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Frequently Asked Questions

Please Note:

Due to the ever-evolving nature of this situation, we are updating this information frequently. Currently, the FAQ was last updated by WCU Leadership Thursday, April 30. Questions are labeled with the date they were last updated.

Western Carolina University continues to closely monitor the spread of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Currently, classes are online and being held via alternative methods from March 23 and will continue until the end of the semester, May 8.

More information about refunds for housing and dining

Below you'll find a list of frequently asked questions to help inform students, parents and family members about these changes:

Academic

Book Rental

Campus Employment

Cleaning / Prevention

General

Housing and Dining

Residence Move-Out

Refunds

Resources  

Book Rental Program

Updated April 30, 2020

The bookstore will be open, for book returns only, during the residence hall move-out period from Friday, May 1, through Sunday, May 10, from 8am to 5pm daily.

After May 10, the bookstore will receive in-person returns at the bookstore each Wednesday, from 10am to 3pm until June 10. Service hours are subject to change.

Mailed returns will continue to be accepted until June 10. Books received after June 10 will be considered late, and after that date all outstanding rentals will be considered missing. For complete book return details, see the bookstore website.

Consistent with social distancing practices, the following process will be implemented for in-person returns:
  • Follow the signage to enter through the side door of the bookstore (closest to the intersection), and stay on a path marked with 6-foot intervals to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Enter the bookstore on the basement level, and approach a table to bundle your books in a plastic bag. Complete your return form/information and place it inside the bag.
  • Books will then be dropped into a bin that will be held for one week before being handled by bookstore staff. There will be sanitizer available to clean your hands.
  • Leave via the back-dock door and avoid touching any additional surfaces.

This process is designed to have no person-to-person contact, and to keep students and staff in areas with easily cleanable and sanitizable surfaces.

The bookstore will allow in-person returns Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm each day. Service hours are subject to change.

Mailed returns will continue to be accepted until June 10. Books received after June 10 will be considered late, and after that date all outstanding rentals will be considered missing. For complete book return details, see the bookstore website.

Updated April 23, 2020

It is not an expectation that students mail their books back, but rather an additional avenue that students can choose if they will not be returning to campus. The cost of shipping is not included in the book rental fee. Our goal is to keep the fee as low as possible, and because we don’t normally ask students to mail their books back, we don’t include that cost in the book rental fee.

Ultimately, the cost of shipping books is probably lower than the cost of returning to campus for some students, so we wanted to make sure we provided that as an option. Receiving mailed books is a very labor- and storage-intensive process for the bookstore, which is not set up to deal with thousands of incoming boxed books, which must be held for a quarantine period to keep staff safe. We will do our best to give students as much time as possible to return their spring semester books. Delays in returning books affect our ability to issue materials as the academic calendar advances, so we must balance the needs of current students against the needs of future terms.

Updated April 30, 2020

Summer sessions will have different solutions based on the needs of individual courses. Working with faculty, the bookstore may provide a rental book or an e-book, or the faculty member may provide alternative materials for instruction.

Each course will be different, and each material choice is specifically for the summer 2020 term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bookstore will communicate with each faculty member over the next few weeks. Students will receive more information from their instructors.

Updated April 30, 2020

The bookstore will be open, for book returns only, during residence hall move out period from Friday, May 1, through Sunday, May 10, from 8am to 5pm daily.

Updated May 20, 2020

The mailing address for returning books is available on the book return form. All books should be returned with the form included in the box with the textbooks. Failure to include this form will affect processing your return.

For your convenience, the WCU bookstore will accept library books as we accept in-person book rental returns. The bookstore will allow in-person returns during this residential move-out period. In addition, the bookstore will receive in-person returns at the bookstore each Wednesday, from 10am to 3pm until June 10. Service hours are subject to change.

 

Your library books should be placed in the library return box at the book rental return counter. Alternatively, your library books may be returned to the library or the drop box next to the library.

  

On-Campus Housing and Dining Questions

Updated: April 15, 2020

Western Carolina University is a part of the UNC System, and system leadership has a strong desire to have a system-level approach to any discussion of refunds. Guidance from the UNC System on this issue has been provided.
procedures for refunds and a number of frequently asked questions

Updated: May 27, 2020

Catamount Eats Food Truck
*: Breakfast and lunch at the fountain plaza
Starbucks at Brown: Monday - Friday: 7:30am - 2:30pm

*Meal exchanges available in addition to DB, Cash, Credit sales. All dining locations are take-out only.

Updated: April 15, 2020

As of March 22, all UNC campuses, including Western Carolina University, were instructed to substantially reduce housing and dining operations. In addition, activities across campus are continuing to be canceled and significantly curtailed to encourage social distancing including face-to-face residence hall programming efforts, services at the Campus Recreation Center, and dining services, which will offer only a limited number of options with hours subject to change providing take-out service only. 

Per the instructions from the UNC System, WCU is implementing the following measures:

  • Only students who have special circumstances and who complete an Exception Request that is approved through the process outlined below will be allowed to remain in WCU residence halls.

Students with special circumstances who are requesting an exception to stay in the residence halls, must complete an Exception Request before noon on Thursday, March 19.  Information provided on the Exception Request will be verified before approval is provided.  Special circumstances include:

  • International student status
  • Homelessness
  • Academic course meeting face-to-face
  • Other extraordinary circumstance (these will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis)

Students with an approved exception to remain on-campus may be required to move somewhere else on-campus in the event procedures are implemented to quarantine student(s) suspected to have COVD-19.

Pending further instructions, ALL students should be aware that housing for the semester will still end on May 8 at 5:00 pm and the residence halls will close for all students at that time.

Regarding the question of refunds, guidance have been provided from the UNC System and answers to those questions are available.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a very difficult situation and must make decisions that are designed to ensure safety for students, faculty, and staff.  We will continue to update residential students as the COVID-19 situation unfolds.  Please continue referring to the WCU website for COVID-19.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Residential Living at 828.227.7303 or email housingquestions@email.wcuwcuu.

Updated: March 19, 2020

Residential Living will waive normal operational practice because of the COVID-19 pandemic and no students will be charged the $800 Cancellation Fee.

Updated: March 26, 2020

Beginning Friday, March 27, the Student Mail Center operations will move to the Residential Living Office on the second floor of Brown Hall. Mail and packages can be picked up on the second floor of Brown between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 6.

We are still working through the process of forwarding mail & packages for all students that are away from WCU.

Students will receive e-mail notification, via their Catamount e-mail account, for any packages received at the Student Mail Center. Therefore, it will be the students responsibility to check their Catamount account regularly or forward that e-mail account to another account.

In order to ensure the student’s mail/packages are forwarded to them please make sure the student’s address is correct in their MyWMyWCUcount (mywcu.wcuwcuu). If your MyWMyWCUdress is different please contact us so we can update our information.

Mail and packages from United States Postal Service (USPS) will be forwarded, but all other packages delivered through UPS, FedFedexround, Express) and DHLDHLll be returned to the sender.
You will also need to return your mailbox key to the Mail Center after moving out of your residence hall.
Student that want to mail their key can do so at this address:

Student MaiMailroompervisor
Att: James Thomas
245 Memorial Dr
Cullowhee, NC 28723

Note: When mailing your key please have the student’s Identification number (920 #), full name, and mailbox number included. A suggestion to protect the key during shipment is to wrap it with paper or between cardboard.

 

If students have any other questions they can call 828.227.3241 or resmailsup@wcuwcuu.

Updated: March 16, 2020

Yes, since the room selection process is a completely online process, the plan for room selection is to proceed as it normally would. 

Updated: March 16, 2020

A comprehensive review of campus events is continuing. Any campus event expecting more than 50 attendees is being canceled and other events with more than 10 are under review. Please be aware that plans are changing as we work to implement COVID-19 prevention strategies such as social distancing and limiting mass gatherings. Other events will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Contact the event sponsor for additional information.

Updated: March 27, 2020 

Cat-Tran service is no longer running on campus as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.

   

Academic Questions

Updated: March 27, 2020

The deadline to withdraw from a course was initially extended to Friday, March 27 and will now be extended to April 30. Additionally, the withdrawals for the spring 2020 semester will not be considered in university withdrawal caps. The withdrawal process will still be electronic but will change after April 30. After the last day of classes, students will need to complete a form that will be available from the Registrar's Office to withdraw from a class.

Updated: March 27, 2020

Students will have the option to receive Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grades for most Spring 2020 undergraduate courses. Once final grades have been posted, students will have the option to request that letter grade(s) be converted to S/U. This will be an option for most undergraduate courses, except for those that require letter grades for external licensure or professional certification. The S/U grading option for graduate courses will depend on the program. 

Updated: March 27, 2020

WCU does not replace grades until a new grade is earned. If you are retaking a class to improve a grade and opt for an S/U, the grade you receive this semester will be used to replace the previously earned grade in the GPA calculation. If you opt to withdraw (with the grade of a W), the original grade will not be excluded from the GPA calculation.

Updated: April 2, 2020

For Summer and Fall 2020, students cannot drop their last class during registration. This is due to a temporary change in the withdrawal process for the Spring 2020 semester. Students who wish to make schedule changes that include dropping their last Summer or Fall 2020 class should email the Registrar's Office to request the drop.

Updated: March 25, 2020

WCU's Division of IT has provided a number of resources to support this transition, from virtual collaboration tools to guidance for off-campus intinternetrvice. You can find those resources available here.

The ability to work remotely and/or participate in remote academic activity typically requires access to the intinternet, in some cases, faster access than what is readily available. For many individuals, this level of service requires a monthly fee that you would prefer to avoid. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly brought this issue to light for many of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Thanks to the support of the FCC and many internet service providers, the issue may be addressed at no additional cost to our community members. The following is a list of potential solutions that may help you be more connected from home, thereby helping WCU to achieve our social-distancing goal.

See IT's guidance for internet service 

Updated: April 28, 2020

Students who complete all academic requirements for graduation at the end of the spring semester will be awarded their degrees and will be able to request official transcripts after all degrees have been certified by the WCU registrar.

Learn More from the Commencement FAQ

Updated: April 28, 2020

We will be completing the Spring 2020 term using alternative instruction modalities, based on guidance from the UNC System Office. Courses for summer will be delivered online.

Updated: April 28, 2020

The spring 2020 semester will not be extended.

Updated: March 16, 2020

Due to the current CorCoronavirustuation, there will be a delay in mailing all printed transcripts. We strongly urge you to order a pdf transcript if the recipient will accept one.

To be considered official, a pdf transcript must be sent directly to the third party. Unfortunately, pdf transcripts are not an option if you have any coursework before Summer 1987.

  

   

  Student Success Resources 

Updated: March 16, 2020

The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC) will offer synchronous and asynchronous services online. WaLWaLC'sbsite includes information about how to access these services:

  • Course tutoring and academic skills consultations will be available through Zoom. Schedule appointments with tutors through Navigate. Instructions for accessing Zoom meetings will be in the “Additional Details” section of your appointment notification email. 
  • WaLWaLCiting tutors and lab report tutors will provide asynchronous feedback on papers. You will submit your papers through a form on our website; the website also includes instructions. Any papers submitted over the weekend will be assigned to tutors the following Monday.

Updated: March 16, 2020

Math Tutoring Center (MTCMTCutors will be available to assist you through Zoom. You will be able to schedule tutoring sessions through Navigate. Detailed instructions for you will be included in regular email announcements and posted to the MTCMTCbsite.

  • The MTCMTCll not host online drop-in tutoring but will have dedicated online tutors for most math courses, including all Liberal Studies math courses.
  • Additional links to online resources (e.g. Khan Academy, SOS Math, DesDesmosouTube) for challenging math content will be available on the MTCMTCbsite.
  • In addition to services available through the WaLWaLCd MTCMTCou have been given access to Brainfuse online tutoring. BraBrainfusefers online academic support and live tutoring in a variety of subjects including: Accounting, Business, Computer Sciences, Spanish, Math, Nursing, Sciences, and Liberal Studies (Psychology, History, Political Science and Sociology). Go to onlinetutoring.wcuwcuu for information on how to access BraBrainfuseuestions about access can be directed to distance@wcuwcuu.

Updated: March 16, 2020

MAPS continues to provide support for students experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Additionally, MAPS and HomHomebasee coordinating a “remote food pantry” on a limited basis. If you are experiencing food insecurity or housing insecurity, please contact jjkelly@wcuwcuu.

On-campus Summer Learning Communities (Catamount Gap and the Academic Success Program) are currently still scheduled. Catamount Gap Abroad has been canceled.

Updated: March 16, 2020

The Advising Center is assisting students via phone (828-227-7753) or Zoom meetings. All Advising Center functions will be delivered remotely.

The Advising Center’s website will provide you with answers to common “how to” instructions as well as direct you to a list of Professional Advisors who can assist you on a walk-in basis during the impacted timeframe.

Updated: March 16, 2020

The Registrar’s Office will continue to function remotely: Services are available via email or phone.

The main phone 828.227.7216 and individual extensions should be accepting calls during working hours.

Transcript production will be limited during this time, with PDF transcripts being the preferred option.

Updated: March 16, 2020

Until further notice, the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) will work remotely but remains available to assist students, faculty, and staff. The OAR removes barriers, supports institutional compliance, and ensures equal access for individuals with disabilities by providing accessibility support services and reasonable accommodations.

OAR uses and provides free KurKurzweil00 accounts to all students.

KurKurzweil00 supports accessible features, testing accommodations, document sharing, text to speech, speech to text, and may other assassistiveds that can help during this period of change.

Access your personalized KurKurzweil00 Account

Updated: March 27, 2020

IT Help Desk Hours:

The Help Desk will be open M-F 7:30am-9pm through April 3. On April 6 we will go back to 7:30am-6:30pm.

Technology Commons Hours:

Effective March 25 until further notice, access to Technology Commons services will be by appointment only.  Our hours will be 8am-5pm, M-F and closed on weekends. The Technology Commons doors will be locked, but we will still be providing students, faculty and staff support by pre-scheduled appointment. All of our services and one-on-one assistance is still available and can be easily scheduled online. These services include equipment checkout, 3D printing, hardware/software repair, accounts and access, and networking support. 

To make an appointment, go to http://calendly.com/techcommons or email us at techcommonssupport@wcuwcuu

WCU's Division of IT has provided a number of resources to support this transition, from virtual collaboration tools to guidance for off-campus intinternetrvice. You can find those resources available here.

Updated: March 16, 2020

Virtual appointments may be booked via myWCU through the Advising/Tutoring quick link and the blue Get Assistance button.

Virtual drop-ins will be available via email at careerservices@wcuwcuu.

If you would like a document reviewed (such as your resume) please let us know what types of opportunities you are using it for so we can provide targeted advice.

CCPD services are available between the hours of 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. For questions, call 828.227.7133.

Updated: March 25, 2020

Effective March 25 until further notice, only Hunter Library faculty and staff (as well as Coulter Faculty Center, Mountain Heritage Center and IT Commons staff) may enter the building.

However, Hunter Library will still provide access to physical materials housed in the library.

Hunter Library will continue to provide a range of services online from our dedicated staff Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm. The library will remain closed on weekends until further notice.

Chat with us for questions about library services and research help. Chat services are available from 8:00 am to Midnight.

 

Updated: March 26, 2020 

Here is a list of resources in Western North Carolina for students and families affected by the coronavirus.

National Resources

Local Resources

Buncombe County

Buncombeschools.org

Parents of children who currently do not have Internet access at home may request a Homework Hotspot for connecting their child's BCSBCS1 device to the Internet.

School Meals

Jackson County

Jcpsnc.org

Jackson County Public Schools will provide free meals for anyone age 1-18 during the extended school closure. For information, call Ashley Taylor at 828-575-1403 or 828-586-2311 ext. 1988.

Swain County

Swain.k12.nc.us

Swain County school bus drivers will run their regular school routes throughout Swain County to deliver free meals to children from 10 a.m. to noon. The bus driver will stop at each bus stop, blow the horn and wait several minutes to see if someone comes out to pick up meals. Children do not have to be enrolled in Swain County schools to receive a meal. Meals will still be available at school cafeterias for pick up from 7:20 a.m. to 2 p.m. 828-488-3129 x 5163 

Macon County

Macon.k12.nc.us

Macon County food distribution sites are open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at Franklin High School, Mountain View Intermediate School, South Macon Elementary School, Highlands School and Nantahala School for free meal pick up. Additionally, buses will run their regular routes during the hours of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to deliver meals to those who cannot pick them up. Meals are free. 

Haywood County

Haywood.k12.nc.us

Haywood County food distribution sites are open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following schools: Bethel Elementary, Bethel Middle, Clyde Elementary, North Canton Elementary, River Bend Elementary, HazHazelwoodementary, MeaMeadowbrookementary, Jonathan Valley Elementary, Waynesville Middle, Pisgah High School and TusTuscolagh School. Meals will include a breakfast and a lunch. 

Buncombe County

Buncombeschools.org
Buncombe County Schools will serve breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to anyone 2 to 18 years of age at the following locations: Black Mountain Primary, Charles D. Owen High, Emma Elementary, Hominy Valley Elementary, Johnston Elementary, North Windy Ridge Intermediate, Oakley Elementary, Pisgah Elementary, W.W. Estes Elementary, WeaWeavervilleementary, West Buncombe Elementary, WooWoodfinementary

Local Food and Meals

Community Table

communitytable.org

The Community Table is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide nutritious meals to Jackson County. Meals are served on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 4-6 p.m. Everyone is welcome and there is never a fee.  As of Monday, March 16th, 2020 all meals will be TO GO ONLY, to reduce the number of people gathering in the dining hall and the number of surfaces being touched by multiple people. You can also learn more on their Facebook page.

MANNA FoodBank

mannafoodbank.org

WNCWNCod Support: If you need access to food stamps, are looking for food resources, or if someone you know doesn’t have access to the intinternetlease call MANNA’s Food Helpline: 1-800-820-1109. A list of nonprofit partners holding free food distributions, meals, and other food-related support, and are located across 16 WNCWNCunties is available here.

YMCA Meals

Ymcawnc.org
The YMCA continues to host regular no-cost mobile produce markets, using pre-packed bags to prevent any additional exposure or contact. Additionally, weekend meals will be served on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Ferguson YMCA, 31 WesWestridgerket Place, Candler, NC 28715.
Bounty & Soul

www.bountyandsoul.org
Bounty & Soul will be host drive-through pick-up sites for participants to collect pre-made healthy food boxes. Sites are open on Tuesdays at the St. James Episcopal Church, 424 W. State St., Black Mountain, parking lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, 117 MonMontreatad, Black Mountain, parking lot from 4 p.m. to  6 p.m. Do not to arrive earlier than the scheduled times.

Local Restaurants

A list of local restaurants offering free meals for school-aged children is being maintained by Family Friendly Asheville.

   

Campus Employment Questions

Updated: March 27, 2020

For temporary or student WCU employees with fluctuating schedules, paid administrative leave will be applied, but consideration should be given to the employee’s average hours per week over the course of a month. Student workers should contact their employer for additional information.

   

Campus Cleaning and Prevention

Updated: March 20, 2020

WCU Dining has approached transmission from several angles:

  • All meals are carry-out only to comply with the Governor’s guidance for restaurants.
  • We have increased the cleaning frequency of all food contact surfaces and utensils. In addition, we are performing a deep cleaning of all facilities during the extended spring break.
  • We have reviewed products in use and have ordered additional supplies to ensure effectiveness against COVID-19.
  • All self-service stations will be discontinued to limit transmission between students.
  • All “push-to-serve” soda fountains were replaced over spring break to move to more sanitary lever-based soda fountains.
  • Use of reusable containers has been suspended by our brand partners, helping to minimize transmission via those vessels (coffee mugs, etc.).
     

Updated: March 20, 2020

The University is reviewing cleaning practices and protocols will be adjusted as necessary to comply with state and federal recommendations.



General Questions 

Updated: March 20, 2020

The university leadership is consulting with public health officials and working with UNC System leaders to ensure the safety and health of our students during this rapidly evolving situation.

The university is not closed, although students are being encouraged to remain off campus at this time. All announcements will be posted on this website as available. Students should continue checking their Catamount email regularly.

Updated: March 17, 2020

As of 3/17/2020, all SoCSoConhletic events have been canceled through the end of the academic year. Please visit Catamount Sports for the most current information.

Updated: March 16, 2020

WCU, like all other constituent institutions within the University of North Carolina System, has been asked by System officials to take certain steps to help limit and mitigate the spread of the virus. Other institutions of higher education across the nation are adopting similar measures. We take these proactive steps out of an abundance of caution and with the health and safety of all members of our university community as our primary concern.

Updated: March 16, 2020

We will post updates to the CorCoronavirusdates web page, as well as communicate with students, faculty and staff through university issued Catamount and WCU email. You can also follow WCU on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates as well.

National and global health updates can be reviewed at the CDC’s website.

Updated: March 20, 2020

Campus Dining Services: 828.227.7396

Residential Living: 828.227.7303 or housingquestions@wcuwcuu

Financial Aid: 828.227.7290 or finaid@wcuwcuu

Student Accounts: 828.227.7324

Registrar: 828.227.7216 or registrar@wcuwcuu

Advising: 828.227.7753 or advisingcenter@wcuwcuu

Graduation: 828.227.7216 or graduation@wcuwcuu

 

For additional contact information go to the Virtual One-Stop 

Updated: March 16, 2020

All students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to exercise the same reasonable precautions used to prevent the spread of viral illnesses, including but not limited to:

  • Wash hands regularly with warm water using soap.
  • Don’t share food and beverages with others.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practice social distancing – maintain distances of 3-7 feet from others when possible.
  • Say no to the handshake – choose fist bumps or other non-contact greetings.
  • Avoid contact with sick persons.
  • Don’t travel if you are sick.
  • Clean commonly used surfaces and objects.
  • Monitor the CDC website for updates.
  • Follow the CDC Guidelines for work and home

Updated: March 16, 2020

If you have traveled within the past 14 days to country with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 travel advisory, the CDC recommends that you self-isolate for a 14-day period of incubation.

You do not need to seek medical care UNLESS you start experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Those symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

If you have traveled to a high risk area, have been exposed to someone who has traveled to a high risk area, or to someone who has been diagnosed with corcoronavirusnd you have fever — whether or not you have other cold symptoms — please call your local health provider.

If you are on campus, all patients to WCU Health Services must call and schedule an appointment. In order to minimize the risk of spreading a potentially infectious illness, Health Services is no longer taking walk-ins. Please call 828.227.7640 for an appointment.

North Carolina Poison Control has established a 24-hour hotline. If you have any questions or concerns about symptoms, suspected corcoronavirus reducing the risk of the virus call 1-866-462-3821.

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