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K-State Today

April 10, 2020

A summary of university changes related to COVID-19

Submitted by Stephanie Jacques

It's been nearly a month since the university implemented the limited operations for all campuses. Here's a summary of changes as part of K-State's new normal.

Spring 2020 commencement is postponed; not canceled.

The spring commencement will be combined with the fall ceremony. Read Provost Taber's announcement from March 27. Other forms of celebration are being considered for individuals unable to attend the fall ceremony.

A/Pass/Fail course grading options are available to help with complications of moving online.

Students will have until May 8 to decide how they want to be graded for each course they are taking for the spring 2020 semester. The confidential option is to have a course graded by a letter grade or by the pass/fail system. Students should discuss the option with their adviser if they have further questions on how this might affect their GPA. Read Provost Taber's April 1 letter for more information.

Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength.

Kansas State University is offering emergency financial assistance for those in need. Options are listed on the Student Financial Assistance website. That assistance is available in the form of grants, loans, awards and much more.  

The Office of Student Life, Career Center and many other support services continue to advocate for and to help students during this difficult time.

Counseling Services is offering telehealth consultation and workshops, including Coping with COVID for students in Kansas and some other states.

The Academic Achievement Center is even offering virtual services like tutoring and academic coaching. See their resource update. 

Student voices remain an important part of teaching evaluations. 

Moving an in-person class entirely online can present some unique challenges and K-State values student voices as the university has adjusted to this rapid change. Read more about how the university is administering and will be using TEVALs during this time.  

International and domestic trips will need to be rescheduled. 

The Education Abroad office has obviously canceled the spring 2020 trips but they have also canceled the summer trips as the university has banned university-related travel. Students who were abroad at the time this ban was implemented have returned home and followed CDC guidelines for quarantine. Fall trips are still being evaluated. 

The university also recommends all K-Staters register any future travel. Read more about travel advisories.

Employees continue to be paid; COVID leave is available.

Regular full-time employees will continue to be paid at regular rates during the emergency period but only essential personnel are allowed on campus. A new leave form is available for COVID-related absences.

Student employees will be paid through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Essential university operations are limited.

Mail service and Environmental Health and Safety waste pickup is still operational but with reduced hours. Testing and inspections of fire and life safety equipment will continue on schedule in case the few employees still working on campus are seeing people in the buildings. K-State administrators discussed the future of construction projects on campus in a virtual Student Town Hall. Those projects will continue as long as the state does not shut down those companies as well.

Returns and refunds are available for some K-State-associated business.

Kansas State University will still be issuing degrees and is maintaining academic function. To continue those essential functions, there must be funds available from tuition and fees. However, some areas will issue refunds. The K-State Campus Store is issuing refunds for graduation regalia if students do not want to participate in the fall ceremony.

Students with university housing contracts — who have not lived there since before spring break — should receive a prorated refund of their spring 2020 semester room and meal plan charge. Credits will be applied to any balances in the student's KSIS account before being refunded to the student, which will be sent to the permanent address in KSIS so make sure it is up to date.

Parking Services is issuing refunds for the remainder of the semester, which is estimated to cost the university nearly $400,000.

Internet accessibility and other classroom difficulties are being mitigated.

K-State has reached out to a variety of internet service providers across the state to help students and several are making special accommodations. Read a list of the companies that are able to help as of March 23. Also, read managing internet expectations on the IT blog.

The K-State Campus store has many resources and solutions for access to eBooks and book buyback.

IT has hacks to prevent hacking like Zoom bombing.

If there is a vulnerability in society, sadly there will be people who take advantage. Be smarter than the hackers. Don't give out your eID password and if planning any virtual events, follow IT's guidelines for preventing trolls. Read the April 6 "Tips to avoid Zoom bombing" in K-State Today and "Zoom security features" in the IT blog for more information.

K-State's land-grant mission shines during global pandemics.

Service to Kansas, the nation and the world is a part of the land-grant mission to which K-State is committed. Read about how K-Staters are contributing their time and expertise as well as university resources in the battle against COVID-19.

University researchers, in particular, are hard at work to help the globe flatten that curve that's all over the news. Read all the coronavirus- and COVID-19-related research at Kansas State University.

The university has many resources to help continue the basic functions of higher education.