Frequently Asked Questions

AcademicsAthleticsCampus Life (On Campus and Off)Campus ServicesCommutersCourse ModalitiesCOVID-19 HotlineCRRSSA ActFinancesHealth GuidelinesPublic Events/Public AccessQuarantine, Isolation, and LockdownResidential Life and DiningTesting/Contract TracingVaccination Guidance

What’s been done to improve the online experience?

Plymouth State University faculty have been working non-stop since spring 2020 to develop and expand their remote teaching approaches to best support our students.

  • Since May 2020, at least 179 unique individuals (43.9 percent of faculty, teaching lecturers, and staff who currently teach) have undergone online Professional Development training in online teaching and pedagogy.
  • PSU’s Open Teaching and Learning Collaborative (CoLab) taught 14 workshops with 861 distinct registrations during its May 2020 “Slipper Camp” on online teaching and learning. 38.2 percent of PSU faculty participated. The CoLab continues to offer professional development workshops for faculty and staff throughout the year on the effective use of Zoom breakout groups, engaging students in multiple modalities, as well as on Advising, DegreeWorks, Race and Intersectionality, Teaching while Disabled, Teaching with Equity and Inclusion, etc.
  • Over the summer, the CoLab designed and ran a four week workshop around the ACE Framework focusing on Adaptability, Connection, and Equity. ACE elevates three characteristics that are clear, context-sensitive, values-driven, and mission-aligned; we can use them to plan assignment-, course-, and institution-level responses to crises (such as COVID-19) in the areas of our University that are connected to teaching and learning. The initial summer launch included 17 workshops with over 950 distinct registrations, including 43.9 percent of PSU faculty.
  • Online Course Certification: Dozens of Plymouth State faculty also participated in a two week online summer course from national experts at Quality Matters on best practices in “Designing Your Online Course,” while 35 others began the online course certification process with Quality Matters.
  • We continue to improve the quality of internet, WiFi, Zoom, and Moodle access throughout the semester.

Will I know the format of my courses ahead of time?

Yes. Plymouth State will have updated course modalities online by the end of November 2020. Students will be able to see whether a course is offered solely in person/on campus, online (synchronous or asynchronous), and/or in hybrid format. If the course is listed as Hybrid, students should contact the professor directly to see whether in person, on campus participation is required or whether they can elect to take the course fully remotely.

How will Plymouth State ensure physical distancing in classrooms and labs?

Classrooms and labs are structured to ensure physical distancing and classes will be offered remotely and in person to provide hybrid delivery for learning. Students who are sick or are in quarantine can still keep up on their classes, remotely.

Can all of my classes be online?

Possibly. Students can design a fully online spring schedule; however, not all classes will be offered online. Some disciplines and courses require in person attendance for experiential learning, accreditation requirements, internship, and/or practica experiences. Students should communicate with their advisors and faculty to see what impacts a fully remote semester may have on their time toward graduation.

Will PSU still offer the Math Activity Center, the Writing Center, and other centers?

Yes. Depending on the center, either safe in-person tutoring (with social distancing and masks) or virtual services will be offered.

How will classrooms be kept clean?

Sanitizing wipes will be provided in every class for students to wipe down desks/chairs, etc. before and after class. Hand sanitizer will be available, and students and faculty are encouraged to use the sanitizer or wash their hands before and after every class. Classrooms will be cleaned daily.

What will happen if a professor tests positive?

If a professor tests positive, either another faculty member would pick up the course or it would move online—either way, the class continues.

What about internships and students in programs that require certification?

Participation and safety measures for internships, clinical experiences, and other practica required by accreditation bodies are often set by the accrediting body or host institution. Student teaching internships, for example, may need to follow the host school’s COVID testing protocols or they may be remote, depending on the individual school’s situation. Similarly, clinical placements for Nursing or other areas may include additional safety protocols, testing, and PPE as required by the host institutions. Professional internships may still be available in person, but students should also ask about remote/virtual internship options. Students should contact their academic advisor for program-specific guidelines.

What has changed on the Spring 2021 Academic Calendar? When will classes start and end, and what about finals and Commencement?

Spring semester classes will begin on Monday, January 25, 2021, a week later than had been originally planned. The Spring 2021 semester will not include a Spring Break, but will include three separate ‘mental health’ days when there are no classes: February 10, March 9, and April 14. This will help greatly with safeguarding the health of our community. Finals will begin and end as planned on Monday, May 3, through Friday, May 7. At this time, we are cautiously optimistic that Graduate Commencement for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will take place on Thursday, May 6. Undergraduate Commencement for the Class of 2021 will take place on Saturday, May 8, and the Class of 2020 will hold its Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 9, 2021. You can access the 2020/2021 Academic Calendar here.

Who should I contact if I need help with my spring schedule?

Students should contact their success coach or academic advisor for assistance with their spring schedules. They can be reached via e-mail at psu-centerforstudentsuccess@plymouth.edu, or 603-535-3065.

When will winter sports student athletes return to campus?

Winter sports student athletes will return to campus no earlier than January 13, 2021. A definitive date has not been set.


Will winter sports have games?

Our winter sports teams are parts of multiple leagues that are making independent decisions which are subject to change. The following information is current as of Jan. 19th

  • Men’s/Women’s Basketball (Little East Conference) – the LEC has a reduced, conference-only schedule. Conference games are slated to begin Jan. 23. All scheduled contests are available online.
  • Men’s/Women’s Swimming (Little East Conference) – the LEC will not hold its traditional conference championship meet. Instead, the conference has organized a dual meet schedule starting Feb. 6 and going into early March. All scheduled contests are available online.
  • Men’s/Women’s Indoor Track & Field (Little East Conference) – the LEC has pushed its conference championship meet back to Mar. 6, but a format has not yet been determined. It is possible the event will be held at multiple locations. If the NCAA cancels its Indoor Championships, the LEC will also cancel the conference championships. Discussions have been held about the possibility of dual or tri-meets among conference members. Only Plymouth State, Rhode Island College and Southern Maine have sufficient facilities to host such events.
  • Men’s Hockey (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference) – the MASCAC canceled its winter sports season, including all conference play and championship tournaments. Because of this, Plymouth State has partnered with a group of schools able to maintain similar (and necessary) testing regimens and has scheduled games beginning Feb. 12. All scheduled contests are available online.
  • Women’s Hockey (New England Hockey Conference) – the NEHC canceled its conference regular season and championship tournament. Because of this, Plymouth State has partnered with a group of schools able to maintain similar (and necessary) testing regimens and has scheduled games beginning Feb. 12. All scheduled contests are available online.
  • Men’s/Women’s Skiing (Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association) – the EISA has put together a modified carnival schedule. While a number of member schools (primarily from the NESCAC and Ivy League) have dropped out, competition will continue. In this new format, men and women will race on different days and, in most cases, each day of competition will hold two separate races. All scheduled contests are available online.
  • Wrestling (New England Wrestling Association) – it is unlikely Plymouth State will compete in any dual meets or tournaments this winter.


What are the testing procedures in place for athletes?

All Plymouth State students must have a negative COVID-19 test 7–10 days prior to returning to campus. Additional information regarding pre-arrival testing will come from the University in the coming months.

Additionally, the NCAA has split sports into transmission risk categories, which determine additional testing requirements as detailed below.

  • High Transmission Risk Sports (Basketball, Football, Ice Hockey, Men’s Lacrosse, Volleyball, Wrestling)
    • PCR testing three times per week (and within 72 hours prior to competition) for all individuals that constitute the “inner bubble,” including student-athletes and essential personnel whose job function requires direct access to players on a regular basis, specifically close contact (6-feet or less) for 15 minutes or more.
  • Intermediate Transmission Risk Sports (Baseball, Field Hockey, Indoor Track & Field, Soccer, Softball, Women’s Lacrosse, Volleyball – if universally masked)
    • PCR testing weekly for all student-athletes and coaches, plus additional testing for symptomatic and high infection risk individuals as warranted.
  • Low Transmission Risk Sports (Cross Country, Golf, Outdoor Track & Field, Skiing, Swimming, Tennis)
    • PCR testing weekly for all student-athletes and coaches, plus additional testing for symptomatic and high infection risk individuals as warranted.


What is the cost of the COVID testing?

There will be no cost to students for any COVID testing.


Will I be charged a season of eligibility if I play this year?

No. The NCAA has granted a blanket waiver for all student-athletes regardless of their year of eligibility (FR, SO, JR, SR). Student-athletes will not use a year of eligibility, nor will the semesters attended count toward the 10-semester maximum, provided the student-athlete was eligible to compete in 2020-21.


Will fans/spectators be allowed at games?

Out of an abundance of caution fans will not be allowed at any contests until further notice.


Will there be any way to watch Plymouth State sports?

Home games will be broadcast online with the links available on the athletics website (athletics.plymouth.edu).


What is happening with spring sports?

We continue to plan for a traditional season for spring sports teams. The adjusted academic calendar (later start, no spring break) means spring teams will not have their traditional spring trips.


How will athletic training services be handled?

AT services will be handled the same as they were in the fall.

  • Services will be offered at all three clinics (PE Center, ALLWell North, Ice Arena) by appointment only (10am – 2pm). Appointments can be made prior to the start of team practices by contacting your sport’s athletic trainer.
  • Prior to entering any AT clinic an athlete’s temperature will be checked and they must verify they are symptom free using a COVID symptom checklist. Anyone displaying a fever or symptoms must return to their residence and make an appointment with PSU Health Services for further evaluation and possible testing.
  • Taping will occur at each team’s practice site when possible.
  • There will be no social gathering or use of hot packs at AT clinics prior to practice.
  • AT personnel will make and distribute all ice bags.
  • Athletes must provide their own water bottles. AT will provide water stations with hand sanitizer. Athletes must use the hand sanitizer before and after filling their own water bottles.


What will team travel look like?

  • All athletes and staff must wear face coverings while on the bus.
  • Prior to boarding the bus, each individual will have their temperature checked and must verify they are symptom free using a COVID symptom checklist. Anyone displaying a fever or symptoms will not travel.
  • Teams will not stop for meals while on the road. All meals will be packed with the team or delivered to the game site.


Are the pool, ice arena and track available for open swim, skating, or walking?

All facilities are closed to the public indefinitely. PSU students, faculty, and staff will be allowed access to the pool. Hours will be available on the facilities page of the athletics website.


What happens if an athlete or coach test positive for COVID?

Plymouth State’s COVID Rapid Response Team (RRT) will reach out to anyone who tests positive through PSU’s testing procedure. If someone tests positive using an outside testing agency (UrgentCare, Speare Hospital, etc.) they should email proof of their positive test to the RRT at COVID19@plymouth.edu.

The RRT will interview the positive case to determine close contacts and will help arrange isolation/quarantine for all parties consistent with current Plymouth State and New Hampshire Health and Human Services protocols.

Following completion of their isolation, any student-athlete who has tested positive will also need to be cleared by the team physician prior to returning to practice/competition.


There was previous discussion about fall sports playing in the spring. Is that still happening?

There are plans in place for fall sports to play a limited number of contests in the spring semester:

  • Men’s/Women’s Soccer, Volleyball – the LEC has built a reduced, conference-only schedule. The plan calls for participating schools to compete from mid-March to mid-April.
  • Field Hockey – the LEC has built a reduced, conference-only, divisional schedule. The plan calls for participating schools to compete from mid-March to mid-April.
  • Tennis – last August the LEC announced the entirety of the women’s tennis schedule would be moved to the spring semester. That plan is still in place.
  • Football – the MASCAC has not announced official plans for its fall sports playing in the spring semester.


My question wasn’t answered above. Who can I contact for more help?

Feel free to reach out to any of the following:

Does a “closed campus” mean that I can’t travel?

In order to establish our safe campus, we’re asking students to limit travel, including not returning home, for at least the first few weeks of the semester. If you go outside the greater Plymouth area, we’ll need to find out the details and you may be tested.

How will you enforce wearing of masks, group sizes, etc., off campus?

The PSU Code of Conduct applies to all students, and we are working with local landlords, Plymouth police, and other local authorities to provide the safest possible fall semester. Attending PSU is a privilege and we ask that everyone follow six simple steps.

Can students have off-campus guests?

To promote safety, we will be a “closed campus” with no guest visits or overnights. Residence halls and other buildings will only be open to active faculty, staff, and students, continuing the policy that’s been in place since March.

What about visits from other on-campus students?

We need to treat each residence hall as a closed unit for health and safety purposes, so if you live in Grafton Hall and want to study with a friend in Merrill Place, you can’t visit there but you can both get together in a common area such as the library.

Are student clubs still operating?

Yes! We ask student clubs that meet to carefully adhere to using a mask, practice physical distancing, and to limit the size of gatherings.

Will the PSU Counseling Center be open?

Yes, on a limited basis. The primary means of service will be virtual, but it’ll be available in-person when online service isn’t appropriate, including for emergencies.

Will the shuttles operate?

Yes, though primarily between the Holderness and Plymouth parts of campus. Shuttles will include new safety features and masks will be required.

What is the plan for commuter students?

Commuters will continue to be welcomed to campus, and they will need to follow testing and health guidelines like all others. Those working in their hometowns may continue to do so.

What are the different modes and formats of Spring 2021 courses?

  • Online synchronous: Classes take place remotely during specified days and times.  
  • Online asynchronous: Classes take place remotely but not during specified day/time periods.  
  • Hybrid: Some classes are taught face-to-face and some online (synchronously or asynchronously); students are expected to participate during some of the days/times listed on the schedule. 
  • Face-to-face: Classes are taught on campus without an online component.  

If you need to ask any of the questions below please email the covid19@plymouth.edu or call the Covid Hotline 603-535-2409, and we will answer your questions or link you to the proper person to assist you. 

  • Think you are a close contact? 
  • I think I have symptoms? 
  • What if I miss my testing time? 
  • Are you vaccinated? 
  • Have you missed testing days? 
  • How do I sign up for the vaccine? 
  • Receive a “Test Not Processed”? 
  • What do I do with a silent witness tip? 
  • I haven’t been tested (fully remote) and now have f2f classes, what do I do? 
  • I plan on heading home for the weekend? 
  • I’m traveling, how do I return to campus? 
  • What bracelet is the correct one for my class to be wearing? 

What is the CRRSSA Act/Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided by the federal government?

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CRRSSA Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II, and provides money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. 

When will CRRSSA/Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds be available?

Plymouth State University will begin to distribute funds to students based on their financial need. Availability of funds are outlined on the completion of the survey. 

What is a CRRSSA ACT Fund?

The CRRSSA Act directed colleges and universities to prioritize students with the greatest financial need. As a result, Plymouth State University has established the RIC CRRSSA Act Fund. These CRRSSA Act emergency aid funds will provide financial relief to students. These funds are meant to help students pay expenses including the cost of attending Plymouth State University, technology, health care, childcare, course materials, housing, moving or other expenses related to the pandemic. 

Why did I NOT qualify for the CRRSSA Act Fund?

Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CRRSSA funds. In addition, if you have not completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) we encourage you do so at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa 

Will the CRRSSA Act funds affect my eligibility for financial aid in the fall 2021 semester?

No. CRRSSA Act funding will not count towards Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) and will not affect future financial aid eligibility. 

Is the CRRSSA Act fund taxable?

No. Per the Internal Revenue Service, the grant will not be included in your taxable income. Please visit the IRS’s site www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act for more details. 

Will room and board fees be refunded if I decide before classes begin that I want to take all of my classes remotely?

Yes.

Which health guidelines are being followed?

Plymouth State University is following the directives of the New Hampshire Governor’s Office, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and The World Health Organization (WHO) to guide us in our approach to delivering our curriculum to students and opening our campus.

Will athletics, theatre, recitals, and other events be open to the public?

Spring 2021 events will be open to the PSU community but not the general public. We are working on streaming options to enable families to watch as well.

Will PSU be hosting public events this spring?

The Museum of the White Mountains and the Silver Center for the Arts will be closed to the public in Spring 2021, in part to provide additional classroom space that is needed for social distancing. In general, large campus gatherings will not be scheduled this spring

What about access for contractors and others doing business with the University?

Contractors and visitors on business with PSU who complete a health attestation in coordination with their University contact may enter buildings to conduct their business. Otherwise, visitors and guests outside the COVID-19 testing protocol cannot enter buildings. This is a policy from the fall semester that will continue for the health and safety of our community.

What about Commencement?

Graduate Commencement for both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 will be held on Thursday evening, May 6, followed by the Class of 2021 Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 8, and the Class of 2020 Undergraduate Commencement on Sunday, May 9. Timing for these events and other details will be shared at a later date

How will quarantining be handled?

Students who may have been exposed to known COVID-19 carriers will need to quarantine. Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated for 10 days and not attend in-person classes. Those who live relatively close by may return home, and we have secured off-campus space where PSU will provide meals, transportation, and remote classes. Quarantine testing may be arranged by calling (603) 535-2409.

What is the quarantine guidance for people who have been vaccinated or previously infected?

NH DPHS quarantine guidance for people who are fully vaccinated or previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 has been updated (Quarantine Guide). This guidance applies to the general public, businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities, including long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and assisted living facilities (ALFs).

The following people do NOT need to quarantine after an unprotected exposure to a person with COVID-19, or after travel outside of New England:

  • A person who is 14 days beyond the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., 14 days after full vaccination).
  • A person who is within 90 days of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosed by PCR or antigen testing.
  • People with prior infection should be vaccinated to provide the highest level of protection against COVID-19.

Regardless of prior infection or vaccination status, any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 still needs to isolate, and be evaluated for COVID-19 testing.

In terms of quarantining, what are “family units” and “lockdown”?

For on-campus students, your family unit is your residence hall room (up to four people). If one roommate tests positive the room will be quarantined as a whole, but the person who tested positive will be isolated separately or at home. If the virus spreads to the residence hall floor, then the whole floor will quarantine. A more severe outbreak may require “locking down” the entire residence hall or even the campus altogether. If you live off campus, if one person becomes ill the whole house or apartment is quarantined and you’ll have to stay off campus and take classes online until everyone tests negative.

What’s it going to be like living on campus?

Community building activities will still take place with appropriate social distancing, and we will be set up to handle students who might get sick. Staff will wear face coverings and students will be required to wear them in common spaces, but they will be optional in individual rooms.

What about move-in?

Move-in will take place in late January. Students will be provided detailed move-in dates, time frames, and other instructions soon. The number of move-in helpers will be limited to two, and while they don’t need to be tested ahead of time they need to wear face coverings and observe social distancing.

Can someone who has been fully vaccinated still pass COVID to others without knowing it?

It is not yet known, but it is possible that people who are fully vaccinated or previously infected could still get asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, or attenuated (milder) COVID-19. Therefore, even people who are fully vaccinated or previously infected need to continue to practice distancing, avoid social groups and gatherings, and wear face masks at all times when in public places.

Will there still be testing in the Spring 2021 semester?

Yes, there will be weekly COVID-19 testing. We will follow the same weekly testing process used in the fall. More information here.

Will required testing provided by the college continue to be free for students?

Yes, these testing costs will be covered by the University for students who are taking in-person classes or are entering campus buildings to access resources, and for those employees who are working on campus.

What happens if I test positive or I am exposed to someone who has tested positive?

You will receive notification from a member of the PSU COVID-19 Rapid Response Team who will walk you through immediate actions to take and next steps. New Hampshire Health and Human Services will work directly with any person who is identified as either having tested positive or been exposed to someone who tested positive to provide details and recommendations for quarantine and isolation. Individuals testing positive or exposed to someone who has tested positive should avoid shared/common spaces for 14 days and may quarantine at home if it is relatively close. PSU has off-campus isolation space for students who are unable to return home. Faculty and staff are expected to quarantine at home.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing helps identify people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, such as roommates and those who have been within six feet for 10 minutes or more. Read NH’s contact tracing plan.

What happens if a student in one of our in-person classes tests positive? Will we be notified through contact tracing?

PSU staff will assist New Hampshire Health and Human Services in contact tracing. For details of what is involved in tracing, visit the NH DHHS website.

What if I have symptoms but am not sure I have COVID-19?

Self-isolate and call either PSU Health Services at (603) 535-2350, or your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or other health care clinician for guidance.

The following highlights are from an official New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Alert, Update #37, dated March 12, 2021, titled “CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Person.” 

Do I still need to participate in campus-wide testing if partially or fully vaccinated?

Yes.

Should fully vaccinated persons continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, avoid large crowds and group settings, and avoid non-essential travel?

Yes.

Is one specific COVID-19 vaccine preferable over another?

No, all are effective at preventing COVID-19, and individuals should be vaccinated with the first available vaccine. 

When is a person considered “fully vaccinated?”

14 or more days after receipt of the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 14 or more days after receipt of the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Can fully vaccinated persons visit other fully vaccinated persons indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing?

Not in businesses/workplaces such at Plymouth State University. 

Do fully vaccinated persons need to quarantine after an unprotected exposure to COVID-19 or higher risk international travel if the person remains asymptomatic?

No. 

What are the guidelines for fully vaccinated persons who participate in international travel?

The traveler must be tested by PCR 1–3 days before travel to the US and again 3–5 days after traveling. Additional CDC travel guidance is available here