Frequently Asked Questions related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Peru State College is dedicated to answering your questions about the possible impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Peru State College, its students and employees. This page will be updated as information becomes available. When possible a link (or multiple) links will be provided offering additional guidance.

Please note that endnotes are provided when applicable.

Has Peru State College confirmed any cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on its campus?

No cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed on campus.

Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Nebraska and nearby states. Additional information about Nebraska’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak can be found on a dedicated website with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

How is the College preparing?

Peru State College is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities, including the Southeast District Health Department, to prepare for the possibility of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on campus and to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus.

The College has also prepared (and is continuing to prepare) a robust response plan. The plan’s goals are to prevent the spread of infectious disease; protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff; and continue educational services.

Peru State College is dedicated to providing access to education.

The College is also working to communicate with students, faculty, staff, parents and other stakeholders to better understand travel plans, connections with potential Coronavirus infections in the United States and abroad, and other areas of potential connection to the Coronavirus.

Facility Services is committed to providing more frequent cleaning services to campus. Public areas will be cleaned and disinfected more often. Additional staff will be brought to campus to accomplish this goal. Bottles of hand sanitizer are also available in public places with additional wipes in computer labs.

On-Campus Policies for Fall 2020

Will I be required to wear a mask?

Yes.

Our community is committed to protecting the health of others in the campus community. The CDC advises that face coverings are one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC also recommends they be worn by everyone in a public setting with other preventive measures like social distancing, frequent hand washing and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces.

Complete Fall 2020 Mask and Face Covering Policy

Will the campus practice social distancing?

Yes. Individuals will be required to maintain a social distance of 6 feet apart.

All individuals will be required to wear face coverings in all buildings and when unable to stay 6 feet apart from others. Face coverings are not required while eating or when alone in an office space.

Questions Regarding the Coronavirus

What is a novel Coronavirus? How does it spread?

John Hopkins Medicine writes that “Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds, and some cause disease. A newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19 that started in China[i].”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes that “the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person – who are in close contact with one another – within about 6 feet – [and] through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes[ii].” The CDC also warns “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads[iii].”

What are symptoms of Coronavirus?

The World Health Organization supplies that “Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.[iv]

How do I know if I have the Coronavirus or if it is just the flu?

John Hopkins Medicine writes, that the flu and Coronavirus “are both respiratory illness” and while the symptoms are similar, they are caused by different viruses[v]. In addition, transmission is probably similar, “spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.”

Fortunately, prevention for both diseases is similar. Please see the FAQ regarding the prevention of spreading germs and Coronavirus.

Students who have flu-like symptoms should visit their preferred medical provider for consultation. Medical professionals will help you determine whether to get further assessment or treatment. Please do not let an absence of health insurance prevent you from seeking treatment.

How can I and/or my student best prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other flu germs?

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services offers the following guidance:

Nebraskans can help protect themselves from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections by[vi]:

  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow the same family plans and kits that people may use for flu season or severe weather season.

Facility Services is committed to providing more frequent cleaning services to campus. Public areas will be cleaned and disinfected more often. Additional staff will be brought to campus to accomplish this goal. Bottles of hand sanitizer are also available in public places with additional wipes in computer labs.

The College is also encouraging students, faculty and staff to clean personal electronics more frequently. A series of posters has been created to assist with this effort.

I am sick, should I stay home?

Yes. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services are encouraging sick people to stay home. The CDC writes, “You should restrict activities outside your home, except getting medical care – do not go to work, school or public areas – [and] – avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis[vii].”

Please contact your professors as soon as possible, as you would do any time you are sick. Professors will accommodate illness to the full extent that coursework allows.

Questions Regarding Peru State College’s response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Is Peru State College limiting or stopping travel?

All Peru State College students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the CDC’s information for travelers page before beginning any travel plans. Travelers are further encouraged to sign up for State Department alerts via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) related to their travel plans.

A March 3 e-mail to students from Matt Thielen, Peru State Dean of Students, encouraged students not to visit country locations with CDC or State Department Level 3 alerts or higher. At the time of the e-mail, China, Iran, South Korea and Italy were all listed as having Level 3 alerts by the CDC. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to these countries.

What steps would the College take if a student or other community member were potentially exposed to the Coronavirus?

Peru State College will work closely with our local health department and medical professionals to determine the appropriate response to any potential exposure. Appropriate responses may include canceling large events/activities, offering classes completely online, closing campus and following other guidance designed to reduce the risk of exposure.

When would Peru State College cancel classes?

Peru State College is dedicated to providing access to education. The College is preparing contingency plans to offer classes completely online in the case that the campus should be closed. In the event this would be necessary, details regarding each class will be communicated to students directly.

When would Peru State College close campus?

Peru State College would close campus under the guidance of medical professionals and health organizations including the Southeast District Health Department, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Peru State College would work closely with medical professionals and health organizations to determine what closing campus looks like, how long campus would close and to what purpose campus is closed. Campus closure considerations will be communicated to students, faculty, staff and friends of the College.

Who do I contact if I have a question about Peru State College’s preparation for the Coronavirus?

Parents and students are encouraged to contact Matt Thielen, Dean of Students.

Media outlets are asked to contact Jason Hogue, Director of Communications.

Questions Regarding Spring and Summer 2020

Is the College open?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

Yes. Campus offices will remain open and all services will be available to students, faculty and staff.

Under guidance from the federal government and the state of Nebraska, Peru State College will close the Library, Fitness Center and Student Center to the general public. Please note they are still open to Peru State students, faculty and staff.

Are on on-campus courses cancelled?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

No. On-campus courses have moved to remote delivery.

Please be aware that under guidance from the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Tim Borchers, and the deans, the faculty are moving to remote delivery, including primarily virtual lectures, discussion and other coursework. This alternative method of course delivery will begin on Monday, March 23.

Faculty are working diligently to restructure existing courses and to support students during this transition. A crucial part will involve weekly updates from faculty through Bobcat 360 for the students who are not participating in courses.

What are Peru Academic Liaisons or PALS?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

Peru Academic Liaisons will provide direct personalized support to each student now taking remote classes. A team of more than 30 staff members will be refocused to aid these efforts.

Will this affect online courses?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

No interruption or change to online courses is anticipated.

All online eight-week classes that begin on Monday, March 16 will continue as scheduled.

All online 16-week courses will continue as planned.

Students enrolled in hybrid courses will be contacted by their instructors regarding any changes in on-campus meetings.

Are the Residence Halls open?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

The Residence Halls will remain open throughout the semester.

Residence Life staff will be available for assistance in the residence halls. The staff member on call will be posted in our normal posting locations: Morgan Lobby, Delzell Front Desk, Palmer Hall Lobby, Mathews Hall Lobby.

Is the Dining Hall open?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

The Dining Hall will remain open and in service for students, faculty and staff.

Dining Hall Hours
Dining will be open and will run with weekend hours as follows:
Brunch: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Are there refunds on Residence Halls and meal plans?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

Yes. Peru State College, in consultation with the Nebraska State College System and the other State Colleges, will offer a prorated refund to students who choose to move out of residence halls early because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students who move out for the semester and complete necessary paperwork will receive a 60% prorated refund of room and board costs for the final eight weeks of school based on their residence hall arrangements and dining plan, less any waivers from the College previously applied to this bill, effective March 16, 2020.

Meal plans purchased by students living off campus will also be eligible for the 60% prorated refunds.

Additional information can be found on the FAQS website related to these refunds.

Can off-campus students receive refunds for meal plans?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

An email was sent at 6:30 a.m. on March 18 from Dr. Jesse Dorman regarding room and board refunds. With this information, we understand that many of you were curious how this would apply to off-campus students with meal plans. All student meal plans are eligible for the 60% refund.

We want to be clear that the residence halls, dining services, and campus are NOT closing at this time and you are NOT required to cancel your meal plan.

Whether you plan to continue eating on campus, or not, please fill out the meal plan intention form found here.

Is the Library open?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

The Library will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Will the Fitness Center be open?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

Yes, the Fitness Center will be open 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Students should contact Security, 402-872-2411 or security@peru.edu, if you plan to use the fitness center. Please contact Security with any additional ID card concerns.

The weight room and gym will be closed indefinitely.

Will Peru State athletic teams continue to compete?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

The Heart of America Athletic Conference announced on Friday, March 13, that all spring competition was canceled.

The NAIA previously canceled winter sports championships including women’s basketball and men’s basketball tournaments.

Will the College cancel campus events?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

Campus activities involving off-campus groups will be canceled indefinitely. Please see above for more information about athletic competitions. Additional determinations may be made as additional decisions are made.

Can I still visit campus?

Spring/Summer 2020 Answer.

The Office of Admissions will be discontinuing campus visits for all potential students indefinitely. Potential students are invited to speak with the Office of Admission at 402-872-2221 or to their assigned counselor.

Endnotes

[i] Sauer, L. M. (2020). What is Coronavirus? Retrieved from John Hopkins Medicine.

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention. (2020, March 4). How COVID-19 Spreads. Retrieved from CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention. (2020, March 4). How COVID-19 Spreads. Retrieved from CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

[iv] World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus. Retrieved from World Health Organization.

[v] Maragakis, L. L. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu. Retrieved from John Hopkins Medicine.

[vi] Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, March 10). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) . Retrieved from Department of Nebraska Health and Human Services.

[vii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention. (2020, March 9). Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.