students walking towards Oesterle Library

August 21, 2020

Dear Fellow Cardinals-

Welcome to all our new students and welcome back to those of you returning to North Central College! Over the last few days, we have enjoyed seeing many of you on and around campus. For the first time in many months, the campus is abuzz with your energy and presence; it feels incredible.

Notably, and appropriately, campus also looks and feels differently than in years past. Students, families, faculty, and staff are keeping their distance, wearing face coverings, and swapping hugs and high fives for nods of hello and waves from afar. Classrooms have fewer seats in them, extra cleaning protocols are in place, and many of us will be selected for COVID-19 tests as part of the College’s ongoing surveillance testing strategy.

By now, you should each have seen the #TogetherNC pledge that you are agreeing to by choosing to be a part of our community this fall. If you have not done so already, please watch the short, required COVID-19 training video and add your signature to the community pledge. You can find the link to the video and pledge in your North Central College email (subject line: #TogetherNC Pledge & Required COVID-19 Awareness Video). The behaviors outlined in the pledge are the exact things we will each need to do to keep our community safe and healthy. Here’s a few specifics for you to keep in mind:

  • Stay home or in your residence hall room when you’re ill or if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • Report any symptoms or contact with someone who has COVID-19 to the College immediately (#CampusClear is the tool the College has made available for daily self-screening and symptom tracking; please be sure to download this app if you have not already done so)
  • Wear an appropriate face covering (e.g. reusable or disposable mask) and make sure it covers both your mouth and your nose
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between yourself and others
  • Wash your hands frequently

The North Central College COVID-19 website ( has a link to the form to report if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 along with the full pledge and other helpful information.

As we prepare to start classes on Monday, we have seen the unfortunate outcomes at other college campuses where students have put their own health and well-being and that of their communities at risk by choosing to gather in large groups (on and off campus) and by electing not to wear face coverings when in public spaces. As we prepare for our first weekend with many students in residence halls and anticipate our first week of classes, we write to remind you that we must do better than this if we want to remain in physical community together at North Central College.

In the coming days and weeks, you’ll have decisions to make. Do you attend that party or not? Do you remind your friends to grab a mask and wear it properly when you’re headed into public spaces? Are you consistently staying six feet or more away from others? These decisions may seem small, but quite honestly, they are decisions that will either enable us to continue our in-person experience together, or force us to change course. This is a time for good judgement, for putting community over self, and for exercising leadership. Do the right thing and inspire those around you to do the right thing too.

While your College—through the work of countless students, staff, faculty, and administrators—has done everything possible to provide for a safe and healthy living and learning environment, a significant part of the health and well-being of our community is up to each of us individually. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other as we begin this year together. Let’s stay #TogetherNC!

Peter Barger
Assistant Provost; Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning
Co-Chair COVID-19 Institutional Response Team

Kimberly Sluis
Vice President for Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives
Co-Chair COVID-19 Institutional Response Team

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