Looking for Answers?

Students can find answers to their questions about academic issues here. For general university information, refer to the University Response Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Academic Calendar and Exams

 How will courses be held in Spring 2021?

All classes will begin virtually and be offered online through Jan. 29.

On Feb. 1, all courses will be offered according to the delivery mode, which may include in person or hybrid, currently shown in MyMadison.

 What is happening for Spring Break?

To help curb the spread of COVID-19 caused by travel, and as recommended by medical professionals, there will not be a week-long Spring Break. Instead, there will be two days within the semester on which classes will not meet but university offices will remain open. In addition, the university will be closed as originally planned on Friday, March 12.

There will be no classes on:

  • February 17, Wednesday (University offices open)
  • March 12, Friday (University Holiday, offices closed)
  • April 8, Thursday (University offices open)

 When are exams for spring semester?

The semester will end as planned, with April 29 as the last day of classes. Exams remain scheduled for April 30-May 6. You can view the exam schedule online.

Course Attendance

 Is there a university-wide attendance/ absence policy in fall 2020?

JMU does not have a university-wide policy on attendance, as presence is tied so closely to a faculty member’s teaching methods and the discipline. At the same time, all faculty are required to develop their own policies for their courses and share those policies with their students. In the Spring 2021 semester specifically, faculty are encouraged to be flexible with their expectations and should urge students who are ill to not attend face-to-face classes.

  How do instructors find out if I missed class because I’m in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19?

If you have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19, you must self-report through the University Health Center (UHC) website, using the “Self-Reporting of COVID-19” button on their front page, even while taking courses online



 If I'm not in Harrisonburg, do I still have to report to the UHC to work with the Dean of Students Office?

Yes. If you have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19, you must self-report through the University Health Center website, using the “Self-Reporting of COVID-19” button on the front page. This is the required process even if you are taking courses online, whether you are living in Harrisonburg or somewhere else.

 Can the Dean of Students make my instructors excuse my absence?

No. The DoS office cannot make instructors excuse absences. They will provide you with official documentation to share with your instructors. It is important for you to communicate with your professors directly as soon as possible.

 If I am diagnosed with COVID-19 and quarantined, will I be able to continue my classes online?

We are actively working to provide students with good options to participate in classes should they not be able to be physically present. How this might work will vary by course, and some courses may not have great solutions (e.g., a piano workshop, or a course on instrumentation where students need to work with a specialized piece of equipment).

If you become ill and can’t attend courses, in many circumstances you can work with faculty to complete course material though you are unable to come to class. Those are handled case-by-case, as different courses have different requirements. 

You may also be able to work with your instructors to receive an “I” (Incomplete) grade for courses you were unable to complete during the semester.  Information about incomplete grades are noted in the Undergraduate Catalog. Look in the section titled Incomplete Grades. There is also a withdraw option for individual courses on the same page.

If you need to with withdraw from all courses and from the university due to medical or other reasons, the you must follow the appropriate withdrawal process as outlined here. More information on withdrawal from the university, including information about refunds, is available from the Dean of Students Office.

 What happens to my financial aid if I don’t attend this school year?

Visit What Happens To My Aid If I Don’t Attend in 2020-21 if you have questions about your financial aid and not attending this school year.

 Can I continue my classes online when JMU returns to in-person classes?

Some students who return to campus may need to arrange accommodations for an in-person course due to an ODS-documented disability or for required periods of quarantine or isolation. If you require an online accommodation for these reasons, you should reach out to your instructors right away to discuss possible solutions.

Students may want to request remaining online for the rest of the semester primarily because they do not feel comfortable returning to in person classes. Please understand that while JMU faculty will do their best to accommodate such requests, it may not be possible in all cases for an instructor to provide a semester-long online learning option due to the format of the course or other limitations.
Masks and Accommodations

  If I’m in isolation or quarantine, does my instructor have to let me take my course online?

If you are isolated or quarantined, or have an ODS-documented Access Plan, your instructors will work with you to determine a reasonable accommodation that enables you to proceed in the course.

 Are students required to wear masks in class?

Faculty, staff and students are required to wear face masks covering their nose and mouth when in classrooms, labs and other public settings, indoors and outdoors when in the presence of others.

 What will happen if a student refuses to comply with JMU COVID-19 classroom guidelines?

Possible outcomes are addressed in Academic Affairs Policy #12, which covers classroom disruption.

  I have a compromised immune system and would like to have the choice of taking online courses. Who should I contact?

Any student with a compromised immune system or other health issues should work directly with the Office of Disability Services to identify their needs and discuss accommodations.
When registering for classes through MyMadison, the published schedule will indicate the delivery mode of each class so you can choose courses with the appropriate delivery method.

  I have a medical condition and am worried about classes this fall. What can I do?

If you need an accommodation related to a medical condition, contact our Office of Disability Studies.

 What if I can’t attend classes in person?

The way a course is delivered will vary by course and course instructor. After talking with your instructor, contact your adviser or academic unit head to assist you in exploring your options.

In-Person Course Resources

 Are there guidelines for physical distancing or other requirements for class meetings?

  • Everyone must wear a mask at all times in all academic buildings while in the presence of others. If an individual is alone in their office with the door closed, they do not have to wear a mask.
  • Faculty must wear masks at all times while teaching, even when behind plexiglass barriers.
  • When classes resume in person, meetings will be limited to 50 students or fewer. No class meeting will have more than 50 students in a single room. A class may maintain a higher enrollment if there are detailed plans to prevent 50+ students from gathering in person at once.
  • Extra desks in many classrooms have been removed to improve navigation between seats and increase physical distancing.

 Do I have to use the LiveSafe app for all my classes?

All faculty, staff, and students must complete the five-question COVID-19 survey on the LiveSafe app each day and receive a green check mark before they come to campus. 

Anyone may be asked for proof of their LiveSafe health screening completion. When asked, community members will provide proof of that day’s successful completion.

Faculty members will be asking students to show their green check mark as part of on-campus classes where possible and appropriate.

Online Course Resources

 I’ve never taken an online course. Where should I start?

You can start by evaluating your online readiness.

 What kind of computer or other technology do I need for online classes?

Some technology, like software, will vary by course, so be sure to check with your instructor. For general information on hardware, look here.

 How can I find help with my online courses?

Check out the resources offered by various offices, which are compiled here.

 What should I do if I don’t have reliable internet access?

Be sure to let your instructor know if you have problems accessing the internet. The Libraries have gathered resources to assist in securing reliable internet access.

Outside of the Classroom

 What are the recommended safety guidelines for spaces other than classrooms?

The health and safety of the JMU community are our top priorities. The Stop the Spread site is updated as new requirements are announced. You can find the complete Spring 2021 Return plan online.

 How can students and other members of the JMU community maximize health and safety for all?

Here are several expectations that will maximize the health and safety of our campus community:

  • Provide your own mask (cloth or clear) while on campus
  • Utilize good personal hygiene (i.e., self-monitoring of symptoms, hand-washing, application of hand-sanitizer, etc.).
  • Practice social distancing when moving among classes, waiting for class session in hallways and other public spaces, etc.
  • Follow visual cues such as colored tape and directional signage to maximize physical distance when possible.

 How can I maximize my health when using public transportation and what is JMU doing to minimize my risk?

All passengers will be required to wear masks, and limits to the number of passengers/riders are being considered. These plans are in accordance with guidance from the CDC, the governor’s office, and other relevant health and safety sources.

Student Academic Support

 What academic support services are available?

The Learning Centers and Libraries are here to support you, in person and online! The Learning Centers are continuing to offer online tutoring, consultations and study sessions. Likewise, JMU Libraries continues to offer students help with finding information for assignments and projects, as well as providing support for moving to online learning. For support with online classes, check out these resources.

Learning Centers:

JMU Libraries:

 What if I have a question about the Honor Council?

Online reporting will operate as normal. Details are posted on the Honor Council website.

 How can I get my books if we can’t come back to campus until the end of January?

Counseling Services

 Are there counseling services available for students?

The Counseling Center is open Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. To access services and speak to a Counseling Center clinician, visit the center during walk-in hours, 10 AM to 3 PM, Monday-Friday. Emergency services are available throughout the workday.

After regular business hours or on weekends, emergency assistance can be obtained by calling the Counseling Center at 540-568-6552 and selecting “Option 1” to connect to the afterhours crisis line.

For more information about services and resources, visit the Counseling Center’s website.

 What can I do if I am worried about a friend's mental health?

If you are concerned about a student, consider sending a Madison Cares referral. Madison Cares is a centralized program for departments, students, parents and community members to refer or consult about students of concern. They operate as an extended arm to students experiencing varying levels of social, emotional, academic or mental health stressors.

Anyone can submit a referral online for a student they are concerned about through the Madison Cares program. They will respond and address any concerns by providing care outreach, university resources, and direct support.

Graduate Students

 Where can I find academic policies for graduate students?

Your program faculty should be your first point of contact, and The Graduate School is here to assist however they can. We've developed a series of FAQs specific to graduate students, found here.


 What if I have already withdrawn from the university?

Graduate students who have officially withdrawn from the university and who wish to return for Spring 2021 should contact The Graduate School as soon as possible at grad@jmu.edu or 540-568-6131.

 I’m a graduate student. Should I work with the Dean of Student’s office?

Yes.  All students can work with the DoS office.
International Students

 I’m an international student. How do I get updates?

The Center for Global Engagement is committed to supporting our International Students and Faculty. Visit our website (https://www.jmu.edu/global/) for the latest information.

 I'm an international student planning to study at JMU. What do I need to know?

If you're coming to Harrisonburg, International Student and Scholar Services has all the answers and information you'll need.
Prospective Students

 Will JMU still accept transfer courses and dual enrollment credit?

Yes! JMU will maintain its current policy of accepting credit for courses with grades of “C” or higher. The Office of the Registrar will verify that students earned the equivalent of “C” or higher for any course with a grade of “credit,” “pass” or “pass+.” This policy will apply to all transfer course work, including dual enrollment credit.

 Does JMU give credit for AP, IB and Cambridge exams?

Yes, the university will maintain its current policies for accepting these prior learning assessments taken during Spring 2020. See more information on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge

For more information, visit JMU Admissions

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