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Northwest's COVID-19 response

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As the University, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nodaway County Health Department and other public health agencies, actively monitors the COVID-19 pandemic, this webpage provides broad information and answers to frequently asked questions related to Northwest's operations and pandemic response.

Updates and information are provided as they become available. Additional information specific to an academic or service area at Northwest may be obtained by using contact information provided in University directories.

For other information specifically related to COVID-19 and its impacts on your health, visit the CDC's FAQ page.

FAQs by category


Latest Updates

In what situations are individuals required to wear a face covering on campus?  (updated 6/9/21)

Individuals must continue wearing a face covering until they are fully vaccinated, regardless of age.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Students who fail to comply with Northwest mitigation measures may be reported to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities by clicking this link.

What factors will Northwest consider when deciding whether to discontinue in-person classes and transition to remote delivery?  (updated 6/8/21)

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 to a blended, alternating attendance or online format 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.

Will the 2021-22 academic calendar include prep weeks?  (updated 6/8/21)

Northwest is returning to a traditional academic calendar used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and prep weeks are not planned for the 2021-22 academic year.

What adjustments has Northwest made to restrooms to help prevent spread of COVID-19?  (updated 6/7/21)

Foot "pulls" and touchless faucets have been installed to help reduce contact with high-touch surfaces.

Are sanitizers available to students and employees?  (updated 6/7/21)

Northwest has installed additional wall-mounted hand sanitizers in building locations and portable stations for large gatherings.

Should I self-quarantine after travel?  (updated 6/7/21)

Individuals who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months do not need to get tested or self-quarantine.

For additional CDC information related to travel, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html.

What restrictions has Northwest placed on travel?  (updated 6/7/21)

Northwest has lifted its restrictions on University-related and University-funded travel.

Refer to CDC guidelines related to travel by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

Is Northwest providing face coverings for students and employees?   (updated 6/7/21)

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 have not received a Northwest face covering may pick up one face covering at The Station between noon and 5 p.m. daily. Additionally, Northwest has placed disposable masks in buildings and campus vending machines for individuals who may not have a face covering upon entering.

Northwest requires all unvaccinated individuals to 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 work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Vaccinations and the appropriate use of face coverings are critical to minimize the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Do I need to quarantine if I've been exposed to someone with COVID-19?  (updated 6/7/21)

People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.

A close contact is an individual who:

  • was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • had direct physical contact with a person with COVID-19
  • shared eating or drinking utensils with the person who has COVID-19
  • somehow got respiratory droplets (a sneeze or cough) from a person with COVID-19

For additional CDC quarantine guidelines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.

Do employees have access to insurance and benefits related to COVID-19?  (updated 6/7/21)

Blue KC has announced it will extend member relief related to COVID-19 through June 30, 2021.

For a complete listing of updates to insurance plans and benefits, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/hr/bulletin/events/COVID19Insurance.htm.

How are classrooms altered to accommodate social distancing?  (updated 6/7/21)

Academic units are focused on meeting instructional outcomes, and all classes will continue as scheduled with basic mitigation expectations that do not require most classrooms to be altered. 

Students are asked to maintain a social distance of 3 feet where possible. Face coverings are suggested when a 3-foot distance cannot be maintained. 

Northwest will not add costs to students for mitigation measures, except where personal protective gear may be required.

How is class attendance handled during the COVID-19 pandemic?  (updated 6/7/21)

Attendance policies are determined by individual faculty, and students are expected to attend courses as scheduled.

Students who self-report being symptomatic of COVID-19 or who have been exposed and are not vaccinated will receive an excused absence and will need to work with their instructor for any course accommodations during their isolation or quarantine.

All other absences due to illness or personal reasons are handled by individual faculty members as they were prior to the pandemic.

How many positive COVID-19 cases have been reported in Nodaway County and involve Northwest students or employees?  (updated 6/7/21)

In collaboration with the Nodaway County Health Department, Northwest is monitoring two active cases involving University students or employees; 870 students or employees have tested positive since April 2, 2020.

According to the Nodaway County Health Department, there are fourteen active cases of COVID-19 in the county, and 2,719 individuals have tested positive in the county since April 2, 2020.

2,680 of all individuals testing positive in Nodaway County are no longer in isolation.

172 individuals in Nodaway County have been hospitalized; zero are currently hospitalized and 25 have died.

Is Northwest requiring students and employees to be vaccinated?  (updated 5/24/21)

At this time, Northwest is not requiring its students and employees to have the COVID-19 vaccination, however, the University strongly encourages the vaccination to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Individuals who can show proof of full vaccination will not be required to wear face coverings or maintain distance from others unless they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. Individuals who do not meet these requirements, regardless of age, are not fully vaccinated and must continue taking precautions, including the wearing of face coverings, social distancing of 6 feet and handwashing, until they are fully vaccinated.

For information about the vaccine and answers to frequently asked questions provided by Mosaic Life Care, visit https://www.mymlc.com/General/coronavirus-covid-19.

Where can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?  (updated 5/24/21)

The Nodaway County Health Center, in partnership with Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville, and Northwest, is administering the vaccine based on guidelines provided by the state of Missouri. To register to receive the vaccine, in Nodaway County Health Center, visit https://www.nodawaypublichealth.org/.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/

For additional information about the vaccine and answers to frequently asked questions provided by Mosaic Life Care, visit https://www.mymlc.com/General/coronavirus-covid-19.

How is Northwest cleaning classrooms and offices?  (updated 5/14/21)

Northwest has adopted the use of a sanitizing product, “Bearcat Thunder,” that is available to classrooms, offices and others throughout the campus. Bearcat Thunder is an alcohol-based product that is sprayed onto surfaces as a mist and allowed to air dry for about 3 minutes.

As a note to employees and students, bleach is not an approved cleaning or sanitizing chemical for use on campus due to risks of chemical reaction.

For more information about “Bearcat Thunder,” including an instructional video, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/services/facility/custodial/bearcatthunder.htm.

Where can I be tested for COVID-19?  (updated 5/14/21)

Students may call Wellness Services at 660.562.1348 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request a test.

Employees and students may call Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville at 660.562.2525 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 8 a.m. and 12 Saturday to request a test. 

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.

Is Northwest offering additional scholarships or financial opportunities due to COVID-19?   (updated 4/8/21)

Northwest is committed to maintaining a level of financial assistance that allows the University to remain an affordable college choice.

The University is adjusting the grade-point average (GPA) requirement for renewal of the admission-based merit scholarships (https://www.nwmissouri.edu/finaid/renewal/) by 0.5 GPA points. For example, as a one-time adjustment for fall 2021, a scholarship that normally requires a 3.5 cumulative Northwest GPA will require a 3.0 cumulative Northwest GPA for renewal entering the 2021-22 academic year. The University has also committed to expanding eligibility for the American Dream Grant and has committed to allocating additional funds for need-based financial assistance. 

How did Northwest identify and provide HEERF emergency grants to eligible students?  (updated 4/8/21)

Northwest identified all HEERF-eligible students in May 2020 and offered payments to all 3,855 eligible students on May 8, 2020. The University provided each student with the opportunity to self-certify eligibility, and students were instructed to opt out if they did not or would not meet the conditions of the payment. After accounting for opt outs, the University provided $2,354,700 to 3,850 students through this initial effort. Additional emergency grant payments are being provided on an as-needed, case-by-case basis to qualifying students who request assistance from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance. 

As of Dec. 31, 2020, additional emergency grant funding of $22,300 had been provided to 81 students. In some cases, a student could have been eligible for an initial emergency grant payment in May 2020 and also receive an additional emergency grant payment prior to Dec. 31, 2020. 

As of April 1, 2021, a remaining HEERF I amount of $17,095 was combined with available HEERF II funds, based on Federal guidance received and awarded to students. Additional information related to the HEERF II distribution process will be provided once reporting guidance is received from the U.S. Department of Education. 

This information is intended to provide needed communication for students and families while meeting federal reporting requirements for the receipt and use of these funds.

How did Northwest determine the HEERF award amount that could be offered to each student?  (updated 4/8/21)

Northwest initially used estimated living expense costs calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and published by the College Board to determine a reasonable amount of additional living expenses a student would incur from the campus disruption due to COVID-19.

In our effort to prioritize students with the greatest need, we determined a higher payment amount for our Pell Grant-eligible students was appropriate. All HEERF-eligible students were offered an initial emergency grant payment of $450 or $875.

An additional total of $6,800 was paid to 10 students during the summer 2020 term, with award amounts ranging from $450 to $1,500. 

During the fall 2020 term, quarantined or isolated federal work employees and institutional student employees were encouraged to request additional HEERF I emergency grant funds, if needed. This effort resulted in 71 students receiving emergency grant payments, totaling $15,500, with award amounts ranging from $100 to $450.

During January 2021, a remaining HEERF I amount of $17,095 was combined with available HEERF II funds, based on federal guidance, and awarded to students.  Additional information related to the HEERF II distribution process will be provided once reporting guidance is received from the U.S. Department of Education. 

In total, students have received $2,396,395 in HEERF I emergency grant payments.

This information is intended to provide needed communication for students and families while meeting federal reporting requirements for the receipt and use of these funds.

How did Northwest allocate the HEERF Institutional funds?  (updated 4/8/21)

Review the budget and expenditure reports required per HEERF CARES Act Section 18004(a)(1) Institutional funds portion by clicking the links below.

This information is intended to provide needed communication for students and families while meeting federal reporting requirements for the receipt and use of these funds.

What are acceptable face coverings?  (updated 3/23/21)

Individuals may choose their own face covering, which should be, at a minimum, made of a thick or multi-layered cloth material.

Northwest’s face covering guidelines are aligned with those provided by the CDC. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html for additional guidance and research supporting the importance of face coverings.

What actions have been taken in residence halls to help prevent transmission of COVID-19?  (updated 3/23/21)

Residents and guests are required to wear face coverings in all common space, including hallways, elevators, stairwells, lounges, restrooms and laundry rooms. All residence hall staff wear face coverings in common areas or an enclosed spaces with a student, such as an office.

Desk supplies remain available but must be cleaned by users after each use. Cleaning supplies are provided.

Furniture is spaced in lounges to allow for socially distanced seating.

Non-Northwest guests are not allowed to visit residence halls. Students should meet guests outside or in another space.

Elevators are limited to three people at a time, except during move-in days when one family unit is allowed at a time in the elevator.

Programming is provided with mitigation measures in place.

Students who have medical conditions that make them vulnerable and need special accommodations, such as a private room, may contact the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations.

Additional cleaning and hand sanitizers is provided in common areas.

Roommates and suitemates should establish their own mitigation rules for their room, suite or apartment.

How many people have been vaccinated in Nodaway County?  (updated 1/29/21)

Data tracking the number of people vaccinated in Missouri and by county is available at https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/data/.

What should I do if I’m a faculty member and need to quarantine or isolate?  (updated 12/11/20)

Faculty members who must isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or need to quarantine due to being a contact of a positive case should work with their department chair or school director to move courses to remote status temporarily.

If a student tests positive in my class, who is asked to quarantine?  (updated 12/11/20)

Northwest works with the Nodaway County Health Department to identify contacts of an individual who tests positive. Whether an individual is identified as a contact depends on the amount of time spent within a 6-foot radius of the positive individual, so it’s possible an entire class will not need to be quarantined.

By definition, a close contact is considered to be any individual who had a prolonged (at least 15 minutes) close contact (within 6 feet), or had physical contact (of any duration) with an individual who tested positive; a person may be considered a close contact regardless of whether either individual was wearing face coverings. A common misconception is that you should quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who is a close contact; that is not accurate. If you are in a classroom with someone identified as a contact, but they do not have a positive test or symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.

To assist Northwest conduct accurate contact tracing, all faculty are requested to maintain seating charts for their classes.

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.

Do I need to quarantine if my roommate was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?  (updated 12/9/20)

You do not need to quarantine unless the roommate has symptoms. However, the roommate needs to quarantine, 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 if I have symptoms of COVID-19?   (updated 12/9/20)

Individuals who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, should immediately isolate from others. To learn about COVID-19 symptoms, read Symptoms of Coronavirus.

  • Students can contact Wellness Services at 660.562.1348.
  • Students and employees can contact Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville’s COVID-19 nurse call line at 660.562.5357 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Do not go to a health care facility unless you are instructed to do so. Mosaic Medical Center recommends going to the emergency room only if you are experiencing labored breathing, confusion, seizures, persistent chest pain or pressure, an inability to talk or be roused, or high fevers not relieved by over-the-counter medications. If any of these happen, promptly call 911, alert them to your symptoms and that you suspect you have COVID-19. If you decide to go to the emergency room on your own, call ahead and notify them that you think you have COVID-19.

Will Campus Dining deliver food?  (updated 10/6/20)

Campus Dining does not deliver. However, to-go containers and a mobile ordering option are available for students who wish to get food and leave.

To use mobile ordering, download the Transact Mobile Ordering app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Then, select the Northwest campus, register your device and place your order.

What does The Jones retail dining area look like?  (updated 10/6/20)

Seating is reduced and set to accommodate social distancing. Two traffic ways are set up for ordering – one walkway for Chick-fil-A guests and one walkway for Einstein or Zen guests.

Additional mitigation measures include:

  • All condiments, napkins and plastic-ware are distributed by employees.
  • Register shields are at all registers.
  • New cups are provided for refills.

Are to-go containers provided at Campus Dining locations?  (updated 10/6/20)

Disposable to-go containers are provided upon request to all guests. First-year freshmen and transfer students are provided with a free reusable to-go container, which also is available to purchase for $7 at Bearcat Commons registers.

To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, employees plate the student’s chosen food items, hand the plate to the student, and the student is responsible for placing the food into the to-go box.

What does Bearcat Commons look like?  (updated 10/6/20)

Campus Dining is allowing a limited number of students inside Bearcat Commons at one time, and students are encouraged to leave when they are finished eating. Face coverings are required to enter dining facilities and while moving through the facilities but may be removed while eating and drinking when seated at a table.

Additional mitigation measures include:

  • All dining employees all screened upon entering the building and are required to wear face coverings.
  • Specific doors are designated for entering, exiting and takeout.
  • All condiments, napkins and silverware are distributed by employees.
  • Grab-and-go items are available for quick dining solutions with minimal contact.
  • Register shields are located at registers.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout all locations.
  • Tables and chairs are socially distanced and sanitized between customers.

What is the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)?   (updated 10/1/20)

As part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the HEERF provides funding for emergency grants to students whose lives have been disrupted and are facing financial challenges to meet their most basic needs.

Northwest signed and returned the required HEERF certification and agreement on April 28, 2020. The University will use the required $2,396,395 of these CARES Act funds to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.

This information is intended to provide needed communication for students and families while meeting federal reporting requirements for the receipt and use of these funds.

What is the difference between “isolation” and “quarantine”?   (updated 8/29/20)

Isolation is the term used for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who must stay home and avoid seeing any other people. Individuals who test positive are to isolate for 10 days, beginning on the first day of symptoms or the date of the positive test result. They are not to leave their home or return to campus until they are symptom-free and the 10 days have passed.

Quarantine is the term used for individuals who are identified as a close contact to a positive case, and that person must stay home and avoid seeing any other people. These individuals have not tested positive for COVID-19 but must quarantine for 14 days, beginning with the most recent date of exposure. Quarantine can last 14 to 24 days, depending on the situation. If an individual develops symptoms during this 14-day period or tests positive, their “quarantine” time ends and their 10-day “isolation” period begins. If, during quarantine, you receive a negative COVID-19 test, the quarantine time is not reduced.

Examples:

  • If an individual develops symptoms during this 14-day period and/or tests positive for COVID-19, their quarantine time ends and their 10-day isolation period begins. So it is possible that an individual can develop symptoms and test positive on day 14 of their quarantine and must then isolate for an additional 10 days.
  • If an individual is a household contact to a positive case and cannot keep distance from that person, the individual must quarantine throughout the duration of the positive case’s isolation period (10 days) and an additional 14 days, assuming the last contact was made on day 10.

What is a close contact?  (updated 8/29/20)

A close contact is considered to be any individual who had a prolonged (at least 15 minutes) close contact (within 6 feet), or had physical contact (of any duration) with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. A person may be considered a close contact regardless of whether either individual was wearing face coverings.

A common misconception is that you should quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who is a close contact; that is not accurate. If you live with someone who is a contact, but they do not have a positive test or symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.

What is contact tracing?  (updated 8/29/20)

Contact tracing is the process of identifying all close contacts of a COVID-19 patient and placing close contacts into quarantine. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who are identified as a close contact will receive instructions from a health care official about the steps they need to take to prevent further spread of the virus.

Northwest or the Nodaway County Health Department begin their case investigation upon learning an individual has tested positive for COVID-19. It is the process of interviewing the patient to determine their symptoms and symptom onset, possible locations where exposure occurred and their close contacts.

A close contact is considered to be any individual who had a prolonged (at least 15 minutes) close contact (within 6 feet), or had physical contact (of any duration) with an individual who tested positive; a person may be considered a close contact regardless of whether either individual was wearing face coverings. A common misconception is that you should quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who is a close contact; that is not accurate. If you live with someone who is a contact, but they do not have a positive test or symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.

To assist with accurate contact tracing, Northwest has requested all faculty to maintain seating charts for their classes.

If I’m instructed to quarantine, when does it start and end?  (updated 8/24/20)

You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. For all of the following scenarios, even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Scenario 1:
I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbor, or friend).

Quarantine time: Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.

Scenario 2:
I live with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom. I have had no close contact with the person since they isolated.

Quarantine time: Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation.

Scenario 3:
I live with someone who has COVID-19 and started my 14-day quarantine period because we had close contact. What if I ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during my quarantine? What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?

Quarantine time: You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.

Scenario 4:
I live in a household where I cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19. I am providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate from the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where I am unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

Quarantine time: You should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end their home isolation.

Does a student who tested positive for COVID-19 have to test negative before returning to a classroom?  (updated 8/21/20)

A student’s ability to return to a classroom will be managed by the Nodaway County Health Department, or another health agency, in alignment with CDC guidelines.

In general, an individual must be fever-free and show an improvement of respiratory symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath. An individual may return to normal activities no less than 10 days after the first symptoms appeared.

If I learn of a student who has contracted COVID-19 how do I report it?  (updated 8/21/20)

An extended absence flag has been created in Northwest Success 360 to communicate a COVID-19 case to campus stakeholders. Log in to Northwest Success 360, find the student, and raise the flag titled, “Student reported that they will be absent for a week or more of classes.”

The flag will trigger a notification to the student’s course instructors as well as various campus offices for services or account holds.

Although the flag system provides a notification, students who must isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 or need to quarantine due to being a contact of a positive case are expected to communicate directly with their instructors to arrange accommodations and progress through their coursework.

What floors or halls are used for individuals who need to isolate or be quarantined?  (updated 8/21/20)

North Complex is used as isolation and quarantine housing for students who, as determined by a health provider, are exhibiting coronavirus symptoms and cannot return home. Residential Life will make arrangements with those students for food delivery and other accommodations while they need to isolate or quarantine.

What is Northwest’s capability for testing individuals for COVID-19?  (updated 8/21/20)

While Northwest does have limited testing capability for students, the University is following the guidance of the CDC, the American College Health Association, and the World Health Organization, which do not recommend testing for asymptomatic individuals.

Northwest has adopted a “box-in” strategy, which focuses on testing symptomatic individuals and others who are identified as contacts of those individuals.

Students may choose to obtain a test in their home communities. Northwest employees who desire a test, should contact Mosaic Medical Center by calling its COVID-19 nurse call line at 660.562.5357.

Has Northwest upgraded its ventilation systems to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19?  (updated 8/21/20)

With the assistance of an external team, the ventilation systems throughout campus facilities were inspected to ensure operational effectiveness. Filters have been upgraded to MERV 13, and portable air purifiers with HEPA filters and UVC lighting are being deployed in strategic locations.

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.

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.

Are guests allowed in campus residential facilities?  (updated 7/10/20)

Northwest is prohibiting guests in residential facilities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and guest rooms will not be available for reservations this fall.

How should employees and departments track expenses impacted by COVID-19?  (updated 6/29/20)

In alignment with federal and state guidelines and processes, Northwest is approving and tracking purchases related to COVID-19 mitigation measures.

The University has provided a PowerPoint with instructions and a financial tracking form for employees to use. To access these tools, log in to MyNorthwest, click the Employee Resources tab and then look for the expense tracking links within the Tools module.

Can I ask an employee if he or she has the coronavirus?  (updated 6/26/20)

In general, employers can ask an employee how he or she is feeling but should not inquire about a specific illness as that could rise to the level of a disability-related inquiry under the ADA.

Can I require an employee to go home (or stay home) if he or she is sick?  (updated 6/26/20)

Employees who show signs of illness can be asked to leave the workplace and stay at home until they are free of symptoms.

If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, or suspects they have it, do I need to let the exposed employees know they are at risk?   (updated 6/26/20)

If an employer learns of an employee’s medical condition, such as a diagnosis of the coronavirus, the employer may not share this information. Under the confidentiality provisions of ADA, FMLA, and WC, only those who “need to know” may know about the diagnosis. It may be difficult to demonstrate that, for example, a line manager “needed to know” the employee’s specific diagnosis. Instead, the line manager likely only needs to know the employee will be on a leave of absence and not able to work.

Therefore, employers should keep an employee’s medical condition and diagnosis confidential and private unless there are true health and safety circumstances deemed by the Department of Health. It is always the employee’s right to release and share their own medical condition information.

Employers may educate employees on how they can best protect themselves and what steps employees should take if they were exposed or experience symptoms. The Department of Health will conduct a trace and contact employee who may have been exposed and need to be quarantined. 

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 due to COVID-19?  (updated 6/23/20)

If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, you have an obligation to stay away from others. As with any issue related to your classes, 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.

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.