COVID-19 updates: stay-at-home orders will stop students from retrieving items after campus closes

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James Tananan Kamnuedkhun

Lindenwood student Bryan Encalada moves out of the Linden Lodge after it was announced that classes would be online for the semester because of the coronavirus.

The closure of Lindenwood Univeristy’s campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has created a lot of questions.  

Here, we want to compile answers to common questions and the latest updates about the situation.  Full details about Lindenwood’s response to the coronavirus are available here.  

This article was last updated Saturday, March 21.  For more Lindenlink coverage about the coronavirus, go here.

Campus closure

Because of mandatory stay-at-home orders, students will not be able to return to campus until May 1 to retrieve belongings, as was previously planned, according to a Rave alert Lindenwood sent out Saturday.

St. Louis and several surrounding counties, including St. Charles County, have issued mandates for citizens to stay at home except for essential reasons.

According to the university email, no students will be allowed on campus after 6 p.m. Sunday until further notice, unless they have been given an exception to stay on campus.

“When access to campus is once again available, Lindenwood will send out an additional notification with details on when student belongings may be picked up,” the email said. “No action will be taken with the remaining student belongings until that time.”

Starting Monday, all university employees will be working from home.

Library books

Technical services librarian Suzanne Gleason said due dates for Lindenwood Library books have been extended until May 17.

According to Chris Smentkowski, circulation coordinator, Library Services will be operating until 7 p.m. Friday.  If students cannot return items before campus closes, they can keep them until normal operating hours resume.  There are bins at each residence hall for students to drop off books as they leave campus.  Fines will be waived for all items that are eventually returned.

Students can contact Smentkowski at [email protected] with if they are traveling, but need to return items, or if they have MOBIUS books they need to return.  Students with ILL items should contact Carl Hubenschmidt at [email protected]

International students

International students are being encouraged to leave the United States as soon as possible, according to an email from Amanda Schaller, director of Lindenwood’s Office of Admissions and Services for International Students. They first need to update their I-20 (or SEVIS) document if they don’t have an updated signature from their principal designated school official (or OASIS advisor). 

An email from University President John Porter sent out Tuesday said, “We assure our university community that no students will be left without a roof over their heads.”

According to the email, “International students facing difficulties returning home should contact [email protected].”

Students can stay on campus after March 22 in emergency situations, but they will not have access to dining services. 

Refunds

Tuesday evening, Lindenwood sent out an email from President John Porter, which said that student accounts have been refunded for the rest of the semester’s room and board.  

Students can view their refund on their student portal under “My Billing Statement.”  According to the email, students who want more information should contact the Student Refunds Department at [email protected]; Christina James at (636) 949-4392 or [email protected]; Tina Wolfe at 636-949-4496 or [email protected]; or Mubera Komsic at (636) 949-4930 or [email protected]

Students will receive an additional $500 credit if they credit their refund towards next semester’s room and board by April 17.  

Seniors’ graduation fees will not be refunded, according to Molly Hudgins, associate provost for curriculum and experiential learning.  

“The graduation fee is not assessed to students based on the commencement ceremony,” she said in an email.  “The graduation fee covers the administration of processes related to graduation such as the processing of transcripts, diplomas and other items related to graduating from the university.” 

Graduation

Lindenwood is currently deciding whether or not graduation will be held in May.  Molly Hudgins, associate provost for curriculum and experiential learning, said the university is “exploring viable alternatives,” for commencement, and will update students when a decision is made.  

“The opportunity to recognize our students and give them the opportunity to receive their diplomas in front of their loved ones is something that we want all students to experience,” she said in an email.  “As a result, we are not rushing into a decision about the May commencement ceremonies.”

Moving out

Lindenwood announced that students must move out by Sunday, March 22, but is providing exceptions to students who need to stay on campus.  

Originally, students could leave items in their rooms if necessary, but since local governments mandated that residents stay at home unless necessary, they will no longer be able to.  According to a Rave alert sent out Saturday, no students will be allowed on campus after 6 p.m. Sunday until further notice, unless they have been given an exception to stay on campus.

“When access to campus is once again available, Lindenwood will send out an additional notification with details on when student belongings may be picked up,” the email said. “No action will be taken with the remaining student belongings until that time.”

According to Lindenwood’s COVID-19 website, students who need to stay on campus past Sunday will be considered for exceptions.  

Lindenwood’s announcement that students must leave campus caused confusion and anger among some students.  

Mandla Seremani, a student from Zimbabwe, posted on Instagram saying “What do international students like myself and many others do whose home countries have closed boarders[sic] […] All we ask is for communication and to consider those that travel extreme distances to go home.” 

Claire Hein-Salvi, an international student from Vancouver, said it was unfair for Lindenwood to not give students more notice.  

“Giving students six days to pack up all of their belongings is pretty much nothing, especially if you live in a house, so I’ve had a lot of friends who have been complaining a lot about the new situation,” she said. 

An email from University President John Porter sent out Tuesday said, “We assure our university community that no students will be left without a roof over their heads.”

According to the email, “International students facing difficulties returning home should contact [email protected].”

Textbooks

Barnes and Noble has enacted free eBooks and free shipping for online orders, and has allowed students to return their books after the due date without being fined.  Full details are available under “Textbooks” on Lindenwood’s COVID-19 website.  

Campus facilities after March 22

Student and Academic Support Services, the Center for Experiential Learning, the Student Counseling and Resource Center, the Writing Center, and offices on the third floor of the Spellmann Center will be available online.  Dining areas and the Evans Commons rec center will be closed.

Please see Lindenwood’s COVID-19 website under “Residential Life” for information about mail services.