COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

May I include information in a welcome message or in other communications to my students, on my BrightSpace course site and/or in my syllabus regarding COVID-19 vaccinations or mask usage?

Yes, you are encouraged to use the statement below in a welcome message or in other communications to your students, on your BrightSpace course site, and/or in your syllabus. Please note that any published statement may need to be updated as new guidance is released.

“Northeast Iowa Community College strongly encourages students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The college also encourages students, faculty, and staff to wear a face covering while on campus, and strongly encourages the use of face covering in all classroom settings and during in-person office hours. However, face covering usage is not required except in healthcare settings.”

An additional option you may wish to include:

“You should feel comfortable wearing a face covering if you choose. I will be wearing a mask during in-person classes and/or during in-person office hours because...”

(Offering a reason for your choice is optional. Some examples include: “I live with children who are not able to be vaccinated.” “I’m living with an immunocompromised individual.” “I have a health condition that suppresses my immune system.”)

May I make a statement in my class regarding not attending class when ill?

Yes, we encourage you to take a few minutes to remind students that they should stay home if they are ill, report their absence as outlined in the course syllabus, engage in class via BrightSpace and fill out a COVID-19 Notification Form if applicable.

May I make statements in the classroom regarding face covering usage or vaccinations?

Yes, we encourage you to ensure students are aware of college guidelines and protocols. Additionally, to encourage students to wear face coverings, you may wear a face mask yourself and share why you have made that decision, if you are comfortable doing so. You may also have discussions or make statements regarding mask usage as long as all sides have a voice in the conversation. This should not be the classroom focus and should align with the College’s Freedom of Speech and Expression and Academic Freedom policies.

Instructors should be especially mindful to avoid discussing a student’s vaccination status. Additionally, you may not penalize or criticize students for not wearing face masks; provide tangible incentives, such as extra credit or a higher grade, to students who wear face masks; or direct students to sit in different areas of the classroom based on whether they are wearing face masks.

Should students be asked to help with cleaning and sanitizing the classroom?

It would be greatly appreciated if you would ask students to clean up after themselves. Please encourage students to use the available cleaning supplies to wipe down the areas they used in the classroom, especially the frequently touched surfaces.

If you need additional cleaning supplies for your classroom fill out an Etrive Disinfectant and Cleaning Supply Form.

If a student in my in-person class needs to quarantine or isolate, do I have to teach the class virtually as well as in-person?

You are not required to teach your class virtually and in-person. Students are encouraged to follow the class protocol for absences, makeup work, and instructor notification as detailed in each course syllabi. Encourage students to fill out a COVID-19 Notification Form. Below is a sample email.

Dear Student,

Thank you for letting me know that you are not feeling well (OR one of the other situations in the list below). It is important for the health and safety of the college community that your illness be reported to the college using the following guidelines.

If you are/have been:

  • Displaying symptoms of COVID-19
  • Believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Tested for the virus and are awaiting the results
  • Tested positive for the virus
  • Instructed to quarantine or isolate by your employer, healthcare provider, or public health

Follow public health guidance and notify NICC by completing a COVID-19 Notification Form. DO NOT come to any NICC location until receiving directions from the College's Pandemic Response Team. You should NOT attend in-person classes or activities at this time. You are encouraged to attend your classes and college activities virtually. You do not need to fill out a COVID-19 Notification form if:

  • You have an alternative diagnosis (i.e. strep throat, ear infection, etc.) or chronic health issue (i.e. allergies) ; AND
  • You have not had a close contact exposure to anyone infected with the COVID-19 virus

If you have questions or concerns about the protocols you should follow, please visit www.nicc.edu/coronavirus.

Thank you for helping keep NICC safe and healthy.

Students will receive a message providing direction and guidance about quarantine and isolation. Faculty will also receive an email detailing when the student is able to return to in-person learning.

What should I do if a student appears to be sick in class?

If possible, talk to the student in the hallway or away from others. (Protect yourself by wearing a mask.) You will need to use your best judgment to determine how to proceed. Remind the student that they should stay home if they are ill and that they can engage through BrightSpace. Share that others may be uneasy about attending class with someone that is coughing, sneezing, etc. Ask the student to complete a COVID-19 Notification Form.

If the student provides information that leads you to believe that it is okay for them to attend class, offer them a mask and remind them that this may help put the other students at ease.

May I retain the protective shielding (plexiglass) in the classroom?

Yes, you may. If this has been removed from your classroom, please contact Operations (Teresa Kurash or Kayla Staner) to have it reinstalled. Additionally, protective shielding (plexiglass) can be utilized in other spaces such as offices, reception areas, and other common spaces.

Will college signage be available to post in college buildings encouraging individuals to wear a mask?

Signage encouraging face covering usage and other health tips are posted at each entrance, in high traffic areas and in restrooms. If you would like a posting for your classroom or office, contact Operations (Teresa Kurash or Kayla Staner). You are asked to post the sign on a white board, podium rather than a wall to preserve the paint.

Does the option for temporary, alternative, or remote work arrangement still exist?

No, these options have been phased out. If you have medical or other concerns and have a need for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please initiate the process by contacting Connie Kuennen, Executive Director of Human Resources.

Must I have in-person office hours if I am teaching an in-person or hybrid class?

Faculty office hours may be held in a combination of in-person or virtually. Some students may request virtual meetings, and others may be more comfortable and better served meeting in-person. You are encouraged to consider the modality of your classes in determining the modality of your office hours (e.g. if you have in person classes, you may wish to schedule some of your office hours face to face.) If you are not comfortable meeting in the smaller space of your office, you may choose to meet virtually or investigate options for other spaces that allow for greater distance while still providing confidentiality. Please talk with your department Dean if you need assistance with space. Additionally, you are always welcome to wear a mask and to avail yourself of protective shielding (plexiglass).

Does the option for temporary, alternative, remote learning arrangement still exist for students?

No, these options have been phased out. Faculty/instructors will not be required to offer an online option for a course that is scheduled to be taught in-person. Classrooms will continue to utilize technology to enhance the educational experience and support virtual learning. If a student contacts you with concerns about a need for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you should direct them to contact Accessibility Services. If students have other concerns related to their health and well-being, encourage them to reach out to one of NICC’s Counselors.

How can students, faculty, and staff get a COVID-19 test?

Students, faculty, and staff should consult a health care provider if they have questions about COVID-19 testing. COVID-19 (saliva) tests kits are readily available through Test Iowa at no cost.

What happens if a student tests positive for COVID?

The student is instructed to follow public health and CDC recommendations as a result of a positive test. Students testing positive for COVID-19 should be instructed to complete a COVID-19 Notification Form. The student will receive a communication providing guidance and setting a date they may return to in-person learning. You will also receive a notification providing the date the student is able to return to in-person activities.

What should I do if I think I have COVID?

Specific guidance for what to do if you are sick, test positive, or may have been exposed, is available on the CDC’s “What to Do If You Are Sick” webpage. Faculty and staff are to complete a COVID-19 Notification Form in Etrieve (do not use the student link). A link to the student and employee forms are available on the COVID-19 webpage.

How will my classes be covered if I test positive for COVID?

You should follow the process in your department, program, and/or college regarding instructor absences.

If I have been vaccinated, do I need to quarantine if I’m exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19?

Fully vaccinated individuals who are considered close contacts do not need to quarantine. They should monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the date of last exposure. Vaccinated individuals who are exposed should wear a mask in public and should get tested 3-5 days after the close contact exposure according to the CDC.