With COVID-19 still active, it is understandable that students and staff members would be worried about the fall semester. Even though President Martinez-Saenz has given us a very detailed plan, most of us still have unanswered questions. Hence, we had a town meeting on August 6.

I will be addressing some of the key points from the meeting in case you missed it.

One of the concerns discussed was tuition. Despite St. Francis freezing tuition these past few years, it has decided to raise it. You would think that tuition would decrease because everything is now online.

The tuition was raised because SFC had to purchase new software and licensing agreements for the online classes. Your tuition is also paying for the Plexiglas and temperature takers.

Don’t worry too much about the increase in tuition, because SFC is giving partial refunds for activity fees.

There are two grants that you can apply for to ease the financial burden. The first one is the CARES Act Student Emergency Funding, and the second one is the Terrier for Terrier Emergency Relief Fund. You can find the links to the applications on the SFC website.

If you are a student worker, your job is still available. However, you will have to work remotely. You can contact your supervisor for details.

Another touched upon topic was classes. If you want to know the format of your courses, check webadvisor. If no room number is listed, that means that the course is entirely online. When there is a day and time listed, that means that the class is online with scheduled online lectures.

If the class requires you to come to campus, there will be a room number. For people who have these types of classes, the classrooms will only have 20 or fewer students depending on the size of the room. There will be distance markers so you can stay 6-feet away from each other.

Before you enter the building, you will have to fill out a health screening questionnaire and have your temperature checked. You must also have to wear a facemask and follow the social distancing guidelines.

Failure to comply with SFC’s health guidelines will be seen as improper conduct and will receive disciplinary action based on SFC’s handbook. I never read it so I can’t tell you the punishment. I didn’t even know we had one.

You can change your classes on webadvisor to be completely online if you do not want to come to campus. If the course is closed, you can contact the head of the department or your advisor to be placed in the class.

SFC is also offering free COVID-19 testing, which will be opened to the public on August 25 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. You need to preregister for testing and bring valid identification. Bring your insurance card as well. If you don’t have health insurance, you can still receive free testing.

The test is mandatory for international students, students staying in the dorms, and students that come from high-risk states. New York residents who are not living in the dorms are not required to take the test. More information on how to register will be available later.

You can check out https://www.sfc.edu/about/backtobk for more information or email any questions to backtobk@sfc.edu

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