COVID-19

Dear students, faculty, staff, and community,

Polk State College is looking forward to welcoming students, employees, and members of the community back to its campuses and centers slowly but surely and, most importantly, safely as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Please review Be the Solution: Polk State College’s Return to Campus Plan and supplemental information on this page closely. We will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida Department of Health, and Florida Department of Education, and will communicate necessary modifications and updates accordingly.

We remain committed to the health and safety of our Polk State family and the greater community, and we will continue to uphold the Polk State mission of providing access to affordable, quality higher education in Polk County because We are Polk and together, We are the Solution.

Sincerely,
Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti
President

Overview

PHASE I – MAY 4 – AUGUST 16, 2020
THE MAJORITY OF OPERATIONS ARE REMOTE

The College is fully functional, and the majority of essential operations are occurring remotely.

PHASE II – AUGUST 17 – JANUARY 4, 2021
ADMINISTRATORS & SELECTED STAFF RETURN TO CAMPUS

The College is fully functional, with some essential functions returning to campus and most operations occurring remotely.

The Lakeland Technology Building (LTB) on the Lakeland Campus and the Winter Haven Administration Building (WAD) on the Winter Haven Campus is open to students and visitors. Additional facilities will be open to a limited number of students in workforce programs. Those students will receive instructions from their program directors and instructors.

PHASE III – January 5, 2021
INCREASE IN-PERSON OPERATIONS

The College is fully functional, and some operations are occurring remotely.

 

Cleaning

The College continues to clean offices, classrooms, and laboratory spaces based on CDC guidelines. Hand-sanitizing stations are also provided and maintained.

Building occupants are encouraged to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily with products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and that are appropriate for the surface. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, and keyboards.

Polk State recommends that College community members follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This guidance includes:

  • Washing hands often
  • Avoiding close contact
  • Covering the mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting areas
  • Maintaining mental and emotional well-being

Screening

Students, faculty, and staff who are returning to campus during any of the phases are encouraged to actively monitor their health. Faculty and staff should self-screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus using the following questions. If an individual is sick, or has COVID-19 symptoms, they should not come to campus. Students and visitors who come to campus will be required to answer these questions before being granted admittance to any of the facilities.

  • Have you been within six feet of a person with a laboratory-confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?
  • Have you been tested and received a positive or presumptive positive result for COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
  • Have you traveled out of the country in the past 14 days?
  • Have you had a fever (i.e., temperature of 100.4 F or higher) within the past 24 hours?
  • Have you had a sore throat within the past 24 hours?
  • Have you had any gastrointestinal issues (e.g., diarrhea) within the past 24 hours?
  • Are you experiencing loss of taste or smell?
  • Are you currently experiencing any respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath)?
  • Have you felt any symptoms of a cold (e.g., sore throat, runny nose, or sneezing) or been diagnosed with pneumonia in the past 24 hours?

Face coverings

During Phase II, cloth face coverings are required to be worn by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors while on campus. Cloth face coverings must remain on, indoors and out, except when eating, drinking, or when alone. This includes while in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, travel to and from class, offices, common areas, etc. A face covering can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen and should be a minimum of two layers.

During Phase III, if conditions continue to improve, cloth face coverings may not be expected but will be strongly recommended for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

When using a face covering, it is important to:

  • Wear it correctly.
  • Take off the covering carefully.
  • Care for, store, and launder the covering properly.

Social distancing

Social distancing, or physical distancing, means keeping space of at least 6 feet between individuals when in public. Social distancing, combined with face coverings, have been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19. When on campus, individuals are encouraged to practice social distancing by doing the following:

  • Remaining at least 6 feet from other people.
  • Avoiding groups or gatherings of more than 10 people, including crowds and mass gatherings.
  • Paying attention to directional signage regarding how to move through spaces on campus.
  • Using elevators one person at a time and using the stairs when possible. When using stairs, 6 feet should be maintained between passing individuals (or pause to allow individuals to complete usage before beginning use of a narrow staircase).
  • Limiting the number of people in the restrooms based on the size of the restroom. Individuals should look for directions, limitations, and signage before entering any room or area.
  • Holding meetings telephonically or through video chat when possible.
  • Taking breaks outside or at their workstations. Common areas and break rooms will be closed.

More information

The full Be the Solution: Polk State College’s Return to Campus Plan is available by clicking here. Additionally, answers to frequently asked questions and a timeline of the College’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency are below.

Specific questions or concerns from faculty and staff should be communicated to supervisors or Human Resources. Human Resources can be reached at HR@polk.edu. Students should communicate with their instructors or deans. The Winter Haven Campus Dean may be reached by phone at 863.292.3740 or lpakowski@polk.edu. The Lakeland Campus Dean may be reached at 863.669.2813 or slittle@polk.edu.

Updates

8.3.20 Polk State reminds students of mental health and support resources
7.28.20 Polk State takes care of College community during COVID-19
7.27.20 Polk State delays Phase II of Return to Campus to August 17
7.20.20 Polk State extends hours for student inquiries by phone, email & webchat
7.14.20 Polk State delays Phase II of Return to Campus Plan
6.3.20 Polk State announces phased return to campus
5.6.20 CARES Act emergency financial aid grants available for students
4.28.20 Guide to online tutoring at Polk State
4.27.20 Guide to accessing books and course materials online
4.23.20 Guide to online learning at Polk State
4.17.20 Polk State’s spring 2020 graduates invited to December ceremony
4.15.20 Important information about remote PERT testing
4.13.20 Polk State SALO keeps students engaged through Virtual Student Center
4.2.20 Polk State provides resources to cope with stress and barriers to learning
4.1.20 Polk State College operations to continue remotely through safer-at-home order
4.1.20 College provides remote test proctoring to all Polk State students
3.30.20 Classes resume online at Polk State College
3.27.20 Polk State College to continue all classes online through summer 2020
3.23.20 Important updates and resources for moving to online classes 
3.22.20 Summer registration dates pushed back at Polk State College
3.20.20 Polk State College’s spring commencement ceremonies are canceled
3.18.20 Polk State College responding to case of COVID-19
3.17.20: Polk State to move to online learning environment for remainder of spring
3.16.20: Polk State College to suspend operations 5 p.m. March 16 – March 29
3.13.20: Polk State College closing to students March 16 – March 29
3.12.20: Polk State College COVID-19 update: travel, events, and more
3.11.20: Polk State College remains open, continues to minor coronavirus
3.6.20: Polk State College exercises preparedness, continues to monitor coronavirus
2.28.20: Polk State College is monitoring news and information about coronavirus

  1. Click here for a list of canceled events

    • Polk State College has canceled its spring commencement ceremonies that were scheduled for May 7, 2020, in correspondence with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 10 people or more. This difficult decision comes with the health and safety of students, families, and employees at the forefront. The College will pursue the possible rescheduling of the ceremonies at a later date.
    • All Student Activities and Leadership Office (SALO) events that were scheduled through the spring semester.
    • All Athletics games, practices, and events through the spring season per the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
    • The College’s open house events that were scheduled for April 23 on the Winter Haven Campus and April 30 on the Lakeland Campus.
    • The District Board of Trustees Meeting: March 30
    • The Lakeland Campus Health Fair: March 13
    • Special Performance Series: Broadway Tonite Live!: March 21
    • Women’s History Month Reception: March 31
    • Golden Key International Honour Society New Member Recognition Event: April 4
    • The Chain O’ Lake Big Band Concert: April 5
    • Empty Bowls: April 7
    • The Polk State College Human Library events: April 7 and 9
    • Polk State Theatre’s production of Next to Normal: April 9 – 12 and April 16 – 19
    • Professional Development Day: April 10
    • The Student Art Exhibition Reception: April 14
    • The Symphonic Band and Jazz Concert: April 23
    • The C3 Annual Conference: April 25 (it will be rescheduled)
    • The Choir Concert: April 26
    • The Graduating Portfolio Exhibit Reception: April 28
    • The Percussion Concert: April 28
    • The Honors Showcase: April 30
    • Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School’s:
      • New student orientation: April 9 (it may be rescheduled)
      • Cake auction: April 16
      • Prom: April 17 (it may be rescheduled)
      • Gradbash: April 24
    • Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s:
      • New student orientation: April 23 (it may be rescheduled)
      • Gradbash: April 25
    • Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School’s:
      • Information nights: March 31 and April 14
      • School-wide mental health lessons: March 17, April 7, and April 21
      • SAT school day: April 14
      • Prom: April 18
      • Gradbash: April 24
    • Education pinning ceremony: April 30

Frequently asked questions and answers

General

  1. Does Polk State College have a plan to reopen?

    Polk State College has prepared a three-phased plan, Be the Solution: Polk State College’s Return to Campus Plan,  that supports the return of administrators and select personnel to the College’s campuses and centers beginning on Monday, August 17, 2020.

    The College understands that the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, and the College will modify its plan and response as appropriate (and as more information becomes available). The College’s plan for returning to campus will be consistent with all local, state, and federal laws and directives and will be guided by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Education. A summary of the plan’s phases is as follows.

    PHASE I: The College is currently in Phase I of Be the Solution: Polk State College’s Return to Campus Plan, with College operations fully functional remotely and essential personnel on-site.

    PHASE II: In Phase II, which will begin on August 17, 2020, with an ending date to be determined, the College will remain fully functional with most operations continuing remotely. The Winter Haven Administration (WAD) Building and Lakeland Technology Building (LTB) will open with limited Student Services including advising, admissions, and financial aid. Administrators and their selected staff will increase on-campus presence based on cohort shifts and departmental needs. Students will be able to receive the aforementioned services in person, but the College will continue to encourage them to utilize remote services including calling 863.297.1000 or emailing registrar@polk.edu and financialaid@polk.edu for assistance. Students may experience longer than normal wait times due to limited staffing. All students, staff, faculty, and visitors on campus during Phase II will be required to wear cloth face coverings or masks and will be asked health screening questions.

    PHASE III: Dates for Phase III are to be determined and will shift the College’s operations to more on-campus with some functions occurring remotely.

  2. Will Fall 2020 Semester classes be online?

    Students should note that most courses will remain online through the Fall 2020 Semester. Students enrolled in select workforce education and training programs will receive specialized information from their program directors and instructors. All students are encouraged to monitor their Polk State accounts for important communication and updates.

    For assistance with applying to the College, receiving advising, and registering for classes, students may call 863.297.1000, email registrar@polk.edu, or send a message in the webchat feature located in the bottom right corner of the College’s website, www.polk.edu.

    Staff will be responding to calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and to emails and messages to the webchat from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers may leave voicemails outside of these hours to also receive assistance. Please allow 48 business hours for a response to voicemails and emails.

    For assistance with financial aid, students may call 863.297.1004, email financialaid@polk.edu, or visit www.polk.edu/admission-aid/financial-aid.

    Students with technological needs may call the College’s Academic Support Line at 863.669.2833, which operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  3. Will I be required to wear a face covering when visiting campus?

    During Phase I and Phase II of Be the Solution: Polk State College’s Return to Campus Plan, cloth face coverings are required for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors while on campus. Cloth face coverings must remain on, indoors and out, except when eating, drinking, or when alone. This includes while in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, travel to and from class, offices, common areas, etc. A face covering can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen, and should be a minimum of two layers.

  4. Will my temperature be checked before I can access campus buildings?

    The College does not plan to conduct temperature checks on individuals visiting campus. However, students, faculty, staff, and visitors who are returning to campus during any of the phases are encouraged to actively monitor their health. Faculty and staff should self-screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus using the following questions. Students and visitors who come to campus will be required to answer these questions before being granted admittance to any of the facilities.

    • Have you been within six feet of a person with a laboratory-confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19?
    • Have you been tested for COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
    • Have you traveled out of the state of Florida in the past 14 days?
    • Have you traveled out of the country in the past 14 days?
    • Have you had a fever (i.e., temperature of 100.4 F or higher) within the past 24 hours?
    • Have you had a sore throat within the past 24 hours?
    • Have you had any gastrointestinal issues (e.g., diarrhea) within the past 24 hours?
    • Are you experiencing loss of taste or smell?
    • Are you currently experiencing any respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath)?
    • Have you felt any symptoms of a cold (e.g., sore throat, runny nose, or sneezing) or been diagnosed with pneumonia in the past 24 hours?

    If a faculty or staff member responds YES to any of the questions above, he or she will be instructed to stay home–NOT TO COME TO CAMPUS– and to follow the CDC guidelines regarding the symptoms of COVID-19. The individual will be instructed to call a healthcare provider and his or her supervisor. Students and visitors will be asked these questions before they enter LTB on the Lakeland Campus or WAD on the Winter Haven Campus. Those who answer YES to any of these questions will be turned away and instructed to call their healthcare providers for further assistance. Students will be asked to notify their instructors of their absence.

  5. How do I apply for the CARES Act emergency financial aid grant?

    The CARES Act emergency grant application and more information about the program are located here: www.polk.edu/cares.

    To be eligible for a CARES Act Emergency Grant, a student must:

    • Be enrolled in (or accepted for enrollment in) a degree or certificate program.
    • Be enrolled in at least one course during the current term.
    • Have completed a 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA) to verify the following general eligibility requirements. The student must:
      • Have a valid Social Security number.
      • Be a U.S. citizen or have qualifying non-citizenship status.
      • Have earned a high school diploma or GED.
      • Have registered for selective service (if the individual is male and under 26 years of age).
    • Fulfill the Satisfactory Academic Progressstandards of Polk State College as of the beginning of the Summer 2020 Term.
    • Have a certified need of funding for eligible expenses incurred as a result of disruption to College operations and related to the coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

    Note: A student enrolled in classes for a program that was offered exclusively prior to March 13, 2020 is not eligible for an emergency grant. A student who is in default on a Title IV loan (or who owes refund money on a Title IV grant) is also ineligible for CARES Act funding.

  6. How is Polk State College preventing the spread of COVID-19?

    Per the Florida Department of Education, as COVID-19 evolves, the most important thing for schools to do is to plan and prepare. The College is doing the following as recommended by the state:

    • Reviewing, updating, and implementing emergency operations plans in collaboration with the local health department.
    • Developing and sharing information with students, employees, and the community.
    • Performing routine cleaning of all locations, especially high-touch areas.
    • Ensuring handwashing strategies include washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

    The College’s custodial staff members are cleaning and sanitizing with hospital- and high-grade disinfecting cleaners daily across the College’s six locations. High-touch areas including doorknobs, handrails, push bars, soap dispensers, toilet handles, water faucets, water fountains, and elevator buttons are being sanitized throughout the day and evening, and classroom desks, office desks, reference desks, counters, chair arms and backs, light switches, and telephones are being sanitized each evening to accommodate daily activity and occupancy.

    Additionally, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available in dispensers throughout all College sites. However, the College highly encourages individuals to also practice consistent hand washing, per flu season guidelines outlined by the CDC.

  7. Is Polk State College closed?

    Polk State College is open, with all courses and operations occurring remotely.

    For assistance with applying to the College, receiving advising, and registering for classes, students may call 863.297.1000, email registrar@polk.edu, or send a message in the webchat feature located in the bottom right corner of the College’s website, www.polk.edu.

    Staff will be responding to calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and to emails and messages to the webchat from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers may leave voicemails outside of these hours to also receive assistance. Please allow 48 business hours for a response to voicemails and emails.

    For assistance with financial aid, students may call 863.297.1004, email financialaid@polk.edu, or visit www.polk.edu/admission-aid/financial-aid.

    Students with technological needs may call the College’s Academic Support Line at 863.669.2833, which operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Beginning on August 17, 2020, the Winter Haven Administration (WAD) Building and Lakeland Technology Building (LTB) will open with limited Student Services including advising, admissions, and financial aid available in person. The centers remain closed to students until further notice. Students will be able to receive the aforementioned services in person, but the College will continue to encourage them to utilize remote services by calling 863.297.1000 or emailing registrar@polk.edu and financialaid@polk.edu for assistance. Students may experience longer than normal wait times due to limited staffing.

    All students, staff, faculty, and visitors on campus during Phase I and Phase II will be required to wear cloth face coverings or masks and answer health screening questions before being granted access to the building.

  8. Has there been a case of COVID-19 connected to the College?

    COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the community. Polk State College is providing regular updates of active cases – those reported within the last 14 days. These are the number of individuals who are members of the College community, who have self-reported presumptive positive COVID-19 test results and who have been on campus during the exposure period. The College has notified anyone who may have come into close contact with these individuals during their time on campus.

    ACTIVE CASES – those reported between July 21 – August 4, 2020

    LocationStudentsEmployees
    Center for Public Safety 1

    For this same time period (July 21-August 4), Polk County reported 3,175 new cases.

    The College is committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and encourages everyone to continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding health and safety both on, and off campus.

  9. Who is allowed on campus during Phase II of Polk State College's Return to Campus Plan?

    Phase II of Polk State’s Return to Campus Plan begins on August 17, 2020. Selected personnel have been on campus throughout the pandemic to maintain operations; however, with Phase II, administrators and selected staff will be on campus regularly, and students will be able to visit the Winter Have Administration (WAD) Building and Lakeland Technology Building (LTB) to access a limited number of Student Services including advising, admissions, and financial aid. Students will be able to receive the aforementioned services in person, but the College will continue to encourage them to utilize remote services by calling 863.297.1000 or emailing registrar@polk.edu and financialaid@polk.edu for assistance. Students may experience longer than normal wait times due to limited staffing.

    All students, staff, faculty, and visitors on campus during Phase I and Phase II will be required to wear cloth face coverings or masks and answer health screening questions before being granted access to the building.

  10. How will students participate in lab practicums, hands-on training, etc.?

    The College is working with Program Directors to address some of the Health Sciences, Arts, Digital Media, Public Safety, and Corporate College courses that require lab practicums which complicate fully online instruction. All lab practicums and hands-on training will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines limiting spaces to 10 people who must maintain 6 feet between them. Students should monitor their College emails for communication from their instructors with specifics about their programs and courses.

  11. Can students register for Fall 2020 Semester classes?

    Yes. Enrollment is open and fall classes will begin on August 17. Students currently enrolled at Polk State may register for classes through their Passport accounts. Dual enrollment students should email DEregistration@polk.edu  for assistance with registration.

    Prospective students must submit a free online application to the College at www.polk.edu. More information about the application, orientation, and registration processes is available online at www.polk.edu/admission-aid/admissionsteps.

    For assistance with applying to the College, receiving advising, and registering for classes, students may call 863.297.1000, email registrar@polk.edu, or send a message in the webchat feature located in the bottom right corner of the College’s website, www.polk.edu.

    Staff will be responding to calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and to emails and messages to the webchat from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers may leave voicemails outside of these hours to also receive assistance. Please allow 48 business hours for a response to voicemails and emails.

    For assistance with financial aid, students may call 863.297.1004, email financialaid@polk.edu, or visit www.polk.edu/admission-aid/financial-aid.

    Students with technological needs may call the College’s Academic Support Line at 863.669.2833, which operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  12. How can I receive assistance with advising, registration, and financial aid?

    For assistance with applying to the College, receiving advising, and registering for classes, students may call 863.297.1000, email registrar@polk.edu, or send a message in the webchat feature located in the bottom right corner of the College’s website, www.polk.edu.

    Staff will be responding to calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and to emails and messages to the webchat from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers may leave voicemails outside of these hours to also receive assistance. Please allow 48 business hours for a response to voicemails and emails.

    For assistance with financial aid, students may call 863.297.1004, email financialaid@polk.edu, or visit www.polk.edu/admission-aid/financial-aid.

    Students with technological needs may call the College’s Academic Support Line at 863.669.2833, which operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  13. Will I still receive my financial aid disbursement?

    Yes, you will.

    Disbursements will begin on May 19 for the following summer sessions: 12-week, first six-week, and eight-week.  Disbursements will begin on July 7 for the second six-week session.

    Disbursements will continue weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the semester.

  14. Where can I find resources for online learning?

    Polk State has compiled the following list of resources for students. This list will continue to be updated.

    • Free Spectrum Wi-Fi and broadband is available for households with K-12 and college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. To enroll, call 1.844.488.8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Wi-Fi hotspots will also be open across Spectrum’s footprint for public use.
    • Polk State’s CanvasOrientation is available online and the College recommends students complete this orientation. Courses will be available and accessible through Canvas, which has an easy-to-use interface and mobile-friendly app on Android and iOS. Students can receive course updates, submit assignments, communicate with professors, and more through Canvas.
    • Canvas supportis available 24-7 by calling 1.844.880.9814.
    • Office 365including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is available online.
    • Online tutoring is available through Canvas, including Polk State tutors through Knack and
    • Online assistance with writingis available from Polk State English professors in The Writing Studio.
    • Online library services are available at polk.edu/library, including electronic books and databases.
    • Advising and registration assistance is available by emailing registrar@polk.edu.
    • Financial aid assistance is available by emailing financialaid@polk.edu.
  15. How do I return rented textbooks to the campus bookstore?

    Rented textbooks can be returned free by mail.

    Students can click on the link below and follow the instructions to print a shipping label:

    https://polk.bncollege.com/shop/polk/page/rental-book-return.

     

Online Resources

  1. How can I gain internet access if I do not have it?

    Free Spectrum Wi-Fi and broadband is available for households with K-12 and college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. To enroll, call 1.844.488.8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Wi-Fi hotspots will also be open across Spectrum’s footprint for public use.

  2. Are there free Wi-Fi hotspots?

    Polk State College has collaborated local municipalities to identify safe locations for free, drive-in Wi-Fi.

    Students who use these public locations are encouraged to practice social distancing and remain in their cars.

    • City of Lakeland’s SurfLakelandis free downtown and in select areas of the city. Students accessing SurfLakeland downtown should note the parking restrictions posted on signage. The best signal is around Munn Park and students should consider parking next to the park to leave areas in front of restaurants open for curbside business.
    • City of Lake Wales’s CityNet Wi-Fiprovides free hotspots throughout Lake Wales.
    • City of Winter Haven has several high-speed Wi-Fi access points for Polk State students. Access points are located downtown. The downtown parking garage and library parking lot have both unsecured and secured Wi-Fi available. The password for all secured Wi-Fi networks is MyWinterHaven.
    • Haines City provides free Wi-Fi access at Haines City Park under PSCHainescity and the password myhainescity.

    As the College adds other Wi-Fi access points, this list will be updated.

    Click here for more information.

  3. How can I access my courses online?

    Online courses can be accessed through the College’s learning management system, Canvas, which has an easy-to-use interface, a mobile-friendly app on both Android and iOS, and a 24-7 help desk at 1.844.880.9814. More information including a Canvas orientation is available on the Distance Learning web page.

  4. How do I access my books and course materials online?

    The Polk State College Bookstores may be closed to students on campus, but they are open online for course material selection and delivery.  Students can begin buying books for summer classes on April 27, 2020.

     

    A step-by-step guide that explains how to purchase or rent course material online is available here: https://www.polk.edu/wp-content/uploads/How-to-Place-an-Online-Order-Student.pdf. All dual-enrolled students should follow the same process. Click here for more information.

  5. What are the guidelines for students in the online environment?

  6. Where can I find information about Canvas?

    • Polk State’s Canvas Orientation is available online and the College recommends students complete this orientation before instruction resumes online on March 30. Courses will be available and accessible through Canvas, which has an easy-to-use interface and mobile-friendly app on Android and iOS. Students can receive course updates, submit assignments, communicate with professors, and more through Canvas.
    • Canvas support is available 24-7 by calling 1.844.880.9814.
  7. Where can I gain access to Office 365 including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?

    Office 365 including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is available online

  8. Where can I receive online tutoring?

    Online tutoring is available through Canvas, including Polk State tutors through Knack and Smarthinking.

    Online assistance with writing is available from Polk State English professors in The Writing Studio.

  9. Where can I find library resources?

    Online library services are available at polk.edu/library, including electronic books and databases. Ask A Librarian is also available on Canvas.

  10. What if I need help accessing my student email?

    Students who are having trouble accessing their my.polk.edu email accounts may call 863.873.5971 or email jthompson@polk.edu for assistance. Students can also call the College’s information desk at 863.297.1000 for assistance.

  11. What if I am having trouble accessing a computer or equipment to complete assignments or online testing?

    The College has established the Academic Support Line for students who have equipment and internet needs. Students may call the line at 863.669.2833 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for assistance.

  12. How can I keep connected to my peers in the online college environment?

    Students quickly brainstormed creative ways to keep their peers connected in the online college environment. With the support of Student Activities and Leadership Office (SALO) Director Melvin Thompson, student leaders launched the Virtual Student Center, which is accessible on SALO’s Facebook (@polkstatesalo), Instagram (@polkstatesalolk and @pscwhsalo), and Twitter (@wearesalo) pages as well as on CanvasClick here for more information.

Testing

  1. What if I am having trouble with online test taking?

    The College has purchased Honorlock to provide remote proctoring services for testing to all Polk State students. Honorlock is accessed through Canvas and is an online test proctoring service that has a number of tools to ensure academic integrity. Honorlock has equipment and technical requirements, and students are encouraged to become familiar with the program as soon as possible.

    Students will need:

    • To use Google Chrome and download the Honorlock Chrome Extension.
    • To log in to Canvas, go to their course, and click on their exam. When they click on “Take Your Exam,” they will start the authentication process before beginning the exam.
    • If there is a page asking for an access code, it means that the student has not installed the Honorlock Chrome Extension or is using an incompatible internet browser. Students must use Google Chrome.

    Students should:

    • Be aware of specific exam dates and times and allow adequate time to take the exams. Do not procrastinate.
    • Become familiar with and comply with Honorlock’s technical requirements.
    • Anticipate technical issues with completing any exams. Students should notify Honorlock support first for assistance.

    Honorlock support is available 24-7 by emailing support@honorlock.com and through live chat support online at honorlock.com/support.

    Canvas support is available 24-7 by calling 1.844.880.9814.

  2. What about TEAS testing?

    Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) proctored testing is available remotely for individuals applying for the Polk State Nursing Program for the Fall 2020 Semester. Applicants can take the test online. A computer with a webcam and microphone is required, as well as a stable internet connection and private space. Testing time is four and a half hours.

    Available remote proctored testing sessions and registration are available at bit.ly/3dGDDdg.

    Individuals who cannot meet the technological requirements for remotely proctored testing should email dimmel@polk.edu to discuss potential alternative testing solutions. Individuals who have questions about the TEAS registration process should call 863.292.3674.

    The TEAS is required for admission into the Polk State Nursing Program. The fall 2020 application period for the generic and transition tracks was postponed from May to June due to the cancellation of TEAS testing caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Polk State’s Nursing application will be open from June 15 through June 30, 2020.

    Additional TEAS testing sessions will be available at later dates for prospective students applying for later admission cycles.

  3. Do I still need to take the PERT test?

    Students are required to take the PERT test if they plan to pursue dual enrollment, early admission, or would like to apply to any of the College’s three collegiate high schools. Please note that Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School is waiving the PERT requirement.

    The PERT is also required for some new non-dual enrolled students who graduated before 2007, graduated from a non-Florida high school, graduated without a standard high school diploma, or are not active-duty military. A representative from Student Services will be contacting these students directly via email during the enrollment process to coordinate PERT testing dates.

     

    More information about taking the PERT remotely and a video about how to take the test using Honorlock in Canvas can be accessed here: www.polk.edu/admission-aid/remote-pert-testing.

  4. How do I arrange to take the PERT test?

    To comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance during the coronavirus public health emergency, Polk State College will be offering remote PERT testing beginning Monday, April 20, for students who wish to enroll for the Summer 2020 Semester, and beginning Thursday, May 7, for those who wish to enroll for the Fall 2020 Semester.

    New students must submit a free online application to the College at www.polk.edu. Students must complete and submit the application at least three workdays prior to their PERT session. After completing the College application, students will receive a welcome letter from the College via email. The letter will provide directions for how to access the PERT test, including the requirement to email Advising@polk.edu to begin the process.

    More information about taking the PERT remotely and a video about how to take the test using Honorlock in Canvas can be accessed here: www.polk.edu/admission-aid/remote-pert-testing.

  5. What are the minimum technology requirements for taking the PERT test remotely?

    To take the PERT online, students must have access to the following:

    • Desktop or laptop computer
    • Webcam and microphone
    • Google Chrome internet browser
    • Internet access

    Polk County Public School students who do not have access to the internet or the computer equipment necessary to take the test should contact their high school principal or counselor for assistance.

    More information about taking the PERT remotely and a video about how to take the test using Honorlock in Canvas can be accessed here: www.polk.edu/admission-aid/remote-pert-testing.

Campus Life and Facilities

  1. Are Polk State College events canceled?

    The College is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guideline for large events and mass gatherings which recommends canceling or postponing in-person events that consist of 10 people or more. Please continue to monitor www.polk.edu for further scheduling and event information.

Travel and Study Abroad

  1. Are field trips, study abroad trips, and work-related trips canceled?

    The College continues to stress the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisories, including the recommendation to avoid all nonessential travel to countries with Level 3 health notices: China, Iran, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and most of Europe. The College has suspended:

    • Study abroad trips until further notice.
    • All airplane travel, per the recommendation of the Florida Department of Education, related to student field trips and employee work travel through June 2020.
    • All travel outside of the state related to student field trips and employee work travel through June 2020.
  2. What if I am traveling outside of school or work?

    The College stresses the following guidelines provided by the Florida Department of Health:

    • Anyone (students, faculty, staff, etc.) who goes on foreign travel, to any country, are advised to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
    • Anyone (students, faculty, staff, etc.) who goes on a cruise, anywhere, are advised to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
  3. Do I have to notify someone at the College about a personal (NON-COLLEGE-RELATED) international and/or domestic travel plans?

    Polk State College strongly encourages everyone to apply the same abundance of caution to personal travel. Individuals should keep in mind the possibility of quarantine measures being introduced while they are traveling. Students, faculty, or staff planning to travel on personal trips are advised to have contingency plans in the event of major disruptions that could affect both outbound and return travel. Please carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any international travel, and review Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on COVID-19 to learn more.

Health Resources

  1. I am anxious about the situation unfolding. Are there resources or support for my wellbeing?

    We understand that some community members are concerned and that this is a stressful time.  If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students and employees.

    For students:

    • The BayCare Student Assistance Program offers immediate counseling assistance from licensed professionals. All services are 24-7, free, and confidential, providing support from managing classes, to managing stress. Students can call 800.878.5470 or access services online at BayCare’s Personal Advantage.
    • United Way’s 2-1-1 is a comprehensive source of human and social services information. Specialists are available 24-7 to connect individuals with services in Polk, Hardee, and Highland counties online, by phone at 888.370.7188, by texting your zip code to 898-211, or by emailing uw211help@gmail.com.
  2. What is the novel coronavirus, COVID-19?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    Additionally, COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably through “community spread” in some geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

    Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (this is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses):

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

     

  3. How does COVID-19 spread?

    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

  4. How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

    The CDC’s guidelines include:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home.
    • Wear a cloth face cover when you have to go out in public.
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
    • Stay home if you are sick.

    Also, avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, including older adults and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

  5. What if I am sick and need to miss class or work?

    The College is exercising the CDC’s guidelines and encourages students and employees who are sick to stay home. Faculty and supervisors have been asked to be flexible with students and employees who are sick. Due to the status of the public health emergency by the state, students are not required to provide documentation such as doctors’ notes at this time. Students who have any questions or concerns are asked to contact a Dean of Student Services. The Winter Haven Campus Dean may be at 863.292.3740 or lpakowski@polk.edu. The Lakeland Campus Dean may be reached at 863.669.2813 or slittle@polk.edu. Employees who have any questions or concerns are asked to contact Human Resources at 863.297.1070 or HR@polk.edu.

  6. What should I do if I have close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

    If you have come in contact with an individual who has recently traveled to countries with Level 3 or Level 2 travel advisories per the CDC, or if  you have traveled to these locations yourself, and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

    • Call your local county health department.
    • Seek medical care. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • Avoid contact with others.
    • Do not travel while sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • CDC has additional specific guidance for travelers available online.
  7. Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

    Polk State continues to stress the importance of preparedness and encourages students, faculty, staff, and community members to access up-to-date information and resources through the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, the Florida Department of Health has a dedicated COVID-19 call center that can be reached at 1.866.779.6121. The call center is available 24-7. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.