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

All students, families, faculty and staff who will be on campus during return to campus/move-in are expected to self-screen for COVID-19 risk prior to coming to campus and to ensure they are fever-free. Instructions for this service will be communicated via email and on the COVID-19 section of my.coe.edu. Self-screening ensures no one who has contracted COVID-19, has been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, has a fever or is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 is cleared to be present on campus.

  • Faculty and staff: Faculty and staff will complete self-screening successfully prior to reporting to campus. If a faculty or staff member answers yes to any self-screening questions, they will stay home and seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Returning students: Returning students and any family members who will assist with moving to campus are expected to successfully complete self-screening, to take their temperature before arriving on campus and to stay home or delay move-in until they successfully complete self-screening.
  • Transfer students: Students and any family members assisting with move-in will be required to successfully complete self-screening and to ensure they are fever-free.

If a student or family member has a fever of 100.4 degrees or above, fails to pass the self-screening questions or declines to participate in either activity, Student Life will work with the student to reschedule move-in or to alternative housing arrangements.

Can parents or family members visit the residence halls to help students move-in? 
Parents and family members will be permitted to assist students with unpacking in the residence halls. Family members will need to be escorted by the Coe student at all times when in the residence halls and follow the same safety protocols of wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and staying home when ill. 

Can I visit other Kohawks in their living space?
Coe residents may visit other Coe residents in other dorms/apartments/houses other than their assigned space. To visit a Kohawk in another space, they will need to allow you into that building. Key card access will remain as it is. Please be sure to only let in your one guest, and do not prop open doors.

  • Guests are not allowed visits in any Coe-owned or -sponsored space when someone is actively in their quarantine/isolation period.
  • Masks are required everywhere inside the dorms (hallways, stairwells, lobbies, bathrooms, elevators, laundry rooms, community kitchens, etc.) except your individual room.
  • The maximum number of people you can have in your dorm room, apartment or house is two times the number of residents of that room, apartment or house.
  • No outside or overnight guests inside the dorms, apartments or houses.

Who should I contact if I have a housing accommodation request?
Students who need specific accommodations related to housing and have health concerns related to COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students (dos@coe.edu) to plan ahead for the fall.

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 mouth 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 Dean of Students at dos@coe.edu 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.