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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

RETURNING TO CAMPUS FOR FALL 2020

Will students and faculty return to Iona’s campus in the Fall 2020? When?
We know that new facts about the pandemic will continue to surface. We are closely monitoring all information as we work towards a comprehensive operational plan to guide us through the upcoming academic year. As we continue to finalize our course of action, there are time-sensitive highlights we are sharing so that the community can plan appropriately for the fall semester. Further information to flesh out these highlights will be shared in the coming weeks, and we appreciate your patience as we define specific details.

Iona College will begin its fall semester on August 10, 2020 and end the semester on November 23. Students will not return to campus after the Thanksgiving break. This schedule advances the semester by three weeks to minimize student travel and exposure during the fall semester. The extended break allows us to offer extra time off to staff, faculty and students over the Christmas holiday. These plans are contingent upon New York State approval of in-person classes for the fall semester. If in-person classes are delayed or cancelled by New York State, we will re-evaluate the start date of the academic calendar.

Will courses be offered on campus, online or both?
With the exception of courses that are designated as distance learning (DL), all courses will be offered in a hybrid format so that students can take any course, or portions thereof, online or in person. Students or faculty with underlying health conditions should consider using the online option. By preparing courses to be both online and in person, we can accommodate students and faculty who might need to be away from campus during the semester. Moreover, such flexibility will make us ready to transition to full online delivery if circumstances require.

Will students, faculty and staff need COVID-19 tests?
Prior to starting classes, students, faculty and staff will be required to have a test for the COVID-19 virus. We are proud to partner with our neighbors at Montefiore Hospital in New Rochelle to administer tests for members of the Iona community. Antibody tests will also be available for those who want one. We will work with Montefiore throughout the academic year to provide health care related to the COVID-19 virus for our students, faculty and staff. More information will be forthcoming regarding testing details.

How will we monitor the health of the community?
In addition to getting tested prior to starting classes, we will work with all members of the Iona community to monitor symptoms related to COVID-19. Daily temperature checks will be available before entering classes or the workplace. Iona will work with students, faculty and staff to make sure you have the tools required to track symptoms. Students and employees will be called upon to self-isolate and get tested upon manifesting symptoms. CDC guidelines will be followed for addressing symptoms and positive test cases.

How will we prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Masks will be required in all classes and wherever adequate social distancing is not possible. We will increase spacing in all classrooms and dining halls by 50 percent. Sanitizer will be available and accessible across campus and rooms will be sanitized regularly throughout the day. Entry, egress and stairways in buildings on campus will be organized to maximize spacing and minimize face-to-face exposure. Elevators will be sanitized regularly and social distancing required. We will reduce occupancy in residence halls to a maximum of two students per room and require social distancing in common spaces. Community bathrooms will be sanitized regularly and social distancing required.

Will masks and social distancing be required?
Masks will be required in all classes and wherever adequate social distancing is not possible. We will increase spacing in all classrooms and dining halls by 50 percent. Entry, egress and stairways in buildings on campus will be organized to maximize spacing and minimize face-to-face exposure. Elevators will be sanitized regularly and social distancing required. We will reduce occupancy in residence halls to a maximum of two students per room and require social distancing in common spaces.

What changes will be made in residence halls?
We will reduce occupancy in residence halls to a maximum of two students per room and require social distancing in common spaces. Community bathrooms will be sanitized regularly and social distancing required. More information regarding residence halls will be communicated to resident students from the Office of Student Life in the coming weeks.

Will Iona College staff work from home or return to campus?
Remote work will continue for staff who can perform their roles from home to increase social distancing in offices.

How will this affect athletics?
Further details will be shared in the coming weeks, such as information on event sizes, campus visitors, athletic competitions and spectators, and more. All of these details will be included in the forthcoming comprehensive plan. We appreciate your patience as we collect the data we need to provide the most informative and actionable plan possible.

How does this impact graduate business trimester schedule?
The tentative date of August 10 for a fall semester return to campus does not affect trimester scheduling for graduate students in the LaPenta School of Business. More details will be forthcoming.

I have more questions. Where can I direct my questions?
As we continue to finalize our course of action, there are time-sensitive highlights we want to share with the community now so that everyone can plan appropriately for the fall semester. We understand this announcement of a tentative return date may prompt many questions.

Additional information will be included in the forthcoming plan that fleshes out the details of these highlights, including protocols for responding to positive COVID-19 cases on campus, procedures for food preparation and distribution, event sizes, campus visitors, athletic competitions and spectators, contact tracing, human resource policies and more. We appreciate your patience as we collect the data we need to provide the most informative and actionable plan possible.

Urgent questions can be sent to taskforce@iona.edu.

ACADEMICS

Strategies for Online Learning

Do you have any tips on how to approach and manage taking classes online?
Yes! Please see our Strategies for Online Learning page for helpful advice and resources on how you can create a plan for online study.

Pass/Unsatisfactory Option

Why is Iona offering a pass/unsatisfactory option for Summer 2020 Sessions?
In moving classes to online delivery, we are asking faculty and students to stretch beyond the ordinary learning dynamic they are used to. For some, this adjustment will be challenging. It will likely increase anxiety making it difficult to focus on the content of our courses. In order to counter some of the challenges that will arise as a result of this change, students will be able to elect out of the regular grading system and convert to a course pass/unsatisfactory grading option. Faculty will grade student work as they have always done.

By what date will students have to decide if they want to take the class pass/unsatisfactory or for a letter grade?

  • Summer Session I students have until noon on Friday May 29, to choose the P/U option.
  • Summer Session II students have from Wednesday, June 17, until noon on Thursday, July 2, to choose the P/U option.
  • Summer Session III students have from Wednesday, July 22, until noon on Friday, August 7, to choose the P/U option.

Will students be allowed to see their grade first and then decide whether to take the grade vs the credit?
All P/U grading options must be chosen prior to the release of final grades. Requests for the pass/unsatisfactory option that come in after the deadline cannot be processed. Students who wish to know their grade should contact their faculty.

How will students indicate whether they want the grade or pass/unsatisfactory credit? Who will they tell?

  1. In PeopleSoft, click on Student Center.
  2. Click on the "COVID-19 Optional Pass/Unsatisfactory" link.
  3. Choose the class(es) that you want to switch to Pass/Unsatisfactory.
  4. Click save. You will be asked to re-confirm your choice.
  5. Once confirmed, the class(es) that you chose for Pass/Unsatisfactory will be greyed out and cannot be changed.

Do students have to decide whether ALL classes are pass/unsatisfactory or can they choose a letter grade for some classes and pass/unsatisfactory for others?
For each class, students may choose a letter grade or pass/unsatisfactory option.

Does the same pass/unsatisfactory option policy extend to graduate students and undergraduate students?
Yes, both graduate students and undergraduate students can choose either a letter grade or a pass/unsatisfactory grade. All students should check with their Major or Graduate Adviser to assess any certification or licensing requirements that preclude pass/unsatisfactory options.

For business school graduate students, does the policy apply to the current trimester or the next one?
The pass/unsatisfactory option policy applies to both the current and next trimester for graduate business school students.

Does the pass/unsatisfactory policy apply to graduate business students taking the online MBA, too?
Yes, this applies to online MBA students for this trimester and the next one, too

Academic Resources

Are there any free or low-cost internet options for students taking online courses?
Some internet providers are offering free or special pricing to students who have been affected by college closure due to COVID-19.
Learn more about free and low-cost internet access here.

I left some of my books on campus. Can I access them online?
In light of the ongoing disruption to on-campus learning, we’ve partnered with our digital course materials platform, VitalSource, and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to ebooks for students who may have lost access to course materials with the rapid move to distance learning.
If you previously accessed textbooks via the library, shared a book with a classmate, or left your books on campus, visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com to access free ebooks through May 25. VitalSource Helps provides access to tens of thousands of ebooks, but some content may not be available. To access free materials, you must use your Iona email address to log in or create an account. Before you get started, we encourage you to review this student FAQ.

Moving Classes Online for Spring 2020

Why is the College moving classes online?
The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff will always be our top priority. While there remain no confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus at Iona College at this time, eliminating in-person classroom instruction is an important step we can take to minimize potential pathways for the spread of COVID-19 within our community. To that end, all undergraduate and graduate classes will move online for the rest of the semester. Students will not return to campus after the extended spring break.

How will online instruction be taking place? How will I “attend” class?
All undergraduate and Arts & Science graduate courses will begin online on Monday, March 23, and will continue online through the scheduled last day of classes on May 8, 2020. Faculty members will contact students with information on how classes will be structured. Attendance will be taken. Interim Dean Richard Highfield will contact LaPenta School of Business graduate students and faculty regarding classes continuing online. Our Blackboard Learning Management Systems will be used for most classes, assignments, course materials, requirements for tests/exams, and student-faculty collaboration. Students should be logging into their Blackboard courses and viewing their respective courses for the most updated faculty directives and course-related materials. Faculty may also choose to hold class at their regularly scheduled time using Zoom, Iona’s web conferencing tool. The course delivery mechanism will be determined by each individual faculty, based upon their requirements.

How will I complete lab or clinical work or student teaching online?
On a case by case basis, directors and department chairs will assess the feasibility of allowing our students to continue with clinicals and field work as long as the clinical agencies/hospitals/sites will continue to support our students. Program leadership will manage this according to their accrediting body, professional requirements and state regulations. We will be evaluating this on a rolling basis. Students must contact their department chair, program director or dean’s office for specific instructions. In the event that you are not able to continue with clinical practical experiences, your program leaders will work with you to personalize a plan. Laboratory experiences will be managed individually by each program. We are committed to helping students through this transitional time as we seek to ensure that your clinical experiences meet requisite criteria.

Will Summer Sessions be in person or online?
As a result of continued restrictions on in-person gatherings to reduce spread of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, all Summer Session I, II & III courses will be offered using virtual platforms.

I have never taken an online course before. Who will help me transition?
Libraries and Information Technology staff will remain available via phone, email, Zoom or other on-line support. For technical assistance please contact the Help Desk. Tickets placed in the online help desk system will continue to be processed. Help Desk staff will continue to remotely answer (914) 633-2635 during posted hours. On-line resources are available on the IT Resource page. Zoom and teleconferencing information is available here. The librarians are available virtually to assist with your research questions, to help find online resources and all online databases are available. Visit the Library webpage for more information.

I have accommodations to support my learning and now that we are moving to online classes, I need help. Where should I go?
Anyone needing accommodations can find assistance by emailing the Office of Student Accessibility at access@iona.edu. Please provide a phone number for the best number to reach you.

If I don’t have a computer to do online learning, what are my options?
Moving to online learning will be a transition for everyone. If the transition presents a hardship for anyone because they do not have access to a computer, they may email Joanne Steele at jsteele@iona.edu.

Bookstore

When do books I’ve rented from the bookstore need to be returned?
Barnes and Noble has extended the grace period for rental returns through the first week of the 2020 Fall semester. Free shipping is available. Please visit the bookstore’s website for instructions on how return your books by mail.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Who should I contact if I have a financial problem?
Student Financial Services is here to answer your questions. The team is working remotely and is available from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The best way to contact us is via email at sfs@iona.edu or you may contact our call center at (914) 633-2497.

Will I be able to continue my student employment?
Some student employment, including work study and graduate assistantships, may continue if the job can be performed remotely. Students should contact their supervisors for more details and receive confirmation in writing approving working remotely. Hours will still be required to be entered into the NextGen system.

Will I get a refund for Spring 2020 Tuition and Fees?
The College continues to provide instructional and administrative services and are committed to delivering a high quality education to our students. Tuition and fees will not be refunded.

Will I get a refund for unspent meal plan dollars?
All unspent meal plan points will be rolled over to the fall 2020 semester as Flex points and can be used both on or off campus. For students who are graduating, unspent meal plan points will be credited automatically to their student accounts and refunded. Since the meal plan is still active, the meal plan credits will be processed at the end of the term.

Will I get a refund for housing for the time I am not on campus?
The College thanks you for your continued patience as we process a prorated credit for housing charges for students no longer residing on campus this spring semester due to CV-19. The calculated housing credit amount will be offset by any outstanding student account balances that are owed.

The prorated credit will be applied automatically to your account and will be viewable on your Peoplesoft Student Account. You will receive an email when the credit is on your account. The prorated credit will be carried forward to the upcoming summer sessions and/or academic year and used for any future term charges. For students who are graduating or do not enroll in subsequent semesters, funds will be refunded automatically.

How will I receive my credit?
The credit will automatically be applied to your account toward any future billed charges. You do not need to submit a request for the housing credit.

How will my credit adjustment be calculated?
The credit adjustments will be prorated. The full housing semester is 17 weeks in length. Each adjustment will be prorated based on the remaining 8 weeks of the semester after students were required to leave campus. Each student will receive an adjustment of 47% of the original room charges. This adjustment may be offset by scholarship and other awards as noted below.

What will happen if I have an outstanding balance on my account? Will I still receive a credit?
If a student has outstanding charges, the credit adjustment will be offset by the outstanding charges and the credit adjustment will be applied to your account for the remaining difference.

What will happen to my credit if I am receiving financial aid grants for room and board?
Financial aid specifically awarded for room and/or board expenses, such as resident assistant, housing awards or athletic room grants, will be adjusted and could reduce or eliminate any remaining credit balance.

How will I be able to use my credit?
Your credit will automatically be applied toward any future billed charges for the 2020-21 academic year such as tuition, fees, room and board for enrolled students.

When will I receive my credit?
The College appreciates your understanding and patience as we calculate the adjustments. We expect to have the credits applied to your account during the month of May.

Since I am graduating, when and how will I receive my credit as a refund?
Students who appear to be on schedule to graduate this May will automatically receive a refund if they have a credit balance. For students who have elected direct deposit, the funds will be transmitted into your bank account. All others will receive a paper check.

I plan on transferring from Iona College, what will happen to my credit balance?
Students who are planning to transfer out can request a refund if they have a credit balance by submitting a written request to Student Financial Services at sfs@iona.edu or completing the online Refund Request form in your PeopleSoft Student Account at Self Service > Electronic Forms > Student Refund Request Form after the credit has been applied to your account.

DISTRIBUTION OF CARES ACT HIGHER EDUCATION EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND (HEERF) GRANTS

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF). Iona College has been allocated funding to be used for emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations as a result of the coronavirus. These emergency grants are non-renewable and must be cash awards given directly to students for expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Minimum Student Eligibility Criteria

  • Filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2019-2020 Academic Year
  • Be a US Citizen or permanent resident
  • Completed verification of the FAFSA data (if required) and received an award letter
  • Maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Enrolled at the College as of March 13, 2020 for the 2019-2020 year
  • Not enrolled exclusively in online courses before March 13, 2020

Phase I Grants

Initial HEERF grants will be awarded in amounts between $328 and $1,750 to eligible students who received Federal Pell Grant awards in Spring 2020. Federal Pell Grant recipients do not have to apply but do have to attest that they have been financially impacted by COVID-19. We do encourage students to update mailing addresses on PeopleSoft Self Service. The estimated amount of awards in Phase I is approximately 90% of the available funding.

Phase II Grants

Iona College will reserve approximately 10% of funds ($159,000) to provide assistance to Title IV eligible students who were not eligible to receive grant funding or did not receive at least $1,000 in HEERF funds in Phase I. These impacted students may request assistance from the reserved pool and can receive up to a maximum of $1,000 including the amount provided in Phase I. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis until the funds are fully expended. Eligible students may request assistance on a case-by-case basis by submitting an application certifying to the fact that they have been financially impacted by COVID-19 disruption. The HEERF Application for students will be available on June 16, 2020.

Disbursement Timeframe and Receipt of Funds

We expect the Phase I grants to be distributed beginning by early June on a rolling basis. Eligible students will receive a paper check via United States Postal Service mail. The College cannot apply these funds directly to charges on your student account as they must be issued as grants directly to students.

All students who apply must meet the minimum eligibility criteria. Notification to ineligible applicants will be made within 7-10 business days after the application has been received and reviewed.

We will endeavor to distribute checks as quickly as possible, however, due to the high volume, we ask for your patience. Please anticipate a two to four-week processing time.

Please note that HEERF checks that are lost or not cashed within ninety (90) days of issuance will be voided and funds will be returned to the HEERF account unless notified by the recipient within 90 days. Funds in this status will be considered forfeited and made available to other students.

Disclosures

Iona College will meet the reporting requirements in section 4(c) of the Certification and Agreement, which requires that schools report the following information:

  • How grants were distributed to students;
  • The amount of each grant awarded to each student;
  • How the amount of each grant was calculated; and
  • Any instructions or directions given to students about the grants.

These disclosures will be posted on the College website within the established timeframes with the first report due thirty (30) days after the distribution of the first grant, and forty-five (45) days ongoing thereafter.

RESIDENCE HALLS AND CAMPUS OPERATIONS

How can I gather my belongings from the residence hall?
All College housing is closed as of noon on Friday, March 20. Residential Life will contact resident students with additional information about move out procedures. All college housing will remain locked to safeguard students’ belongings.

Please contact us at residentiallife@iona.edu or (914) 633-2336 during regular business hours with any questions or concerns.

When will move-out day be?
Keeping all students and community members safe during these unprecedented times remains the College’s top priority. As a result, adjustments were made to the move-out process, which is underway. Residential Life has assigned move-out dates and times to resident students in accordance with health directives and safety protocols. Students may contact the Office of Residential Life at residentiallife@iona.edu or (914) 633-2336 during regular business hours with any questions or concerns.

Will campus facilities such as student supports, libraries and the gym be open?
The LaPenta Student Union, Libraries, Fitness Center and Gym are closed immediately.

Iona College remains committed to student success. While all Iona employees will be working from home or in staggered shifts, as a reminder the following offices are available to continue to support students:

Libraries and Information Technology staff will remain available via phone, email, zoom or other on-line support. For technical assistance please contact the Help Desk. Tickets placed in the online help desk system will continue to be processed. Help Desk staff will continue to remotely answer (914) 633-2635 during posted hours. On-line resources are available on the IT Resource page. Zoom and teleconferencing information is available here. The librarians are available virtually to assist with your research questions, to help find online resources and all online databases are available. Visit the Library webpage for more information.

CAMPUS EVENTS

Are there any specific guidelines for canceling or postponing College events and activities?
Campus events including admissions tours, information sessions and Accepted Students Days have been canceled or postponed.

We recognize there are many end of year events which each play a significant role in seniors’ spring semester and celebration. The Changing of the Guard, Passing of the Torch, various Honor Society inductions, Multicultural Recognition Ceremony, GAEL Awards, Senior Toast, Baccalaureate Mass, and the Commencement Ceremony will be offered in virtual settings. The commencement ceremony will be a video broadcast production on graduation.iona.edu. Recordings of some of the other virtual ceremonies will also be available on graduation.iona.edu.
See FAQs for Commencement 2020.

DIPLOMAS FOR JANUARY CONFERRALS

I graduated in December 2019 and expected to pick up my diploma in person. How will I receive it now that the campus is temporarily closed?
As a result of the current pandemic, we will be mailing all diplomas for January conferrals. Please ensure that we have your correct mailing address. You can request transcripts here.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

We realize that there will be additional questions. Colleges across the country are all grappling with the same challenges, and we are working hard to provide answers as quickly and clearly as possible. As we continue to closely monitor this rapidly evolving and fluid situation, we ask that you stay connected to your email for updates. Information will also continue to be posted on our website at www.iona.edu/healthupdates. If you have additional questions, please contact taskforce@iona.edu and we will be sure to respond promptly.

For additional information, please refer to the following reliable resources:

Novel Coronavirus Hotline: 1 (888) 364-3065
CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
World Health Organization Coronavirus COVID-19