COVID-19 Resource Guides and FAQs

Here you can find a collection of Academic Affairs resources and FAQ's related to the evolving COVID-19 situation and response.

Remote Learning FAQ

If I'm learning remotely, do I need to come to campus?

No, you should not come to campus. The Governor of California has issued an executive order to shelter in place, but Sonoma State University continues to offer lots of remote support! Visit the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub to learn how to access your classes, as well as resources like Zoom and Canvas instructions, tutoring, the Writing Center, psychological services, and more!

How do faculty teach remotely?

Your faculty may choose to teach remotely in a number of ways:

  • You may have a faculty who chooses to use email and will require you to read your textbook then email an assignment to them by the end of the week. 

  • You may have another faculty who chooses to do live Zoom lectures to the class at your usual class time. 

  • Another faculty might take advantage of many features of Canvas and your class will be completed through discussion boards and other features of the learning management system.

Each class may be taught completely differently. Remember to check your SSU email several times a day for instructions from your faculty on how you will continue your semester at Sonoma State as a remote learner. If you do not get an email from your faculty you can email your faculty asking them how they will be providing remote teaching.

Finally, do not forget to check out the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub  

Are there any resources available to help me with Zoom?

Sonoma State University has a centralized website to help you get comfortable with Zoom.

Zoom has also created some YouTube videos to help you get setup with Zoom.

If you have technical questions on Zoom, please call the IT Help Desk at (707) 664-HELP

Finally, do not forget to check out the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub  

Are there any resources available to help me with Canvas?

The Faculty Center developed a Canvas Support Center to help you learn how to use Canvas effectively as a student.

Canvas has also created some YouTube videos on how to use Canvas as a student.

If you have technical questions on Canvas, please call the IT Help Desk at (707) 664-HELP

Finally, do not forget to check out the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub  

Are there any common mistakes new remote learners make that I can avoid?

Yes! Remember, remote learning is not easier than in-person learning. Remote learning is different than in-person learning and may require more time and better time management as you transition. Check out this Online Student’s Manual for Success to learn about some common mistakes to avoid as you transition to this new kind of learning.

Finally, do not forget to check out the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub  

Will tutoring still be available for classes?

Absolutely! Sonoma State’s LARC (Learning and Academic Resource Center) is offering online appointments here: mywco.com/ssularc. Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) at Sonoma State University is also offering tutoring virtually via Zoom. Check out https://scitech.sonoma.edu/mesa/tutoring for more information. For more information visit the Student Resource Guide on SSU's COVID-19 Info Hub.

 

COVID-19 Resource Guides

Faculty and Advisor Resource Guide

Resource Guide for Faculty and Advisors 

for COVID-19 Changes to the Academic Plan

 

1. Wellness Communication with Students and Colleagues

In an effort to continue appropriate communication with our students, we also offer a Student Resource Guide. Please assist this communication by making suggestions! (Go here if you’re looking for ways to help others in our SSU community or have ideas.) 

In-person courses are scheduled to continue remotely from Tuesday, March 24 through the end of the spring semester. Residence halls, dining services, and the Student Health Center continue to serve students. See the Library’s Continuity Plan for their services. Dining services is providing “take away” meals. Other campus supports and services for students and faculty are operating remotely.

Sonoma State’s IT helpdesk is available to assist with teaching and learning during this time in addition to providing technical support. The helpdesk can be reached by phone 707.664.4357 or by email helpdesk@sonoma.edu. The Faculty Center is also available to assist faculty in adjusting to online modes and Teaching Through Disruptions.

Laptop Loans: Pell-eligible and low EFC (Expected Family Contribution) students who do not own a computer may check out a laptop from SSU’s Library. After the Library's closure at 5p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, students can request a laptop be mailed directly to their home address or arrange for local pickup by submitting a request to its Laptop Delivery Program.

A. Safety

Sonoma State will be using NomaCares as a central website for campus community members who are impacted and need assistance. NomaCares email: nomacares@sonoma.edu.

As you communicate with colleagues or students, please first inquire about their health and wellbeing. People are experiencing this pandemic in very different ways. Please be sensitive to these feelings and encourage those in need to contact NomaCares, even if they are not sure their situation merits it. Let them know that all NomaCares requests are treated sensitively and confidentially. We can provide some reassurance and some help.

  • Student Affairs staff will work with Academic Affairs staff to manage student issues. Faculty questions will be referred to Faculty Affairs and staff questions will be referred to Human Resources. 

General Information on Coronavirus:

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

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/

https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp 

B. Physical or Mental Health concerns

Watch for signs that people are experiencing physical or mental health concerns as a result of the changes to the campus and coursework caused by the pandemic. If you or your colleagues need help, please contact Human Resources for our Employee Assistance Program. Students should be referred to the Student Health Center or to Counseling and Psychological Services. You may also contact NomaCares at nomacares@sonoma.edu to let us know about students who need assistance.

Leave Requests - Faculty needing a reduction in workload should follow the Faculty Leave processes available on the Faculty Affairs website: https://academicaffairs.sonoma.edu/faculty-affairs/all-faculty/leaves.  Faculty should also contact their chair for assistance with this process.

2.  Academic Communication with Students

Many of our students are worried about their classes and are seeking guidance and communication. You should reach out to all of your students as you usually  do (via email, Canvas, PeopleSoft, text, or other means) regarding changes in dates and assignments. 

When classes resume in either remote or face-to-face modalities, offer to talk with students individually who may be experiencing difficulties related to the pandemic. Remember that students may not want to share their experiences of fears in front of other students. You can send out by email or post on your Canvas site information about  counseling services, health services, advising, etc. Here are a few links to share:

Counseling and Psychological Services

Student Health Center

Advising Central Financial Aid

3.  Academic Deadlines and Processes

A. Forms

Many forms on campus have been available in hardcopy only. These are now being transferred into Adobe Sign. Please do not deviate from Adobe Sign as you transfer departmental forms to be available virtually. SSU’s IT department has vetted Adobe Sign for security and accessibility. Students and faculty can sign forms using mobile devices, Chromebooks, and computers. 

B. Academic Calendar for Spring 2020 

Credit/No Credit - Through April 17, 2020, students may change the grade mode of a qualified class from letter grade to Credit/No Credit. Read more here!

Withdrawing - Through May 8, students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons. Read more here!

Financial Aid - For questions about financial aid visit http://web.sonoma.edu/finaid/home/contact.html or email Julia.Ibanez@sonoma.edu. Read more here!

If you are working with students who believe they are unable to meet academic deadlines for the semester, please refer them to their academic advisor or have them contact NomaCares at nomacares@sonoma.edu. If you have concerns about a student, please contact nomacares@sonoma.edu and provide the student’s full name and student ID if you have it. For graduate students, you may also contact the Office of Graduate Studies at graduate.studies@sonoma.edu

C.  Course Adjustments

Here are some Suggestions for Remote Teaching During the Covid-19 Pandemic developed by our colleagues at SSU’s Faculty Center.

Faculty have the freedom to make any adjustments they believe are necessary and appropriate to course schedules, assignments, deadlines, and test dates. It’s important to make sure the learning outcomes for the course are met in some fashion as you contemplate the time remaining in the course. 

When courses resume on March 24, they will be remote through the end of the spring semester.

Low-cost Internet: Because the campus remains open, on-campus internet is available. Additionally, several cable companies are offering free internet during this time. Here are their Covid-related web pages: include Cox, Charter, Comcast, Xfinity, and AT&T

The Faculty Center offers training to assist faculty in adjusting to online modes and Teaching Through Disruptions Some courses such as science labs and performing arts studios may be particularly challenged as they move to remote access. Faculty may find these ideas helpful: Suggestions for Remote Labs and Performing Arts Studios.

Be aware that students are not equally equipped to perform successfully in online courses. Many students can only access online courses via smartphone. This will not be sufficient for using software programs such as SPSS and Stata. Faculty should consider alternative ways for students to learn material based in such software programs. 

The stress of “making up for lost time” is a big one for faculty, but please take a  compassionate and sensitive stance. Consider adjusting your syllabus, extending deadlines, cancelling or modifying  some assignments or readings, and adjusting grading criteria. It will be difficult to squeeze in everything that was in the original syllabus and course schedule, and  we ask that you not try to fit in extra class periods that only some students will be able to attend. Please be very clear about your expectations and explain to students how the syllabus or course schedule for your course has changed as a  result of the class periods missed.  Here is some suggested Syllabus language.

If you have questions about how to adjust your syllabus, assignments, or  deadlines, contact your Department Chair, Associate Dean, Dean, the Faculty  Center, or the Office of Academic Programs. All of these individuals can help with  the adjustment process.

Please encourage students to take course materials with them if they leave campus during class cancellations. Courses may be required to resume remotely after the cancellations.

C. Accommodating Students with Disabilities

Faculty should continue to accommodate students who have disabilities documented through DSS. Here are directions for accommodating individual students with extended test time on a Canvas quiz: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13053

If you need assistance with accommodating students you may reach out to Disability Services at 707.664.2677 to arrange a Zoom appointment. DSS has also produced this Continuity Plan, which offers many quick tips on accommodations.

D. Incompletes

An incomplete is appropriate under the following circumstances:

●  When a student has completed a substantial amount of the work for a course (usually 50%) but is unable to complete the course requirements within the academic term.

●  When the remaining work can be completed by the student outside of class.

An Incomplete is not appropriate when it is necessary for a student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered.

Students this semester may have gaps in their work after class cancellations, particularly if they are not accustomed to online learning. If a student met deadlines and completed work before class cancellations and the move to remote access, but has spottier completion rates in the second half of the semester, an “incomplete” may be more appropriate than a poor grade. Faculty will need to evaluate the amount of work completed for the course as a whole to ensure it is a substantial  amount. Incomplete Form and policy are here. 

E. Withdrawing from a Course 

The deadline for withdrawing from courses has already passed (Feb 17). As always, students may petition to withdraw from one or more  classes for “serious and compelling” reasons (see definition below). The student must complete the  Petition to Withdraw from a Class, signed by the course instructor, the student’s  advisor, the student’s major department chair (if the student is declared), and the university registrar. A Dean’s signature is not required. Students should include an explanation of the circumstances and documentation. If it is problematic for  students to obtain documentation for pandemic-related situations, advisors or course faculty may indicate this on the form and omit documentation.

Please note that students are not eligible for refunds, as that deadline has passed. There may, however, be financial aid implications in future semesters for dropping a  course or courses in spring 2020. All questions about financial aid should be discussed with a financial aid advisor.

F. Leave of Absence Requests

If students indicate they need take a Leaves of Absence, please encourage them to talk with their academic advisor in their major or in Advising Central (the Advising Center), the Financial Aid Office, and REACH (Housing), if they are residential. It is important that they get advice. There may be ways of helping a student to stay in school or re-enter more easily.

G. Probation and Disqualification

Probation and disqualification processes and criteria will not change, but  individual student situations, for those students directly impacted by the pandemic, will be reviewed by the University Standards Committee.

H. Testing

WEPT: April 2020 WEPT exams have been cancelled and all registered test-takers have been notified. This is per the CO memo temporarily suspending the GWAR requirement. All seniors who have applied for Spring 2020 graduation will automatically have their GWAR requirement updated. All Spring 2020 graduating seniors who signed up to take an April WEPT exam and paid the $35 WEPT fee will have that refunded and credited to their account. Both of those processes should be complete by the end of March. Any special circumstances or individual concerns should be directed to the WEPT office at wept@sonoma.edu 

This information has also been posted on the WEPT home page and schedule page here. 

Prometrics Tests: If you have students who have signed up for GRE Subject  Tests, the LSAT, or the MPRE, they should contact Testing and Proctoring Services to check on when exams will be scheduled or rescheduled.

Student Resource Guide

Student Resource Guide During Covid-19 Disruption

 

Thanks for visiting this guide, Seawolves! This is an unusual time, and this guide is aimed to help you navigate Sonoma State in this context. If this guide doesn’t answer your questions, you should visit our Frequently Asked Questions. Still need assistance? Please reach out to nomacares@sonoma.edu, and we’ll get you to the right place!

1. Remote Learning

All classes will be remote for the remainder of the spring semester. “Remote instruction” will mean different things in different classes. 

Here are 3 steps to get you started! 

Step 1: Check your “sonoma.edu” email for any updates from your instructors.

Step 2: Log into Canvas @ https://canvas.sonoma.edu/

Step 3: Download Zoom (or other technologies your instructors are using).

2. Campus Resources

A. Campus Offices

Residence halls, dining services, and the Student Health Center continue to serve students. The Library will be closed as of 5PM, March 25th. For updates on Library Services visit the Library Continuity Plan. Dining Services is providing “take away” meals. Have questions regarding housing and dining? REACH has developed a FAQ page to help! Other campus supports and services for students and faculty are operating remotely. 

If you decide to leave campus, take care to pack books, notes, and other course materials so that you are prepared to continue your courses remotely.

Here are services you’ll find particularly useful as we work remotely:

  • Sonoma State’s IT helpdesk is available to assist with teaching and learning during this time in addition to providing technical support. The helpdesk can be reached by phone 707.664.4357 or by email helpdesk@sonoma.edu

  • Sonoma State’s LARC (Learning and Academic Resource Center) which includes the Tutorial Program, Supplemental Instruction Program, and the Writing Center. All LARC programs and services will shift to online, mainly through Zoom. Tutoring appointments can be made online here: mywco.com/ssularc. Students who make appointments will receive a confirmation email with instructions for accessing their online Zoom session. Please note that all WEPT Exams have been cancelled for the Spring 2020 semester and all registered test-takers have been notified. Please see the WEPT website for more information. If you have Supplemental Instruction or a Learning Community attached to your course, please check your email and Canvas page for announcements about online sessions. Your SI Leader or Learning Community Mentor (LCM) will email you instructions on how to access online sessions. 

  • Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) at Sonoma State University is also offering tutoring virtually via Zoom. Check out https://scitech.sonoma.edu/mesa/tutoring for more information.

  • Sonoma State's University Library is available to assist with research and connect students with learning resources. While the physical Library will be closed as of 5PM, March 25th, the University Library will provide access to digital materials available to you on and off campus. For help navigating these resources, chat with a librarian online, anytime, 24/7, or make an appointment for a remote consultation via phone, email or videoconferencing with a librarian who is a subject specialist in your area. Library lending laptops are also available for an extended loan period to help students complete online coursework from home. For additional Library information visit the Library Covid-19 Updates and Resources page.

B. Physical or Mental Health Concerns

If you are experiencing physical or mental health setbacks including stress please reach out to Sonoma State’s Student Health Center or to Counseling and Psychological Services.  

Please note that an on-call counselor is available 24/7 by calling our phone number at 707-664-2153 and following instructions to talk to a counselor immediately. If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or another, please call 911 or go to your local emergency room.  The CAPS resources page on our website also has helpful information for coping during this difficult time. Visit: https://web.sonoma.edu/counselingctr/resources.html

C. Lobo's Pantry

We are proud to be able to support student basic needs through this difficult time by keeping Lobo's Pantry open. Adjustments may need to be made to this plan as the usage pattern is determined and as the county and state public health orders change. 

Lobo’s Pantry Operations Plan

  • Lobo's Pantry will be open on Tuesday and Fridays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

  • Distribution will be limited to a pre-packaged bag of staple foods.

NOTE: Students who are feeling ill in any way should NOT come to the pantry.  Please see the SSU COVID-19 site

Pick-Up Guidelines

  • Bags will be placed on the table prior to distribution times.

  • No lines will be allowed to form.

  • Students will park in Lot A or in the small lot to the North of the Children’s School.

  • Students will enter from the east side of the Zinfandel plaza and exit to the west to reduce interaction. 

  • Social distancing of six feet between people must be maintained at all times.

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided at the tables.

  • Students will pick bags up from the table.

  • Staff will stay 6 feet away from distribution tables during pick up.

  • Staff will wear gloves at all times.

D. Other Concerns

If you have other concerns and are not sure who to contact, reach out to NomaCares for assistance nomacares@sonoma.edu

Want to help others? Go here If you’re looking for ways to help others in our SSU community

3.  Academic Deadlines and Processes

A. Academic Calendar for Spring

SSU’s spring 2020 Commencement and cultural celebrations have been postponed. 

During these unprecedented times we hope to support you if you are struggling academically because of the response to the coronavirus. We offer these suggestions:

1.    Talk to your instructor(s). They may be able to help, especially if you are having trouble accessing materials or participating in remote sessions.

2.    Talk to your advisor, either in your department or in the Advising & Transfer Center. If you do not know who your advisor is, you can look in your MySSU or check out Where to Seek Advising. The Advisors can help you work through the options.

3.     The COVID-19 - Academic Affairs Info Hub is also full of many wonderful resources to help you transition to remote learning.

Below are some additional options you can consider:

Credit/No Credit - Through April 17, 2020, students may change the grade mode of a qualified class from letter grade to Credit/No Credit. Read more here! You can do this in MySSU. Here are the instructions.

Withdrawing - Through May 8, students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons. Read more here!

Financial Aid - For questions about financial aid visit http://web.sonoma.edu/finaid/home/contact.html or email Julia.Ibanez@sonoma.edu. Read more here!

B. Course Adjustments

Please be advised that instructors may alter course schedules, readings, assignments, tests, or other course requirements to accommodate public health concerns. Watch for information from your instructors, and be sure to contact them if you are unclear about the expectations. 

No courses have been cancelled or reduced in units.

C. Access to Remote Technologies

Low-cost Internet: Because the campus remains open, on-campus internet is available. Additionally, several cable companies are offering free internet during this time. Here are their Covid-related web pages: include Cox, Charter, Comcast, Xfinity, and AT&T

Laptop Loans: Pell-eligible and low EFC (Expected Family Contribution) students who do not own a computer may check out a laptop from SSU’s Library. After the Library's closure at 5p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, students can request a laptop be mailed directly to their home address or arrange for local pickup by submitting a request to its Laptop Delivery Program.

Tips for Success in Remote Classes

  • Online classes are not easier and do not require less time. The time you would normally put into an in-person course should now be put into the online course. Your instructor may conduct live lectures, which you will be required to attend. Other instructors may require additional readings or assignments in place of traditional, in-person class meetings. 

  • Be sure to dedicate specific times to work on your coursework. You may need to ask your friends and family to kindly give you study space so you can concentrate.

  • Communicate regularly with your instructor about questions and concerns. 

  • Complete and submit assignments on time. 

  • Access online class materials once a day unless otherwise directed by your instructor. Check Canvas for announcements, due dates, and feedback on completed assignments.

  • Allow yourself extra time for assignment completion in case of unexpected technology glitches.

  • Working remotely requires self-direction and independence. Push yourself to think creatively, and collaborate with your instructors to overcome any hiccups.

  • Even though you don’t see your classmates physically, they are still there and can be a valuable resource when you need help. Maintain communication!

D. Disability Services

If you have an accommodation through Disability Services, you continue to be entitled to accommodations. Disability Advisors and Coordinators continue to be available remotely. Call DSS at 707.664.2677. While you likely alerted your instructors to your accommodations at the beginning of the semester, you might consider reminding them as the course moves online since the appropriate accommodations may change. Here is some quick information about how DSS is continuing its services!

4. Special notes for Graduating Seniors (Congratulations!)

  1. Graduate on time!

SSU will postpone Spring 2020 Commencement and cultural celebrations. This does not mean that your graduation is postponed! You can still graduate on time, and diplomas will be mailed out to graduating seniors. 

SSU partners with Herff Jones to provide your academic regalia and other graduation mementos. You have two options: (1) Keep and use the gown for your own pictures and celebrations or for the to-be-rescheduled commencement, or (2) leave the unopened gown in the bag and send it back for a refund. For more information, contact Herff Jones customer service @ 1-800-837-4235.

  1. All courses are still running!

No classes (not even science labs!) are being cancelled as a result of COVID 19. Units are not being reduced. See below for tips for success in remote classes!

Summer courses are still being offered, check out the course availability in your MySSU.

  1. Exceptions to WEPT

All graduating seniors who have applied and been approved for Spring 2020 or Summer 2020 graduation will automatically have their GWAR requirement completed in their ARR (Academic Requirement Report). This update to students' ARR will happen in April; please check your ARR after April 10th to make sure that this requirement has been marked as fulfilled. Please see the WEPT website for more information or email wept@sonoma.edu with any questions. 

  1. Your advisor is available online!

Please continue to check in with your advisor to ensure you are on the right path to graduation. Talk to your advisor, either in your department or in the Advising & Transfer Center

5.  Frequently Asked Questions

What are “serious and compelling” reasons for withdrawing from a class?

In the context of the coronavirus, the University Standards Committee will consider  cases including (but not limited to) those in which a student and/or the family of the student have become seriously ill, experienced the death of a family member, had significant caretaking responsibilities, inability to access course materials, or experienced significant psychological and/or physical trauma as a result of the virus. Read more about COVID-specific reasons here.

May I take an incomplete in my course? 

SSU policy allows for incomplete in certain circumstances. Your instructor may allow an incomplete provided you have completed a substantial amount of the work for the course (usually a minimum of 50%) and that the remaining work can be completed outside of class and within a timely fashion. The Incomplete Form and policy are here

What should I do if I am unable to return to campus?

The Sonoma State University community wants to do everything we can to keep you on track to graduate. There are many options to discuss with your academic advisor including taking a Leave of Absence (Find your Advisor). Taking a leave is a major decision that almost always has financial implications you should know about and discuss with Financial Aid advisors before making this decision.

How do I communicate with my professors?

It is important to stay in contact with your professors. Emailing a professor should be straightforward. You send emails all the time! However, emailing a professor is different from emailing a friend or family member. These tips will help you write an email that is appropriate and gets an answer.

Can I still get help with my disability?

Absolutely! Contact DSS @ 707.664.2677 to arrange a Zoom appointment. You might also find your answers in this DSS Continuity Plan.

Can I still work at my on-campus job while classes are cancelled?

Yes, please email your supervisor to determine remote work!

Where can I receive more help?

If you have other questions or would like additional information or support please email nomacares@sonoma.edu

How do I know what is happening at Sonoma State?

We encourage you to check your SSU email as well as the SSU website (www.sonoma.edu) frequently and also to sign up for our emergency notification system (ENS). We use the ENS for urgent communication needs so be sure to sign up! Instructions are here: https://web.sonoma.edu/risk/emergency/ens.html

Graduate Student Resource Guide

Dear Graduate Students,

Today begins remote instruction, which will continue for the rest of the semester. We hope to provide you with the resources you need to be successful in this new environment. Please find general information and resources specific to Graduate Students below.  If you have additional concerns specific to your graduate program or with regards to your specific degree pathway, please contact the Program Coordinator for your graduate program. 

A. Academic Deadlines 

There have been no changes to the Graduate Program Deadlines as of March 24, 2020. If you will be unable to meet these academic deadlines for the semester due specifically to changes in response to COVID-19, please work with your Program Coordinator to determine if an accommodation can be made to maintain your progress through the degree.

B. Course Adjustments

All classroom-based courses are expected to be taught via remote instruction starting on Tuesday, March 24 and continuing through the end of the spring 2020 semester. During this period, there will be no in-person classroom instruction. 

Instructors may alter course schedules, readings, assignments, tests, or other course requirements to accommodate public health concerns. Please watch for communication from your instructors regarding adjustments to the courses in response to COVID-19. 

C. Degree Progress and Closure requirements

  • Degree Progress

Please be sure you have a plan for maintaining progress towards degree during the University’s response to COVID-19.  In some cases, this may include developing a specific pathway for individual students. Please reach out to your Program Coordinator if you need assistance in this process.

  • Advancement to Candidacy

If the process for advancement to candidacy requires a meeting of individuals (e.g. portfolio review, oral exam, written exam, etc.), please work through these requirements using remote methods (e.g. ZOOM, Skype). 

The current GS01 form is fillable and provides for digital signatures.  If there is an obstacle to providing a digital signature on the GS01 form, please include an email from the individual stating that they are signing the document. Signed GSO1 forms should be submitted to graduate.studies@sonoma.edu.

  • Culminating Experience

The current GS02 form is required for completion of the master’s degree.  The GS02 form is fillable and provides for digital signatures.  If there is an obstacle to providing a digital signature on the GS02 form, please include an email from the individual stating that they are signing the document. Signed GS02 forms should be submitted to graduate.studies@sonoma.edu.

  1. Theses

    1. Please continue to follow the regular digital thesis submission protocols and Deadlines

    2. If a student needs to extend their thesis completion from Spring to Summer, be sure they complete the Graduation Changes form.

    3. Thesis presentations should be conducted using technology to allow remote presentation and evaluation (ZOOM, Skype). Students should work with their Thesis Adviser if assistance is needed in conducting the Thesis presentation remotely.

    4. Lab work, field work, office work, or clinical activities associated with completion of the degree must be converted to remote activities or halted for the remainder of the semester.

  2. Projects

    1. Graduate students should work with their advisers to evaluate their immediate plans for progress or completion if using a project for the culminating experience.

    2. Lab work, field work, office work, or clinical activities associated with completion of the degree must be converted to remote activities or halted for the remainder of the semester.

  3. Comprehensive Exams

    1. During the COVID-19 response period (currently through April 19), Comprehensive exams must be conducted remotely.  Please consult with the Program Coordinator regarding plans for comprehensive exams during the Spring semester.

D. Graduate Student Support

We expect current graduate student support will remain in place through the COVID-19 response period.  However, student resources will be accessed remotely during this period. The office of Graduate Studies can be contacted via email graduate.studies@sonoma.edu, and the Graduate Studies website is the hub for all forms and thesis submission information. 

Teaching Associate and Graduate Assistant Tuition waivers will remain in place.  It should be noted that students receiving these waivers are expected to continue to fulfill duties associated with their appointment, with appropriate adjustments for online instruction or other remote activities.

Additional information and resources can be found on the Academic Affairs COVID-19 Resources and FAQ’s website, including information about remote learning. We want you to have a successful spring semester, please reach out to graduate.studies@sonoma.edu if you have additional questions.

Staff Resource Guide

Resource Guide for Staff for COVID-19 Changes to the Academic Plan

In an effort to continue appropriate communication with our students, we also offer a Student Resource Guide. Please assist this communication by making suggestions! (Go here if you’re looking for ways to help others in our SSU community or have ideas.) 

In-person courses are scheduled to continue remotely from Tuesday, March 24 through the end of the spring semester. Residence halls, dining services, and the Student Health Center continue to serve students. See the Library’s Continuity Plan for their services. Dining services is providing “take away” meals. Other campus supports and services for students and faculty are operating remotely.

General Information on Coronavirus:

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

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/

https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp 

1. Working remotely

All staff are encouraged to work remotely. This will be a new and possibly challenging shift for many of us! 

Low-cost Internet: Because the campus remains open, on-campus internet is available. Additionally, several cable companies are offering free internet during this time. Here are their Covid-related web pages: include Cox, Charter, Comcast, Xfinity, and AT&T

Sonoma State’s IT helpdesk is available to assist with teaching and learning during this time in addition to providing technical support. The helpdesk can be reached by phone 707.664.4357 or by email helpdesk@sonoma.edu.

The Chancellor’s Office recently released this Temporary Paid Administrative Leave Provisions during the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) memo. The memo details the provision of up to 128 hours of paid administrative leave for all benefits-eligible employees, academic student employees, and non-represented student assistants to be used for COVID-related absences starting today, March 23rd, through December 31, 2020. Note that hourly intermittent staff are not included in this memo. 

2. Wellness Communication with Students and Colleagues

A. Safety 

Sonoma State will be using NomaCares as a central website for campus community members who are impacted and need assistance. NomaCares email: nomacares@sonoma.edu.

As you communicate with colleagues or students, please first inquire about their health and wellbeing. People are experiencing this pandemic in very different ways. Please be sensitive to these feelings and encourage those in need to contact NomaCares, even if they are not sure their situation merits it. Let them know that all NomaCares requests are treated sensitively and confidentially. We can provide some reassurance and some help.

Student Affairs staff will work with Academic Affairs staff to manage student issues. Faculty questions will be referred to Faculty Affairs and staff questions will be referred to Human Resources. 

B. Physical or Mental Health 

Watch for signs that people are experiencing physical or mental health concerns as a result of the changes to the campus and coursework caused by the pandemic. If you or your colleagues need help, please contact Human Resources for our Employee Assistance Program. Students should be referred to the Student Health Center or to Counseling and Psychological Services. You may also contact NomaCares at nomacares@sonoma.edu to let us know about students who need assistance.

C. Travel

Only essential travel is permitted at this time. In general, Sonoma State University encourages students, faculty, and staff to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State recommendations for travel. The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 interactive map provides up to date information for your consideration. 

2. Academic Communication with Students

A. Forms

Please assist our remote accessibility by ensuring forms used by your office are available online (not just in hardcopy). Any forms requiring signatures should be transferred to Adobe Sign. Please do not deviate from Adobe Sign as you transfer departmental forms to be available virtually. SSU’s IT department has vetted Adobe Sign for security and accessibility. Students and faculty can sign forms using mobile devices, Chromebooks, and computers. 

B. Questions from students

Many of our students are worried about their classes and are seeking guidance and communication. Faculty members will develop different plans for managing their classes as the situation evolves. You should encourage students to communicate with faculty as soon as possible regarding changes in dates and assignments. 

When classes resume in either remote or face-to-face modalities, we will still need to support students who may be experiencing difficulties related to the pandemic. Remember that students may not want to share their experiences of fears in front of other students. You can remind students about campus resources available to support them. Here are a few links to share:

NomaCares email: nomacares@sonoma.edu

Counseling and Psychological Services

Student Health Center

Advising Central 

Financial Aid

C. Questions from faculty

Faculty are navigating an unprecedented teaching situation, they may reach out with questions. March 12, 13 and 23 classes were cancelled in order to provide faculty who do not teach online the chance to prepare to teach classes remotely. The remainder of the semester will be taught remotely. The IT helpdesk@sonoma.edu is available to assist. There are many resources posted to the Faculty Center website and also many workshops running to help faculty adapt to this new situation. Faculty can also be referred to the Faculty Resources page.

3.  Academic Deadlines and Processes

A. Academic Calendar for Spring 2020 

SSU’s spring 2020 Commencement and cultural celebrations have been postponed. 

Some deadlines have been extended, for example:

Credit/No Credit - Through April 17, 2020, students may change the grade mode of a qualified class from letter grade to Credit/No Credit. Read more here!

Withdrawing - Through May 8, students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons. Read more here!

 If you have concerns about a student, please contact nomacares@sonoma.edu and provide the student’s full name and student ID if you have it. For graduate students, you may also contact the Office of Graduate Studies at graduate.studies@sonoma.edu

B.  Course Adjustments

There may be major adjustments made by faculty to their courses this semester. Please urge students to check in with their instructors via email and through Canvas for updates. Faculty are referred to a separate Faculty Resources page.

COVID-19 Resource Guide for Graduate Coordinators and Graduate Advisors

Resource Guide for Graduate Coordinators and Graduate Advisors 

For COVID-19 Response at SSU

 

Please find information and resources specific to Graduate Program Coordinators below.  If you have additional concerns specific to your program or with regards to a specific student, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies in the Graduate Studies Office. 

1. Academic Deadlines 

There have been no changes to the Graduate Program Deadlines as of March 24, 2020. If you are working with students who are unable to meet these academic deadlines for the semester due specifically to changes in response to COVID-19, please work with the Director of Graduate Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies to determine if, and how an accommodation might be made to maintain the student’s progress through the program.

2. Course Adjustments

All classroom-based courses are expected to be taught via remote instruction starting on Tuesday, March 24 and continuing through the end of the spring 2020 semester. During this period, there will be no in-person classroom instruction. 

Instructors may alter course schedules, readings, assignments, tests, or other course requirements to accommodate public health concerns. Please be in contact with your program’s instructors regarding appropriate adjustments to the courses and communication with students in response to COVID-19.  

For these and any circumstances below where novel use of remote methods is needed, be sure to work with the Faculty Center for assistance in finding the best solutions to your program’s particular needs.

3. Degree Progress and Closure requirements

A. Degree Progress

Please be communicating with the students, faculty, and advisors in your graduate program to develop a plan for maintaining progress towards degree for the students in your program during the University’s response to COVID-19.  In many cases, this will include developing specific pathways for individual students. Please reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies if you need assistance in this process.

B. Advancement to Candidacy

If the process for advancement to candidacy requires a meeting of individuals (e.g. portfolio review, oral exam, written exam, etc.), please work through these requirements using remote methods (e.g. ZOOM, Skype, or Canvas). The campus does not currently have the ability to proctor tests digitally, but you can use Canvas to create timed exams. The department may need to consider temporary alterations to exam processes for graduate students.

The current GS01 form is fillable and provides for digital signatures. If there is an obstacle to providing a digital signature on the GS01 form, please include an email from the individual stating that they are signing the document.

C. Culminating Experience

The current GS02 form is fillable and provides for digital signatures. If there is an obstacle to providing a digital signature on the GS02 form, please include an email from the individual stating that they are signing the document.

  1. Theses

    1. Please continue to follow the regular digital Thesis submission protocols and Deadlines

    2. If a student needs to extend their thesis completion from Spring to Summer, be sure they complete the Graduation Changes form.

    3. Thesis presentations should be conducted using technology to allow remote presentation and evaluation (ZOOM, Skype). Please have students work with the Faculty Center if they need assistance in conducting their thesis presentation remotely.

    4. Lab work, field work, office work, or clinical activities associated with completion of the degree must be converted to remote activities or halted for the remainder of the semester.

  2. Projects

    1. Program coordinators should work with graduate students and their advisers to evaluate immediate plans for progress or completion for those students using a project as their culminating experience.

    2. Lab work, field work, office work, or clinical activities associated with completion of the degree must be converted to remote activities or halted for the remainder of the semester.

  3. Comprehensive Exams

    1. Program coordinators should plan for comprehensive exams given this semester be able to be conducted remotely.  Currently, no in-person Comprehensive exams may be conducted through April 19. Currently, SSU has no technology to allow monitoring of students during remote exams.  So please plan to either use an Honor Code approach or be prepared to provide open note exams should avoidance of in-person instruction and assessment continue through the exam period. Please consult with the Faculty Center to explore the options for providing a remote exam in accordance with your program’s needs.

    2. Jeffrey Reeder has already developed a remote version of the comprehensive exam for the Spanish M.A. and is happy to consult regarding development of remote comprehensive exams with other programs (jeffrey.reeder@sonoma.edu).

4. Graduate Student Support

We expect current graduate student support will remain in place through the COVID-19 response period. However, student resources will be expected to be accessed remotely during this period. A high level of communication with graduate students in your program during this period will be necessary to provide the best chance for students to maintain their progress through the program.

Teaching Associate and Graduate Assistant tuition waivers will remain in place.  It should be noted that students receiving these waivers are expected to continue to fulfill duties associated with their appointment, with appropriate adjustments for remote or virtual instruction.

5. General Faculty Resources

For general faculty resource information, please refer to the Academic Affairs COVID-19 Resource Guides for Faculty and Students. Items addressed there include: Wellness Communication with Students and Colleagues, Academic Communication with Students, and General Academic Deadlines and Processes.

6. Specific Issues & Inquiries

We expect that with the diversity of graduate programs at Sonoma State University, issues that are associated with specific programs may not addressed above. We invite Program Coordinators to contact the Director of Graduate Studies for any assistance in addressing any specific issues or individual student needs. The Office of Graduate Studies seeks to support the valued experts in each of our graduate programs in responding to the unique circumstances created by COVID-19 to the greatest benefit for their students and programs.

Resources for Parents

RESOURCES FOR PARENTS

These are some of the hundreds of resources available for parents who are sheltering-in-place with their families during COVID-19. 

TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

Academic Grading, Withdrawal, Refunds, and Financial Issues Related to the Spring 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

Academic Grading, Withdrawal, Refunds, and Financial Issues Related to the Spring 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

During these unprecedented times we hope to support you if you are struggling academically because of the response to the coronavirus. We offer these suggestions:

1.    Talk to your instructor(s). They may be able to help, especially if you are having trouble accessing materials or participating in remote sessions.

2.    Talk to your advisor, either in your department or in the Advising & Transfer Center. If you do not know who your advisor is, you can look in your MySSU or check out Where to Seek Advising. The Advisors can help you work through the options.

3.     The COVID-19 - Academic Affairs Info Hub is also full of many wonderful resources to help you transition to remote learning.

Below are some options you can consider:

A. Change of Grade Mode:

1. Change my grade mode from letter grade to Credit/No Credit

  • Through April 17, 2020, students may change the grade mode of a qualified class from letter grade to Credit/No Credit. 

  • Points to consider about changing to credit/no credit:

    • The change only applies to classes that are coded to allow credit/no credit (mostly GE classes). 

    • A Credit (CR) is equivalent to earning a C- or better in a class. Earning a CR counts toward your SSU degree and toward completion of GE requirements. If you change to CR/NC grade mode, you cannot receive CR for a D-range grade. A CR grade is not calculated into your SSU GPA.

    •  By contrast, D-range grades (D+, D, D-) will count in your SSU GPA. They also count toward your SSU degree and can count as “completion” of a GE requirement except for areas A1, A2, A3, and B4, in which you must earn a C- or better.

    • You can count a maximum of 24 CR/NC units toward graduation.

Information will be available next week about how to make this change.

2. You can ask your instructor for an Incomplete at the end of the semester if . . .

  • You have completed a substantial amount of the work for a course (usually 50% or more), but are unable to complete the course requirements within the semester,

  • AND, you can complete the remaining work without needing to attend the class when it is next offered.

  • If you met deadlines and completed work before the coronavirus outbreak but have spottier completion rates in the second half of the semester, this may be a situation in which an incomplete is appropriate. Faculty will need to evaluate the amount of work completed for the course as a whole to ensure it is a substantial amount.

  • Unless otherwise specified, you have up to one year to finish an incomplete, but faculty may require you to submit the work by a particular date less than one year from the end of the semester when you took the class. 

  • Please note that faculty are not required to grant an incomplete. 

  • An Incomplete form will be available online later in the semester. 

B. Withdraw from One or More Classes:

Withdrawing from one class, some classes, or all classes requires that you have a “serious & compelling” reason as defined by the campus policy. Notice that some reasons that may feel serious to you (such as a low grade) may not be permitted under the policy. Please consult your advisor and read the following carefully.

Serious & Compelling Reasons:

For the purposes of withdrawal, the University defines “serious & compelling” as follows:

1.    The standard of “serious & compelling” applies to situations, such as illness or accident, clearly beyond the student’s control. All situations require documentation.

2.    The following situations are typical of those for which “serious & compelling” is appropriate justification for withdrawal:

a.    An extended absence due to verifiable accident illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the university;

b.    An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family; 

c.    A necessary change in employment status that interferes with the student’s ability to attend class (whether in person or online);

d.    Errors made by SSU.

3.    The following situations DO NOT fall under the intent of “serious & compelling”:

a.    Grade anticipated in the class is not sufficiently high, or the student is doing failing work (including being penalized with a failing grade for academic dishonesty);

b.    Failure to attend class (in person, or online where appropriate), complete assignments, or take a test; 

c.    Dissatisfaction with the course material, instructional method, or instructor;

d.    Class is harder than expected;

e.    Pressure of other classes, employment, and/or participation in extracurricular activities;

f.     A change of major;

g.    Lack of awareness of the withdrawal process or procedures.

4.    Other unusual or very special cases will be considered on their merit by the University Standards Committee. In the context of the novel coronavirus, such circumstances may include but are not limited to:

a.    Student had significant caretaking responsibilities for family members as a result of the community response to the coronavirus;

b.    Student experienced significant psychological and/or physical trauma as a result of the coronavirus;

c.    Student was not able to access course materials or technology despite documented efforts to address these issues with the instructor.

Process for a student to withdraw from an individual class in Spring 2020

  • Through May 8, students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons.

  • The usual $20 course fee has been waived for Spring 2020.

  • The student must complete the online petition (available March 30) signed digitally by the course instructor, the student’s advisor, and the university registrar.  

  • Students should include an explanation of the circumstances and documentation. If students cannot obtain documentation for coronavirus-related situations, faculty may indicate this on the form and omit documentation. 

  • Faculty instructors should include a comment about the student’s participation in the class since the move to remote instruction.

Process for a student to withdraw completely from all courses in Spring 2020

  •  We strongly encourage students to speak to their instructors and to see an advisor in your department or in the Advising Center before making this decision. Your advisor may be able to suggest resources for managing challenges presented by the response to coronavirus that would let you finish some or all of your classes rather than withdrawing. 

  • You must have “serious & compelling” reasons to withdraw (see definition above).

  • If you and your advisor agree that a total withdraw is the correct next step, the last day to withdraw completely from the Spring 2020 term is May 8, 2020. 

  • There is no fee to withdraw from the term.

  • Please use this form if you need to withdraw completely from all your courses in Spring 2020: https://sonoma.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5Bf1bbIcQ9DplfD

How to withdraw after the last day of instruction in Spring 2020

  • With “serious & compelling” reasons, you can petition to withdraw from an entire semester after the last day of instruction. Typically withdrawing after the semester ends requires you to withdraw from all the courses you took that semester.

  • However, during Fall 2020 only, the University Standards Committee will consider petitions to withdraw from an individual class taken at SSU in Spring 2020 only, for “serious and compelling” reasons related to the coronavirus.

C. Refunds and Financial Aid

If you have any questions about financial aid, you should see a financial aid advisor. Here’s how:

Can a student get a full refund for dropping a course?

  • No, the deadline for getting a refund for the difference between full-time and part-time tuition was February 5.

  • There will be no financial aid reductions at this point in the semester for students who drop one or more classes as long as the student remains enrolled in at least one course.

  • There may, however, be other financial aid implications for dropping one or more courses. All questions about financial aid should be discussed with a financial aid advisor.

Can a student get a full refund for withdrawing completely from Spring 2020?

  • There are CSU and federal guidelines that govern full refunds for complete withdrawal for Spring 2020. Standard policies apply, but students who believe there are reasons for a full refund should consult with the Registrar’s Office.

D. Change to Probation and Disqualification Process

Probation and disqualification processes and criteria will not change, but individual student situations, for those students directly impacted by the coronavirus, will be reviewed by the Registrar’s Office and the University Standards Committee.