Current Student FAQ Incoming Student FAQ Employee FAQ

Letter from the President

Archived Letters

June 24, 2020

Dear Bearkat:

While our campus may appear quiet this summer, we are spending an enormous amount of effort and activity behind the scenes to ensure we make our university as safe as possible and provide a meaningful college experience this fall.

The final phase of our return-to-operations plan goes into effect July 1. All buildings are expected to be open and the majority of employees will be working on campus. Due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and guidance from state leadership as well as health experts, Sam Houston State University is instituting a mandatory face-covering requirement, effective Monday June 29.

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What do current students need to know?

  • What SHSU buildings are open? Updated

    Phase II, May 26 – June 30, initiates the university’s return-to-operation plan. Some buildings will be opened or have restricted access based on needs and occupancy rates.

    NOTE: All campus buildings, with the exception of those listed below, will require SHSU keycard access for entry. All academic departments and student support services will be open remotely. Some academic offices are open at specific times and by appointment only. 

    For more information regarding the services of a specific office, visit that department's website or monitor this page for up-to-date campus hours of operation. (8-5:00)

    The following buildings are open regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm), unless otherwise noted:

    • AB I
    • AB III
    • Bobby K. Marks Administration
    • Estill
    • Food Pantry (Tuesday, 8 am – 12 pm/Wednesday 12 pm – 5 pm)
    • Health & Counseling Center (please call, no walk-ins. Health: 936-294-1805/Counseling: 936-294-1720)
    • Jack Scaggs Counseling Clinic (Wednesday, 2 pm- 8:30 pm)
      KatPost (10-2)*
    • Mafrige Fieldhouse
    • Lowman Student Center
    • Residence Life Office
    • Sam Houston Memorial Museum
    • Services for Students with Disabilities
    • Thomason
    • Visitor Center
    • Woodforest SAC
    • KatPost, FedEx and UPS will resume regular delivery to open buildings

    Rec Sports: Open at limited capacity 


    Computer Labs: Staffed 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted

    • Margaret Lea Houston (keycard only)
    • LSC 230
    • Woodforest Lab (Keycard only, open 24 hours) Staffed 8 am -12 pm, 4 pm – 8 pm
  • Are face coverings required at SHSU? Updated

    Yes, face coverings are required indoors and outdoors on Sam Houston State campuses unless you are in a private space or are engaged an activity for which wearing a covering is impractical (such as eating). For more information, visit the Face Covering FAQ site.

  • What is SHSU doing to minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    To minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, SHSU is following protocols set forth in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

  • Will Summer Session classes continue to be offered through remote and online formats?

    After careful consideration of the latest state and federal guidelines, the university will continue to offer remote and online classes through the Summer sessions. If conditions improve, Summer II may include some in-class instruction for those courses where students would benefit the most.

  • What’s the difference between remote and online classes?

    Remote Class Fees

    Distance learning fees will not be assessed for remote classes. Remote classes are a strategy used when a crisis (weather, health, and infrastructure) forces the campus into enhanced emergency operations. Typically, instructors substitute in-person classroom activities with virtual ones. Emergency remote classes usually involve the use of web conferencing tools (like Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate) to meet in real time and classes are normally held during their regular on-campus schedules.

    Fully Online Class Fees

    Distance learning fees for fully online classes will continue to be assessed. Fully online classes are those in which the instructor has put all materials in a learning management system, like Blackboard, ahead of the start of class. Online courses are reviewed and evaluated for state and federal requirements for online teaching. Lectures are usually pre-recorded and students can view them anytime (on-demand). In online courses, Blackboard is used extensively to conduct group work, submit assignments, complete tests, and participate in discussion forums. Online courses apply researched best practices in online teaching and learning.

  • What fees can I get credit for?

    Students who applied for housing, parking, and dining credits will receive a credit to their existing account balance.  Any additional credits will be applied to a future term (not limited to housing and dining) within the next twelve months (Summer, Fall, Spring).

    For Graduating Seniors:

    Only graduating seniors (May or August) will receive the prorated amount, minus any balance owed, as a refund. This refund will be processed by Student Financial Services.  Refunds for May 2020 graduates will be processed by June 1 and August 24 for summer graduates.

    What happens to my housing, dining or parking credit if I attend Summer 2020?

    Students who receive enough in aid or other payment sources to cover summer charges will have their credit balance remain intact to apply to a future term (Fall 2020, Spring 2021)  Credit balances will only pay summer charges after all other payment methods are applied.  Credit balances will not be refunded. 

    What happens to my housing, dining or parking credit when I return in the Fall?

    Housing, dining and parking credits may be used to reduce your fall 2020 balance.  In the event that your fall account balance is paid in full by other payment sources, any remaining credit balance may be released to you after the 12th class day (September 1st).  Students are eligible to receive remaining credit balances after the 12th class day if:

    • they are enrolled in fall 2020 and
    • their SHSU account balance is paid in full (including installment payments, emergency semester loans, short term book loans or other charges that may be due later in the semester)

    Distance Learning Fees

    Distance learning fees will not be credited. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SHSU rapidly transitioned all face-to-face classes to remote instruction for the remaining six weeks of the semester. Unlike those courses specifically designed for online delivery and support, remote instruction is a combination of technologies temporarily pulled together as an interim delivery solution.  

    Mandatory Fees

    No credits or refunds will be made for mandatory fees. Mandatory fees are assessed for university-related services that are available to students and are not calculated on an hourly or daily use structure. These fees are used to cover the long-term cost of offering students various necessary services, including resources such as equipment, maintenance and staffing. For this reason, tuition and mandatory fees, which are constant regardless of instruction delivery, will remain unchanged. 

    Graduation Application Fee

    The graduation application fee will not be credited as the fee funds the printing of the individual degrees awarded.

    Cap and Gown

    If you plan to graduate in a future term, the cap and gown you purchased can be used at that time.  If you wish to receive a refund, submit your request on the Herff-Jones website.

  • How does the CARES funding work? Updated

    To date, over 8,200 Sam Houston State University students have received $8 million in CARES funding. Awards are based on eligibility requirements established by the Department of Education including conditions such as enrollment status and financial aid eligibility.

    For those students not eligible for CARES funding, SHSU has awarded $828,000 to almost 600 students from the Bearkat Emergency Fund bringing the total grants awarded to $8.8 million.

    While future application cycles are dependent on additional federal CARES funding, students will soon see their SHSU financial aid disbursements for fall, which will start on August 9.  To learn how to better manage budgets and expenses during this challenging time, students are encourages to schedule an appointment with the Student Money Management Center for assistance.

    The process for receiving the CARES grant is:

    1. Apply online 
    2. Committee reviews application for technology needs, food and housing insecurities, and general needs
    3. Bearkat receive funds

    Reporting Requirement by Department of Education for CARES funding.

    SHSU applied for CARES ACT funding on April 13, 2020
    SHSU received $17.4M with $8.7M dedicated to students and the other $8.7M dedicated to the institution
    $8M has been awarded to more than 8,000 Bearkats with the average award being $1,000
    The process for grants is to 1) apply online 2) the applications are reviewed 3) the money is awarded
    Picture of Belltower

  • What emergency financial assistance is available for students due to COVID-19?

    To date, over 8,200 Sam Houston State University students have received $8 million in CARES funding. Awards are based on eligibility requirements established by the Department of Education including conditions such as enrollment status and financial aid eligibility.

    For those students not eligible for CARES funding, SHSU has awarded $828,000 to almost 600 students from the Bearkat Emergency Fund bringing the total grants awarded to $8.8 million.

    While future application cycles are dependent on additional federal CARES funding, students will soon see their SHSU financial aid disbursements for fall, which will start on August 9.  To learn how to better manage budgets and expenses during this challenging time, students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Student Money Management Center for assistance.

  • Will SHSU change to a pass/no pass system?

    In an opt-in, pass/no pass or credit/no credit option, students with a C or above have the pass or credit and those with a D or F grade receive a no-pass or no-credit.  Students must finish the semester with the P/NP or C/NC being issued based upon their grade at the end of the semester. After careful consideration and much exploration, SHSU will not change to a pass/no pass (P/NP) system. Instead, the university has made several modifications to its grading system to ensure that all students are successful this semester by:

    • reaching out to students who have not completed coursework or responded to professors.
    • extending the drop deadline until May 1, which is the last work day before final exams. This gives students the autonomy needed to measure their individual progress and greater control in determining their success, as well as providing maximum flexibility in each course up until the day before finals.
    • allowing individual students to request an “incomplete.”  Some students, based upon their individual needs, will require more time to finish a course and, given the issues related to COVID-19, we are committed to working with them to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed.
    • working with department chairs to develop an approach to grade appeals that will take into consideration the challenges students are now facing.

     

    Why will SHSU not change to a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) system? 

    All grading structures have been explored including the pass/no pass options some public universities are providing. In these cases, students with a C or above have the pass or credit and those with a D or F grade receive a no-pass or no-credit. Students must finish the semester with the P/NP or C/NC being issued based upon their grade at the end of the semester.  At this point, the university feels that changing to a P/NP grading structure would be too disruptive and cause too many unintended, negative consequences such as:

    • May disrupt or prevent student financial aid and veteran aid awards for summer and/or fall due to impact on academic standing
    • P/NP grade in a course that is a prerequisite for a subsequent course may negatively impact progress or timing in completing a major
    • Posting of P/NP grades may prevent a student from satisfying requirements for Latin Honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude)
    • Eligibility for Dean’s & President’s Lists
    • Future eligibility to qualify for graduate school including law and graduate professional health programs
    • P/NP grades may extend time on of an academic probation period
    • Meeting certification requirements (i.e. student teaching)
    • Student athlete NCAA eligibility

    These outcomes can have a unique effect on each student’s academic plan, based on individual circumstances, and can even have a differential impact at the course level.  Instead of changing to a Pass/No Pass system, we will allow for exceptions to our guidelines, wherever possible, to assist students on an individual basis and provide the best possible opportunity to succeed.

  • How does COVID-19 impact students on a payment plan?

    Our university community is facing many challenges due to COVID-19, including financial hardships. In response, SHSU is waiving late fees for all remaining Spring 2020 installments (April and May). If you are charged a late fee, please contact the Cashier’s Office.

  • Have events (including athletic and commencement) been cancelled?

    At this time, all SHSU events over 10 people are suspended through June 30, 2020, as per CDC guidelines.

    Commencement: For the health and safety of all, Sam Houston State University will host a virtual commencement celebration and recognize the 2020 graduates for both spring and summer semesters on Saturday, August 1 at 1 p.m. This ceremony will incorporate the most important elements of this time-honored tradition. More information

    Athletics: The Southland Conference announced on March 14 that all remaining spring sports competitions and championship events have been canceled, effective immediately. 

    Camps: For more information, visit the Summer Camp website.

  • How do I return my textbook rented from the campus bookstore?

    Textbooks rented from the campus bookstore can be shipped back to the store through UPS with free shipping using the label from the bookstore website.

    Go to the Textbook Rentals page and then select Rental Return. Please note that you will need your order number to print the free shipping label which can be found in the confirmation email from your online order OR if you rented your textbook in store, in any of the rental reminder emails that you have received.

  • What if I need to miss class?

    Should you have the need to miss class for medical or other documented reasons, please utilize this form and the Dean of Students Office will notify your professors. 

  • Does SHSU have any travel restrictions?

    In the event of a conflict between SHSU policies and the COVID-19 travel guidelines, these guidelines shall control through December 31, 2020.

    University-Sponsored Travel

    • No international travel
    • Domestic travel by personal or chartered/rented conveyance (car, van, bus, or private plane) is allowed and will follow standard policies and procedures
    • Domestic travel by common carrier may be allowed given the below:
      • Except travel to destinations under travel advisories will not be sponsored or reimbursed
      • Must
      • University travel policies are located at https://www.shsu.edu/dept/procurement-business-services/travel/index.html

    Employees - Personal/Convenience Travel

    • An employee’s supervisor must approve vacation requests in advance.
    • Employees should notify their supervisor of plans to travel domestically via common carrier or personal conveyance to destinations under travel advisories so the university may determine whether the employee is required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the employee’s domicile and before returning to work.
    • Any international travel requires 14 days of self-isolation after returning to the employee’s domicile and before reporting to work.
    • Prior to travel that requires self-isolation upon returning to the employee’s domicile, an employee must secure pre-approval for leave or telecommuting during the period of self-isolation.
    • Domestic travel is subject to any CDC COVID advisory or state and local travel restrictions.
    • The CDC and S. Department of State advises against cruise ship travel (Warning – Level 3.) Any cruise ship travel requires self-isolation upon return.

    Students – Personal/Convenience Travel

    • International students and student athletes must notify the Office of International Programs (OIP) and, when appropriate, the Athletic Director of their travel plans prior to travel. OIP or Athletic Director must approve all plans prior to travel and the dates for return to campus.
    • Any international travel will require 14 days of self-isolation after returning to domicile and before returning to campus. Please factor the isolation period into your schedule in order to avoid missing critical class time.
    • Should travel or isolation period impact attendance or coursework requirements, individual faculty members have discretion to grant or deny requests for accommodation.
    • Domestic travel is subject to any CDC COVID advisory or state and local travel restrictions.
  • Is parking being enforced?

    Valid ePermit holders may park in all parking zones, with the exception of Zone 1 and the parking garage, without receiving a citation. The parking garage and reserved parking spaces are restricted to permit holders, as well as those who choose to use pay-by-hour only. 

    A permit is still required to park on campus.  The campus parking map can be found on the parking website. 

  • How have GI benefits been impacted?

    GI Bill students will continue to receive benefits for Spring and Summer 2020 semesters even as courses move to an online/remote format. If you have any questions, please contact the Veterans Resource Center at 936-294-1046 or through email at veterans@shsu.edu

  • Are student-workers allowed to work?

    When can I return to work?

    If you have been unable to telecommute, you should maintain contact with your supervisor to establish a return to work date.

    Will I be paid for the period when SHSU was on enhanced emergency operations and I was unable to work?

    SHSU will pay student workers for hours worked.  However, if you experienced a qualifying condition, you may be eligible for FFCRA Emergency Paid Leave Sick based on the average hours you regularly work over a two-week period.  You may submit this form to request FFCRA leave.

  • What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or came into contact with someone who tested positive?

    Individuals who are experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or been exposed to someone who has tested positive should follow protocols in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

What do employees need to know?

  • What SHSU buildings are open? Updated

    Phase II, May 26 – June 30, initiates the university’s return-to-operation plan. Some buildings will be opened or have restricted access based on needs and occupancy rates.

    NOTE: All campus buildings, with the exception of those listed below, will require SHSU keycard access for entry. All academic departments and student support services will be open remotely. Some academic offices are open at specific times and by appointment only. 

    For more information regarding the services of a specific office, visit that department's website or monitor this page for up-to-date campus hours of operation. (8-5:00)

    The following buildings are open regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm), unless otherwise noted:

    • AB I
    • AB III
    • Bobby K. Marks Administration
    • Estill
    • Food Pantry (Tuesday, 8 am – 12 pm/Wednesday 12 pm – 5 pm)
    • Health & Counseling Center (please call, no walk-ins. Health: 936-294-1805/Counseling: 936-294-1720)
    • Jack Scaggs Counseling Clinic (Wednesday, 2 pm- 8:30 pm)
      KatPost (10-2)*
    • Mafrige Fieldhouse
    • Lowman Student Center
    • Residence Life Office
    • Sam Houston Memorial Museum
    • Services for Students with Disabilities
    • Thomason
    • Visitor Center
    • Woodforest SAC
    • KatPost, FedEx and UPS will resume regular delivery to open buildings

    Rec Sports: Open at limited capacity 


    Computer Labs: Staffed 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted

    • Margaret Lea Houston (keycard only)
    • LSC 230
    • Woodforest Lab (Keycard only, open 24 hours) Staffed 8 am -12 pm, 4 pm – 8 pm
  • When will SHSU reopen campus?

    Phase I
    4/29 – 5/25

    Emergency Operation Extension

    • Most employees continue to engage in alternative work configurations (i.e., telecommuting, flexible work options, rotations, etc.)
    • Advance teams of employees, as designated by supervisors, return to campus to prepare for resuming normal operations
    • Building closures in effect & divisions identify what buildings to open. Academic buildings to remain closed
    • Divisions develop phase-in approach to bring employees back to campus
    • Safety accommodations provided for employees according to OSHA risk levels

    Phase II
    5/26 – 6/30

    Partial On-Campus Operations

    • Employees without approved extension of alternative work configurations (i.e., telecommuting, flexible work options, rotations, etc.); will return to normal work schedules and places of work
    • Buildings will be opened or have restricted access based on needs and occupancy rates
    • Continue to increase staffing/work configurations to normal
    • Safety accommodations provided for employees according to OSHA risk levels

    Phase III
    7/01

    Full Operations

    • All employees physically report to their place of work
    • All buildings, including academic buildings, open
    • Safety accommodations provided for employees according to OSHA risk levels

    On April 7, 2020, SHSU entered into enhanced emergency operations with most buildings closed and the majority of SHSU staff telecommuting or engaged in other flexible work options.  Enhanced emergency operations will end on May 25, 2020.  Supervisors have the discretion to require essential employees to return to campus in advance of May 25, 2020 to prepare for the university’s re-opening.

    On May 26, 2020, SHSU will begin return-to-campus operations.  Employees will physically come back to campus through a phased-in approach as designated by the employee’s division vice president and supervisor. 

    On July 1, 2020, SHSU will reopen to the public and resume full operations.  All employees will physically report to their regularly assigned place of employment. 

  • Are face coverings required at SHSU? Updated

    Yes, face coverings are required indoors and outdoors on Sam Houston State campuses unless you are in a private space or are engaged an activity for which wearing a covering is impractical (such as eating). For more information, visit the Face Covering FAQ site.

  • What is SHSU doing to minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19 Updated

    To minimize and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, SHSU is following protocols set forth in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

  • What should I do if one of my employees, student employees, or students tested positive?

    If one of your employees, student employees, or students is experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or was exposed to someone who tested positive, please follow the protocols in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

  • What should I do if I am experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or came into contact with someone who tested positive?

    Individuals who are experiencing symptoms, tested positive, or been exposed to someone who has tested positive should follow protocols in the SHSU Preparedness and Response Plan for Coronavirus (SARS CoV-2)

  • How do I report my time?

    Time should be reported as follows:

    • Employees physically return to campus and report regular time
    • Telecommuting may be approved on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the forthcoming Finance & Operations Human Resources Policy ER-12.

    Federal Leave (FFCRA) (see more detailed description in this FAQ).

    At any time between April 1 - Dec. 31, 2020, an employee may request to use federal FFCRA leave as described in this FAQ.  Once approved, time is reported as: 

    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave – full time employees may report up to 80 hours FFCRA.
    • Emergency Family Medical Leave Act for Child Care – report time as FFCRA

    An employee’s schedule and reporting location may change depending on the needs of the university and discretion of the supervisor. 

  • What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and how does it impact my employment?

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA provides leave for COVID-19 related conditions that occur between April 1 - December 31, 2020 as follows:

    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)
      • Up to 80 hours for full time employees and the two week average for part-time
      • Eligible COVID-19 conditions include:
        • Seeking advice of a health care professional and self-quarantining
        • Caring for another individual due to self-quarantine or shelter order
        • Caring for the employee’s child due to school closures
      • More information and request for FFCRA leave is found at this form
    • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion for Child Care (EFMLA)
      • For employees that cannot work due to child care or school closures
      • Up to 12 weeks of leave
        • Weeks 1-2 may be paid through available EPSL or accrued leave
        • Weeks 3-12 are paid at 2/3 the employee’s rate of pay
        • EMFLA may, with the approval of your supervisor, be used on an intermittent basis.

    You may submit this form to request FFCRA leave.

  • I would like to work remotely, even after SHSU returns to full operations in July 2020. What are my options

    SHSU has implemented F&O Human Resources Policy ER-12 to provide telecommuting options when remote work serves the interests of the University and is approved by the department head and division vice president. Employees seeking to work remotely should review the policy, discuss the potential options with their supervisor, and submit a telecommuting proposal.  

  • I am an employee with a documentable medical condition that places me in a high-risk category for COVID-19? Do I have to return to campus?

     We will continue efforts to reduce population density across campus in order to maximize physical distancing capabilities in our classrooms, residence halls, academic offices, research laboratories and other shared spaces. We ask all members of our community to continue social distancing and other safety practices both on and off campus.

    The university is strongly encouraging the use of face coverings to reduce the spread of disease and to protect others, particularly those in our community who have health concerns or loved ones who may be vulnerable.

    We have implemented enhanced methods of cleaning and disinfecting, with higher traffic areas receiving even greater attention. Hand sanitation stations have been installed in buildings and disinfectant wipes will be made available to students for cleaning their individual desk area. In addition to the cleaning and disinfecting of spaces, we all need to continue practicing good hygiene. Frequent handwashing is a simple and very effective means of preventing illness and the spread of infections to others.​

    However, employees seeking to work remotely after full operations have resumed should see F&O Human Resources Policy ER-12 to review options for telecommuting arrangements. 

    Employees seeking a disability accommodation should review section 3(d) of F&O HR policy ER-5.  Requests for accommodations must be in writing and include a medical certification as detailed in the policy. Requests may be submitted to Rhonda Beassie, AVP of HR or Patti Zavala, HR Specialist for Leaves.

  • What are my options if I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable?

    Explore the following options with your supervisor:

    1. Telecommuting
    2. Flextime
    3. Use of accrued leave
    4. Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under FFCRA and as described elsewhere in the FAQ
    5. Emergency Family Medical Leave Act Expansion (EFMLA) for Child Care under the FFCRA

    If your child’s school is closed or child care provider unavailable and you are unable to find suitable replacement child care, you may be eligible for FFCRA. See the FFCRA description in this FAQ and request form.  Payment for EFMLA may be structured as follows:

    Weeks 1 -2

    EPSL provides an initial two weeks of paid leave which covers the first 10 workdays of EFMLA. If this is unavailable, you can use accrued leave or leave without pay for the first two weeks of EFMLA.

     

    Week 3- 12

    After the first 10 workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work.

    When an employee is on an extended leave, it automatically triggers the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was expanded to include child care during the COVID Pandemic.  Employees cannot use their accrued leave for EFMLA, but will be paid at 2/3 the employee’s salary.

    EFMLA may, with the approval of your supervisor, be used on an intermittent basis.

  • May I take 80 hours of paid sick leave for my self-quarantine and then another amount of paid sick leave for another reason provided under the new federal legislation (FFCRA)?

    No. A full-time employee may take up to two weeks or 10 days (80 hours for a full-time employee and a two-week average of hours worked for a part-time employees) of paid sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. 

    Beyond the new leave provided by the FFCRA, you may still use accrued leave (sick, vacation, compensatory time) or leave without pay through June 30, 2020 as approved by your supervisor.

  • Am I able to use FMLA if I cannot work remotely/telecommute?

    Yes, if you have a qualifying event.  For more information on FMLA, contact Human Resources.

    • During the period of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, qualifying events are expanded to include an employee’s care for a child when the school or care provider is closed due to COVID-19 conditions. The new legislation allows Emergency Family Medical Leave Act for child care as described in the FFCRA section of this FAQ and the request for leave.

    FMLA requests are administered in accordance with HR Policy B-1. Contact employment@shsu.edu for specific guidance.

  • Am I eligible to receive emergency paid sick leave if I self-quarantine?

    Recent federal legislation (FFCRA) allows any full-time employee unable to work during the period of April 1 – December 31, 2020 due to specific COVID-19 related conditions to receive the employee’s full rate of pay up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. (Part time employees are eligible for a prorated amount.) See more at the FFCRA FAQ (What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and how does it impact my employment?).

    1. Self-quarantine or government issued isolation order (however as critical infrastructure workers, employees critical to ongoing operations [as determined by the employee’s supervisor] must continue to work during a shelter order);
    2. Self-quarantine on the advice of a health care provider;
    3. Experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis;
    4. Caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantined as described in (2);
    5. Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed; or
    6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by federal or state authorities.
  • What happens if SHSU has a suspected or positive case of COVID-19?

    To protect medical privacy, SHSU legally cannot release personal information about any university community member who is being monitored or tested for COVID-19. If there is a positive case, any individuals identified as having potential exposure to COVID-19 cases will be directly notified by public health officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

  • I was sent home to self-quarantine on the advice of a health care professional. My test (or the test of my close contact) was negative. Can I come back to work?

    Return to work is based upon the guidance of a medical professional in conjunction with the direction of your supervisor.

  • Are medical notes required for employees?

    Employees experiencing symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 should seek the advice of a health care professional, but a note is not required when missing work for up to three days. 

    Employees who request FFCRA leave due to COVID-19 symptoms or self-quarantine must provide the name of their health care professional to SHSU Human Resources.

  • What precautions should employees take returning to campus?

    Employees on campus should continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and consider wearing cloth face coverings.  See CDC prevention guidelines and Texas Governor’s  guidance.

  • What other resources are available to aid employees at this time?

    Employee Assistance Program

    The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for SHSU faculty, staff and family members has COVID-19 resources, articles and webinars available on line at www.mylifevalues.com (user id: uteap and password: uteap). The EAP is available 24/7 for support with personal issues, including those related to COVID-19.

    More information about the EAP is available on the Human Resources webpage - Employee Assistance Program.

    COVID-19 and Your Health Plan

    The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) has added a new link: COVID-19 and Your Health Plan which contains COVID-19 testing information, virtual visits and contact information for insurance providers for emotional support, mental health benefits and coverage questions. In addition, the prescription drug plans have early-fill programs in place to assist at this time.

    Optum has opened its Emotional Support Help Line–staffed by mental health professionals–to anyone who may be experiencing fear or stress because of COVID-19. Call (866) 342-6892 (TTY: 711), free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This help line is available to anyone, so you can share it with family and friends. Caring professionals may also connect callers to additional resources.

    Catapult Nurse Practitioner

    BCBSTX HealthSelect members can now speak with a trained Catapult Nurse Practitioner about COVID-19 concerns.

    Visit ERSassist.com and type the word “support” in the password field to get started.

    This site also provides daily updates about COVID-19, along with links to statewide resources, including coronavirus testing sites. 

    If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 resources or your HealthSelect benefits, call a BCBSTX Personal Health Assistant at 800.252.8039, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. CST. 

  • Is parking being enforced?

    Valid ePermit holders may park in all parking zones, with the exception of Zone 1 and the parking garage, without receiving a citation. The parking garage and reserved parking spaces are restricted to permit holders, as well as those who choose to use pay-by-hour only. 

    A permit is still required to park on campus.  The campus parking map can be found on the parking website. 

  • Are student-workers allowed to work?

    When can I return to work?

    If you have been unable to telecommute, you should maintain contact with your supervisor to establish a return to work date.

    Will I be paid for the period when SHSU was on enhanced emergency operations and I was unable to work?

    SHSU will pay student workers for hours worked.  However, if you experienced a qualifying condition, you may be eligible for FFCRA Emergency Paid Leave Sick based on the average hours you regularly work over a two-week period.  You may submit this form to request FFCRA leave.

  • Does SHSU have any travel restrictions?

    In the event of a conflict between SHSU policies and the COVID-19 travel guidelines, these guidelines shall control through December 31, 2020.

    University-Sponsored Travel

    • No international travel
    • Domestic travel by personal or chartered/rented conveyance (car, van, bus, or private plane) is allowed and will follow standard policies and procedures
    • Domestic travel by common carrier may be allowed given the below:
      • Except travel to destinations under travel advisories will not be sponsored or reimbursed
      • Must
      • University travel policies are located at https://www.shsu.edu/dept/procurement-business-services/travel/index.html

    Employees - Personal/Convenience Travel

    • An employee’s supervisor must approve vacation requests in advance.
    • Employees should notify their supervisor of plans to travel domestically via common carrier or personal conveyance to destinations under travel advisories so the university may determine whether the employee is required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the employee’s domicile and before returning to work.
    • Any international travel requires 14 days of self-isolation after returning to the employee’s domicile and before reporting to work.
    • Prior to travel that requires self-isolation upon returning to the employee’s domicile, an employee must secure pre-approval for leave or telecommuting during the period of self-isolation.
    • Domestic travel is subject to any CDC COVID advisory or state and local travel restrictions.
    • The CDC and S. Department of State advises against cruise ship travel (Warning – Level 3.) Any cruise ship travel requires self-isolation upon return.

    Students – Personal/Convenience Travel

    • International students and student athletes must notify the Office of International Programs (OIP) and, when appropriate, the Athletic Director of their travel plans prior to travel. OIP or Athletic Director must approve all plans prior to travel and the dates for return to campus.
    • Any international travel will require 14 days of self-isolation after returning to domicile and before returning to campus. Please factor the isolation period into your schedule in order to avoid missing critical class time.
    • Should travel or isolation period impact attendance or coursework requirements, individual faculty members have discretion to grant or deny requests for accommodation.
    • Domestic travel is subject to any CDC COVID advisory or state and local travel restrictions.
  • Have events (including commencement and athletics) been cancelled? Updated

    At this time, all SHSU events over 10 people are suspended through June 30, 2020, as per CDC guidelines.

    Commencement: For the health and safety of all, Sam Houston State University will host a virtual commencement celebration and recognize the 2020 graduates for both spring and summer semesters on Saturday, August 1 at 1 p.m. This ceremony will incorporate the most important elements of this time-honored tradition. More information

    Athletics: The Southland Conference announced on March 14 that all remaining spring sports competitions and championship events have been canceled, effective immediately. 

    Camps: For more information, visit the Summer Camp website.

What do incoming students need to know?

  • What SHSU buildings are open? Updated

    Phase II, May 26 – June 30, initiates the university’s return-to-operation plan. Some buildings will be opened or have restricted access based on needs and occupancy rates.

    NOTE: All campus buildings, with the exception of those listed below, will require SHSU keycard access for entry. All academic departments and student support services will be open remotely. Some academic offices are open at specific times and by appointment only. 

    For more information regarding the services of a specific office, visit that department's website or monitor this page for up-to-date campus hours of operation. (8-5:00)

    The following buildings are open regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm), unless otherwise noted:

    • AB I
    • AB III
    • Bobby K. Marks Administration
    • Estill
    • Food Pantry (Tuesday, 8 am – 12 pm/Wednesday 12 pm – 5 pm)
    • Health & Counseling Center (please call, no walk-ins. Health: 936-294-1805/Counseling: 936-294-1720)
    • Jack Scaggs Counseling Clinic (Wednesday, 2 pm- 8:30 pm)
      KatPost (10-2)*
    • Mafrige Fieldhouse
    • Lowman Student Center
    • Residence Life Office
    • Sam Houston Memorial Museum
    • Services for Students with Disabilities
    • Thomason
    • Visitor Center
    • Woodforest SAC
    • KatPost, FedEx and UPS will resume regular delivery to open buildings

    Rec Sports: Open at limited capacity 

    Computer Labs: Staffed 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted

    • Margaret Lea Houston (keycard only)
    • LSC 230
    • Woodforest Lab (Keycard only, open 24 hours) Staffed 8 am -12 pm, 4 pm – 8 pm
  • Are face coverings required at SHSU? Updated

    Yes, face coverings are required indoors and outdoors on Sam Houston State campuses unless you are in a private space or are engaged an activity for which wearing a covering is impractical (such as eating). For more information, visit the Face Covering FAQ site.

  • Will campus tours continue?

    Out of an abundance of caution regarding COVID-19, we are transitioning our in-person campus tours to online, live-streaming campus tours until further notice. You can register for a virtual tour through the Visitor Center website. A SAMbassador will lead the online visits and there will be a live chat available to answer all of your questions, just like they would if you were visiting in person. When you register for an online campus visit, you will receive an email with login details and additional information. If you have any questions, please email seesam@shsu.edu

  • What’s the difference between remote and online classes?

    Remote Class Fees

    Distance learning fees will not be assessed for remote classes. Remote classes are a strategy used when a crisis (weather, health, and infrastructure) forces the campus into enhanced emergency operations. Typically, instructors substitute in-person classroom activities with virtual ones. Emergency remote classes usually involve the use of web conferencing tools (like Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate) to meet in real time and classes are normally held during their regular on-campus schedules.

    Fully Online Class Fees

    Distance learning fees for fully online classes will continue to be assessed. Fully online classes are those in which the instructor has put all materials in a learning management system, like Blackboard, ahead of the start of class. Online courses are reviewed and evaluated for state and federal requirements for online teaching. Lectures are usually pre-recorded and students can view them anytime (on-demand). In online courses, Blackboard is used extensively to conduct group work, submit assignments, complete tests, and participate in discussion forums. Online courses apply researched best practices in online teaching and learning.

  • Will Summer Session classes continue to be offered through remote and online formats?

    After careful consideration of the latest state and federal guidelines, the university will continue to offer remote and online classes through the Summer sessions. If conditions improve, Summer II may include some in-class instruction for those courses where students would benefit the most. 

  • Will orientation be on campus or online?

    Orientation will move to an online/virtual format. To register for orientation and check for updates, visit the orientation webpage. If you have any questions, please email orientation@shsu.edu.

  • Have admission decision dates and/or deposit dates been changed due to COVID-19?

    Undergraduate Admission Application Deadlines will remain as follows (SHSU does not require a deposit to secure admission):
    Fall 2020 - August 1

  • What transcripts will be accepted?

    For Summer 20 and Fall 20 freshman applicants, official transcripts will be accepted through traditional methods and unofficial transcripts will be accepted directly from your high school counselor's school email account (mail to: admissions@shsu.edu). For Summer 20 and Fall 20 transfer applicants, official transcripts will be accepted through traditional methods.

  • Has SHSU changed testing requirements?

    ACT/SAT

    For Summer 20 and Fall 20 freshman applicants who have not taken the ACT/SAT, you will need to complete all other requirements (admission application, app fee, high school transcript). Admissions will then contact you with next steps. For 2021 applicants, any possible changes are still being determined.

    GRE/GMAT

    The SHSU College of Business Administration will review graduate applications without GMAT scores if your undergraduate GPA is 2.75 or higher. The SHSU College of Sciences and Engineering Technology will waive GRE scores for summer 20 and fall 20 graduate applicants.

  • How is SHSU handling AP course completion and/or testing for placement purposes?

    SHSU does not administer AP exams. AP credit will still be awarded as outlined on the SHSU Testing website. All updates regarding testing availability are listed on the Testing Center website.

  • Will there be changes/flexibility to payment plans for students entering this fall (2020)?

    There are currently no adjustments to the payment plans offered for the Fall 2020 semester. SHSU's payment plan offers 5 installments throughout the semester.

  • Will registration be impacted?

    Summer and Fall 2020 registration will continue as planned on the Academic Calendar. Courses for summer and fall are scheduled to be taught with the traditional face-to-face and online instructional modalities as currently noted in the class schedule. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation to determine if changes to the instruction modalities are deemed necessary. Please check the Registration Toolbox in MySam for updates.

  • How can I get advised?

    Advising remains available to new and current students at regular posted hours via virtual appointment and email. While the format in which advising takes place will change to meet circumstances, the quality of these services will be retained.

    Students served by faculty advisors should contact their advisors or department directly.

  • Should I still submit my housing deposit for the fall semester?

    Students accepted to the Fall 20 semester should continue to submit their housing applications and deposits. At this time, there are no changes in Residence Life policy/procedure (in response to COVID-19) for students accepted for the Fall 20  semester.

  • Will SHSU honor admission offers for international students?

    Yes. After you arrive in Texas, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days in your residence. As such, we encourage you to enter the US/Texas no later than August 2 (first day of class is August 17), and to coordinate your early arrival with your apartment complex or Residence Life. 

  • What should I do if I cannot get my required meningitis vaccine at my local doctor's office?

    At this time, all major pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc.) offer the meningitis vaccine. Please contact your preferred location to schedule a vaccine.

    Currently, SHSU has not made any policy changes regarding proof of meningitis vaccines submitted prior to housing or registration processes. If you have additional questions, please call the Student Health Center at 936-294-1805.

  • Have events (including commencement and athletics) been cancelled?

    At this time, all SHSU events over 10 people are suspended through June 30, 2020, as per CDC guidelines.

    Commencement: For the health and safety of all, Sam Houston State University will host a virtual commencement celebration and recognize the 2020 graduates for both spring and summer semesters on Saturday, August 1 at 1 p.m. This ceremony will incorporate the most important elements of this time-honored tradition. More information

    Athletics: The Southland Conference announced on March 14 that all remaining spring sports competitions and championship events have been canceled, effective immediately. 

    Camps: For more information, visit the Summer Camp website.

CDC information about COVID-19

  • What is the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Follow the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.

  • How does it spread?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading to people. Monitor the CDC website for more information about how the virus is transmitted.

    • Person to Person: The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
    • Surfaces: It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • What are the symptoms?

    Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

    • fever
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
  • What do I do if I am sick?

    If you experience symptoms and have been in contact with a person to have COVID-19 or you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread, seek medical advice by calling to a healthcare professional. Monitor the CDC website for more information about the symptoms or what to do if you experience these symptoms.

  • How can I protect myself?

    People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

    Monitor the CDC website for more information about how to prevent the virus.

  • Is there a vaccine or treatment?

    There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.

    There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Monitor the CDC website for more information about vaccinations and treatments.