RAS COVID-19 FAQs

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Last update: May 19, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Lehigh University is committed to protecting the health and safety of our community and to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As of March 12, 2020, the University has determined that all courses will be taught remotely beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through the remainder of the semester (including final exams, concluding Wednesday, May 13). Students should   return home or remain home to continue their coursework. We will continue to update the campus community during this evolving situation. In the event of suspended University operations or other changes in these plans, further information will be provided. Please refer to our website for answers to general academic questions related to COVID-19, or visit the University’s page dedicated to providing campus updates related to Lehigh’s response to COVID-19. Graduate students should also consider visiting the FAQ site established by Deputy Provost Beth Dolan for additional information specific to graduate studies.

Public health officials recommend that people potentially exposed to the virus, or those demonstrating symptoms consistent with COVID-19, self-isolate and stay home from school and work. Additionally, the University requires that individuals who have traveled from countries and locations the CDC has identified as “Warning Level 3” and “Alert Level 2” stay at home and self monitor for symptoms for 14 days before returning to campus. Faculty have been asked to accommodate students who will miss class or assignments as a result of COVID-19. 

Upcoming Spring 2020 Semester Key Dates

  • March 30-April 7: Common Hour Exams
  • April 17: Last day to withdraw from full-term spring courses **updated**

Additional dates and deadlines can be found on our Academic Calendar. Students and faculty should be familiar with the upcoming dates and deadlines as the University has not modified the Spring 2020 semester timeline at this time.

Accessing Student Services

While students are completing coursework remotely, University offices will remain open at this time. Students are encouraged to use email and telephone during this time to communicate with University offices and complete University business. Please consult University websites to identify email and phone numbers and submit required forms as attachments to emails. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We have attempted to answer some of the most common questions received during the evolving COVID-19 situation. As the situation changes, we will update our frequently asked questions, noting updates dates in parentheses after the question. 

Honors, Awards, and Cumulative GPA During COVID-19

How will choosing the CR/DCR/NCR option affect my eligibility for the President’s Scholar award? (NEW as of May 19 at 12:00 PM)

To be eligible for the President’s Scholar award, students must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.75, have completed at least 7 full-time semesters, and must complete a degree. Selecting the credit/no-credit grading system will not disqualify a student from receiving the President’s Scholar award as long as the criteria noted above are still met. Though the online policy also notes that students must have 92 graded credits, we will consider courses with a CR or DCR grade as ‘graded credits’ so as not to create any additional hardships when deciding between letter grades or the credit/no-credit option. Additional questions about the President’s Scholar program should be sent to ras@lehigh.edu.

How will choosing the CR/DCR/NCR option affect my major GPA for graduation? (NEW as of May 19 at 12:00 PM)

Only courses receiving a letter grade will be calculated into your GPA. Courses taken CR/DCR/NCR will count toward graduation requirements, credit hours, and prerequisites, but will not factor into your GPA. If you have concerns about meeting the minimum major GPA requirement for graduation, you should consult with your advisor as soon as possible for guidance.

How will choosing the CR/DCR/NCR option affect my cumulative GPA for graduation honors? (NEW as of May 19 at 12:00 PM)

Only courses receiving a letter grade will be calculated into your GPA. Courses taken CR/DCR/NCR will count toward graduation requirements, credit hours, and prerequisites, but will not factor into your cumulative GPA, which is used to determine graduation honors. If you have questions about your GPA, you should consult with your advisor as soon as possible for guidance.

How will the CR/DCR/NCR grading options affect Dean’s list? (NEW as of May 13)

Lehigh University will be suspending the publication of a Dean's List for spring 2020.

Why did the university elect not to publish a dean’s list for the spring 2020 semester? (NEW as of May 19 at 12:00 PM)

Lehigh implemented a number of temporary adjustments to academic policies and processes to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, students have been given the option to take CR/DCR/NCR marks rather than letter grades on a course-by-course basis, with an opportunity to review the final semester grades before making the choice. Also, final exams were offered under extraordinary conditions. These developments will make spring 2020 a singularly complex semester from the standpoint of student academic records.

Although the CR system adds flexibility for our students, the same element of choice introduces the possibility of ambiguous results. Under this system, GPAs from the spring 2020 semester will be determined by letter grades recorded after students see those grades; the choice of CR for some courses will suppress any disappointing grades from appearing on the transcript. Essentially, the Registrar will be calculating a GPA based on a student's “self-curated” grades. There would be disparate impacts on certain classes of students who could not take CR marks instead of letter grades, such as ROTC students. Consider the following example: two students earning three A- grades and one B grade for the semester. A student who could take a CR grade instead of the B would earn a GPA of 3.60 would make the Dean’s List; another student with identical grades, who had to take letter grades, would earn a 3.52 and fall short.

Lehigh recognizes that this unprecedented situation created enormous challenges for students, which may have impacted their ability to learn in ways that are unrelated to individual effort, preparation before the outbreak, ongoing progress toward mastery, and ultimate performance. The University knows that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted individual families differently. After due consideration, Lehigh reached the conclusion that the publication of a Dean's List could not be accomplished equitably during this time of significant disruption.

How will the suspension of the dean’s list for the spring 2020 semester be recorded in my academic records? (NEW as of May 19 at 12:00 PM)

The suspension of the Dean’s List will be noted on the transcript along with the explanation regarding the Spring 2020 grading and COVID-19 impact. Students who have been on the Dean’s List every semester can still accurately claim that they have been on the Dean’s List every semester it was offered. Because the Dean's List is a semester-specific honor, this decision will not affect other honors or recognition students have achieved. Final grades recorded on the student’s transcript for the Spring 2020 semester will still count toward graduation honors bestowed on Lehigh undergraduates upon completing their degrees, as follows: cumulative GPA 3.40 for honors; 3.60 for high honors; and 3.80 for highest honors.

Coursework and Exams

How long will classes be online only? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

Effective March 12, Lehigh University will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible, for the remainder of the semester (including final exams, concluding Wednesday, May 13). Students should review Preparing for Remote Learning: Ten Crucial Steps for Students prior to the start of online courses on Monday, March 16, 2020. Students should contact LTS for assistance in using any University software required for the online continuation of a course. Adaptation to the evolving situation may require changes to the syllabus, so students should remain in communication with their instructors. Given the hands-on nature of certain classes, instructors will communicate their specific instructional plans to students. In all cases, students should contact their instructors with questions about assignments, due dates, exams, and other elements of the course.     

Can I attend classes in person if I live nearby? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

No. Effective March 12, Lehigh University will begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes, to the greatest extent possible for the remainder of the semester (including final exams, concluding Wednesday, May 13). Although there may be extenuating circumstances for some students to remain on campus, their instruction will be remote. Students will need to be prepared for extremely limited on-campus activities and interactions.  

How can I complete my coursework in the event of a prolonged absence? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

At this time, the University has transitioned all courses to online teaching for the remainder of the semester (including final exams, concluding Wednesday, May 13). Adaptations may require changes to the syllabus and assignments for the next two weeks. If students meet course expectations as set by their instructors, they will receive credit for the semester. For questions about specific courses, students should contact the instructor of the course.

Will my common hour or final exams be cancelled if the University temporarily suspends operations? (updated April 10 at 4:30 PM)

At this time the University has not temporarily suspended operations, but instead, all courses will be offered remotely beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, and continuing for the remainder of the semester (including final exams, concluding Wednesday, May 13). Students should consult with their instructors regarding the method for taking their common hour exams. Review our Exam page for more information on current exam schedules.

How will the final exam schedule change to accomodate the University's shift to remote teaching? (NEW as of April 10 at 4:30 PM)

The schedule posted online will not be changed. However, in our current remote learning environment, with students in many different parts of the world-, there will be accomodations made for most classes offering what were originally planned as in-class final exams. As guidance, the Educational Policy Committee has established the following expectations:

  • First, a student is allowed to request an alternate exam time for any exam that falls between midnight and 8:00 AM in the time zone where they are residing, even if the student does not have a conflicting exam. This alternate exam may fall on either the original exam date or on the last final exam date, which is Wednesday, May 13.
  • Second, given the remote learning structure this semester, the Educational Policy Committee has specified that open-book exams that replace exams originally scheduled as in-class exams may not take more than three hours to complete, and that they may be taken at any point in the 24- hour period that ends with the end of the official exam time. (This means that students may begin the exam at different times during that 24 hours.)

Your instructor will make any decisions about how and when to adapt testing procedures to meet these expectations. Please contact your instructor to confirm the arrangements for your class.

Will there be a change to the course withdrawal deadline as a result of the transition to remote learning? (updated April 3 at 4:30 PM)

The course withdrawal deadline has been moved to April 17, allowing an extra week for instructors to provide updated grades and for students to have ample time to make a decision based on those grades. To withdraw, students must submit a completed Course Withdrawal form to withdraw from full-semester courses by April 10, and to withdraw from second half of term courses by April 17. The Course Withdrawal form is processed via DocuSign and uses electronic signatures for your instructor and advisor; scans of the form are no longer required.

Since courses have transitioned to 100% online, should I return home to complete my coursework? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

Yes, students should complete their coursework from home. Students should review Preparing for Remote Learning: Ten Crucial Steps for Students prior to the start of courses on Monday, March 16, 2020. Students should contact LTS for assistance in using any University software required for the completion of your course.

Now that classes have transitioned to be 100% online, will my class time change if my instructor is using synchronous instructional methods? (NEW as of March 13 at 10:30 AM)

No, your class time should remain the same (current time per Eastern Daylight Time) regardless of the type of online instructional method your instructor is using. We recognize that this may require some students to have courses in the very early morning or late into the evening. Students should discuss any challenges with participating in synchronous online courses due to extreme time differences with their instructor.

I am completing my study abroad courses remotely. What do I need to do to ensure that I receive my approved transfer credit?

Though you are completing your courses remotely, you are still required to adhere to the Study Abroad Transfer Credit Policies and to earn a “C” or higher in each course to receive any approved transfer credit. Upon the completion of your coursework, you must ensure that your study abroad provider/institution sends an official transcript to Lehigh University to receive your eligible transfer credit. Transfer credit will be awarded for all eligible coursework; grades from the study abroad institution do not transfer and are not calculated in the Lehigh GPA.

I’m a high school scholar. Can I still complete my coursework if it is 100% online? What should I do if my high school closes?

Yes, you will still be able to complete your coursework with the same access as other Lehigh students. High school students should check with their school district regarding policies or expectations should your high school close due to coronavirus.

I’m a graduate student and I have additional questions that are not addressed here. Who should I ask? (NEW as of March 24 at 3:30 PM)

Graduate students should review the FAQ site established by Deputy Provost Beth Dolan for additional guidance on specifics related to graduate education. If you have additional questions, you can submit them on that website.

Grades

What is the process for selecting the credit/no-credit grading option? (updated April 7 at 12:30 PM))

Undergraduate students may opt-in to the credit/no credit grading system on a course-by-course basis beginning on April 7, and can continue to make changes until 11:59 PM EDT on Monday, May 25, 2020, which is nine days after grades will be made available to view in Banner. Selections can be made in Banner; detailed instructions are available online.

Graduate students are not eligible for the CR/DCR/NCR grading method and should refer to the message previously sent from the Provost regarding grading methods.

What is the difference between the CR, DCR, and NCR grades? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

CR: Satisfactory. Replaces grades of C- or better in the regular grading system. Credit is granted for this course, and it will fulfill college and major requirements, even in cases where a grade of P (passing) does not. Courses graded with CR meet prerequisite requirements for the next-level course.

DCR: Credit is given, but this grade may not be satisfactory for certain requirements. Replaces grades of D+, D, or D- in the regular grading system. DCR grades will apply to requirements in the same way that D grades apply in the A-F grading system. Students should refer to the University Catalog to determine whether courses earning D grades will count for prerequisites—e.g., to move from MATH 021 to MATH 022—or count toward a specific major or college requirement.

NCR: No Credit or not satisfactory. Replaces an F in the regular grading system. No credit is granted for this course.

CR, DCR, and NCR are not factored into the GPA. This differs from Lehigh’s normal Pass/Fail (P/F) rules, in which an earned F grade would be included in the GPA.

Will my instructor know that I’ve selected the credit/no-credit grading option? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

No. Faculty will continue to assess student performance in a course and report a final letter grade as usual. Students will be able to see these final grades in Banner at the end of the semester. At that time, any course that a student has selected to apply the credit/no-credit grading system will be changed to a CR, DCR, or NCR, as applicable. Once all grades are finalized, instructors and advisors will be able to see a student’s grades in Banner, just as they do now.

Is the credit/no-credit grading system the same as requesting pass/fail grading? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

No. Because there are many limitations with pass/fail grading, the University has selected the credit/no-credit grading system, allowing greater flexibility in terms of course usage and applicability. Courses graded with CR, DCR, or NCR will not count toward the existing limit of six P/F courses in a four-year degree program, nor will there be a limit on the number of Spring 2020 courses that a student may convert to the CR grading system. Courses that receive a grade of CR will fulfill college and major requirements, even in cases where a grade of P (passing) would not.

Will courses graded with CR, DCR, or NCR be factored into my GPA? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

Grades of CR, DCR, and NCR will not be computed in a student’s GPA.

What if I’ve selected the credit/no-credit grading system and later need to verify the grades I actually earned? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

Once the deadline for making grading selections passes, students may no longer change their selection. However, University officials will always have access to the original grade submitted if needed for internal purposes (for example, the pre-health advisor could use them to inform recommendation letters, and they could help inform the Standing on Students Committee in decisions on certain petitions).

How will my academic standing be determined? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

Academic standing will be evaluated in accordance with the policies noted in the University Catalog. Since grades of CR, DCR, and NCR are not included in the GPA, courses with this grading scheme will not be considered when evaluating academic standing. 

What if I am repeating a course? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

When you repeat a course, the most recent grade is calculated in the GPA, though all grades will continue to be displayed on the academic transcript. If you select the credit/no-credit option for a course you are repeating, the grade previously earned in a prior semester will remain calculated in your GPA, but a grade of CR in Spring 2020 will meet a prerequisite and allow you to continue to the next-level course. Students can only earn credit for one instance of a repeated course. Grades of CR and DCR will allow you to earn credit for a course that you previously failed. It is important to note that this will count toward the three-attempt limit on repeated courses. It is strongly recommended that students discuss repeated courses with their advisors if they are considering the credit/no-credit option for a repeated course.  

Can I choose the credit/no-credit option for some of my courses and choose to receive grades for others? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

Yes, you may determine the courses for which you would like to select CR/DCR/NCR grading and those which you would prefer to receive a standard letter grade, beginning in early April and ending a week after final grades become available to students. Any course that has been assigned a CR, DCR, or NCR grade will not be calculated in your GPA; any course receiving a letter grade will be calculated in your GPA.

Can a graduate student taking an undergraduate course choose the CR grading option? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

No. The CR grading option is not available for graduate students taking undergraduate courses. The CR grading option does not fit well with requirements for graduate courses, good standing, and graduate degrees. As Provost Pat Farrell and Deputy Provost Beth Dolan explained in their message, the current graduate course grading structure provides flexible options to accommodate graduate students' situations.

Can an undergraduate student taking a graduate course choose the CR grading option? (NEW as of March 20 at 4:20 PM)

Yes, but carefully think through the consequences of choosing this option. While we can assure a student that a course earning a CR grade will apply to Lehigh's undergraduate degree requirements, we do not make that same assurance for Lehigh's graduate degree requirements. If there is any possibility that an undergraduate student might want to count a course toward graduate program requirements, we advise against selecting the CR grading option.

My final grade depends on a group project/presentation/etc. How would I complete this? (updated March 13 at 10:30 AM)

Students should speak with their instructors to develop a plan for the completion of coursework that would require in-person involvement. Faculty are expected to offer flexibility for students and to revise assignments as appropriate to accommodate differences in online course structure.

What should I do if I am experiencing extreme stress due to the possible coronavirus outbreak?

Students who are experiencing stress as a result of the virus outbreak are recommended to speak with the Counseling Center for support and to receive guidance on the best way to proceed. Counselors are available and invite students to call the center to schedule an appointment to help address their concerns, anxiety, and coping. The University Counseling Center can be reached at 610-758-3880, Monday. - Friday. 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM EDT. Overnight on-call services are also available and students can be connected to a clinician by calling this same number.

Is the credit/no-credit grading option available for study abroad courses? (NEW as of March 30 at 2:30 PM)

No; the credit/no-credit grading option only applies to courses offered directly through Lehigh University. Successfully completed study abroad coursework will be applied to the Lehigh transcript as transfer credit. Grades from study abroad institutions do not transfer to Lehigh and do not count toward the Lehigh GPA. Study abroad courses will appear on a Lehigh transcript with the grade of “TR,” the University’s grade designation for transfer credit. Additionally, a notation will be added to the Lehigh transcript to indicate that the credit was awarded through a Lehigh study abroad program and will specify the location of the study abroad experience.

My study abroad school has changed to a pass/fail grading system. Will I still receive transfer credit? (NEW as of March 30 at 2:30 PM)

If your study abroad institution has changed to an alternative grading scheme as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Registration & Academic Services will still evaluate the coursework to determine eligibility for transfer credit. In this instance, we will be flexible to ensure that you receive the transfer credit you deserve for the experience you completed.

Graduation

Will an extended University closure affect my graduation? (updated April 3 at 4:30 PM)

At this time, there are no plans for an extended University closure and the University will make every effort to ensure that graduation processes continue as planned. Though changes to policies and procedures may require additional processing time at the end of the semester, and the commencement ceremony has been postponed, the University has no intention to change the published spring degree awarding date of May 18, 2020. Should the University pursue an extended closure that affects graduation, additional information will be shared at that time.

Would the University temporarily suspending operations have a negative impact on my academic progress or graduation status? (updated March 24 at 3:30 PM)

At this time, University offices are working remotely and are making every effort to continue with business as usual. Registration & Academic Services is continuously planning to ensure that graduation clearance and grading processes will continue as scheduled. Changes to the grading scheme may require additional processing time at the end of the semester, but will not prevent the awarding of University degrees.

I’m completing my dissertation this semester. Will I still be able to defend? How will I submit my paperwork? (updated March 24 at 3:30 PM)

Doctoral students should contact their dissertation advisor to discuss options for defending their dissertation through ZoomStudents will be permitted to submit paperwork electronically, and should discuss this process with their graduate program manager. Additional information is available in the communication that was sent to graduate students on 3/19/20.

Will commencement still be held? (updated April 3 at 4:30 PM)

As announced by President Simon on March 31, 2020, the commencement ceremony has been postponed. The University plans to hold a commencement celebration later this year, and will share updates with the campus community as they become available.

Now that the commencement ceremony has been postponed, do I need to notify Registration & Academic Services of my plans for attendance? (NEW as of April 3 at 4:30 PM)

At this time, you do not have to inform us of your plans regarding attendance at the ceremony. Once the date for the postponed ceremony is confirmed, RAS and/or University Events will provide more information on how we plan to collect attendance information. In the meantime, be sure you have followed the necessary procedures to apply for graduation if you will be completing your degree requirements. 

General Office Services

Will registration for summer and fall 2020 occur as expected? (updated March 30 at 2:30 PM)

Registration for summer and fall courses will still take place online beginning the week of April 13, but we have made adjustments to the scheduled dates and times for each class level. Be sure to review our Registration page to confirm the date and time of your registration period. The change in schedule is intended to allow students to have more time for discussions with advisors, to allow ample opportunity to resolve registration issues, and accommodate students in a variety of time zones.Students should plan to have registration discussions with their advisors using resources, such as Zoom, phone, or email prior to the start of their registration period. Your alternate pin, provided by your advisor, is always required for registration. Registration & Academic Services will be available through live chat during regular business hours throughout the registration process, and will be available until 6:00 PM EDT on each day that registration opens for a new group of students.

How can I submit paperwork if I’m unable to come to the office? (updated March 30 at 2:30 PM)

Registration & Academic Services will accept scanned or photographed paperwork via email at ras@lehigh.edu. If your paperwork requires approvals from University officials and you are unable to obtain physical signatures, you may include email approvals from those individuals when submitting your paperwork. We are working on adding an electronic signature option to many of our forms, and hope to have the updated forms available to campus in the near future.

If the University suspends operations, can I still order a transcript? (updated March 30 at 2:30 PM)

Yes, transcript requests are submitted online and are fulfilled by our provider, the National Student Clearinghouse. Since all University offices are currently working remotely, students will not have the option to pick up transcripts from Registration & Academic Services, but all other delivery methods (mail, email, etc.) will continue. Refer to our Transcripts page for more information on requesting a transcript.

If the University suspends operations, can I still obtain verification of my enrollment?

Yes, enrollment verifications can always be obtained online, either through the National Student Clearinghouse, or by using our internal enrollment verification form. Be sure to review our Enrollment Verification page for more information.

If I attended another institution and have mailed a paper transcript to your office, will my transfer credit still be processed? (updated March 30 at 2:30 PM)

Currently, University offices are operating on a normal schedule and transfer credit will be processed within our standard one-week timeline. Since all University offices are currently working remotely, there may be a delay in processing paper transcripts that have been mailed to our office. If the transfer credit is urgent, we recommend requesting an official, electronic transcript from the other institution (if available), sent to ras@lehigh.edu. We will do our best to continue processing documents sent to us electronically as quickly as possible. Refer to our Transfer Credit page for more information regarding University transfer credit policies and procedures.

Faculty

What are my grading options for my spring 2020 courses? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

By default, you should assign grades as originally planned for your course and as outlined on your syllabus. As the University has transitioned to online instruction, assignments may need to be altered to provide fair assessment to all students.  Refer to our Grading page for general information on assigning and submitting grades.

Should an incomplete (N, X, Z) grade be assigned? (updated March 13 at 11:40 AM)

Normal guidelines for the assignment of incomplete grades should be used in determining whether a student should receive an incomplete grade. When calculating a parenthetical grade, faculty should assign zeros for all remaining assignments prior to determining the grade. Although the University transitioned to fully online instruction for the remainder of the semester, faculty should not assign incomplete grades to their entire class due to any challenges experienced making the transition to online coursework.

Now that classes have transitioned to be 100% online, what time should my course be held if I am using synchronous instructional methods? (NEW as of March 13 at 11:40 AM)

Your class time should remain the same (current time per Eastern Daylight Time) regardless of the type of online instructional method you are using to prevent conflicts for enrolled students. We recognize that this may require some students to have courses in the very early morning or late into the evening. If students have any challenges with participating in synchronous online courses due to extreme time differences (e.g. 12 hours), instructors should consider alternate arrangements for those individual students on a case-by-case basis.

How can I learn more about teaching and learning during the coronavirus?