COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Campus Updates

Campus Updates Regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the new coronavirus that is causing the current global outbreak: COVID-19.​ North Park University’s Emergency Management Team is monitoring the situation, and is sharing the following information to raise awareness and inform the university community. This information will be updated as needed.

March 28: University Update

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago has ordered the city’s lakefront, adjacent parks, the 606 walking and biking path, and the riverfront to be closed to the public. If you are a student, faculty, or staff member still on campus, please note these restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Online Instruction

Student Study Tips

1. Stay organized

As courses adjust schedules and make changes, you may find it feels like the first week of a new semester. Gather new or changing information and start organizing early.

Here are some things to keep track of:

Are in-person parts of the class changing?

  • Faculty have moved their face-to-face courses online.
  • Some faculty may use O365 Teams or Big Blue Button for virtual meetings
  • Your instructor will inform you of a specific time that the class will meet.
  • Check with your instructor if recordings will be available for future viewing.

Are assignments changing?

  • Assignment due dates are posted in your Canvas course. Your instructor will communicate any changes made to due dates.
  • All assignments will be submitted electronically.
  • All quizzes and exams will be held on Canvas.

What should you do if you need help?

  • Most online courses will have virtual office hours. Be sure to check in with your instructor for more information about their availability.
  • Most online courses will have a general forum discussion board. If you have questions or need technical support for Canvas reach out to the Center for Online Education.

 

2. Avoid multi-tasking

As you do more work on your own and your time is less structured, you may feel the urge to multitask. While switching back and forth on assignments can feel productive, it actually takes you away from completing tasks.

Downsides to Multitasking  

  • Assignments take longer. Each time you come back to an assignment, you need to get familiar with it again, find your place, remember what you were doing, etc.
  • Making more mistakes. Distractions and switching between tasks tire out the brain.
  • Remembering less. When your brain is divided, you’re less able to commit what you’re learning to long-term memory

What to do Instead:

  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Take breaks between tasks: Focus on a task for 25- or 50-minute periods and then reward yourself with 5- or 10-minute breaks.

 

3. Make the most of video lectures

  • Stick to your professor’s schedule as closely as possible. Staying on a schedule will help you have a feeling of normalcy and prevent you from falling behind.
  • Find out how to ask questions. Is there a chat feature? Is there a discussion forum?
  • Close distracting tabs, apps, and notifications. Humans are not as good at multitasking as they think! (See #2 above.)
  • Continue to take notes as you would if you were there in person.
  • Watch recordings at normal speed. Research shows that playback speed of 1.5x can lower your retention and can result in lower scores on assessments.

 

4. Set a schedule

As the situation unfolds, you may have fewer social commitments, group meetings, or work hours. Setting a schedule for yourself can help provide structure and keep you motivated. If you don’t already keep a weekly or daily calendar, try something like the example below to organize your time. Include time for exercise and self-care.

8 am: Self care (shower, breakfast).

9 am: Call in for remote lecture.

10 am: Read chapter 3.

11 am: Self care (video chat with friend).

12 pm: Lunch.

1 pm: Read chapter 4.

2 pm: Recap lecture with classmate.

 

5. Establish new routines and strategies

Your routines and strategies will need to change and adjust during this time. Think about your normal study routines and look for ways to form new ones.

For example: If you usually study in a coffee shop or library, ask yourself what kind of environment helps you study. See if you can recreate that at home. Maybe it’s studying at a table or desk or moving to a new spot when you change tasks. If you feel you need background noise, consider a white noise app. If you always study in groups, try a video or phone study session with your group. If you thrive on tight timelines, but now have a more open schedule, think about how working with others or setting up a schedule can recreate that for you.

 

6. Work with a group

Remote collaboration can look different, but it is definitely possible. Try not to procrastinate. That group project may be out-of-sight, out-of-mind if you aren’t seeing each other regularly.

  • Resist the urge to put it off. Make small progress and stay in touch.
  • Meet regularly, especially if you usually touch base during class or lab. Consider a quick text on your group chat about progress every couple of days. Ideally, have real conversations over video any week you’re working together.
  • Set a purpose for meetings and use a shared notes doc. Meetings might feel different when using video, even if your team was really good at working informally in the past. Try to set the purpose of your meeting in advance.
  • Keep videos open when you can. As long as you can see whatever you need to collaborate, aim to keep the video visible on your computer screen.
  • Check on each other and ask for backup: If someone has been absent from your group meetings or chat, ask them directly if they’re still able to participate in the project. If you aren’t getting responses within a day or two, let your professor know.

 

7. Stay connected

Even if we limit how much face-to-face time we spend with others on campus, connecting with family and friends might be more important than ever. And staying in touch with instructors, classmates, and group mates is still important for continued classwork.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Schedule video calls with friends and family. Talking with loved ones is often really helpful when you’re stressed or nervous about something. Taking a break to have a laugh is also important.
  • Use Microsoft Teams to connect with classmates to talk through a tough problem.
  • Attend virtual office hours or study groups so that you can stay up on your coursework.

Please remember, this will pass. If COVID has disrupted your travel plans, ended a lab experiment you were excited about, or for any reason feels like it came at the worst possible time, remember: this is temporary. You’ll find your way when it settles down. You’ll get back on track, and things will get back to normal. We don’t know when, but it will happen. Until then, take a deep breath, do your best, get some rest, and wash your hands.

Through the end of the semester, there will be no more in-person classes. All coursework will be conducted online. Your professors will use Canvas to keep you informed, and will notify you via email about how your course will be structured, and what you can expect in terms of assignments and tests.

Students who have a disability and have registered with Student Engagement will continue to receive their academic accommodations as we move to online classes. Students should email ada@northpark.edu if they have any questions about how accommodations will be implemented; whether changes in the format create new issues or barriers; or to request new or additional accommodations. Students who have a disability and are in need of academic accommodations, but have not previously registered with Student Engagement, should contact ada@northpark.edu.

Comcast, Charter-Spectrum, Cox, AT&T, and many other providers across the country are offering free Wi-Fi or free basic internet for a limited time in response to COVID-19. Some providers are also waiving data caps for home internet and cellular data.

Financial Aid

North Park is currently following guidance from the Department of Education for students who are eligible for the Federal Work-Study program but unable to work at this time. Financial Aid and Human Resources are working with supervisors to assist work-study students that were scheduled to work through the rest of this spring semester, ending May 8, 2020. Please contact your supervisor for additional information.

To ensure that your documentation is processed in a timely manner, we recommend that you email your documents or fax them to our office.  Our office email address is: financialaid@northpark.edu and our fax number is 773-634-4051.

If you email your documents to our office, we recommend blocking out the first five digits of any Social Security Numbers listed and include the student’s name and/or ID in the email.

To ensure the safety of NPU employees, all financial aid staff are working at home remotely. However, we are able to continue to deliver all services with no delays to you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can reach us via email at financialaid@northpark.edu or you can contact your financial aid specialist directly.

Daily Life and Wellness

For those students whose applications to remain on campus have been approved, North Park will be providing three meals a day through our food service, Aramark. However, because of social distancing protocols, all meals will be picked up by students in the dining hall in Magnuson Campus Center, packaged in disposable containers, and brought back to students’ respective dorm rooms for consumption.

Food service will proceed as follows:

Sunday–Friday:

Noon–1 pm: Lunch pickup. A box lunch of salad, sandwich, juice, cookie, and fruit will be available for pickup.

5–6 pm: Hot dinner buffet. An entrée, vegetarian option, and side dishes will be served in to-go containers. Also at this time, students may pick up a box breakfast containing cereal, milk, pastries, and fruit for the following morning.

Saturday:

Noon–1 pm: Hot lunch will be served in to-go containers. Students will pick up a boxed dinner of salad, sandwich, juice, cookie, and fruit for that evening, along with a boxed breakfast of cereal, milk, pastries, and fruit for the following morning.

Please visit the Counseling Support Services website www.northpark.edu/counseling for mental health resources and supports. Counseling Support Services is operating remotely and will respond to appointment and information requests through the website, by phone, or email. Counseling staff will help students to make decisions about counseling services which may include tele-health or other services specific to the student’s situation.

Students can also submit a referral through the campus early alert system, EARS, at www.northpark.edu/EARS.

If this is a life-threatening emergency, please seek help by calling 911 or by going to your local hospital emergency room. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Crisis Text Line (“START” to 741-741), can also help in a crisis situation.

Other Questions

Registration for the Fall 2020 semester has been delayed two weeks, to April 6. Please visit our Course Registration webpage for more information on registering.

From President Mary K. Surridge:

“I want to offer a special word to the graduating Class of 2020. Because of current restrictions on gatherings and events, sadly, May 9 cannot be the date for our traditional Commencement ceremony as planned.

However, I want to assure you that we are working on another option. We have a group of graduating students, faculty, staff, and deans, who will be working on a creative alternative. You WILL have the opportunity to celebrate your Commencement, and we will look forward to celebrating with you. It will happen! You have most certainly earned it, and we want your family and friends to celebrate that milestone achievement with you. Stay tuned for further information.”

We are suspending all University-related air travel, both international and domestic until further notice, unless it is deemed critical. Vice Presidential review and approval of travel requests is required.

If you were not able to retrieve your belongings, but you have all you need for online learning, you can just leave your belongings where they are. We will keep them secure for you until you make arrangements at a later date.

For questions about housing or to make arrangements to collect your belongings, email housing@northpark.edu.

We recognize that there will be financial questions around how we will handle prorated housing and board charges. While we do not know all of those answers at this point, we will be working on that immediately and will provide specific information as soon as we can. Please know that we will be committed to doing what is fair and right. We seek your patience and understanding as we resolve these issues.

Security, support services, and staff will remain on campus to assist you throughout this challenging period. Please reach out to individual departments for any assistance you might need. In addition, we will be making constant updates on this webpage. Please monitor email and social media as well. Thank you for your patience on this matter. Please consult the Faculty and Staff directory to find contact information.

About COVID-19

The Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new strain of virus that recently began circulating in Asia before spreading internationally, including to and within the United States. While scientists are still learning about this new virus, they have discovered it is highly contagious and spreads through close contact with infected people.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the influenza virus.

You should immediately contact Health Services at (773) 244-4897 or healthservices@northpark.edu and tell them what your symptoms are. Remember that COVID-19 shares many symptoms with the influenza virus, which is also going around. Let Health Services know where you have traveled recently or how you might have been exposed to the virus. Health Services, along with the state and city health departments, will determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wash hands frequently with soap and water and avoid touching one’s face. It is also important to practice social distancing, which means staying as far away from people as possible. Avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your face, including utensils, cups, and makeup. Masks are in short supply, and healthcare professionals say you should only wear one if you are sick, to avoid spreading the virus. Do not wear a mask if you are healthy.

Resources from Health Authorities

Use this list of resources to stay informed as major health organizations monitor and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The World Health Organization

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Illinois Department of Public Health

The Chicago Department of Public Health

Sign Up for Campus Alerts

North Park uses a campus alert communications system, Blackboard, to immediately inform the campus community of emergency situations. To ensure that you receive these updates, follow these instructions to sign up or update your campus alert information.

How to Sign Up

University Resources

Still Have Questions?

For questions regarding COVID-19 and North Park University’s response to the outbreak, please email feedback@northpark.edu.