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COVID-19 Recovery: Health & Safety

Northwest’s primary goals during the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect the health and safety of its employees, students and visitors.

The University’s plans are aligned and consistent with local orders and ordinances set by the city of Maryville as well as the guidelines set by the state of Missouri and the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Northwest’s policies and plans will be updated as appropriate.

To focus on health and safety, Northwest expects all students, employees and visitors to adhere to four basic workforce mitigation measures:

  • Frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer, per CDC guidelines.
  • To the fullest extent possible, maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
  • Wear face coverings in the presence of others on campus and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., hallways, common spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).
  • All areas that require evaluation of mitigation measures – primarily public-facing offices – are being evaluated on a prioritized basis and such measures will be enacted in a timely manner.

Employees should work with their immediate supervisor and the Office of Human Resources to address specific needs and circumstances.


How many cases of coronavirus have been reported in Nodaway County?  (updated 8/3/20)

According to the Nodaway County Health Department, 174 individuals residing within the county have tested positive for COVID-19 to date since the first confirmed case was reported April 2.

Of those individuals who have tested positive, 115 are no longer in isolation.

Eight individuals with underlying conditions have been hospitalized; 4 have since been released.

Click here for a detailed review of COVID-19 data in Nodaway County.

Is Northwest providing face coverings for students and employees?   (updated 7/17/20)

Northwest is providing Bearcat Logo face coverings to all employees and students. These face coverings are made of cloth and are washable for reuse.

Students who are employed on campus or living on campus may pick up one face covering, starting Aug. 1 at The Station between noon and 5 p.m. daily. Any student employee who needs a face covering prior to Aug. 1 should contact their supervisor to obtain one.

Beginning Aug. 13, any Northwest student may receive a face covering when picking up a laptop. Residential students also can receive their face covering during move-in days.

Northwest requires all students, employees and visitors to wear a face covering in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. Individuals may choose their own face covering, which should be, at a minimum, made of a cloth material, such as a bandana, scarf, neck gaiter or a homemade face covering. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html to learn more about the importance of face coverings and on how to create your own.

Will campus issue building capacity occupancy limits?  (updated 7/17/20)

Northwest is not issuing building capacity occupancy limits at this time.

Individuals are expected to maintain 6 feet of social distancing to the fullest extent possible and are required to wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained.

What is Northwest doing to protect its students and employees from COVID-19?  (updated 7/17/20)

Safety is and will continue to be an individual responsibility. At the same time, the University has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, employees and visitors.

All individuals on campus will be expected to adhere to Northwest mitigation measures, which include social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

Some individuals may need to take additional precautions based on their own unique circumstances.

Will I be required to wear a face covering when I’m on campus?  (updated 7/17/20)

Northwest is requiring all individuals to wear face coverings inside University facilities at all times except:

  • For individuals who are alone in an office or room
  • For students in their assigned residence hall room
  • When eating and drinking in a campus dining venue
  • Outdoors when a social distance of at least 6 feet can be maintained
  • When an alternative has been approved through Northwest’s Office of Accessibility and Accommodations

Northwest is providing reusable, washable cloth facial covering to students and employees. The University recommends all individuals have at least one additional face covering.

The appropriate use of face coverings is critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19 to others. Wearing a face covering not only protects you; it is us collectively protecting one another.

What if my roommate tests positive for COVID-19?  (updated 7/10/20)

If you become aware your roommate was tested for COVID-19, one of you will need to move out of the living space until the test results return. If one of you cannot move out, avoid sharing a bedroom and bathroom. 

If the test results return positive for your roommate, you will be contacted by Wellness Services and/or the public health department for contact tracing. If you are determined to be a contact, you will be given guidance from Wellness Services on what to do next.

If you are not contacted, additional precautions are not necessary.

Where can I be tested for COVID-19?  (updated 7/2/20)

The following links provide information about testing sites in the four-state region. If you reside outside the four-state region, check with your local or state health departments for testing information.

What if I have symptoms of COVID-19 while I am at Northwest?   (updated 6/23/20)

Call Wellness Services and a staff member will screen you over the phone. If testing is needed Wellness Services will administer a test or send you for to a Mosaic medical center for testing. There is a cost for testing.

I heard someone in one of my classes tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?  (updated 6/23/20)

A public health official or Wellness Services will notify individual contacts who need to quarantine. If you are not contacted, there is no need to take additional precautions.

To be considered a contact, an individual would have spent more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of another individual who tested positive. If both of you were wearing cloth masks, you would be at low risk but still considered a contact. If the person testing positive sat at the front of a classroom and you sat in the back, you would not be considered a contact.

Will my teachers be notified if I test positive?   (updated 6/23/20)

A student testing positive for COVID-19 is responsible for notifying their instructors that they will not return to class until further notice. The student is not required to provide the reason.

Wellness Services will notify the Office of Student Affairs that you are not to attend classes until further notice and will not provide a reason. This is part of Northwest’s normal procedure when students have an infectious disease, are hospitalized, or for other reasons.  

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.

Do I need to quarantine if my roommate was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?  (updated 6/23/20)

You do not need to quarantine unless the roommate has symptoms. However, the roommate needs to isolate, and that means they should not have contact with anyone, including all roommates.  

If your roommate develops symptoms, you should quarantine. A public health official or Wellness Services will contact you to provide guidance. If you are not contacted, there is no need to take additional precautions.

What is the difference between “isolation” and “quarantine”?   (updated 6/23/20)

Isolation is a term used when someone needs to avoid all physical contact with others. This is necessary to prevent transmission of an infection. The best way to isolate is to be in a building by yourself. The next best way is not sharing a bedroom or bathroom. It is best if someone brings your meals to the door and leaves before you open the door. A person in isolation needs to stay away from others until a public health official or Wellness Services says they are not infectious. A public health official or Wellness Services will contact you if you need to be isolated.

Quarantine is a term used when someone needs to avoid contact with others because they have been exposed to an infectious person but do not have symptoms. Quarantined individuals should not share a bedroom, bathroom or living space until a public health official or Wellness Services communicates that they are safe to be with others. A public health official or Wellness Services will contact you if you need to be quarantined.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and recommendations for prevention?  (updated 6/22/20)

The links below are affiliated with state and federal health agencies and provide real-time updates, guidelines and other resources related to the coronavirus outbreak.

How will Northwest respect an individual's preference not to wear a face covering while preventing the spread of COVID-19?   (updated 6/19/20)

Wearing cloth face coverings helps slow the spread of the virus and helps prevent people who do not know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. Face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people. While they may not protect the wearer from contracting the virus, they protect individuals around the wearer.

In situations where individuals choose not to wear a face covering, supervisors have been directed to have an interactive dialogue with the individual about Northwest’s expectations. Disciplinary action may take place if the individual refuses to comply.

While the mitigation measures and protocols in place at Northwest are focused on protecting our campus community and preventing spread of the disease, it is our shared responsibility as individuals to participate in protecting those around us by following Northwest’s recommended measures and taking responsibility for our personal well-being. By taking individual responsibility and holding each other accountable, we not only do our part to help protect our campus and local community but contribute to a successful fall semester.

What adjustments are being made to restrooms to prevent spread of COVID-19?  (updated 6/19/20)

Northwest custodial services is cleaning restrooms more frequently and providing disinfectant wipes for each restroom and stall.

Foot pedals have been added to restroom doors to help reduce contact with high-touch door surfaces.

Will sanitizers be available to students and employees?  (updated 6/19/20)

Northwest is installing additional wall-mounted hand sanitizers in building locations as well as providing hand pump dispensers for office settings and portable stations for large gatherings.

Disinfectant spray and wipes also are being provided in areas throughout campus to help to employees and students clean touch surfaces after use.

Northwest is intensifying its disinfection efforts across the campus in accordance with guidelines shared by the CDC, the American College Health Association and other state universities.

How will social distancing be maintained on campus?  (updated 6/19/20)

Northwest is implementing a variety of measures to encourage social distancing on the campus that include moving and limiting the access to furniture in classrooms and gathering spaces as well as the installation of Plexiglas barriers in high-traffic workspaces.

While the mitigation measures and protocols in place at Northwest are focused on protecting our campus community and preventing spread of the disease, it is our shared responsibility as individuals to participate in protecting those around us by following Northwest’s recommended measures and taking responsibility for our personal well-being. By taking individual responsibility and holding each other accountable, we not only do our part to help protect our campus and local community but contribute to a successful fall semester.

Will students and employees be tested for COVID-19?  (updated 6/19/20)

Northwest has organized a Surveillance, Testing and Tracing Team that is planning for scenarios that include suspected and confirmed cases within the student population. This planning is being coordinated with medical professionals at Northwest as well as medical and public health professionals in our community and region.