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FAQs

Academics

  • How will I receive my current course instruction?

    Classes will be delivered remotely and online for the remainder of the spring semester.

Pass/Fail Grading Option FAQs for Students

  • Information

    Spring 2020 Temporary Adjustment of Pass/Fail for Undergraduate Students

    Norfolk State University is instituting temporary adjustments to the Spring 2020 Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail (P/F) policy. This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • What are my grading options for the Spring 2020 semester?

    All undergraduate courses will default to a P/F grading option. The “P” starts at a grade of “D-“ and encompasses all other higher grades. However, students may select the traditional grading option (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F).

  • Why might a student choose to opt out of the Pass/Fail grading option for the Spring 2020 semester courses and elect the traditional grading option (A-F) option instead?

    Students might wish to select the traditional grading option (A-F) for any of these reasons:

    • They want the grades in these courses to be calculated as part of their GPA.
    • They plan to apply to change their major or transfer to another institution where additional restriction thresholds for passing may exist.
    • Their personal circumstances warrant traditional letter grades.

    Before students select the traditional grading option, they should discuss their personal circumstances with their academic advisors to ensure that they understand the implications of selecting this option.

  • What should I do if I want to choose the traditional grading option for one or more of my courses this Spring 2020 semester? In other words, what should I do if I do not want to take a course (or courses) under the P/F grading option?

    Students who wish to select the traditional grading option must do so through Blackboard.The Office of Extended Learning will post a tool in Blackboard that will allow students to request the traditional grading option per course. This request must be made by midnight (EST) on Friday, April 24, 2020.

  • How many courses am I allowed to take under the P/F grading option during the Spring 2020 semester?

    Undergraduate students can take (a) all of their enrolled Spring 2020 semester courses under the P/F grading option, (b) some of these courses, (c) only one of these courses, or (d) none of these courses. Students have the option to select the traditional grading option for one, some, or all of their enrolled courses in order to obtain a current semester GPA.

  • How does the P/F grading option affect my current GPA for the 2020 Spring semester?

    The interim P/F grading policy for the Spring 2020 will not affect the GPA of undergraduate students because no GPA calculations for the Spring 2020 semester will occur for courses taken under the P/F grading option.

  • What tool can I use to calculate my 2020 Spring semester GPA?

    The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has developed a What-If spreadsheet to help students understand the implications of reverting to traditional letter grading (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F) for the Spring 2020 semester.This spreadsheet will be made available to students, faculty, and academic advisors.

  • If I am repeating a course this semester, should I select the traditional grading option?

    Students are advised to consult with their academic advisors and obtain an opinion in writing.  For Spring 2020 semester courses ONLY, the policy will be:

    A student who received a final grade less than an ‘A’ in a course may repeat the course. The course to be repeated must be taken at Norfolk State University or the original institution offering the course (i.e., through consortium or cross registration agreement) and taken prior to completion of the degree at Norfolk State University. The normal registration procedure must be followed when registering for repeat courses, and the grade earned will be posted to the student’s record. The credit and quality points for the highest grade earned (for traditional grading only) will be used to calculate the student’s cumulative GPA. All courses attempted (the original course attempted and the grade for that course) will remain on the student’s permanent record and will appear on the transcript.

  • If I earn an “F” under the traditional grading option or a “Fail” in the P/F grading option, will the grade affect my GPA this semester?

    The official interpretation of the interim P/F grading policy for Spring 2020 semester is that the grades of “F” and “Fail” will NOT affect the students’ GPA calculation.

Pass/Fail Grading Option FAQs for Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

  • Information

    Spring 2020 Temporary Adjustment of Pass/Fail for Undergraduate Students

    Norfolk State University is instituting temporary adjustments to the Spring 2020 Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail (P/F) policy. This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • What is the current grading system for the Spring 2020 semester?

    In consideration of the modifications faculty are making to deliver course content remotely and in light of the adjustments students are making to adapt to a remote learning environment, the following temporary modifications to the Undergraduate Students Pass/Fail policy are being implemented for the Spring 2020 semester only: 

    1. The P/F grading option will be uniformly applied to all undergraduate courses for the Spring 2020 semester.
       
    2. Grades of “D-” or higher will be converted to “P” for undergraduate students for the Spring 2020 semester. 
       
    3. Courses with a “P” grade may be used to fulfill major, minor, general education, electives, and any other graduation requirements.
       
    4. Students can take more than 12 hours of P/F classes toward their undergraduate degrees.
       
    5. For the Spring 2020 semester, undergraduate students may select the traditional grading option  (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F) for (a) all of their courses, (b) some of their courses, or (c) just one of their courses.
       
    6. Students who select the traditional grading option will do so via their Blackboard course shells.
       
    7. Students who select the traditional grading option MUST indicate that option on or before Friday, April 24, 2020 at midnight (EST).

    This temporary policy does NOT apply to graduate students, who will continue to receive guidance from their respective schools and programs.

  • Why is Norfolk State University implementing a temporary P/F grading option for undergraduate students for the Spring 2020 semester only?

    The university is implementing a temporary P/F grading option for these reasons:

    • To address challenges students may experience moving to remote/online instruction. 
    • To create more options for successful completion of the semester with minimal barriers.
    • To provide for students strategies that support their successful completion of the semester in a stressful, shifting environment. Student withdrawal from courses affects timely graduation and creates greater challenges in subsequent semesters. 
    • The temporary P/F grading option will be one of many ways the university uses to assist students.
  • How will this temporary P/F policy affect current GPA calculations?

    The pass (P) and fail (F) grades do NOT affect undergraduate GPA calculation.

  • What are the Pass grade and Fail grade equivalent to?

    For undergraduate students only:

    Letter grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D- should be converted to a grade of pass (P) to denote satisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students. The P grade does NOT affect the current GPA.

    A letter grade of F should be converted to fail (F) to denote unsatisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students. The F grade does NOT affect the current GPA. Students would have to repeat the course to receive course credit.

  • How many courses can undergraduate students take using the P/F grading option for the 2020 Spring semester?

    There is no limit to the number of enrolled courses any given undergraduate student may take under the P/F grading option during the Spring 2020 semester. The original P/F policy limit of 12 credit hours will not apply under the Spring 2020 semester interim P/F grading policy.

  • What are some reasons an undergraduate student may wish to revert to the traditional grading option?

    Undergraduate students might wish to revert to the traditional grading option (A-F) for the following reasons:

    • They want the grades in these courses to be calculated as part of their GPA.
    • They plan to apply to change their major or transfer to another institution where additional restriction thresholds for passing may exist.
    • Their personal circumstances warrant traditional letter grades.

    Before undergraduate students select the traditional grading option, they should discuss their personal circumstances with their academic advisors to ensure that they understand the implications of selecting this option.

  • Is Norfolk State University alone in relaxing the P/F grading option in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    No. Many major universities throughout the United States are looking closely at ways to help students succeed as they navigate through these uncharted waters.Institutions such as Duke University, University of South Carolina, Washington University, and the University of Virginia are adjusting their policies on Pass/Fail grade options as part of their response to the unusual academic environment in which students and faculty find themselves during the Spring 2020 semester.

    The goal of these policy changes is to help students do their best academic work under unprecedented conditions and new conditions where they and their professors have been placed by necessity.

    Our regional accrediting agency, SACSCOC, and the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) are aware of these circumstances. The university is seeking guidance and following their recommendations and procedures instituted to address these challenges.

  • How will I, as a faculty member teaching undergraduate courses, be affected by this interim P/F policy? Will I need to alter my course learning outcomes or assignments?

    Faculty do not need to alter course learning outcomes or assignments. They should continue to conduct their courses as planned.  Faculty should continue to assess students’ performance on assignments throughout the semester, as usual, assigning standard letter or point-based grades as explained in course syllabi and grading rubrics. When it is time to assign the final course grade in Blackboard and/or Colleague, faculty will assign students the appropriate letter grade. Faculty will convert students’ traditional letter grades (A-F) to a Pass/Fail (P/F) grade no later than May 5, 2020. Students who have elected the traditional grading option will receive letter grades (A-F), as appropriate, no later than May 5, 2020.

    For undergraduate students:

    Letter grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, and D- should be converted to a grade of pass (P) to denote satisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students.

    A letter grade of F should be converted to fail (F) to denote unsatisfactory completion of course requirements for undergraduate students.

  • Do I need to test graduating seniors early and turn those final grades in before I submit grades for my other students?

    Since there will not be a graduation ceremony, there is no need for early testing of graduating seniors or for early submission of graduating senior final grades.

  • For my Spring 2020 mini terms 2A/2C, do I need to convert those grades into the P/F modality?

    No, those mini terms were finished prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis; therefore, the traditional grading option applies.

  • Will Spring 2020 mini terms 2B/2D follow the P/F grading modality?

    Yes, faculty must follow the interim P/F policy for the Spring 2020 semester. Refer to Interim Policy #03 (2020) Pass/Fail Policy for Undergraduate Students

  • Do I need to indicate the Pass/Fail option in the 12th week advisory grade report, and if so, how?

    No. The traditional grading (A, A-, B+, B…) option should be entered for the 12th week advisory grade report.

Commencement

  • What is the latest information regarding Commencement?

    Commencement exercises will not occur on May 2, 2020. A workgroup consisting of students, administrators, and faculty is reviewing plans of options for students graduating in the Spring of 2020.  These students will have the opportunity to participate in a subsequent commencement ceremony.

  • Will the University still hold commencement exercises for Spring 2020?

    Information regarding Spring 2020 commencement exercises will be sent out no later than Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Housing

  • Are students expected to move off campus?

    The Office of Housing and Residence Life will allow students to return to campus to retrieve all of their personal items and belongings. We recommend that students come to campus for a brief time to collect their items. Students should sign up for a retrieval time beginning Monday, March 16 and ending on Sunday, March 22. The Office of Housing and Residence Life will be sending additional information to students regarding sign-up times.

  • What happens if international travel restrictions or other extenuating circumstances prevent me from going home?

    Students who cannot return home because of international travel restrictions or other extenuating circumstances will be required to:

    • Submit an Emergency/Alternative Housing Form (electronic version) no later than 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2020
    • Exceptions to remain on campus will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Will I be able to get into my residence hall after March 22, 2020?

    All residence halls will have limited access beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the semester. Card access to the residence halls will be shut down on March 22, 2020, and only residents with emergency/alternative housing will have building access. Residents must bring their student ID and room key to access their room to gather their belongings. Front desk staff will be available to assist with entry to any room where a student may have misplaced or lost their room key. 

  • Questions

    Questions regarding housing should be directed to the Office of Housing and Residence Life at 757-823-8407 or email housing@nsu.edu.  

Events and Gatherings

  • Are all events cancelled?

    All on-campus events have been cancelled unless and until otherwise noted.  Please check your email regularly for additional updates regarding campus events or activities.

Faculty

  • Course Material & Instruction

    Faculty are required to prepare and deliver course material and instruction online or remotely for the remainder of the semester effective March 23, 2020.

  • Blackboard Training Sessions

    The Office of Extended Learning will host Blackboard training sessions for all faculty, beginning this week March 16, 2020.

    Blackboard sessions (on campus and virtual) have been scheduled to ensure that teaching faculty have the required training to deliver online instruction for all students. Blackboard training sessions for teaching and research faculty in the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library (rooms 1040 and 1022), March 16-20, 2020. To prepare to shift to online course delivery immediately, faculty are strongly encouraged to select sessions to attend from those listed below:

    Monday, Wednesday and Friday Sessions:

    • 10 a.m. – noon
    • 2 – 4 p.m.
    • 4 – 6 p.m.
    • 6 – 8 p.m.

    Tuesday and Thursday Sessions:

    • 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    • 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    • 1:30 – 3 p.m.
    • 3 – 4:30 p.m.
    • 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Work Arrangements

    Faculty members will be eligible for alternative work arrangements (i.e. telecommuting) provided that such arrangements have been approved by their supervisor and/or department chair. Faculty should speak with their supervisors or department heads if they have any concerns. 

    All faculty members should comply with the university's mandate to shift to online course delivery immediately.  In this way, our students will continue to benefit from the expertise, the pedagogy, and the dedication of our talented, well-trained faculty.

Leave Options

  • Leave Options

    As of April 1, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government have provided additional leave guidelines for employees needing assistance due to COVID-19. Click here

  • What leave options are available?

    Several leave options are available. Click here for a list of options and guidance. Staff and faculty may visit https://payline.doa.virginia.gov for a summary of their leave balances.

Reporting to Work

  • Should I report to work?

    Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, all non-designated employees are required to telecommute through Friday, May 1, 2020. Any employee that is telecommuting must have a signed Telecommuting Agreement  attached form  on file. The University remains open and all employees identified by management as being designated should continue to report to campus to perform essential functions.

    All employees should maintain constant communication with their supervisors and visit the University website (www.nsu.edu) on a regular basis for COVID-19 related updates. Supervisors will inform staff of their role as non-designated or designated employees.

     

  • What if I feel sick?

    Faculty and staff should not report to work if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been in proximity to someone diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19.  

    Contact the Office of Human Resources immediately at 757-823-8160 and the direct supervisor for guidance.

Travel

  • Is travel restricted?

    The University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel. NSU employees should carefully reconsider any personal international travel plans. Governor Northam has declared a state of emergency for Virginia and halted all official travel outside of Virginia by state employees. For the well-being and safety of the university community, we encourage you to act with caution and thoughtfully reconsider personal travel.

  • Will I be reimbursed if my conference is cancelled?

    Faculty cannot be assured reimbursement if the conferences they were planning to attend are cancelled. They are encouraged to contact the conference facilitators to seek reimbursement.

Visiting and Touring

  • Will Norfolk State schedule campus tours for prospective and transfer students?

    Tours will not be available until after April 6.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Guidance

  • What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are: cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. They may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

    Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.   

    • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
    • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
      • 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.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Take steps to protect yourself


    Clean your hands often

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    Avoid close contact

  • Take steps to protect others


    Stay home if you’re sick


    Cover coughs and sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Clean and disinfect

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • COVID-19 Call Centers

    • Southside Health Departments – 757-683-2745. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
    • Peninsula Health Department – 757-594-7069. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Seven days a week. 
    • Sentara – 1-833-945-2395. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Seven days a week.
  • More Information