George Mason University

Coronavirus: FAQs for Students

Find information about the impact of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on Mason students. We also encourage you to review the information on our COVID-19 information page, and information on student success on the University Life site.


Health Questions

I think I'm sick. What should I do?

If you have symptoms such as a cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or lost/decreased sense of taste or smell, call your local primary health care provider for guidance. Stay home, except to seek medical care.

If you have symptoms, call before going to a doctor's office or medical facility to allow health care workers to take precautions to reduce the spread of illness.

If your symptoms are escalating, such as progressive shortness of breath, don't wait for your regular doctor to return your email or phone call. Seek emergent care.

You may be asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine (stay home and avoid contact with others) and monitor your health. Most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. The CDC has information on how to protect yourself and others.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Fairfax County Public Health Department's website.

Students who have returned to their permanent residence should call their local primary care provider, who will determine the need for further evaluation.

Students living on campus or locally can call Student Health Services (703-993-2831), which has developed a triage phone and in-person screening process and has implemented protocols to:

  • Help identify possible cases.
  • Provide optimal care for those with symptoms.
  • Protect the Mason community.

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Mason Dining Services allows students to order a sick meal on its website if they live in a residence hall and are ill, self-quarantining, or self-isolating. 

Contact your professors to arrange accommodations for missing classes for a temporary time period if needed.

Mason Korea has plans in place if students there get sick.

For more information about Mason's communicable disease response procedures, consult the Communicable Disease Guide (PDF).

If I'm feeling ill, who should I contact at Mason?

Mason has set up notification guidelines for students, faculty and staff, and contracters (PDF).

These guidelines will tell you what to do if:

  • You have mild symptoms.
  • Your symptoms are more serious.
  • You are awating test results.
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19. 


Academics and Remote Learning

Have any decisions been made about fall 2020?

Our plan calls for starting the fall semester on time and bringing students back for a mix of in-person instruction and expanded online classes, as well as the continuation of research. This hybrid approach will allow for appropriate social distancing on campus, while making alternatives available for those students who are not ready to return.    

Based on  what we know now, we believe conditions will allow us to start classes as scheduled on August 24. We are evaluating whether to complete the semester as scheduled, or end in-person classes before Thanksgiving and hold final exams online. We are aware the outlook can change, and if it does, we will remain nimble and adjust as needed.

Our Safe Return to Campus plan assumes that Governor Northam and public health officials will have determined by early August that general conditions in Northern Virginia will allow for a safe return, pursuant to the Governor’s phased approach to reopening Virginia’s economy.  

The university will coordinate with local public health officials to ensure plans are in place for testing, contact tracing, and responding to potential outbreaks on campus, and space will be set aside in residence halls for students who need to quarantine or isolate. We will remain flexible and prepare to pivot back to fully remote and online options if public health and safety requires it. 

Registration for the fall is open. 

Are there guidelines on taking classes remotely?

Mason's Office of Learning Services offers tips on how to be a successful remote learner.

Some Volgenau professors also have some general advice on maximizing remote studies that applies to everyone. 

Professor Melissa Broeckelman-Post, a professor in the Communications department, has recorded a video offering tips for success in virtual learning

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is offering Academic Success Workshops on such topics as:

  • Exam strategies.
  • Survival skills for finals.
  • Memory strategies.
  • Note-Taking.

Find out more on the CAPS site.

Am I still responsible for course assignments and exams as stated on a course syllabus?

Yes, unless you hear otherwise from your instructor.  

With classes offered remotely, will we still have final exams?

As of now, you will have exams; they might move to a system such as Respondus, but they will occur.   

What are Mason's plans for summer classes?

For summer 2020, all classes will move to online delivery, shifting from the alternative virtual learning model to a more robust, intentional online experience.

Registration for Summer Term will now open on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, to allow for flexibility. Before June 30, all in-person summer programming—such as conferences and camps—will either be offered in an online, virtual environment, or canceled.

Further decisions will be made by May 31 about summer programming that could be offered in person after July 1.

For more information summer classes, check with the Registrar.

Is Mason adjusting any student fees for summer?

Mason has waived the Distance Learning Fee on all courses being delivered online that normally would have been on campus.

This fee, $35 per credit hour, is usually charged for online courses and is used to provide the software, support, and technical assistance necessary to manage and assure a quality online education experience. Mason is able to cover the cost of these tools and services by repurposing a portion of the Mandatory Student Fee that would typically support services that will not be utilized, such as transportation or certain on-campus facilities.  

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Mason library facilities, including Fenwick, will be closed starting Monday, March 23.  Library services will continue to operate, will expand virtual access as feasible, and will be available virtually to support faculty and students in accessing needed materials for online classes and assisting with other resources and services.  

Mason Libraries has posted information about expanded online resources.  The Health Sciences Librarian is available for virtual library service, online consultations, and reference.

Find more details about library services and accompanying policy changes during this period.

Will taking classes remotely affect my graduation?

We have decided to postpone Commencement and our degree celebrations indefinitely.

We will hold a celebration for the Class of 2020 online at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 22 on GMU-TV.

We know this doesn’t replace commencement, but we also want to recognize our graduating students’ hard work and accomplishments. If you are earning your degree this spring we hope you will participate in this event.

The virtual celebration website will follows accessibility standards, and videos produced by the university will have closed captioning. If you are a student with a disability and need accommodations for this celebration, please email disability services

You should have received an email from University Events with more information and details.

Will this affect my grades?

Mason's Faculty Senate approved an alternative grading mode for undergraduate students for spring 2020 classes.

  • Students in A-F graded classes will be able to log into Patriot Web and select the new grade mode on a class-by-class basis. Students do not have to select it for every class, they can pick and choose.
  • If a student takes NO ACTION, the grading mode will default to A-F grading, as originally registered in the class.
  • The interface to make grade mode selections will be available in early April and will remain open through the end of the semester.
  • Undergraduates will have until the end of the term, which is currently May 20, 2020, to choose the Credit/Non-credit (COVID19) option for undergraduate courses (100-400 level) they are registered for in the Spring 2020 semester. Mason might extend this deadline if circumstances warrant..
  • If an alternative grade mode is selected, none of those grades will count in the GPA.
  • None of the classes graded with the alternative grade mode for spring 2020 count against the undergraduate academic policy of only 6 credits taken as Satisfactory/No Credit (AP 3.3).
  • There will not be a Dean’s List for Spring 2020 for undergraduates.
  • There will be a transcript notation for Spring 2020 indicating the change in grade schemes.

The grades that will appear on the student’s transcript if the student selects the alternative grading mode for Spring 2020 classes are:

  • XS (Extraordinary Circumstances – Satisfactory) – The student earns credit in the course by meeting a minimum grade threshold; at the undergraduate level that would be a C or higher, at the graduate level it would be a B- or higher.
  • XP (Extraordinary Circumstances – Pass) – The student earns credit in the course but has not met a minimum grade threshold to apply the course to requirements with a minimum grade requirement; at the undergraduate level this would be a C- or D, at the graduate level it would be a C.
  • XN (Extraordinary Circumstances – No Credit) – The student does not earn credit in the course.

Note: Eligible students will be able to change their grade mode soon. Look for communication from the Office of the University Registrar, which has a selection of FAQs about the grading system.

What about grades for graduate and law students?

Students enrolled in cohort sections or special programs will follow the decisions of their professional school or of the unit about which courses, if any, are eligible for the credit/non-credit option. 

The Antonin Scalia Law School will separately determine the grading policies for its courses.

Graduate students can find detailed information on the Graduate Education - Spring 2020 Alternative Grading Options for graduate students page.

Additional details can be found on the Office of the University Registrar - Spring 2020 Grading Options page. 

To ensure graduate students make the best selection for themselves and maximize their potential for long-term academic and professional success, we strongly encourage you to:

  • Seek advice and guidance from your advisor, mentor and/or coordinator prior to making a decision about course grading.
  • Determine the impact electing an alternative grading option may have on financial aid, licensure, admission to professional programs, scholarships, and fellowships, as well as anything else this option could affect.
I am an international student and therefore restricted from taking remote/online courses. How does this affect me?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within the Department of Homeland Security has granted universities flexibility to change the mode of instructional delivery for students in F-1 and J-1 status for a temporary period. 

Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) students should contact the SACM with questions regarding impacts to scholarships.

Find more information from the Office of International Programs and Services

I'm having financial problems/don't have the resources to take remote classes. Can the university help?

The Mason emergency assistance fund is presently closed, but will reopen for summer semester beginning Tuesday, May 26.

University Life is managing this fund, and will have information about applying, criteria, and other details. 



Housing and University Life

Will I be able to live on-campus this fall?

Decisions about housing are changing rapidly; Mason's goal is to house 4,500 total residents on-campus this fall.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the Housing and Residence Life website.

Can I stay in university housing until the end of the semester?

Only students who receive written approval from Housing and Residence Life may stay past March 25. Only students who have the following circumstances will be approved:

  • International Students and students who cannot travel home due to a travel restriction.
  • Student who works for university has been deemed critical (letter/verification required from supervisor)
  • Academic department has deemed internship, clinical, or practicum that cannot be continued without physical presence (letter/verification required from supervisor/mentor for internship/clinical/practicum).
  • Extreme personal circumstances (e.g. being in foster care system, no permanent home, home is quarantined, returning home poses a health/safety threat, unable to access online courses due to insufficient internet/electronic capability, etc.)
I left some things in my room. When can I retrieve my belongings from residence halls? Will there be a schedule?

We have created a flexible move-out process that allows students  two move-out options in an effort to accommodate varying needs.  Beginning May 1, students will be able to login to the Housing Portal to select the option that works best for them. The deadline to select an option is June 1.

Option 1: Self-Service Move-Out (Students Pack and Move Their Belongings)

  • Log in to the Housing Portal to select a two-hour timeslot from June 10 to June 30 to remove your belongings and complete the move-out process. Only one student in a room/suite/apartment will be allowed to move-out at a time. 

  • Housing and Residence Life will not issue green bins for the move-out process. Students are encouraged to bring their own hand trucks and dollies to assist with the move-out process.
  • Students are allowed to bring one guest to assist with the move-out process and are required to wear face coverings during the move out process. Face coverings will not be provided by HRL.
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  • Should a student not be able to come and pick up their belongings in person, a proxy may be designated to pick up belongings. The proxy should also be provided with an inventory of the belongings to be packed. Students utilizing the proxy option will need to select a move-out time that falls between Monday-Friday.

Students who miss their appointment should contact Housing for assistance. It is not guaranteed that students will receive a new appointment time and may be required to participate in the full-service move out option.

Option 2: Full-Service Move-Out

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  • Students who select this option will have their belongings packed up and stored in a facility in Springfield, Virginia.
  • Students will need to complete an online inventory of their belongings, both in their room and any common areas of the assigned space.
  • Students will be responsible for covering the cost of this move.  Estimates for moving expenses will be approximately $700 which includes packing, moving, and storage. Students are responsible for any fees associated with shipping or retrieving their items directly from the facility. 
  • Students will be responsible for contracting directly with the selected company by June 10 to have their belongings packed after all other students have moved out. If the student does not complete the contract with the moving company then the students’ belongings will be packed and moved for them by the selected moving company. Housing is not responsible for any damages or losses that may occur with the move.
  • Should a student have their belongings returned to campus for move-in and not pick up their belongings, Housing and Residence Life will retain the student’s belongings at an additional storage cost of $300 for 120 days. If the belongings are not claimed within 120 days, then the items will be disposed of for the student.

If you do not pick an option

  • Students who do not select an option by 5 p.m. June 1 will have their belongings packed and stored at their expense.
  • The anticipated expense per student is $700 for packing and storing student’s belongings, but could be higher dependent upon how many students select the full-service move option.
  • Housing and Residence Life is not responsible if any items are damaged or go missing during this process and as such, students who do not select an option are encouraged to work with their own insurance agency to obtain full value coverage for their belongings.
  • Should a student not pick up their belongings when they have been returned to campus, Housing and Residence Life will retain the student’s belongings at an additional storage cost of $300 for 120 days.

I already moved out and took all of my personal items

  • If you have already removed all of your personal belongings and do not need to utilize any of the options outlined above, complete the Express Check-Out Form in the Housing Portal by June 1.
  • If you have already completed this form, no additional actions are needed.
  • Students who may have moved out, but have not filled out the Express Check-Out form may be charged for belonging removal if items are not claimed prior to the moving company process.
  • If a student has completely moved out but has not returned their hard keys to HRL, they should be mailed to the following address and include the student’s name and G# (Mason ID or copy of ID not necessary. Students will have until June 30 to return these keys before a charge will be issued to their student account.

Housing has also set up a Move-Out FAQ page. If you need more information about move-out options, contact Housing

Can I designate someone else to pick up my belongings?

Should a student not be able to come and pick up their belongings in person, a proxy may be designated to make the pickup. The proxy should also be provided with an inventory of the belongings to be packed. Students utilizing the proxy option will need to select a move-out time from Monday through Friday.

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Are there any resources to help with my relocation?

Mason has the Student Emergency Assistance fund that students can submit a form to request financial assistance. 

Due to the number of colleges and universities that have had to close their residence halls early due to COVID-19, many national companies have created affordable options to help students access their classes electronically and relocate their belongings.

These offers include:

Is there storage available on or near campus?

The UPS Store on campus offers safe storage services for students who will be going back home in light of the school changes that are taking place.

We are accepting summer storage items early to assist students in their time of need. We will store items safely now and have them ready for pick up in August.

The charge for this is $285.00, we are not charging more due to the need to put items in storage early. This standard cost covers 5 boxes to store, we provide tape and up to 5 - 18 by 18 by 16 boxes.

There is room for more than the standard 5 boxes; please contact us for pricing. Visit GMU Storage to sign up. For questions, call 703-865-5544, or email the UPS  store.

How do I apply to remain on campus?

Students will be able to access a form in StarRez beginning March 18 to request extended stay past March 25.

What should students expect if they are allowed to remain on campus?

Although the university remains open, there will be a modified schedule in place for offices and access to certain services.

Student Health Services (SHS) is available to help students in the event they need medical assistance.

There will not be any student engagement opportunities available for the remainder of the semester, and students are discouraged from gathering in large groups on or off campus.


  • Dining is open under modified hours, providing carry-out meals for those remaining on campus. Mason Dining has posted updated hours of operation. 
  • Mason Dining is directing meal plan service from the Pilot House. Hours of service will be:
    • Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with continuous service. 
    • Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for brunch, 5 to 7 p.m. for dinner.
  • Most retail dining establishments have now closed with the exceptions of the Starbucks Northern Neck (open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Wingzone (delivery via Starship from noon to 10 p.m.).
  • One Stop will be open via Starship beginning March 30 from 5 to10 p.m. for those on campus. One Stop will continue to be assessable via Starship Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m.
  • All other on-campus other dining options are now closed. 
If students move out now, or have already moved out, will students be reimbursed or receive a credit for the remainder of the semester?

The university is committed to refunding money to students for housing, dining and parking. The Student Accounts Office has information on refunds in a series of FAQs

We also have refund tables set up showing amounts based on your Mason residence, your parking plan, and your dining plan. (PDF)

Can a student who currently does not live on campus be eligible for on-campus housing?

Housing and Residence Life is not able to accommodate students who do not currently live on campus.

What if I'm living on campus and must travel somewhere? Can I return to my residence hall?

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and Residence Life at 703-993-2720 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, or via email to gain official written approval before returning to their residence hall so that quarantine accommodations can be made. 

Where can I get information about other university life resources?

University Life has gathered resources from across the university in one place to streamline your student experience during an unprecedented time, including important academic, logistic, and well-being information. Topics include:



Will the Office of Admissions continue to accept housing and enrollment deposits for incoming freshman?

Yes, we will continue to accept the $250 enrollment deposit paid through the Fall 2020 deposit portal. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Admissions Counselor for assistance.

Who can answer questions about financial concerns?

If your family has been financially affected by COVID-19, the Office of Financial Aid has counselors who can talk with you about your situation to see how we can assist you.

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If you have not submitted a FAFSA and have been financially affected by COVID-19, contact your Admissions Counselor for assistance. 

What virtual visit options is Admissions offering students this summer?

Admissions is offering virtual information sessions, virtual tours, and virtual one-on-one meetings (by request). Visit Admissions to register for a session or to connect with a counselor. The virtual campus tour is accessible online at any time.

Will there be virtual versions of summer orientation?

Orientation for Summer 2020 has been moved online. 

Students will continue to register for an orientation date, and if you have already registered, you'll keep that date.

Some aspects of the virtual Student Orientation will still occur on the same day as the scheduled in-person program, while other content will be pre-recorded to view at your own pace.

We recognize the important role of families and will also offer a virtual Family Orientation at no charge. Guests who have already registered will be refunded.

More information about the Orientation process and next steps will be communicated via e-mail and on the New Students and Family program website.

Does Mason offer freshman scholarships?

Yes. Admissions will send decision notification letters to those awarded merit-based scholarships. We also encourage students to explore external scholarship opportunities. If you have questions about scholarships, reach out to your admissions counselor.

What is the time frame for graduate students to learn of a decision on their application?

The time frame will be determined by the degree program or type. Generally, master’s programs decisions are posted in 4 to 6 weeks after the application deadline. Doctoral decisions are posted 1 to 2 months after the application deadline. For more information, email Mason's graduate program.

When will regular admissions decisions be released?

Mason sends regular decision application notifications to students on a rolling basis. Check your online portal to ensure that your application is complete and for any updates.

Can admitted students set up a Mason email before making an enrollment deposit?

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Next Steps for Admitted Students page.

When will I hear from Housing about my exemption form?

Send questions about Housing and Living Learning Communities for the next academic year to the Office of Housing and Residence Life. Please be patient, as there is a large volume of inquiries.

How can I register for orientation?

The Orientation website will direct you to register for a summer session for your category (freshman, transfer, etc.)..


General Questions

What is the Mail Services schedule for students?

Effective March 17, University Mail Services is still receiving and distributing mail, operating under modified Summer operating procedures. 

Mail Services will hold and forward packages for students as necessary.

Students that do not, or are unable to, return to campus may request to have their mail forwarded to their off-campus address during this time.

To arrange mail forwarding, contact University Mail Services. Package forwarding charges may be applied by postal carriers and will be the recipients’ responsibility.

What's going on with study-abroad trips? Domestic travel?

 Mason has suspended all university-sponsored or university-related domestic and international travel for students, faculty and staff until further notice. This does not include travel to other campuses or within the DMV and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Global Education Office (GEO) will work directly with affected study-abroad students to provide information and address questions. The office is also working to refund program fees for committed students on all spring programs that are suspended. For group flights (purchased through GEO), all tickets were cancelled. You will receive the cost of the ticket in your refund.

Because of the U.S. Department of State Travel advisory elevation to level 4, it is not possible to run our summer abroad faculty-led programs this year.

If I need to selectively withdraw, change my major, or perform other registration activities, will I still be able to come to campus?

Anything that requires formal approval via form should be initiated with your advisor via email.  It is possible to accomplish all of these without coming to offices on campus 

What if I want to leave the university?

There are many implications for withdrawing from the university at this point in the semester.

Students should reach out to their academic advisor to discuss academic implications.

Several resources exist to assist with the process; learn more at the Before You Leave Mason page.

If you intend to return to Mason in a future semester, you should also submit a Leave of Absence form (PDF).

Will I still have access to student services?

Yes. The Mason Student Services Center is available for remote services. Face-to-face operations have been temporarily suspended. You may reach Student Services via e-mail or contact us via virtual check-in.

Students who require services with enrollment, financial aid, student accounts, or the registrar’s office are asked to complete a Student Services online form or email the MSSC to receive service virtually. 

A service member will follow up with each student via email to either provide an answer to the submitted inquiry or offer a virtual conferencing session to engage in further discussion.

Can I still tour campus?

The Office of Admissions has cancelled all on-campus recruitment events until further notice. Admissions is encouraging students to visit the virtual tour, and the team is actively working on video content and virtual options to continue to connect with students and families.

The Admissions Office has also extended the National Candidates Reply date for freshmen from May 1 to June 1.