This #NomaFAQ page will be updated as questions and answers are received.
Is the campus open?
The University reopened Wednesday, October 18, and all regular operations have resumed. University officials, faculty, and staff are working on a case-by-case basis with those who were directly impacted by the fires to accommodate their needs as best as possible.
What if I can't apply for school by the November 30, 2017 priority deadline?
Tuesday, October 31, 2017, the California State University (CSU) announced a series of accommodations for applicants affected by recent wildfires who are applying for admission to CSU campuses for the fall 2018 term.
Currently, through the Cal State Apply website, all 23 CSU campuses are accepting applications for admission to the fall 2018 term. The priority application period will close on November 30, 2017, and all students are encouraged to apply before the priority deadline.
For those students who are experiencing hardship and are unable to meet the deadline, the following accommodations will be made:
- Upon request, the deadline may be extended to December 15. All requests of the CSU must be made prior to the November 30 application deadline. Requests can be made via email at email@example.com with the following subject line “Extension Request – Weather/Fire Event.” Applicants who are granted the extension will also be granted a Coupon Code, which will waive the application fee for up to four campuses. After December 15, students will need to make their request for further extensions directly to CSU campuses.
- CSU will grant application fee waivers upon request for unexpected economic hardship even if students do not meet the standard income qualifications. Application fee waiver information will be provided directly to the high schools and community colleges affected. Additional requests for application fee waivers may be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students unable/unprepared to take the SAT on November 4 are encouraged to take the SAT on December 2.
The Cal State Apply website is the best place for prospective students and their parents to learn about the degree offerings at each of the 23 CSU campuses, as it includes a comprehensive database detailing undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered at each campus, as well as information about the campus community, student housing and campus life.
After applying to the CSU through Cal State Apply, students should visit the university's financial aid website and apply for financial aid or learn more about financial aid options. Eighty percent of CSU students receive some type of financial aid, and more than half of all CSU undergraduates receive enough financial aid to cover the full cost of tuition.
How has the campus addressed building air quality and cleanliness?
Optima Building Services completed a thorough cleaning of campus last week to address smoke- and ash-related impacts to buildings, offices, and residential halls. Crews also returned over the weekend to re-clean Nichols Hall.
If you know of a space that was perhaps missed or needs a secondary cleaning, please fill out a work order. As the region’s air quality continues to be impacted by the fires, we ask that everyone refrain from opening windows at this time. We appreciate your patience and look forward to lifting the restriction as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Environmental Health and Safety has created a detailed outline of the actions taken to address the impacts of smoke, ash, and other particulate impacting Sonoma State’s campus during the region’s fires.
I lost my home in the fire. Where can I apply for aid?
Applications are now available from the Sonoma State Fire Recovery Fund. Those in need of aid for clothing and household goods, electronics such as phones and laptops, transportation, childcare assistance, temporary housing, school supplies, or meal assistance in the wake of the fires can apply on the Noma Gives website or pick up an application at the NomaCares Center, in Shulz 3001. For those who want to give to the fund, you can still donate.
Where can I find on-campus support for those affected by the fire?
The NomaCares Center in Schulz 3001 will be open to students, staff, and faculty (including emeriti) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday this week. On Friday, NomaCares will be open 8 a.m. to noon. This is a one-stop shop for counseling, academic advising, employment advice, insurance assistance, and other important services.
How can I help my fellow campus community members?
Donations are being accepted for the Sonoma State Fire Recovery Fund, which will allocate financial resources to those who were directly impacted. Additionally, the Noma Needs Facebook group continues to serve as a resource for individuals to connect donated and available resources such as transportation and housing with those who need them.
How can I learn more about the fires?
Visit Cal Fire at http://www.fire.ca.gov/ for up-to-date information about all fires in California.
Where can I sign up to volunteer?
All volunteers should sign up through the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.
I am a student and I am unable to return to class, what do I do?
We are here to help and we would like to hear from you. Jamie Zamjahn, our senior director of Student Academic Services, is heading our team of professionals ready to assist. Please contact Jaime via email at email@example.com.
What if I had a test or an assignment due when classes were canceled?
Students who have been unable to complete assignments or exams because of the impacts of the Sonoma Complex Fire should contact their faculty by email or Moodle or check with instructors in person on the first day classes resume.
What if I lost my textbooks?
Students can stop by the #NomaCares Center in Schulz 3001 or contact Jamie Zamjahn at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, their ID, and a list of textbooks they need replaced.
If students lost borrowed library materials, they can either stop by the #NomaCares Center in Schulz 3001 or contact email@example.com.
What help will the campus provide when I return to classes?
Sonoma State will have a student and employee assistance center, Noma Cares. This will be located in Schulz 3001.
Will we have classes later into the semester because of the classes that were canceled?
At this time we do not anticipate any changes to the SSU Academic Calendar for the 2017-18 school year. We also anticipate that Winter Intercession and Summer 2018 schedules will remain the same (see the SEIE Academic Calendar for further details).
Are we allowed to house displaced pets in our dorms?
Only approved service animals and approved emotional support animals are allowed in our residence halls. No other animals are permitted.
Do I have to boil my water on campus before using/drinking/cooking?
I lost my house in the fire. Is there any way I can get my mail forwarded to Sonoma State University?
Yes, we have P.O. boxes available for current SSU students, faculty, and staff. If you lost your house in the fires and need to forward your mail to Sonoma State University, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and ID# and we will work to get you a P.O. box.
What if I can’t return to work?
Faculty, staff, management and student employees who cannot return need to notify their supervisors and/or deans that they are unable to return and will need to use their appropriate paid time off bank to cover absences at this time (vacation, CTO, personal holiday). Sick leave may be used if the employee is injured or ill. If no leave credits are available, leaves of absence without pay may be available. For further questions please contact Renee Senander directly at (707) 664-2979 or the Payroll and Benefits main line at (707) 664-2793.
What do I if I do not have my supervisor’s contact information?
Please contact the SSU Information Hotline at 707-664-4390/4391.
What if I do not have cell or internet access to communicate with my supervisor?
Please visit an evacuation center or shelter where telephones and/or internet are available. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisors or the campus of their situations and expected return-to-work date. If employees are hospitalized or otherwise unable to contact SSU, please have a friend or family notify the SSU Information Hotline.
What help will the campus provide when I return to work?
Sonoma State will have a student and employee assistance center, Noma Cares. This will be located in Schulz 3001.
How will employees be paid for the period of campus closure?
For the majority of employees who were not required to work during the campus closure, regular pay will be continued. Please refer to the email sent out by Human Resources on Monday, October 9 that outlines emergency pay per bargaining unit. For managers and other exempt employees who were required to work at the EOC (emergency operations center) throughout the period of closure, regular pay will apply. For non-management, non-exempt employees required to work at EOC during the period of closure, compensatory time off, or overtime, will apply.
How will I be paid for Tuesday, October 17, the partial re-opening?
Exempt employees who report to work will be paid for the day. Non-exempt employees working the partial day will be paid a combination of emergency pay and actual hours worked, as appropriate.
What if I’m a swing or graveyard shift employee?
Employees who are working these shifts are not required to, and should not, return to work unless otherwise directed by their supervisor prior to the campus re-opening on Wednesday.
Will our EAP (Employee Assistance Program) be on site to assist employees upon campus re-opening?
Yes. Our EAP is sponsored through Empathia and it is available 24/7 to employees and their dependents (anyone living within their household as well as children up to age 26 irrespective of their residence). Empathia may be reached at www.mylifematters.com or 800-367-7474 and the password is ‘Sonoma’. The EAP offers legal and crisis counseling, assistance connecting to resources (locating elder care, child care, pet care, etc.), assistance with financial matters, identify theft, stress management, etc. There will be representatives on campus Wednesday, October 17 and again throughout the upcoming month. Visit #NomaCares Center for more info.
Is Sonoma State offering housing to displaced employees?
At this time, Sonoma State is unable to offer housing to displaced Employees but they are encouraged to visit the resource page for housing assistance for the CSU Community.
What if I have an employment-related question that isn’t answered above?
Please send an email to email@example.com and HR will respond within 24 hours.
What if a student has lost all their course materials?
There are two avenues for students that have lost all their course materials:
- Students looking to replace damaged materials should speak to representatives in the NomaCares Center. The Bookstore is working to provide free replacements for all damaged materials.
- Faculty looking to make materials more available to students can contact their subject librarian. The Library can place instructional materials on reserve so that all students have access.
How do I deal with coursework and assignments?
Adjust your syllabus and review new deadlines and assignments with students as soon as possible.
How do I adjust a course that has scheduled off-campus activities at agencies/sites that may have been impacted by fire?
Contact your agency supervisor before returning. Consider alternative assignments such as group activities, on-campus activities, or activities that contribute to the community at this time.
Will faculty RTP deadlines be extended?
RTP deadlines may be adjusted and remain in compliance with the CFA CBA. These new deadlines will be communicated to all RTP members upon campus reopening Wednesday, October 18.
The following information concerns policies and procedures for students who may be struggling academically and approach you for advising.
When is an Incomplete appropriate?
- When a student has completed a substantial amount of the work for a course (usually 50%) but is unable to complete the course requirements within the academic term.
- When the remaining work can be completed by the student outside of class.
- An Incomplete is not appropriate when it is necessary for a student to attend a major portion of the class when it is next offered.
- Students this semester may have gaps in their work because of the fires and the aftermath. If a student met deadlines and completed work before the fires, but has spottier completion rates in the second half of the semester, this may be a situation in which an incomplete is appropriate. Faculty will need to evaluate the amount of work completed for the course as a whole to ensure it is a substantial amount.
- Incomplete Form and complete policy are available on the website.
Can a student change their grade mode from letter grade to Credit/No Credit?
- Through November 17, 2017, students may petition to change the grade mode of a class from letter grade to Credit/No Credit for “serious and compelling” reasons. This applies only to classes that are already coded to allow for both letter or Cr/NC grading (mainly GE classes).
- Grade mode changes must be done manually in the Registrar’s Office.
- Use the General Petition form, available in your department or at the Registrar’s Office.
What is the process for a student to withdraw from an individual class in Fall 2017?
- Through December 8, students may petition to withdraw from one or more classes for “serious and compelling” reasons (see definition below).
- The usual $20 course fee has been waived for Fall 2017.
- The student must complete the Petition to Withdraw from a Class, signed by the course instructor, student’s major department chair (or advisor, if undeclared), and the university registrar. A Dean’s signature is not required.
- Students should include an explanation of the circumstances and documentation. If it is problematic for students to obtain documentation for fire-related situations, faculty may indicate this on the form and omit documentation.
- The form for withdrawal from an individual course is available online.
Can a student get a full refund for dropping a course?
- No, the deadline for getting a refund for the difference between full-time and part-time tuition was September 5.
- There will be no financial aid reductions at this point in the semester for students who drop one or more classes as long as the student remains enrolled in at least one course.
- There may be further financial aid implications for dropping a course. All questions about financial aid should be discussed with a financial aid advisor.
What is the process for a student to withdraw completely from the Fall 2017 term?
- Through December 8, students may petition to withdraw from the entire semester for “serious and compelling” reasons (see below). The last day to withdraw completely from the Fall 2017 term is December 8, 2017.
- There is no fee to withdraw from the term.
- Please fill out a course withdraw form to withdraw from all courses in Fall 2017.
Can a student get a full refund for withdrawing completely from Fall 2017?
- There are CSU and federal guidelines that govern full refunds for complete withdrawal for Fall 2017. Standard policies apply, but students who believe there are reasons for a full refund should consult with the Registrar’s Office.
What constitute “serious and compelling” reasons for withdrawing from a class or from the university?
- In general, the definition of “serious and compelling” is laid out in the university policy for Withdrawal from Courses, section B.
- As noted in the policy, the University Standards Committee will consider unusual or special cases on their merit. These may include, but are not limited to
- Student and/or the family of the student lost home as a result of the fires.
- Student and/or the family of the student was evacuated as a result of the fires.
- Student experienced the death of a family member as a result of the fires.
- Student had significant caretaking responsibilities for family members as a result of the fires.
- Student experienced significant psychological and/or physical trauma as a result of the fires.
Will the university allow students to withdraw from an individual fall semester class using the retroactive withdrawal process, after the last day of instruction?
- Per section IV of the SSU Withdrawal from Courses policy, students may only withdraw from the entire semester, for “serious and compelling” reasons, after the last day of instruction.
- However, during Spring 2018 only, the University Standards Committee will consider petitions to withdraw from an individual class taken at SSU in Fall 2017 only, for “serious and compelling” reasons related to the fires.
Will there be any changes to the probation and disqualification process?
- Probation and disqualification processes and criteria will not change, but individual student situations, for those students directly impacted by the fires, will be reviewed by the Registrar’s Office and the University Standards Committee.
Where can students get more help?
- Students with advising or other concerns may also request information or assistance at NomaCares at firstname.lastname@example.org.