Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions: Coronavirus Preparedness


Are there cases of coronavirus at Salem State or in Salem?

No. Salem State is not aware of any cases of COVID-19 on our campus or in the city of Salem. Cases have been reported in other parts of Massachusetts and the university has updated its emergency preparedness plan as it closely monitors the evolution of this novel virus.

Travel Information

What if I have traveled recently or know someone who has?

Students, faculty and staff should alert the below offices if you:

  • Have traveled outside of the continental United States within the past 14 days or plan to engage in such travel;
  • Believe you have come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus;
  • Believe there is a possibility you might have the coronavirus;
  • Have come into close contact with someone who has recently returned from a Level 3 risk country, including China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

         Students: Counseling and health services, 978.542.6413

         Faculty and Staff: University police, 978.542.6111

What if I had paid for and planned to go on a faculty-led spring break trip organized by the Center for International Education and faculty from an academic department?

All faculty-led trips scheduled for travel outside of the continental United States during spring break 2020 have been cancelled. We have made this decision to ensure the safety of all of our student travelers and faculty members. The Center for International Education will work with individual students to ensure a full refund for expenses paid toward these trips. Please be patient as we seek to recover costs already paid to travel providers. Your refund will be processed as soon as possible. You will be notified by the study abroad office of the Center for International Education when your refund is available. 

What if I had planned to go on a spring break trip outside of the continental United States with a campus organization?

The organization planning the trip will work with the dean of students to ensure a full refund. Please be patient as we week to recover costs. Your refund will be processed as soon as possible.

What if my third-party study abroad program provider has cancelled my study abroad program while I was abroad and I was asked to return to the United States? 

Please follow all guidance by your program and complete all coursework online if you are asked to do so. Salem State does not assume responsibility for a third-party organization's policies, but we will do our best to support you in completing any program requirements. Please work directly with your program to ensure that you are meeting the requirements necessary ensure course completion. Any refund requests will have to be made to the third-party program. 

What if I decide to stay abroad even if I am in a country labeled Level 3 or higher by the CDC? 

Salem State has asked all students to return home from study in countries with a CDC Level 3 or higher Travel Health Notice (South Korea, Iran, China, and Italy at present). If a student decides to remain in a country with a Level 3 or higher designation, the university cannot assume responsibility for your health or safety. We urge you to follow all precautions outlined by the CDC and WHO as well as those outlined in your host country.

What if I have applied to go on a summer faculty-led trip? 

Decisions have not yet been made for summer travel or faculty-led trips. No payments for summer study-travel will be processed until your safety can be ensured. If you have paid a deposit for summer travel and choose not to go, you will be issued a full refund.

What if I have applied to go on a fall 2020 study abroad program?

Decisions have not yet been made for fall 2020 study abroad. We will follow the guidance of the WHO, CDC and third-party providers in making decisions related to our students' participation in future study abroad programs. 

I have a personal trip planned that I don’t want to cancel. Will I be quarantined, and how can I account for that time?

The university has strongly discouraged personal travel outside of the continental United States, including cruise ships. Salem State has asked students, faculty and staff to alert campus if they are engaging in such travel.

Students should contact Counseling and Health Services at 978.542.6413.

Faculty and Staff should contact University Police at 978.542.6111.

However, please keep in mind that COVID-19 is evolving quickly and you may be placed on a 14-day self-quarantine upon your return. Salem State will ask community members to follow local, state and federal guidelines, which may include self-quarantine if you have been in a region where there is a greater risk of exposure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has developed new guidelines to self-isolate, which are offered in English and Spanish, for 14 days.

Financial/Reimbursement Questions

Due to Salem State canceling all university-sponsored international travel and travel outside of the continental U.S., I may lose money. What do I do?

Students that were planning on studying abroad should contact the Center for International Education.

What can I do if I no longer feel comfortable traveling on a domestic trip for official Salem State purposes (students)? Will I lose money if I decide not to go?

If a student was planning on going on a university-arranged domestic trip that is no longer taking place or that the student no longer feels comfortable attending, they should contact the student life office for additional information about their particular program. 

What can I do if I no longer feel comfortable traveling on a domestic trip for official Salem State business (faculty and staff)? Will I lose money personally if I decide not to go?

At this time, there is no policy regarding reimbursements for out of pocket costs by employees for such cases. This situation is unfolding and total financial ramifications are as yet unknown. We ask for your patience and will appreciate your cooperation with requests for information. Refunds, waivers or vouchers from travel providers or program sponsors must be exhausted before the university will be able to consider reimbursement from university funds to a traveler who makes an individual decision not to travel.

Faculty members who were leading domestic trips or planning on attending a conference and no longer feel comfortable going should contact Vice Provost Emerson Baker in academic affairs.

Staff members who were planning on traveling on university trips and no longer feel comfortable going should contact their area vice president.

Health Information

Should I alert campus if I am (or someone I know is) exhibiting coronavirus symptoms?

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Please reach out to the below offices if you experience these symptoms AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 OR have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 including China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms prior to arriving.

Students: Any student who has reason to believe that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus should call counseling and health services to discuss and schedule an appointment at 978.542.6413.

Faculty and Staff: Faculty and staff members who have reason to believe that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider or local emergency department. Notifying health care professionals prior to arriving at their facilities is important to containing the virus. Please also alert Assistant Vice President of Campus Safety and Risk Management Gene Labonte through Salem State’s university police at 978.542.6111.

What is the university doing about community members who do not self-report and self-quarantine?

The university is urging anyone who has traveled abroad to self-monitor their health and, if they are returning from a CDC Level 3 country or region, to self-quarantine for 14 days. The voluntary cooperation of all members of our community is critical to prevent disease transmission and to protect the health and safety of the university community.

Continuation of Academic Programs

I am a faculty member and need help moving my courses online. How can I get assistance?

Workshops will be available on campus. A list of workshops, online tutorials and guidelines is available. Consider:

  • Learning electronic community tools (Canvas, Zoom)
  • Creating alternative lesson plans
  • Recording class lectures to post online
  • Narrating slide shows from home
  • Conducting groupwork and collaborate on projects and assignments online

I’m not sure if I have the appropriate digital capabilities off-campus to ensure teaching online only. How can I check the technology that I have at home is sufficient?

Please test your home system to make sure you can login and access Polaris, SSU email, Canvas and the SSU library. If you need support please contact the ITS Helpdesk.

I am a student, is it possible for me to complete my classwork virtually?

All syllabi include instructions for how to access alternative educational plans in case the college declares a critical emergency. Your professors will be going over these details, including alternative assignments and communication plans with you. If you have not used Canvas or your university email, you should login to both to make sure you can do so, as these will be the ways professors will be in touch with you if there is an emergency.

Event Information

I am attending or hosting an upcoming event at Salem State. Will it be canceled?

All activities with an expected attendance of 25 people or more scheduled through April 11 should be canceled or moved to a digital platform.

Will friends and family be able to fly to Massachusetts for commencement?

The situation around COVID-19 is evolving so it is too early to determine what kind of campus guest policies will be deemed safe in May.

University Response

What steps is the university taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our campus?

  • Monitoring the situation daily and following federal, state and local guidelines
  • Restricting travel and monitoring any cases where there is risk of exposure
  • Educating the campus on how to prevent the spread of flu or virus
  • Facilities is developing a plan for a deep clean of residence halls over spring break
  • Facilities team members are working overtime to wipe down all major touch points on campus
  • Facilities is also installing hand sanitizers in all of the lobbies around campus
  • Aramark is conducting a deep clean of dining facilities during spring break, and has increased regular cleaning until then
  • Encouraging students, faculty and staff to stay home if they are ill
Back to top