Providing Support for your Mason Student

Dear Mason Families,

The first week of classes of the Fall 2020 semester has arrived, and we are excited to welcome students to Mason both in person and virtually. Please know faculty and staff from around the university are working hard behind the scenes to support your Mason family. We recognize that you and your student may still have questions, so we created a list of top things you need to know:

1. The university created the Safe Return to Campus plan to help you and your student understand the changes brought to Mason in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. What opportunities exist for students to get involved and meet other students?

  • There are more than 400 events in Mason360 that include both in-person and virtual engagement! Encourage them to download the app to get connected.
  • Check out the Welcome2Mason schedule! There are both in-person and virtual events for students over the next few weeks. There are Ask Me Tents set up around campus this week for students to ask questions, get directions navigating campus, and for off-campus students to pick up masks.
3. Does your student need help connecting to university staff or resources?
  • For on-campus students, Housing and Residence Life has updated their staffing and engagement plans within the residence halls:
    • Community Directors – There are 13 Community Directors (CDs) who are professional staff members living on campus and serving in a 24/7/365 on-call rotation. Each residential community is overseen by one of these directors, and your student can find theirs here.
    • Community Assistants – There are 93 Community Assistants (CAs) who are current students living right alongside your student in the residence halls and available to support them.
    • VLC Mentors – There are 94 VLC Mentors to support your student one on one on Mason360 through “Knock & Talks” and community hours.
  • Success Coaching – All freshmen are assigned a Success Coach, and transfer students can opt into coaching with a Peer Student Success Coach for the academic year. Success Coaches provide resources, support, guidance, and critical problem-solving discussions to help your student pursue their academic and professional goals. Click here for more information.
  • Academic Advising – Academic advisors enhance student success by supporting, teaching, and connecting students to campus resources, and helping them set and achieve their academic, career, and personal goals. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor at least once per semester and can locate their advisor here.
  • Couseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – If your student would like to speak with a psychologist/counselor, CAPS staff are available. They can call 703-993-2380 to schedule an appointment. Additionally, your student can also connect to online support through Therapy Assistance Online, an interactive, web-based program that provides educational interventions and support for a variety of common mental health concerns.
4. What food places are open on campus and what does service in the dining halls look like?
  • Click here for a quick view of what’s open.
  • Mason Dining created a list of frequently asked questions about their processes this semester. View the list here.
  • The robots are here to serve your student! Encourage them to download the Starship app and place an order.
5. Does your student have questions about their Mason ID Card, meal plans, and Mason Money and merchants who accept it? Learn more here.
6. Your student’s safety is our priority, which is why Housing and Residence Life has set up rules and guidelines to promote health and safety. Read about the changes here. The Housekeeping & Maintenance Staff are maintaining the cleanliness of the halls and providing students with maintenance support as needed. They are cleaning the doors too, which is why your student doesn’t see their name on their door.
7. Mason COVID Health Checks are required for anyone visiting campus this semester. For more information about Student Health Services and the health care provided to students, visit
8. Physical well-being is an important aspect of your student’s health and success. Mason Recreation has implemented a reservation process and updated their facility hours to allow for staff cleaning. Read the plan here.
9. New to the Mason Libraries is contactless pickup/return and expanded online resources and virtual services.
  • If your student is looking for more distance learning support, Learning Services provides a variety of free, experience-based learning opportunities through one-on-one academic coaching, academic success workshops, and online resources. Learn more here.
10. COVID-19 has brought a number of changes to Parking and Transportation procedures and programming. View the list of frequently asked questions that outline those changes here. Additionally, Mason’s location in Northern Virginia offers easy access via Metro, bus, and shuttle.
11. The university is committed to both in-person safety and IT security for your student.
  • Ask your student to add your devices (cell phone number and email address) to their Mason Alert account so you are notified if there is an emergency situation on campus. Learn more here.
  • Mason uses Duo Security to deliver Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when using applications protected by Mason’s Central Authentication Service (CAS) and Shibboleth, and the Cisco AnyConnect VPN. This second layer of protection makes your student’s personal information and Mason’s information less vulnerable. Learn more here.
12. Are you looking for an academic calendar with important university dates? You can view the Fall 2020 Academic Calendar on the Registrar’s website here. Financial deadlines are also included. For additional financial support, your student can request an appointment with the Mason Student Services Center here.

We are committed to helping you and your student navigate the university, its services, and supporting your transition. Again, welcome to the Mason family – we’re glad you’re here.

Rose Pascarell
Vice President, University Life

Posted in Letter from VP.