (10 am – 2 pm, Monday – Thursday)
    229-259-2083 (after hours on-call nurse triage)
    229-219-3205 (pharmacy)

    Is the Student Union, University Center, or Bookstore open?

    The Student Union and University Center North are closed for the remainder of the semester.
    The physical Bookstore will be closed for the remainder of the semester.  However, the bookstore website remains open, and is extending free ground shipping for any orders.  Bookstore staff are also available to answer the bookstore phone line.  Updates can be found on the bookstore website: www.thevsubookstore.com.

    Will there be campus transportation?

    No. All bus transportation, including weekly trips to the Mall and Walmart, have been canceled for the remainder of the semester.

    Are campus events and athletics still happening?

    No. All campus events and athletics have been canceled for the remainder of Spring semester.

    Will VSU’s Speech-Hearing Clinic, Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, and Center for Exercise Medical Rehabilitation Remain Open?

    Although some appointments may be rescheduled due to limited staffing, the Speech-Hearing Clinic and Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic will remain open for limited service to their clients.
    The Center for Exercise Medical Rehab (CEMR) will be closed during this time.

  • Graduate Assistants

    Are Graduate Assistants permitted to work?

    Please check with your GA Supervisor on adjusted job responsibilities and telework options. With the change to online instruction and limited campus services, job duties for graduate assistants may shift to be an Academic Coach for undergraduate students.

    If I am no longer able to be a Graduate Assistant, will I lose my tuition waiver or stipend?

    Graduate Assistants will not lose their tuition waiver or stipend for Spring Semester. Graduate Assistants who do not have assigned telework from their supervisor should contact Sage Harris at vsugradasst@valdosta.edu for an alternate telework assignment.

  • Student Employment

    Are Student Employees permitted to work?

    On-Campus student employees may continue to work if their supervisor has provided adjusted job responsibilities or a telework option. With the change to online instruction and limited campus services, student job duties may no longer be needed. Students that rely on campus student employment for financial stability should contact Career Opportunities at 229-333-5942 or careerops@valdosta.edu. On-campus jobs are available in custodial services, building maintenance, and grounds.

    Work study is a form of federal financial aid, and students on Work Study will continue to be paid for their hours when offices are no longer working in the normal capacity. You no longer need to work. Please contact Payroll if you do not continue to receive your payment this semester.

  • Refunds

    When will I get a refund for dining, housing, and other costs? 

    Will I be getting a refund for student fees?

    Updated March 26, 2020

    While Valdosta State’s campus is not closed, campus services utilized by students including housing, dining, transportation, and recreation have been greatly affected.

    As such, Valdosta State has been working with the USG to develop a refund plan that would apply to the mandatory and non-mandatory fees listed below. Fees will be pro-rated, beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020, for the remainder of the spring semester.  

    • Housing and Dining:  A pro-rated amount of approximately 44% will be refunded. Centennial students will receive a higher percentage refund since their contract was for a full year. Students who were granted an exception to remain in the residence halls will not be refunded their housing rent or meal plan, but they will be refunded for 100% of remaining Dining Dollars. Remaining Campus Dining Services will be pick-up only.
    • Graduation: A full refund of the graduation fee paid by spring and summer graduates will be issued.
    • Activity:  $12 will be refunded per student.
    • Recreation Operating:  $6 will be refunded per student.
    • Union Operating:  $8 will be refunded per student.
    • Flex:  A refund will be issued at 100% of the remaining balance.

    The university anticipates issuing service fee refunds by April 10, 2020. 

    Students should make sure their direct deposit is set up so that any refunds will be sent directly to their bank. It is imperative that your home address and direct deposit information is up-to-date. If any corrections are needed, please visit https://www.valdosta.edu/administration/finance-admin/financial-services/students/online-account-instructions.php   before March 30th.  

    Please note that, unless your original payment was made by credit card, your refund will be sent to you using the following priority:  1) Direct deposit, 2) Mailing address in Banner, 3) Permanent address in Banner.  Refund checks will not be mailed to VSU boxes.

    If you have questions about refunds, please contact us at studentaccounts@valdosta.edu and we will respond as quickly as possible. 

  • Graduation

    Has Spring semester graduation in May been canceled?

    It is with deep sadness that we share the University System of Georgia has announced Spring Commencement ceremonies have been canceled for all 26 USG institutions, including VSU. We are truly sorry that this decision became necessary. We are also looking for an alternative way to celebrate this year’s special group of graduates, and any alternative celebrations will be announced as decisions are finalized.

    For now, we invite you to attend any or all of the opportunities we are providing for our Spring graduates: see the video announcement here. More information is coming soon.

    • Virtual Ceremony - May 9, 2020
    • Spring 2020 graduate recognition event - Homecoming, Fall 2020
    • Fall 2020 Commencement - Walk the stage and celebrate in December 2020

    Will I still earn my degree?

    Following the successful completion of academic requirements, diplomas will be mailed directly to all VSU graduates.

    Do I still need to complete an Application for Graduation?

    Yes. The graduation fee for Spring 2020 has been waived, and we ask that you please submit your completed form as soon as possible.

    Will I receive a refund for my graduation application fee?

    The $25 graduation application fee will be refunded to students who have paid it.

    Can I get a refund for the cap and gown I ordered for May commencement?

    The VSU Bookstore will be processing refunds for regalia purchased this year with a copy of your receipt. Any decorated caps or personalized stoles are not eligible for return, but the Bookstore will accept the gown for a partial refund. If purchases were made with a credit/debit card, they can be mailed, along with the receipt, back to the Bookstore at the following address:

    VSU Bookstore
    Valdosta State University Student Union
    1500 North Patterson Street
    Valdosta, GA 31698

    Once the store reopens, cash and check purchases can be processed. Any pre-ordered or web ordered regalia that has not been picked up is eligible for return. Please contact Lori Oppel for processing, 1493asm@follett.com or call 229-333-5666 or 229-333-7454. For the next few weeks, staff are going to be in the store from the hours of 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Monday – Friday.

    For regalia purchased directly from Jostens, the student will need to contact them directly. Jostens  1-800-854-7464  or   https://www.jostens.com/apps/jcom/contact/other.mvc

    Can I get a refund for my 1906 Society cord I purchased for May commencement?

    If you wish to request a refund for your 1906 Society cord, email Cassidy H. Wicker at cahall@valdosta.edu or call 706-594-8300. Please provide name, proof of purchase (email confirmation) and address that your refund check can be mailed. Please be patient with the refund process as we continue to abide by USG and CDC standards and work remotely when possible. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to Cassidy H. Wicker at the contact information above.

    I’m a cadet commissioning this spring. What about my commissioning ceremony?

    Commissioning will continue; however, the traditional Detachment 172 ceremony is canceled. Per AFROTC/CC, a virtual “Oath of Office” has been authorized, or a small (officer/member/family) ceremony can be conducted in person. Paperwork will be signed in-person during individual appointments with the Detachment cadre.

  • Housing

    When do I need to move out of my residence hall?

    You will need to schedule your move-out date and time. Timeslots are available in 2-hour increments on the schedule below and are staggered per building in order to follow the CDC guidelines of limiting the number of people in a single area at one time:

    March 20 – 27

    8:00 am – 8:00 pm (including weekends)

    You will only be permitted in the residence hall during your confirmed scheduled check-out time. Only you and two additional guests will be permitted.

    To schedule your move out time, check your VSU email for the Housing Move-Out email sent March 18 to access additional instructions and the VSU Housing Portal link.

    What if I live in Centennial?

    Move out requirements do also apply to students who live in Centennial and had originally planned to stay during Summer.

    Can I apply for an exemption?

    Students seeking an exception to remain in University Housing should understand that exceptions will be granted in only the most extreme, documented circumstances, and exceptions will be granted only on a temporary basis through Spring 2020 semester. Possible circumstances that may be considered include:

    • extreme distance to, and current conditions in, your home location;
    • documented needs for academic accommodations that can only be met on campus;
    • complete reliance on local employment for financial stability;
    • or residential displacement (homelessness).

    What dining services will be available to me if I am authorized to stay on campus?

    A breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal option will be prepared through Blazer Grille, and specific dining guidance will be provided to students authorized to stay.

    How do I receive my mail?

    While you are on campus for move out, you should plan to empty your mail from your campus PO Box and retrieve any packages that may have been delivered. You can manage your future correspondence by submitting the forwarding address form online AND submitting the official USPS Change of Address Form at https://moversguide.usps.com

    For additional assistance, students should contact the Mail Center at 229-333-5672.

  • What if I get sick?

    What should I do if I have symptoms?

    Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath; you should contact your primary care physician or the Student Health Center. Many communities now also have drive-thru screening centers which often provide free screening.

    The CDC also offers valuable resources for symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

    When is the Student Health Center open?

    The Health Center will remain open 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Monday - Friday to see students.

    Who should I contact if I cannot complete my coursework?

    If you are not able to complete your coursework, you should email your professors and Student Affairs at studentaffairs@valdosta.edu.

    What if I need to medically withdraw from all classes?

    You may submit your request for medical withdrawal from all Spring classes online.

Employees

  • Precautions

    What action is the University System/VSU taking to protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19?

    We continue to monitor COVID-19 and to take safety actions as warranted. We are operating in conjunction with our local, state, and national health agencies to include regular updates with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).  VSU has established a task force composed of leaders from across campus who are working to continually assess the institution’s readiness plans and execute protocols related to medical health and safety, business continuity, emergency preparedness and travel.

    What else can I do to minimize the possibility of exposure?

    Continue to follow current CDC guidelines regarding prevention, including frequent washing of hands with soap and water throughout the day, avoidance of touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and limiting avoidable contacts in areas that are highly populated. For those who need to schedule meetings, try to use conference calls rather than in person meetings when appropriate.

    What guidance is available for home quarantine and isolation?

    The CDC has guidance on this topic found at the website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/.

  • Symptoms and Sickness

    What should I do if I am sick?

    Employees should not come to work when they are sick. Employees should stay home and use appropriate leave. If an employee appears to be exhibiting symptoms associated with coronavirus while at work, a manager should excuse the employee from work and advise them to seek care from a healthcare provider. Regular benefits-eligible employees have leave available to them to cover absences. Employees should follow standard request and approval procedures. The employee will be expected to use appropriate leave to cover the time away and may be expected to provide a release from a healthcare provider to return to work.

    The CDC also offers valuable resources for individuals who are feeling sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

    What if I do have symptoms of COVID-19?  

    Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath; you should contact your primary care physician or take advantage of various screening options which now exist throughout the region. For instance, in Valdosta, South Georgia Medical Center is offering free drive-thru screening at its Smith-Northview Campus on North Valdosta Road.   

    The CDC also offers valuable resources for individuals who are feeling sick or demonstrating symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

    What if I have been exposed but am not showing any symptoms? 

    Employees who believe they have been directly exposed to COVID-19, but are not showing symptoms, should self-quarantine consistent with DPH and CDC guidelines. Employees must contact their supervisor if they are unable to come to work or need to make a telework arrangement or can no longer telework. Employees should contact their healthcare provider if they become sick and remain home.   

    What if I have been exposed and am showing symptoms, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19?  

    Employees who believe they have been directly exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms should seek care from a healthcare provider and may be required to self-quarantine. Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 must inform their manager, and they should not come to work.

    Managers have the discretion to determine if an employee’s duties and responsibilities can reasonably be performed from an employee’s home location, and, when they can, the manager may elect to offer the employee the option to telework. Additionally, managers should inform Human Resources immediately if they learn that any employee has tested positive. 

  • Travel

    How does this affect work-related or school-related travel?

    All non-essential travel has been suspended. This includes travel to conferences, training, site visits, and any non-essential activities.

    Essential travel is any travel directly impacting the continuance of university operations. Budget Managers must submit an essential travel request email to the appropriate cabinet-level member for approval before forwarding the Travel Authorization Form to travel@valdosta.edu.

    If my job involves travel and I’m concerned about potential risks, what should I do? What if I am a manager of an employee who is scheduled to travel for work? 

    All non-essential business travel is suspended in order to comply with the Governor’s directive. Managers have the authority to rescind prior travel approval. Required face-to-face meetings should be transitioned to an electronic format or rescheduled.

    USG official travel to a CDC Level 3 or higher country is not authorized and will not be reimbursed.  

    Will I be reimbursed for travel if my meeting is canceled? 

    Employees should explore all options to obtain refunds or credits for canceled or rescheduled conferences and business meetings. Employees will be reimbursed for expenses that cannot be refunded due to COVID-19, assuming the travel was properly authorized and followed VSU travel regulations.  

    What if I am planning personal travel or have traveled out of the state or country?

    Employees should use their best judgment regarding travel plans to destinations other than CDC Level 3 or higher countries. Anyone planning to travel, either domestically or internationally, is encouraged to stay up-to-date with current travel alerts from the CDC.  

    Currently, CDC recommends travelers should avoid nonessential travel to any country at a Warning Level 3 or higher. Employees who have traveled to or plan to travel to CDC Level 3 or higher locations must not return to any USG campus or facility for 14 days following their return. In addition, employees returning from a Level 3 or higher country are required to self-quarantine in accordance with the DPH and CDC guidelines.

  • Leave Options

    Will FMLA cover me if I become ill as a result of Covid-19?  

    If you are eligible for FMLA and you have tested positive for COVID-19, FMLA will be available to you.  

    If employees have only been exposed to the virus, but have not tested positive for COVID-19, FMLA is not applicable. However, they may still need to be quarantined, and applicable non-FMLA leave (to include sick leave) may be available subject to standard request and approval procedures.  

    Will FMLA cover me if an immediate member of my family contracts COVID-19?  

    Yes. FMLA allows an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if the employee or an immediate family member (defined as spouse, child, or parent) contracts the virus.  

    What if I have a high risk of illness or exposure to COVID-19?

    All available leave will be allowed for COVID-19 illness or to minimize exposure for those that are high-risk and unable to telework.

    At the point that all accumulated leave has been exhausted, employees who have donated to the sick pool will have access to the institutional shared sick leave pool. If the institutional pool becomes depleted, a special enrollment period may be initiated to accept additional program participants and leave donations.

    Employees who exhaust their paid leave options will be able to request “authorized leave without pay” in order to take care of themselves and our community without negatively impacting their continued participation in their USG insurance plan. FMLA leave will be available to eligible employees who contract COVID-19 or who are caring for a qualified family member who has contracted COVID-19. The Federal Government is currently considering options that would provide support for any who lose income as a direct result of COVID-19.

    Not sure if you are high-risk or not? Check the CDC’s guidance here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.

  • Student Assistants and Graduate Assistants

    Can my student assistant or GA telework? How will I supervise them?

    Student and Graduate Assistants can telework if job duties are available for them to complete.

    Otherwise, Career Opportunities will attempt to identify new temporary work (not necessarily telework) and connect students to new employment opportunities within Plant Operations, Admissions, and Student Success by March 27.  

    The “Reports To” supervisor will need to change if the student assistant accepts the temporary employment opportunity. However, the budget for the salary will remain with the current department.  

    What if my student employee does not want to return to work?

    The student employee can make the decision to resume work or not during this period. We ask that all supervisors be respectful of that decision and contact Career Opportunities at 229-333-5942 or careerops@valdosta.edu if there is a need to temporarily backfill that position with another student employee.

  • University Hours, Services, and Public Access

    Will the VSU campus be open?

    Yes, the campus remains open. That said, to reduce social interactions, VSU will limit public access to campus effective Monday, March 23.

    Select areas will be open and staffed Monday through Thursday from 10:00am-2:00pm.  Contact information including phone numbers and email addresses may be found at www.valdosta.edu/health-advisory/campus-operations.php.  If you reach out to these areas during times other than what is published below, please know that every attempt will be made to respond to all emails and voicemail messages within one business day.

    • Odum Library will be open Monday-Thursday, 10:00am-7:00pm.  Access is limited to students, staff, and faculty by swiping in with a VSU OneCard.
    • Several offices (e.g., The Counseling Center, Human Resources, and Advising) will continue to provide individual services via phone appointment.
    • Other offices may be contacted through the department’s primary phone number and/or email. Phone and e-mail messages should be replied to within one business day Monday-Friday. 
    • Students in need of food or hygiene items may contact the Drop-N-Shop program for assistance by email at slvs@valdosta.edu.

    Can I come to work to pick up items I need to be able to work remotely?

    If a visit to campus to retrieve essential items (laptop, supplies) is required to facilitate remote work, employees are encouraged to coordinate with a supervisor to stagger campus visit times and limit contact with others. 

    Is employee development offering professional development on-line for Cascade, defensive driving, etc. that employees can take advantage of during this time?

    EOD will be unable to offer professional development for Cascade website training.

    However, there is an online version of defensive driving training. Please note that this version costs $100.00 per person and is charged to the department. Please email Ashley Cooper at aamyers@valdosta.edu if interested.  

    Will employees still be able to get P-card approvals, order from EPro, and request purchase orders during this time?

    Yes.

Faculty

  • General Academic Questions

    Will faculty members have assistance as they redesign delivery of course materials?

    Yes. eLearning has put a wealth of information on the web.

    Will there be any one-on-one support for faculty?

    Yes. eLearning and CELT staff are available for one-on-one faculty assistance. 

    Who should faculty contact with questions about externally funded proposals and awards?

    Questions should be addressed to OSPRA at: grants@valdosta.edu. 

    Do I need a special license to access Zoom for video and audio conferencing?

    VSU does not have a license for Zoom. However, we continue to maintain a license for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Microsoft Teams is also available for video conferencing. Details are available here. 

    What plans are in place for my individual College?

    All academic colleges are working to ensure that all classes are successfully transitioned to online delivery. For specific questions, please contact your department head or dean’s office.

    Can I cancel my classes and give students incompletes?

    No. We have made the decision to move all classes to an online setting in order to allow students to complete their semester’s work uninterrupted. It is essential that classes continue in order for students to continue to make normal academic progress. For specific questions or concerns, please work with your department head or dean.  

    How can I support students I work with on an individual basis?

    You may use any of the many tools available from eLearning to help you to continue your one-on-one student work. Students will also be assigned a personal Academic Coach, and advisors, tutors, and supplemental instruction remain available to all online learners.

    Do I still need to hold office hours?

    Yes. Although face-to-face office hours will not continue, faculty should continue to make themselves available to students for one-on-one assistance. This may be done through specific times where they are available by phone or video chat, or through any other means that the faculty member determines will allow for suitable interaction. 

    I already teach online. Do I have to wait to resume classes?

    That depends: All fully-online graduate programs have been approved for continuation on their original calendars. Other programs will resume on March 30. If you are unsure, please contact your department head or dean. 

    Can I require my class to be held synchronously (in the actual class time, but virtually)?

    Yes. The way your class meets is entirely up to you. Some faculty will convert face-to-face classes to synchronous meetings, while others will choose to convert classes to asynchronous meetings. The only restriction is that, if your class will be meeting synchronously, it should be held in the same time block as it was originally scheduled to avoid creating conflicts.  

    What kind of IT/tech support is available for me on evenings and weekends?

    eLearning will support faculty in converting their courses to online delivery and will assist faculty with any problems they may encounter. eLearning staff be available in Odum Library from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Thursday and by phone or email during normal business hours. Faculty can also call the D2L Help Center 24-hours a day for troubleshooting (1-855-772-0423).

  • Technology Support

    Can our technology infrastructure support a large influx of users?

    Yes, it can.  There are many connection avenues that faculty, staff and students use for needed system access.  Each will be monitored by IT staff to ensure system resources remain available based upon load.  If additional resources are needed based upon load, the IT department has contingencies to continue delivering services that meet our users’ needs. We have been assured that all of our systems, including BlazeView, will be able to handle the additional demands placed on them.  

    If an employee doesn’t have internet at their home, how will they be required to work? Will they have to purchase internet service?

    VSU has purchased 200 MiFi hotspots for faculty and student use. We are working out a process now that will allow for checkout of these devices. Laptop computers are also being made available when possible. Please contact the Media Center at 229.333.5863 for more information.   

    If the working from home increases their internet usage to the next level of their current plan, will they have to upgrade and pay for the additional service?

    If you do not have adequate bandwidth at home to support your instruction, please contact the Media Center at 229.333.5863 to request a MiFi hotspot device

    If an employee doesn’t have a personal computer, laptop, or tablet how will they be able to obtain one? 

    Laptop computers are being made available when possible for those who do not have a home device. Please contact your department head or dean or the Media Center at 229.333.5863, should you need to request equipment for home use. Please be aware that we have a short supply of faculty/staff laptops available, and we cannot guarantee that one will be available for all faculty and staff who make a request.

Staff

  • Telework Options

    Can a manager consider telework or flex schedules for employees?

    Supervisors are strongly encouraged to maximize telework and flex schedule opportunities for their employees, and increased flexibility to approve alternative work schedules now exists in line with the Governor’s directive to reduce the number of employees on-site at any given time.

    Authorized managers can waive the requirement to complete the usual telework agreement and may use email to confirm approval to telework.  

    Do we have to complete telework during normal business hours, or can we complete work hours during other times?

    Employees are permitted to work hours outside the traditional 8:00 am – 5:00 pm work week with supervisor support. A standard workweek is Sunday through Saturday.

    Full-time employees should work 40 hours a week, unless leave has been taken.

    Non-exempt employees should record time in OneUSG for the hours worked on the days worked (including weekends).

    Can I earn comp time or overtime?

    Neither comp time nor overtime should be earned during this period. Cabinet-level approval will be required for requests to exceed 40 work hours per week.   

    Can I come to campus outside of 10am-2pm if I need to do something in my office?

    Yes. Keep in mind that buildings will be locked to the public and will only be accessible via card swipe. Temperatures in buildings will be adjusted to maximize energy savings.  University Police will continue to patrol campus to ensure that all facilities are secure.

    Can I still take annual leave while teleworking if I wish to not work certain days?

    Yes. Leave would work in the same way it does as if you were physically on campus.   

    How do I enter hours while teleworking?

    When entering hours on your time sheet, employees should use the drop-down box and choose “telework”. Call or email Payroll at payroll@valdosta.edu, if assistance is needed.

    How would we record time if we usually use a time clock?

    Employees should submit time to their Supervisor. Supervisors will enter time worked for these employees.

    Do monthly employees have to keep a telework log, or is this only for hourly employees?

    Although a monthly log is not required, monthly employees must obtain approval for the work and tasks they will be performing and must maintain proof of completion.   

    If I am injured working at home, do I file worker’s compensation?

    Employees are required to designate a work area in their home.

    If there are any injuries while working, the workers’ compensation coverage will be limited to occurrences in the designated workspace (or during work-related travel). Please see the BOR telework policy at https://www.usg.edu/hr/manual/teleworking_flextime_policy#:~:text= for more information in this regard.   

    Can I telework from a location other than my home?

    The requirement that “employees should only telework from the designated work area established in their home” suggests that hours should be worked in the employee’s place of residence.   

    How long will this telework arrangement last?

    We will continue to provide updates. However, at present, it will be until further notice.

    Can we continue to hire new employees and have them telework?

    While we can continue to post for jobs and hire new employees in the OneUSG system, interviews must be conducted virtually, not face-to-face. This could make hiring logistically challenging. 

    Can I telework with a child or family member at home?

    Yes. Employees may telework with a child or family member at home. However, there must be no interruption in duties. 

    Can I be scheduled for hours I do not normally work?

    Telework opportunities will allow for a good deal of flexibility to work alternate hours. However, hours worked on campus should continue to be worked within the normal workday schedule.

     

  • Academic Coaching

    What is Academic Coaching?

    Academic Coaching is an innovative approach VSU is implementing to help students successfully transition to online-only coursework. All employees charged with being Academic Coaches will be assigned their own group of students. Coaches will be their students’ single point of contact for any challenge they may experience for the remainder of the term. You are “their person!” All staff charged with being Academic Coaches will undergo detailed training the week of March 23-27.

    If I have been assigned duties as an Academic Coach, how will I contact students?

    Academic coaches may contact students through phone, e-mail, or a messaging service. Furthermore, Student Success and IT are in the process of developing other options that will be shared at the upcoming training for coaches.  

    Do my responsibilities as a manager change when my employees are teleworking through the division of student success as academic coaches?  

    The Division of Student Success will perform the standard supervisory functions for the employees assisting in this effort. Managers will only be contacted if additional support is needed.    

    If an employee doesn’t have a personal cell phone, will they be required to purchase one for academic coaching?

    Student Success is working with IT to allow employees who are serving as Academic Coaches to use Jabber through their computer. The number that will be displayed to students will be the desk phone assigned through the university’s IT system. Each coach will be given an online link to start the process.  IT will need to know the type of device being set up (iPhone or Android).

Other Questions

  • Other Questions

    Why aren’t we just closing the university?

    A closure decision rests with the University System of Georgia for all institutions, consistent with the guidance from the Department of Public Health, and the CDC.

    Will employee assistance services remain available for those who need them?

    Employees will continue to have access to behavioral health resources through our Employee Assistance Program with KePRO. You can reach them at 844.243.4440 or www.EAPHelpLink.com.

    What if I need to coach or counsel an employee?

    Please contact the Office of Human Resources for any employee relations matters prior to proceeding with any form of progressive discipline or adverse employment action.

    What services are going to continue in Human Resources?

    HR will be available to offer guidance and support to employees and supervisors. However, meetings will be virtualized and some services will be provided by appointment only.

    Has Spring semester Commencement in May been canceled?

    It is with deep sadness that we share the University System of Georgia has announced Spring Commencement ceremonies have been canceled for all 26 USG institutions, including VSU. We are truly sorry that this decision became necessary. We are also looking for an alternative way to celebrate this year’s special group of graduates, and any alternative celebrations will be announced as decisions are finalized.

    What if students contact you wishing to withdraw?

    First, before making the decision to withdraw from any course, we hope that students will give the new format a try. We are offering significant help to maximize their chances of success. If they still need to withdraw, we are adjusting the Withdrawal Policy for them to be removed from a class without penalty should they, their faculty member, and their academic advisor agree it is best. Encourage the student to contact his/her faculty member and advisor to withdraw from a single course. If they need to withdraw from all courses this semester due to a personal hardship, visit this site to start the process. VSU is administratively waiving the 5 “W” limit on withdrawals for the remainder of the semester.

    Is counseling still available for students?

    Yes. VSU’s Counseling Center is continuing to assist students with appointments offered via telephone. Contact information for counseling support services are as follows:

    • 229-333-5940 (10 am – 2 pm, Monday – Thursday)
    • 833-393-3903 (after hours on-call counselor)
    • 800-715-4225 (Georgia Crisis and Access Line)

    What do I do if I have other questions?

    We remain committed to keeping you informed via email and via Valdosta State’s coronavirus webpage. You should also feel free to contact the Office of Human Resources whenever needed at 229-333-5709 or hrstaff@valdosta.edu .

Report Health Concerns

Please report ALL immediate health-related concerns to VSU Student Health Services by calling 229-219-3203, or 229-259-2083 after hours.

All VSU Employees: After contacting Student Health Services, you should contact your immediate supervisor (i.e., faculty should contact their department chair). Please be aware that the Student Health Center does not provide services to employees at this time. Please contact your Primary Care Provider (PCP) for your medical needs.