COVID-19 Information for Students

Grading change for Summer 2020 courses

Students: If you wish to request a change to the grading for your Summer 2020 courses from letter (A through F) grades to Competence (S)/No Competence (NC), complete the Summer 2020 Grade Change Form.

Loaner Laptops

Resources from Metropolitan State

Find student services, technical help and other support from the university.

  • COVID-19 Resource List pdf

    A list of links to university and community resources that Metro State students may find useful. Updated April 10, 2020.

Resources in the Community

Where to find help outside of the university.

What Students Need to Know

  • Classes continuing through Summer Sessions. Classes have not been cancelled and the fall semester will begin on August 25. The university is offering alternative methods (such as online courses using Brightspace D2L, Zoom, and others) to deliver as much coursework as possible.
  • Check your university email. All announcements will be sent you your Metro State email address. Your instructors will contact you about coursework.
  • Building access and hours may have changed. Find updated building hours on the university's COVID-19 page.
  • Events are likely to be cancelled or changed to various online formats. Check the calendar beforehand.
  • Spring 2020 commencement is postponed until August 15, 2020. More information about Spring 2020 commencement.

FAQs

CARES Act Distribution

Metropolitan State University received $5,159,002 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. At least half must be awarded directly to students. Most of the students who were registered for Metropolitan State University spring semester courses on March 6, 2020, and who are not specifically excluded under the terms of the CARES Act, are eligible for CARES Act grants. Those who are not eligible include PSEO or concurrent enrollment students, students being assessed senior citizen tuition rates, incarcerated students, those enrolled in non-credit classes, international students, DACA students, and students who have their tuition paid via employee waiver through Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

As of June 29, 2020, 5,170 students received the CARES Act disbursements totaling $2,329,300. Others may have been awarded funds from another Minnesota State institution. Additionally, 231 students received CARES Act funding for Emergency Aid Grants totaling $197,637.45.

Disbursements to students are made primarily through their BankMobile account. More information on BankMobile accounts can be found on the university’s website. If students have questions about their BankMobile accounts, they can contact Gateway Student Services at 651-793-1300 (option 5) or see Gateway's web page.

Messages to Students from Metropolitan State University

Not all messages are archived here. Browse the full archives of communications from Metropolitan State administration and messages from the Minnesota State system office.

Dear Students,
Please read the following important information regarding Fall Semester 2020.

  • Courses will be primarily online with some hybrid options;
  • Students who register for “completely online” and “mostly online” courses by July 20, 2020 will receive $25 per credit “COVID Relief” to their student accounts to offset a portion of the online differential tuition;
  • All campus locations will be open and following safety protocols to ensure your safety when you come to campus; and
  • Student support will continue to be offered remotely and some support areas may expand to in-person sessions following safety protocols.

Considerations
Metropolitan State University is continuously evaluating the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 in our communities and listening to the advice of public health experts to determine how we will offer our classes and serve students during the fall semester. We’ve considered factors such as:

  • The number of campus community members who may be at high-risk for poor outcomes after COVID-19 infection,
  • The number of campus community members who may have uncertain schedules whether due to disrupted work schedules, changes in access to childcare, uncertainty about K-12 school schedules, or one of many other reasons, and
  • The potential negative impacts of changing course delivery after the semester starts.

Our primary goals are to support the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff while providing you an excellent education and keeping you on track to achieve your educational goals.

Fall course options
After careful consideration, Metropolitan State University will not be offering conventional face-to-face classes in Fall 2020. Instead we will be offering several kinds of online and hybrid courses. Most of our class offerings will be completely online.

  • Completely Online courses will either have some required meeting times that will be facilitated via Zoom (completely online-- synchronous) or be completed without any scheduled and required meeting times (completely online-- asynchronous).
    • Synchronous online classes are those that require students and instructors to be online at the same time (for example, meeting via Zoom)
    • Asynchronous online classes allow you to complete the work on your own time
  • Mostly Online courses include between one and four scheduled in-person/face-to-face class sessions.
  • Hybrid/Blended courses will include more than four scheduled in-person/face-to-face class sessions. This is a format that includes some online instruction with limited in-person class sessions.
  • Faculty members are determining which format is right for each course, and those decisions will appear in the published schedule on or before June 19. You will be able to determine type of course in eServices by looking for “completely online—synchronous,” “completely online—asynchronous,” “mostly online,” or “hybrid/blended” descriptors in the delivery method column.

$25 COVID Relief per credit for Online Courses
Courses that are “completely online” or “mostly online” are charged an online differential tuition rate. To offset a portion of the increase, students who register before July 20, 2020 will receive a $25 COVID relief per credit for each “completely online” or “mostly online.” For example, if you are registered for four “completely online” or “mostly online” credits, you will receive a $100 COVID relief; registering for 8 “completely online” or “mostly online” credits will result in a $200 COVID relief.

Pandemic Safety
Our campus locations will be open, following social distancing and public health best practices. More information will come later in the summer about safety protocols for fall and what you can expect when you come to campus. Those protocols will include limiting the number of people gathering, requiring masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, and expectation that folks on campus have completed a self-assessment of their health prior to coming to campus.

Supporting You
Even during this time when most of our employees are working remotely, we’ve continued to provide services to support you. Information about accessing support can be found on our COVID-19 information page. We are also developing safety protocols that may allow expanded in-person supports for the fall semester if there is student demand.

If you have questions or concerns, please email them to covid-19@metrostate.edu.

Best regards,

Amy Strohmeier Gort, PhD

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Email from President Arthur

May 1, 2020

Dear Students,
Last week I shared information about the CARES Act, which establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), and that $5,159,002 was allocated to Metropolitan State University for COVID-19 pandemic relief using a formula based on student enrollment. Of that amount, at least 50 percent ($2,579,501) must be reserved to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. This email contains information about the distribution of these funds, beginning next week.

Who is eligible for CARES Act Grants?
Students who were registered for Metropolitan State University spring semester courses on March 6, 2020 and who are not specifically excluded under the terms of the CARES Act are eligible.

Who is excluded under the terms of the CARES Act?
Those who are not eligible include concurrent high school students, postsecondary enrollment option (PSEO) students, those being assessed senior citizen tuition rates, incarcerated students, those enrolled in non-credit courses, international students, DACA students, those enrolled fully online prior to March 6, and those whose tuition was paid through employee waiver of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Emergency Aid Grants: Students experiencing financial emergency situations as a result of COVID-19 may apply for emergency funds for support. Those who are not eligible include PSEO or concurrent enrollment students, students being assessed senior citizen tuition rates, those enrolled in non-credit classes, and students who have their tuition paid via employee waiver through Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Submitted applications will be carefully considered and reviewed. To be considered, please submit an application.

How will eligible students receive their cash payment?
If you are eligible, you will receive payment through your BankMobile account. The disbursements to your BankMobile account will occur the week of May 4. All students are encouraged to ensure that your BankMobile account is set up and you have access to log into your account. More information on how to set up your BankMobile account can be found on the university’s website at https://www.metrostate.edu/finances/aid/what-to-expect/disbursement.

BankMobile disbursement notifications will come from the following email address: <refunds@email.bankmobiledisbursements.com>.

If you have questions about your BankMobile account or are experiencing any issues setting up your account, please contact Gateway Student Services at 651-793-1300, and select option 5 or visit https://www.metrostate.edu/students/support/gateway.

[This PDF includes a table that outlines how funds will be distributed.]

Summer Semester COVID-19 Relief - registration deadline has been extended

All students who register for summer semester by May 8 will receive $15 per credit for COVID-19 relief from Metropolitan State University. This is not related to the CARES Act.

  • 4 credits = $60 of COVID-19 relief on your student account
  • 8 credits = $120 of COVID-19 relief on your student account
  • 12 credits = $180 of COVID-19 relief on your student account

Metro’s COVID-19 relief will be applied to your student account at the end of May. The credit will be applied to any balance on your student account. If you have already fully paid for summer, the credit balance will be disbursed via BankMobile.

As spring semester wraps up and we kick off summer semester on May 9, we want you to know that our faculty and staff are here to support you. We will do everything we can to help ensure your academic progress and success. Please reach out if you run into issues by emailing covid-19@metrostate.edu.

Sincerely,

Virginia (Ginny) Arthur, President

Email from President Arthur

Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Metro Students,
Relief is coming! The CARES Act, which establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), allocated $12.56 billion for relief of higher education institutions and their students nationally, using a formula based on student enrollment. Metropolitan State University received $5,159,002.

Of the amount allocated to each institution, at least 50 percent must be reserved to provide students with emergency financial aid grants to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

The university is working to finalize a plan of how this money will be distributed to eligible students. We will be sending a communication via email as soon as possible with details about the grants, once our plan is approved by the Minnesota State chancellor’s office.

Who is eligible for CARES Act grant?
Students who were registered for Metropolitan State University spring semester courses on March 16, 2020 and who are not specifically excluded under the terms of the CARES Act are eligible.

Who is excluded under the terms of the CARES Act?
Those who are not eligible include concurrent high school students, postsecondary enrollment option (PSEO) students, those being assessed senior citizen tuition rates, incarcerated students, those enrolled in non-credit courses, international students, DACA students, those enrolled fully online as of March 16, and those whose full tuition is covered by an employer.

We know there are students who are not eligible for the CARES ACT grant who are having financial challenges. There will also be Emergency Fund Grants available. We are finalizing details on how to apply for these grants and will share details next week.

Please continue to visit metrostate.edufor important updates. Be well and we’ll update you as soon as we have more information.

Sincerely,
Virginia (Ginny) Arthur, President

Email from Metropolitan State University Registrar's Office

Friday, April 24, 2020

Many of you have already seen the notice about changing course grading method for Spring Semester 2020 classes on the Metropolitan State University's homepage. The Registrar's Office is asking you to wait for all your courses to be graded before submitting the Spring 2020 Grade Change Form .

The grades posting deadline for Spring Semester 2020 is May 7. You have until May 15 to submit the Spring 2020 Grade Change Form .

If you have already submitted the form and have changed your mind and would like to switch back to your original grading method, email records.registration@metrostate.edu and let us know. Additionally, if you have already submitted the form, we will hold it until grades are in and then we will send you an email to make sure you still want to make the change.

If you have questions about how changing your grading method may impact you, please speak to you advisor.

Registrar's Office

Email from Provost Gort

April 10, 2020

Dear Students,

The university has moved all Summer semester 2020 classes to an online or remote format to help keep you safe and healthy. As of today, the summer schedule has been fully updated in eServices to reflect these changes. Summer semester begins May 9, 2020, so don’t hesitate to register.

I am excited to tell you that we were able to convert most of the summer courses that were planned to meet in-person to remote instruction. Some courses will be online and will not have any scheduled interactions (asynchronous), some will be online with scheduled interactions (synchronous), and others will be taught as independent studies or through correspondence. Information about the course format can be found in the course notes in eServices. Your academic advisor can assist you if you need support selecting summer classes. We also have numerous student resources to ensure you are successful.

Summer Tuition and COVID-19 Relief Funds

Based on guidance from Minnesota State, all remote instruction courses that were initially scheduled and posted as in-person courses will be charged the base tuition rate. Courses that were planned as online courses at the time the schedule was published will be charged the online tuition rate.

To further support students during Summer semester, Metropolitan State will provide each student $15 per credit for COVID-19 Relief when you register by May 1, 2020. For example, if you register for eight (8) credits this summer you would receive $120 for COVID-19 Relief posted to your student account.

Finally, if you know anybody who wanted to start at Metro this summer, we’ve extended the deadline for new applications to April 25, so help spread the word.

We know this is a challenging time, full of changes and unknown territory for all of you. Be assured, we are here to support you and will continue to work to make this summer the best possible experience for you to continue your educational journey.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Amy

Amy Strohmeier Gort, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Email from Provost Gort

April 9, 2020

Dear Students,

Given the disruptions in your courses and lives this semester due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are providing new grading options that will offer more flexibility, to ensure your success for Spring and Summer Terms 2020.

You will have the option to select a standard letter grade or a Competence/No competence (S/NC) grade. Below you will find a Q&A to help you make your decision. Your decision for grading does not need to be made until May 15, so please consider this carefully and seek advice from your academic advisor.

In addition, Metropolitan State University has extended the Course Withdrawal Deadline for Spring to be April 23. Please carefully read the details below and seek advice from your academic advisor, as you receive no refunds with this option.

I want to reiterate, we are here to support you and help you succeed, not just during this pandemic, but always.

Be healthy and well.

Sincerely,
Amy Gort

Flexible Grading Options for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020
Competence/No Competence Grading

What is Competence/No competence (S/NC) Grading?

Metropolitan State University policy #2080 provides the option for competence/no competence (S/NC) grading. It is similar to Pass/Fail grades that you might know from other institutions. Normally, students need to select the S/NC grading option before the end of the second week of the semester and some courses cannot be taken S/NC.

Competence (S): This grade indicates that you have accomplished satisfactorily completed work equivalent to a grade of C- or better.

No competence: (NC): This grade indicates that you have completed unsatisfactory work equivalent to a grade of D or F. An NC grade cannot be used to meet academic requirements and negatively impacts your course completion rate.

S or NC grades do not impact your overall grade point average because they are not included in its calculation.

How are S/NC grades determined?

If you select the S/NC grading option, your professors will continue to grade your assignments using the standard A-F grading scale following their regular practices. At the completion of the semester, your professors will determine your final grade. If you have selected the S/NC grading option and your final grade is between an A and C-, you will earn an S grade. If your final grade is a D or F, you will earn an NC grade and will not earn credit for the course.

Why is it being offered as an option now?

We are experiencing unusual semesters this spring and this summer in which we have been directed to have all of our course meet remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. For some students, these conditions are particularly difficult and may negatively impact their course success.

We are allowing students to select the S/NC grading option up to one week after final grades are posted for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 courses. The deadlines are as follows:

  • Spring 2020: May 15, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (Full Semester): August 26, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (First Summer Session): July 2, 2020
  • Summer 2020 (Second Summer Session): August 26, 2020

For some students selecting S/NC grading may provide some needed flexibility. The S/NC grading option is available to all students in all general education, elective, major, and graduate program courses with the following exceptions:

  • Students some Nursing and Dental programs: ELMSN, MANE BSN, DNP, MS NA, BSDH, and ADT

What do you need to consider before selecting S/NC grading option for your classes?

  • Your academic advisor can provide advice about this decision.
  • You have time to make this decision. By moving the deadline to May 15, 2020 you will be able to see what your final grade is before making a choice to change the grading option.
  • A grade of D is considered a passing grade for all Goal Area courses (per MN State procedure 3.21.1).
  • S/NC grades will not negatively impact your cumulative GPA, but they won’t increase your cumulative GPA either. Student who are on academic warning, or probation should talk with their advisor before making the decision to select S/NC grading.
  • You will not receive credit for a course in which you earn an NC grade.
  • If you are an undergraduate student who plans to attend graduate or professional school, you should talk with your advisor before making the decision to select the S/NC grading method.
  • We do not have to include the Spring 2020 GPA or course completion rates in our Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations to determine Financial Aid eligibility. If you are on Academic Warning or Probation you might benefit from this option. Please talk to your academic advisor for guidance.
  • All Minnesota State Universities will accept S/NC graded classes from Spring 2020 to meet undergraduate major and program requirements if you transfer between MN State institutions. However, other universities may not accept courses in the same way. If you are considering transferring to another university, review the transfer policies at that university with regards to this kind of grade.
  • Some employers only reimburse students for courses in which they earn a minimum grade. If you are planning on employer reimbursement, check with your employer about the reimbursement policies before selecting the S/NC option.

Extension of the Course Withdrawal (W) Deadline for Spring 2020

What is the Withdrawal option?

Normally, the Minnesota State system deadline for withdrawal is set for the date at which 80 percent of the term has been completed. Because of the impacts of the COVID-19, the Minnesota State system has decided to set the withdrawal deadline for the date at which 90 percent of the term has been completed. For Metropolitan State University, that means you will have until April 23, 2020 for the spring semester.

When you withdraw from a course, a W is noted on your transcript. The W indicates that you did not complete the course and does not impact your cumulative GPA.

What do you need to consider before withdrawing from a class?

  • No refunds will be available for courses that you withdraw from.
  • You have time to decide whether or not you should withdraw from a course. Please talk to your professor and your academic advisor before making the decision.
  • Withdrawing from a class impacts your course completion rate which, under normal circumstance can impact your access to Federal financial aid. However, the Federal government is allowing universities to exclude course completion from this Spring 2020 term when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid eligibility.

Email from Provost Gort

Dear Students,

Welcome back! I hope you are adapting well to the remote instruction changes in your courses. If you encounter challenges, please visit our COVID-19 webpage at MetroState.edu for academic and student services support, including information about accessing computers and internet. You will also find several resources to promote your health and well-being. The faculty, staff, and administrators at Metropolitan State University are committed to supporting you and your success.

Spring Semester Academic Updates

Using your Metro State Zoom Account: You do not need to develop a new Zoom account to be able to engage in remote classes, schedule meetings, or to work with classmates using video conferencing. Simply go to https://minnstate.zoom.us/ and sign in using your StarID and Metro State password.

Grading: You may know that many universities are using pass/fail type grading to provide additional support to students who may need it. At Metropolitan State, we have a competence (satisfactory)/no-competence (S/NC) grading option that students can elect early in the semester. We are evaluating whether that grading option can be made available to you, past the normal deadline, for this spring semester. You will receive an email from me by April 10, 2020 letting you know if you can choose S/NC grading for spring semester and factors you should consider when making that decision.

Withdrawing from class: The Minnesota State System has extended the deadline for withdrawing from classes. For this spring semester, the deadline has been moved to April 23, 2020.

Do not feel like you need to decide right away whether you can successfully complete your courses. Take some time to adjust to the instructional changes and take advantage of the support available. If the S/NC grading option is approved, you will have time to elect that more flexible grading option. The later withdrawal deadline also means that you can wait and see how you adapt to remote instruction.

Summer Semester Academic Updates

All Minnesota State colleges and universities must continue remote instruction with very limited in-person instruction for the summer semester. Deans and faculty are working to review the current summer schedule and adjust course offerings. If you have already registered for a summer courses that were scheduled as a course with regular in-person meetings, please do not drop the course. We will use current enrollment numbers to help guide revisions to the schedule. All changes to the schedule will be reflected in eServices by April 10, 2020.

If you have questions or concerns, please send them to covid-19@metrostate.edu.

Best regards,

Amy

March 25, 2020

Dear students,

Today, Governor Walz announced an official “stay at home” order for all Minnesota residents. This means that we are to stay home and limit movements outside of our homes to only essential needs.

However, as part of his order, the governor has declared educational activities and services as essential, which means the 37 colleges and universities of Minnesota State are exempt from this order. Campus-based essential services will be staffed by a limited number of employees on campus in order to follow social distancing protocols and all other safety precautions. However, students can still access the campuses for needed services not accessible from home. Instruction will resume, as scheduled, on either March 30 or April 6 as previously announced. All classes will be delivered using alternative modes, and campuses will remain closed to the public, but let me be clear – you can access your campus for services that you are unable to access from home, but campus staffing will be limited.

Our top two priorities remain protecting the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students, as well as helping our students to successfully finishing the semester. In the coming days, Minnesota State campuses will be moving their students to an online experience or an alternative method of delivery that is consistent with CDC guidelines. My request is that you have patience; faculty, staff, and campus leadership have been tirelessly working to make this possible. As you might imagine, an effort like this is not without challenges.

Please watch your email for information from your instructors regarding delivery of your particular classes.

I know each day brings serious news. The situation we are in is unprecedented for all of us. We will get through this together. We will continue to share additional detailed information in the coming days. For now, the most important thing is to take care of yourself and your families.

As you know, we can all further protect ourselves and others by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your cough and sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practicing self-care by eating a healthy diet and taking time to rest
  • Frequently cleaning all commonly touched surfaces
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Staying home if you are sick

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, The Minnesota Department of Health recommends:

  1. Stay at home for at least 7 days, and for 3 days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms – whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for 3 days without using fever-reducing medicine).
  2. Use the CDC website on how to Care For Yourself at Home with COVID-19.
  3. If your household contacts were exposed to you while you had symptoms, they should try to stay home as much as possible for 14 days.
    a. They should closely monitor their health, and if symptoms occur, they must isolate themselves. More guidance on this can be found here: MDH COVID-19 Basics
    b. Use the CDC website for How to Minimize Spread.

Thank you, stay safe, and stay strong.

Devinder Malhotra Chancellor

Email from Provost Gort

March 16, 2020

Dear Students,

I am writing to provide an update to you on the planning work that is occurring during our current suspension. All instruction at Metropolitan State University is suspended until March 30, 2020. When classes resume, all instruction will occur remotely for the rest of the semester.

Planning for Classes to Resume

The faculty are using this suspension to modify their courses in two ways: 1) to resume using remote instruction, and 2) to accommodate a shorter semester and complete as planned on May 4, 2020. I’ve asked faculty to provide you with a list of technology tools that you will need to be able to use to successfully complete each of your classes. Training materials and sessions will be available next week for the different technology tools. Information will be provided to you by Friday, March 20.

Supporting You

Student support areas are also engaged in planning activities this week. We are working to have academic advising, tutoring, counseling, other student support services, and accessibility meetings available remotely by the end of the week. Each of the four main campus locations (Saint Paul, LECJEC, MEC, and Midway) will be open for students to access computer and internet, until we are told to do otherwise. The Food for Thought Food Shelf will remain open and we are looking at remote distribution options. We are also gathering information about community-based resources that will support our students. More information will be provided by email and on the COVID-19 page (https://www.metrostate.edu/notices/covid-19) once planning is completed.

As you know from reading your email and through the news, this is very quickly evolving situation. We will continue to update you as more information is available. Our goal with these communications is to help alleviate your concerns about being able to successfully complete your semester. Please know that all the faculty and staff are working very hard, on your behalf, to ensure a high-quality learning experience, even if it is very different from the experience we all originally planned. I also want to assure you that this does not represent a long-term change towards an online university. We are adapting at this time to the on-going pandemic.

Please also take good care of yourselves in this very stressful time. Below are a number of mental health resources that you might find helpful.

MetroCares is a 24/7 phone support offered by Counseling Services.

651-793-1568

https://www.metrostate.edu/metrocatalyst/24-7-support-from-counseling-services

When you call the support line:

  • a licensed counselor will answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days, a week, 365 days a year
  • you will be offered confidential support, information, resources, and practical solutions for coping
  • all services are free and confidential

Crisis Text Line is the free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 in the United States to communicate with a trained Crisis Counselor https://www.crisistextline.org/

Managing Anxiety and Stress

This includes information for yourself, others, parents, responders, and those released from quarantine.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/coping.html

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4894.pdf

If you have questions, the COVID-19 website is a great resource (https://www.metrostate.edu/notices/covid-19), and you can email other questions to covid-19@metrostate.edu.

Best regards,

Amy

Amy Strohmeier Gort, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

Email from Provost Gort

Dear Students,

The COVID-19 pandemic is having widespread impacts. MN State Colleges and Universities leadership has been in close communication with the MN Department of Health and state leaders in responding to the evolving situation. The Chancellor has made a number of decisions at the system level that are designed to minimize or slow the spread of the virus with the goal of supporting the health and well-being of our faculty, staff, and students. Of course, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the illness will unfold in our community and it is very stressful time for all of us. Please know that the Pandemic Planning Team is carefully monitoring the recommendations of health professionals, and the decisions made by the system. We will be providing regular updates by email and on the website.

It is critically important that you take care of your health and do not come to campus if you are ill. We are monitoring the health of our community and would appreciate it if you would report any COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or diagnosis using this web form (https://www.metrostate.edu/COVID). Reporting via the form is voluntary. However, if you are ill please notify your faculty instructors.

This is going to be a long email with a number of details that are important for you. I’ve organized the information under headings to make it easier to navigate. Please read to the end to ensure that you have full information.

Suspension of Course Instruction through Saturday, March 21 and Resumption of Instruction

Chancellor Malhotra has suspended all classes at Metropolitan State University through Saturday, March 21. This suspension includes all face-to-face, hybrid, online, and independent study courses offerings and there will be no meetings of those course types next week.

The suspension does not cover internships, practica, student teaching, or clinicals at external sites. Students, you can report to those sites next week as long as the external site allows you to do so.

When instruction resumes on Monday, March 23 we will be providing all instruction in a modified way that emphasizes remote instruction. All instruction will continue in this modified, remote mode for the rest of the spring semester.

Modified and Remote Instruction

Starting Monday, March 23 all courses will be offered using instruction methods that will allow course completion remotely or, in very limited situations, with modified class sessions that allow social distancing. The following are options for providing remote instruction:

  • Correspondence education via email;
  • Synchronous Zoom class meetings;
  • Lecture recordings using VoiceThread;
  • Online learning via Brightspace D2L; or
  • Some combination of the four.

In very limited situations, like for labs and studio learning experiences that depend on particular equipment for learning, I will consider approving modified course sessions that will support social distancing in those specialized spaces.

Faculty Planning and Preparations for Remote Instruction

Faculty members will work next week to develop plans for remote instruction. You will be contacted by your faculty members by the end of Friday, March 20 with information about how your courses will proceed when they resume on Monday, March 23.

Modifying Course Content and Activities

This spring term will have 14 weeks of instruction, compared to the normal 15 weeks. Faculty are being asked to review the learning outcomes for the course and make modifications to the course content to accommodate this change. Faculty may also need to modify planned activities to adapt to remote instruction. Please understand that your courses will likely deviate from the syllabus that you’ve received. We will not extend the spring semester beyond Monday, May 4.

Remote Instruction Support for Students

I will send a separate Email next week with the training opportunities for you that will support remote instruction. In particular, we will provide training materials for accessing Brightspace D2L, Zoom, and other online learning tools.

External Learning Sites

Students will be allowed to continue their internships, practica, student teaching, clinical hours, and other experiential learning at external sites as long as the external sites allow them to attend. We know that many programs have minimum hours and/or competency- based assessments for these experiences. MN State and Metropolitan State University administrators are working to gather information from licensing boards and accreditation organizations to understand the impacts on students.

Student Support

Student support services will be offered either in-person or via remote formats. We are developing plans for the library and computer labs at Midway, MEC, and LECJEC to remain open to support students who may have limited computer and/or internet access. More details will be available next week.

Communication

Metropolitan State University is coordinating all communication through the Pandemic Planning Team to ensure that information that is communicated is accurate and consistent. Please monitor your email and the website, https://www.metrostate.edu/notices/covid-19 for updated information.

Please feel free to email covid-19@metrostate.edu with questions. This account is monitored continuously and, while you may not receive an answer individually, all students will receive updates with answers to the questions so you are all well-informed.

Dear students,

As you know, the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now impacting many countries around the world. I want to assure you that my top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff at all 37 colleges and universities within the Minnesota State system.

For this reason and out of an abundance of caution, I suspended all school and business-related international travel, effective February 28, 2020. If you are impacted by the travel suspension, I encourage you to contact your college or university for guidance. We are working in close partnership with our colleges and universities with the goal to ease potential impact of this temporary disruption of travel abroad. We will continue to monitor the situation and review our travel restrictions as new information emerges with regard to the size and scope of the threat associated with COVID-19.

In addition, we continue to work closely with our colleges and universities and the Minnesota Department of Health to monitor developments and proactively address school-related topics as it pertains to COVID-19. To date, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota nor associated with any Minnesota State college or university.

I know many of you are eagerly looking forward to spring break. To protect yourself and your community from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, good hygiene is the first line of defense. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, schools do not need to take special precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of viruses.

Everyday prevention measures like washing your hands with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick reduces the risk of spreading respiratory infections. If you experience the most frequently reported signs and symptoms of fever, cough, muscle aches, fatigue or shortness of breath and are concerned about your health, please contact your doctor or your city, county, or state department of health.

I recognize that managing uncertainty during an evolving, complex situation can be unnerving and challenging. For the most current information, please visit our website. Your college or university website offers local insight and additional information, as well.

My wish for you all is good health and a restorative spring break.

Sincerely,
Devinder Malhotra
Chancellor