category: Updates

Coronavirus FAQs

About the Virus

What is the Novel Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Some coronaviruses commonly circulate in the United States, and usually cause upper respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose, although some can cause more serious illness. The 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus causes the illness COVID-19.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) originated in East Asia, and is a disease that was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019. COVID-19 is now being spread widely throughout the world. The health risk to the general public in North Carolina from COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. People are encouraged to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases.

What are the symptoms?

They can be similar to the flu or cold: fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that the risk of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States is an emerging, rapidly-evolving situation; however, it is cold and flu season and certain precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to all types of flu. For details on symptoms, health-related precautions, and information about the Coronavirus, you may visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The University’s Response

What is Gardner-Webb doing in response to the current Coronavirus situation?

Gardner-Webb is working to ensure the health and safety of the University community by closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and any impact it could have on our campuses. Gardner-Webb, in collaboration with local and state health officials, is taking steps to prepare for potential cases, including keeping current with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations related to surveillance, evaluation and response. We will provide guidance and updates if the risk level in our area changes.

What steps are being taken to protect students, faculty and staff from the Novel Coronavirus?

We are keeping the campus community up to date on the evolving situation and its potential impact for our area. We have no reason at this time to believe anyone on our campus is infected with the Novel Coronavirus, and we will update as appropriate. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the most current information. Gardner-Webb will continue to monitor the situation, and postings will be sent out as needed.

Is Gardner-Webb currently screening students, faculty or staff?

There are currently no recommendations for screening healthy individuals. If students, faculty or staff are experiencing flu-like symptoms, we are advising them to self-quarantine and contact a local healthcare provider and the local health department about the symptoms.


As of April 8, face masks were made available for every residential student, or faculty and staff still utilizing campus for work space. Currently, two masks per person have been made available; additional orders of masks are expected in the future. Students, faculty and staff should have GWU identification available to receive the masks.

These masks can be worn multiple times, and they are only recommended to be worn when in public and near other people.

Is Gardner-Webb planning to cancel sporting or other campus events?

Previously scheduled public events and activities are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Gardner-Webb will adhere to public health safety guidelines and recommendations regarding gatherings. We will also honor NCAA and Big South advisories for athletic events and engagements.

We have postponed, canceled or modified several events.

How is Gardner-Webb working with students and faculty to continue education when face-to-face delivery of classes is interrupted?

Gardner-Webb University announced on March 23rd, that the University will complete the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester using exclusively online instruction. As of March 18th, all face-to-face courses were migrated to an online platform. The University will maintain that mode of instruction for the duration of the semester.

Gardner-Webb University has a policy in place for continuity of instruction in the event of a closure or disruption of instruction, regardless of the cause. While the University adapts according to the demands of the specific situation, a disruption due to pandemic conditions means a rapid shift to online instruction wherever possible. Many of our faculty are already trained and experienced in the use online learning systems, and the University has launched training platforms for others. The University is also prepared to modify attendance policies and extend assignment and completion deadlines where needed should we find ourselves in an emergency situation.

Does Gardner-Webb have a plan in place to quarantine students if they contract the virus? If so what is it?

Gardner-Webb does have plans in place should we need to quarantine students. We have locations on campus if the need arises.


How can I avoid getting sick or limit the risk of spread?

It is flu season and it is always a good idea to protect yourself and others from infection by following these practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol-based).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away. If a tissue is unavailable, cover coughs and sneezes in your elbow or sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, phones, etc.). This is especially important in areas with high traffic. When used correctly, commercially available disposable disinfectant wipes, cloths, or towelettes are effective for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Don’t go to class or work when you are experiencing the symptoms attributed to this virus. Stay home, contact a healthcare provider and rest.

What is Gardner-Webb doing to raise awareness about the steps people can take to remain healthy?

Gardner-Webb has posted a Coronavirus update page on the University website and is sending out updates and health precautions via email on a regular basis.

Questions from students

What should I do if I or someone I know needs to be transported to a medical facility equipped to provide appropriate isolation?

You should call 911; make them aware of your condition, and they will provide proper medical transport if you cannot transport yourself.

If I traveled to areas with known cases of the Coronavirus, and I am not experiencing any symptoms, should I quarantine myself?

If you have travelled (including transit through) to any at-risk areas of the Coronavirus in the past 14 days, you should self-monitor for symptoms and practice physical distancing. If living on campus, you should also contact residence life and make them aware of your situation. You may be directed at that point to take other steps.

If you develop symptoms, you must immediately isolate yourself into a secure area (preferably one room); keep the doors closed and seek medical attention. Schedule an appointment with a local health care provider, and let them know your symptoms (and where you’ve travelled) in advance. If you are having symptoms, it is important to avoid work, classes, or other public areas. You should not use public transport, taxis, or ride-sharing services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated certain areas as Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4 concerns. If you are coming to Gardner-Webb from any of these areas, and you haven’t already been through a United States quarantine, you should immediately self-quarantine, and contact the local health department and the Dean of Students at Gardner-Webb.

What do I do if I have a friend/roommate with flu-like illness (fever with cough, shortness of breath and/or sore throat)?

Avoid contact with others; seek medical care from a local healthcare provider and let them know of your symptoms before arrival; contact your local department of public health.

Should I cancel a public event I’ve helped to organize on campus, or should I avoid attending such events?

Gardner-Webb will adhere to public health safety guidelines and recommendations regarding large gatherings. Previously scheduled public events and activities will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

This is a stressful time. What do I do if I feel anxiety as it relates to the on-going concerns of Coronavirus?

We recognize that some may be experiencing concerns about the current situation, and that anxiety may be elevated because of the uncertainties. The Gardner-Webb Counseling Center is available and open for appointments (by phone or Zoom interactions) Monday- Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. To make an appointment, students can call (704) 406-4563 or email Cindy Wallace at [email protected].

Should i continue to use the dining facilities and student housing?

Gardner-Webb is taking steps to keep the dining facilities, residence halls and all facilities as clean and free from viruses as possible. Cleaning protocols have been expanded. There is no need to discontinue use of any Gardner-Webb facilities at this time, although usage protocols may be changed to adhere to health and public safety guidelines. As of March 17th, the Gardner-Webb Dining Hall has been modified to a take-out service only until further notice.

You are encouraged to be diligent about using common-sense health and hygiene precautions as you would during any cold or flu season.

Do we have hand sanitizing stations available to students, faculty and staff across campus?

Hand sanitizing stations have been available in high-traffic locations like the cafeteria, Tucker Student Center and the College of Health Sciences.

If I am not able to be on campus because of Coronavirus related events, how can I get my mail/packages from the campus post office?

Packages that are not immediately needed, may remain on the shelf until you return to campus. Only packages that were received by the United States Postal Service (USPS) are able to be forwarded to another address. If your USPS package needs to be forwarded, please email Teresa White at [email protected] to provide a forwarding address. If you require packages that were shipped from any service other than USPS, you will need to contact the carrier and request a package pickup from GWU to have it redirected to your home. Please plan accordingly to have any expected shipments redirected to your home unless you are on campus.

What are the library hours now that classes have transitioned to exclusive online delivery?

Currently the John R. Dover Library building is only open for students, faculty, and staff of Gardner-Webb. It is not open to the public at this time. Students, faculty and staff, who are on campus, should make sure to bring a Gardner-Webb ID to gain admission to the building.

Building hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Reference chat is available during these hours and 6:00-8:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. This may change based on future circumstances or directives from local, regional, state or national healthcare resource directors.

All databases and electronic books are available from off campus for students, faculty and staff. Simply enter your GWU username and password (the same as your email and Blackboard credentials) to access the Library databases. You are welcome to use the online Chat feature to talk with a librarian if you have questions. You can schedule in-depth reference consultations via Zoom by completing the form on the library’s webpage. Also, the library is waiving any overdue fees during this time. You are welcome to return or renew the books when you come back to campus.

Is there a new date scheduled for the may 9th commencement ceremony since it was postponed?

Our Spring Commencement, originally scheduled for May 9th, has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for August 1st. Students completing their degrees in Spring 2020, as well as during the Summer 2020 term, will be invited to participate.

We fully appreciate how hard our students have worked to get to this crowning moment, and we look forward to celebrating with them.

What resources are available through the Division of Student Success during a time of exclusive online delivery?

Academic Advising

The Academic Advising Center is open for walk-in traffic for students who are currently on campus. This may change with the rapidly-evolving conditions, and we will share the updates here. Academic advising appointments are also available online through zoom, phone conferencing or email. You may email Carmen Butler for more information or to schedule an appointment [email protected].

Academic Services for Student-Athletes

Communication has been sent to all student-athletes on the importance of checking email and Blackboard daily. Instructions have also been shared regarding:

  • Connecting email to smartphone
  • Gaining technology assistance

Completing necessary forms for summer school aid
Student-athletes are encouraged to phone or email the Academic Services for Student-Athletes office with any questions regarding NCAA eligibility, or other concerns, or needs at this unique time. Contact Carrie Drake at [email protected].

Tutoring and Testing Services

Students are able to receive tutoring services via Smarthinking or by making an appointment with a Peer Tutor. Students have been sent an email with a short video on the use of the Smarthinking software. Students can also login to Webbconnect and make an appointment for Peer Tutoring. The tutors will use ZOOM, email or phone calls for the tutoring sessions.
At this time, make-up testing can be administered in the Tucker Student Center for students currently on campus. Additional questions, concerns or assistance needs can be submitted by email to [email protected] or [email protected].

Questions about Tuition, Fees & Financial Aid

Will the University take back any of my financial aid?

No. The University grants more than $28 million dollars in financial aid every year to cover your cost of attendance, and at this time there are no plans to prorate any student’s aid and have you refund it back to the University.

Will there be additional fees for technology or online delivery of classes previously held in person?

No. The cost of moving classes online is considerable. There are existing $50 per course online technology fees that we will waive for students who have had their face-to-face courses transitioned to online delivery. Students should expect no additional fees for this.

Will my tuition increase next year to help cover the University’s costs incurred by COVID-19?

No. Tuition has already been frozen, and it will not be increased for Fall 2020. We have been holding the line on cost since 2018, and we plan to continue to do that.

Do I have to find other housing or food arrangements if I have already paid for them?

No. Students who need to maintain access to their campus housing and/or food services must contact the Dean of Students and, submit an Emergency Response Housing Request for approval. This form is located in WebbConnect.

Several hundred students have already been approved to stay on campus. Our campus is open and functioning, and you can return upon approval. If approved, you’ll continue to receive classes online and would need to practice physical distancing while on campus

Do I get a refund for the remainder of my room or meal plan during a time of exclusive online delivery of classes?

We understand that many students and parents have questions about possible residence hall and dining refunds. At this point, Gardner-Webb University’s campus remains open and operational, including the residence halls and cafeteria. Our staff members are going to extra efforts to keep us safe and healthy. Students are accessing the services they have paid for while practicing physical distancing. We are doing everything possible to avoid passing on the added costs of this global pandemic to you. Like most universities throughout the state and nation, we do not expect to make a final decision on refunds until after the immediate issues related to COVID-19 are resolved.

Can I still take part in internships and clinicals during online-exclusive instruction?

While classroom instruction has shifted online, students may continue to participate in internships or clinical experiences connected to their academic program. It is possible that internships or clinicals may be modified during this time. You should contact your academic advisor and/or your clinical/internship supervisor for specifics about your individual situation.

Your internships or clinicals may be modified during this time. You should contact your academic advisor and/or your clinical/internship supervisor for specifics about your individual situation.

How available are Gardner-Webb University Police at this time?

The Gardner-Webb University Police Department continues to stand ready to protect and to serve the University population; that has not changed.

There are some changes in place that may be noticeable, however. The University will continue to have full police coverage 24/7 through this ever-evolving time. Officers have been assigned to separate satellite work-stations located throughout campus. Officers have been instructed to maintain strict physical (social) distancing. That is why University Police asks you to practice strict distancing measures when you encounter officers.

Things to remember:

  1. When possible, conduct non-emergency request via phone or email.
  2. When officers respond, please step back and allow them to perform the requested task.
  3. Limit visits to the Poston Center Station office.
  4. Social distancing is 10 feet for police officers.

Please do your part to ensure the University Police Department will continue to provide top quality professional law enforcement to the Gardner-Webb community.

I know classes are all offered online now. I’m wondering, are there any community options for WIFI to assist me if I’m having internet-related issues in my community?

If you are in North Carolina, there are numerous providers offering free or affordable options for high-speed internet during this unique time. The North Carolina Department of Information Technology has provided this interactive map and other details to help you navigate internet-related questions within your community.

How can I reach the Registrar’s Office during this time?

During this time, the Office of Registrar Services will continue to maintain all essential functions, including on-demand services for students and alumni.

If you need to visit in-person, the current (physical) office hours are Mondays-Fridays from 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. You can reach office personnel by phone or email Mondays-Fridays from 8:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The general office phone number is (704) 406-4260 and general questions and requests can be directed to [email protected].

Will Gardner-Webb offer face-to-face classes on the fall?

GWU’s Administration announced May 1st that planning is underway to return the University to normal on-campus instruction and residential life for the Fall 2020 semester. “Nobody knows exactly what the future holds for the pandemic that has already disrupted higher education across the country,” noted President William M. Downs. “However, at this point we are doing everything in our power to prepare for the return of our students, faculty, and staff in August.” A taskforce has been established to provide direction and oversight as plans to welcome students back to campus in the fall move forward.

GWU has announced that details will be made available soon regarding a new onsite Student Health Clinic that will greatly expand our efforts in prevention, detection, and treatment.

According to President Downs, “Gardner-Webb will follow the recommendations of federal, state, and local authorities as we make our plans for Fall 2020. But let me be absolutely clear, we have every intention of welcoming our Runnin’ Bulldogs back to Boiling Springs and back to campus at the earliest possible date. Our staff are working tirelessly right now to make sure that we plan for adjustments where they may be needed, that we have all the tools necessary to keep our living spaces clean, and that we are proactive in protecting the health and safety of the entire Gardner-Webb community.”

Who is eligible to receive CARES Act funds?

The U.S. Department of Education (“DOE”) has informed Gardner-Webb University that it will be receiving $1,825,407 in total Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act assistance. Approximately half of those funds ($912,704) are designated by the DOE to be disbursed directly to students who have been impacted by campus changes due to COVID-19.

According to the DOE, disbursements are for “the direct payment of grants to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care.” Consistent with the DOE guidelines, the payments will go first to displaced residential students with or without meal plans and to commuter students with meal plans.

May 1, Gardner-Webb University received $912,704. May 4-8, the University will begin distributing those funds as Emergency Relief Grants directly to displaced students who meet the DOE criteria. Students should expect to see those funds in 7-10 business days.

You can find more information on eligibility for the Federal CARES Act here.

The University’s combined efforts to offer economic relief to students as of May 8 include Emergency Relief Grants from CARES in the amount of $912,704, Flex account refunds totaling $114,895.79, and GWU Emergency Funds raised in the past month of $24,353; a total of $1,051,952.79.

What are the most current updates to Student Emergency Fund distribution?

We have established a Student Emergency Fund and distributed more than $26,000 to 174 students as of May 13, 2020.

Public Health Response

How is North Carolina tracking the Coronavirus?

The North Carolina Division of Public Health includes a team of state experts, local health departments, and local partners performing daily monitoring of reportable diseases, including Coronavirus. N.C. public health officials are ready to respond if a case is localized.

What happens if a case is reported?

A case or suspected case is reported to a local health department. Reports will then be shared with The North Carolina Division of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If indicated, patient specimens will be collected by proper authorities and transported to a testing center. Gardner-Webb will work with local, state, and federal partners to investigate reports of the Coronavirus in order to identify cases and prevent the spread of infection.

Quarantines, Isolation and Distancing

What does self-quarantine mean?

Self-quarantine is a precautionary measure that individuals should take if they have been, or have strong reason to believe they have been, exposed to a contagious disease, such as Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Self-quarantine for the coronavirus should last 14 days.

What is recommended for a self-quarantine?

The CDC suggests the following actions during self-quarantine:

  • Restrict activities outside of your home except for medical visits.
  • Limit contact with other people and pets in your home.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Clean all of the high-touch surfaces in your area frequently. Examples include your electronic devices, light switches, door knobs, phones, remote controls, etc.
  • You should not share such household items like drinking glasses, plates, utensils, bedding, towels or clothing. You should wash frequently used items more than usual.
  • Pay close attention to your health. If you begin to experience symptoms, contact a medical professional. Make sure you call in advance to let them know you have been in self-quarantine and are now experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms.
  • For more information and further suggestions for cleaning, visit

What is the difference between self-quarantine vs. self-isolation?

According to the CDC an individual who has been, or potentially been, exposed to a contagious disease will be quarantined for a specific amount of time so that their health can be monitored. If that individual becomes sick with the disease, their health professionals may require them to enter into isolation.

  • Quarantine – separates and restricts movement of an individual who has been, or potentially been, exposed to a contagious disease in order to monitor their health.
  • Isolation – separates an individual who is infected with a quarantinable contagious disease from others who are not sick.

What is the difference between social distancing” and “physical distancing”?

While those terms have been used interchangeably, the World Health Organization (WHO) prefers individuals use the term “Physical Distancing.” This means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining physical distance (at least 6 feet) from others when at all possible. The WHO notes finding ways to engage with each other is more vital than ever, especially when engaging in physical separation practices, so the term “Social Distancing” seems a bit counterproductive.

“We’re changing to say physical distance, and that’s on purpose, because we want people to still remain connected,” noted Dr Maria Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist. “So, find ways to do that, find ways through the Internet and through different social media to remain connected because your mental health is just as important as your physical health.”

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order 121

What does “Stay at Home” mean?

It means people should stay at their residence and limit social interactions and travel for essential activities or essential business purposes.

This Order is mandatory, and all persons are required to comply with these restrictions. Governor Cooper is seeking voluntary cooperation from all residents to ensure the health and safety of our communities. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the Order.

When is the Executive Order 121 in effect?

This Order is valid through May 8, 2020, but it can be revised or extended.

Can I still use university facilities?

Yes, the University is still open, and you may use your ID card to gain entrance to buildings, such as the Tucker Student Center and the Dover Library (during operating hours). The Gardner-Webb Cafeteria is also open for take-out service, and other buildings across campus continue to be accessible.

Can I leave my home to visit friends or family members?

Individuals may leave their homes to care for a family member or friend, or to help their family member or friend get essential goods or receive necessary health care. Individuals should not visit with friends or family members if there is no urgent need.

Can I still get groceries, medical prescriptions or gas for my car?

Yes. Grocery stores, take-out eating establishments and convenience stores and gas stations are still permitted to operate under the Executive Order 121.

Can I leave my home to exercise?

Yes, at the current time, there are no restrictions for exercise outside a residence. People are encouraged to maintain healthy lifestyles, including outdoor recreational activity, such as walking pets and jogging. While exercising, individuals should maintain physical (social) distancing and continue to take protective measures to maintain their personal health and wellbeing. 

Does Executive Order 121 prohibit outside group exercise?

As long as the group abides by the mass gatherings provision in the Order (no more than 10 people) and maintains adequate physical (social) distancing, this activity is not prohibited, but it is strongly discouraged.

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