Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated Friday, June 19, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Information for Faculty

  • Where can faculty obtain information about IT needs while working remotely?

    Most Wesleyan IT services and resources are available from off-campus, but you may have to do some pre-planning to take advantage of them. ITS has compiled resources for "Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely." 

    ITS also hosts a web page dedicated to Teaching Continuity that provides strategies, tools, and resources to assist faculty with transitioning their courses to distance learning instruction.

    Faculty and staff requests for support are most efficiently handled via submitting a request through ServiceNow. This ensures that your request is routed to and addressed by the appropriate ITS professional as quickly as possible. During regular business hours, Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EDT, ITS professional Desktop Support Specialists (DSS) can be contacted at the following telephone numbers: 

    Administrative Division:

    Ben Jackson: 860-685-2103

    Keith Stebbins: 860-685-2319

    Division 1:

    Julian Goldfield: 860-685-2817

    Division 2:

    Zeyad Abdulkareem: 860-685-3082

    Division 3 and Cabinet:

    Rob Stickles: 860-685-2505

    If someone is not immediately available to answer your call, please leave a message with your name, contact information, and a brief description of your issue. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. With the increased demand, we cannot guarantee quick responses to individual emails. 

  • How can faculty carry out parts of their courses that are not easily adaptable to an online setting?
    We are committed to finishing all courses taking place this semester. For classes that are ensemble-based or require physical presence, Academic Affairs is working with ITS to develop alternative distance learning options. If classes cannot be taught in their current form, they’ll need to be adapted at the faculty member’s discretion. We recommend consulting with your department chair or with peers at other higher ed institutions who are facing similar challenges.
  • Will grading be handled any differently this semester?

    Undergraduates may elect to change their grading option from letter grades to CR/U by notifying their professor by the last teaching day of the semester. It is, therefore, the instructor’s responsibility to keep track of these requests. The registrar has no involvement with this and no record of it happening.

    When grades are assigned at the end of the semester, any student who has invoked this option will still appear to be in the A-F grading mode. However, the A-F option will now include CR and U options. For this semester, it is the instructor’s responsibility to know which students are indeed eligible for a CR or U, based on their request prior to the end of classes.

    Some classes did not have CR/U as a grading option when the students enrolled, but all classes have that option now. It is important, therefore, that all instructors specify for their students what it will take to pass the course (i.e., receive a grade of CR). Once again, we urge flexibility and compassion in making these choices. These are difficult times for all of us and our entire academic community is in this together.

    A reminder that all departments have waived for this semester any existing regulations mandating that courses required for the major must be for letter grades.

  • How will incompletes be handled?
    The due date for work owed for incompletes is extended from 30 days after the semester to the first day of the fall semester, September 7, 2020.
  • What is the policy on graduation upon completion?

    Gradation upon completion is allowable this semester if the registrar’s guidelines are met: A student must have completed all the requirements for one major and earned at least usable 30 credits, meaning they are not oversubscribed. Of the usable credits, 16 must be earned at Wesleyan. The class deans manage clearing students for graduation. David Phillips, senior class dean, will take the lead on that this year.

    But graduation upon completion should be thought of as a fallback position, not something we want students to do unless absolutely necessary.

  • Has reading period or final exam week changed?

    We anticipate no changes in the timing of reading period and finals, and encourage faculty to maintain the existing schedule. Individual faculty who feel they need to make changes should contact the Provost directly.

  • Has pre-registration changed?

    Pre-registration will be moved back a week. The new schedule is:

    Planning: April 7–20

    Scheduling: April 21

    Adjustment: April 22–28

  • How will teaching and coaching evaluations be conducted?

    Evaluations will be collected in the normal manner, but faculty and coaches will have the option to exclude this semester’s evaluation in any or all of their classes from review by their department or by Advisory by informing Academic Affairs no later than the last teaching day of the semester, May 6, 2020.  All faculty will be contacted by email in April with a form to register their preference.

    Please note that faculty who choose to suppress any spring 2020 evaluations may still elect to include those evaluations as part of their tenure or promotion dossier by manually submitting the evaluations to Advisory; the results from those evaluations will not be calculated into the summary numbers reviewed by Advisory, but the qualitative and quantitative results could be viewed.

  • How will tenure-track contracts be handled?

    All current tenure-track contracts will be extended by one year. All current reappointments and second- and fifth-year reviews will remain due this academic year. The canonical time for a tenure decision for current tenure-track faculty with a standard contract whose case did not come up this year will therefore be in the fall semester of the eighth year, rather than the fall semester of the seventh year. Faculty may choose to come up for tenure before their canonical time, as described in the Faculty Handbook.  

    Here are some specific examples of how this will work. This is exactly parallel to extensions of the tenure clock for parental leaves. 

    1. If a positive reappointment decision is made this year, in 2019-20, the new contract will begin on July 1, 2022, and not on July 1, 2021, as it ordinarily would. The fifth-year review would then take place in Spring 2023 rather than Spring 2022. 
    2. If a faculty member is undergoing a second-year review in Spring 2020, the current contract will now end on June 30, 2023, rather than on June 30, 2022, as before. The reappointment decision will then be in Spring 2022 rather than Spring 2021.  
    3. If a faculty member is undergoing a fifth-year review in Spring 2020, the current contract will now end on June 30, 2024, instead of June 30, 2023, and the canonical time for a tenure decision will then be in Fall 2022. 

    Academic Affairs will not issue new appointment letters to reflect this change, just as it does not for parental leaves. All other faculty contracts remain unchanged.  

     

  • Will faculty be able to access their office/lab space on campus during this time?

    We expect that most research activity will now be done remotely. Only essential lab activity is permitted, such as trials and studies already underway, the interruption of which would seriously jeopardize significant work already completed. Animal research that depends upon the particular developmental stage of individuals would be another example. Essential tasks that require individuals to be in the building should be performed with staggered attendance to minimize contact among personnel. Labs with higher density of research personnel should coordinate with their research adviser to minimize an overlapping presence in the research space during the coronavirus outbreak. Social distancing should be practiced in all cases. All work surfaces should be periodically sanitized, particularly shared equipment including computer keyboards.  

    We ask that faculty have in place a plan to close their research operations as soon as possible, and no later than March 25. This includes safely storing samples and materials, placing perishables in appropriate freezers/refrigerators, making sure hazardous waste is placed in appropriate waste stations, and powering down any non-essential equipment. Faculty should communicate these issues with graduate students, post-docs, and staff working in your labs. Explicitly ask them if they are comfortable coming in and, if they are not, please make arrangements for them to work from home. For further information, contact Joe Knee.

  • How are GISOS grants impacted?

    GISOS grants due to expire on June 30, 2020, will not be carried forward into the next academic year. We have moved back the GISOS application deadline to April 17 (except for internships), to give faculty more time to apply for 2020-21.

  • How should TA and teaching apprenticeship positions be treated?
    TAs should complete their full assignment this semester and receive credit for their TA/TApp position, ideally being utilized to help with your online classes. If that’s not possible, the professor should give the TA some additional assignments, perhaps related to literature on pedagogy in that field. Contact Joe Knee with further questions.

Information about Student Workers

  • What is happening with student workers who are no longer on campus?

    Departments that had employed students may continue to do so if the nature of the work lends itself to remote work and you can adequately supervise the student employees while remote.

    Please submit time for your student employees only to the extent the time has been actually worked.

    For students that had received work-study awards as part of their financial aid package, if they are unable to continue their jobs remotely, they will continue to receive a weekly payment calculated as the average weekly earnings they earned during the spring semester. These payments will continue for the remainder of the semester or until the student has met the maximum allocations in their financial aid award.

Information Regarding Healthcare

  • Does Wesleyan’s Cigna health plan cover testing and treatment for COVID-19?

    Wesleyan has included testing (including antibody testing) for COVID-19 as a preventive benefit, when doctor-recommended, therefore, it will be covered in full (waiving co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance). This benefit will cover the test kit for patients who meet CDC guidelines for testing and who receive the testing at an authorized LabCorp or Quest location. Please note that although prior authorization is not required, a health care provider must order the test, so please contact your primary care provider, an urgent care center, or either of Cigna’s telemedicine providers if you believe you have contracted the illness to arrange for testing. You will not be able to receive testing if you go to LabCorp or Quest without a doctor’s order for the test.  

    Effective immediately, Wesleyan is covering COVID-19 treatment with no cost to covered members through July 31, 2020, in all three of our health plans including the High Deductible Plan.   

    Please refer here for plan details.

  • Does Cigna allow early refills of medication because of the COVID-19 crisis?
    Current conditions do not call for Cigna to enact early refills, but they are monitoring the situation closely and will update their information and policy should the need arise. If you have any questions or concerns about an individual situation, Cigna pharmacists are available 24/7 at 1-800-244-6224.
  • What other benefit changes are allowed due to the pandemic?

    If you have had a qualifying life status event due to a HIPAA special enrollment event, the 30 day deadline to notify Wesleyan has been extended to 60 days past the lifting of the national emergency declaration.  Those events that qualify as a special enrollment are:

     Loss of eligibility for other coverage - Employees and dependents who decline coverage due to other health coverage and then lose eligibility or employer contributions have special enrollment rights. For example, an employee who turns down health benefits for herself and her family because the family already has coverage through her spouse's plan can request special enrollment for her family in Wesleyan’s plan.

      Certain life events - Employees, spouses, and new dependents are permitted to special enroll because of marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption.

    Proof of the qualifying event is required, as well as a completed enrollment form.

    Extra time is also being given for participants and their dependents to meet certain deadlines affecting COBRA continuation coverage, filing claims for benefits, appeals of denied claims, and external review of certain claims.  Please contact benefits@wesleyan.edu with any questions regarding these extended deadlines.

Information on Retirement Accounts and Finances

  • Will Wesleyan allow employees to take money out of their retirement plans if they are affected by COVID, per provisions in the CARES Act?

    Yes, Wesleyan will participate in these provisions of the CARES Act. If you are eligible, there are two opportunities to access funds through the SRA plan if you are affected by COVID-19.

    1. You may be eligible to take a hardship withdrawal of up to $100,000 through December 31, 2020, without the 20% mandatory federal tax withholding or 10% early withdrawal penalty. While the 20% withholding will not be taken from distributions, you will have the option to add withholding if you want.  Distributions will be subject to taxation, and you will have the option to pay taxes due over a three-year period. We suggest you consult with your personal tax advisor.

    The Act also allows you to reinvest withdrawn funds within three years regardless of that year’s contribution limit, making it easier to replace the amount of your distribution in your retirement account. 

    1. You may be eligible to take a loan from your TIAA SRA account. The maximum loan amount is being increased from 50% of your vested account balance to 100% through September 23, 2020.  Please note that for TIAA Collateral loans, you must maintain 100% collateral in TIAA Traditional. As a result, TIAA cannot pay up to 100% of the vested account balance.

    To discuss a hardship withdrawal or taking a loan from your account, contact TIAA at 1-800-842-2776.

    If you have assets with Wesleyan’s former providers, Vanguard, Dreyfus and Scudder, please reach out to those providers directly at the customer service number on your statement.

    Dreyfus 800-695-7526

    Vanguard 877-893-5426

    Scudder – 800-645-6561

  • How does the CARES Act determine if one is affected by COVID-19?
    Eligibility for the pension provisions considers if you, your spouse, or dependent have been diagnosed with COVID-19 using a CDC approved test or if you are experiencing adverse financial consequences as a result of COVID-19 (either you are quarantined, you or your family member has been furloughed, laid off or your hours reduced, you or your family member cannot work due to lack of childcare).