COVID-19 FAQs for Students
Bentley continues to closely monitor updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe. We've created this page as a one-stop shop to answer students' questions about the virus and Bentley's response to it.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The virus symptoms manifest as a mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to as long as 14 days after exposure.
What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
If you experience symptoms, isolate yourself, do not leave home and seek medical attention by calling a medical professional. Inform medical professionals of your symptoms and any recent travel or potential exposure before going to the health facility.
How can I protect myself against contracting COVID-19?
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene at work and at home, including staying home when sick, frequent handwashing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol content). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others, where appropriate.
In addition, we recommend:
- Wash water bottles and wipe cell phones daily.
- Avoid vaping to protect your lung health.
- Please update your cell phone and emergency contact information in Workday.
- Create a voice mail function on your cell phone so that health providers can leave you messages. They will not text you.
- Install Rave guardian app on your phone to get emergency updates from campus.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
According to the CDC, the virus spreads directly from person to person. An actively sick person with COVID-19 can spread the virus through respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets also land on nearby objects and surfaces. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The CDC recommends staying up to 6 feet away from a person with symptoms. It is possible to catch the virus from someone even before they have symptoms, but little is known about this aspect of the virus at this time.
Are there medical supplies to have on hand for treating COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The Health Center recommends you treat symptoms with acetaminophen, ibuprofen and cold and flu medication. Please consult with your medical professional for additional guidance.
Will students be permitted on campus after spring break (March 7-15)?
Bentley will closing the residence halls and adopting online learning for all undergraduate and graduate students for the rest of the semester to allow students to continue coursework and plan with greater certainty for the coming months. Any students who reside on campus should fully move out of the residence halls Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 22. All residential students received an email requesting they submit a survey response to indicate when they will be departing campus for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.
What if I can’t return home and need to return to campus?
All residential students received an email requesting they submit a survey response to indicate when they will be departing campus for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. There is an option within that survey to request accommodations after Sunday, March 22.
Questions can be directed to the Residential Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 891-2148.
Can I come to get my personal belongings?
The Residential Center will make sure that students have the opportunity to collect belongings at an appropriate time and will be directly in touch with residential students. We ask for your continued patience as we manage this extraordinary process.
Questions can be directed to the Residential Center at email@example.com or (781) 891-2148.
What if I don’t have my books/class notes/binders because I left them on campus before spring break?
Students are not expected to return to campus to retrieve their textbook. Faculty are aware that there may be some limitations for students who do not have access to all their materials. During our transition week this week, please work with your faculty member to find the best solution. You may contact Academic Services at GA_Academic_Services@bentley.edu or 781.891.2803 for further assistance.
Can I return to Waltham if I live off campus?
The university is not imposing restrictions on a student's ability to return to off campus properties. Students residing off campus are reminded that, as always, they are expected to comply with state and federal laws and guidance, as well as Bentley policies, rules and procedures. Given the current recommendations on large gatherings by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Bentley University, students and/or student organizations are not permitted to host events with more than 25 people.
What will happen with housing selection for the 2020-2021 academic year?
Housing selection was scheduled to begin March 17. We are still confident that the Housing Selection Process will take place during the spring semester. However, due to the current circumstances and the expedited move-out process, we must delay housing selection.
Is the Bentley campus closed?
The university will remain open for faculty and staff. We will continue to take measures to protect the campus health and safety.
Will Mail Services be open?
Mail Services will be available to assist students this weekend and will be open on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Is the Bentley Bookstore open?
At this time and in keeping with the university’s decision, the Bentley Bookstore will be closed. We are working with our provider, Barnes & Noble, to provide information relative to any rental returns as the semester proceeds.
Will there be dining options on campus if I have to be on campus?
We will have a limited dining program available only to students who cannot go home. You must coordinate with the Residential Center to be eligible.
Will the Dana Center be open?
Athletes and coaches can access their lockers and locker rooms until Tuesday, March 17 at 6:00 pm to retrieve belongings.
Will there be shuttle service?
No, the Bentley Shuttle system will not be operating.
Can I make an appointment at the Health Center?
At this time, the Bentley Health Center will consult patients by telephone appointment only Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk in appointments will not continue due to the campus closure, as well as health and infection control concerns. Students who need a medical consultation can call (781) 891-2222. Expect to answer screening questions regarding recent travel, including: the location of your hometown; if you were home for spring break (or any other time during the spring semester); whether you traveled to a CDC Level 2 or 3 travel advisory country; were on a cruise ship; or whether you have had any contact with individuals who are at risk of COVID-19.
Where should I direct non-urgent health questions?
For routine or non-urgent matters, email the Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What services are offered by the university's student health insurance plan?
Bentley University students currently enrolled in Bentley's Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan offered by the university can access information about COVID-19 testing and resources, including a 24/7 nurse care line and live video visits with a physician or mental health provider, by going to https://www.universityhealthplans.com/letters/letter.cgi?group_id=267.
What do I do if I traveled to higher risk areas over spring break?
Please check in with the Health Center by email (email@example.com) and with your personal medical professional. If returning from a country currently designated as a CDC Level 2 or 3 travel advisory country, you should self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you are symptom-free. If you are returning from a location in the United States with a high level of community spread, reside with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (presumptive or confirmed), or been with someone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, we also recommend self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you are symptom-free. We recommend you closely follow guidance regarding the COVID-19 illness and travel recommendation at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.
What if I have a chronic medical or respiratory illness or if I’m taking medications that suppress the immune system?
For students with chronic medical illness (including those that affect the immune system and respiratory system) or students who are on medications that suppress their immune system, please check with your personal physician to create a health plan that is best for you given our residential campus environment. The university recommends strong consideration of not returning to a residential environment (dormitory) if this will pose excessive health risks. Bentley will work to support any student whose doctor feels that they should not return to a residential environment on campus remain at home due to health concerns.
What should I consider with my health insurance?
While you are at home, and before campus opens again, verify your health insurance is accepted in the Boston Metro area. Bentley most frequently works with Cataldo Ambulance Services and Newton Wellesley Hospital. Call your health insurer first and email the Bentley Health Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions. Students should always carry their health insurance card and know their preferred local Boston hospital. This is especially important if you do not have the student health insurance or have insurance based outside of Massachusetts.
I am currently struggling with a mental health issue, is it still possible to get support from the Counseling Center at this time?
Yes. While the Counseling Center is not currently meeting with students in person, you will be able to make a teleservices appointment to speak with a provider on the phone or over confidential, secure video chat health software. Please call the front desk at (781) 891-2274 to schedule an appointment.
Is mental health support available outside of normal business hours?
Yes. We have after hours clinicians available outside of normal business hours. Please call the Counseling Center main number (781) 891-2274 and follow the prompts to be connected.
I have an upcoming appointment at the Counseling Center that I made prior to spring break. Should I try to attend?
No. All future appointments with the Counseling Center have been canceled. Your provider will be in touch with you to assess your ongoing needs and make recommendations. Feel free to reach out to the Counseling Center should you need to speak with someone prior to being contacted.
I am in need of regular mental health support. Will the Counseling Center be able to help me?
Unfortunately, given the circumstances, the Counseling Center is unable to meet with students for continuing regular appointments for ongoing mental health support. We recommend that you find a provider who is located close to where you are living. If you would like help with this process, please call the Counseling Center at (781) 891-2274 and ask to make a teleservices appointment.
I am experiencing a mental health emergency, what should I do?
If you are in crisis and need support right away, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Will my immigration status be impacted?
CISS will continue to maintain your F-1 (or J-1) immigration status as long as you remain enrolled in your courses full-time (12 credits for undergraduates; 9 credits for graduate students). Given the exceptional nature of this situation, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put procedures in place to recognize that you are still in active F-1 status even while taking a full load of online classes.
What if I am unable to return to my home country due to travel restrictions or other effects of the Coronavirus?
We recommend that, if at all possible, students should relocate to a friend or relative’s home in the United States or consider traveling back to their home country (pending travel restrictions). International undergraduate students may, under certain circumstances, be allowed to remain on campus. Further guidance from the Residential Center will be provided via email and text.
What are the implications of international travel?
If you need to travel, we urge you to review your options for international travel very carefully as travel restrictions are constantly changing. We recommend that you review the CDC travel notices daily for updates. Those who are completing a degree in May 2020 should consider how an inability to re-enter the United States could negatively impact your OPT eligibility.
How can I conduct business with the CISS from off-campus?
CISS will continue operating with modified procedures in place. Students should contact CISS by email at GA_CISS@bentley.edu and should submit all documentation as scanned electronic documents to this email address until further notice. We will make arrangements for the distribution of original documentation (such as EAD cards and I-20s) and those arrangements will be communicated directly to impacted students. We are working hard to ensure that your ability to access required documents and advising will not be affected by this situation.
Our CISS staff will be checking the GA_CISS@bentley.edu email account regularly, and we will do our best to respond to your queries in a timely manner.
What if my program end date is in May 2020?
Students who are completing their degree in May 2020 should consider how an inability to re-enter the United States could negatively impact OPT eligibility (you cannot apply for OPT from outside the United States). In addition, we encourage all students who are eligible (i.e. those who are completing their degree in May 2020) to apply for OPT.
How can I return to the US for Commencement after my student visa status is expired?
Because the degree conferral date remains May 16, 2020, Bentley is unable to extend our students’ active F-1 student status beyond this date. If you have applied for (or plan to apply for) Optional Practical Training, your F-1 status would then be extended and you would be able to reenter the US later this summer with either an EAD card or an i797c receipt proving that your OPT application is in process. You can submit an OPT application now if you have not already done so in order to take advantage of this option. If you do not apply for OPT, you will need to obtain a tourist visa to enter the US for the Commencement ceremony. Many international students who complete their degree in December and wish to return for the May ceremony frequently use this process, and it is now the case for students completing a degree in May and attending the postponed ceremony.
Will grading be different for the semester?
Students will have two options for how their grades are processed for the spring 2020 semester as follows:
- Option A: Students can choose to keep their letter grades for all of their courses this semester.
- Option B: Students can choose to have all of their letter grades converted to Pass/Fail this semester (i.e., you will not be able to choose individual courses to be converted to Pass/Fail).
- If you choose to have your letter grades converted to Pass/Fail, letter grades of A through D- will be converted to “Pass” by the Registrar’s Office.
- All letter grades of F will remain F.
Will I still be able to graduate?
Bentley will make sure that students are still able to graduate. Classes will continue to be held for the remainder of the semester in an online format. You will receive information soon on how to utilize Bentley platforms such as Zoom to connect with your courses. Students can also learn more about using zoom at the following link: https://atc.bentley.edu/getting-started-with-zoom-students/.
Will tutoring be available?
Yes, the Learning Center and Labs will be working with their tutors to provide tutoring services virtually if necessary.
Will the learning centers and labs be available?
Yes, learning centers and labs are preparing to offer virtual tutoring options, which will begin on March 23, 2020. Check their websites for details.
Can we (students) still receive support from academic administrators remotely?
Yes, administrative offices will hold virtual appointments with students. If you are already scheduled for an appointment, please be sure to let the person know if you need to cancel.
What is required of me with online learning if I am in a different time zone?
You will be expected to attend classes during Eastern Standard Time, as faculty can choose to teach their course at their scheduled time. Please reach out to your faculty members directly if you have questions or concerns beginning March 23, 2020, as faculty will not be on campus the week of March 16 as they prepare for online learning. You can also reach out to Academic Services (GA_Academic_Services@bentley.edu) for more information and support.
I have to get up at 3:00 a.m. to attend a class—why is learning synchronized?
To facilitate a smooth, first week of online learning, we have asked all faculty to conduct their first two classes synchronously at their regularly scheduled day and time. After that, we have encouraged faculty to hold at least one of their weekly class meetings synchronously. We recognize the power of faculty interacting with students in real time to address questions, ease anxieties and promote an engaging learning experience. Individual faculty will be in touch with you to share their plan for your course.
What do I do if I am from a country and can’t access Zoom because of internet restrictions?
Students should try logging into Zoom before classes resume on March 23. If you have trouble logging into Zoom because of internet restrictions, a first option is to find a VPN service in your country, which might provide you access to Zoom. For example, IT has found this resource for students in the UAE: http://sahrzad.net/blog/how-to-unblock-zoom-in-uae/. If you are unable to obtain a VPN solution, please contact your faculty as soon as possible so they can provide you with an accommodation.
Will I be able to register for classes for the fall?
Yes, you will receive communication from Academic Services and the Registrar’s Office before March 20, 2020 about registration days and times.
Will Bentley be offering courses online this summer?
Yes, Bentley is already scheduled to offer online courses during the summer session. More courses may be added to summer registration.
How will online learning impact my grades?
Our faculty are sensitive to the various learning styles of our students and recognize the need for flexibility during this period of adjustment. While our faculty still approach teaching and learning with rigor, they have reviewed their assignments and assessment to reflect best practices related to online learning. If you have concerns about your performance in specific courses, you are encouraged to reach out to that faculty member directly. Please note that you will have access to resources on being successful online learners, and we encourage you to check your Bentley email for ongoing updates on this topic.
Will I still be able to make an academic advising appointment?
Yes. You can schedule an appointment in the online appointment system found in Workday just as you would if you were on campus. You will choose to meet either by phone or by Zoom. The academic adviser will approve your appointment and send you a calendar invitation in Outlook. If you choose a phone appointment, you will need to put your preferred phone number in the comment section of the appointment request. If you choose a Zoom appointment, the adviser will send you a specific link to use.
Lastly, instructions regarding your appointment will be in the body of the calendar invitation. It will include resources to use during the appointment and the Zoom link. Please accept the invitation to confirm your appointment.
How long will my advising appointment be?
Appointments will be 15-20 minutes long. This gives the advisers time to connect with numerous students throughout the day.
Will there still be Drop-In Hours?
Yes, and the hours will remain the same (Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Fridays 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.). Peer Academic Advisers will generally cover the Drop-In Hours and professional advisers will assist when necessary. You will attend Drop-In Hours using this Zoom link. You will enter a virtual waiting room until the adviser is able to talk with you. The link is only active during Drop-In Hours.
Are there guides to help with registration?
You can access the step-by-step guides entitled Registering for Classes in Workday, Continuing Students Registration, Using Workday and Scheduler Planner to Register for Courses, and Adding/Dropping or Swapping a Class in Workday here.
What is the deadline to withdraw from a course?
The deadline to withdraw from a course is Friday, April 10. This has been extended beyond the previous deadline of Friday, April 3.
How can I withdraw?
To withdraw, log into Workday, click the Academics icon and choose View My Courses under Planning & Registration in the upper right-hand side. Scroll to the right of the My Enrolled Courses table and you will see the withdraw button. Click the button and make sure to click the Confirm Withdraw from Course square and then press done.
Note: If you will drop you below full-time status (less than 12 credits) by withdrawing from the course, you must email email@example.com.
Is the Pulsifer Career Development Center open for business?
Yes, our office is open for business remotely Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EST). We look forward to partnering with our students and corporate representatives, and we will get through this challenging time together.
Can students still meet with their career coach?
Yes, all career coaches are meeting individually with students via Zoom, Skype or phone. On the undergraduate side, first and second year students can still attend “drop-in” appointments with our career colleagues (upper class students) Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (EST) via Zoom. Some of our coaches are also hosting once-a-week open chat meetings for a dedicated population so they can meet as a group and share questions and answers.
Are employers conducting interviews?
We have been in touch with our corporate partners and are prepared to help them set up interviews with Bentley students via online conferencing tools. Some are using Skype and Zoom and some have company-specific technology. The employer relations and recruiting team is helping facilitate logistics and communication between students and employers. Students should continue to check BentleyLink and apply for jobs or internships.
For any BentleyLink or recruiting related questions, students should contact: GA_Recruiting_Info@bentley.edu.
How else is the Pulsifer Career Development Center ensuring students can still connect with employers?
We are setting up virtual sessions called Career Communities for companies and alumni to connect with students via Zoom to share information about the company, functional roles, and the industry or to offer other career advice.
How do students know what events are available?
Students should continue to check BentleyLink for events, as we are adding the Zoom links there. Undergraduate students can also view careeredge.bentley.edu to see upcoming events and relevant blogs.
How do we connect with the correct office?
We ask that you pay attention to your emails from the Career Center and your career coach. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns to the specific email below and you will receive a response in a timely manner.
Is there a flight reimbursement for students returning home from spring 2020 study abroad?
Bentley will reimburse one economy class change fee or one economy class return flight for students required by Bentley to return home from a country with a Level 3 CDC travel advisory warning. For students in any country who return home, Bentley will subsidize one economy change fee or one economy ticket to your home country up to a maximum of $1,500. Send your flight itinerary and your receipt to both your study abroad adviser and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Receipts are subject to review by Financial Operations and will be processed as soon as possible.
How will I finish my courses if I am required to depart or choose to depart early from my study abroad program?
You will receive information directly from your study abroad program or host institution with specifics on how courses will continue remotely. If your host institution does not ultimately offer distance learning and it is impossible to continue the semester from home, Bentley advisers and faculty will work with each student individually to identify how to complete your in-progress coursework to earn Bentley credit.
Will Fall 2020 study abroad programs be cancelled?
As of this time, we are proceeding with fall 2020 and AY 2020-21 programs as planned. Pre-departure orientations and advising appointments will be moved to an online format, and additional accommodations have been made to allow for maximum flexibility in this increasingly uncertain situation (see below for details).
Can I register for courses on-campus in case my program is cancelled?
To allow you the flexibility to move forward with your study abroad planning and to maintain a solid academic back-up plan at Bentley, all fall and academic-year study abroad students will be permitted to register for on-campus Bentley courses while remaining enrolled in your study abroad program.You will receive registration info from the Registrar per usual.
Can I choose on-campus housing for next year in case my program is cancelled?
At this time, the housing selection process for the 2020-2021 academic year is underway. All students have received their housing selection time, and housing selection starts on Tuesday, March 17. At this time, we are unable to add students to the housing selection process. However, if programs are canceled or if you decide to withdraw on your own volition, we will work with you to secure fall housing over the summer. The Residential Center will have a better idea of housing assignments after Thursday, June 18. Please e-mail the Residential Center at email@example.com to request housing if you decide to return to Bentley in the fall.
If I’m planning to study abroad in Fall 2020 should I be moving forward with the pre-departure steps on BentleyAbroad and in my Program Roadmap?
Yes, please follow your Program Roadmap and pay close attention to your (now online) Program Meeting to know what steps you should be taking to prepare for your program in the fall. If you have questions about your program specifics, please reach out to your study abroad adviser.
Is Bentley holding Commencement in May?
The university has decided to postpone the 2020 Commencement Exercises to later in the year. Read President Davis-Blake's announcement here.
What about my internship?
Students who are expecting to start or resume off-campus internships should contact their employers. Some businesses are offering remote work opportunities during this unprecedented time. Please work with your adviser at the Pulsifer Career Development Center for additional advice or to address specific questions.
Am I required to report to my on-campus work study?
While campus is closed for students, remote options may be available for some student positions. Please work with your manager to discuss how this arrangement might work for you.
What if I experience a financial hardship because of not being able to work on campus while closed?
Please contact the Office of Financial Assistance to discuss options. We are available by phone at (781) 891-3441 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does this impact my tuition and fees?
Bentley is committed to providing an environment where all students can complete their coursework for the spring semester and meet graduation requirements. Therefore, tuition and academic fees will not be refunded. The activity fee is managed by student representatives elected to the Allocations and Internal Audit Committee (AIA). Funds are allocated to the over 100 student clubs and organizations. The university is working with AIA on the possibility of returning unused funds. All other charges and fees for student events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at a later date.
How does this impact room and board charges?
Students moving out of university residence halls will receive a pro-rated adjustment for room and board (meal plan) charges using the effective date of March 16, 2020, which represents a 44% credit of respective costs. A portion of the meal plan discretionary dollars will also be rolled over to next semester (more details to come on this). This credit will appear on your student account. If you are a financial aid recipient, your credit will be adjusted proportionally based on your Bentley or institutional grant. The process to recalculate room, board and the associated financial aid adjustment is a complex task, but we expect this all to be completed by April 22. Once the credits and related financial aid adjustment have been posted to your account, you may request a refund or leave the credit balance to be applied to charges for a subsequent term.
Will my Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) work if I am away from the university?
The Bentley University SHIP is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and provides access to the worldwide Blue Cross Blue Shield network and coverage for hospitalizations, specialty care, mental health and prescription medications throughout the United States and abroad. This means whether you are on-campus at Bentley, living at home, traveling throughout the United States or outside of the United States, your Bentley SHIP will provide you with coverage for emergency and non-emergency care. Important information about the Bentley University SHIP, including the benefits and coverage, can be found on the University Health Plans website. University Health Plans, Bentley University’s SHIP broker and plan administrator, is available to answer general questions about the insurance plan. To speak with a representative, please call (800) 437-6448 or send an email to email@example.com.
Students can find BCBS participating providers by using the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Find a Doctor tool and selecting “PPO or EPO” as the network or by calling Member Services at (888) 753-6615. For questions about behavioral health coverage, students should call the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Behavioral Health Coordination Line at (877) 566-2583. Students who waived the Bentley University SHIP should contact their private health insurance company for questions about their plan coverage and benefits, provider network and claim status.
What if I have a question about my student account?
The most effective way to get information about your account is to e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will respond as soon as possible.
Will this impact my current/future financial aid package?
Each student’s financial aid package is unique, so each financial aid adjustment will need to be calculated and reviewed individually. As always, material changes to individual or family finances will be reviewed. More information will be available as soon as possible and will be shared with students at the appropriate time.
We will continue to communicate via email and social media with the Bentley community and post all updates at bentley.edu/coronavirus. The university has also set up a phone line dedicated to answering your coronavirus-related questions and concerns: (781) 891-2012. You can reach someone on this line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Outside of those hours, please leave a voicemail and it will be returned within 24 hours.