Students and Employees
The 2020-21 academic calendar will change to minimize potential health hazards. Fall classes will begin as planned on Aug. 24, and the last day of in-person classes is Nov. 24, after which students are encouraged to leave campus for the semester.
After Thanksgiving, there will be a study week, followed by a week of final exams conducted remotely. There will not be a Labor Day holiday or Fall Break.
The first day of the spring semester will change from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1. Stop Day and Finals Week remain unchanged. Spring Break will not occur midway through the semester as it typically does; rather, it will be added to the Winter Recess, resulting in the later-than-normal Feb. 1 start. Some eight-week online courses, typically found in online degree programs, will begin on Jan. 25.
KU Custodial Services will implement building-specific disinfection plans to ensure that campus spaces are as clean and healthy as possible. All buildings have different needs, but the following cleaning protocols are true across campus:
- Surfaces that are touched frequently (e.g., light switches, door handles, elevator buttons, handrails) will be disinfected multiple times a day.
- Restroom fixtures and touch-points will be disinfected twice a day.
- Frequently occupied rooms will be fogged with disinfectant daily.
- Specific disinfection depending on needs of the building.
If you are a staff or faculty unit leader and you’d like to coordinate a cleaning and disinfection plan for your workspace or building, contact Custodial Services. You can locate your building’s custodial leadership member on the Building Contacts page.
- Anyone wishing to enter a building on campus will need to use the CVKey app, which will generate a unique QR code that will allow access into the building. Individuals who choose not to use the mobile app will be required to complete a paper health assessment form before entering a building.
- Keycard access will be installed in many of the buildings. Employees may also be issued credentials that indicate their authorization to be on campus at that time.
- If someone is found to be in a building who is not authorized to be on campus, they may be reported to campus administration for disciplinary action.
- Building hours of operation will be reduced to allow more time for enhanced cleaning.
- Some buildings will require individuals to use a single point of entry. Individuals may be encouraged to use alternative exits.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
When it comes to HVAC maintenance and safety standards, we will continue to consult with and follow the best practices of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the CDC. Each campus building’s HVAC system runs at 40-60% humidity and at temperatures between 69-74 degrees Fahrenheit — ranges recommended to minimize the spread of COVID-19. KU HVAC teams will continue to assess and optimize air systems to maximize outside air intake and reduce recirculated air.
Adapting common facilities
- Some restroom doors will be equipped with a mechanism that allows you to open them using your foot. Trash cans will be placed outside of restrooms.
- Water fountains will be turned off for the foreseeable future and will not be available for use. Touchless water bottle filling stations will remain operational.
- Door push plates and door handles are cleaned regularly. Additional opening methods such as foot-pull mechanisms are being added to reduce contact with exposed surfaces.
- Stairwells will be clearly marked to control traffic flow.
- Hallways and corridors will be equipped with hand sanitizer and directional signs.
- Please follow these guidelines when using shared kitchens in KU buildings.
Classrooms have been reconfigured to provide appropriate social distancing between students and between students and the instructor. Please do not move or reconfigure desks or other furniture in classrooms.
Adapting office spaces
KU Operations is working with departments and units to ensure office spaces provide appropriate physical distancing for employees and for visitors.
Common areas and study areas in campus buildings have been reconfigured to reduce capacity and allow for proper physical distancing. Hallways should not be used for studying or congregating. Large tents have been placed in various locations on campus to provide additional space to study or connect to online classes. Tents feature access to electrical power and Jayhawk Wi-Fi is available in most outdoor locations. Visit this campus map and select "Indoor Spaces" and/or "Outdoor Spaces" in the Table of Contents to see indoor and outdoor study locations.
In-person and remote learning
In June, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Barabara A. Bichelmeyer provided guidance to instructors in planning for the fall semester. Key to her message was the goal to maximize the in-person classroom experience to the greatest extent possible. But because we can’t predict the behavior or duration of the pandemic, we must be flexible, leveraging our physical and virtual spaces to create a community of learners not solely bound by either. To ensure flexibility and meet the specific needs of students and instructors, we provided support this summer for faculty to design and develop fall courses so the same section can be offered in multiple formats — i.e., in-person, online, and/or a hybrid approach — while ensuring that each format is a highly engaging experience for Jayhawks no matter where they may be.
Reducing classroom density
Each classroom has been equipped with cleaning supplies, and seats will be left unavailable to physically distance students. To help limit the classroom density and allow for frequent cleaning, we scheduled classes from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, though most courses are being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday has been used as a last resort.
Classroom protection for instructors
All teaching staff have the ability to choose which level of protection they prefer when teaching an in-person class on campus:
- Level 1: Faculty will wear face covers and keep a distance of at least eight feet from students.
- Level 2: Faculty will wear face covers, keep a distance of at least eight feet from students, and teach behind a single pane of plexiglass.
- Level 3: Faculty will wear face covers, keep a distance of at least eight feet from students, and teach behind a three-sided plexiglass barrier to enhance air-flow protection.
- Level 4: Faculty will wear enhanced face covers, keep a distance of at least eight feet from students, and teach behind a three-sided plexiglass barrier to enhance air-flow protection.
Special course adaptations
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some students will be unable to safely continue their degree or support their learning objectives without online or blended instruction. For these students, KU will offer special course adaptations. Course adaptation requests will be approved on a case-by-case basis. The details of each adaptation will be worked out between the student, their instructor, and their academic department.
Alternating Schedules (cohorts)
If a class only meets once per week and is using an alternating cohort schedule (i.e. group A will meet on odd weeks and group B will meet on even weeks), sections were not automatically created for each cohort. In these situations, instructors need to split the students into cohorts and communicate group assignments to students.
To help ensure students retain this important information, instructors should clearly reiterate and clarify course logistics for students during the initial class meeting, and post the course logistics information on each course’s syllabus and in the learning management system (e.g. Blackboard).
Graduate researchers may have time in labs and other environments reduced, based on occupancy restrictions and physical distancing requirements. Whenever possible, alternative workspaces will be established to allow for continuity of research.
Campus health protocols
We are taking a comprehensive and coordinated approach to provide for our community’s health and wellness this school year. These efforts include:
- Enhanced cleaning methods and schedules across all campus classrooms, dining, transportation, and facilities.
- Posting hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in all classrooms and around campus.
- Re-configuring campus hours and access to reduce density and promote physical distancing.
- Requiring all students and employees to wear masks on campus.
- Providing personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies to students and employees.
We ask that all Jayhawks follow the principles that provide for the well-being of our campus community.
Every member of the KU community who plans to be on campus must be tested for COVID-19 at the start of the fall 2020 and 2021 semesters. Testing will be rapid, saliva-based, and offered free of charge.
Students, faculty, and staff who were not tested through the previous entry testing process and who still need to get tested before returning to campus can sign up for an appointment to receive a test from the mobile testing unit outside Watkins Health Services.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider. Many providers, including Watkins Health Services, are able to test for COVID-19 through commercial testing labs and will be able to provide results in three to five days. In some instances, testing can be expedited for quicker results.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and do not have a primary care provider, call the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Coronavirus hotline at 785-856-4343. Nurses are available to provide initial screenings and provide directions on getting tested. Additional information can be found on Douglas County’s COVID-19 website.
If you’ve been exposed or display symptoms
If you’ve been in close contact with someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19, closely monitor your symptoms and practice strict physical distancing.
If asymptomatic, you should stay at home and self-quarantine for 14 days starting from the last day you were possibly exposed. If you have symptoms, you should self-quarantine for 10 days from the beginning of symptoms, or 72 hours after the fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
If you believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, notify people you’ve been in close contact recently as soon as possible, so they can monitor their health — especially if you display symptoms. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care.
Health monitoring app
Students and employees must use the CVKey app (or a paper form alternative) to access campus buildings. Developed in partnership with Brian McClendon, KU engineering professor and former Google vice president, the CVKey app allows students, faculty, and staff to track their health and assess risks of exposure and symptoms. Every day, users will take a health assessment questionnaire on the app, after which CVKey will produce a unique QR code. They’ll scan that code to enter KU buildings. If a person’s self-assessment indicates possible COVID-19 symptoms, they will be denied access to KU buildings and prompted to go to Watkins Health Services for testing or to quarantine for a certain period of days.
Individuals who choose to not use the mobile app will be required to complete a paper health assessment form before entering a building. Read more about the CVKey Project and how to download the app.
Contact tracing and voluntary reporting
Participation in contact tracing is voluntary and will be conducted solely through the Douglas County Health Department. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed, a public health worker may call you to check in on your health and discuss who you’ve been in contact with. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Students, faculty, and staff will all receive a standard issue of PPE for use on campus, including:
- Two masks.
- A personal-sized bottle of hand sanitizer (bottle refill stations will be posted around campus).
- Information about healthy habits and personal responsibilities.
- The CVKey health monitoring app.
KU supervisors or unit leaders may request enhanced PPE — such as Plexiglass dividers or N95 respirators for their workplaces by completing the Campus PPE Request Form. You will be required to provide justification for these requests. If your department does not typically purchase PPE, you will not be charged for securing it.
Your psychological and emotional well-being are just as important as your physical health. All students are encouraged to reach out to the university for personal help if it’s needed. If you encounter other students who may be struggling to adjust, reach out to them. Jayhawks have resources they can turn to:
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
- Watkins Student Health
- Campus Cupboard
- Student Emergency Aid Network
For staff and faculty
KU employees are encouraged to reach out for personal help if it’s needed. Benefits-eligible employees and their dependents can receive assistance through the state’s Employee Assistance Program, which offers short-term counseling services, legal advice, money management assistance, and more. Employees may also be eligible for the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund, which assists those who are experiencing financial hardship due to natural or personal disaster.
Employee health coverage
The following information is for COVID-19 testing that is not related to the saliva test required of all KU employees and students who plan to be on campus prior to Sept. 7. Information about KU's mandatory saliva-based testing is available at protect.ku.edu/testing.
- The State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) will cover medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with CDC guidance related to the COVID-19 at no cost share to member, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response.
- The SEHP will allow early refills on 30 or 90-day prescription medications and/or allow members to use their mail order benefit.
- Given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, seeking in-person medical care has the potential to further spread the virus. The SEHP partners with Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to provide Telehealth services with a virtual doctor’s office. There is 24/7/365 access to this service. The member cost share will be waived for any Telehealth service.
- The HealthQuest Health Center, available to members enrolled in the health plan, is located at 901 S. Kansas Ave., Topeka. Phone screening (785-783-4080) is recommended before going to the center. If a patient visits the clinic, they must put on a mask and clean their hands with hand sanitizer. The Health Center staff will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and recommend they isolate if the initial findings and/or symptoms present are a positive indicator for the virus. COVID-19 testing is available at the HealthQuest Health Center for State of Kansas employees. Curbside testing will be available at the center by appointment only.
Remote and on-campus work for faculty
The Provost has coordinated with Deans and department Chairs to help meet the instructional needs of our students and align with the teaching preferences of our faculty.
Research-related employees returning to campus
The Office of Research and KU Operations leaders will continue to collaborate with our research community to assess their needs and adjust protocols as needed
Remote and on-campus work for staff
Supervisors, managers, and unit leadership were asked to review the work location assignment of their workforce with the understanding that only employees holding job duties that require a physical presence at the worksite are to be approved to return to on-campus work.
We expect remote workers will continue to be the cornerstone of the KU workforce. If all or part of an employee’s job can be performed remotely, then it will be required that remote work designation be extended. Although an employee or supervisor may prefer to work on campus, it will not be approved if the job does not require it.
As much as possible, meetings will continue to be conducted through Microsoft Teams or Zoom. If an in-person meeting is necessary, the organizer should limit the number of participants in accordance with the Office of the Governor, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
Employees who have questions about their work status or work location should contact Human Resources Management at HRDept@ku.edu.
Additional employee resources:
- Human Resource Management’s coronavirus page
- Human Resources coronavirus FAQ
- Teleworking guidelines
- COVID-19 leave and guidelines
Services and supplies for remote employees
We offer home delivery solutions for remote workers in need of work or office supplies. Contact your Shared Service Center (SSC) representative for information about purchasing orders that require off-campus delivery.
Additionally, KU Libraries offers services and resources for remote teaching, learning, and research.
FFCRA expires 12/31/2020
Employees who are unable to return to campus due to COVID-19 may be eligible for paid leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Once an employee completes the COVID-19 leave request form, Human Resources Management will determine their eligibility. Learn more about requesting COVID-19 Leave.
Student employees should work with their direct supervisor to determine if they can perform their essential work functions remotely. Whenever possible, we encourage supervisors to allow student employees to work remotely. If a student employee’s essential work functions must be performed on campus, their work space is required to conform to current physical distancing standards.
International students are encouraged to partner with International Support Services (ISS) as they explore options or if they have questions or concerns. The staff’s expert knowledge can help protect immigration status and help students navigate issues related to on-campus and off-campus housing, completing the semester, how to depart campus in light of travel restrictions, and considerations for accessing online courses and maintaining contact with professors from abroad if they leave the United States.
Read the latest updates from ISS on COVID-19 and what it means for KU’s international student population.
Information specifically tailored to parents of international students is available at the ISS parents page.
On-campus residential facilities are open for the fall, and modifications have been made to promote physical distancing and other healthy measures in each building. Most facilities are operating near capacity, with additional shared community expectations in place to prioritize the health and wellness of students who live — and staff who work — in these facilities.
Students living in on-campus residential facilities will be required to wear masks anywhere outside of their room and expected to physically distance from anyone other than their roommate. For that reason, access to common areas or bathrooms and to elevators or stairwells may be reduced.
Should a COVID-19 outbreak occur, rooms, floors, wings, or entire facilities may be isolated. Continued outbreaks may force the closure of a facility.
Read more about KU Student Housing’s pandemic response and planning.
Several changes have been made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including shorter term permit options and the ability for faculty and staff to "buy up" to a higher permit level.
Permit nformation for:
As with other campus resources and facilities, KU Transportation Services and Lawrence Transit are taking extensive measures for the health and well-being of our community. These include:
- Requiring all drivers and passengers to wear masks.
- Limiting seating to reduce capacity.
- Disinfecting protocols that occur throughout the day, every night, and on a weekly basis.
Visit Transportation Services to learn more about their response to COVID-19.
The CDC does not recommend you travel at this time because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you must travel, you should closely adhere to the CDC travel safety guidelines and check their webpage often for any updates or changes to their mandated travel requirements.
One of the risks associated with travel, international travel in particular, is the potential for an unexpected delay in return. Any delays that interfere with your ability to return to work or school should be directly communicated to your instructors (students) and supervisors (employees).
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel.
- Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full seven days (10 days for international travel).
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
Domestic student travelers
Your resident status or recent traveling may affect your arrival to campus and participation in in-person activities.
If you’re a Kansas resident, you may travel freely between campus and home without restriction. You may also be able to attend in-person classes while living off campus (depending on the distance).
Students who come from areas of the U.S. with isolation requirements may need to quarantine upon arrival to campus. You may attend classes remotely while in quarantine, if that option is available.
International student travelers and domestic students traveling abroad
Students who are currently living or traveling abroad may have difficulty obtaining permissions to enter or re-enter the United States. As restrictions are reduced and more international travel is permitted, those traveling abroad may be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the United States. If required to quarantine, students should attend classes remotely, if that option is available. Please note: For international students and domestic students residing abroad, there may be some international restrictions that could affect remote attendance. In some countries, for example, VPN connections are not permitted.
In accordance with the State of Kansas’ most recent reopening guidelines, the university community may be able to resume some limited travel activities, provided travelers follow certain guidelines.
Visit the KU Travel webpage for information on what’s required before, during and after travel.
Lawrence and Edwards Campus staff, faculty, and scholars may travel only if:
- It’s essential to fulfilling their job’s core function.
- Or, it provides essential support to the university, such as some research or lab work.
Review the CDC information and follow the guidelines at the top of this page.
- If you’ve been packaged with financial aid for 2020-2021, you can accept it in Enroll & Pay at any time. For assistance, see our guide on how to accept or decline financial aid.
- Continue to complete necessary tasks such as filing the FAFSA, completing verification and other to-do items to ensure that your financial aid is ready to go for the fall. Check the Holds & To-Do’s tile in Enroll & Pay to see if you have any items you need to complete.
If you take time off from KU:
- If you choose to take a gap year and do not enroll in any college courses during the 2020-2021 academic year but you return to KU for fall 2021, you will be eligible to receive your freshmen scholarship.
- If you're unable to attend KU for fall 2020 but plan to attend KU for spring 2021, you will be eligible to receive your freshmen scholarship regardless of whether you choose to enroll at another college/university in the fall. If you attend another institution (two or four-year) for fall 2020, you must earn at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA for the semester to receive your freshmen scholarship for spring.
- If you have an assistantship or other departmental aid, you will need to check with the department to determine what options you have.
- When you're ready to return to KU, you will need to be readmitted and if you attended another school you will need to provide transcripts showing you achieved a 3.25 cumulative GPA. Contact your financial aid counselor when you're ready to return and they can assist you.
- If you previously used student loans and you do not enroll at least half-time, then your six-month grace period may begin or you may enter repayment if your six-month grace period has already lapsed. Your loan servicer can assist you with understanding your repayment options, your grace period, or other deferment options, please visit studentaid.gov to find out who is your loan servicer.
Note: The Pandemic Child Assistance Fund was available only during fall 2020.
The Pandemic Child Assistance Fund was developed to provide financial support to KU employees and graduate student employees who have experienced a change in circumstances associated with the cost of their child’s education and supervision needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were made available through federal emergency relief dollars.
The financial assistance provided through the PCAF was intended to help defray some of the additional expenses families incurred for the fall 2020 semester due to the cancellation of in-person instruction for children between kindergarten and eighth grade. Specifically, these funds were meant to mitigate costs associated with mandated remote (virtual) or hybrid education for their children. The financial assistance was only intended to cover a portion of expenses. The Fund was not a loan and the funds do not need to be repaid.
Employees may also be eligible for the Rosalie Lanier Gray KU Staff Assistance Fund, which assists those who are experiencing financial hardship due to natural or personal disaster.