Student Resource Guide During Covid-19 Disruption for Fall 2020

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 sends e-mail), and we’ll get you to the right place!

Table of Contents

Remote Learning

Most classes will be online for the Fall semester. “Remote instruction” will mean different things in different classes. 

Here are 3 steps to get you started! 

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

Step 2: Log into Canvas @

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

Campus Resources

Campus Offices 

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 sends e-mail).

  • 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: 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

  • Sonoma State's University Library is available to assist with research and connect students with learning resources. 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. For additional Library information visit the Library Covid-19 Updates and Resources page.

  • The Career Center has moved most of their services to remote platforms. Students can schedule appointments as normal, and there is now an easy "schedule an appointment" button on their website! The Career Center will be launching a canvas "Student Career Toolkit" to all SSU Undergraduate students. It has 6 modules by topic area (ie: resumes, interviews, job search, etc) with TONS of resources. Handshake is still an incredible job/internship/career discovery website, especially during this time. For additional information visit the Career Center website.

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.

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. 

Other Concerns

If you are experiencing financial hardship or other basic needs that are not addressed here visit the Covid-19 Resources page on the Student Affairs website for additional resources.

If you have other concerns and are not sure who to contact, reach out to NomaCares for assistance by emailing

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

Off Campus Resources

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The federal CARES Act includes several provisions to aid higher education institutions and their students.

  • The CARES Act pauses federal student loan payments for 6 months and halts interest accrual during that period.

  • The CARES act calls for direct emergency aid to students, including “grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.”  At this time, the U.S. Department of Education has not provided guidance about the amount of aid or who will qualify. Due to this lack of guidance, no grants can be processed at this time.

  • For information on COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim, the federal Cares Act, and latest news for workers

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

Academic Deadlines and Processes

Academic Deadlines and Processes for Spring 2020

Academic Calendar for Fall

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

  1. The following situations are typical of those for which “serious & compelling” is appropriate justification for withdrawal:
    1. An extended absence due to verifiable accident, illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the university;
    2. An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family;
    3. A necessary change in employment status that interferes with the student’s ability to attend class (whether in person or online);
    4. Errors made by SSU.
  2. The following situations DO NOT fall under the intent of “serious & compelling”:
    1. Grade anticipated in the class is not sufficiently high, or the student is doing failyg work (including being penalized with a failing grade for academic dishonest);
    2. Failure to attend class (in person and/or online), complete assignments, or take a test; 
    3. Dissatisfaction with the course material, instructional method, or instructor; 
    4. Class is harder than expected;
    5. Pressure of other classes, employment, and/or participation in extracurricular activities;
    6. A change of major;
    7. Lack of awareness of the withdrawal process or procedures.
  3. 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:
    1. Student had significant caretaking responsibilities for family members as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
    2. Student experienced significant psychological and/or physical trauma as a result of the coronavirus; 
    3. Student was not able to access course materials 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 signed digitally by the course instructor, the student’s advisor, and the university registrar ( sends e-mail).)

  • 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 and the university 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 from the university (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:

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

  • With “serious & compelling” reasons, you can petition to retroactively 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, between May 9, 2020, and December 4, 2020, the University Standards Committee will consider petitions to withdraw from an individual course or courses taken at SSU (in Spring 2020 only), for “serious and compelling” reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • To make this request, use the Special Circumstances for Spring 2020 form on the Registrar’s website.

Financial Aid -- email or call (707) 664-2389 from 10am-2pm.

Temporary Modification of Academic Policies with regard to Students in Study Away Programs

(Approved by University Standards, May 8, 2020)
In response to the COVID-19 situation, the following applies to SSU undergraduate students who were enrolled in SSU Study Away Programs (CSU IP, NSE, and NSE Study Abroad) during Spring 2020:

  • Before deciding to make any changes to your Spring 2020 record, and for information about how to do this, please contact the Global Engagement Coordinator, Hope Ortiz.

    • You may petition to change your grade mode from a letter grade to CR/NC, for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic by 5:00 p.m. May 14, 2021. 

    • You may withdraw retroactively (for Spring 2020 only), from one course, many courses, or the whole semester for reasons related to COVID-19, or other “serious & compelling” reasons, with no documentation or extra signatures , just fill out and submit the Grade Mode Change and Retroactive Withdrawal form.

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!

Additional resources for Success in Remote Classes

  • Krisp is an app that you can use to filter background noises during video conferencing. Submit this form and create an account with your SSU email address to use this app for free for the first six months! 

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!

The Advising & Transfer Center

The Advising & Transfer Center is seeing students remotely for both drop-ins and appointments. for information on how to join a drop-in or schedule an appointment, check-out our webpage. If you need assistance getting connected to us, please email us at For more information about using Zoom, check-out the support-links on SSU’s Zoom homepage.

Special Notes for Graduating Seniors

Graduate on time

All courses are still running


Online WEPT exams will be available during the Fall 2020 semester. Please see the WEPT website for more information or email with any questions.

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.

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. Even though the semester is over, requesting an incomplete may still be an option. The Request for an Incomplete form can be found on the Registrar’s website. 

What if I don't currently own a computer?

The University Library has a limited number of laptops that can be borrowed by students for remote learning on a first-come, first served basis. Students must be enrolled in Summer 2020 classes at SSU to qualify. While supplies last, you may request to have a Macbook laptop sent to your home address by completing this form

Laptops will be loaned for one semester, only. At the end of each academic term, all laptops must be returned to the library to undergo maintenance and repair for redistribution to remote learners for the following semester. All laptop loans must be returned by August 15, 2020 without exception.

We are currently only accepting requests for Summer 2020 loans. For information on Fall 2020 laptop loans, check back for updates on the Library COVID-19 Updates and Resources page. 

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 at (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 contact

How do I know what is happening at Sonoma State?

We encourage you to check your SSU email as well as the SSU website 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!