Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19
As part of the College’s Positive Case Protocol, individuals may be required to quarantine or isolate due to a positive case of COVID-19, exposure to a positive case, or if they are exhibiting COVID-19-related symptoms. For more information about the College’s quarantine and isolation protocols, go here.
The College will follow its standard academic calendar (two 16-week semesters) and daily class schedule for the 2021-2022 academic year. Classes will begin as scheduled—for both undergraduate and graduate students—on Wednesday, August 25. Welcome Week for new students will take place in-person, August 20-24.
The academic calendar will include standard breaks and final exam schedules, including fall break (October 18-19), Thanksgiving break (November 24-26), final exams (December 13-16), and winter break beginning December 17. The full 2021-2022 academic calendar is available here.
The College’s primary teaching and learning modalities will be in-person. Classroom and lab capacities and configurations will return to normal. Faculty will be expected to teach course sections as they are listed in the published class schedule, and students will be expected to attend in-person classes in person.
North Central College now expects all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 14, 2021. This expectation also applies to faculty and staff. The College is taking this additional measure based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and due to rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations in our region and across the state, which are largely being driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. COVID-19 vaccines are readily available, and have proven to be safe and remarkably effective in preventing serious COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization and death. Vaccines not only protect you, but by getting vaccinated you are protecting those around you, including immunocompromised individuals and other populations who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated.
Members of the campus community who not fully vaccinated or who do not submit proof of their vaccination status to the College are required to:
- Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the College prior to returning to campus (this applies to students only); and
- Participate in the College’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program (this applies to students, faculty and staff).
Fully vaccinated individuals who have submitted proof of their vaccination status to the College are exempt from the above COVID-19 testing requirements.
Fully vaccinated individuals who submit valid documentation of their vaccination status will not be required to participate in the College’s COVID-19 testing, and will not be required to quarantine if they come in to close contact with someone who tests positive for, or is exhibiting symptoms of, COVID-19. Information about the process for submitting proof of vaccination with be forthcoming.
Non-vaccinated individuals and those who have not submitted valid proof of vaccination will be required to: Submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus this fall; participate in the College’s COVID-19 testing throughout the semester; and quarantine if determined to be a close contact.
In addition to the health and safety measures mentioned on our Health and Safety Practices page and the answer above, residence hall protocols will return largely to pre-COVID-19 practices. There will be no restrictions on use of residence hall space, and on-campus guests will be allowed in residential areas with proper approval.
New and returning resident students will receive communication from the Residence Life staff with additional residence hall information and protocols, including move-in procedures, housing and roommate assignments, and further details for international students.
The College will return to pre-COVID-19 dining operations this fall. Dining hours will be communicated at a later date.
All Cardinal athletics programs will return to pre-COVID-19 fall, winter and spring competition and practice schedules. In addition, all athletic facilities will return to standard hours and operations. The athletics department is awaiting further guidance from the NCAA regarding vaccination and/or testing requirements and spectator policies for NCAA-sanctioned competitions and will share additional information and protocols with coaches and student-athletes in the coming weeks.
Campus facilities will return to standard hours of operation, access and capacities.
International students arriving from outside of the U.S. and who are not vaccinated will be required to quarantine for a period of seven full days prior to returning to campus. International students already in the U.S. (whether vaccinated/non-vaccinated) will follow the same return-t0-campus protocols as domestic students.
Masks are currently required to be worn by all students, faculty, staff and visitors in College indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement is based on CDC guidance on mask wearing and DuPage County’s current Substantial level of COVID-19 community transmission.
Masks must be worn in common indoors spaces such as, but not limited to:
- Building/facility lobbies, reception areas, hallways, classrooms, conference rooms, elevators, stairwells, restrooms, assembly spaces, shared indoor athletic spaces, and while riding with others in College vehicles.
Masks may be removed under the following circumstances:
- When actively eating or drinking.
- When alone in an office or room with the door closed, or when alone in a vehicle—essentially whenever you are alone in what can reasonably be considered a private space.
- When resident students are in their residence hall room or suite with only their roommate(s)/suitemate(s) present and when actively participating in an activity in which wearing a mask is not possible (i.e. showering, brushing teeth, etc.).
Fully Vaccinated Individuals
Individuals who are fully vaccinated may choose to remove their masks under the following circumstances:
- For the purposes of instructing a class or presenting to a group, such as in a classroom or lecture hall, when they are positioned a safe distance from others as to avoid the spread of droplets.
- When gathered in small groups with other fully vaccinated individuals in a private location, such as an office, conference room, or residence hall room.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask outdoors in group settings when they cannot practice social distancing.
Student-Athletes & Athletics Staff
All student-athletes, coaches and staff are required to wear a mask for all team travel and upon arrival to athletic contests.
- Student-athletes should remain masked when in locker rooms, meeting rooms and other indoor venues and may remove their masks once warm-ups begin and throughout the contest.
- Coaches and team staff should remain masked when in locker rooms, meeting rooms and other indoor venues.
- Cheerleaders and pep band members should be masked upon arrival at any indoor venues and remain masked except when performing.
- All game staff and press box/scorer’s table personnel, as well as any media members in attendance, must remain masked at all times if indoors.
Fully vaccinated individuals may remove their mask for the purposes of instructing a class or presenting to a group, such as in a classroom or lecture hall, when they are positioned a safe distance from others as to avoid the spread of droplets.
Fully vaccinated individuals may choose to remove their masks when they are gathered in small groups with other fully vaccinated individuals in a private location, such as an office, conference room, or residence hall room.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask in College indoor spaces, as well as outdoors in group settings when they cannot practice social distancing.
We expect all students, faculty and staff to submit a completed vaccination record card by Tuesday, September 14. Vaccine exemptions may be requested for medical reasons, or due to religious or strongly held personal convictions, no later than Tuesday, August 31.
Exemptions from the College’s COVID-19 testing requirements include:
- Individuals who are fully vaccinated and have submitted proper proof to the College.
- Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 using an FDA EUA test within the past three months and have fulfilled their isolation requirements, and who have completed the College’s COVID-19 reporting form.
- Individuals who will not be coming to campus for any reason or any amount of time throughout the duration of fall 2021 semester. Such individuals may request an exemption by emailing email@example.com.
The College is not currently offering remote learning as a comprehensive option for students this fall, beyond the small number of online course sections previously included in the undergraduate schedule. The College expects students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as vaccines are widely available and have proven to be safe and highly effective in protecting against serious illness. In addition, due to the recent increase in COVID-19 case numbers throughout the state, the College has reinstated an indoor masking requirement as part of its comprehensive plan to continue delivering a safe indoor learning and working environment for the campus community.
Students should not attend class if they are showing any symptoms of illness, including symptoms that might be caused by a recent COVID-19 vaccination. Attending class while showing signs of illness may result in disciplinary action, as doing so is in violation of the North Central College COVID-19 policy for the fall 2021 semester.
Each instructor is expected to work with students who need to miss class temporarily due to symptoms or illness. Instructors will work with students according to the instructor’s syllabus attendance policy and using methods appropriate for the delivery of the instructor’s specific course content. Instructors are not required to provide a live stream or recording of their courses.
Yes, until they are fully vaccinated, individuals must provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to be on campus, for the purpose of attending class or for any other reason. Individuals are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you’ve been exposed to someone who has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status, you should complete the College’s COVID-19 Reporting Form. This will prompt a response from a College contact tracer who will inform you of the recommended guidance, which is:
If you are fully vaccinated:
- Self-monitor for symptoms and report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 right away.
- Wear a mask when around others for 14 days.
- Get a COVID-19 test 5 days after your exposure.
If you are not fully vaccinated:
- Self-quarantine as soon as you are aware of the exposure and avoid contact with others.
- Follow the recommended next steps once you’ve been contacted by a College contact tracer.
If a faculty member is ill, or is directed to quarantine or isolate by a member of the College’s contact tracing team and cannot meet in-person with a class, they should communicate the following to their students:
- Their alternative plan of instruction.
- The dates this alternative instruction plan will be in effect.
- The date by which they expect to return to in-person instruction.
Faculty do not need to provide the reason for the shift in instruction mode, nor are they specifically obligated to provide online synchronous instruction during this period. Faculty are, however, expected to select alternative instruction methods in keeping with best practice for their discipline and the content to be delivered during this period, which might be online synchronous instruction.
If a faculty member is not able to provide instruction due to illness, they should communicate with their department chair and dean to determine appropriate instructional options for their students.
If a faculty member is ill, or is directed to quarantine or isolate by a contact tracer during the semester, they should copy Julie Williams, Assistant Provost for Student Success and Dean of Academic Services, on the initial notification they send to their students alerting them to the need for a temporary change in instruction mode.
Faculty members should take the following steps:
- Follow the same basic procedures used for any type of medical-based absence.
- Watch for a formal notification of absence to come from the Office of Student Affairs as in the past, which verifies that the reason for the absence has been reviewed.
- Anyone (instructor or student) determined to be a close contact of a student who will be absent for quarantine or isolation purposes will be notified directly by a College contact tracer. Instructors should not share information with their class about another student’s absence.
- Wait for the student to contact you about their pending absence, then work with them to determine an appropriate plan for them to complete any coursework missed as a result of the absence.
Please do NOT contact the Student Disability Services (SDS) office if a student in one of your courses informs you that they are being placed in quarantine or isolation. As the instructor, you should work with each student to determine how they can best progress in the class and complete assignments during their absence, just as you have done in the past for any students who miss class because of a short-term illness. The SDS office should be contacted only if a student will be facing a prolonged medical situation that will make them unable to participate in classes for an extended period of time.
All full-time, degree-seeking students will be entered into a drawing for the scholarships. In order to qualify you must submit a completed vaccination card by Tuesday, September 14. If you already submitted your vaccination proof you don’t need to do anything more.
You do not need to resubmit your proof of vaccination. Your original vaccination submission automatically enters you in the scholarship award contest.
Yes, however the mask should not be completely removed, if possible. Students are encouraged to use a container with a straw that can go under the bottom of the mask, and must put their mask back on properly immediately after taking a drink.
Students and faculty are further encouraged to hydrate prior to class to avoid having to remove their mask at all and are responsible for wearing a properly fitting mask per college guidelines.