COVID-related Frequently Asked Questions for Students
Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, there continues to be a need for campus protocols to ensure the health and safety of employees, students, visitors and contractors.
Support Center hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.
Additional virtual student support services can be reached by dropping into a Zoom room during the hours listed:
- Academic advising (Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
- Computer Help Desk (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
- Financial aid (Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
- College Support Center (Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
Quarantine Expectations for Students
M State is following the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health related to the handing of positive COVID-19 test results and quarantine expectations for students. M State will be doing all we can to ensure our students are informed of all COVID-related situations that may affect you. It is important for you to communicate with the college if you have COVID-related issues so that we can assist you in finishing the term.
- What if I have a lab-confirmed positive test result?
You must isolate from others until all three of the following indicators have been met:
- You isolated for 10 days since you first became ill or were notified of a positive test
- Your COVID symptoms have disappeared
- You have not had a fever for the last 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications
If you have a positive test, you should contact your instructors to notify them that you will not be allowed to come to the campus for face-to-face courses. The college will then be in contact with you to determine what steps can be taken for you to continue your coursework while you are in isolation or quarantine, where possible.
- What if I have been notified by either the MDH or my local county health department that I was in close contact of a positive case?
If a student has been notified by either the Minnesota Department of Health or the local county health department that they are a “close contact” or “exposed contact” to a positive case, they must:
- Preferably quarantine for the full 14 days as the safest option.
- However, they may quarantine for 10 days rather than the full 14 days if they have not tested positive and they continue to monitor themselves for symptoms during days 11-14.
- Even if they took a COVID test and it came back negative, during the quarantine period they must continue to quarantine throughout the 10 days
- HOWEVER, if the close contact is from a member of their immediate household (family member, roommate, etc.), then they are required to quarantine for the full 14 days from the date of likely exposure.
- Wearing a mask does NOT eliminate this requirement
NOTE: We are following MDH recommendation in that students will not be given the 7-day quarantine option.
MDH and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have defined a close contact or exposed contact as being within 6 feet of a positive case for 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period.
- What if I was in close contact with a positive case in a medical facility while in clinical and was wearing the proper PPE required by the medical facility?
You are NOT required to quarantine but should monitor yourself for symptoms.
- What if I was notified by the college that I am not identified as "close contact" of a positive case, but in the same classroom or laboratory?
You will not need to quarantine but should continue to monitor yourself for symptoms. If COVID symptoms develop, you should immediately quarantine and contact your medical provider for further guidance.
- What if I received the red screen when completing M State’s daily self-screening tool?
Follow the directions on the screen. You should not come to campus. If you live in the Fergus Falls campus residence halls, contact the housing director at 218.770.4275 for further instruction.
Academic support services
- What is the difference between types of face-to-face, hybrid and online courses?
- Face-to-face classes meet at scheduled times and locations, but during the pandemic there will be extra requirements — from health checks and masks to maintaining distance in the classroom — to make sure everyone is safe.
- Flex courses are held in classrooms that can link students by video.
- Blended courses combine elements of face-to-face and online learning to fit course needs.
- With online courses, you’ll have deadlines and assignments for online classes, but there are no scheduled meetings. Complete work before the due date at a time that works with your schedule.
- Online video classes, which use video software such as Zoom, have scheduled meeting times and provide structure and allow students to see their instructor and fellow students.
- Are the campus libraries open for access to computers and printers?
The on-campus libraries will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday if you need to access a computer or printer.
Library support services are also available virtually. Please email email@example.com for assistance or visit https://www.minnesota.edu/student-support/libraries for information and resources.
- Are the Spartan Tutoring Centers open?
An M State professional tutor is available during the Summer 2020 session. Tutor Paula Rohr will be available virtually Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. -1 p.m. through July 24. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 218.631.7862.
Tutor.com remains available for current students and can be accessed 24 hours 7 days week. To access Tutor.com, log into your D2L Brightspace account and click on Tutor.com in the drop-down menu under Academic Resources. For questions, please reach out to Angela.Mathers@minnesota.edu.
- How do I learn how to use D2L Brightspace?
Visit the M State Spartan Center website at https://www.minnesota.edu/spartan-center and scroll to the D2L Brightspace support section at the bottom of the page. Below the Brightspace icon is a link to our D2L tutorial, “How to D2L.”
- What if I have questions as our courses transition to online?
Work with your instructor if you have questions regarding online course transitions.
- How do I access the Computer Help Center?
For access to the Computer Help Center, visit https://www.minnesota.edu/student-support/computer-help-center or submit a Tech Support request within SpartanNet. At this time, Computer Help Centers on campus are closed. Our staff is ready to assist you by phone, email and online.
- How do I request a reasonable accommodation for a disability?
Information on requesting accommodations can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/accessibility-resources. If you are currently receiving accommodations, please reach out to our Accessibility Resources staff.
M State computer labs are available on a limited basis as we are following social distancing guidelines. Campuses will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please enter the buildings through the following doors:
- Detroit Lakes: E5
- Fergus Falls: L100B
- Moorhead: N2
- Wadena: W2
Course registration dates and deadlines
- How can I register for 2021 summer and fall semester courses?
Summer and fall course registration opens March 8. You can register online for courses by logging into SpartanNet and clicking on E-Services. You may need an access code from your advisor to register. Contact your advisor by clicking on their name in SpartanNet or make an appointment with them by calling or texting the Support Center at 877.450.3322.
- How do I know what classes are being offered for the 2021 summer term and fall semester?
Course schedules are posted on the college website. The course offerings for summer and fall classes will be available Monday, Feb. 22.
- What is the course withdraw deadline for full-term classes for spring semester 2021?
April 14 is the last day to withdraw from full-term spring semester courses. Please connect with your academic advisor and the financial aid office before withdrawing from a course. Academic advising contact information can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/advising. Financial aid contact information can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/financial-aid.
- What is the course withdraw deadline for courses that don't meet the full semester?
If you are taking a course that does not meet the entire length of the semester, you may withdraw from the course until the point that 80 percent of the course has passed. If you are unsure what date this would be for your specific course, the information can be found on your class schedule in E-Services. Log into SpartanNet and click on E-Services, then choose View/Modify Schedule. In your course list, there is a column labeled "Last Dates to Drop/Withdraw." When you hover over the icon in this field, you will see the last day to withdraw from that course.
- How do I order an official transcript?
To order an official M State transcript, complete a Transcript Request form, which can be found under the Records Office heading on https://www.minnesota.edu/forms. Transcript requests may be delayed at this time. Unofficial transcripts may obtained within your E-Services account (SpartanNet>E-Services>Academic Record).
Cares Act Funding for Higher Education
- What does CARES Act Funding for Higher Education mean to me as a student?
The Minnesota State colleges and universities received nearly $93 million in federal stimulus aid from the U.S. Department of Education. At least half of these funds must be used to provide direct grants to students who have had their education disrupted.
- How is this money being disbursed to M State students?
All eligible M State students will be receiving a CARES Act Grant of $331. Eligible M State students who have filed their 2019-2020 FAFSA and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) level of less than $5,576 will receive an additional amount of $327.75 for a total disbursement of $658.75. Students who have previously signed up for direct deposit with M State will receive their grants on or before May 8. Students who have not previously signed up for direct deposit with M State will be sent a check on or before May 8. The $250,000 remainder of the CARES Act Grant funds are being used to establish a CARES Act Emergency Grant fund, available to eligible students.
- Does this money have to be repaid?
No. Neither the CARES Act Grant nor the CARES Act Grant Emergency Grant need to be repaid.
- How do I apply for a CARES Act Emergency Grant?
The process is being managed by the college social workers. Information on the process and the application itself is available at https://www.minnesota.edu/CARES-Act-Emergency-Grants.
- How do I know if I’m eligible to receive CARES Act Grant funds?
Please know that federal requirements stipulated that Spring 2020 student eligibility was limited to degree-seeking (non-concurrent, non-PSEO) students and excluded students already attending online-only, as well as international students and M State employees taking courses.
- Do I have to use this grant to pay my outstanding M State balance?
No. But we encourage you to do so if you can, especially if there’s a hold on your account that prevents you from registering for next semester. We want to see you succeed!
- If I receive an emergency financial aid grant under the CARES Act, is the grant considered taxable income?
No, the grant is not included in your gross income.
- If I receive an emergency grant and use some of it to pay for course materials for online learning because my college or campus is closed, can I claim a tuition and fees deduction for the costs of these materials?
No. Because the grant is not included in your gross income, you cannot claim any deduction or credit for expenses paid with the grant including the tuition and fees deduction, or treat the cost of these materials as a qualifying education expense under the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.
Student Services Support Information
- How do I schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor?
To contact your advisor, log into SpartanNet and click on your advisor’s name (under your name). This will open an email to contact them. You can also contact the Support Center at 877.450.3322 to schedule an advising appointment. Academic advising resources can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/advising.
Academic advising will be via phone, email or Zoom meetings. Connect with our advisors by emailing Advising@minnesota.edu or contact them directly by email. Virtual "drop-in" advising via Zoom is available from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
Penny Brynildson: Penny.Brynildson@minnesota.edu
Kristin Nelson: Kristin.Nelson@minnesota.edu
Joni Massie: Joni.Massie@minnesota.edu
Leah Trontvet: Leah.Trontvet@minnesota.edu
Michele Burns: Michele.Burns@minnesota.edu
- How do I access my academic plan?
Information about accessing your Degree Audit Reporting System audit (commonly referred to as your DARS report) can be found at https://mstate.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/90/kw/dars.
Counseling and mental health
- How do I access mental health services?
The M State counselors are available via email, phone and Zoom to assist you with issues such as stress, anxiety, depression and more. You can connect with one of our counselors at this link: https://www.minnesota.edu/student-support/meet-the-counselors .
- Where can students get help if they are feeling stressed or anxious?
This is a challenging time, and many of us are feeling stress or anxiety.
Counseling services are available to all M State students. To make an appointment with the next available counselor, please visit https://calendly.com/m-state-counselors. You can also contact a counselor directly at the contact information provided below.
M State counselors also provide personal, career and academic counseling. They work with undeclared majors, students transferring into our college or out to other institutions, and Postsecondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) students.
Detroit Lakes and Wadena students also have the following counselor available for personal counseling.
Barbara Chromy, email@example.com
United Healthcare is offering an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT HELP LINE FOR ALL STUDENTS through its Optum subsidiary. Their toll-free help line number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary, and the service is free of charge and open to any student. Students have access to specially trained mental health specialists to support them if they feel they are experiencing anxiety or stress related to the recent developments around COVID-19.
M State social workers can provide assistance with meeting your basic needs such as food, housing, medical care, childcare and more. Please contact a social worker for assistance.
- How can I contact a social worker?
Food shelves, food service and housing
- Will food service and food shelves be available to students?
- On-campus food services are closed at this time. M State food shelves are being stocked and are accessible during campus business hours. You can contact an M State social worker if you need additional assistance with food or other basic needs.
- Can I come to campus to remove my belongings from my dorm room or apartment?
You can come to campus to remove your belongings, but you first need to schedule an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How do I access the campus bookstores?
- How can I sell my fall semester books?
Students can sell their books back anytime through the Book Buyback link in their SpartanNet account. If you have questions, call or email your bookstore.
- How do I return my books if I am a PSEO student?
PSEO student will receive a letter and a prepaid UPS shipping label from the college with information on how to return their college books. Please return your books as quickly as possible following your final exams. If you have questions, email PSEO@minnesota.edu.
- How do I return my rented books?
All students who have rented textbooks will receive an email with information regarding rental returns. Please check your student email account and respond with your address so the bookstore can provide you with a UPS label for shipping your rental books back to M State. If you have questions, call or email your bookstore.
- How can I purchase my textbooks for spring semester?
You will purchase spring textbooks through InSite, and books will be shipped directly to you. Log into SpartanNet, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Buy Books. If you have questions, call or email your bookstore.
- When can I order my textbooks for spring semester?
Book sales will start December 21. Students may charge books to their account during the book charging period from December 21 through January 15. Books can be ordered after the charging period if purchased with a credit card. The only items that cannot be charged to a student account are food and clothing.
- How can I charge to my account?
During the charging period (December 21 through January 15), you can charge to your student account by choosing “Financial Aid/PSEO/3rd Party charging” in the credit card drop-down box at checkout.
- Can I return my books for a refund?
Books can be returned for a refund if returned by January 15. Purchases will not be refunded after that date. You will need your receipt to return a book. Books are not returnable if the plastic shrink wrap has been removed.
- How can I learn about employment opportunities and job search resources?
Employment opportunities and job search resources can be found at www.careers.minnesota.edu. The M State career services director offers resume review and LinkedIn training. Access these workshops within D2L>Career Services-LinkedIn or >Career Services-Resume Writing. Contact Sue Zurn directly at Sue.Zurn@minnesota.edu or schedule an appointment at bookings.minnesota.edu/sue-zurn.
- If my class moved from face-to-face to online, will I get a discount or refund?
If your on-campus course moves to online, your tuition amount will not increase to the rate normally charged for online delivery.
Graduation and college events
- What are the plans for the 2021 spring commencement ceremony?
Due to the continued unknowns related to the COVID 19 pandemic, the college is anticipating that the commencement ceremony will be virtual. More information will be shared as the semester progresses. Students who will be graduating from M State at the end of the 2021 spring or summer session are encouraged to complete the Graduation Application as soon as they’re able. The application can be found under the Graduation and Transfer heading on www.minnesota.edu/forms.
- How do I submit a graduation application?
M State’s graduation application can be found at https://mstate.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/78/kw/graduation and can be completed online. Each semester, the registrar’s office begins posting degree completions after all grades have been entered. Applications are processed in the order they were received.
- How will I know if a college-sponsored field trip, event or conference has been canceled?
At the current time all field trips, events, conferences and on-campus career services events have been canceled.
- How do I ensure that I keep getting my veterans benefits?
M State is continuing to monitor communications with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and will provide updates as they are available. Please contact Aaron Johnson, the regional coordinator who serves M State, at 218.329.6040 or email@example.com. We recommend you speak with Aaron before making any changes to your academic schedule as changes could impact your benefits.
International student resources
- What if I’m an international student and suspect I have COVID-19?
International students should contact United Healthcare, visit www.uhcsr.com/MyAccount or use your UHCSR mobile app to find a network provider. International students may be tested and treated for the COVID-19 coronavirus without a referral.
Additionally, United Healthcare is offering a free emotional support help line for all students. Their toll-free number is 866.342.6892, and they will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary.
- As an international student, how do I ensure that I maintain eligibility for a student visa?
Review the current guidelines at https://www.ice.gov/covid19 under nonimmigrant students. During the spring 2020 semester, international students can temporarily engage in distance learning/online courses, in light of COVID-19. International students should refer to their local embassy website, Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control website for information regarding travel restrictions
Other Resources for Students
- How do I access public transportation to and from the college?
Please check with your local public transportation service provider to see if they are operating and what routes and times are available.
- How do I know if my child may continue to attend on-campus childcare?
Please check with the on-campus childcare providers (MAHUBE on the Detroit Lakes campus and Wadena public school’s childcare on the Wadena campus) to inquire about hours of operation.
- What if I am worried about being evicted from my home/apartment?
Gov. Waltz has suspended evictions during the COVID-19 emergency. Find Minnesota Housing updates related to COVID-19.
Technology and internet
- How do I access my M State email on my smart phone?
Whether you have an Android or iPhone, you can access your M State email by following these instructions: https://mstate.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/281/kw/cellphone.
- What if I need assistance with technology due to lack of access to a computer, software or the internet?
Connect with one of our college social workers who can assist you with accessing technology resources:
Reach out to your local internet provider as some are offering no-cost or low-cost internet service.
- Can I remain employed as a student worker?
Reach out to your campus supervisor directly; they will work with M State to determine how to proceed.
- What if I am worried about my student loan payments?
You may be able to temporarily suspend your U.S. Department of Education Student loans through an administrative forbearance. Interest will not accrue on federally held loans for 60 days starting on March 20. Contact your loan servicer online or by phone to find out what options are available for you.
New and Prospective Students
- How do I apply for admission to M State?
We are currently accepting applications for summer and fall semesters. Please begin the M State application at https://www.minnesota.edu/admissions. We recommend that you write down and retain the StarID you create for the online application. Due to multiple school closings during the COVID-19 outbreak, our Admissions Office will be accepting unofficial documents (high school, GED and college transcripts) for acceptance, if requesting an official transcript is not an option at this time. Send documents electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Official transcripts will be required for transfer coursework evaluation. Mail is being received on all M State campuses and is being processed by our Central Processing Center, but may be delayed.
Questions? Contact our Support Center by calling or texting 877.450.3322 or email email@example.com.
- How do I apply for financial aid?
Information about paying for college and applying for financial aid can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/financial-aid. The M State FAFSA code is 005541.
- How do I complete the new student orientation?
Access the online student orientation at minnesota.edu/orientation with your StarID and password. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes on the orientation. Once you’ve completed the orientation, a member of our enrollment team will reach out to you to schedule an advising appointment.
- How do I take the Accuplacer placement test?
At this time, M State has suspended all Accuplacer testing until further notice, to limit the number of visitors needing to come to campus during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. During this time, M State will continue to use ACT, SAT, MCA, Accuplacer scores and previous college coursework to determine course placement. If you have not taken the ACT, SAT or Accuplacer and/or do not have previous college coursework, high school GPA will be used to place students into appropriate courses if high school graduation was in the last 10 years. For students who do not have a high school GPA or have been out of high school for longer than 10 years, work with an academic advisor to determine your course placement.
- How do I register for classes?
M State is ready to assist you with the process of enrolling and registering for summer and fall semesters. Currently, all on-campus registration events have been canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but our advisors and enrollment team members are ready to assist you by phone, Zoom and email.
Before you register, please complete the required online orientation. Once you complete the online orientation, a member of our enrollment team will reach out to you to schedule an advising appointment.
- How do I receive accommodations for a disability?
Information on requesting accommodations can be found at https://www.minnesota.edu/accessibility-resources.