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COVID-19: Academics & Coursework

How has Northwest revised the academic calendar for the spring 2021 semester?  (updated 12/18/20)

To help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and to ease stress placed on our students and employees as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Northwest is altering its academic calendar during the spring 2021 semester.

Northwest’s spring semester begins Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, and concludes Friday, May 7, 2021, both as previously scheduled.

To help reduce transmission of the virus, the spring break week is removed from the calendar. The campus will close Monday, March 8, and no classes will be offered that day, but classes will resume Tuesday, March 9.

The last day for on-ground, in-person classes will be Friday, April 23. Northwest is designating the week of April 26-30 as a preparation week, and final exams will be conducted online during the week of May 3-7. Northwest’s updated academic calendar is accessible at

This schedule does not apply to coursework offered at Northwest-Kansas City and Online Professional programs, which follow a different academic calendar than the Maryville campus.

As always, in alignment with Northwest’s incremental decision-making process in response to the pandemic, course delivery modes are subject to change as conditions change.

How is class attendance handled during the COVID-19 pandemic?  (updated 12/11/20)

Attendance policies are determined by individual faculty. Students who self-report being symptomatic will be accommodated as an excused illness with course delivery.

How are classrooms altered to accommodate social distancing?  (updated 12/11/20)

Students and faculty should follow mitigation guidelines, which require the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distance.

Academic units have prepared their areas to meet instructional outcomes. In some cases, a class may be split with students attending face-to-face in one session and virtually the next. Another class may follow a blended instruction model that is already a common practice at Northwest. In some cases, classes will remain exactly the same with the expectation of mitigation efforts.

Northwest will not add costs to students for mitigation measures, except where personal protective gear may be required above and beyond what is provided.

Will Northwest accommodate a student who may be in quarantine?  (updated 12/11/20)

Yes, Northwest faculty and staff will assist students with reasonable flexibility. Students are encouraged to discuss concerns with their instructors or staff supervisors.

Will all classes be offered on campus, or will some courses be moved online?  (updated 12/9/20)

Courses will continue to look different during the spring semester and will include a variety of instruction models.

For example, Northwest moved two large, multi-section courses – General Psychology and Introduction to American Government and Politics – online to help lighten hallway traffic in academic buildings and open those classrooms to allow additional flexibility. Likewise, the University moved American Popular Music and Western Civilization I and II to fully remote (virtual) delivery

Students should be aware of the following definitions to describe course delivery models:

Online: Courses indicated in the course schedule as “online” are delivered through Canvas and involve asynchronous student engagement (no scheduled class time).

Virtual or remote: Courses indicated on CatPAWS with a message and location indicated as “VRTUAL” and a message indicating “Remote Delivery” involve student engagement during the scheduled class time through synchronous Zoom delivery.

Students should be attentive to email communication from faculty, and check all course syllabi and messages in Canvas, for course delivery methods.

Where on campus can I study or participate in a Zoom session, if needed?  (updated 8/28/20)

Northwest has implemented “Zoom Zones” in various locations throughout the campus where students may go to access technology and participate in Zoom sessions. The following locations are available during regular hours:

  • B.D. Owens Library: First and second floors, outdoor seating area (headsets, microphones and power cords are available for checkout).  
  • Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse: Tables and chairs are set up in the southwest corner of the facility from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • J.W. Jones Student Union: Third floor meeting rooms, Ballroom (availability may be sporadic due to previously scheduled meetings)
  • Raymond J. Courter College Park Pavilion: Outdoor area in College Park

How is Northwest mitigating foot traffic in academic buildings?  (updated 8/21/20)

Northwest teams have evaluated all campus buildings and posted directional signs to mark entrances and exits as well as one-way traffic in some staircases and hallways.

Additionally, Northwest has adapted some course delivery models and moved its largest classes online to reduce the number of people passing through hallways in some academic buildings.

What buildings have extended hours where students can study or gather in small groups while following mitigation measures?  (updated 8/21/20)

Students may gather in the Student Union, The Station, the B.D. Owens Library or their residence hall lounges. Northwest staff have evaluated all buildings and put mitigation measures in place, including the spacing of furniture.

What factors will Northwest consider when deciding whether to discontinue in-person classes and transition to remote delivery?  (updated 8/21/20)

Northwest reviews a variety of metrics and receives daily inputs from local health experts, including the cumulative total of positive cases, the current number of positive cases, the percentage of the population testing positive for COVID-19, and hospitalizations. The University will not rely on one data point to transition courses to remote delivery. 

Individual course sections may temporarily move online as the result of a group of students or an instructor’s need to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or a need to quarantine due to being a contact of a positive case.

What if I forget my face covering?  (updated 8/19/20)

Northwest has designated face covering stations in all campus buildings. Disposable face coverings may be obtained in the following areas:

Academic areas

  • Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Room 1200
  • Colden Hall – Room 2050
  • Garrett Strong Science Building – Rooms 2610 and 1610
  • Horace Mann Laboratory School – Front desk
  • Everett W. Brown Education Hall – Room 200
  • Martindale Hall – Room 202
  • McKemy Center for Lifelong Learning – Hubbard Center, Room 1200
  • Music (Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building – Room 106
  • Northwest-Kansas City – Front office
  • Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building – Main office
  • Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts Center – back stage office area
  • Valk Center – Room 94
  • Wells Hall – Room 237


Service and support areas

  • Administration Building – Career Services office, Room 130
  • B.D. Owens Library – Front desk
  • J.W. Jones Student Union - Front Desk
  • Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center – Front desk
  • KXCV-KRNW (Wells Hall) – Room 224
  • Michael L. Faust Center for Alumni and Friends – Front desk
  • Mabel Cook Recruitment and Visitors Center – Front desk
  • The Station (Textbook Services) – Front desk
  • Mail/Copy Center – Front desk
  • Materials Distribution Center – Front desk
  • University Police – Front desk
  • Wellness Center – Front desk


Athletics and recreation areas

  • Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse – Greg Hansen
  • Lamkin Activity Center – Room 224
  • Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center – Front desk
  • Student Rec Center – Front desk


Residential Life

  • Dieterich Hall – Front desk
  • Forest Village Apartments (Hawthorne, Sycamore, Willow) – Front desk
  • Franken Hall – Front desk
  • Hudson Hall – Front desk
  • Millikan Hall – Front desk
  • North Complex (Cooper, Douglas) – South Complex rront desk
  • Perrin Hall – Front desk
  • Roberta Hall – Front desk
  • South Complex (Cook, Richardson, Wilson) – Front desk
  • Tower Suites East and West – The Station front desk


Facility Services buildings

  • Facility Services Administration Building – Front desk
  • Facility Services East – Front desk
  • Facility Services Maintenance Building – Front desk

What happens if I have to miss classes?  (updated 6/23/20)

If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, you have an obligation to stay away from others. It is important that you communicate with your instructors that you are not feeling well.

Call Wellness Services for screening and further guidance. Wellness Services may communicate to your instructors if you need to be excused from classes. Faculty will offer alternative learning opportunities if you have an approved absence from the Office of Student Affairs and Wellness Services.