Skip to main content
Last updated date
Friday, January 15, 2021 - 9:34am

 

Here you’ll find answers to questions of broad interest about the 2020-21 academic year. We will continue to update our guidance and add to these FAQs as needed.

General Questions

Can I delay my return to campus until later in C Term? (Added 1/11/21)

The intent of keeping courses remote for the first two weeks of C Term is to minimize close contacts while we build the bubble. All students who plan to be on campus for any part of C Term must arrive as scheduled, begin the testing protocol, and participate in the Stay In Place period. Late comers to the community risk adding infection and prolonging the restricted period. For this reason, students must arrive on the planned move-in date.

If I decide to take all my courses remotely and not return to campus in C Term, can I come back for D Term? (Added 1/11/21)

Yes; your decisions for C Term do not affect D Term. An Intentions Survey for D Term will be sent later in the spring. If you have on-campus housing, your room will be held for D Term. Please note housing and dining contracts are binding; there are no refunds.

I’d like to change my plans for C Term. What should I do? (Added 1/11/21)

You can simply log in to MyTechFlex and update your form directly.

I am eligible for the vaccine in my state, but my second shot must be administered after my move-in date. What should I do?  (Added 1/11/21)

Our Health Services team is determining the best approach to this and will provide guidance shortly. Please email WeAreWPI@wpi.edu directly.

Can I get a refund for my housing and dining if I decide to be fully remote for a term or semester? (Added 1/7/21)

Under the terms of the Housing and Dining Services Contract, you are financially obligated to pay for your housing and meal plan (if applicable) even if you choose not to reside in the Residence Hall Facility or do not use your meal plan.

The Housing and Dining Services Contract and the COVID-19 Addendum are available online.

What dining options will be available in C-Term/Spring Semester?

Students will be able to get take-out meals by making a reservation using the Dine On Campus app. For the first few days during move-in, meals will be served from the Campus Center. Additional dining locations will be opened as the campus is further populated. Students will have many of the same food selections as before, and we are working to offer as much variety as possible. Please note there will be no sit-down dining during the Stay In Place period. Go to Dineoncampus for more details.

How does Stay in Place affect WPI employees? (Added 1/15/21)

All employees who can work remotely are encouraged to do so during this stage. Anyone still working on campus must continue with their routine COVID-19 testing. Additional information is available in the Employees & Workplace section of WeAreWPI.

Residential Life

Do I still need to follow safety protocols? (Added 1/15/21)

Yes—it is especially important during Stay in Place as our campus repopulates for C Term/Spring semester.  While the university is taking all necessary measures and precautions to protect the WPI community, we will rely on every student, faculty member, and staff member to support and foster, through peer influence, our safe campus environment.  

Ultimately, it is every person’s responsibility to keep our campus community safe.

Although enhanced deep cleaning protocols are in place in residence halls during the Stay in Place phase to help mitigate spread of the virus, students are expected to also clean their spaces (restrooms, door handles, kitchen areas, etc.) before and after use.  

Do I still need to wear a face covering when I am on campus? What about in my own residential room? (Updated 1/15/21)
Yes. Everyone is required to wear face coverings at all times on campus (gaiters and masks with vents are not permitted) and to practice social distancing.
While you don’t need to wear face coverings when alone in your own room, students are expected to practice social distancing and wear face coverings any time they are in common areas, such as hallways or restrooms.

May people who live in my residence hall visit my room during Stay in Place? (Updated 1/15/21)

No. Students in residence halls should not gather with others in rooms, common areas, or outdoors.  Social distancing is a critical part of our efforts to reduce the spread of virus.

Will cleaning protocols be enhanced during Stay in Place? (Updated 1/15/21)

A specially trained Deep Clean Team, whose members will wear high levels of personal protective equipment, will deep clean residence halls daily to mitigate spread of the virus.

What happens if someone on my floor or apartment tests positive?

Please see the Health & Safety section for information.

Can I leave my building if there is a fire alarm? (Added 1/15/21)

Yes, you must! While outside, wear a face covering and practice social distancing. You must return to your residence as soon as authorities have said it is safe to do so.

Student Life & Dining on Campus

Can I continue to work at my off-campus job? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes, students who have off-campus jobs may continue to work. Please be extra vigilant about health and safety, as COVID cases are increasing throughout the region and the state.

I have an on-campus job; will I be able to continue to work? (Added 11/19/20)

Heightened Restrictions do not impact on-campus student jobs as a whole, but some will be impacted. Students should speak directly with their supervisors to discuss any specifics regarding their particular on-campus job, including work hours.

What dining options are available right now? (Added 11/19/20)

All on-campus dining options remain available, and grab-and-go dining is strongly encouraged; sit-down dining will be limited to a single person per table and six foot social distancing will be strictly enforced. The reservation system for picking up meals will remain in place at all on-campus dining locations to avoid crowding and allow for effective social distancing. Visit Dining on Campus for more information on dining options.

Students with refrigerators are encouraged to pick up multiple grab-and-go meals at a time to reduce trips, if practical. Students who are not on a campus meal plan with access to kitchens are encouraged to stock up on food to limit trips to the grocery store, as well.  Students may order food delivery but must pick up deliveries outside residence halls while following safety protocols.

Will campus transportation be available? (Added 11/19/20)

Valet Park SNAP, Valet Park Gateway Shuttle, and the Valet Park Wednesday and Sunday Price Chopper Shuttle are operating as usual; riders must wear a face covering and adhere to strict health and safety protocols.

Will technology support be available? (Added 11/19/20)

The Academic Technology Center will continue to provide support from 8 am to 5 pm. By appointment only, on-site support will be available for commuters, residential students and employees.

What health and counseling services are available? (Added 11/19/20)

All COVID support services will continue. All students who are on or off campus in Worcester are expected to continue to adhere to their individual COVID-19 testing schedule at Harrington Auditorium.

The Health Center will not be conducting routine, non-emergency health visits, but will be concentrating on managing and supporting students impacted by COVID. The Counseling Center will be open with virtual appointments available, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Emergency health services and counseling will be available.

Can I go to the mail room to pick up deliveries? (Added 11/19/20)

Students are encouraged to leave mail they don’t critically need. Commuter students can make an appointment to pick up important mail by emailing mailroom@wpi.edu.

May I visit friends on and off campus? (Added 11/19/20)

Students are expected to stay in their rooms or apartments as much as possible in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings increase the risk of spreading the virus.

If I live off campus, do Heightened Restrictions apply to me? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes. Whether you live in a fraternity or sorority house or in an off-campus apartment, you are expected to follow all university health and safety protocols.

What happens if someone on my floor or apartment tests positive? (Added 11/19/20)

Please see the Health & Safety section for information.

The Sports & Recreation Center is closed, but I really need to exercise; what can I do? (Added 11/19/20)

Here is a list of some great resources for free or inexpensive ways to exercise in your residence to help keep you healthy. The Sports & Recreation Center is closed but you may use the outdoor track for individual exercise as long as you wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.

Will student clubs and organizations still be active? (Added 11/19/20)

All clubs and organizations should restrict their in-person activities and events; meetings should be held virtually. Contact your club or organization president or the Student Activities Office if you have specific questions.

Do I still need to follow safety protocols? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes. They are even more critical now. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to continue to follow the safety protocols that have been in place since our return to campus in August. While the university is taking all necessary measures and precautions to protect the WPI community, we rely on every student, faculty member, and staff member to support and foster, through peer influence, our safe campus environment.  

Ultimately, it is every person’s responsibility to keep our campus community safe.

Enhanced daily cleaning protocols are in place in residence halls, and students are expected to also clean their spaces (restrooms, door handles, kitchen areas, etc.) before and after use. Cleaning supplies are provided in classrooms and other spaces for individual use to help mitigate spread of the virus.

Do students living in fraternity and sorority houses have to follow specific guidelines? (Added 11/19/20)

Before the start of the academic year, fraternity and sorority houses developed specific safety protocols and guidelines in conjunction with their chapters and WPI, and have been following those guidelines. All students, including those in fraternity and sorority housing and off-campus housing, are expected to follow all safety protocols, particularly regarding wearing face coverings, and social distancing. As recognized clubs and organizations, fraternities and sororities are expected to follow all COVID-related safety guidelines by holding all events and activities virtually. No in-person gatherings will be permitted. 

Are the various student service departments on campus open? (Added 11/19/20)

All campus departments and offices are fully open, staffed, and their services available, most virtually. Students can find information on hours of operation and how to schedule an appointment on each office’s respective website, many of which can be found on the Student Experience page.  

Health & Safety

What are COVID-19 symptoms?  (Updated 11/19/20)

A full, current list of symptoms can be found on the CDC website.

Will Health Services continue to provide routine care? (Added 11/19/20)

Health Services will provide care for all urgent issues but will not provide routine health maintenance appointments. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or WPI Police at 508-831-5555.

The Student Development and Counseling Center will be open for students’ mental health needs via virtual appointments Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Emergency health services and counseling will be available.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or WPI Campus Police at 508-831-5555.

Do I still have to practice social distancing and wear face coverings? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes—it’s more important than ever. Governor Baker issued guidelines in November, calling for everyone over the age of 5 to wear a face covering when in public. The use of face coverings and social distancing, along with frequent hand washing and reporting any symptoms as soon as possible via the Symptom Tracker, are some of the best tools for stopping the spread of the virus.

Do I still have to practice social distancing and wear face coverings in my residence? (Added 11/19/20)

Students are expected to practice social distancing and wear face coverings any time they are outside their residence hall room, fraternity/sorority room, or off-campus apartment.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19 symptoms?  (Updated 11/19/20)

If you are experiencing severe symptoms or a medical emergency while on campus, call 508-831-5555 for WPI Police, or call 911. Anyone with COVID-19–like symptoms should stay home or in their residence hall room and self-quarantine immediately. They should also immediately report their symptoms using Symptom Tracker. 

Faculty, staff, and contract workers should contact their personal physician to see whether symptomatic COVID-19 testing is needed. They should also contact their supervisor to note that they are ill and discuss taking time off or working from home if well enough. Students should contact Health Services at 508-831-5520 to arrange for follow-up assessment, which may include symptomatic COVID testing. 

Testing, Isolation & Quarantine

Should I continue to get my COVID-19 tests? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes. Students should follow their scheduled testing appointments; any employees who remain on campus should also follow their scheduled testing appointments. Anyone who is symptomatic should not go to Harrington Auditorium for testing; they should contact Health Services for instructions on testing in the trailer set up next to 27 Hackfeld Road.

What about students who live off campus—do they need to be tested? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes. Students who live off campus are expected to continue their routine testing.

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine? (Updated 11/19/20)

While often used interchangeably, the terms “isolation” and “quarantine” refer to two distinct processes that are used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  You can find an explanation here.

I am a student and I’ve just been notified after routine testing that I am COVID positive, now what? (Updated 11/19/20)

Health Services will be in contact with you right away. Read more here.

What about students in fraternities and sororities who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19? (Updated 11/19/20)

Although WPI does not manage fraternity and sorority houses, any student living in those facilities who has COVID-19–like symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, will either isolate in one of WPI’s isolation spaces or in their home. Students who are asymptomatic will have periodic phone checks with the Isolation/Quarantine Coordinator or other WPI staff member. Students who are symptomatic will be under the care of Student Health Services, who will check in on students periodically.

All identified close contacts of an individual who tested positive will be asked to quarantine within their residential space. Based on the configuration of the house facility, additional residents of the chapter house may also be asked to quarantine. Students who are quarantining will have periodic phone checks with the Isolation/Quarantine Coordinator or other WPI staff member

If students can safely isolate or quarantine at home, they will be encouraged to do so.

How does isolation work for students in WPI’s isolation units? (Updated 11/19/20)

Residential students and those who live in fraternity/sorority houses who test positive for COVID-19 and isolate in one of the dedicated isolation spaces on campus:

  • Should not leave their isolation space, except as directed by WPI Student Health Services.
  • Will be checked upon daily by Health Services staff.
  • Will have meals delivered through Chartwells.
  • Have full remote access to classes with academic accommodations provided, if needed.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, what happens to their roommates or suitemates? (Updated 11/19/20)

A student who tests positive for COVID-19 will be isolated in one of WPI’s isolation spaces. Their roommates, suitemates and/or apartment-mates will be considered “close contacts” and will be asked to quarantine either in their residence (on campus housing or off campus apartment) or they can choose to go home.  They will receive regular check-ins about health and personal needs, and will have full remote access to classes.

If a roommate or suitemate develops ​any COVID-19-​like symptoms, they should report it in the Symptom Tracker, call WPI Health Services at 508 831-5520 and prepare to go for further assessment and possible isolation (prep your Go Bag).

I am a student and I’ve been notified that I’m a close contact of someone who has tested positive—now what? (Updated 11/19/20)

The university will be in contact about quarantining; please see the Testing, Isolation & Quarantine section of the We Are WPI pages.

How does quarantine work for students in residence halls or fraternity/sorority houses? (Updated 11/19/20)

  • They should not leave their room, except to use the bathroom.
    • When they leave their room to use the bathroom, they will need to wear a mask, follow social distancing (6 feet from others), and wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. They will also need to clean and disinfect surface areas of the bathroom that they touched.
  • They will receive check-ins about their health and personal needs.
  • If needed, meals will be delivered through Chartwells. They should discuss their specific needs with the isolation and quarantine coordinator.
  • Full remote access to classes - with academic accommodations, if needed - will be provided.
  • Those who develop COVID-19-like symptoms should call WPI Health Services at 508 831-5520 and prepare to go for further assessment and possible isolation (prep their Go Bag).

I am a student; what if I start to feel sick while I am in quarantine or isolation? (Updated 11/19/20)

Students in isolation will be checked upon daily by Health Services staff; students in quarantine are checked upon frequently and as needed. Students should report symptoms during those check ins. Students should also report any symptoms immediately through the Symptom Tracker, ​which will trigger a follow up from Health Services during business hours. 

After hours and weekends:

  • If you have COVID-19 related questions or concerns that are not medically urgent but still need to be addressed over the weekend, please email healthcenter@wpi.edu and a staff member will respond as soon as possible between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • If you need urgent medical attention that cannot wait until normal business hours, please page the after-hours care provider by calling Hahnemann Family Health Center of Worcester at 508-334-8830; identify yourself as a WPI student. The doctor on call will return your call as soon as possible. Learn more here.

What if I am diagnosed with COVID-19 and get very sick and need to go to the hospital? (Updated 11/19/20)

  • If you are experiencing severe symptoms or a medical emergency while on campus, call WPI Police at 508-831-5555, or call 911.
  • WPI Student Health Services may refer you to refer to UMass Memorial Medical Center, 55 Lake Avenue North, 508-334-1000.

I am a student in quarantine or isolation on campus; will I have to pay for meal delivery other telehealth care provided by WPI? (Updated 11/19/20)

Meal delivery and telehealth care provided by WPI Health Services will be at no additional cost to students. If you need to have symptomatic laboratory testing, or are referred to a local hospital or specialist, you will need your insurance information. We recommend you have a photo of both sides of your insurance card on your phone for easy reference.

How will WPI conduct contact tracing and quarantine close contacts? (Updated 11/19/20)

WPI will notify any students or employees who may be close contacts with an individual on campus who has tested positive. If you are not notified by WPI or the local board of health, you are not considered a close contact. All students and employees who are identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine according to CDC guidelines.

Events

Is WPI allowing any on-campus events? (Added 11/19/20)

WPI is not permitting or planning any in person events or meetings on campus at this time. The university is not hosting any on-campus events for external groups, nor is it allowing external guests/attendees.

When possible, we recommend organizers reimagine in-person events as virtual ones.

Academics

INFORMATION FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

Will all graduate courses be available remotely? (Updated 11/19/20)

All graduate courses will be delivered through remote learning this academic year. This has long been a successful delivery for graduate courses at WPI—meeting learning outcomes, while providing flexibility for faculty and students.

If I live in a time zone on the other side of the world, will all graduate classes be offered asynchronously? (Updated 11/19/20)

The WPI community stretches across the country and around the world, and the university is working to accommodate all students as best we can. These Heightened Restrictions do not change that Graduate courses are asynchronous.

Will there be a change the grading system? (Added 11/19/20)

No changes are expected to be made to the grading system.

Can graduate students continue doing research under Heightened Restrictions? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes, graduate students may continue their research. Students must continue to meet compliance protocols and continue COVID-19 testing. 

Will graduate students have access to labs? (Updated 11/19/20)

Yes. Research labs will continue practicing social distancing and enhanced safety protocols. 

Do graduate students still have support resources for remote learning? (Updated 11/19/20)

All students still have access to the learning and technical needed to be successful.

INFORMATION FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Will all undergraduate courses be available remotely? (Updated 11/19/20)

Students should connect with their faculty regarding course delivery. WPI’s TechFlex was designed to enable both in-person and online courses.

I live in a time zone on the other side of the world; will all undergraduate classes be offered asynchronously? (Updated 11/19/20)

The WPI community stretches across the country and around the world, and the university is working to accommodate all students as best we can. Students should connect with their faculty regarding asynchronous access to course content.

What if I have to quarantine and miss classes? (Updated 11/19/20)

Any students who are in quarantine can take classes remotely—from your on-campus residence, off-campus apartment, or your home

What if I miss part of the term because of illness? (Updated 11/19/20)

The Office of Academic Advising will work with students and faculty to support the student’s continuing academic progress.

Will there be a change the grading system? (Added 11/19/20)

No changes are expected to be made to the grading system.

Can undergraduate students continue doing research? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes, students may continue their research. Students must continue to meet compliance protocols and continue COVID-19 testing. 

Is there an impact on IQPs and MQPs? (Updated 11/19/20)

Projects can continue as planned, but teams must comply with social distancing and all other health protocols. Team meetings should be held virtually. As a reminder, teams are not permitted to travel off campus.

Will students have support for remote learning? (Updated 11/19/20)

Students will have access to the educational, technical, and well-being support systems needed to be successful.

Global Studies

Can I continue my IQP/MQP?  (Added 11/19/20)

Yes. Students should work directly with their project advisors to develop any needed options for continuing their IQPs and MQPs.

My project sponsor is local. Can I go to their site while we’re in Stay in Place? (Added 11/19/20)

No; Travel even to a local site is not permitted at this time. Students should consult with their project advisers to determine the best ways to advance project work.

If I don’t plan to be on campus in the spring, can I complete my project remotely with my team?  Will this affect my project grade?  (Added 11/19/20)

Yes, you can participate in your project remotely; there will be no impact on project grading for students who do so. Your project grade will not be affected by your status as remote or on-campus. All students should consider the required workload of a full-term, off-campus project and make a commitment to continuing this level of work throughout their project term(s), no matter where they are physically located. 

Athletics

What is the impact on Physical Education, Recreation & Athletics (PERA) classes? Can I still use the gym? (Added 11/19/20)
WPI has temporarily closed the Sports and Recreation Center and will hold all physical education classes remotely. Students can use the outdoor track—while wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Varsity sports and Clubs sports activities will be held remotely, and Intramurals will remain virtual. Students should talk to their coach for specific details about their activities.

International Students

Are there additional impacts on international students? (Added 11/19/20)

The heightened restrictions have no additional impact on international students. Please see the specific topic area for questions, or contact International House at ih@wpi.edu or 508-831-6030 with individual questions or concerns. 

Financial Aid

I am a student with an on-campus job; will I be able to continue to work? How will this affect my financial aid? (Added 11/19/20)

Overall, Heightened Restrictions do not prohibit students from coming to campus to work. However, some on-campus jobs may be affected if areas need to be further de-densified. Students should speak directly with their supervisors to discuss any specifics regarding their particular on-campus job, including work hours. Per the Department of Education guidelines, work-study students are required to work in order to be paid. Please speak with your supervisor and the Office of Student Aid and Financial Literacy.

Admissions

How do the Heightened Restrictions affect the application process? Will deadlines change? (Added 11/19/20)
There will be no on-campus tours Admissions tours for the time being. Otherwise, there is no impact on the application process for students, whether undergraduate or graduate. Deadlines will remain the same. The Admissions staff are able to work remotely to continue to serve applicants and their families.

Research

I am a researcher; can I continue my on-campus research? (Added 11/19/20)

Yes; these Heightened Restrictions encourage strict adherence to health and safety protocols that are already in place, as detailed in your faculty research continuity plan as approved by your department head/dean/Provost/CERT.

Travel

Are there any changes to WPI’s travel policies related to the Heightened Restrictions? (Added 11/19/20)
The university has made no changes to its current travel policies: All WPI-sponsored domestic and international travel remains suspended until further notice, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. WPI considers all WPI-sponsored travel, including local travel, to be high-risk at this time. Teams may not travel off campus to meet with local sponsors.

WPI strongly discourages personal travel to destinations outside of Massachusetts, especially personal travel to states not included in Massachusetts’ list of COVID-19 lower-risk states.