Skip to main content

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 Friday, March 27. 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.

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

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


Campus Employment

Cleaning / Prevention


Housing and Dining




On-Campus Housing and Dining Questions

Will the dining hall and other food service locations are open on campus?

Updated: March 26, 2020

All food operations will be moved to Brown Hall beginning Thursday, March 26. As Dining Services attempts to effectively and efficiently operate, operations will be consolidated to Brown Hall with the P.O.D., The Lodge at Brown, and the Brown Starbucks becoming the dining options available on campus. Additionally, the Catamount Eats food truck will be available.  Updated hours through April 1st are as follows:

The Lodge at Brown:  7 days a week: Lunch from 11am - 2pm, Dinner from 4:30pm - 7:00pm.

Catamount Eats Food Truck*: 7 days a week: Breakfast from 7:30am - 9am, Lunch from 11am - 2pm.

POD Market at Brown*: Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday: 11am - 8pm.

Starbucks at Brown: Monday - Friday: 7am - 5pm, Saturday and Sunday: 11am - 8pm

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

Are students Currently Able to live in their residence halls?

Updated: March 27, 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 here 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 COVID-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, 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 will come at a later date

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

Will students be charged the $800 Cancellation Fee for checking out of the residence halls?

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.

Is there a move-out day scheduled?

Updated: March 27, 2020

While Residential Living is not formally checking any students out of their spring semester assignments at this time, students may choose to take everything from their rooms and return keys as posted in the residence halls.

Reasons for this include: Residential Living has minimal staff on-hand (RAs, etc.) to assist with the normal check-out process.

Pending further instructions from Residential Living, 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.

Will students be reimbursed for meal plans and housing expenses?

Updated: March 17, 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 will come at a later date. When the decision is made, the information will be available here.

Is the Bookstore open?

Updated: March 26, 2020

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Bookstore is closed to the public. At this time, we are fulfilling online orders.
All other Book Rental return procedures will be announced at a later date.
Please visit us at or call us at 828.227.7346 for additional assistance.


Will the mail room be open?

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 MyWCU account ( If your MyWCU address 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, Fedex (Ground, Express) and DHL will 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 Mailroom Supervisor
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

Will room selection continue on the same schedule?

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. 

Which campus events are being canceled or postponed?

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

Is WCU moving the last day to drop a class with a 'W' deadline?

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.

will students have the option to receive s/u grades in lieu of a letter grade for courses taught spring 2020?

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. 

what happens if i am retaking a class for grade replacement this semester and choose the s/u option?

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.

where can i find a list of spring 2020 courses that are excluded from the S/U grading option?

Updated: April 2, 2020

A list of courses excluded from the S/U grading option can be found here.

i am unable to drop my last class for the summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semester. What should I do?

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.

are there any resources for accessing Internet off-campus?

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 internet service. You can find those resources available here.

The ability to work remotely and/or participate in remote academic activity typically requires access to the internet and, 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

Will course attendance policies be amended to allow for students not to attend in person?

Updated: March 27, 2020

The vast majority of courses are now being delivered online or other alternative delivery method. Contact your instructor if you have specific questions about expectations.

Will this impact commencement or prevent students from graduating?

Updated: March 27, 2020

In response to the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic, Western Carolina University is postponing all spring commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 8 and 9, and will announce by April 3 plans for rescheduling the events. 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

Will regular course delivery resume in the future?

Updated: March 27, 2020

We will be completing the Spring 2020 term using alternative instruction modalities, this is based on guidance from the UNC System Office.

Will there be an additional week added to the end of the semester?

Updated: March 16, 2020

At this point in time, we do not have plans to extend the semester by a week.

What will happen to labs and other classes (studio classes, student teaching, etc.) that can’t be moved online?

Updated: March 16, 2020

These types of courses will be held and/or modified depending on the individual course. We are recommending that students contact their instructors for further information.

Does this impact online graduate programs?

Updated: March 13, 2020

Online graduate programs will continue as originally designed. We are recommending that students contact their instructors for further information.

How does this impact ongoing distance classes?

Updated: March 13, 2020

Distance classes will continue after the extended spring break. We are recommending that students contact their instructors for further information.

How will internships be affected?

Updated: March 13, 2020

Internships will be continued as established pending changes at the host institution/organization. For internships managed by the Center for Career and Professional Development, guidance will be going out to supervisors asking them to consider virtual projects on an as needed basis.

How is wcu supporting students studying abroad in europe? how will they earn academic credit if they return home?

Updated: March 13, 2020

All students studying abroad have been recalled per order of the UNC System President.  We are working with our international partners to explore options for students to complete required course work online. If that is not possible, we encourage students to work with their academic advisor to determine the best mitigation plan.

How will this impact students who are full-time student teaching?

Updated: March 13, 2020

We recommend that students contact their instructors for further information.

are students still expected to participate in clinical rotations?

Updated: March 27, 2020

Students who have questions about clinical hours should contact their instructors/supervisors for further information.


Updated: March 16, 2020

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, 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 

Writing and Learning Commons

Updated: March 16, 2020

The Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC) will offer synchronous and asynchronous services online. WaLC's website 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. 
  • WaLC writing 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.

Math Tutoring Center

Updated: March 16, 2020

Math Tutoring Center (MTC) tutors 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 MTC website.

  • The MTC will 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, Desmos, YouTube) for challenging math content will be available on the MTC website.
  • In addition to services available through the WaLC and MTC, you have been given access to Brainfuse online tutoring. Brainfuse offers 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 for information on how to access Brainfuse. Questions about access can be directed to

Mentoring and Persistence to Success

Updated: March 16, 2020

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

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

Advising Center

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.

Registrar’s Office

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.

Office of Accessibility Resources

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 Kurzweil 3000 accounts to all students.

Kurzweil 3000 supports accessible features, testing accommodations, document sharing, text to speech, speech to text, and may other assistive aids that can help during this period of change.

Access your personalized Kurzweil 3000 Account

IT Help Desk

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 or email us at

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

Center for Career and Professional Development

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

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. 

Hunter Library

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. Learn how to access library physical items from 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.


Additional Resources

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

Parents of children who currently do not have Internet access at home may request a Homework Hotspot for connecting their child's BCS 1:1 device to the Internet.

School Meals

Jackson County

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 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 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 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, Hazelwood Elementary, Meadowbrook Elementary, Jonathan Valley Elementary, Waynesville Middle, Pisgah High School and Tuscola High School. Meals will include a breakfast and a lunch. 

Buncombe County
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, Weaverville Elementary, West Buncombe Elementary, Woodfin Elementary

Local Food and Meals

Community Table

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

WNC Food Support: If you need access to food stamps, are looking for food resources, or if someone you know doesn’t have access to the internet, please 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 WNC counties is available here.

YMCA Meals
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 Westridge Market Place, Candler, NC 28715.
Bounty & Soul
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 Montreat Road, 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

i am currently a student employee (non-work study). given the transition to online/distance course delivery, am i still allowed to work?

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

How is WCU Dining altering current sanitation practices to mitigate the possible transmission of illness?

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.).

Is the campus increasing sanitation practices in public spaces on campus?

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 

When will campus give updates on next steps?

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.

are athletic events being held?

Updated: March 17, 2020

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

Why is Western being so reactionary about this? Why follow the lead of the UNC System?

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 Coronavirus Updates 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.

Who can I contact with questions for Dining, Residential Living, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, etc.?

Updated: March 20, 2020

Campus Dining Services: 828.227.7396

Residential Living: 828.227.7303 or

Financial Aid: 828.227.7290 or

Student Accounts: 828.227.7324

Registrar: 828.227.7216 or

Advising: 828.227.7753 or

Graduation: 828.227.7216 or


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 coronavirus, and 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 coronavirus or reducing the risk of the virus call 1-866-462-3821.

Office of Web Services