The Board of Trustees at The College of Idaho approved a phased re-opening plan for the Fall of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to be a fluid situation and the College continues to monitor and evaluate the situation closely on a daily basis to help keep our community, both on-campus and off-campus, safe and healthy.
Below, you can find specific information on specific topics related to the re-opening for the Fall of 2020. Please be aware that this information may change as the situation does.
Questions about Re-Opening
Will courses be online, hybrid, and/or in-person?
- The majority of courses will be taught online, with a few in-person or hybrid courses (in-person and online) offered as well. For qualified freshmen, a cohort with a residency requirement will be available. As we move through the Phases, hybrid and in-person instruction options may become more common, but the primary method of instruction will be online for Fall 2020.
What virtual platforms will we be using?
- All courses will utilize a combination of Canvas for course management, and Teams for virtual classes and meetings.
What about labs?
- Like other courses, labs will be offered primarily online if the College opens in Phase 2. In-person and hybrid instruction may be possible as the College moves through other Phases.
How will international students be impacted?
- Returning International Students:
- Students who were enrolled at The College of Idaho in spring 2020 have the option to return to campus to complete their coursework primarily online or they can remain in their home country to participate in online*.
- *Please note the class times will be synchronous with local Mountain Standard Time. If students choose to remain abroad, they will need to factor in the time zone difference to meet attendance expectations.
- NEW International Students:
- Students who will begin their enrollment at The College of Idaho in Fall 2020 have two options:
- Hybrid delivery for individuals able to secure a visa appointment no later than August 10. This option will have residency requirement.
- Online cohort for individuals wanting to begin their college career during fall semester remotely. These students will not receive an I-20 for the fall 2020 semester.
- Students who will begin their enrollment at The College of Idaho in Fall 2020 have two options:
- In short, international students will largely have the same options as domestic students, as allowed by their visa and travel requirements.
Are students permitted to live on campus this fall?
- Although the academic experience will not be in-person for the most part, the College is offering limited on-campus housing for those who meet established criteria. Initial priority will go to students who cannot leave campus or who are required by immigration regulations to be on campus; students who have a current living situation that is insecure, unsafe, or does not provide the resources needed to be successful; and First Year students or others who are in a cohort that would benefit most by access to campus facilities. The next priority will go to students who would like to live on campus. Opting into this community gives campus residents the chance to live alongside one another and connect in an innovative way, while still maintaining guidelines to keep the community safe. We hope the following will help answer your questions.
- What is the timeline?
Application and FAQs are available
August 7 at 5:00 pm
Residential application due
Notification of new residence hall assignment and move-in dates
August 17 & 18
Where will housing be offered?
- You will be assigned a single room in a residence hall or suite-style building.
Can I request a building?
- While you cannot select a building, you can select the room rate that best fits with your budget. You can also request other students or cohort groups (such as a team) you want to be housed near.
I have a good friend who I really want to live with; is this possible?
- Yes, we will assign a limited number of double rooms if students request this. Should one of you be exposed to COVID-19, you will quarantine together, and likely isolate together, if you become ill.
What are the expectations for the campus living community?
- Even though you have fewer neighbors, it is more important than ever to be a good neighbor. Expectations for our living community are articulated in the YotePact, a community compact all residents must agree to in order to live on campus. This includes such expectations as respecting physical distancing, wearing masks in accordance with the College’s mask policy, and responding with compassion and care when you find out a fellow Yote is ill. Please see this video for more information about changes to residence life.
What changes have been made to campus dining?
- In Phase 2, all meals will be served grab-and-go and dining will only be available for students living on campus. All are encouraged to take advantage of good weather and eat outside with physical distancing. In Phase 3, limited, physically-distanced seating may be available in Simplot Dining Hall and McCain, in addition to outdoor tables throughout the campus grounds. When in-person dining options are available, meals will always also be available to-go. Phase 3 will allow students who live off-campus to purchase flex dollars and use dining services on campus. Through the fall, Simplot Dining Hall will offer a variety of food stations and McCain will offer to-go grill options plus sides and desserts. The Coffee Bar at the Cruzen-Murray Library will be closed.
How will I do laundry?
- As with all common spaces, pay close attention to who else is in the space, and adhere to physical distancing as much as possible. If there are already a number of people doing laundry, come back in 30 minutes and check again.
How can I participate in a group project or study group?
- Teams (our Microsoft virtual meeting platform) allows you to see and interact with your classmates, and you can use this platform at any time (and not just for coursework!). The College has also labeled indoor common spaces with an appropriate number of occupants – pay attention to this and plan to use these spaces when they are available. Our beautiful campus also includes a variety of outdoor spaces that will allow you to meet while respecting physical distancing.
Are there restrictions on where I can go?
- We ask that you limit travel on and off-campus once you have moved in. The more you can limit your interactions with others outside of our campus residential community, the safer everyone in the community will be.
Are visitors allowed on campus?
- Campus visitation will be discouraged, and visitors may be asked to report their whereabouts on campus. The campus will be closed to conference guests at least through the end of the calendar year. The Admission Office has developed specific policies for prospective students consistent with campus COVID-19 prevention best practices.
How can I help to keep my living environment safe?
- You can care for your living community by following expectations for community hygiene, distancing protocols, and, most importantly – ALWAYS wearing a mask. (See approved exceptions later in this document)
I realize residential life will look different from some of my expectations. Can you tell me some elements I can look forward to?
- We are working on measures that will allow you to make meaningful connections with others while still keeping the entire community safe. You can expect that your Resident Assistant will get to know you through limited face-to-face interactions and lots of interactions on Teams, our virtual platform. Your RA will also set up virtual activities that will allow you to get to know others in your living community. After the first two weeks, once the community is safely established, your RA will be able to host activities in your residence hall common area or outside. We hope to utilize the great autumn weather we enjoy in Idaho and get outside, at a physical distance, with masks, and in small groups.
How will I spend my time?
- Managing time and balancing courses with commitments will be critical to your success as a student living on campus. You will be encouraged to step away from your screen whenever possible and get outdoors. Challenge yourself to fill your free time with activities that contribute to your development as a person and express who you are to the YoteFam. Our community is strong because of the unique talents that each individual resident brings to our halls. When you are not in class or studying, seek out ways to engage with your neighbors that redefine what it means to gather. Your RA will provide support in this area and may even ask you for ideas for community-building programs. We also encourage the creation of videos we can share in our community much like we did this past spring with the “A Coyote A Day” videos.
What skills will I need to be successful?
- Living on campus this fall will look different, and at times may even feel different from what you are accustomed to. To be successful, our residents will need skills like resilience, grit, and the ability to engage a growth mindset in the case you are called upon to do more for the larger community. Initiative, flexibility, and self-motivation will help you achieve academic success. Empathy and compassion for others will unite our community. Although we may not be able to see each other when we want to, we can feel supported by one another. Finally, a willingness to try something new will help you adjust to a more solitary community. Creativity provided an expressive outlet for students that remained on campus after classes transitioned online in the spring semester.
What is the College doing to encourage physical distancing in the residence halls?
- We know that COVID-19 primarily spreads person-to-person. For this reason, our emphasis is on systems that will encourage physical distancing. We have developed a phased approach to group living designed to mitigate community spread. For example, some bathroom sinks will be taken offline to allow for greater distance between students using sinks; some entries and exits will be designated one-way; and elevator use will be necessity-only. While the opening phase will restrict guests from entering residence halls and require students to remain primarily in their rooms, other phases will allow for gatherings and regular use of common areas. Please get outdoors whenever you can.
Are there any policy changes I should be aware of?
- As always, read the student handbook, as the policies in that document form the basis for your relationship with the College and your fellow Yotes. Some policies have implications specific to COVID-19, or a similar public health emergency, and the following was written to help you understand those. Our policies are in italics:
- Failing to comply with the direction of clearly identified College employees in the performance of their assigned duties is a violation of community conduct standards. This means you agree to follow national, state, and local health guidelines and requirements, and follow those measures the College deems appropriate for our campus. This may include regular temperature or symptom checks, the expectation of physical distancing, adhering to our mask policy, not reporting to class or work if sick, regular sanitizing, and isolating and self-quarantining when required.
- Dining services, including where and how they will be offered to students, are subject to the discretion of the College and may be modified in response to public health concerns, emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances. This means that due to health and safety guidance, occupancy of dining halls may be limited. Other adjustments, such as hours and types of food available, may also be subject to modification.
- The College has the right, using established procedures, to suspend, withdraw or change accommodations, guest privileges or access to campus accommodations to any person(s) for violation of the College regulations, for health and safety reasons, when the resident is no longer a student, for nonpayment of College-related bills, due to an emergency, act of God, or other force majeure event. This means that the College has the right to require a resident to leave housing when that resident’s continued presence in the housing community poses a health or safety risk for community members. What this looks like will evolve as the public health crisis evolves, but may include behaviors such as:
- Failure to physically distance from others when expected to do so;
- Participation in group gatherings when prohibited;
- Refusal to wear face coverings;
- Refusal to participate in COVID-19 diagnostic testing (including before or upon arrival to campus);
- Refusal to participate in contact tracing efforts;
- Not adhering to guest and visitor policies.
This also means that accommodations may be changed if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19. In those cases, you may be required to temporarily move to housing set aside for isolation. Temporary housing for isolation does not constitute a cancellation of your housing agreement. This means that students may be relocated to alternative housing. Relocation does not constitute a cancellation of the housing agreement. If relocated, the rate will be adjusted reasonably, given the previous room rate and the circumstances. Finally, this may also mean that the College can terminate the housing agreement in the case of a public health emergency, such as rapid community spread. In that case, the College will offer fair and reasonable credit as appropriate and based on information available at that time.
Notification of risk of exposure to contagious viruses, including COVID-19: The College of Idaho aims to provide a residential experience that complements and supports the academic experience while protecting the health and safety of our community, but this is not the College’s responsibility alone. It is incumbent upon every member of the community to take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections and transmission. Even then, no one can guarantee a COVID-19 free environment, and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. By living in campus housing, you are assuming the risks associated with communal living and, as in any shared living environment, those risks include potential exposure to contagious viruses, including COVID-19. Infection may result in serious illness, or even death. Infection may also result in needing off-campus medical services; paying for these, as well as transportation to and from medical services, is your responsibility. You should also understand that should you become ill, while the College will offer its customary level of care, we have limited on-campus health care resources. Our staff includes a nurse and mental health counselors. Other medical professionals and services are available on-campus on a part-time basis. We will provide an isolation location, food and other supplies, and check in on you regularly, but meeting your needs is a shared responsibility. We will rely on you to self-report your symptoms and to ask for help if you believe you need it. It is important to us that you understand the risk, and that you also understand your responsibility in helping to mitigate that same risk.
What is the YotePact?
- The YotePact is short for the YoteFam Social Compact. The YotePact articulated the social conventions that all members of our campus community agree to follow and can be found here. You can also view this video from student leaders about adhering to the YotePact.
What happens if someone doesn’t comply with requirements for health and safety?
- The College expects all members of our community to adhere to the YotePact pledge both on and off-campus. The College is confident that members of the YoteFam will adhere to these social conventions, and hold others accountable, as well. Students who don’t adhere to this pledge will have violated the Code of Conduct and may be subject to judicial sanction, and/or administrative restriction from campus. Employees violating this pledge may be subject to corrective action; continued violations will result in disciplinary actions up to and including termination.
- For International Students who do not comply with community guidelines set forth above, consequences could extend to include termination of your I-20 and F-1 student visa.
What will happen if a student becomes ill?
- Students who become ill will be expected to submit an online COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form. College Wellness Center staff will contact the student to conduct a health assessment, and appropriate medical attention follow-up will be provided. Based on the Wellness Center staff assessment, Residence Life staff will communicate with the student regarding any need for quarantining or isolation, and will facilitate the necessary housing arrangements. Students requiring isolation will be provided an isolation care kit, and will have all meals delivered.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
- A student is placed in isolation when they are confirmed COVID-19 positive or are presumptively positive due to their symptoms. Students in isolation are not permitted to leave their temporarily assigned isolation room, except for critical needs, such as medical treatment. The College will arrange for meals to be delivered and accommodate all other urgent student needs. According to the CDC, students should remain in isolation for 10 days commencing from the onset of symptoms, at which time they are cleared assuming they have not had a fever for 24 hours, and all other symptoms have been improving.
- A student is in quarantine when they have potentially been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive. Students will self-quarantine in their regularly assigned room for 14 days commencing from last exposure. During this time they will monitor their symptoms and submit an online COVID-19 Self-Reporting Form should any symptoms develop. Students who are self-quarantining are allowed to leave their room to pick up food to take back to their room, go to the grocery store, pharmacy, medical appointments, or go outside for exercise, assuming they wear their mask and maintain physical distancing.
Will students and employees be required to wear a mask?
- Per the College Presidents’ directive, face masks are required on campus, and must be worn at all times (see also ASCI video on the College’s COVID-19 website), except when:
- Alone in an office.
- In your residence hall room when alone, or with an assigned roommate (masks must be worn in residence hall public spaces, such as lobbies and hallways).
- Exercising or eating when you can maintain physical distance from others.
- Outside when you can ensure physical distance from others.
- Otherwise recommended not to wear a mask, e.g. children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Do I need to get a COVID-19 test?
- Currently, COVID-19 tests are very difficult to obtain in some communities if you are asymptomatic. Given this information, tests are not required, but are recommended.
What is happening with fall sports?
- All fall sports have been transitioned to a spring season. With the NAIA’s recent announcement that all fall championships will be played in the spring, we are confident we made the right decision for our campus and student-athletes. Also, thanks to the NAIA decision, all of our programs will have a chance to compete for conference and national championships. The earliest start date for competition is November 1 for our winter sports.
Will athletes be conditioning and practicing in the fall?
- Absolutely. Conditioning and practicing take place all year, on campus and off and we will continue supporting and challenging our student athletes to practice throughout the fall semester. As you can see in our phases, conditioning and practice are an integral part after we have achieved success in Phase 2 and moved to Phase 3. We must all do our part once we return to in-person conditioning and practice to adhere to the “Return to Play” protocols for each team. As long as masks and physical distancing requirements remain in place for all other activities, they will also be part of the protocol in athletics. Coaches are working with the athletic trainers to develop best practices for all of our programs.
What if I don’t want to live on campus?
- Your coaches will work with you. We understand this a decision that is different for each of our student-athletes and their families. We will support you whether you are living on campus, in Caldwell, the Treasure Valley or at home. We want to make sure that everyone feels a part of our YoteFam and their respective teams whether they are on campus practicing with their pods and teams, or at home working out on their own in preparation for their season. We have learned how to do so much virtually and we will continue to use this as a tool to connect with our student-athletes.
Can an athlete who defers for the semester still practice with their team?
- No, for insurance and liability reasons. Senior exemptions will be allowed but those students will need to sign an assumption of risk waiver, as well as a document stating they understand they will not be covered by student-athlete insurance during this time.
Did the College consider lowering tuition and fees due to starting classes online?
- As a private college, The College of Idaho does not receive any state funding, and thus, is entirely dependent on tuition revenue, limited federal grants, and philanthropy to pay for all expenses. Since COVID-19 hit in mid-March, we have taken as many steps as we can to reduce our expenses. We furloughed 50+ team members; the leadership team has taken a significant pay cut since April and will continue it through June 30 of next year; we’ve made permanent reductions in our staffing; all employees are foregoing their retirement match; we’ve eliminated most travel; we’ve re-negotiated our bank agreements; and we’ve sold non-strategic property that we own.
- We share these things as background information for the approach we are taking with tuition and fees. We agree that an online education is not the same as in-person education, but delivering it takes the same great professors and the same support structure, so it doesn’t cost any less to provide. Additionally, during the summer, the College sent 50-percent of the money it received from the CARES Act directly to current students as a one-time grant to help defray COVID-19 related costs they may be experiencing.
What about lowering student fees?
- Though we recognize that some aspects of our programming will be different this year, we have also incurred significant additional expense in order to deliver our exceptional academic program in an online format. Additionally, the College is increasing efforts for all of our students, off-campus and on-campus, to connect them with mentorships and high-impact experiences. Instead of adding more fees to our students’ bill, we are repurposing our existing fee structure to account for those increases.