NDSCS COVID-19 FAQs

Click on the section below to find information on frequently asked questions related to COVID-19.

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General COVID-19 Questions

I am experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, what should I do?

All NDSCS community members (employees and students) must report their symptoms through the COVID-19 reporting form here.

You should NOT attend work, class, shop/lab, or participate in any other activities if you have symptoms, stay in your living space and limit contact with other individuals.

After reporting, an NDSCS official will be in contact with you to provide you guidance, resources, and assistance. Follow all instructions provided by the NDSCS and/or health department official.

I have been identified by a health department official that I was a close contact to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

Follow all instructions and guidance provided by the health department official that contacted you; this will typically include quarantining (not leaving your living space). Additionally, you must complete the COVID-19 reporting form here. After reporting, an NDSCS official will be in contact with you to provide you guidance, resources, and assistance.

COVID-19 Testing

Is COVID-19 testing available at NDSCS?

In partnership with Richland County Public Health, Fargo-Cass Public Health, and the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) COVID-19 testing is regularly offered to employees and students who are:

  • experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19; or 
  • have been contacted by a health department official and notified they are a close contact.

Testing is free of charge and is conducted twice per week (Monday/Wednesdays).

Testing for NDSCS Wahpeton employees and students is conducted on campus at Student Health Services - detailed instructions are provided after the COVID-19 reporting form has been completed. 

Testing for NDSCS Fargo employees and students is conducted off-site through Fargo-Cass Public Health - detailed instructions are provided after the COVID-19 reporting form has been completed. 

I am having symptoms or been identified as a close contact, how do I get tested for COVID-19 through NDSCS?

All NDSCS community members (employees and students) must report their symptoms through the COVID-19 reporting form here. Once you complete that form, an NDSCS official will be in contact with you as soon as possible and assist you, as needed, with scheduling you to get tested for COVID-19.

How much will the COVID-19 test cost through NDSCS?

In partnership with the North Dakota Department of Health, all symptomatic and close-contact testing through NDSCS will be free.

COVID-19 Prevention

How is NDSCS ensuring clean facilities?

NDSCS Facilities Management staff has continued and enhanced their daily cleaning practices, such as disinfecting high-touch surfaces on continual basis. If you have concerns or questions about cleanliness, please contact 701-671-2313.

Should I download the CARES 19 Alert App?

Yes. NDSCS community members are encouraged to download the NDSCS CARES 19 App, which uses Bluetooth proximity technology and Apple/Google exposure notification system to keep track of the anonymous keys that a user encounters over time. The app is free and is one more way to minimize the risk related to COVID-19.

What can I do to reduce the risk of COVID-19?

We encourage you to keep yourself and the NDSCS community healthy through these personal prevention practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your living spaces frequently.
  • Avoid close contact and practice physical distancing (maintaining at least a 6 ft. distance from others)
  • Screen yourself and do NOT go to class/lab or participate in activities if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Fever (100.4 or greater)
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Cough/sneeze into tissues or your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Travel Information

Is there any screening required if I travel?

NDSCS strongly advises against any non-essential travel. There is no screening required, per Governor Burgum’s amended executive order announced on May 8. Any member of the NDSCS community – employee or student – who has traveled outside the U.S. must quarantine immediately for a period of 14 days and should not return to NDSCS. Employees returning from international travel should complete the North Dakota Department of Heath (NDDoH) screening form. The form can be accessed by clicking here.

After completing the form, you will receive an e-mail with the NDDoH recommended direction on self-monitoring as well as other pertinent information. Employees provide this information to their immediate supervisor and NDSCS Human Resources at ndscs.hr@ndscs.edu where it will be reviewed by Human Resources staff.

Is NDSCS authorizing any travel?

College-sponsored travel is authorized for essential functions only. Please work with your direct supervisor, and Vice President or President, for authorization.

Can I keep my personal travel plans?

We strongly advise you to reconsider non-essential personal travel. You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning, and/or the requirement to self-quarantine upon your return, all of which could significantly impact your professional and personal obligations at great individual expense. Should you decide to travel, be aware of the risks to your health.

Academic Information & Support Services

How is NDSCS delivering classes during the Fall 2020 semester?

NDSCS is offering classes in face-to-face, hybrid and online formats. Many face-to-face classes have remote delivery capabilities. Students should visit with their instructors regarding delivery method options for their courses.

What if I need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19?

Students are required to notify NDSCS through the NDSCS COVID-19 Reporting Form at the top of this page if they suspect that they have COVID-19, exhibit symptoms, have been notified they are a close contact, or have tested positive. Students will then be informed about academic attendance guidance and the process for communicating with their instructors.

Who should I contact if I need assistance accessing a computer or internet to complete my courses?

NDSCS may be able to provide support for students who do not have access to online resources (e.g. internet access, laptop computer). Please contact the Student Success Center at 701-671-3000 to discuss options.

What measures is the Mildred Johnson Library taking?

Book stacks in the Mildred Johnson Library are closed on all floors. Please ask library staff to provide you with materials you need. Until further notice, only one person is allowed per study room. Magazines are not on display. Please ask library staff to provide you with magazines you need.

New LibGuides are available:

Please email ndscs.library@ndscs.edu if you have any questions.

Will tutoring be available?

Yes. Tutoring is available to all NDSCS students in Wahpeton, Fargo and online. Click here to see more information.

Will Accessibility Services be available?

Accessibility Services provides equal access and opportunity to all academic programs and campus activities for students with disabilities. The Student Accessibility Coordinator will be available to students and faculty by appointment. For more information about services or to complete an online application, go to https://www.ndscs.edu/accessibility or contact Mindi Bessler at 701-671-2623 or mindi.bessler@ndscs.edu.

Will the Test Center be available?

During the all 2020 semester, both the Wahpeton and Fargo test centers will provide face-to-face testing services. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged as there may be limited testing spaces available, especially in Fargo. Click here to see more information. 

Is Information Technology Services still open to help me?

Yes, the ITS Service Desk will continue to be open during normal hours to assist you remotely. Call 701-671-3333 or email NDSCS.ServiceDesk@ndscs.edu. Please be at your computer or mobile device and connected to the Internet when you call.

I purchased a laptop through Information Technology Services. How do I access support or repair services?

Contact the ITS Service Desk at 701-671-3333 or email NDSCS.ServiceDesk@ndscs.edu. Depending on your location and needs, the ITS Service Desk will work with you to get your laptop working again as quickly as possible.

Will my NDSCS email, OneDrive, Microsoft Office, and other online services continue to function through the rest of the semester?

Yes. As long as you remain enrolled as a student, your email and other online student systems will continue to function.

Is Print Services available?

Please submit all Print Services requests via email to ndscs.printservices@ndscs.edu. The Print Services lobby will be open for project pick-up and access to a walk-up copier Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Please contact Print Services via email or at 701-671-2458 if you have any questions.

Housing and Dining Information

Will NDSCS Residence Halls be open for the Fall Semester?

Yes, NDSCS residence halls will be open for the fall semester. Incoming students should complete their housing application as soon as possible by clicking here.

What changes has NDSCS Dining Services made to reduce the spread of COVID-19?

NDSCS Dining Services is committed to food safety. All food and beverages served by NDSCS Dining Services are prepared in accordance with all state health department and CDC guidelines. Various protocols have been added to further reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, including:

  • All Dining Services employees will use cloth face coverings
  • Additional barriers have been installed in close contact areas
  • Touchless technology is being used for all transactions (e.g. ‘Tap’ card reader for Student IDs)
  • Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed
  • More dine-in and take-out options are available (breakfast and/or general sack meals are available upon request)
  • Seating areas have been rearranged to allow for physical distancing
  • Tables will be disinfected and sanitized after each use
  • Self-serve options will not be available

For questions or concerns, contact NDSCS Dining Services at 701-671-2331.

Will I be refunded for the meals I did not use in the spring 2020 semester? Will I get a refund for the time I did not stay in my residence hall room?

Aligning with NDUS System Procedure 830.2, which determines the refund rates for this time period (excluding Spring Break), eligible students were refunded 40% of their residence hall room/apartment charges (a refund for March 23 through the end of the semester), and refunded a percentage/amount based on their meal plan and usage.

Residence hall and dining plan credits were posted to students’ CampusConnection accounts on April 10. 

Students can contact NDSCS Residential Life at 701-671-2224 with housing-related questions, or NDSCS Dining Services at 701-671-2321 with dining plan refund questions.

Financial Information

Will I be refunded for the meals I did not use in the spring 2020 semester? Will I get a refund for the time I did not stay in my residence hall room?

Aligning with NDUS System Procedure 830.2, which determines the refund rates for this time period (excluding Spring Break), eligible students were refunded 40% of their residence hall room/apartment charges (a refund for March 23 through the end of the semester), and refunded a percentage/amount based on their meal plan and usage.

Residence hall and dining plan credits were posted to students’ CampusConnection accounts on April 10. 

Students can contact NDSCS Residential Life at 701-671-2224 with housing-related questions, or NDSCS Dining Services at 701-671-2321 with dining plan refund questions.

What if I am a student experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19?

We understand that some students will experience financial hardship associated with the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to family, travel and academics. For assistance please contact the Student Advocate at ndscs.studentadvocate@ndscs.edu as soon as possible and they may be able to connect you with support needed.

Does NDSCS have funds available to students through the CARES Act?

Please refer to ndscs.edu/caresact for information about CARES Act grants for students.

How can I support students in need?

You may make a gift to the NDSCS Wildcats Care Emergency Grant through the NDSCS Alumni Foundation. Please click here to learn more.

Event and Activity Information

Will events and activities continue to be held?

Yes. To find out about all the events that are happening, students are encouraged to:

  • Check their NDSCS e-mail
  • Follow NDSCS Student Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or add ndscsstudentlif on Snapchat
  • Review and subscribe to the Events Calendar on the NDSCS website by clicking here

Can prospective students visit NDSCS?

Yes. To help limit prospective student and community exposure to COVID-19, NDSCS is taking additional precautions during in-person visits. Visitor numbers will be limited, extra cleaning will be done between visitors, and social distancing guidelines will be observed. All members of the NDSCS community, as well as visitors, are required to wear face coverings when indoors and physical distancing is not possible. Disposable face masks will be provided if visitors do not have their own.

As an alternative to in-person visits, prospective students can schedule a virtual visit. Some students choose this option due to travel limitations, COVID-19 concerns, and/or time constraints. Follow-up virtual visits may be arranged to meet with faculty or staff members from the department you are interested in so you can learn more about your program of interest.

Please click here to learn more and schedule a visit.

Will there be any changes for NDSCS Athletics?

The NDSCS 2020 football season has been cancelled, as the College’s football conference, the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC), announced that it will limit its fall sports to those that have been identified as low-risk as it relates to COVID-19. Following a plan of action by the NJCAA, the NDSCS volleyball season will be played in the spring of 2021 instead of in the fall of 2020, and the NDSCS men’s and women’s basketball teams will have a delayed start to their seasons, beginning in January 2021. Additional information about NDSCS Athletics is available online at ndscswildcats.com.

Will there be any changes to NDSCS Alumni Foundation events?

Please watch ndscsalumni.com for any information related to NDSCS Alumni Foundation events.

Will the Wildcat Wellness Center be open?

The Claire T. Blikre Activities Center, which includes the weight rooms, cardio room, racquetball rooms, swimming pool and walking track, reopened on Wednesday, July 1. Click here to learn more.

What are the guidelines for renters and guests at NDSCS?

NDSCS has established guidelines to provide a way for external stakeholders to utilize NDSCS spaces in a manner that minimizes risk and exposure of COVID-19. At the time of rental, the guidelines will be shared. At a minimum:

  • Masks/face coverings are required to be used by guests in all indoor spaces, except when eating or drinking and outdoors, when within six feet of another individual.
  • Guests will be encouraged to download the Care19 Alert app to increase success levels with contact tracing.
  • Attendance by high-risk individuals will be discouraged.
  • Good personal prevention practices (e.g. hand washing, covering mouth when coughing) will be promoted.
  • Room set-up must be maintained (which will focus on physical distancing).

Did NDSCS still have its 2020 graduation ceremony?

Yes. NDSCS postponed Commencement, which was scheduled for May 15, 2020, to Friday, August 21. The ceremony was live streamed and this recording can be viewed online at ndscs.edu/graduation.

Workforce Affairs Information

Is TrainND offering classes at this time?

TrainND Southeast will follow the direction of NDSCS in scheduling training events. Training will be provided to clients in the best way possible, but delays are expected as TrainND staff is working remotely at this time.

TrainND Southeast also has online training options available. Please visit https://www.ndscs.edu/workforce-affairs/online-courses to review these options.

Please contact NDSCS Division for Workforce Affairs TrainND at 701-231-6912 or susie.carlson@ndscs.edu for training questions and inquiries.

Are room rentals available?

TrainND Southeast will follow the direction of NDSCS in scheduling room rentals. Please contact the NDSCS Division for Workforce Affairs at 800-342-4325, ext. 2206 for Wahpeton rentals and 701-231-6915 for Fargo rentals.

Is SkillsND offering classes at this time?

The SkillsND program will follow the direction of NDSCS in scheduling Pre-CNA, Pre-Skilled Trades and Skilled Trades Classes. Contact SkillsND at 701-231-6918 or Deanne.Sperling@ndscs.edu to complete the application process by email or phone so you can be ready when classes resume. The next anticipated class is Pre-CNA.

Are there any changes that impact ApprenticeshipND?

ApprenticeshipND will continue to provide service to apprentices and employers in the best way possible. ApprenticeshipND staff will be available via e-mail and by phone as always. Some delays are expected in shipping out new materials.

For assistance, call 701-671-2206 (Wahpeton) or 701-231-6921 (Fargo), or email ndscs.apprenticeship@ndscs.edu or Brian.Fuder@ndscs.edu You can order books online at www.ndscs.edu/apprenticeshipnd.

Employee Information

What is expected of supervisors during this time of re-entry?

Supervisors should engage and communicate regularly with the people who report to them. Additionally, supervisors should define the channels for communications with individuals and groups. With proper planning, communications problems associated with telecommuting (remote work) can be minimized.

What is telecommuting (remotely working)?

Telecommuting is sometimes referred to as ‘working remotely’ and/or ‘working from home’. Our telecommuting policy was not specifically written for this situation; rather, it is general guidelines. Your supervisor will provide you with specific outcomes/expectations during this time. Flexibility is part of our LIFE values and we will need to demonstrate them now more than ever.

The NDSCS Telecommuting policy can be found by clicking here: http://policy.ndscs.edu/policies/telecommuting-policy-d653ee1f-04fa-44bf-98f3-2149b43d5dad

Can I choose to come into work during re-entry?

Please follow the re-entry plan located on the NDSCS intranet. Discuss options and questions you have with your supervisor.

During this time of re-entry, may I work from my office space/work location?

Please follow the re-entry plan located on the NDSCS intranet. Discuss options and questions you have with your supervisor.

How do I access shared drives and/or necessary electronic information from a distance?

Please visit the stay connected web page for step-by-step information on how to gain access through Virtual Private Network (VPN) to our shared drive system at NDSCS.  Please be mindful of the importance of accessing confidential and/or FERPA protected information from a distance. Please consult with your supervisor for specific access questions before contacting ITS directly.

How do I forward my phone if needed?

Please visit the stay connected web page for step-by-step information on how to update your voicemail and/or forward your phone. Please work with your supervisor to identify expectations related to being available by phone.

How do I access/facilitate meetings remotely?

Please visit the stay connected web page for step-by-step information on how to utilize TEAMS (Skype) and phone conferencing systems. Please work with your supervisor to identify expectations related to being available for meetings and check with the meeting organizer. 

How is fairness being ensured during this time of re-entry?

This situation is ever-evolving and we need to focus on our mission, while upholding the expectations on us – especially taking care of ourselves, family and the community. We are requesting that you recognize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to this situation. NDSCS is committed to minimizing the risk and spread of COVID-19 – with the hope of lessening the pressure on our healthcare system. To do this, we have to be flexible and understanding. We are doing our best to address individual needs consistently.

How do I ensure my workspace is clean?

NDSCS will continue to clean campus spaces that are utilized/staffed Please review the re-entry plan located on the NDSCS intranet. You are encouraged to disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched (e.g. keyboards, phones, reception desks). Complete a Facilities Management work order to request the supplies needed.

What if I need to self-quarantine and cannot meet my job duties/responsibilities?

Review the positive case procedure on the NDSCS intranet and complete the NDSCS COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Supervisors will be responsible for notifying the Executive Director of Human Resources.  Discuss with your supervisor the option of telecommuting (working remotely). While in self-quarantine you should monitor your symptoms following the guidelines from the North Dakota Department of Health. 

This situation is constantly evolving; future legislation/regulations may address these requirements differently and NDSCS will follow up.

All leave policies can be accessed by clicking here: http://policy.ndscs.edu/sections/fringe-benefits

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how does it impact me?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, will become effective April 1, 2020. This act will provide additional leave to employees who meet certain criteria. Click here to review a poster that explains your rights under this act as an employee impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Human Resources will distribute additional information and training the week of March 30 to all supervisors and employees regarding this leave.

What if I am currently on FMLA leave?

Contact your supervisor and Human Resources to discuss your current leave status.

What if I have scheduled annual leave or sick leave during this time?

You should contact your supervisor and Human Resources to discuss the leave you have scheduled.

Do I need to complete FMLA paperwork if I contract COVID-19?

If you were not on FMLA prior to this, FMLA documentation is not required specifically for COVID-19 symptoms. However, if the absence involves actual contraction of COVID-19, hospitalization or longer-term treatment, FMLA paperwork may be requested. For other medical conditions (such as surgery or pregnancy), the FMLA policy will remain in effect. The Department of Labor has the information regarding this available here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic

What if I need to take care of a family member who has COVID-19?

If you have sudden caring responsibilities for a family member, you should report the information to your supervisor and Human Resources. They will assist with determining what leave to use. The Department of Labor has information regarding this available online at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic.

What if my child’s daycare or school is closed and I unable to meet my job responsibilities during this time?

If you are unable to work due to caring responsibilities, you should report the information to your supervisor and Human Resources. They will assist with determining what leave to use. 

My daycare costs are changing due to COVID-19. Can I change my dependent care flexible benefits amount?

If you have a change in provider or change in cost of care, these are qualifying events to stop or reduce your dependent care amount. Contact Human Resources and they can provide you with a Flexible Benefits Account Change Form.

I am experiencing stress about this situation; whom can I speak to?

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available through The Village. Information can be found by clicking here: http://villageeap.com/. All NDSCS benefited employees and members of their household are able to seek assistance through The Village EAP. The Village EAP is a confidential, independent counseling program that offers professional guidance in a variety of areas, such as: relationship issues, emotional health issues, drug and alcohol issues, workplace issues, crisis counseling, financial issues, legal issues, and wellness. Services are available 24/7, 365 days a year, with nationwide accessibility. There is no cost to your household, within certain limits.

How should I set up my work station if I am working remotely?

It's beneficial if a room or area of a room can be designated as your work space. This isn't always possible, so paying attention to posture and taking short breaks throughout the day will be important. If possible, connect your keyboard and mouse to your laptop, and attach your laptop to a monitor.

What do I need to know about video conferencing platforms for working or teaching remotely?

North Dakota Information Technology’s Cyber Operations Center has issued a security risk assessment and associated guidelines for video conferencing platforms that can be accessed by clicking this link.

The NDSCS Information Technology Services and Distance Education departments are available to assist in using the following supported video conferencing technologies: Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, and Pexip. Call the ITS Service Desk at 701-671-3333 for more information or with any questions.