Fall 2020 FAQs

Masks are and will continue to be required for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors throughout the JSU campus. Masks should always be worn properly and will be required indoors, as well as outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained. Signage has been placed in all buildings/areas indicating the mask requirement. Students and families are required to wear masks when attending orientation this summer. As we move forward, more detail will be forthcoming from the Academic Affairs Task Force to discuss how to handle any non-compliance issues related to wearing masks and manage the classroom when situations of mask non-compliance occur. Additionally, signage will be placed in numerous locations instructing everyone how to wear masks. Finally, students will be receiving a Cocky Cares Kit upon arrival to campus this fall, which includes a JSU-branded face covering, hand sanitizer, and educational materials, all in a clear JSU branded bag. A video campaign to encourage students to wear masks is underway.


  1. Do we have to wear mask the whole time we are in a classroom?
    Yes, masks are required at all times.
  2. Do we have to wear a mask while we are walking to our classes?
    Anytime you are outside and unable to socially distance, you should wear a mask.

We have acquired a rapid, point-of-care test for diagnosis of COVID-19 on campus at the Student Health Center. This test does result in 15 minutes and is the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab.  

In addition, we have partnered with the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the GuideSafe program to perform reentry testing for all students before they come on campus in the fall and periodic, random sentinel testing of the campus population (2-5%) thereafter, including faculty, staff, and students. The testing approach being used for the COVID-19 test with the GuideSafe program is the less invasive nasal swab, which will be conducted by the individual, under observation by a healthcare professional (unless the student receives a mailed kit at home in which case the student would receive directions). The individual being tested will rotate a swab in the front portion of each nares to collect the specimen. To augment this testing capability, members of the campus population will record their health status daily using a Gamecock Healthcheck application. Information recorded for individuals who feel ill will go to a licensed nurse, who will also serve as a systems administrator, for follow-up each day. At the beginning of the fall semester, all employees and students will also be required to view a module specific to COVID-19 as part of the educational component of this plan. More details on the testing plan, including how students can sign up for appointments will be forthcoming.  


  1. When will we need to be tested for COVID-19 and where?
    You will be contacted by the GuideSafe testing program team. You will register and be directed to a testing center close to your residence.  
  2. Are fully online students required to be tested?
    Students who are taking courses 100% online will not be required to receive a re-entry COVID-19 test.  
  3. What is sentinel testing?
    Sentinel testing is a system that collects information useful for monitoring trends in diseases and pathogens. For the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to test between 2.5% to 5% of the on-campus population weekly to identify how much of the COVID-19 virus is circulating among our population
  4. I have been selected for sentinel testing. What do I do?
    You will receive an email giving you specific instructions on when and where to go to get tested.  
  5. Do students have to go to the testing site indicated in email or can they choose a family doctor to conduct their re-entry COVID-19 test?
    In order to meet the requirements that have been issued in the GuideSafe guidelines, students will need to get tested at one of the testing locations or go to a local primary care provider for testing. If a student choses to get tested at by a local physicians office, results must be sent to the Dean of Students Office
  6. What if I have not received an email from GuideSafe?
    All students will receive an email with testing instructions on their MyJSU email account once they have registered for Fall 2020 classes. If you do not believe you received this message and you have registered for Fall, check your junk or spam folders. If you still are not able to locate an email from GuideSafe, then email testing@staysafetogether.org to get more information.  
  7. Do faculty and staff have to receive testing prior to Aug 18th?
    Faculty and Staff will be included in the random sentinel testing throughout the semester, but will not be required to be tested prior to returning to campus.  However, any faculty or staff member who is symptomatic with COVID-19 related symptoms should visit the Student Health Center for testing.  
  8. What if I test positive, but do not present with symptoms?
    If you test positive, whether or not you are presenting with symptoms, it is important that you stay in self-isolation for 10 days to help us limit the spread of COVID-19. You will also need to fill out the JSU Self-Identification form at https://bit.ly/2P6oxnb
  9. Will JSU require students to retest anytime they return home for the weekends?
    While we will not require students to stay on campus or retest every time they return home, JSU expects students to comply to the guidelines that have been put into place to help us limit the spread of COVID-19. We also strongly encourage students to remain at JSU on the weekends, whenever possible, to further limit any exposure and reduce the spread.  
  10. How do I sign up for testing?
    Follow the instructions in the email you received from Stay Safe Together.   
  11. Can I still move into the residence hall if I haven’t received my results yet?
    Yes, if students initiate testing through the GuideSafe testing system, students may still move into residence halls. Instructions for initiating testing will be included in the email from GuideSafe that will be sent to your JSU email account.
  12. What is the difference between the required re-entry testing and the testing that is available at the student health center?
    Re-entry testing is required of all students who will be attending classes in-person or residing on campus in Fall 2020. It is less invasive and results take a few days. Student Health Center testing is for all current faculty, staff and students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This is a more invasive test, however results are available within 15 minutes. This test is available to all employees (full-time, part-time, adjunct, auxiliary services, working retirees) and all students (full-time, part-time, dual enrollment). Patients MUST be presenting symptoms to be tested.   
  13. What if the student has already been tested over the past few weeks?
    Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 12 weeks do not have to retest if they submit a copy of their test results and letter from their medical provider indicating they are cleared to return to school, to the Dean of Students Office. Students who have previously tested negative for the virus are still required retest before returning to campus.  
  14. What if a student is not eligible for an at-home testing kit?
    Students who are not eligible for an at-home testing kit have the following other options to complete the COVID-19 entry testing requirements prior to coming to campus: 

    Identify a testing option such as a drug store, your primary care physician, or a drive-thru testing. This can include a testing option in your community or once you are in Alabama, as long as it is within the 14-day window of your entry to campus. 

    GuideSafe testing provides free COVID-19 testing to students at colleges and universities in Alabama and has 13 test sites set up across Alabama. Birmingham and Tuscaloosa locations are open now, and all other locations will open August 4. To use this option, please email testing@staysafetogether.org now to register to receive a test at one of these locations.

    Locations in Alabama include:
    • Auburn, AL
    • Birmingham, AL
    • East Huntsville, AL
    • Florence, AL
    • Hoover, AL
    • Huntsville, AL
    • Jacksonville, AL
    • Livingston, AL
    • Mobile, AL
    • Montgomery, AL
    • Talladega, AL
    • Troy, AL
    • Tuscaloosa, AL
  15. Why did I receive an email from Stay Safe Alabama telling them they've been removed from Verily?
    As the email from Verily explains, you were removed so that you don't receive testing outside of the 14 day window prior to move-in. Those moving in during August 14-16 should receive more information by August 7, 2020. 
  16. What is the turn around time for an at-home testing kit to be shipped to someone's house after they've submitted the shipping information form? 
    GuideSafe pulls a list of students who have submitted this information Monday thru Friday. Shipping addresses are provided to Everlywell, who fulfills the order. After the order is fulfilled, it is sent to their distribution center to ship. In total that can take 3 days. Once it ships, the student is notified by Everlywell with a tracking number.
  17. When is the last date that GuideSafe will be sending out the initial emails to students regarding testing? 
    The last date students should be receiving an initial email is August 10 for those for are currently registered for Fall 2020 courses. As new students enroll to JSU, their information is sent to GuideSafe to be added to the system, which can take a few days to get access.

The first effort at a safe reopening occurred over the summer with the Pandemic Ready initiative. The program provided University supervisors with a simple method to prepare their areas for the restoration of campus activities and services during the summer,as well as serving as a continued guide for fall planning. The items on the checklist were derived by the application of concepts, best practices, CDC guidelines, and OSHA requirements. Compliance checks occurred and buildings/offices received their Pandemic Ready stickers signifying their preparation and compliance.

Deans and department heads continue to refine course delivery plans for fall. Classrooms are being set up for social distancing; directional signage is being provided to direct student traffic; masks will also be available for students in classroom buildings, should a student forget his/her/their mask; and, technology needs are being evaluated to facilitate synchronous virtual lectures while some students attend class in person and others attend virtually.

Given the complexities of academics and the types of courses offered with varying enrollment, each academic program or area is evaluating the best way to offer courses. Some faculty may choose to deliver video lectures to students and then have small groups attend class, in a socially distanced classroom, for discussion and/or group work. Some may choose to hold their class at full capacity (especially those with average size of 20-25) in a larger classroom to allow for appropriate social distancing, with all students attending on regular schedule. All options are being considered for fall course delivery, such that a quality educational delivery plan can be maintained. The deans of each school are currently working with department heads to provide more detailed information to students on program specific changes.

Students who wish to choose online courses for fall based on concerns of exposure, pre-existing health conditions, etc., should consult with their advisor. All courses may not have an in-person, hybrid, and an online option due to the number of faculty needed to provide such options. JSU has always had a selection of courses in-person or online, including many of the general education courses such as English, Math, and History. While some courses may not be offered online, should a student wish to take only online courses this fall, a consultation with his/her advisor may help identify courses to take which are offered online. It is the desire of JSU administration as well as the advisors to work with our students, so they have the most appropriate schedule to meet their academic needs and, most importantly, their health and safety needs.

Additionally, the Academic Planning Task Force, led by Dr. Joe Walsh, is providing direction and support for all faculty to prepare Web-Enhanced Courses for the fall. This means that all courses will be housed in the Canvas Learning Management System. At a minimum, the syllabus, gradebook, and some of the assignments will be available. Should we have to convert quickly to an online method of delivery, these preparations will provide a more seamless approach. Throughout the summer, professional development and support have been arranged to assist faculty in converting all classes to Web-Enhanced Courses for fall delivery.

Students should be prepared with the appropriate technology in the event online learning is necessary. We recognize that many of our students may live in rural areas where internet issues occur, and in those circumstances, completing class online is difficult at best. More information will be forthcoming for students as to the type of devices needed for fall and options for internet access on campus, including wifi parking lots.  As we get closer to the start of fall classes, we will be providing additional information which will assist students in being well prepared for the upcoming semester.


  1. How many COVID-19 cases will it take for classes to be moved fully online?
    The number of cases to move online depends on many things. The COVID-19 Task Force communicates regularly with members of the President’s Cabinet and will be identifying general ‘triggers’ to assist us in making such decisions.
  2. How will classrooms look for those of us who are taking in-person courses?
    Classrooms will be socially distanced. Deans and department heads have worked hard to follow the CDC guidelines for Institutions of Higher Ed. Additionally, some faculty may be wearing face shields in addition to masks, and plexiglass may be used in the classroom between the faculty and students.
  3. Can you explain how hybrid classes will work?
    Each class may work a little differently. For instance, some hybrid classes may result in half the class attending on one class day and the other half attending the other class day while lectures are pre-recorded and provided through Canvas. Other hybrid courses may have all students in the classroom attend class all class days one week and then work virtually the next week, following by another week in class and alternating in that manner. Faculty will provide the details of their instructional delivery approach in the syllabus.
  4. If a student decides to take classes online for the Fall semester, will it impact their scholarship?
    For merit-based scholarships, if the student is enrolled full-time, in at least 12 hours, the student is eligible to receive the scholarship.

Currently, JSU assesses tuition for undergraduate students as in-person/hybrid or online. The same rates as currently advertised will continue for fall. However, if a student must take a course which has traditionally been offered in person and which has been converted online due to faculty accommodations (those high risk, caring for high risk, etc.), then the tuition will remain the same as in-person/hybrid, and the student will not be charged the online differential. This will be the only change at this time for tuition charges.

The academic calendar for Fall 2020 has been modified so that no students will be in class after Thanksgiving Break, except in unique situations which will require approval. This strategy is being used by many schools to reduce exposure after a long break where travel is occurring with many families. Finals will be online; however, for those students who do have technological issues, options are being explored to use computer labs on campus, if necessary, with appropriate social distancing and masks. For these exams, staff from the Division of Student Success will assist with the proctoring. For those students taking finals online, the University will cover the cost of Honorlock, the system JSU uses for online proctoring.

To view the current Academic Calendar visit http://www.jsu.edu/registrar/academic-calendar/index.html


  1. Can students stay on campus after Thanksgiving break although finals are online?
    Yes, students can stay on campus during Finals week. All Residence Hall and dining facilities will remain open on campus during the week of December 2-8, 2020.

JSU has made a significant investment in disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and devices which disinfect large spaces quickly and effectively. Building and Cleaning Services has also increased the frequency of cleaning high touch surfaces in all buildings, as well as restrooms. There will also be increased availability of cleaning supplies for residence halls with information on how to clean/disinfect areas between use. Students will be expected to assist in cleaning/disinfecting their desk area in classrooms upon entry and exit of the class. Faculty will be responsible for disinfecting the lecture area and/or desk in the classroom from where he/she teaches. Appropriate cleaning supplies will be provided for these activities.

Students will be receiving a Cocky Cares Kit upon arrival to campus this fall, which includes a JSU-branded face covering, hand sanitizer, and educational materials, all in a clear JSU branded bag. A video campaign to encourage students to wear masks is underway.

Guidelines and plans for reopening the residential communities have been established by Housing Operations and Residence Life. The move-in process has been restructured to align with social distancing guidelines. In collaboration with Capital Planning and Facilities, the residential communities have been disinfected and robust cleaning protocols have been established for the fall. Some of these protocols include daily cleaning of community bathrooms with a stronger sanitizing disinfectant. High touch-point surfaces (such as community door handles, water fountains, faucets, etc.) will be wiped down multiple times per day. Social distancing and signage reminding residents and guests of the requirement for wearing masks will be placed throughout the residential communities.

Residential spaces have been identified and designated for quarantine and isolation in the event that a resident test positive.

Residential programming will occur virtually or outdoors using social distancing guidelines. Resident Assistants will receive COVID-19-related sessions during their upcoming training. Residents will be expected to wear masks within residential facilities unless they are in their room. Masks must be worn in laundry rooms, lounges, lobbies, hallways, etc. Residents are strongly advised to bring face masks when they arrive on campus for move in and are encouraged to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms each day. We are encouraging residents to bring cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and a thermometer for personal use when returning to campus. While we understand many residents are assigned to double occupancy spaces, many have personally selected their roommates and room assignments, increasing their comfort level with being in a residential facility. Common areas in residence halls, such as study lounges, laundry facilities, TV lounges, and the Point@JSU pool, have been reduced to 50% capacity to maintain social distancing guidelines. The gym at the Point@JSU will be closed temporarily. Signage will be posted highlighting these limits.

For students who have disabilities and request a private room as a reasonable accommodation, regardless of COVID-19, and for students with disabilities who request a private room because of COVID-19, the established housing procedures for reasonable accommodation requests with assistance from Disability Student Services (DSS) will be followed. If a student without a disability requests a private room, the request will be handled in the same manner Housing currently uses to evaluate such requests.


  1. What are the Housing plans in case courses go completely online again? 
    We will continuously monitor the pandemic, if we feel it is in the best interest of our student to close residence hall, then we will make that decision at that time.
  2. When will students be notified about their housing room assignments?
    If you have not received your room assignment by now, then you should reach out to Housing Operation at 256.782.5122
  3. I’ll be living in a dorm with a shared bathroom, how will we be cleaning those buildings? 
    We are increasing cleaning efforts in all of our residence halls. We also have purchased new disinfectant machines to increase cleanliness in all our facilities.
  4. Will I be required to wear a mask inside my residence hall?
    Masks/face coverings are required in all JSU buildings and must be worn in all common areas on campus (this includes hallways, lounges, laundry facilities, etc.) Mask/face coverings are also required outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Residents are expected to wear a mask/face covering throughout the residential facility until they are inside their living space. All masks/face coverings must be worn PROPERLY. Please make sure you have a reusable/washable cloth mask or face covering before you arrive on campus.

Athletics at JSU has a proud tradition and is a tremendous source of Gamecock Pride for our students and alumni. The JSU Athletic Department is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. In line with achieving the Phase I/II/III guidelines mandated by the federal government and the State of Alabama, JSU Athletics will open with modified policies, and we will implement safety measures focused on providing a healthier environment. In that regard, the Athletic Department has a very detailed phased-in return to campus protocol.  Initially,  our procedures include a 14-day quarantine upon athletes’ return to campus, daily health checks when entering athletic facilities, a cleaning and disinfectant plan, and an equipment services plan, and we anticipate that our protocols involving personnel, student-athletes, and infrastructure, which can be followed/amended as necessary, will be successful. 


  1. What do we know regarding the Fall 2020 sports season?
    At this time, the Ohio Valley Conference has decided to postpone the start of competition in Fall Olympic sports until September 17th and to conduct conference-only competition in Women’s Soccer and Volleyball.
  2. How will football look this year?  
    At this time, the Jacksonville State University football season will be proceeding as scheduled. If anything changes, Jacksonville State Athletics will update their social media platforms and their website at jsugamecocksports.com. 

Events and activities are being carefully planned with appropriate measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Most events or activities will be held outdoors over the next few months with social distancing expectations in place. For activities/events which must be held indoors, a careful review of the space occurs to determine maximum capacity allowing for social distancing, and those numbers dictate who can attend any event. Masks are required at events. Special situations, such as practice for The Marching Southerners, Convocation, Greek Life events, etc., will be managed on a case-by-case basis with detailed attention given to the safety plan for each group. Specific details for events and activities for the various groups on campus will be available in the comprehensive plan.


  1. Will we have events on campus this Fall?
    We are actively planning events for the Fall semester. We will make decision on a week by week basis throughout the fall semester most of these events will be outdoors.

FAQs for International Students

Are you an International Student at JSU? FAQs for International Students have been posted on the International House and Programs website.