FAQ

Niagara University's Response

The University maintains comprehensive emergency preparedness plans and structures, including a specific pandemic illness plan.

The University’s planning and response is guided by consultation with, and direction from, local, state, and provincial health authorities, including Niagara County Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, public health authorities of Ontario, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The University will use this site as a primary method to share information and updates.  Additionally, mass-email or other mass-notification systems may be used as necessary based on pertinent developments.

Dear Valued Client Partner:

In light of concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) by everyone, I am pleased to share with you how we are responding. Metz Culinary Management is currently taking steps to address and prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the virus’ spread is of great concern, there is still much we do not know. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most important thing we can do right now is plan and prepare.

I recognize that you are forming your own coronavirus response team to be in position to quickly and effectively respond, if needed. Please count your Metz on-site and corporate teams among your resources, and be assured that we stand ready to support the protocols that you formulate. In anticipation of the needs of you and our other client partners, we are:

assembling a taskforce of representatives from each Metz service group to formulate action plans for all likely scenarios;
collaborating with key suppliers, including US Foods, Ecolab, and Ecosure, to form a cohesive team and ensure that each member plays an effective part in supporting response efforts. These efforts may include: providing technical expertise on appropriate cleaning and sanitation practices, stockpiling critical supplies, maintaining timely deliveries and inspecting units;
relaunching ServSafe training for our employees, adding a module on how COVID-19 spreads and essential steps (hand washing, glove use, personal hygiene);
finalizing menu prep and service modifications for healthcare facilities that experience an active outbreak but must remain open; and
creating our own COVID-19 response management team, headed by a coronavirus team leader who will liaison with the CDC to stay current with containment status, requirements and recommendations; provide leadership for our people; and coordinating needed personnel should outbreaks occur in the communities we serve.

As always, we look forward to providing the best service and value possible, be it through good times or unusually challenging ones. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to your district manager or vice president directly. Please share this information with anyone on your team that you think would benefit from the information.

Best Regards,
Jeff Metz
President & CEO

C&W has been working directly with their clients on the Coronovirus issue since early February, and are prepared to assist Niagara University with emergency preparedness and planning.

The C&W staff are using disinfectants proven effective against the previous strain of Corona including Virex II 256, Virex TB, Virex Plus and Alpha HP. They have received remedial training to ensure adherence with manufacturer best practices, including dwell times and familiarity with various types of areas and surfaces, and will continue to train in these techniques weekly. They have begun and will continue to clean and disinfect high touch points such as door knobs and light switches throughout campus. They are also being instructed with the proper use of personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, rubber gloves) to protect themselves and others from any spread of contagions.

  • Expedited procurement of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and other essential resources
  • Allowing qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses to conduct testing
  • Expedited procurement of testing supplies and equipment
  • Expedited personnel onboarding
  • Expedited leasing of lab space
  • Allowing EMS personnel to transport patients to quarantine locations other than just hospitals
  • Providing clear basis for price gouging and enforcement investigation
  • May also enable the state to request federal assistance if the state does not have enough resources to address or contain the emergency.

Bi-National Campus

In  keeping with the recommendations of health authorities and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, it is recommended that all Canadians "postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada."    Travel Advisory

Further information can be found at:  Government of Canada

In addition, the Ontario Government has updated a new site with a self-check section which can be found here:  Self-Check

Niagara University in Ontario

No, you will be able to continue past the initial due date to complete your practicum days, even if it extends beyond the current semester.

Yes, at this time, OCT is still requiring that students complete a minimum of 80 days for certification in Ontario.

Health and Safety

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe and have typically appeared 2-14 days after exposure with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The following everyday practices are important steps to prevent the spread of all viruses and illness:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

University employees and students studying in Ontario-based programs should contact their personal medical providers. 

Students studying at Niagara University’s Lewiston campus should contact the office of Health Services at (716) 286-8390, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm.  After-hours care can be obtained from urgent care and local hospitals: https://www.niagara.edu/emergency-and-after-hour-care/

Students who report possible symptoms to Health Services will be screened for symptoms and recent travel to affected areas.  If a student meets the criteria for possible exposure or infection, Health Services is prepared to provide comfortable isolation, supportive care, and will work with county and state agencies on follow-up steps.

Similarly, if an employee meets these criteria, the University will be guided by county and state health agencies.

Please contact the Director of Student Health and Wellness:

Adrienne Kasbaum
(716) 286-8385
Contact

It is common in many cultures to wear surgical masks to reduce risk associated with seasonal illness.

Routine use of a mask is NOT RECOMMENDED by the CDC or the NYSDOH at this time.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health indicate that, at present, the risk to the general public is low.  The risk is elevated, though still relatively low, in communities in the United States where ongoing community spread has been reported.

Students in Niagara’s Ontario programs and on the Lewiston campus are encouraged to take advantage of counseling resources if they are finding difficulty in managing stress and anxiety.  These resources can be reached at:

Counseling Services - Lewiston Campus:
(716) 286-8536
Contact

Counseling Services - Vaughn Campus:
Ms. Sabrina Buzzanca

The Kiernan Center has a web page with a list of online resources for the campus community. https://www.niagara.edu/fitness-wellness-program/

Student Academic Questions

  • No sooner than April 14th: Deadline for a student to withdraw from a course without permission
  • April 8th: Easter recess begins after the last class
  • April 14th: Classes resume
  • April 17th: Deadline for students to request a tutor
  • Summer and Fall 2020 Registration Week: Week of 4/20
  • May 5th: Reading Day
  • May 5th: Last day to drop a class - with special permission; to earn a ‘W,’ student must be passing as per instructor
  • May 6th: Exam Week begins
  • May 12th: Last day of Spring Semester

No. At this time there are no plans to extend the Spring 2020 Semester.

Most faculty will be using Canvas; however, different disciplines may need different uses of technology (for ex., a writing class will have different needs than a dance class). Each instructor will provide information on how your individual courses will continue over the remainder of the semester. 

At the Canvas site, there are resources you can use to learn how to use Canvas. More Info

There have been reports of internet service providers, such as Charter Spectrum, who have offered free Wi-Fi service due to the COVID-19 disruption. View Article

Canvas has added resources for colleges and universities to support the increasing need for online offerings. IT and Instructional Support do not anticipate interruptions to our usage, but if there are interruptions, be patient as Canvas is working to manage a huge influx of online instruction in a very short period of time.

All NU students recently received an email from NU’s Campus Store Manager, about this: “To support these students, we’ve partnered with our digital course materials provider, VitalSource, and leading publishers, to launch VitalSource Helps, a program that provides access to ebooks to all Niagara University students through May 25th. Students may begin accessing these materials today at bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Further information, including answers to frequently asked questions for students can be found here.

Yes, students are still responsible for completing assignments in this remote environment. Instructors will provide guidance on how to complete and deliver assignments through the remainder of the spring semester. In many cases, faculty are adjusting assignments in order to fit the parameters of their online platforms so the work students are asked to complete for the remainder of the semester might be different from what was originally on the syllabus.

The Academic Success Center offers this list of suggestions to guide students as they transition to online learning this semester.
More information on a variety of study, test taking, and self and time management strategies can be found here.

The Library Building may be closed, but the online resources are extensive and the staff are available to help:

  • Visit the Library Home Page. Look for the chat button on the web site to receive immediate assistance.
  • Text the Library at 716-803-6464 or email ask@niagara.libanswers.com.
  • Explore Research Guides to find recommended resources by subject. Online appointments are available with your department librarian if you need assistance with your research assignments. 
  • Access the Library's extensive collection of Research Databases.
  • The national interlibrary loan network has mostly shut down. For your document delivery needs, please contact, Samantha Gust, rather than submitting an ILLiad request.
  • Learn about the Library's distance education offerings here

Students in Niagara’s Ontario programs and on the Lewiston campus are encouraged to take advantage of counseling resources if they are finding difficulty in managing stress and anxiety. These resources can be reached at:

Counseling Services - Lewiston Campus
(716) 286-8536
Adrienne Kasbaum

Counseling Services - Vaughan Campus
Ms. Sabrina Buzzanca

Yes, students with disabilities are still entitled to accommodations in the remote instruction / online environment. Accessibility Services will be emailing you a scanned copy of your accommodation form, to email to your professors.

If you have timed online testing, extended time is still possible in the online environment for any online assessment, including tests, exams or quizzes.  Your professor can extend your time in Canvas and they have been emailed the directions on how to set this up. Based on your documentation, Accessibility Services has included how much extended time (typically time and a half), your professors should be providing.

Coordinator, Accessibility Services
Email: kadams@niagara.edu
Phone:  716.286.8541

Advisor, Accessibility Services
Contact: Sarah Mecca
Phone:  716.286.8077

Yes. Students can request a tutor in many 100-level courses and some 200-level courses. The deadline to request a tutor has been extended to Friday, April 17. Due to the ransomware issues, the online link to request a tutor is not currently working. Please contact the Peer Tutor Coordinator, Julie Czyrny, to request a tutor.

Due to the ransomware issues, the online link for tutoring requests is not currently working.  Please contact the Peer Tutor Coordinator, Julie Czyrny, to make another request. 

Yes. We will be switching to online tutoring through Google Hangouts Meet.  This will begin the week of March 30th. You will be receiving directions for Google Hangouts Meet this week. Your tutor will also be contacting you to confirm session times. 

Drop-in math tutoring will also be switching to an online format via Google Hangouts Meet.  If you are currently in a math class that has drop-in tutoring available you will receive an email with a schedule and directions.

Beginning March 30th, 2020, you will find a schedule at the myNU Writing Center link of when Writing Center tutors will be available to help students.  

Yes, tutoring online will be based on requests for appointments starting March 30th. The Writing Center Coordinator will provide tutors with contact email addresses (provided in the myNU signup) and they will invite you to meet with them virtually in Canvas Conferencing. Since everyone is working from home, including students, the timing for tutoring may change. We’ll work on availability this week with the tutors and notify you of any changes to the schedule.

It will depend on the computer you are using at home and the tutor’s computer. The Canvas platform can incorporate discussion if your computer and the tutor’s computer both have mics and cameras. You can share documents by uploading them to Canvas so you can look at your draft together. If you do not have voice capabilities, there is a note function where you can type your conversation next to the document. There is also a marking function so you can highlight parts of your document under discussion.

No, the purpose of tutoring is to help you, not the tutor, become a better writer. Tutors may ask questions, point out recurring errors and explain how to fix them. They may also look at development, organization or documentation, and explain what improvements can be made. These are the same strategies they employ in a face-to-face meeting with students. 

If your academic coach has not already done so, expect an email from her very soon.

If you are interested in working with an Academic Coach, please contact Virginia Pasceri. More info on Academic Coaching.

Arrangements have been made for study abroad students to complete credit should they return home prior to completion of their studies. Niagara University is working with guidance from the New York State Education Department and the Ontario Ministry of Education in regard to instructional time and options to shift in-person instruction to online instruction should operations at our Vaughan, Ontario campus, or the Lewiston campus be affected by limitations or closures.  It is important to note that decisions on instruction will be made based on recommendations or requirements of local, state, and provincial health officials.

All faculty led study abroad trips are cancelled through at least June 15th.  We are hopeful that the fall semester will bring a healthy environment to learn at one of our worldwide opportunities.

In order to provide the highest level of care for the health and safety, as well as the educational experience, of all our inbound and outbound students and colleagues, the Office of International Relations is continually reviewing and consulting numerous sources and will not authorize anyone to travel to an area that is deemed unsafe by the Government of Canada or the US State Department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains the latest travel advisories.

The fall 2020 schedule is posted on the NU website.  Advisement is scheduled to start on Monday, March 30, 2020.   Remote classes also start on Monday.  This is a new environment for many students and faculty.  As we move into the advisement and registration process, please be patient as the first few days of classes might take up much more time for students and faculty then typically might be true.  Registration is not scheduled to start until April 20, 2020. Please see https://www.niagara.edu/assets/resource/Registration-Schedule-for-Spring-2020.pdf for the registration starting times and dates.

International Students

YES.  SEVP (Student Exchange and Visitor Program) has released special guidelines that allow for distance learning EITHER from within the United States (if you choose to stay locally) or from your home country, should you choose to return, for the duration of this emergency.

No. The signature you received at the beginning of the spring semester is valid until you return in the fall semester.

Please reach out to Sarina and/or Amanda directly for individualized guidance.

This situation is constantly changing. Please check the State Department’s website for the most recent travel advisories

Yes, of course we will. A schedule of tutoring hours and conversation chat times will be sent to all students currently participating before we start back online March 30.

If you want to join an English tutoring session or chat room and haven’t previously participated, contact us.

First, please wait to make that decision until you try a week via remote learning - what you imagine a remote environment to be, may be quite different.

Should you withdraw - by regulation, we will terminate your I-20 for authorized early withdrawal. Because you will no longer be a student at Niagara University, you will not have a valid, active I-20 document and will need to leave the United States within 15 days of our termination. This will not negatively affect your ability to apply for a new I-20 in the future but it is important you communicate with us about your travel plans. You will then need to reapply for a new I-20 document for the Fall 2020 semester. You can reach out to Sarina or Amanda for an updated I-20 application.

Yes, Xiao will provide tutoring via zoom every Tuesday and Thursday 3pm-6:30pm
https://zoom.us/j/349608233

Campus Life

Due to the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) has announced the cancellation of all spring athletics competitions and practices. The NCAA cancelled the winter and spring championships for the season.

All planned student club and organization travel for the spring semester has been cancelled.

Although all public Masses and most communal religious services at Niagara University are suspended, Campus ministry hosts a wide variety of activities and services online. There's lots of activity at Twitter & Instagram.

Miscellaneous

Health related concerns can be directed to the Health Office
716-286-8385
Contact

Academic related concerns can be directed to the Academic Affairs office
716-286-8342

Residence Life and student life concerns can be directed to the Student Affairs Office
716-286-8405

International students/study abroad questions can be directed to the International Relations Office
716-286-8711
Contact