Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

How is Coe monitoring the COVID-19 situation worldwide?
A team of college officials is monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 worldwide. To assess risks related to study abroad travel, the college uses a number of resources, including consultation with governmental agencies, professional health and security organizations, schools we partner with abroad and more.

How is Coe managing COVID-19 on campus?
The college continues to monitor the situation and is following guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and other agencies.

I am concerned that friends, family or classmates may be impacted by the disease. Is there a place I can go for help?
If you already have a therapist or psychiatrist, they are available to you, even at a distance. Keep up your medications and your therapy sessions the best you can. If you are having difficulty coping, seek out help for the first time (see mental health and counseling resources).
Resources for mental health services can be found on the Coe website. For employees, please reach out to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Kris Bridges (kbridges@coe.edu).

What can I do to limit my risk for COVID-19 or other similar illnesses (seasonal influenza)?
Practice good infection control strategies including:

  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissues when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash after use.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based (60% alcohol) hand sanitizers also are effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to avoid spreading germs.
  • Improve your immune system by getting enough rest (eight hours is ideal), exercising regularly and eating healthy.
  • Stay home if you are sick with any symptoms of illness and avoid close contact with sick people.

How can I support my fellow Kohawks during the COVID-19 outbreak?
It is important to obtain credible information from experts including the CDC, World Health Organization (WHO) and public health agencies and to ensure you are only sharing credible resources. Outbreaks can cause fear and anxiety, and we encourage our campus community to be supportive and speak out against negative and stigmatizing behavior.

Our campus strives to be welcoming and diverse, and it is important to avoid assumptions about who may or may not have come into contact with someone carrying the virus based on their identity. We will not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds, and we must recognize the harm we do to our community if we allow ourselves to make such assumptions.

What should I do if I am experiencing financial hardship?
Contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 319.399.8240 or o-financialaid@coe.edu.

Campus Life/Residence Halls

Are the residence halls closing? 
For the safety and well-being of all students, we are implementing a densification process on campus. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to return home by Sunday, April 5. This date is a guideline for moving your belongings out of your residence hall. We encourage you to take all materials needed to begin online instruction for the remainder of the term. If you are away from campus and not planning to return at this time or before April 5, you may gather your belongings from your residence hall in May. If you live on campus you will receive detailed move-out instructions. We recognize there may be extenuating circumstances preventing you from moving out of your residence hall. If this is the case, please submit this exception request form articulating your needs. Overall, let us know what works for you (collecting your belongings by April 5, collecting them in May or requesting to stay on campus during this time period). We will work with you and support you throughout this process.

How can I check out of my residence hall?
We are not doing “in-person” check-outs as we know that can inhibit your ability to travel home in a timely manner. For your safety and convenience, we are only processing express check-outs. This allows you to check out any time of day that works for you. Because of the nature of this check-out process, we will waive the damage billing fee for all residential students. The only exception to this is if extraordinarily flagrant damage is done. 
 
Please plan to return to campus between now and Sunday, April 5, to retrieve your belongings. If you cannot take all of your belongings and check out by the April 5 guideline date, please take what you need for now. You then will have until Sunday, May 10, to remove all belongings and completely check out from your room. We will contact you at the start of May regarding this process.
 
Please let us know when you plan to check out by filling out this brief form. When completing this form you will be asked to tell us when you’re leaving campus and if you’re leaving items in your room. You then will drop your key off in the designated area outside the Office of Student Development in Upper Gage. There will be a white table outside the office with envelopes and a key box for each residence hall. Here are the detailed instructions for the check-out process:

  • On one of the small manila key envelopes provided at the table, fill out the following information:

    • Last Name, First Name (written clearly)

    • Coe ID Number

    • Building and room number
    • What side of the room you’re responsible for
    • Signature and date at the bottom

  • Drop the sealed key envelope into the cream-colored metal box on the white table outside the Office of Student Development.

  • Please be sure you also filled out the check-out form to let us know when you are leaving campus.


We understand that for some students, moving out of your residence hall at this time is not an option. If you need to stay beyond April 5, please fill out this form and provide information regarding your need to stay on campus. These requests will be evaluated by the Office of Student Development. We will let you know if you’re approved to stay on campus beyond April 5.
 
What should I do with my trash/recycling? 
You should bring any trash and/or recycling to the trash and recycling areas you’ve been using all term. 
 
Can I donate belongings I don’t want to take home or throw away?
In light of continued public health announcements, we will not take donations at this time. It is important that all items you no longer need or want are either recycled or thrown in the trash. 
 
What if I don’t have the ability to move home?
Please complete the housing exception request form as soon as possible to request to stay on campus beyond Sunday, April 5. Student requests to stay on campus will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
 
If I am remaining on campus, will I still be able to attend in-person classes?
Classes have moved exclusively to an online format. Therefore there are no in-person classes to attend. Activities for students will be limited for the remainder of the spring term. 
 
Will there still be dining on campus?
Coe has requested that all students move home as of Sunday, April 5. For those who are unable to move home and have been approved to remain on campus, General Manager Tina Powers and Executive Chef Nick Bata are working on a program to meet students’ dining needs. Coe will be offering a daily menu with a few choices during each meal period. Students will be asked to order ahead of time and then pick up their meal in the cafeteria. Details of the process will be communicated with students who complete the form to remain on campus.
 
If I move home, will I be reimbursed for my room and board?
Coe will work with you on unused portions of room and board for students who do not plan to live on campus for the remainder of the term. Details (which vary depending on each student’s financial aid package) will be sent to you by the Office of Student Financial Services. 

When will my room and board charges be adjusted? 
We are waiting on guidance from the Department of Education before we can proceed with actions that would provide you with details of your adjustment. On March 27, the CARES Act, a $2 trillion emergency economic relief package that seeks to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, was signed into law. This includes assistance for students and colleges. The Department of Education is developing the policy to initiate the disbursement of CARES Act money directed toward education. This affects our ability to provide a disbursement plan for your room and board until we get further direction from the Department of Education. In the meantime, if you have questions about your account (other than room and board) or are in need of immediate assistance due to travel or educational costs, please reach out to the Office Student Financial Services at o-financialaid@coe.edu.

For those students remaining on campus will there be any changes to day to day activities? 
Because of the situation we do have to make some adjustments to what you are accustomed to as a resident. Access to many facilities and services - including the cafeteria, recreation facilities, library and student development areas - will be significantly limited. In addition, student activities, programs and gatherings will be discontinued for the remainder of the term. Because Coe has moved into a “high priority” period we are unable to allow guests from outside of the community on campus. This includes visiting each other between halls on campus. Additional communication will be provided directly to those students remaining on campus. 
 
Can parents or family members visit the residence halls to help students pack? 
Parents and family members will be permitted to assist students with packing in the residence halls. Family members will need to be escorted by the Coe student at all times when in the residence halls. 
 
If I am going home and need to get to the airport, will there be shuttles?
Yes. The college will offer free campus shuttles to the airport. Shuttle information will be provided via email. 

Two important forms to remember:

  • If you’re checking out by April 5, please fill out this form and use the directions above to drop off your key. 

  • If you cannot return home at this time for extreme reasons, please submit a request to stay on campus using this form.


Personal health/student absences

What precautions can I take on campus to prevent COVID-19, influenza or other illnesses? General health reminders for everyone:
There are steps you can take to limit your risk for any illness. We encourage the campus community to practice infection control strategies including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick, regardless of how mild your symptoms are.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects (i.e. doorknobs, light switches, countertops, keyboards, etc.) and surfaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose; coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Improve your immune system by getting enough rest (eight hours is ideal), exercising regularly and eating healthy.
  • Follow the CDC's recommendations for using a face mask:
    • It is recommended to wear a cloth face covering in public settings. When a cloth face mask is not available, covering your moth and nose area with a scarf or cloth can help slow the spread of the virus and prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
    • The recommended cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
    • Cloth face coverings should:
      • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
      • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
      • Include multiple layers of fabric.
      • Allow for breathing without restriction.
      • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
    • When removing a face covering, individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

To help stop the spread of disease, it is imperative for students, faculty and staff to stay home when they are sick and follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

What if I miss class?
Students who miss class due to illness or other extenuating circumstances are encouraged to contact their instructors as soon as possible to notify them of their absence and to determine how best to make up class time and assignments. If students are not able to contact their instructor due to their illness or personal circumstance (hospitalized, etc.), they can contact the Student Development Office to assist with the notification process.

Non-study abroad travel

What travel restrictions are currently in place?
Coe is restricting all group domestic and international travel. Decisions on travel restrictions are based on travel advisories from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State.

Many countries are implementing travel restrictions. For this reason, it is not recommended to travel internationally or domestically at this time. Students considering personal international travel on weekends and breaks should carefully consider these restrictions as it may cause delays, mandatory quarantines or being denied entry to a country.

Students who are traveling domestically should, in addition to taking recommended measures to prevent illness, take basic precautions to prepare for potential travel disruptions:

  • Students should keep cellphones fully charged and operational and check their email at least daily.
  • Students should travel with all key documents, including their passport, visa if applicable and insurance documents.
  • Students should travel with a full supply of any prescribed medications, regardless of how long they plan to be away. Prescription medications need to be in their original containers.

Should I travel within the US?
CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease.  Because of this, the CDC has recommended that individuals avoid ALL non-essential travel at this time.

We encourage you to monitor developments through the U.S. Department of State and CDC websites. Many countries and states are implementing travel restrictions. Travelers should carefully consider these restrictions as it may cause delays, mandatory quarantines or being denied entry to a country or state.

I have recently traveled to an area impacted by COVID-19 or traveled outside of Iowa in the last 14 days. Do I need to let the college know? Students, faculty and staff who have traveled outside of Iowa in the past 14 days are expected to self-isolate. The Student Development Office and/or provost as soon as possible after your return. The same holds true if you believe you have had contact with someone who is showing symptoms of any illness or those who have  tested positive or been exposed to an individual infected with COVID-19.

What is self-isolation?
It is recommended that you self-isolate for 14 days in the following situations:

  • If you have traveled outside of Iowa in the last 14 days.
  • If you have been on an international cruise in the last 14 days.
  • If you live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.

What does self-isolation mean?
Stay home and do not go to school, public areas or attend gatherings. Do not use public transportation, ride sharing or taxis. Postpone all travel. Wash your hands often and practice good hygiene. Postpone all non-essential medical appointments until you have completed your 14 days of self-isolation. If you have an essential medical appointment during this time, please work with your healthcare provider and local public health professionals as needed to help coordinate the visit. Also, there may be options for you to talk to a medical provider from home using technology.

For employees

Are faculty and staff working from home?
Social distancing and remote work guidelines have been issued until May 15 for the state of Iowa. Coe has extended the request to work from home through May 15 for anyone who can do so. There will be a small increase in essential positions that require work on campus. If your position has not been designated in this way, please continue to remain off campus for the safety of yourself and those who need to be there. As long as it will be safe to do so, we plan to begin a phased re-entry beginning May 18 and will communicate precautionary measures and further information as that date approaches.

What resources are available for remote work?
Log into my.coe.edu and go to the Employee tab to access remote working resources like VPN access, wireless internet, forwarding phones and G-suite tools (e.g. Google Meet, Drive, Docs, etc.).

I’m not feeling well, but I need something from my office. Can I come to campus to pick it up?
If you have illness symptoms (ex. fever, cough, shortness of breath) or live in a household with someone who does, do not come to campus for any reason. If you need something from your office, contact your supervisor or the Provost’s Office, and they will arrange to have it delivered.

What if I have medical or child care complications related to COVID-19 that are impacting my ability to work?
We recognize that many are experiencing challenges related to parenting, family support, health, technology limitations and other difficulties. Please talk with your supervisor or the Office of Human Resources about options related to paid leave, flexibility in scheduling and other support resources available to you.

What changes have been made to the payroll, benefit, recruitment and other processes now that we are working from home?
Since most of us are working remotely, including the Human Resources Office, several modifications have been made to the payroll process and for human resources forms. For more information, please visit the human resources website.

What benefits are available to me related to COVID-19?
Employee Assistance Program/Counseling

  • All faculty and staff have access to our Employee Assistance Program that offers three free counseling sessions per year, and they can be provided via telehealth benefits. Call 866.799.2728 to access this benefit.

Retirement Plans

  • The CARES Act offers opportunities for hardship loans and withdrawal from retirement plans for those who are financially adversely impacted by COVID-19.
  • TIAA, our plan sponsor, is in the process of developing a process for making requests. You can reach out to them directly at 800.842.2252 to discuss these options.

For those covered under our health insurance:

  • COVID-19 testing is covered on Coe's health insurance plan without any cost to employees.
  • The CARES Act expanded the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) — both in terms of qualifying expenses and allowing telehealth appointments to be covered with co-insurance before reaching deductible through December 31.
  • Additionally, copays are waived through mid-June for telehealth services if you are on any Coe plan, including the $3,000/HSA plan.

How can I contact human resources staff with questions or concerns?
Please reach out to o-humanresources@coe.edu or your supervisor with any specific questions or concerns. The Human Resources Office is available and happy to set up phone or virtual meetings, and they can be confidential.

Cellphone numbers for every member of the HR team are posted on my.coe.edu on the Employee tab, below the “Working Remotely Resources” section.