Updated: July 24, 2020

General FAQs

1. What preparations have been made by WCU to handle COVID-19?

West Chester University continues to take all necessary steps to protect the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff as we closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and around the world. We continue to follow the guidance of global, national, and local health and government officials.

With the latest national data showing a disturbing spike and spread in coronavirus infections across the country, we cannot ignore the potential danger of bringing thousands of students back to campus for face-to-face instruction amidst the virus’ dramatic resurgence. Continuing remote instruction for the fall 2020 semester will ensure that our students’ education will be uninterrupted as they earn credits required for academic degrees. A few courses will be delivered in a hybrid format (both in-person and remote) in order to assist those students with clinical placements, student teaching, performance obligations, internship sites, and similar academic responsibilities. Faculty and staff will continue to be accessible and highly committed to student success.

2. Will there be a shortened semester to reduce the possibility of an outbreak on campus?

The fall semester will begin as scheduled on August 24 with remote instruction and will be modified by moving Fall Break from October 12-13 to November 23-24. Classes resume remotely on November 30 with finals slated to begin on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

NEW 3. Are there steps that the university is taking to provide financial relief for students given the continuing impacts of the pandemic?

  • Yes, we are keenly aware of the financial challenges students are facing as a result of the pandemic. For that reason, we are providing additional financial support for all of our students this semester.
    • For the upcoming academic year, WCU has already invested over $5 million in scholarships and grants to increase affordability and access
    • As part of that, over $1.1 million has already been dedicated to out-of-state students
    • In addition, we are providing a COVID-19 relief credit to both in-state and out-of-state students, full-time and part-time, for fall 2020, which will lower the total cost of tuition and fees, but will not negatively affect a student’s current financial aid eligibility.
    • On average, for a full-time in-state undergraduate student, the total for tuition and fees for fall 2020 will be reduced from $5,235 to $4,666, a savings of 11%.
    • On average, for full-time out-of-state undergraduate students, who pay a much higher rate than in-state students, the total for tuition and fees for this fall will be reduced from $11,147 to $8,649, a savings of 22%.
    • The same pattern will be applied for graduate students and will produce similar savings. 
    • Finally, we are also waiving the Distance Education fee for all programs, which will result in additional savings for students who have typically pursued online degrees at WCU. 
    • These fall 2020 pandemic-specific adjustments reflect an investment over $11.5 million dollars from the University. 
    • We have held off on sending bills until we could put these reductions in place, but students can expect to see their bills in myWCU by Friday, July 24.
  • Beyond providing financial savings for students, in support of the University’s goal of all undergraduate students completing at least 30 credits per academic year in pursuit of finishing in four years, for the Fall 2020 semester, eligible full-time WCU undergraduate students will be able to take advantage of up to 6 “free” fall credits during the upcoming 2020-2021 winter or summer sessions. As full-time tuition costs are the same for 12 to 18 credits in WCU’s fall and spring semesters, undergraduate students taking 12 credits in the fall will be able to take an additional 6 credits in the winter or summer sessions without being charged tuition. Similarly, undergraduate students taking 15 credits in the fall will now be able to take an additional 3 credits in the winter or summer sessions without being charged tuition.

4. Will I receive a refund for dining, traditional University or USH housing?

The University will make adjustments to dining. WCU Traditional Housing and USH Affiliated Housing will apply an adjustment to the fall accounts where applicable. For specific housing information, click here.

5. What has the University done to sanitize the campus?

Cleaning and sanitation efforts throughout campus have been increased to meet appropriate CDC guidelines.

6. What measures will be in place to ensure the health and safety of the students, faculty, and employees who have to be on campus this fall?

All students and employees must wear face masks on campus. The University will be providing all students and employees with two WCU reusable face masks.

West Chester University has aligned and is consistent with local, state, and federal public health guidelines and recommendations to provide a safe environment for those who return to campus, including some staff and faculty, as well as students who return to campus to live in campus housing, and those who are on campus for labs, internships, clinicals, etc. Everyone on campus must wear a face mask and practice six feet of social distancing as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH).

The University will continue enhanced sanitization, enhanced social distancing and technology upgrades.

  • Cleaning and sanitation efforts throughout campus have been increased to meet appropriate CDC guidelines.
  • Classrooms are being upgraded with technology (audio and video) to allow for concurrent in-person and remote learning wherever possible.
  • Space barriers (roll-up or rigid) are being installed in offices where in-person visits are required.
  • Sanitizing stations are being installed in common areas (lobby, lounge, corridors, entrance foyers).
  • Signage is being installed across campus to encourage social distancing both inside buildings and outside.

The University will decrease the number of staff on campus on any given day. Using a rotation schedule, we will ensure that we are providing in-person service, while providing for social distancing for our employees.

Fall Break will move from October 12-13 to November 23-24. Classes resume on November 30 with finals slated to begin on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

All faculty office hours and student advising will be conducted remotely (i.e. Zoom meetings).

All non-instructional meetings between faculty, staff, and students will be conducted remotely (i.e. Zoom meetings). CDC as well as Commonwealth phased opening guidelines for other gatherings will be followed, and we will update the campus community as these guidelines evolve.

Social distancing measures and guidelines will be in place for non-instructional student facilities (i.e. Sykes Student Union, Student Recreation Center, etc.). Resources and guidelines will be provided for students to utilize spaces on campus that follow CDC guidelines, according to the phases of opening directives from the state at that time. Facilities like the library, Sykes Student Union, and the Student Recreation Center will be operating at lower capacities to comply with state and local health guidelines. Large gatherings and events will continue to be significantly curtailed through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW 7. Are visitors allowed on campus?

While Chester County is now in the green phase of reopening, visitors to campus in public spaces are required to wear a mask and follow all University guidelines for social distancing.

8. Will events go on as normal this fall?

Public events, except those that will be held virtually, are cancelled for the fall term. CDC as well as Commonwealth phased opening guidelines for other gatherings will be followed, and we will update the campus community as these guidelines evolve.

9. Will athletic events be held?

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference will suspend all mandated conference athletic events and championships through the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All fall and winter sports scheduled to begin before January 1 are suspended.

The Conference has reviewed its ability to shift fall sports competition and championships to the spring semester and fully intends to do so if a return to competition can be safely executed.

The Conference will evaluate the necessary schedule changes and will communicate its plans for moving all competitions to the spring semester at a later date.

The determination as to when winter and spring sports may begin workouts and practices will be considered at a later date.

10. Will the alternative grading option once again be available for fall classes?

There is currently no plan to implement the Alternative Grading Policy for the fall 2020 semester.

11. When will Commencement/graduation ceremonies occur?

The University is committed to providing an on-campus commencement/graduation experience for the Class of 2020 and those who will be graduating in December of 2020. At the point that we are allowed to host gatherings larger than 250, the University will determine which weekend dates are viable and will inform our graduates at least 45 days prior to the ceremonies. Please be aware that this may or may not occur by the end of the 2020 calendar year.

Back to top of page.