Faculty Information on COVID-19

Coronavirus information for Faculty

Below you’ll find answers to a few common questions on Coronavirus (COVID-19). Subject to change; last updated March 31, 2020.

We are committed to providing updates on the latest developments and how they impact our people and our workplace. We will share answers to more of your questions in the coming days.


Academics and Information Technology

Q: What is "modified Instruction"?
A: This means courses taught via methods other than face-to-face. This includes, but is not limited to Moodle, Screencast, Google Classroom/Hangouts, Zoom and email communication.

Q: Are instructions available to help faculty or staff members connect remotely and/or prepare for teaching online?
A: Information Technology has created a remote access guide and a course continuity guide for faculty and staff to prepare for the transition to online courses and communication. Please refer to these guides for additional information and details. 

Please contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@augie.edu or 605.274.5331 for assistance with technology issues. The Help Desk has the ability to provide remote assistance to your computer for software related issues. Help Desk hours will be 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Help Desk will also be checking email and voicemail regularly outside of those hours. IT Brown Bags have been canceled for spring.

Q: How will we know which and how many students do not have access to consistent internet access?
A: The best way to measure this will likely be from faculty members to their respective classes, and the faculty are encouraged to keep this line of communication open.

Q: Can we use the scheduled meeting time of the class?
A: It is recommended that you keep your course flexible to accommodate for unique living situations your students may find themselves in including different time zones, assisting in care of younger siblings, sharing a computer with others, etc. With that said, if it is necessary to have a specific time for a given assignment or test, schedule it ahead of time, and during your typical class time if possible to avoid overlap with the student’s other courses.

For the foreseeable future, there are two guidelines to follow when holding synchronous class sessions:

1. Only hold synchronous class sessions during your regularly-scheduled class time. Even though times like Chapel or lunch appear to be open right now, we do not know what demands the students have on their time already.

2. Only hold synchronous class sessions if all your students can attend. I know this could be a severely limiting factor, but we are attempting to ensure equity for our students during this uncertain time.

Q: How will labs and other technical courses be handled?
A: All such courses have been identified and begun to develop accommodations that will enable students to achieve course outcomes in this modified modality. Going forward, constant communication will be required between Academic Affairs, the respective accrediting agency, and the department will take these on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How can students and faculty work with the Student Sucess Center?

A: The Student Success Center has begun to offer online tutoring to students who are interested. Students can view the schedule and arrange virtual conversations with tutors at augie.edu/tutoring. If students have not engaged in your course no later than Friday, March 27 please contact Billie Streufert. Please include the students’ name and email address. If you continue to have concerns throughout the semester, please submit an EARS Form.

Q: What is the process of dropping a class?
A: If a student may want to drop a class, before proceeding, they should communicate their concerns with the course instructor. As part of the conversation, the student should keep in mind that dropping below 12 credit hours may have a negative impact on their financial aid. The student will need to message the Financial Aid Office to confirm their eligibility to be part time. After they've had the conversation with their instructor and still believe it is in their best interest to reduce their course load, they should proceed with the following.

If dropping the class will not put the student below full-time status, or the student gets financial aid approval then:

The student should send an email to their course instructor and primary academic advisor that includes:

  • Subject Line: Drop Course ### (e.g., Drop GENL 234) 
    Name and Student ID Number (e.g., Name: John Doe Student ID Number: 123456)
    I wish to drop GENL 234 for Spring 2020. 

Course instructors should REPLY ALL to the email that includes:

  • I approve for John Doe 123456 to drop GENL 234.

Academic Advisors should REPLY ALL and add registrar@augie.edu as a recipient that includes:

  • I approve for John Doe 123456 to drop GENL 234.

The Registrar’s Office will send a message back to the student, instructor and advisor confirming the drop has been complete.

Q: Which is the last day to drop a class?
A: At this time, drops are still due by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 20.

Q: What are the S/U grading options for Spring 2020?
A: On Friday, March 27, Dr. Colin Irvine has issued a policy for S/U grading options. The date you must declare your Spring 2020 grading choices has been extended to May 1, 11:59 p.m. CST.

Q: When is Advising and Registration for Fall 2020 and Interim 2021?

A: The current plan is to still have registration be the week of April 14. Students can begin working on their academic plans today. Schedules will go live on Wednesday, March 18.  

Communication is necessary between each primary advisor and student for the preferred method of communication and registration plan approval.

Q: What is the Final Exam Schedule for Spring 2020?

Announced the week of April 14, the Final Exam Schedule for Spring 2020 and more course information is found at augie.edu/registrar.

Q: To what extent will faculty be included in communication with students?

A: As appropriate, communications sent to students will be forwarded to faculty or they will be bcc’ed. Further, this FAQs document and the other daily communications will be available to the entire Augie community. (When reading through various documents and updates, we encourage you to click on links to find additional information, which is often aimed at more specific constituents.) 

Q.  What is being done to support international students living on campus?

A: Academic Affairs, the International Programs Office and Campus Life are currently monitoring what the CDC and others are providing for guidance.

Q: Is there anything faculty should do to provide support for international students?

A: Faculty who are “Friendship Families” for our international students are encouraged to reach out to their respective students.

Q: Will there still be individual campus visits for prospective students?

A: There will be no individual campus visits with the admissions office. Admissions has created a virtual visit experience for students who have registered for individual visits or other events such as Admitted Student Day.

Q: How should we engage with students who are on campus and/or in Sioux Falls?

A: Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty, we recommend that faculty and students not meet in person either in small groups or one-to-one.

Even though students may be available because they are living on campus or in the Sioux Falls community, we strongly encourage you to schedule virtual meetings via phone, FaceTime, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or whatever technological means best suit your needs.

This type of blanket policy is intended to ensure fairness and consistency for the entire AU community while also supporting the broader efforts of those charged with leading the response to the virus. Further, these guidelines provide faculty the protected time and space required to modify their courses and thus meet the needs of all of our students in the coming weeks.

Please know that we will continue to monitor the situation and revisit and, when necessary, update this and other such guidelines as new information becomes available.

Q: Are there any tips on using Zoom meetings you can share?
A: Communicating through Zoom has become an inviting target for uninvited or unwanted guests to join meetings. Please educate yourself on how to use meeting controls, such as how to quickly block a person and remove them from a meeting.

Do not post your Zoom meeting ID on a public place and use a Generated Meeting ID instead of a Personal Meeting ID. When setting up a meeting, make sure only the host can share the screen, which allows the host to grant permission for others to be able to do so.

Zoom Waiting Room is another feature you may want to consider using for some meetings. When someone joins the meeting, they are put in a "waiting room" and will not be able to enter the meeting until the host grants them permission.

As a reminder to faculty and staff, members of IT are available in a Zoom meeting from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. Please join them when you have questions. You can find a link to our Zoom meeting in the Course Continuity Guide (available to faculty and staff only).

Financial Implications for Students

Q: When will students be provided updates regarding financial implications (i.e., dining and housing)?
A: CFO and Executive Vice President Shannan Nelson sent a message to students and parents on Thursday, March 26 outlining the details related to housing, dining and parking rebates. Read the full message.

Building & Service Hours

Q: What buildings do faculty, staff and students have access to?

A: Augustana continues to provide updates to adjusted building hours on our webpage. There may be limited access to buildings and operations to curb the amount of non-AU community members from coming onto campus. Some buildings will require an Augie ID to access. If you don’t have an ID or access, contact Campus Safety at 605.274.4014.

Events & Tours

Q: How do I know if my event on campus has been canceled?

A: At this time, no new events are being scheduled for the university. This includes no scheduling of spaces or hosting of events for external groups or constituents and has canceled or postponed all non-athletic events between that involve more than 10 participants. Visit augie.edu/events for specific updates.

Information Technology Brown Bags, Augie Chats and Augustana employee health events — with the exception of mobile mammograms — have been cancelled.

While traditional worship on campus has been canceled, Augustana Campus Ministry is committed to sharing faith and nurturing connectedness in our university community. Each week you are invited to take advantage of these online opportunities:

  • A devotional blog.
  • Facebook Live, Mondays at 10 a.m. In lieu of an in-person worship experience, Pastors Ann and Andrea will offer a brief moment of reflection to begin your week. "Follow" the Campus Ministry Facebook Page to stay connected.
  • Viking Huddles, Wednesdays at 10 a.m., via Zoom. For anyone in the AU community simply looking to gather (online) with others. A half hour of social connectivity focused loosely around a quesiton or topic.

As always, the Campus Pastors continue to be available for pastoral care, with email or phone being the best way to schedule an appointment over Zoom or Google Hangout.


Q: Can I still travel?

A: The business office will coordinate and initiate travel cancellations in any way possible. Airlines have asked that if you are not scheduled to travel within the next 72 hours, that you wait to contact them regarding travel that happens further in the future in order to help them manage the volume of people needing changes. The business office has reports of departure dates for all travel that has been scheduled using university purchased cards. If you have questions regarding travel, you may email carol.spillum@augie.edu for guidance.

Health Services and Human Resources

Q: What about students' concerns (mentally, academically, etc.)?
A: Please continue to utilize the Early Alert Referral System (EARS) and the team will triage based on the type of concern that is presented. Academic Affairs will monitor these for patterns that could emerge.

Q: What do I do if I start experiencing symptoms? 
A: Call the campus clinic nurse at 605.274.5552 and press 1 during the hours of 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. If after hours, call 605.328.5800 and follow the prompt to be directed to the Sanford Hospital After Hours Call Center. The healthcare provider will speak to you regarding your symptoms and provide you with next steps. At this time, refrain from going into the clinic unless directed by the healthcare provider.

Q: What is telehealth?
A: Telehealth is the ability to talk with a healthcare provider via telecommunication technologies such as a mobile app or website. This can alleviate the need to go to a clinic where illnesses can be spread. Your insurance carrier may provide telehealth services.

Q: Supervisors: How do I maintain employee confidentiality with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and still protect my other staff?
A: If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality. Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Q: Is a leave of greater than 3 days for a positive COVID-19 diagnosis covered by FMLA?
A: Any employee who is unable to work for greater than 3 days due to a serious medical condition (such as confirmed testing of COVID-19) or to care for a family member with a serious medical condition is eligible for protection under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Please inform goodhealth@augie.edu, if you meet these criteria.

Sanford Health Plan (SHP)

Q: Will patients tested by CDC-approved labs incur costs for the testing?
A: At this time, the CDC is not billing for testing for COVID-19, so you should not incur costs for the actual testing. Commercial labs permitted to do high complexity testing by the CDC may charge testing fees. In addition, hospitals and facilities may charge their own fees for collecting the specimens, which may then be billed to your health insurance issuer.

Q: What will SHP cover with regard to COVID-19 testing at this time?
A: Sanford Health Plan will cover 100% of the cost of specimen collection and testing for COVID-19. Testing is covered when indicated as medically necessary by a qualified practitioner.

Q: Will SHP cover treatments related to COVID-19?
A: At this time, there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. If you test positive for COVID-19, we will cover the care you receive from your doctor to help relieve symptoms as we would with any other viral respiratory infection.

Q: Can I still utilize counseling services?
A: Augustana Counseling Services is associated with Sioux Falls Psychological Services. These services will remain available. Students can call 605.334.2696 to schedule an appointment or work directly with a therapist to schedule telemental health sessions. Augustana understands the stress and anxiety that students may be facing and encourages students to continue to utilize these resources.

Counseling Services are located in the lower level of the Sioux Falls Seminary across the street from the Mikkelsen Library.

Telemental health sessions are available for students not on campus.

Q: What resources are available for employees (and their families) who are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or depressed about the current situation?
A: During this time of uncertainty, you or your family members may be feeling heightened anxiety and/or depression. If you are feeling overwhelmed or are struggling with the rapid changes to our everyday life, consider reaching out to someone who can provide support. Augustana University employees and their families can utilize free, confidential online and face-to-face counseling sessions (3 per year) through AETNA. Call 1-855-283-1915 or visit www.mylifevalues.com (Log in user name and password is RESOURCES).

Q: If campus closes due to the coronavirus, would the time be with or without pay?
A: If the university chooses to close, the time would be paid time off.

Q: Would this apply if someone is instructed to go into voluntary quarantine?
A: If an employee or a family member becomes ill and they are advised by a health professional or supervisor to stay home, that employee will be paid using their sick leave benefit. If you have made the personal decision to self-quarantine, you will be required to use sick leave or paid-time off.

Campus Learning Center (Augustana’s Daycare)

Q: Does the Augustana University Campus Learning Center (CLC) follow the Sioux Falls School District’s closing policy?
A: No, the CLC will follow Augustana’s procedures when it comes to closing the center.

Mail Delivery

Courier/Incoming Mail will continue to be picked up daily from USPS. Mail and packages will continue to be dropped off and picked up at each building at the current drop-off location with exceptions being Froiland (see Nursing), Admin Building (see Business office), the Library and CWS. It will be the responsibility of the department chairs or supervisors to arrange delivery or pick up of mail/packages to employees in their departments or offices.

Outgoing mail route is limited to morning drop-offs and pick-ups, with no afternoon courier stops. Individuals can also drop mail in the designated Commons mail slots (both on-campus and off-campus mail).

For Packages:

  • Packages with a prepaid label on them for returns can be dropped off at any UPS store.
  • If employees can start having packages delivered to their homes instead of campus that would ensure quicker delivery.
  • We will only be processing UPS packages that are being charged to an AU account number. No personal packages.
  • Employees can email mailroom@augie.edu or call 4328 if they have questions or need assistance with mail/packages.