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FAQ: Information for students, faculty and staff

Main page: COVID-19 public health alert
FAQ: About COVID-19 and current travel advisories
FAQ: How the University is preparing and responding
FAQ: Minnesota's Stay at Home order

To mitigate the potential risk of exposure to the virus, all five University campuses have moved to alternative instruction methods as of March 18. Faculty and staff have been instructed to work from home, unless instructed otherwise. Please review the latest announcement from President Gabel for more information.

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I am a student, do I have to go to class?

All five University campuses have moved to delivering all curriculum through alternative instruction, including online, for the remainder of the Summer 2020 semester. As a result, the University is suspending in-person instruction, including field experiences and clinicals. Contact your instructor for further information.

Also review the March 20 announcement regarding the grading policy and visit the Academic Planning FAQ for more information.

If you are unable to participate in your coursework due to illness, you should contact your instructor immediately via email or phone. If verification is requested, please see the University's Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences Policy and the Self-Reporting of Medical Absence form for Twin Cities students. Duluth students, please view the Excused Absences Policy.  

What types of refunds or credits are being offered by the University?

At the direction of President Gabel, and with the support and approval of the University Board of Regents, the Comprehensive Student Fee Refund Plan passed on April 3 and amended on April 7.

The Comprehensive Student Fee Refund Plan includes:

  • Housing and Residential Life: Students who have a spring semester contract for any Housing and Residential Life service (housing, dining plans, and flex-dine/dining dollars), on any campus, will receive a 100% credit of their housing and dining fees beginning March 16 on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses, and March 23 at Crookston and Morris. to the end date of their contract. This credit does not apply if students have remained on campus and are currently a resident of a University-managed residence hall or apartment.
  • Voluntary Meal Plan: For students with block, standard 11-meal, 14-meal, or Anytime voluntary meal plans, they will receive a 100% credit of their dining plans from March 16 on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses, and March 23 at Crookston and Morris through the end of the spring semester.
  • Parking fee: For students who have paid for parking on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, or Twin Cities campuses, they will receive 100% of their parking fee credited from March 16 on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses, and March 23 at Crookston and Morris to the end of their semester contract. Rochester has no University-owned parking.
  • Recreation and Wellness fee: For the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Twin Cities campuses, students will receive 100% credit of the recreation and wellness fee from March 16 on the Duluth, Rochester, and Twin Cities campuses, and March 23 at Crookston and Morris through the last day of finals in May. Students on the Rochester campus will not be charged for April and May fees from the Rochester YMCA since the YMCA will, in turn, not be billing the University of Minnesota Rochester for this time period.
  • Student Services fee: Students will receive 50% credit for the student services fee from March 28 through the last day of finals in May.
  • Transportation and Safety: For the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses, students will receive 100% credit of the transportation and safety fee from March 16 through the last day of finals in May. Crookston, Morris, and Rochester campuses do not charge this fee.

I’m a student, should I return to campus?

Please do not return to any University campus if you have a safe alternative, be it with friends or family. While we will ensure there are sufficient residence hall rooms available for students who have no other alternatives.

We cannot predict how long the present situation may last and, should you remain on campus, you might be here for some time with very limited services.


I am a University of Minnesota employee, do I have to go to work?

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a “stay at home” order for the State of Minnesota beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27, and continuing for two weeks, until 5 p.m. Friday, April 10. This executive action directs all Minnesotans, and the University community, to stay home and limit trips outside the home to critical needs only. Only those designated in “essential on-campus roles” will continue to work on campus until further notice. Supervisors are asked to be in touch with their teams as soon as possible to communicate plans.

Please review President Gabel’s updated guidance for employees in this on the Safe Campus website under archived messages. Also review the Emergency Leave Provision and the Pay Provisions appendix, which outlines pay provisions for all employee groups.

Who can I contact if I have symptoms?

For any student feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness of any kind — with fever and cough — the Minnesota Department of Health recommends you stay home to prevent spreading it to others. When seeking care at your preferred healthcare provider, please call ahead for guidance. Those seeking care from an on-campus health care facility, view campus-specific contacts below.

Are University events canceled due to COVID-19?

University events with an attendance of 50 people or more have been canceled for the Spring 2020 semester. All summer non-curricular events for May and June are cancelled (unless they can be offered online). Smaller events should not be held unless social distancing of six feet or more can be implemented. 

I am graduating this semester, what should I do?

Students must continue to apply for graduation in the normal manner. If you meet the requirements for graduation you will graduate. As is standard procedure, graduates will receive their degree via U.S. Mail. Students who fulfill the requirements will still earn their degree.

Plans are underway for a virtual celebration for all graduates on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. CST with an online celebration for graduation candidates (undergraduate, graduate and professional students), family, and friends.

What if I don’t have any or a reliable internet service provider?

The Office of Technology Information has additional information on Internet Service Providers available on the Working and Learning Off Campus page.

Are University buildings open?

University buildings systemwide require a U Card or other secure means of access, consistent with the protocol for each individual campus. The University’s five campuses have moved into extended reduced operations.

The health sciences buildings on the Twin Cities campus will continue to have public access by appointment only. There will be three staffed entrances from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. These entrances are: 

  • the second floor of Moos Tower at Washington Ave.;
  • the second floor of Mayo Building at Church St.; and 
  • the third floor of Phillips-Wangensteen Building at the Delaware Circle.

Each building will have signs posted giving more information to the University community, the public, and vendors and contractors, should they need access.

As needed, check with your local campus for access to other healthcare resources in your community.


Are University libraries open?

All libraries systemwide are closed until further notice. Online library services will continue to be available.

Are University Recreation Centers open?

All Recreation Centers across the University system are closed until further notice. Recreation and Wellness programs, other than those supporting student mental health needs, are canceled.

Can I still receive mail deliveries on campus?

For the Twin Cities campus, all major delivery companies have been instructed to deliver to U Market Services, which will distribute parcels to the appropriate locations. 

All employees should immediately halt delivery of personal orders to the University.


Are athletic competitions canceled?

Yes, all athletic competitions are canceled for the Spring 2020 semester.

Will study abroad programs continue for the spring 2020 semester?

As of March 15, the University has suspended all study and education abroad programs and required all students to return to the U.S. All returning travelers will be expected to comply with guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health pertaining to returning to their communities.

What is the University’s recommendation to faculty/staff planning to travel abroad or domestically?

University-sponsored travel for staff and faculty, both domestic or international, is canceled through May 31. Contact your immediate supervisor if you believe an exception is needed.

If you have personal, international travel planned, we urge you to consider the following:

  • Know that situations and conditions surrounding COVID-19 are dynamic and could change while you are traveling, potentially complicating return logistics. Review the latest from the CDC here.
  • Before leaving, notify a family member or friend to share destination and contact information.
  • While traveling, take steps to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus by practicing good hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands.

Upon return, review the Actions Steps for Returned Travelers, provided by the University’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

Why are some people wearing masks?

It is common in many cultures, including in the U.S., for individuals to choose to wear masks as a way to minimize direct contact with airborne pathogens. The wearing of a mask is voluntary and should not be interpreted as an indication that the wearer is ill.

What can I do if I am experiencing suspected bias or discrimination?

The University is committed to creating an inclusive climate for all of our community members. The CDC offers guidance on countering stigma related to this virus. If you believe that you are experiencing discrimination or bias related to your national origin, race, or other protected characteristic, you may contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmation Action or the resources for your campus located below. 

I am a person impacted by the evolving, global situation surrounding COVID-19. It has left me feeling anxious and worried. Where can I turn for help?

The University recognizes this is a stressful situation for many members of our community.

For scholars and employees who are eligible for employee benefits, please contact the Employee Assistance Program.

For students, please find resources below for each of the University’s campuses. Students can also call the U of M Crisis Line at 612-301-4673 anytime or text "UMN" to 61222 on evenings and weekends.