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COVID-19 Information

Announcements

Healthy Clark COVID Plan

Clark University has announced its plan to resume teaching and learning on campus this fall. Details are available on our new Healthy Clark COVID Plan website.

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Financial Aid for Undergraduate Students

If your family’s circumstances have changed since filing your application for financial aid — including anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic — you may file an appeal with Clark University’s Office of Financial Assistance.

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Financial Aid for Graduate Students

Domestic Students: Financial aid for domestic graduate students is typically in the form of Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans. Merit aid and institutional scholarships have been awarded through the admission’s process. Please refer to your admission’s letter for details or visit the graduate section of our financial aid website for more details.

International Students: International Students are not eligible for the Federal Direct Stafford loan program. Institutional scholarships and merit aid have been awarded as part of the admissions process. Please refer to your admission’s letter for details.

CARES Act Funding

For questions related to emergency funding through the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, please visit our CARES Act page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are key questions related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We will continue to share updates and information directly with the campus community via email as new information about COVID-19 emerges.

In parentheses after the questions below, we have inserted the most recent date at which the content of each answer was updated.

Table of Contents

Teaching and Learning FAQs

Not all classes will have an online option, bu there will be online offerings. Clark professors will be teaching classes in three formats or “modalities” for the fall semester: fully in-person, fully online, and hybrid, which is a combination of in-person and online instruction. Many hybrid courses will be conducted with in a rotation model where students will be assigned a particular group and each group rotates between being in-class and online on particular days as directed by the faculty. The format in which a particular class will be taught is noted on the Web Registration and Course Grids and directly on the student’s detail schedule. As these instructional modalities change, schedules and course grids will be updated automatically.

While Clark is working to be as flexible as possible, there is no guarantee that a student can take all their classes online. Students are encouraged to work with their academic adviser to craft a schedule that meets their academic requirements and personal challenges. First-year students should discuss these options with their summer adviser. Advising starts the week of July 6 for most first-year students.

Synchronous learning occurs when the instructor and students interact in real time through an online medium. Asynchronous learning happens on your time, and may include such methods as posted lectures, discussion boards, and self-guided lesson modules. When students see a course labeled as “online” and days and times are listed, this is synchronous and students should log onto Zoom at the appointed time to participate remotely. Any course listed as online without a day and time is asynchronous, and students should pay particular attention to the course syllabus for instructions and due dates.

Clark will be returning to its normal grading procedures for this fall, which means that most courses will default to the letter grade option. As always, students have the right to request courses be graded as pass/fail. The last day to declare the pass/fail grading option for undergraduate students is September 11. Please note that many courses counting toward major requirements cannot be pass/fail. It is best to discuss grading options with your adviser.

Clark is undertaking a series of measures to protect the health and safety of both students and faculty inside the classroom:

  • Students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings.
  • Fewer students will be allowed in a classroom at any given time, and seating arrangements will be designed to satisfy social-distancing protocols. The number of students in a classroom is determined by a number of factors, including but not limited to, the room’s square footage and physical layout.
  • Seats are being removed from classrooms to allow for fewer students and to widen spaces to better accommodate foot traffic throughout the room. In classrooms with so-called “fixed” seats, such as large lecture halls, seats in which students are allowed to sit will be marked.
  • Custodians will clean and sanitize each classroom daily. Cleaning supplies will also be available in classrooms, and students will be asked to wipe down their seats or work stations.
  • ARTS/SCI continuing graduate students (including non-resident students):Monday, April 13 (11 a.m.)
  • ARTS/SCI continuing undergraduate students
    • Senior class for registration purposes: Tuesday, April 14 (11 a.m.)
    • Junior class for registration purposes:  Thursday, April 16 (11 a.m.)
    • Sophomore and first-year class for registration purposes: Monday, April 20 (11 a.m.)
  • School of Professional Studies continuing undergraduate students: Monday, April 13 (11 a.m.)
  • School of Management (SOM) graduate students:  Tuesday, July 7 (9 a.m.)
  • School of Professional Studies (SPS) graduate students: Tuesday, July 7 (9 a.m.)

Once students begin registering, web registration will remain open through the end of the fall semester’s add/drop period, Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 11:59 p.m.

The Study Abroad Office is working with academic departments to find suitable alternatives so that students can meet study abroad requirements. Students are encouraged to be in touch with their advisers.

Effective Wednesday, April 1, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)has suspended in-office services to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and students alike.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), the U.S. agency overseeing the F1 visa program, has issued new guidance permitting school officials to email I-20s to the student address listed in SEVIS, which will make the transition to providing comprehensive remote services possible.

All services will be provided remotely. If you have an immigration question or concern, please send an email, and someone will get back to you right away.

We will continue to provide a full range of services from a distance as indicated below:

  • Advising Appointments: Available by appointment with an adviser on Microsoft Teams or other videoconferencing platform
  • Email: Professional staff will check the ISSO inbox isso@clarku.edu Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, all staff will be checking their email regularly to answer your questions and set up virtual appointments as needed:
  • OPT Processing: OPT processing and I-20 issuance will continue. Students are responsible for mailing their applications directly to USCIS and for all processing fees, including the cost to have their I-20 with OPT request sent to them through eShip Global. If you wish, you can schedule a 15-minute virtual meeting with Abigail Nolan (abnolan@clarku.edu) to discuss your OPT application. Please allow approximately five business days for processing. If you have already applied for OPT, the ISSO will mail you any documents sent to our office.
  • Travel Signatures: If you require a travel signature, please email isso@clarku.edu. We will issue you a new I-20 with “travel” listed as the reprint reason and email the signed document to the email listed in your SEVIS record. If you required a DS-2019 travel signature, we will send you a new DS-2019 via regular mail.
  • COVID-19 Travel Tracker: Please update us with your travel plans so we can better assist you. If your plans change, you should submit the form again: Clark’s International Student Travel Tracking Form

Campus Life FAQs

Residential Life and Housing is working with each affected student to identify alternative housing on campus and to address issues like housing/meal plan refunds. If an affected student elects not to live on campus, that will be honored up until move-in day, even if a student takes a new assignment while they search for alternative housing. Students must work with RLH directly.

Appropriate accommodations will be made. Individual students need to work with Residential Life and Housing if they already have approved accommodations. Students without such approved accommodations must work with Student Accessibility Services.

Health and Safety FAQs

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has set up a website to help you determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19, and where you can go to be tested. In addition, as part of the Healthy Clark COVID Plan, students, faculty, and staff will be tested before arriving back on campus, and also may be tested randomly during the semester.

The CDC lists the symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) as:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of Covid-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

A full range of mental health services for students will be provided by the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG) when students return to campus this fall. To meet an anticipated need for counseling and psychological services, Clark will add a fellowship program and Wellness Ambassador team.

Until then, during the summer, the CPG is closed to students seeking counseling appointments.

However, we can help connect you to mental health support and therapists through CPG After Hours, a telephonic support service.

Please note that:

  • CPG After Hours is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  • The service can be used by students regardless of where they live; students from different states and countries may use this service.
  • Students can reach a therapist at CPG After Hours by calling CPG at (508) 793-7678 and selecting Option 2.

Therapy and Student Health Insurance

For the duration of the Massachusetts health emergency, the student health insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) has waived co-pays and deductibles for all mental health-covered services for therapists who are conducting therapy through a telehealth platform.

There are several resources you use to find a therapist in your community, including the Psychology Today Therapist Finder tool (which searches by Zip code in the United States and by town or postal code in 15+ other countries) and your insurance company’s provider search tool.

If you need additional help in locating a therapist, please contact CPG at counseling@clarku.edu, and a staff member can assist you.

This public health crisis has ushered in a time of uncertainty, chaos, and a way of life that is far from what we have been used to. It is incredibly normal to experience increased worry, stress, and emotions during this time.

Here are some tips for how to navigate this difficult time.

  • Monitor incoming information: There is a lot of information about the virus constantly coming our way. It is important to seek out reliable information. You can stay informed with the information coming from sources and websites of the CDC, World Health Organization, and Clark University. However, it is critical to have some distance from the barrage of incoming information. Take some time away from the news reports and social media to avoid information overload and increases in panic.
  • Focus on what you can control: It is easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed. But there are things you can do to help contribute to your health and the health of the public. Those prevention practices that the CDC recommends, including frequent, thorough handwashing and other precautions covered on this COVID-19 Information page under “COVID-19 Precautions and Exposure.”
  • Create some structure: When our day-to-day activities are disrupted, the lack of structure in our daily life can be a challenge. Even if you are staying at home, try to establish some sort of routine and schedule for your days. Perhaps try setting regular times to wake up and go to sleep and plan your days to have structured time blocks for meal times, coursework, hobbies, phone/video contact, etc.
  • Isolating physically, does not mean isolating emotionally: It is important to still engage with friends and family during this time, even if that means remotely. Humans are social creatures, and we need one another, particularly in uncertain or stressful times. Get creative with technology and take active steps to connect with your support network regularly.
  • Move your body: Research has shown the incredible impact exercise has on mental and emotional well-being. In this time, a lot of free fitness and yoga resources have been cropping up online. Take time to each day to move your body and get your heart pumping. It will help!
  • Get outside: If you live somewhere where you have access to non-crowded nature spaces, try to get outside. Time outdoors has been shown to help improve your mood.
  • Reach into the coping skills toolbox: Now is an especially important time to make self-care a priority. Use coping skills that have worked for you in the past and try adding some new ones. Engage in breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation practices, calming rituals, journaling, coloring or other artistic acts, and hobbies you enjoy.
  • Stay connected to Clark’s resources: Despite the physical distance, we are still a community. Be on the lookout for information coming from Clark about efforts to support you. One weekly resource to check out is Wellness Wednesdays on IGTV of our Instagram account: @clark_cpg).  Erica Beachy, director of wellness education, will be publishing short 10-minute videos leading you through a relaxation or grounding technique.
  • Seek therapeutic help and support: It is important to recognize that individuals may respond quite differently to this crisis, but some common reactions may include worry or fear about your own or loved ones’ health status, fluctuations in mood, disruptions to your sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, or increased use of alcohol or other substances. If you find yourself experiencing any of these or other reactions that concern you, reach out to CPG at counseling@clarku.edu for support. We can help give guidance for mental health treatment during this time.

Adapted from:  American Psychological Association: “Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus”

Yes. Check out these resources:

  • Clark University Police: Extension 7575 on campus or 508-793-7575 off campus
  • UMASS Memorial Medical Center Emergency Mental Health (EMH) Services: 508-344-3562
  • Community Healthlink Mental Health Emergency Hotline: 1-866-549-2142
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Samaritans: 1-877-870-4673
  • Pathways for Change 24-hour hotline (sexual assault): 1-800-870-5905
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “GO” to 741-741

The Healthy Clark COVID Plan outlines the expanded sanitation practices and protocols.

Employee FAQs

The Healthy Clark COVID Plan outlines a pre-arrival protocol for employees who plan to return to work on campus, as well as accommodations for employees who wish to work from home or make alternative work arrangements.

Faculty and staff members seeking assistance may call the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-828-6025.

Research FAQs

Yes. Due to new and unforeseen risks of COVID-19 exposure, Clark University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) has temporarily suspended (or paused) all human subjects research at Clark University involving additional in-person interactions. “Additional in-person interactions” implies that participating in the research will cause people to come into additional personal contact with other people — including researchers, subjects or others.

This pause applies to all research conducted under Clark IRB approval that fits the above description, regardless of location (i.e., on or off campus). This includes multi-institutional (collaborative) research projects operating under Clark IRB approval. That is, if the project fits the above description and is operating under the oversight of Clark’s IRB, it is subject to this temporary suspension of activities.

If you are in doubt as to whether this temporary suspension applies to your project, please assume that it does apply unless instructed otherwise by the IRB.

Research subject to this temporary suspension includes, but is not limited to, activities such as:

  • In-person interviews or surveys (not conducted remotely)
  • Focus groups
  • Experiments requiring subjects to be present in person
  • All other activities with in-person contact between researchers and subjects, regardless of how “close” these additional in-person interactions might be (e.g., six feet apart)

Yes. The temporary suspension does not apply to:

  1. Interactions conducted remotely — such as via Skype, Zoom or telephone — that cause no additional in-person contact involving subjects.
  2. Surveys or data collection conducted online, via telephone/mail, or using other remote methods.
  3. Circumstances wherein the researchers and subjects will already be in identical degrees of in-person contact regardless of the research taking place. An example would be in-school classroom observations during regular classroom activities, where observations are conducted by a teacher who would be present in the classroom regardless of whether the research takes place. For this exception to apply, researchers must submit a request to the IRB; the waiver request is explained in the FAQ below.
  4. Data analysis from human subjects interactions that have already taken place — and hence require no further in-person contact.
  5. Other types of human subjects research that can be conducted without in-person contact.

Researchers conducting in-person research that they believe falls under exception No. 3 (outlined in the above FAQ: in-person research that will not cause additional in-person contact) must submit a formal request to continue this research during the pause.

No in-person (i.e., face-to-face) research of any type is allowed during the pause without explicit prior approval of the IRB.

Submit requests, along with clear explanation and justification (and the original IRB protocol number), to humansubjects@clarku.edu.

We will process these requests as soon as possible.

Researchers may request a waiver of this in-person suspension under particular circumstances, which will be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on a case-by-case basis. There is no specific form that must be completed. Submit these requests via email, along with clear explanation and justification, to humansubjects@clarku.edu.

All requests must include the original IRB protocol number and previously approved proposal (as an attachment).

Cases in which waivers might be granted include:

  1. Research for which the researchers can demonstrate clearly that the benefits of continued in-person interactions outweigh the risk due to Covid-19. Except in rare cases, these waivers will not apply to most types of social and behavioral research conducted at Clark.
  2. Research for which the researchers can demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the proposed in-person interactions will not increase the probability and magnitude of harm from Covid-19. (The IRB cannot currently envision cases where this would apply at Clark, but is leaving this option open to address unforeseen circumstances.)
  3. Other research for which the researcher can present a clear and compelling reason why in-person interactions need to occur or continue as part of the project. (The IRB cannot currently envision cases where this would apply at Clark, but is leaving this option open to address unforeseen circumstances.)

Yes. The IRB encourages researchers to request a formal modification of their research protocols so that research can continue via remote means.

To do so:

  • Submit these modification requests via email, along with clear explanation and justification, to humansubjects@clarku.edu.
  • Include the original IRB protocol.
  • Attach your previously approved proposal with “tracked changes” (preferred) or highlights to identify the modifications to your original protocol that are requested in order to allow research to continue during the suspension. For example, interviews or even focus groups can potentially be held via remote platforms such as Skype or Zoom.

The IRB will review and approve these modification requests as soon as possible to enable research to continue.

As mentioned in the above FAQs, human subjects research that involves only remote data collection (e.g., via internet or telephone) does not require modification and can continue as originally approved by the IRB.

If you have questions about whether your research is subject to this mandated pause, please contact the IRB Chair, Robert Johnston, rjohnston@clarku.edu.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) will lift the temporary suspension as soon as conditions demonstrate that in-person research interactions will not place subjects or others at significantly increased risk due to COVID-19.

We understand that this will be difficult for many of us at Clark, and regret any disruption that this may cause. The IRB may issue updates to this policy as conditions dictate or to address questions as they arise.

Please address any questions regarding this policy to the IRB Chair, Robert Johnston, rjohnston@clarku.edu.

We realize that questions may arise concerning this policy. If in doubt, your affirmative duty as a researcher at Clark is to protect the rights and safety of your research subjects.

General FAQs

All international travel on University business remains suspended until further notice. Please review the Healthy Clark COVID Plan for further restrictions on local and national travel, as well as the quarantine requirements before returning to campus.

Have More Questions?

If you have other questions not addressed by the information above, please email those questions to covid-19-info@clarku.edu.

Helpful Resources

If you are seeking more information, we recommend referring to sources considered credible and informed. This includes the following sources: