Emergency Communications - Frequently Asked Questions


Updated September 2nd, 2020


Reopening of Campus Fall 2020 


Greenville University is a place that believes in hope. We have planned diligently and prayerfully to be able to offer our students a comprehensive GU education and experience, while following the necessary protocols and recommendations from our health officials. We understand that there are many questions about joining a college community this fall. We have prepared this list of Frequently Asked Questions and will continue to provide an open forum for Q&A throughout the summer.  

Join the conversation! Students and parents are invited to join GU each Wednesday and Friday at 3pm central and each Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm central until August 13th when we begin moving in groups of students. Zoom in with us at:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072675880

Q: Is the plan still to have in-person classes beginning this August? 

A: Absolutely. We have been hard at work this summer on plans that provide an optimal GU experience and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our internal and external community. GU will provide rapid response saliva testing which will result in more freedoms for students and a comprehensive way to safely control the spread of the virus. We have concrete plans in place in the event of positive testing to care for our students and our community. 

Q: Will GU have fall sports?

A: Our conference has stated that Men's and Women's cross country and tennis will continue to compete. Men's and Women's soccer and volleyball conference competition will be postponed until spring. UMAC, our football conference decided that season play will be moved to the Spring.  However, a few schools who have rapid response testing in place, may play a few games in the fall. This is still under review by conference Athletic Directors and we will update when final.  We will update when further information is available. All teams will continue to practice and may have opportunities for informal competition. Coaches have been reaching out to their athletes directly.

Q: Will GU still have chapel?

A: We will have face-to-face chapel with appropriate social distancing and will also deploy a small group model, similar to 2019. We will have online options for chapel also available.

Q: How will we eat in the Dining Commons?  

A: Students are going to receive some guidance when they arrive that will make dining instructions absolutely clear. We are prepared for social distancing while in the DC.

Q: Are masks required in our rooms, classrooms, etc? 

A: There will be some protocols for masking when social distancing cannot be achieved and/or where it makes sense. These will be made clear upon your arrival to campus. Classrooms are an area in which we plan to have students wear masks in order to benefit all community members such as faculty, staff and other students who are high risk or have family members that are high risk. Our goal is to be responsible toward one another in our community. We will not require masks in your personal space.  

Another area where we plan to have students wear masks are the communal areas in residence halls, such as stairwells, hallways and lounges, but we will not require masks in your personal residence space.

Our ability to quickly and easily test and obtain results will help us to operate in a more normal community environment over time. Our plans have all been vetted in conjunction with local health officials and approved by the Illinois Department of Health. 

Q: Will GU consider changing its off-campus policy to reduce the chances of contamination in dorms? 

A: The current policy states that you must provide medical documentation for living off campus. That documentation needs to be submitted to Gret Tindall at [email protected]. GU has the opportunity to provide rapid response saliva testing which will allow us to far more quickly control any cases that occur on campus. 

Q: What does class participation and experience in the classroom look like in a COVID world? 

A: Certainly, a little different!  However, we are prepared for it. We have had the time to plan, prepare, and innovate. We have identified any and all spaces in which our fall classes can meet and remain socially distanced. We intend to do our best to provide you with the GU experience you deserve with the appropriate safety precautions.  

Q: What happens if we get a case on campus?

A: We recently had a case on campus when an employee became infected, while visiting a person from their hometown who had become infected. We implemented our planned protocols, deployed our environmental cleaning agency, and successfully contained the spread of the virus. As a preventative measure, we will conduct rapid response saliva testing among students, faculty and staff. We will have certified contact tracers on our campus and space allotted for quarantine and/or medical care.

Q: What happens if I get COVID?

A: You will be cared for. When you arrive on campus, you will be presented a manual with clear instructions as to what to do if that occurs. 

Q: If I decide to defer a year can I keep my same scholarship package?  

A: We sure hope you come this fall. We think you'll miss out on being a part of something special if you don't. Living together in community with responsible actions in the face of a virus is living out our mission to be people of character and service. You will never forget 2020. Let’s get through it together and grow stronger because we did. Should you choose to defer for the year, scholarship packages will be re-evaluated at the time of readmission.

Q: Will we be closing in November like some schools are talking about?  

A: We don't plan to close at Thanksgiving. However, we will continue to review the situation throughout the fall and will notify students of any changes. Remember that GU is on a daily call with the city leaders, health department officials and the hospital. Our connections to our community have helped us be prepared, and we have their full support of our plan to have students here all fall. 

Q: What will happen to my grades if I get COVID?

A: The same thing that happens if you get sick with any other illness while you are here. We will work with you. We have plans in place to care for your holistic needs should you become infected and/or ill. 

Q: Will I be tested more based on where I come from?

A: When our full testing process is in place, everyone will be tested twice a week with a quick and easy rapid response saliva test. This test is a highly desired quick and convenient test that we are privileged to make available to our students. The test will give us much more accurate information and safety for our community.  

Q: Can I go home on weekends?

A: Yes, of course you can return home on weekends to visit family. You will be asked to notify your RA is you are leaving campus, and you will be tested upon return. We would encourage you to stay during weekends but will not prohibit you from leaving.  

Q: Will GU have Mental Health support for students anxious about COVID?

A: Yes! We absolutely care about your mental and spiritual well-being. We have a partnership with Jubilee House, Prairie Counseling, and we will have on campus counseling as well.

Q: Will there be Signage for instruction as to where and when I will need a mask?

A: Yes. Campus is already fairly well marked, and that process will be completed by the time students return.

Q: How will spaces be cleaned? 

A: GU has contracted with an environmental cleaning company to provide cleaning services on campus. True Solutions, our provider, has extensive background in the hospital and health care industries where disinfection is of paramount concern. Not only will True Solutions carry out standard cleaning routines, but an aggressive disinfection program as recommended by health authorities to reduce the spread of illness. 

Q: Will there be events on campus? 

A: Yes! We have spaces where social distancing can be practiced, and we will do as much outside as possible. We intend to give our students the total GU experience with simple modified safety precautions.

Q: Will I be able to visit friends in different residence halls? 

A: We plan to gradually open visitation between different residence halls as the semester progresses.  To best protect our campus community, visitation in different residence halls will be limited at first with the plan to expand the opportunities for visitation as it becomes safe to do so. We will be utilizing a color coding system to clearly communicate to students what the expectations are at that time.

Q: Will off-campus visitors be allowed on campus?

A: Yes. We have protocols in place for visitors who come to campus. 

Move in questions: 

Q: How and when will I find out who is my roommate?

A: Unless you just turned in your housing form, you have been assigned your roommate. That name is available on your FastTrack account.  If you would like your roommate’s email address or phone number, you can contact Missy Durbin at [email protected]. For assistance with your FastTrack account, please contact your admissions counselor. 

Q: When will I know when I can move in? 

A: GU will be doing phased move-ins. Check your email for a form in which you can sign up for a time. If you did not receive an email regarding move in sign up, please contact [email protected]. We conduct zoom meetings where we will address housing questions each Wednesday and Friday at 3pm central or Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm central. Here is the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072675880

Q: Will I be tested for COVID when I come to campus to move in? 

A: GU is committed to ensuring the safety and health of our students. We will do testing in multiple ways, including having students complete a general questionnaire, as well as the rapid response testing process we will utilize throughout the fall. 

Q: Do I need to provide my own mask?

A: Yes. We recommended you bring your own masks. We will also have masks available on campus.

Q: Do I need to bring disinfectant?

A: It would be a wise idea to have disinfectant in your room whether or not there was a pandemic going on.  

Q: How many people can help me move in?

A: As many people as you need. We simply ask that you practice social distancing and don't congregate in the residence halls. We will be moving students in in small numbers.

This document will continue to be updated. Check your student emails for additional communication about the reopening of campus and campus operations.



Updated May 5th, 2020

When can I get the property I left on campus?

  1. Thank you for your patience.
  2. Use the link below
    1. to sign up for a time to return to campus by May 31 to retrieve your belongings
    2. or instruct us to store, ship, or otherwise dispose of your property.
  3. You may not return to campus until you have filled out the form and received a confirmation of your visit time from community life staff.
  4. Southern Illinois students (those who live south of I-80) can sign up to return sometime between May 5 and May 31, 2020.
  5. Out-of-state students and Northern Illinois students (those who live north of I-80) can sign up to return sometime between May 13 and May 31, 2020. This schedule ensures that students who are still living on campus will not be exposed to students from other states or parts of Illinois where there are more COVID-19 cases than in Bond County.
  6. If you cannot or would rather not pick up your belongings, you can choose between three options on the form below.
    1. Store your belongings on campus
    2. Ship your belongings, at your expense, to where you are now residing.
    3. Ask Greenville University staff to donate or dispose of your belongings. If we do not hear from you by June 15, 2020, we will choose this option for you.
  7. You will need the following information to fill out the form:
    1. Student ID#
    2. City and state where you have been staying since spring break
    3. How you plan to travel back to campus?
    4. Who you will bring with you? You are allowed only one guest to assist you while moving out.
    5. Your current campus building and room number
    6. Three possible dates and shift combinations Only one person will be allowed to move out of each floor during each shift—morning, afternoon, or evening during the first week, and then morning or afternoon May 13-May 31—to help prevent exposure.
    7. You will also be asked if you or your guest have had COVID-19 symptoms or been in contact with people who have.
  8. You must wear a mask or face covering that you bring with you while in the residence halls.
  9. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the entry door.
  10. Traffic will be one way through the buildings to prevent cross-contamination.
  11. You will check out virtually per the instructions you will find on your door.

Use this link to communicate your preferences.

When will I get my Emergency Relief Grant?

If you are a traditional student whose face-to-face courses were forced online by COVID-19, you will soon receive financial assistance from GU. During the last week of April, GU applied an Emergency Relief Grant to the account of each residential and commuter student who studied on campus for the first half of Spring 2020. We calculated each grant by reviewing a variety of factors including room, board, and how much financial need you indicated on the FAFSA.

If you have an unpaid balance at GU, you can apply the grant funds to your student account:

  1. If your account ends up with a credit balance, we will reimburse you according to the preference you previously specified—either a check in the mail or direct deposit to a specified account. To check your preferences, visit the Student Account Center.
  2. If you would prefer to leave a credit balance on your student account to apply to future classes, please email [email protected] immediately.
  3. Reimbursements will be processed May 4-15, 2020.
  4. Should financial hardship prevent you from applying these funds to your account balance, please consider applying for a grant from the Deacon’s Fund (see below).

As we live through these unusual times together, GU leaders hope that this good news and the establishment of our new Deacon’s Fund (see below) will remind you of the hope that is always ours in Jesus Christ. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of our faculty or staff members. We are eager to serve.

Should I still make payments?

Yes! Unless you see a credit or zero balance at the Student Account Center, please continue to make your scheduled payments.

Where can I get more help with COVID-19-related financial hardships?

If you or your family experienced severe financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, you may apply for extra relief from the new Deacons’ Fund, named for the seven deacons in Acts 6 who were given the charge to administer care in the early church. Examples of hardships include but are not limited to sickness, loss of income, and death in the family. To apply for assistance from the Deacons’ Fund, please send an email to [email protected] with detailed information about your circumstances and specific need. A stewardship committee will review all requests and distribute funds as they deem appropriate.

As we live through these unusual times together, we hope that the Emergency Relief Grant each student received (see above) and the extra help available to those most in need through this Fund will remind you of the hope that is always ours in Jesus Christ. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of our faculty or staff members. We are eager to serve.

When is Commencement 2020?

GU faculty, staff, and administration are incredibly proud of our graduating seniors and graduate students and plan to honor their hard work with an online commencement service scheduled for Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 2:00pm. 

GU also plans to provide an opportunity for any 2020 graduate who would like to return for the ceremony in May 2021 to walk with the 2021 graduates, provided we can host an event of this size by May. It is very difficult to plan ahead for large-scale events in this environment.

A link for the ceremony and more information will be forthcoming from the GU Academic Affairs Office. 

How do I change a class to the new pass/fail grading option?

Use this JotForm.

On April 24, Registrar Michelle Sussenbach announced a new pass/fail policy—for this semester only. “We have been carefully monitoring the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on student learning,” VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Brian Hartley says. “Many students across the country have called for a pass/fail option,” he continues. “We have compassion for their concerns, want to be responsive, and will provide an alternative form of assessment.”

Academic leaders met several times with Hartley to evaluate what other institutions are doing. “Together,” Hartley explains, “we crafted an option that would best fit our ongoing commitment to mission and academic excellence while recognizing these unique circumstances.”

Undergraduate students who had face-to-face courses forced online by the COVID-19 pandemic may choose to receive a pass/fail grade rather than a letter grade. Students may select this option for one or more of their Spring 2020 courses unless they are repeating a class in which they already received a final grade in a past term.

What It Means

Pass/fail grades are S for satisfactory and U for unsatisfactory. To receive an S (pass) grade, a student must have the equivalent of a C- or better in the course. All changes to grades will be handled by the Records Office to make the process simpler for faculty.

Need to Weigh Pros and Cons

“Pass/fail grades present some advantages in the GU environment,” Sussenbach says. “They do not positively or negatively impact a student’s GPA at GU. Courses passed under the pass/fail option will meet GU prerequisite, degree, major, and minor requirements.”

However, the announcement from the Records Office to students encourages students to carefully consider their options before making this choice. “Pass/fail grades may not be accepted or may be counted differently by some graduate schools or baccalaureate programs,” Sussenbach explains. “If a student is planning to transfer, he or she might lose the credit.”

Sussenbach also mentions that pass/fail grades may not count or may count differently for some licensures. “These programs may alter their policies in response to COVID-19,” she says. “However, we need to know of students’ decisions by May 15, and we can’t be sure how schools and outside agencies may adjust their policies at a later date.”

What Students Can Do

  • Consult with your professors before you decide.
  • Discuss options with your families, mentors, and peers.

The Process

Students received an email from the Registrar with the link to the JotForm that will also be posted to my.Greenville in the student portal. Students who want pass/fail grading have until May 15 to fill out the form to notify the Records Office.

Where do I get counted for the census?

All students who were living on campus prior to Spring Break 2020 count at GU, not at their parents’ residence.

The Census Bureau has confirmed that parents should not include their students who are staying home because of COVID-19 in their census information. Students will be counted through the University. All students living on campus before Spring Break 2020 will be included with the University's census information. Parents tallying their household numbers should not count GU students who were living on campus for any portion of the Spring 2020 semester.

Should I register for Fall 2020?

Yes! Registration has begun for Fall 2020. You should have received emails from Registrar Michelle Sussenbach and your faculty advisor. Please read and carefully follow those instructions to ensure that you are registered. 

How will I find out more?

Only the most urgent and pertinent updates will be sent via email. We will post updates to the GU Alert website at least weekly. Please check www.greenville.edu/gu-alert to stay informed.

How will GU continue to function under the stay-at-home order?

On-campus operations and in-person services are limited, with reduced physical staffing in offices. Most faculty and staff are working from their homes as long as the governor extends the stay-at-home order. We have closed most campus buildings to everyone except for remaining students and essential personnel. The library and dining commons remain open limited hours, as previously posted, for the use of our remaining students.

Employees, both on campus and off, have been urged to practice recommended precautions. We are all working to stay as healthy as possible to continue providing excellent service to our students.

During these unusual and changing times, Greenville University's top priorities are the health and safety of our campus community as well as the continuity of service to our students.

Why did GU move classes online?

Our responsibility to students, their families, staff, and faculty requires that we use different learning approaches for the remainder of the semester. We gave the decision great thought and understand that it disrupts the lives of our students, faculty and staff, parents, and community members. We genuinely regret the loss of our unique, in-person educational experience for our students and look forward to returning to that model of education as soon as we safely can.

What if a student has problems with online classes?

Students should be in the habit of getting on D2L and checking emails every day. Any student with circumstances that inhibit online learning—no computer, no wifi, or any difficulty—should contact student success at [email protected]. We continue to monitor the situation and will remain adaptive. Please also see information above about the pass/fail grading option available to you.

How long will this last?

All classes will continue in an online format through the end of the spring semester. We are sad about the inconvenience. We grieve the loss of the enrichment that in-person education adds to lives in our community. We look forward to the day when we can again gather safely.

What about students who stayed at GU during Spring Break?

96 students have permission to remain on campus. They reside in single rooms and are encouraged to stay in their rooms except to obtain meals and other necessities. The library remains open, and limited forms of such services such as dining, counseling, health service, and tutoring continue either with appropriate social distancing or remotely.

Students Who Are Here

Please know GU will support you. The dining commons is open 11 am-1 pm and 5-7 pm serving grab-and-go meals and snacks. We are in daily contact with Holy Family Hospital. They assure us that they are prepared to meet any health needs that should arise.

Use Social Distancing

Students should not sit in groups to eat meals. The CDC recommends staying at least six feet apart for your safety. Check your email and the GU Alert website often.

What about athletics, music, conferences, and other events?

We have canceled all scheduled events through May 31, per the directions of the CDC. Please check back on this page for updates about events beyond May 31.