Fall 2020 Information

Coordinating Preparation and Response

Plymouth State has planned for a safe and productive Fall 2020 semester. This and related webpages include information for students and families, faculty and staff, and community members, and will be updated as issues arise and decisions are made.

The foundations of our approach include New Hampshire state guidelines for reopening, public health guidelines for supporting higher education on campus, and COVID-19 testing for the campus community. The health and safety of the campus community is our highest priority.

Pemi wearing a face mask

Fall 2020 Information

AthleticsCourse ModalityFace CoveringsFinancial IssuesGuests/Campus Visitors/Closed CampusInformed ConsentPre-Arrival Quarantine for Students Outside of New EnglandResidential Life and DiningTesting

Fall 2020 athletics are restricted due to conference postponements and other factors beyond our control, but there may be individual team practices, scrimmages, or non-league games. Out of an abundance of caution, fans will not be allowed at any matches until further notice, but games will be broadcast online. 

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What are the different modes and formats of Fall 2020 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, meaning that some classes will be taught face-to-face and some online (synchronously or asynchronously); students will be 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. 

Students who have already registered for courses can review this video to view course modalities. 

Students who want to see the formats of courses that they haven’t already registered for can consult the “Type” column in the online Course Search.   

Students should contact their advisors for more information. 

Face coverings must be worn in all campus buildings, outdoors on campus when social distancing is not possible, and when in stores and buildings in Plymouth. PSU social distancing guidelines are three feet if masks are worn or six feet otherwise. Please note the town of Plymouth public ordinance below, which details requirements for face coverings while in downtown or greater Plymouth.

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The additional scheduled days of learning, including starting earlier in August, not observing two holidays, and scheduling finals on weekend days, compensate for fewer days at the end of the semester. PSU will provide a full semester’s worth of learning and there will not be reductions in tuition or room and board fees. However, if PSU needs to shut down and students must leave campus, as happened in Spring 2020, appropriate prorated housing and dining reimbursements can be made. Students who do not plan to live on campus or take advantage of campus dining in Fall 2020 will not have to pay for these services if they notify the University before the semester begins.

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PSU campus buildings are closed and off limits to anyone not actively teaching, studying, or working at PSU. Guests are not allowed in any campus buildings, including residence halls and student apartments, unless they have approved academic and/or professional reasons. Students residing on campus are only permitted in their assigned residence hall or building. Only faculty, staff, and students who have signed the Informed Consent Agreement and have active PSU identification cards are currently authorized to enter campus buildings. Affiliate faculty and emeriti do not need tests nor do they have campus building access, but the library will do curbside drop offs for emeriti with advance notice. 

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All students are required to review the Informed Consent Agreement regarding their return to campus. An electronic version of the agreement is available at go.plymouth.edu/informedconsent.

This agreement acknowledges the expectations we have that individuals will engage in the social and hygiene practices we have identified as important. An informed consent is not the same as a waiver of liability. It is a recognition that a student understands what is expected and that it is their individual responsibility to follow behavioral and safety practices that we hope will mitigate risks for students, faculty, and staff who return to our campuses. 

The form has two options. Students must sign the agreement in order to be allowed on campus for classes or other activities. Students who plan to learn remotely and not go to campus should sign the remote option. 

You must be an active student and 18 years of age or older to access the electronic agreement. If you are having issues accessing the page, please contact the PSU Help Desk. 

Questions should be sent to psu-informedconsent@plymouth.edu

Due to a recent change in New Hampshire COVID-19 requirements, any student coming to our campus from outside of the New England states (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, or Connecticut) must quarantine at home for 14 days prior to their arrival in New Hampshire. Having done so must be attested in writing and students must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. (Note: A negative test does not eliminate the need to quarantine for 14 days.) Use of public transportation does not negate the 14-day quarantine. Guidance on how to quarantine is available from the NH Department of Health and Human Services.   

  • Move-in: Move-in times have been carefully assigned to limit the number of students and their guests in the residential communities during each time block. For this reason, changes are unable to be made except in extreme circumstance. We apologize for the inconvenience but hope you understand this is an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible. Students may have no more than two move-in helpers. Students and helpers must wear face coverings and observe social distancing. Helpers are not required to obtain a COVID-19 test. 
  • Housing Assignments: We continue to make and adjust assignments. If you do not currently have an assignment, check back to the status page of your housing application frequently for updates. 
  • Wait list: As preferred spaces become available, we are reaching out to individuals on the wait list. If you are not currently assigned, we may not contact you in advance of making an assignment based on your wait list preferences., However, if you ARE currently assigned, we will reach out due to potential fee differences. If you are seeking to change your assignment, please submit your request(s) to the Pre-Fall Wait List on our website
  • Meal Plan Additions/Changes:  Students wishing to add or change to another eligible meal plan may do so by submitting this form.  

We’ve worked closely with the New Hampshire state epidemiologist and the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and have put a robust plan in place. Testing is paid for by PSU. 

Testing has always been and continues to be a key part of the safe opening of the three USNH residential campuses. USNH has been working with the state of New Hampshire and external testing experts to implement effective testing protocols. During the week of August 16, media communications were shared that reflected that the three residential campuses of the University System of NH (University of New Hampshire, Keene State College, and Plymouth State University) were delivering a testing protocol by which students would be self-testing after arrival every four days. The coverage was not completely accurate.

All three campuses are requiring negative results from pre arrival tests for students who intend to be on campus.  

At KSC and PSU, the entire campus populations will be tested within the first ten days of the start of classes and again 7–10 days later. Following the rounds of testing, PSU and KSC are working with Quest Diagnostics to provide weekly mass pool testing of each community.

Due to the size, complexity, and location of the UNH campus, it has built an internal laboratory that can deliver pooled test results with the expectation that mass testing of the community could occur as often as every four days.  Students will be expected to self-test and drop results at specific collection sites.

Eventually, it is expected that the capabilities of the UNH laboratory will be robust enough to serve the testing needs of all three residential campuses.

PSU is also working to have our own testing laboratory online in the coming weeks.

Student Testing Process 

We’re planning a three-stage process as follows, up through mid-September:

  1. All students must have a negative test result within seven days of their arrival on campus. We have contracted with Quest Diagnostics, which is setting aside testing materials and lab space for us. Most pre-testing will be via mail. If a student’s test result is positive, they can begin classes online at home while quarantining for 14 days, then come to campus after retesting negative. 
  1. All students will be tested again within their first week on campus. We will have a testing center conveniently located on or near campus. 
  1. All students will be tested again two weeks later. This will provide a true baseline of our community’s status. After that we’ll test certain campus populations throughout the semester to keep on top of the situation. 

More information

Important Updates

COVID-19 Back to School Testing Program

PSU is collaborating with Quest Diagnostics® to implement a comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing program to prepare all students, faculty, and staff to return to campus and help minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the school year.

The test you will be asked to take is the “active infection” swab test. It helps to determine whether you currently have an active COVID-19 infection and is not the highly invasive, deep nasal test.

Please complete the registration on our Back to School program website. You will need your student ID number to complete the registration process. Once you register, this site will provide more information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, as well as assist you with scheduling your COVID-19 test. 

If you have any questions about this program, please contact PSU directly at covid19@plymouth.edu.

Your active involvement in following our health and safety guidelines and encouraging your peers to do so as well will be very important to our success. We thank you in advance for your commitment to health and safety for yourself and all of our community members.

Click here to register today. Registration must be completed no later than August 14.

Important Information for Student Coming to Campus August 17 or Later

Pre-arrival Testing for Students Arriving in Plymouth Monday August 17 or Later

All students who plan to be on campus must be tested prior to their arrival or the first day of classes, whichever comes first, and demonstrate proof of a negative test through our testing program.  While there will be in-person testing clinics the week of August 17th in Plymouth (a schedule will be sent in the coming days) the majority of students will be tested via a home collection/mail test program. Please take a look at this document outlining the at-home testing option. Please watch for an e-mail on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, with a link to the mail test portal. All testing data is maintained in a secure and HIPAA-compliant manner. Results will be available in three to five days.NOTE: If you are part of an early arrival program such as TRIO or Ascent you will receive specific testing instructions from your program coordinator this week.

Important New Information for Students Outside of New England: Pre-Arrival Quarantine

Due to a recent change in New Hampshire COVID-19 requirements, any student coming to our campus from outside of the New England states (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, or Connecticut) must quarantine 14 days prior to their arrival in New Hampshire, attest in writing to having done so, and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test as described above. A negative test does not eliminate the need to quarantine for 14 days. Use of public transportation does not negate the 14-day quarantine. Guidance on how to quarantine is available from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. If you reside outside New England the State of New Hampshire requires that you quarantine at home for 14 days prior to your arrival at PSU. 

PSU Move-In Assistance Update - July 27, 2020

PSU knows that families are anxious to assist students moving into our Residence Halls. We know, particularly for our first-year students, that in many ways this is an important milestone in their journey to PSU. While we are not requiring COVID-19 tests for those helping students move-in we are placing restrictions on this process:

  • Only 2 people can assist a student moving into a residence hall.
  • Students will be assigned 90-minute move-in periods to limit the number of people in the Res Halls at one time.
  • Each Parent/Move-in helper will be asked the standard COVID-19 health attestations (do you have symptoms, have you been in contact with anyone with Covid-19, etc.,)
  • Everyone will be required to be masked while they are in the Residence Halls.

Finally, students will be told their exact move-in day the first week of August. Please be patient as we work together to assure everyone is safe during this unprecedented time.

We look forward to seeing you here in your scheduled move-in day.

Expanded student move-in begins approximately 5–7 days before classes start on August 24, 2020

  • Move-in days. Students will be assigned move-in days, which will begin approximately 5–7 days before the first classes on Monday, August 24. Each student residing on campus will receive notification of an arrival date. Please do not come in advance; only scheduled students will be allowed on campus. Dates will be shared with individual students by mid-July.
  • Student athletes will be contacted by their coaches regarding the timing for their return to campus.

Fall 2020 classes will run from August 24–November 19 - Revised

  • Fall semester classes will begin on Monday, August 24 (both online and in-person), and run through Thursday, November 19, 2020. Many classes will be available in both in-person and online formats to accommodate students who may need to attend remotely.
  • Finals will run from Friday, November 20–Tuesday, November 24. This will include the weekend, i.e., Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with students leaving campus for the Thanksgiving holiday and end of semester on Tuesday, November 24, after 5 p.m. (The Registrar’s Office will update the final exam schedule accordingly over the coming weeks.)
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day (Monday, September 7), Indigenous Peoples Day (Monday, October 12).
  • Veterans Day (Wednesday, November 11) will be a holiday.
  • Fall 2020 concludes on Tuesday, November 24. All students return home until Spring 2021 begins on Monday, January 18, 2021.

Enhanced health and safety measures

  • Population density limited to enable social distancing indoors
  • Face masks will be worn indoors when social distancing is not possible
  • Public health campaign will inform of public health and safety guidelines
  • Comprehensive health screening and monitoring
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing
  • Dedicated quarantine housing to be prepared. We are establishing a clear process for isolating students who test positive.

Regular testing of all students, faculty, and staff

  • Based on current health recommendations, regular COVID-19 testing will be required for all campus community members, including students, faculty, and staff, prior to the start of classes. We are partnering with New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Speare Memorial Hospital, and third-party testing firms to ensure enough testing capacity. In addition, weekly testing will continue throughout the semester for a variety of students including members of athletic teams and student clubs and organizations, and other student, faculty, and staff populations. Details including a testing schedule will be available in mid-July.
  • Health screening and monitoring will be required for all faculty, staff, and students. A strict ‘stay home when ill’ policy will be in effect at all times.

Contact tracing performed in collaboration with state health officials

  • Contact tracing will be performed in collaboration with state health officials working with a dedicated group of specially trained PSU staff and students. Our goal is to identify and isolate any infected individuals within 24 hours of a positive test.

Prepared to adapt as needed to changing COVID-19 conditions

  • The changes to our 2020 calendar are based on current modeling that predicts a spike or second wave of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of December, which will also likely coincide with the traditional beginning of flu season in late November or December.
  • An extensive public health campaign will be initiated in partnership with student leadership around hygiene, face mask usage, health monitoring, and testing/tracing/physical distancing.
  • We are working now to update the Student Rights and Code of Conduct to reflect our COVID-19 policies, including use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hosting and/or attending events on- and off-campus that do not meet the rules related to size of group, social distancing, etc. Living and learning on campus are privileges that will be lost for students who do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • For students who do not feel comfortable living on campus or taking classes in person, opportunities to commute and/or take classes via remote instruction will be available.

Previous Updates

Task Force Formed

On May 8, 2020, the University System of New Hampshire (USNH), which includes Plymouth State University, announced that it intends to welcome students back to campuses for the fall term. The system as a whole is working closely with state leaders and health professionals to support a safe return, and each individual institution is planning for a range of scenarios. The full USNH announcement is available here.

PSU has formed a Fall Opening Task Force with involvement and representation from across campus. This group, led by Vice President for Communication, Enrollment & Student Life Marlin Collingwood, is comprised of 12 teams that are considering every aspect of opening, from academics and logistics to health and safety. Student input will be sought and incorporated into the process.

May 11, 2020 – Plymouth State University Plans for Students’ Fall Return