Updated/reviewed: 5/13/2020


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USEFUL LINKS

CARES ACT FUNDING REPORT FOR ECU (Posted 5/13/2020)
ECU GRADING REVISIONS FOR SPRING 2020 (COVID-19 DISRUPTION)
MENTAL HEATH INFORMATION/RESOURCES (UPDATED)
TOOLS & APPS FOR STUDENTS
INTERNET RESOURCES FOR OKLAHOMA RESIDENTS
GOV. STITT'S ORDER TO CLOSE NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
CITY OF ADA, OKLAHOMA EMERGENCY ORDINANCE ON COVID-19
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL COVID-19 INFORMATION SITE
OKLAHOMA HEALTH DEPARTMENT COVID-19 INFORMATION SITE
OKLAHOMA HEALTH DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY SPREAD GRAPHIC


USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS

ECU Student Health Services: 580-559-5713
Pontotoc County Health Department: 580-332-2011
Oklahoma COVID-19 Hotline: 877-215-8336
Emotional Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990


Please note: The following Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) below are based on direct communications from East Central University President Katricia Pierson and represent the latest, most-accurate official position of the University in regard to the COVID-19 situation. Her entire correspondence is collected here.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

We are currently building a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. To submit a question, please email studentinfo@ecok.edu.

ACADEMICS/ONLINE INSTRUCTION

Q: When will the ECU Bookstore reopen?
A: We plan to phase-in our staff over the summer beginning May 18. The bookstore should be open at that time. We are watching the progress of infection and will be updating you weekly on when campus will be open. In the meantime, students can order their books online and the bookstore is shipping them for free. They are offering curbside delivery. Or, your order can be held until the bookstore is re-opened. Instructions from the bookstore are attached here.

Q: What if I have an issue with Blackboard? And what is it’s after hours?
A:
We now have a 24-hour help desk to help you with your Blackboard issues. You can contact Blackboard support at 580-559-5884.

Q: I am planning to attend ECU as a concurrent student, what do I need to do?
A: Contact Mitchelle Barton in the Academic Success Center at mbarton@ecok.edu or 580-559-5697

Q: What if I can’t return books to the library?
A:
For library books, all due dates have been extended to May 8. The library will continue to extend due dates for the duration of this crisis. 

Q: How am I supposed to return rented textbooks?
A:
For textbooks rental returns, the bookstore (bookstore@ecok.edu) recommends you send them an email near the end of the semester and they will email you a UPS return ship label.

Q: This has been disruptive on my grades. What am I supposed to do?
A:
Recent guidelines established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will be applied to all Spring 2020 courses that were not completed on or before March 9. These guidelines have been provided to diminish any negative impact resulting from the transition to a complete virtual learning environment. Please see the Grading Revisions for Spring 2020 document here.

Q: I think in all this confusion I may have dropped a letter grade in some of my classes. What can I do about that?
A:
The first thing to do is to visit with your instructor and/or adviser. ECU has also implemented new grading guidelines approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education that will allow for the use of a Pass/Not Pass grade in lieu of a letter grade. For more details, please see the Grading Revisions for Spring 2020 document here.

Q: My financial aid package is contingent upon my grade point average. How am I supposed to handle that?
A:
Before you decide to change to a P/NP option, we urge you to contact the Office of Financial Aid at 580-559-5243. Financial aid calculations for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) may result in a different outcome than your academic GPA. For questions concerning the impact of changing to P/NP on financial aid, please call the Office of Financial Aid at 580-559-5243.

Q: If I am not happy with my final grades once they are posted, what am I supposed to do?
A:
Once posted, students may choose to have the assigned grade changed from the letter grade to Pass/No Pass (P/NP) by May 21, 2020. Grades should be posted by May 13, 2020. P/NP is a grade-neutral designation that will not adversely affect a student’s GPA. For more details, please see the Grading Revisions for Spring 2020 document here.

Q: How do I request a change from a letter grade to a Pass/Not Pass grade?
A:
Students must complete a grade change request in Etrieve by 5 p.m. on May 21, 2020. Separate forms will need to be submitted for each course in which the student would like their grade changed. Students will complete the grade change request which can be found under Etrieve in MyECU. Students should contact their academic advisors or department chairs before making this decision. Once the request is made, it cannot be reversed.

Q: How long will we be online?
A: 
Courses will remain online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

Q: What about intersession and summer classes?
A: May intersession and summer 2020 classes will be online. We continue to monitor the effects of the virus and will determine at a later date if we can add in-person classes to the second 4-week session of the summer schedule. We will update you as the summer session draws nearer.

Q: How will I be successful as an online student?
A:
 Within Blackboard, there is a Smartthinking tool which is an academic online tutoring service. Additionally, the Academic Success Center will have tutors available at 580-559-5696. If you have a technical issue with Blackboard, there is a 24-hour help desk that will be available when your classes start back up. The procedure for accessing the help desk will be sent to students and also posted on our website.

Q: Will my classes be at the same times as they originally were?
A: 
It depends on the virtual/online format your instructor chooses to deliver the course content. If it is in Blackboard, there will be greater time flexibility because you choose when you can work on it as long as you meet deadlines. If it is a Zoom lecture or other method, the times would be the same as the in-person classes were.

Q: Will my professors still have regular office hours and/or increase office hours?
A: 
Faculty will be available every day to visit by phone or they will be checking their emails and responding.

Q: Can I still schedule time to meet with my professor?
A:
 Faculty will be available every day to visit by phone or they will be checking their emails and responding. The ECU campus is closed and face-to-face meetings off-campus are strongly discouraged.

Q: I need a webcam. What do I do?
A: If you need a webcam for any of your classes, please contact IT at 580-559-5702.

HEALTH & WELL-BEING

Q: What if I feel ill?
A:
 If you believe your symptoms warrant testing, contact the Pontotoc County Health Department, ECU Student Health Services, or the state of Oklahoma's COVID-19 Hotline (numbers at top of this page).

Q: Will Student Health Services still be available?
A:
 The University's health center is open. But walk-ins are not allowed. We encourage you to call ahead to make an appointment at 580-559-5713 or visit online at https://www.ecok.edu/current-students/student-services/student-health-services/health-services-parent-information.

Q: I traveled over Spring Break, so what do I need to do?
A:
 If you traveled during Spring Break, it is recommended that you contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health to see if self-quarantine should be warranted. Call the OSDH COVID-19 Hotline at 877-215-8336 or visit the site at www.coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

EMPLOYMENT/WORK STUDY

Q: I am a student worker. What do I need to know?
A:
Your direct supervisor will be in contact with you.

CAMPUS/FACILITY ACCESS

Q: Is the campus closing?
A:
Yes. The ECU campus is closed until further notice. Gov. Stitt ordered all non-essential businesses in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to close for 21 days, midnight March 26 through April 16. We will comply with the order and close all non-essential operations. All buildings will be locked during this time. Students are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent residences. Online/virtual classes begin March 30. 

Q: When will the Education Testing Center reopen?
A:
 The Education Testing Center will reopen the testing center on June 1 barring any unforeseen circumstance.  

Q: Will the library stay open?
A:
 The library is closed. However, the library staff is committed to full online services. Please visit https://ecok.libguides.com/emergencies.

Q: Internet at my home is not very good, so where can I go?
A:
Please contact your professors about this.

Q: Will I still be able to utilize the group study spaces in the library?
A:
No, not at this time. The ECU campus is closed.

Q: How can I get access to books?
A:
We are offering ECU students free access to materials for the remainder of the 2020 semester. Visit www.vitalsource.com then click “sign in”. To access free materials you must use your ECU email account. Here is a FAQ about VitalSource.

Q: Will the 24-hour computer lab be open?
A:
 No. The ECU campus is closed.

Q: Will campus hours change the rest of the semester?
A: 
We are monitoring the situation daily. Should there be a need to change campus hours, the University will notify students via ECU email, ECU social media, the ECU website and text messaging.

Q: Will Taff Cafeteria keep the same hours?
A:
No. The ECU campus is closed.

Q: Will the University Center Snack Bar be open?
A:
 No. The ECU campus is closed.

Q: Will the Wellness Center still be open?
A:
 No. The ECU campus is closed.

HOUSING & FOOD SERVICE

Q: I live on campus. Do I have to move?
A:
The ECU campus is closed and all students are strongly encouraged to remain at their permanent homes.

Q: Will Resident Advisors still be available?
A:
 No.

Q: I’m still waiting on a housing refund so I can pay my balance and enroll. What do I do?
A: If you have checked out of your dorm and are waiting on your refund to pay your bill for the hold to be lifted to enroll, please contact the Bursar's office at 580-559-5225 for the status of your bill.

Q: What about living on campus this summer?
A: The residence halls will remain closed with the exception of the few who are not able to find alternative housing through the summer. At this time, we plan to open the residence halls to students in August for the start of the fall semester. Food service will continue through lunch on May 8 and then close for the summer as is our regular practice.

CAMPUS EVENTS

Q: I'm in a club at ECU. Can we still meet and hold events?
A:
 Because the campus is closed, all ECU-sponsored/hosted events have been suspended. Because COVID-19 is easily spread, we also discourage off-campus gatherings at this time.

Q: Are all the planned/scheduled events for this semester still happening?
A: 
At this time, we are suspending activities through May 11. We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and determine whether to suspend events later in May and June.

Q: Are ECU Tiger teams still competing?
A: No. All ECU athletic events have been suspended at this time.

GRADUATION/OTHER SERVICES

Q: I received a refund and I’m not sure why. What do I do?
A: To this point, refunds have been issued for room and board and graduation fees only. If you still aren’t sure why you received a refund, or need clarification, please contact the Bursar’s Office at 580-559-5225.

Q: Is this going to impact my graduation?
A: No. Efforts are underway to transition to online/virtual instruction to ensure students are on track academically.

Q: Is there going to be a Commencement exercise?
A: ECU will collaborate on alternatives to our traditional Commencement ceremonies for our Spring 2020 graduates.

Q: I still need my cap and gown for graduation photos. What do I do?
A: You can still order your cap and gown through the Bookstore at the following link: www.ecubookstore.com. You will not need to pay for anything. You will only order and go through the checkout process. Because of the postponement of graduation and the disruption caused by COVID-19, President Pierson has decided it would be best to waive the graduation fee. If you have already paid the graduation fee, you will receive a refund.

Q: Can I still receive mail through my ECU mailbox?
A: No, campus is closed at this time. We ask that you have your mail forwarded to your home address.

Q: What if I still have a balance due from the previous semester?
A: If you owe money for the previous semester, you may go online and pay by e-check. It takes a routing number, account number and check number. There are no fees with this payment method. For all of your payment options, go to the following link below or paste it into your browser: https://www.ecok.edu/current-students/paying-college/office-bursar/payment-options.

Q: What if I can no longer afford to pay my balance because of Covid-19?
A: We recognize that many students and their families have lost their jobs in the past 30 days and have not been able to pay the balance owed on their spring tuition. To assist with enrollment, we are raising the financial hold limit to allow more students to enroll. The current hold is $500 and will be raised to $2,000 for the summer and fall 2020 semesters. Students will need to set up payment plans in order to pay the full amount owed before they may enroll in any subsequent semesters. We will resume the $500 financial hold going into the spring 2021 semester. Transcripts and diplomas are not released until all balances are paid in full.

Q: What is the CARES Act? How does it apply to me?
A: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) will provide emergency public assistance funding for all students and would be based on current credit hours in which they are enrolled. The US Department of Education (DOE) has provided further guidance on who may receive the emergency funding: students who were taking on-ground courses as of March 13 and students who completed the FAFSA or are eligible to complete the FAFSA may receive the funding.

Q: Does the CARES Act apply to everyone?
A: There are several categories of students who are not FAFSA eligible. Concurrent high school students, international or undocumented students, students in default of student loans, men who have not registered with the Selective Service, and those not making academic progress are not eligible for the emergency funding. Additionally, the DOE has excluded students who were taking only online courses on March 13, 2020. The reasoning behind the DOE’s decision is that online students did not experience the same disruption to their learning as those students who were forced to move from on-ground to online instruction.

Q: So how do I get the CARES Act funds?
A: Eligible students will receive an email from evals@ecok.edu to certify their eligibility and need. The funds will be issued to the Bank Mobile card the University uses for refunds. Bank Mobile recently sent an email to students asking them to verify the process they receive refunds.

Q: I don't understand how the CARES Act works.
A: We believe the majority of our students have experienced life disruption and should receive assistance. However, we must follow the law as established in the CARES Act. The following link will take you to the frequently asked questions provided by the US Department of Education should you want additional information: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/heerfstudentfaqs.pdf

Q: I don't qualify for CARES Acts funds. What other options do I have?
A: The ECU Foundation has the SHARE Fund should a student have a financial need. A faculty or staff member must make a recommendation on behalf of a student. More information may be found on the ECU Foundation website. To read more about what the SHARE Fund is, click here.