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.
May 15: Operational Scenario Planning for the 2020-21 Academic Year
Throughout this global pandemic and its effects on the North Park University community, our planning and decision making have been guided by key priorities of health and safety for our community, and successful academic progress for our students.
As we plan to open in fall 2020, we will be guided in similar fashion:
1 – Protecting health, safety and wellness of our students, faculty and staff (guided by the CDC, state and local protocols, and other governing bodies for colleges and universities, such as the NCAA);
2 – Delivering the highest quality academic and residential experience possible.
March 28: 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.
March 18: A Greeting from President Mary K. Surridge
Please click here for a video greeting from President Surridge, including a word of thanks and an important update regarding spring commencement. These remarks are also available to read here.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
Academic Affairs and Policies
We have extended the deadline for dropping a course to Friday, May 1. This extension will apply to both semester-long courses (with an original drop deadline of April 11) as well as fourth quad (spring semester, quad B), which had an original drop deadline of April 25.
Yes, after consulting with professors, deans, and the senior team, we have made the decision to institute an optional Pass/Fail grading model going forward. During this unprecedented time, institutions across the country have either implemented Pass/Fail options, or have chosen not to, depending on the many considerations that come to the discussion, and the policies that have been adopted vary from school to school.
No. This policy is entirely optional for students. If you choose the Pass/Fail option, the application form that you will need to fill out in order to apply to take a course Pass/Fail will ask for the signature of your instructor; your advisor; and if your major or intended major is Education or Nursing, you will also need the signature of your advisor from the respective School. The application form, with additional instructions, is posted on the Student Administrative Studies site. If you do not choose the Pass/Fail option, you will be awarded a traditional letter grade.
The following rules apply to those seeking the Pass/Fail option:
- Any undergraduate student may take up to 16 semester hours Pass/Fail for the spring semester, 2020; any courses taken as overload cannot be taken Pass/Fail.
- The courses must be either full spring semester courses, or spring semester quad B courses.
- There will be many courses open to the Pass/Fail option, but because of specialized accreditation and/or licensure policies, as well as other considerations, the Pass/Fail option is not open to courses in the following academic units: the School of Business and Nonprofit Management; School of Education; School of Music, Art, and Theatre; School of Nursing and Health Sciences; and the School of Professional Studies. However, the option is open to any course in the College of Arts and Sciences, pending approval from the student’s advisor.
- A grade of Pass is equivalent to at least a C -, and will be recorded as Pass on the transcript.
- A grade of either D or F will be recorded as such on the transcript.
- The application to take a course on a Pass/Fail basis must be made to the Office of Student Administrative Services by Friday, May 1.
Application must have the approval of the student’s advisor and, for support courses in the Education or Nursing sequences, of an Education or Nursing advisor. Student athletes are urged to consult with their respective coaches to discuss the ramifications of selecting the Pass/Fail option for their grade point eligibility threshold.
Yes, we have made the decision to move all summer school courses to an online format. Please check back here for additional details.
At this time, the dates for May 2021 graduation have not changed. Every student completing a degree must submit a Graduation Application at least two full semesters prior to their anticipated graduation date. The Graduation Application form is available at www.northpark.edu/graduation. Please fill out the Application and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. A graduation audit will be sent to you via email, in response to your application. May 2021 graduates: Please submit your Graduation Application no later than Friday, April 24. Don’t wait until the deadline to turn it in. Email it to email@example.com as soon as possible.
Note: SPS undergraduate students should submit the application to their academic advisor, and Seminary students (including students seeking dual-degrees) should follow the Seminary graduation application process. Contact Tanya Pashkuleva if you have any questions about your Graduation Audit or the graduation process.
As a result of the federal government-established CARES Act, North Park University has received funding to provide emergency grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, child care, and health care. Only Title IV-eligible students, as indicated by the Higher Education Act of 1965, may receive these emergency grants, according to federal guidelines. These funds will be given as direct payments to students as explained below.
After careful consideration about how to disburse these funds, it was determined that degree-seeking traditional undergraduates and undergraduates in the School of Professional Studies who are Pell- and/or MAP-eligible would be given emergency grants. Full-time students will be receiving $1100. Part-time students will be receiving $500.
A portion of the grant funding has also been set aside to allow other eligible undergraduate students, as well as graduate and adult students, to apply for a $500 emergency grant.
Questions about the CARES Act funding can be directed to NPUCARESAct@northpark.edu.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or you can contact your financial aid specialist directly.
May 2020 Commencement
We are deeply committed to providing a meaningful commencement experience under these exceptional circumstances. Although we cannot be together in person on May 9, we are glad to offer a special online celebration on May 9, with remarks, special music, and the reading of the graduates’ names. And then on Dec. 12, 2020, all May 2020 graduates will be invited back to campus for their own in-person commencement ceremony with a full program of events. Please fill out the brief form at this link: https://npu.wufoo.com/forms/qumir180zgjpmn/. For more detailed information and a personal message from President Surridge, please look for the e-mail she sent to you on Friday, April 17, 2020.
Our Virtual Commencement Ceremony will be hosted online at 10 a.m CST this Saturday, May 9, 2020. The video will stream on both YouTube and Facebook. To access the YouTube link, please visit www.northpark.edu/live on Saturday morning. Follow the North Park Facebook page and turn on notifications if you wish to receive an alert when the video goes live. For a version with Closed Captioning, we recommend utilizing the YouTube link.
A social media toolkit has been created so that you can engage with fellow North Parkers on social media in the coming days. For those of you hoping to host a viewing party, you might consider hosting a personal Zoom call with the broadcast on screen share so that you can be together with loved ones.
Regalia has already been ordered, but customarily does not arrive on campus until the week before commencement. Because we are holding an in-person commencement ceremony in December and not cancelling altogether, our plan is to store your regalia on campus until that time. If you know with certainty that you are unable to attend in December, please indicate this in the survey at this link https://npu.wufoo.com/forms/qumir180zgjpmn/ and we will be in touch about the possibility of mailing your regalia to you.
Room and Board Refunds and Payment Plans
A credit will be issued to student accounts for 50% of the Spring 2020 semester charge for housing and meal plans, net of financial aid, for those students who have moved out of student housing by March 27, 2020. The credits will be reflected in student accounts by April 6, 2020. Students with a remaining spring semester balance will have this credit applied toward their current payment plan and it will be adjusted accordingly. Students who are paid in full may use this credit toward a future semester or if not returning to North Park, may request a refund.
With regard to student accounts, we will keep payment plans in place for ease of payment, but we will suspend all late fees and finance charges on outstanding balances through May 31, 2020. Your Student Services Specialist will continue to contact you to help assist with payment options.
Students will be able to view their most current account balances via the following navigation:
- Log into North Park Self Service at www.northpark.edu/selfservice
- Click on Student Finance
- Select “Spring 19-20” to view Account Activity
If you have any further questions regarding your account or credit for housing and meal plan please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our COVID-19 webpage for the latest information using the following link www.northpark.edu/covid-19. We pray that you all stay safe and healthy. Know that the faculty and staff of North Park are here to help.
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:
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.
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.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the influenza virus, but COVID-19 can range widely between mild and severe cases. About 80% of people who get COVID-19 will have a mild course of illness, but about 20% of people will experience more severe symptoms and may need to be hospitalized and have their breathing supported by oxygen or ventilators.
The most common symptoms include fever and cough. About 1/3 of people will experience shortness of breath. Other symptoms include fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, lack of appetite, body aches, headaches, and lack of smell or taste. Some people may have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as well.
You can check any symptoms you may have with the CDC’s COVID-19 symptom self-checker.
First, ensure that you are isolating yourself so that you do not potentially spread the virus. Then, you should call Health Services at (773) 244-4897 or email@example.com and tell the University Nurse about your symptoms.
If you have concerns that arise outside of business hours when Health Services is not available, many hospitals or local health departments are providing free 24/7 COVID-19 hotlines staffed with clinical professionals to answer any questions and give you guidance on managing your symptoms or when it is best to go to the hospital. For example, Swedish Covenant Hospital’s hotline can be reached at 773-907-7700.
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer 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.
The CDC is now recommending that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as, grocery stores and pharmacies). However, surgical masks and N95 respirators are still in short supply and prioritized for health care workers and first responders.
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.
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.
Resources from Health Authorities
Use this list of resources to stay informed as major health organizations monitor and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.