Coronavirus FAQ

Staff

Please see the FAQ on the Human Resource Services website or learn more on our Working Remotely pages.

Students

Please see the Student FAQ page.


We ask that those self-quarantining make us aware of your absence so we can provide you with support as needed.

Self-quarantine Form

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Summer 2020 coursework, research, artistry and travel

What is NIU’s summer travel policy for faculty, staff and students?New

All non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is prohibited through Aug. 1, at which time the prohibition will be reassessed. Those who believe that they have essential business reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

Please also refer to NIU’s International Travel Policy and Procedures, enacted in September 2019, and register your travel, if deemed essential.

Added 4/2/20

University Operations and Events

How does Gov. Pritzker’s order affect NIU?

Universities are considered “essential businesses” for the purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions.

Added/Updated 3/20/20

Will residence and dining halls remain open? Updated

Please visit our Spring 2020 Housing Changes page for detailed information. NIU will continue to provide housing for those who have no alternate housing plans. Due to the need for social distancing, students have been relocated to New Hall or remain in Northern View Apartments. Please note that we have suspended guest privileges in residence halls and Northern View apartments to mitigate spread of the virus. We will update you when privileges are restored. Dependents already registered at Northern View for your apartment unit are not included in this change of policy.

For students with a meal plan, Dining Services will be open on a modified schedule with only to-go options to ensure students who remain on campus have access to meals. Dietary restrictions will be accommodated as always.

Updated 4/3/20

What is NIU doing to step up cleaning efforts?

Our facilities team has been working diligently to disinfect "high-touch" surfaces daily in public areas (such as tables, doorknobs, door push plates, light switches, handrails and student desks). We’ve also distributed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout campus. Posters promoting good hygiene practices are also being distributed to all buildings.

My high school is scheduled to host their graduation ceremony later this spring at the NIU Convocation Center, will it be canceled?

There have not been any decisions at this time to postpone high school graduations scheduled to be hosted in the NIU Convocation Center. NIU is committed to following the recommendations of the CDC and the DeKalb County Health Department regarding large gatherings. Our hope is that this situation will improve and the ceremonies will be able to proceed as planned. Any communications about schedule or location changes would come out directly from the high school. For questions, please call 815-752-6800.

Added/Updated 3/20/20

Can I park on campus?

Yes. All students, faculty and staff can park wherever, as long as it’s not in a reserved spot or facilities spot. No tickets are being issued.

Added/Updated 3/19/20

Commencement

What is the status of May undergraduate and graduate commencement?

NIU is officially postponing the May graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. We want to emphasize that they are being postponed, not canceled. This decision was made to protect the health and well-being of our students, their families and our community, and to give you time to make appropriate plans to celebrate your achievements. 

Added/Updated 3/19/20

When is commencement rescheduled for?

Our plan is to host the graduate commencement ceremony Friday, Aug. 7, and undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 8. Both would take place in our NIU Convocation Center. You will be able to choose whether to walk at the August ceremony or to wait and walk in the December 2020.

Added/Updated 3/19/20

When will I receive my diploma?

We will mail you your diploma at the usual time, within four to six weeks after the end of the semester. We use a third party to mail the diplomas, which could be subject to delays. The standard graduation fee covers the cost of processing, printing and mailing your diploma.

Added/Updated 3/19/20

Getting Timely Information

Why aren’t all my questions answered here?
This type of developing situation will no doubt leave you with more questions than answers. We are in constant communication with state agencies and public health authorities. Our NIU leaders are working diligently to work out the details and provide you with communications and instructions as soon as possible. We especially appreciate your patience.

International and Domestic Travel

I have recently traveled. What do I need to know or do about protecting myself and others?Updated

NIU advises that you follow the travel guidelines set by the CDC. Any faculty, staff or students who have recently traveled to an area with widespread, ongoing community spread, including during airport layovers, are not to return to NIU.

If you have traveled to or from an area with widespread community spread within the past 14 days, including areas within the United States, we need you to follow the CDC guidelines and self-quarantine at your permanent home. We ask that those self-quarantining complete this form so that we can provide you with support.

We also encourage all travelers to pay attention to CDC updates and practice everyday prevention measures such as social-distancing, frequent handwashing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes. 

Further, we remind our community that Gov. Pritzker has announced that Illinois will continue its stay-at-home order through April 30, as a critical means to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Updated 4/1/20 

What is NIU’s travel policy for faculty, staff and students at this time?New

All non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is prohibited through Aug. 1, at which time the prohibition will be reassessed. Those who believe that they have essential business reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

If you have already made plans for university-sponsored travel, the university will support you in making other arrangements and reimburse university-related expenses that are nonrefundable.

All of us should consider the risks associated with any form of travel given the spread of COVID-19 and the Illinois governor’s stay-at-home order (effective through April 30). These risks include exposure to the virus, challenges with return travel and the potential need to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, personal international travel also is strongly discouraged, and we urge that you exercise caution and good judgment for personal domestic travel. If travel is imperative, please check with the CDC for travel advisories, which continue to be updated daily.

Please also refer to  NIU’s International Travel Policy and Procedures, enacted in September 2019, and register your travel, if deemed essential.

Added 4/3/20

Can I study abroad later this spring or during the summer?Updated

No. NIU has canceled all international Study Abroad programs for the remainder of the semester through August. This includes all faculty-directed, co-sponsored and internship programs offered for NIU Study Abroad credit.

Updated 4/3/20

How does the stay-at-home order impact grant or contract-funded or mandated travel?

Project directors and essential personnel must only travel to provide critical services necessary to maintain the health and well-being of populations served under sponsored contracts. All other travel must be suspended in accordance with university policy.

Travel for research purposes should only occur to meet essential research functions.

Project directors must identify essential personnel for the purposes of travel. These individuals are the only ones authorized to travel. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the number of essential personnel must be limited as much possible and must only consist of faculty, staff and/or graduate students.

Exceptions to these requirements require provost approval. Such exceptions will be rare.

Protection and Supportive Measures

How can I protect myself and others?
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands); then, throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.
  • Practice social distancing. Social distancing is a way to reduce exposure to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Try to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
What do I do if I feel sick?
  • Monitor your symptoms closely. Remember that the likelihood is low that you have coronavirus. Take your temperature if you believe you have a fever.
  • Stay home from school and work until at least 24 hours after your fever ends. If you must go out of the house or be around others, avoid close contact. Be especially careful around infants and small children as well as people who have compromised immune systems and/or are older than 65. 
  • Students may contact the NIU Student Health Center and are asked to call first to schedule appointments instead of walking in.
  • Faculty, other academic personnel and staff should contact their primary care provider with any concerns or questions.
  • Practice social distancing. Social distancing is a way to reduce exposure to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Try to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others. Avoid shaking hands and close physical contact with anyone displaying symptoms.
What do I do if I believe I’ve been exposed?

The general guidelines are that if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you are to self-quarantine for 14 days since your last contact.

CDC does not recommend testing or special management for those who have been exposed to people who have been exposed to the virus, i.e., “contacts of contacts.” Such contact is not considered to be exposure to the virus. If that is your case, and you do not have symptoms, you may continue your ordinary activities in accord with the broad guidance on minimizing exposure.

If you have symptoms of the virus (fever over 100.4, coughing, shortness of breath) please call your healthcare provider.

Added/Updated 3/20/20

I feel anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do?

We understand that these situations can induce stress, and we encourage our students, faculty and staff to support one another and seek professional support when needed. For students, please call the NIU Student Health Center at 815-306-2777 or NIU Counseling and Consultation Services. For employees, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to provide you with support and can be reached at 815-753-9191. All of those listed above are confidential resources.

About COVID-19

What is 2019 Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

2019 Novel coronavirus (COVID-19), is a new respiratory virus identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. People who get sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) develop mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Illness can begin two to 14 days after an exposure. Although this virus likely emerged from an animal source, it can also spread from person-to-person. Spread from one person to another is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.

See the CDC website for the latest situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the United States.

Faculty

Will faculty members have assistance as they redesign delivery of course materials?

Yes. To support faculty efforts, the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center has created a guide to help you quickly make the shift to teaching and learning that is not face-to-face.

The guide can be found on NIU’s Keep Teaching website, which will become an important hub of information. The site highlights simple and straightforward practices designed for implementation with limited technology. You’ll find information on:

  • How to get started.
  • Strategies that consider your teaching style and the learning style of your students.
  • Examples of how faculty might respond under different scenarios.
  • Technology resources that support remote teaching and learning on short notice.
  • Frequently asked questions.
  • Campus resources for getting help.
Will there be any one-on-one supports for faculty?

Yes. Individual assistance with strategies and technology is available online or over the phone. A Faculty Support Hotline is also available; call or text 815-797-2477 or email keepteaching@niu.edu for assistance.

Additionally, on-campus and online workshops for faculty will address such topics as delivering live online lectures and providing accommodations and flexibility to your students. Online workshops schedules and other supportive information will be posted to the Keep Teaching website. Faculty members who have further questions or concerns regarding instruction can call the center at (815) 753-0595.

Added/Updated 3/20/20

Who should faculty contact with questions about externally funded proposals and awards?

Please see Sponsored Programs Administration’s general guidance to help Principal Investigators navigate proposals and awards during this uncertain time. While the office is fully operational, all staff are working remotely and additional time may be needed to prepare, review and submit proposals and other award-related actions. Please contact SPA staff via email as soon as you can so they can provide the best support possible. Investigators also should monitor the SPA homepage for grant-related updates.

Updated 3/23

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