College updates and answers related to COVID-19

Eckerd College continues to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority as college leaders work closely with local, state and federal agencies to share the most updated information.

  • Monitoring Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - July 18, 2020
    Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes, the Sunshine State Conference Presidents Council announced the postponement of all scheduled competitions in the fall sports season. This includes men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check this page regularly as new questions may be added and some answers may change. All updates will be noted with a date.

Has there been a case of coronavirus at Eckerd College?

Updated July 27, 2020

One contractor involved with summer repairs at Eckerd College tested positive for coronavirus. No students, faculty, or staff were asked to self-isolate as a result.

What is the status of coronavirus in the Tampa Bay area?

Updated July 27, 2020

In response to increased cases of coronavirus and a higher test positivity rate in Florida, Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg have instituted mask/face covering orders for all adults. In Pinellas County, where Eckerd College is situated, the two-week average for percent positives is declining. Please check the Plans & Reports for the most up-to-date information.

What is the College doing to address the coronavirus?

Updated July 27, 2020

On March 18, 2020, campus residence halls closed and classroom-based learning was suspended. Remote delivery of courses began on March 30 and will continue through the Summer School Sessions A and B. In June, College leadership announced plans to reopen the campus in August in time for classes to resume on August 31. Learn more about safety protocols and changes to the academic program.

If I have symptoms that seem to indicate possible COVID-19 infection or have been exposed to someone known to have tested positive, what should I do?

Updated June 2, 2020

If you have come into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider or local health department for further instructions.

What tips does the CDC recommend to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, like COVID-19?

Updated July 27, 2020

All members of the Eckerd College community can do their part to prevent the spread of illness, including COVID-19, by following the CDC hygiene recommendations:

  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors when social distancing may be challenging to maintain.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. While not as effective, use hand-sanitizer if you cannot wash with soap and water.
  • Clean your high-touch items frequently. Eckerd College’s cleaning supplies meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for emerging pathogens, and housekeeping staff have started cleaning high-traffic areas more frequently.
  • Do not attend classes, or come to work, if you feel ill.
  • Practice social distancing. Avoid groups larger than 10 people. If you are around other people, keep six feet between you when possible. Avoid hugs, handshakes and close quarters, particularly indoors.
  • If you are suffering from symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing), please call your primary healthcare provider; Pinellas County residents who have these symptoms and also have recently traveled to impacted areas or were exposed to someone known to have tested positive, should call the Pinellas County Health Department at 727.824.6932.

Is Eckerd College still hosting events?

All College Program Series (including Presidential Events Series) and all future intercollegiate and club sporting events are canceled until further notice.

Admission-related

Can prospective students and families interested in Eckerd College plan an Admission visit?

Updated July 27, 2020

We are currently welcoming a limited number of families to campus each week. Appointments must be made in advance at our Admissions website or by calling 727.864.8331. Families of four or fewer who visit can experience a student-led tour. To maintain the health of the Eckerd community, all visitors will have their temperatures taken, and masks must be worn. Social distancing also must be maintained. For those who prefer to continue their college searches virtually, we invite you to learn more about the Eckerd experience through the following ways:

Please be in touch if you have any questions about Eckerd.

For current students and families

Will there be any changes to the academic calendar?

Yes. We have modified the academic calendar for Fall 2020 for maximum flexibility.

  • Block 1: Monday, August 31, through Wednesday, September 23. Each student will take one class. First-year students will experience Autumn Term programming.
  • Block 2: Monday, September 28, through Wednesday, October 21. Each student will take one class.
  • Module: Monday, October 26, through Friday, December 11 (with Thanksgiving break from Thursday, November 26, through Friday, November 27). Each student will take two classes. Please note: Students will no longer have off Wednesday, November 25.

All students are encouraged not to travel between Blocks 1 and 2, between Block 2 and the Module or for Thanksgiving.

Who is the best point of contact if an international student is in need of support?

International students who have questions or need to notify the College of a change in their plans should contact Olivier Debure, Director of International Student Services at debureoc@eckerd.edu.

What should a student do if their family’s financial situation has changed and they may be in need of additional financial aid?

We recognize that the pandemic has caused a change in financial circumstances for some families, and we invite them to contact the Office of Financial Aid at finaidappeals@eckerd.edu to discuss their circumstances.

Will Eckerd continue to charge the same tuition rates for the Fall 2020 semester?

Yes. Eckerd’s education will continue to be high quality and high impact, even at a distance. Neither the value of the information nor the costs associated with instruction have decreased with changes in delivery format. Courses will carry the same credit toward an Eckerd degree, class sizes will be small, and faculty dedication to the learning and success of each student will remain steadfast.

Who can assist me with registration changes if I am unable to reach my mentor?

In addition to faculty mentors, the Office of the Registrar can assist students with registration changes. The Registrar can be reached at registrar@eckerd.edu or 727.864.8217.

How do I apply for funding through the CARES Act?

Following federal guidelines, these grants can be made to eligible students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care expenses. Eligible students who are in need should send a message to emergencyaidrequest@eckerd.edu.

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

Updated July 27, 2020

If you have any additional questions, please email together@eckerd.edu. A member of the planning team will respond as soon as possible. You can also sign up for our Eckerd Alerts to receive updates from the College.

For On-campus Learners

Can a new first-year or transfer student defer admission to Eckerd until Winter or Fall 2021?

Yes. Please contact your admission counselor to discuss this option, or call the Admission Office at 800.456.9009. Requests for deferral must be received no later than August 6.

Can a returning student take a leave of absence for the Fall 2020 semester?

Yes. A student may take a college leave. For more information or to initiate the process, please contact the Housing Office at housing@eckerd.edu.

How will housing assignments and move-in work? How many people can assist each student with move-in?

After receiving a finalized room assignment and move-in date from the Housing Office, students will be permitted to have up to 2 guests assist them with moving into their assigned residence hall room. During this time everybody will need to follow social distancing guidelines and masks must be worn at all times. Any guests who are not following these protocols will be asked to leave campus immediately. Guests are only permitted to be in the room during scheduled move-in and they need to be off-campus four hours after the student receives their room key.

What will the campus dining experience be like?

Bon Appétit Management Company, the College’s food service vendor, has developed protocols for safer food handling and service. Those protocols include:
All food in the main cafeteria will be served by food service employees as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Disinfecting and sanitizing of all highly touched surfaces will take place every 30 minutes.
Food in the Pub and CEC cafeteria will be grab-and-go only.
No interior seating will be available, but outdoor covered seating will be expanded at the main cafeteria.
Dishware will be eco-friendly but disposable.
All food outlets will have capacity limits and extended hours.
Additional food trucks and food kiosks will provide creative and delicious food options.

Find more information about Bon Appétit’s plans.

What is the testing protocol?

All students are required to take a COVID-19 saliva test developed by Rutgers University and administered by Vault Health prior to arrival on campus. The test must be taken and results received prior to traveling to campus. If results are positive, students must remain home until they are free of infection.

After arrival, students will be required to download a symptom monitoring app to their mobile phone and log the results daily. The College may request to see the app records during times of heightened awareness. Bayfront Health will provide on-campus coronavirus testing in the health clinic. Symptomatic or recently exposed students, faculty and staff should self-isolate and call ahead to 727.864.8326 to schedule an appointment.

What factors are you considering to determine opening/closing?

Eckerd College is monitoring two key epidemiological data points to inform decisions on college operations: 7-day average of percent positive COVID-19 tests in Pinellas County and Florida and daily changes in hospital capacity, specifically ICU capacity, within Pinellas County. More information about these data points is available for review.

For Remote Learners

How will remote courses be offered to accommodate time zone differences?

Courses will be taught synchronously according to Eastern Standard Time. Students should consider that when making any schedule adjustments for remote delivery.

Are there courses not available via remote delivery?

Due to the nature of the courses, faculty are unable to offer certain material via remote delivery. Students currently scheduled for these courses who must make changes to their schedules should speak with their mentors.