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) - October 14, 2020
    The College will begin surveillance testing for COVID-19 next week. All students will return for Winter Term, which will begin January 11, 2021. Students will be required to do their own pre-arrival COVID-19 testing and provide the College with documentation of a negative result. Spring Semester will begin February 8, and Spring Break will be reduced to one day, March 15. Read more about these plans in the letter dated October 14.

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 October 21, 2020

All active COVID-19 active cases, quarantine and isolation totals are available on our Plans & Reports page.

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

Updated October 21, 2020

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 available on our Plans & Reports page.

What is the College doing to address the coronavirus?

Updated October 21, 2020

Students have the choice of attending in-person classes or remaining remote for the entire academic year. On-campus policies include mandatory face covering, cleaning and disinfection, dining and residence hall protocols. Students are required to submit negative COVID-19 test results and adhere to the Eckerd Together Promise & Student Requirements. All faculty, staff and students on-campus are subject to the mandatory surveillance testing 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 October 21, 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 the on-campus Health Center (students) or your healthcare provider (employees and staff) further instructions.

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

Updated October 21, 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 clean 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, maintain at least six feet between you when possible. Avoid hugs, handshakes and close quarters, particularly indoors.
  • If you are suffering from symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing), please call the campus Health Center or your primary healthcare provider; Pinellas County residents who have these symptoms and also have recently traveled recently 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) will be closed to the public and hosted via digital platforms. Intercollegiate and club sporting events are postponed 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?

Updated October 21, 2020

Yes. We have modified the academic calendar for Spring 2021 for maximum flexibility.

Winter Term (January 11–February 4, 2021)

  • Due to global travel restrictions, all Winter Term courses will be held on campus beginning Monday, January 11, which is one week later than our usual Winter Term start date.
  • Winter Term move-in for returning students will be phased from January 6–9. Students will receive notification of their scheduled move-in dates for Winter Term the week of November 16.
  • New students and returning students who are first-time campus residents for this academic year will move in on January 8. The assigned time for move in will be communicated during the week of November 16.
  • Monday, January 18, will be a day off in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • Pre-arrival testing will be required. (Please see below for details.)

Spring Semester (February 8–May 21, 2021)

  • Spring Semester will start Monday, February 8, and will follow the 14-week semester format with no blocks or modules.
  • Spring Break will be reduced to one day, Monday, March 15.
  • Friday, April 2, will be a day off in observance of Good Friday.

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 Spring 2021 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 Spring 2021 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.

Randomly selected students, faculty and staff will take part in weekly surveillance testing on-campus. Participants will be notified on Friday to report for testing on Monday. Compliance is mandatory. Pool results will be shared on our Plans & Reports page.

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 some instruction via remote delivery. Classes unavailable to remote learners will be posted before Spring Semester 2021 scheduling opens.