NWC's Coronavirus Response: FAQs
If you have a question that isn’t addressed below, send your question to ResponseTeam@nwciowa.edu, and we will get you an answer.
Campus Life and Christian Formation
Health and Wellness
Update on Thursday, May 7:
Q: Will classes be held on campus in the fall?
A: Yes, we plan to resume on-campus education this fall, with policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of all in the campus community. The Pandemic Response Team has subcommittees currently working on recommendations in the following areas: screening/testing, contact tracing and education; on-campus activities; off-campus activities; classroom and athletic facility scheduling and safety; and student housing, food service and infection control. We will continue to communicate updates throughout the summer.
Update on Thursday, May 7:
Q: Will Northwestern still host academic camps this summer?
A: Yes, we plan on holding summer academic camps and events like Living Your Faith, the Theatre Camp and the All-State Prep One-Day Choral Camp. However, we will follow guidelines given by the Iowa Department of Health. More information will come in late May or early June.
Update on Friday, May 1:
Q: Is there a possibility Northwestern would switch to pass-fail classes for the semester?
A: After careful consideration, Northwestern has determined that it will allow students the opportunity to elect Pass/No Pass grading for courses taken during the spring 2020 term. This was a difficult decision, but we believe it was the correct one to make. To help keep you focused on your work as you finish the semester, please note the following key points:
You may not make any decisions about switching your course to Pass/No Pass until after the semester is over and you have a chance to review the grade you earned. Continue to focus on your work. Finish the term strong.
Once grades are turned in on May 13, you will have until May 22 to decide whether you want the grade recorded as a letter grade or as Pass/No Pass.
You will be able to make an individual decision about each course you took this semester.
You will need to have approval of your adviser for any changes to the grading system.
Note that students majoring in social work or nursing may not be able to have courses graded as Pass/No Pass unless those courses are pure electives.
We continue to believe that, for the vast majority of students, retaining your letter grades will be the best choice. But this one-time exception to our grading policies acknowledges the complexity of this unique term, the unusual work that you’ve been asked to do, and the challenging circumstances under which you’ve done it.
Q: Can prospective students schedule visits to Northwestern at this time?
A: In-person campus visits have been discontinued temporarily, but you can still visit Northwestern virtually. Our virtual visit website includes videos and 360° photos as well as the opportunity to connect with students, professors and coaches.
Update on Thursday, May 7:
Q: Will Northwestern still host athletic camps this summer?
A: Yes, we plan on holding summer athletic camps; however, we will follow guidelines given by the Iowa Department of Health. More information will come in late May or early June.
Campus Life and Christian Formation
Q: How can we pray for one another?
A: We are a praying community, Raiders, so if you have a prayer request, you may submit it online here.
Q: May I eat on campus?
A: The Hub Raider Grille is open to the campus community and the public all summer, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering takeout and in-restaurant dining within the state's social-distancing guidelines.
Q: Can I get together with a group of friends on campus?
A: We are following the guidelines contained in Iowa’s State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, declared on March 17. So, essentially: 1) Do not get together if it’s not necessary. 2) If you do have to get together, do so with 10 or fewer people. 3) With 10 or fewer people, it’s still very important to observe common social distancing practices. (Maintain 6 feet between you and others—the distance the virus can travel in droplets from a person’s nose or mouth when they cough or sneeze.)
Update on Thursday, May 14:
Q: When may employees return to work in campus offices?
A: Several employees have asked questions regarding the invitation to begin transitioning back to campus offices on Monday, May 18. The number of COVID-19 cases in Sioux County has continued to increase, so we have determined a cautious approach is best.
What does this mean?
To begin with, President’s Cabinet members will return to working from their campus offices on May 18. You also have permission to return to your office if you feel safe doing so. Supervisors will work with their department members to discuss what works best for their team while also accommodating individual needs. Anyone who needs to continue working remotely should feel free to do that after notifying your supervisor. We want to resume working in campus offices with appropriate caution and a deliberately staggered approach. We tentatively hope that we can all be back in our campus offices around June 1.
What precautions should we take when returning to work on campus?
Please carefully review the guidelines below for returning to work in campus offices, courtesy of Chad Miller. I am so grateful for Chad, and the work he has done to guide us through this pandemic. His expertise and attention to detail has made this process much less daunting.
What if I have health risks or other concerns that make me feel unsafe or anxious about returning to campus?
Please talk with your supervisor about continuing to work remotely or working alternative hours when there are few or no other people near your office. Your health and security (physical and mental/emotional) are important to us. Please continue to be gracious with each other and support each other as we all navigate our individual work environments and situations.
Guidelines for Returning to Campus Offices
Do follow these safe work practices:
- Bring a mask/scarf/bandana with you that you can wear over your mouth and nose when you are in close proximity to others or in a public space used by multiple people.
- Maintain social distancing practices: stay six feet away from others.
- Wash your hands several times a day with hot water and soap for 20 seconds.
- Keep your work area clean. (Ask our heroic maintenance department for cleaning supplies.)
- Cover all coughs and sneezes.
- Limit your meetings (or gatherings) to 10 or fewer people. When meeting, maintain social distance and wear masks. (Also consider continuing to meet over Zoom, especially if some team members are still working remotely.)
- Be conscientious of others’ need to keep themselves safe.
- Try not to touch doorknobs with your bare hands.
- Do not gather in break rooms, hallways, bathrooms and offices.
- Do not use a shared coffee pot. All shared coffee pots should be turned off and shelved.
- Avoid using drinking fountains.
- Do not bring snacks or food to share with fellow employees. Remove shared candy dishes.
- Notify your supervisor and stay home or go home if you begin to feel ill.
Do not return to work or come to work if:
- You have underlying health concerns or are in a high-risk category.
- You feel sick, are sneezing or have a cough. Also, if someone in your family is ill or you have been in contact with someone who has been ill.
- You experience any COVID-19 symptoms. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
- You tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
- You have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate (regardless of whether you were tested for COVID-19) until after these three things have happened:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- Your other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved) AND
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether you’re experiencing symptoms, should self-isolate until:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of the first positive test AND
- You continue to have no symptoms (no cough or shortness of breath) since the test.
- If you experience trouble breathing, immediately call 911 for medical assistance.
Stay home for 14 days from the time you return home from international travel. During this 14-day period, take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing. Use a temperature log to monitor your temperature.
- Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
- Maintain social distancing.
Q: What are the protocols for employees working from home?
A: President Christy has asked all employees who can work from home to do so. If you are working remotely, please make sure you do the following:
- Please set up your desk extension to ring to your cell phone/home phone during regular business hours (or the hours you typically work) to ensure continuity of service and work. If you do not have ShoreTel software and do not already know how to do this, please submit a helpdesk call or email, and computing services will work with you to set this up.
- Please post a sign on your office door that indicates you are working remotely and can be reached via office extension and email.
Q: Are there any restrictions for employees who have traveled recently?
A: Anyone who has traveled through an airport (international or domestic) is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days at home before returning to campus.
Update on Tuesday, April 7:
Q: Has commencement been canceled?
A: After surveying graduating students and hearing they want to hold an in-person Commencement in late July or during Raider Nation Celebration, we have decided to postpone May commencement and tentatively plan for it to be held on campus on Saturday, July 18. A back-up option, should the pandemic prevent us from gathering July 18, would be to hold it as part of Raider Nation Celebration (Homecoming) on Sunday, Sept. 20. We don't have a schedule of events for either scenario but will develop that as the dates grow closer. We are eager to celebrate this milestone in-person with graduating students, and we will keep everyone updated as plans move forward.
Update on Monday, June 1:
Q: Is Northwestern’s library open?
A: DeWitt Library, located in the DeWitt Learning Commons, reopened on Monday, June 1. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the week of June 1–5, the library is open only to members of the Northwestern College community. Furniture is rearranged on the first floor to allow for greater social distancing and easier disinfecting. This includes removing most fabric-covered furniture, spreading out tables, having only one chair at most tables, and spacing out computer stations. Wipe stations are available throughout the building, and we ask for your cooperation in wiping off surfaces you have touched. Library staff will also be disinfecting high-use areas throughout the day. Please return materials you have handled to book drops. If you feel uncomfortable entering the building but need materials, library staff are willing to meet you outside; just email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. For now, the second floor of the DeWitt Learning Commons will not be open to patrons. If you need materials from that collection, staff will retrieve them for you. Visit the library's COVID-19 response page for more information.
Update on Tuesday, May 12:
Q: When will the Fitness Center reopen?
A: The DeWitt Fitness Center reopened on Tuesday, May 12. More information is available on the Fitness Center's website.
Update on Thursday, May 14:
Q: Are the football field and outdoor track open?
A: De Valois Stadium—including Korver Field and the track—is now unlocked and available for limited use. Visitors are asked to observe social distancing practices, and group activities with shared equipment are not allowed.
Q: Are Northwestern's offices closed?
A: Most Northwestern employees are now working remotely. Offices are still in operation but are closed to the general public. The Rowenhorst Student Center mallway and post office are open the same daytime hours of the Hub, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Health and Wellness
Q: Will I be notified if someone at NWC tests positive for COVID-19?
A: If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19 and they were on campus within the previous 14 days, we will notify the community according to the protocols of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Q: What if I test positive for COVID-19 but I’m no longer on campus? Do I tell someone at NWC?
A: If you test positive for COVID-19 in your home health care facility and it is within 14 days of your being on campus interacting with fellow students, it’s critically important that you let us know since NWC would not be notified by another state’s health department. Contact Dr. Michelle Van Wyhe, NWC Wellness Center Nurse Practitioner, immediately.