Rock Valley College

Fall 2020 Semester FAQ

Rock Valley College will offer two primary modes of instruction for courses this fall: online and hybrid. The face-to-face portion of hybrid classes will include social distancing, and may result in reduced capacity to allow for six-foot social distancing requirements.

Along with a successful transition of our region of Illinois into Phase IV of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, resuming on-campus instruction is predicated upon our ability to provide adequate COVID-19 testing for our entire community, of faculty, staff and students, coupled with a comprehensive plan that looks after the vulnerable, and aims at mitigating and containing any outbreaks. 

We don’t have all of the answers at this point, but we will update this resource throughout the summer as more details are finalized.

General Questions

Fall 2020 will be a combination of on-line, hybrid and on-campus instruction.  All efforts will be made to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty, and staff.  We will maximize in-person classes where possible, especially for courses such as labs and performance-based courses.

The dates for the fall semester have not changed. View important dates through the Office of Records and Registration.

The level of in-person instruction and student support services occupancy will be determined as restrictions of space, health and safety allow.

Academics

We will have online options for students who are not able or who prefer not to participate in face-to-face or on-campus instruction.

We are working diligently to provide as many online options as possible for students who are unable to come to campus in the fall semester.

We will be in touch with more information about course scheduling.

We will offer in-person and hybrid classes as possible, especially for courses that require hands-on, active and peer-to-peer interactions such as labs, performance-based courses and discussions.

Face-to-face instruction will be supplemented by online instruction. The level of in-person instruction will be determined as restrictions of space, health and safety allow.

We continue to work to make classes available to students. Your academic advisor can help you in case a scheduling conflict arises. We will also be paying careful attention as issues arise and can work with students in the spring 2021 semester to compensate for any challenging situations.

Classes that meet in-person will be in spaces that allow adequate social distancing between students and faculty. As an added precaution, for the health and safety of all, face coverings will be required in all campus spaces, including classrooms.

Scheduling classes during traditionally under-utilized days and times will also offer more in-person capacity.

We will be in touch with more information about course scheduling.

Most large classes are likely to be online or incorporate online components, in accordance with the Restore Illinois plan guidelines on gatherings. Under Phase IV, gatherings with 50 people or fewer will be permitted.

We are currently determining which course sections will be offered online versus in-person. Again, please be patient as we work through these details. We will be back in contact in the future with more information. Rest assured that we will help with any changes.

One of the biggest challenges for fall instruction with social distancing is classroom space. As a consequence, we are looking at “nonstandard” spaces for class sections.  

If we do use any nonstandard classroom spaces, it will be done only if the space is conducive to instruction and is accessible to students, faculty and staff with disabilities.

No. Special grading policies were put into place in the Spring 2020 semester in response to our very rapid transition to remote learning.

We do not anticipate continuing any of these special policies in the Fall 2020 semester.

Tuition and Fees

The Illinois Cares Student Assistance Fund has already provided more than $1.5M in aid for students with need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will continue to administer this fund in the Fall 2020 semester.

Please note that regardless of CARES Act funding, students who have had a change in financial need (for example, a parent lost their job) do have the opportunity to file a “Special Circumstance” request through the Office of Student Financial Aid to re-evaluate their need-based financial aid eligibility.

Health and Safety

Yes, disposable masks will be made available to all students coming to campus for classes or when accessing student services.  We also encourage students to supply their own masks.

Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings when they are in public spaces and unable to maintain a safe social distance from other people.

Facilities and Physical Plant and Operations is ordering and fabricating hand sanitizer stations that will be located at building entrances. Many units are also ordering extra hand sanitizer to share with their employees, students and visitors.

Based on the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-32 and advice from our local public health officials, the college has implemented requirements related to use of face coverings and social distancing in campus facilities and on other university property in response to health and safety concerns.  

The RVC Student Handbook (link) page 87, items 15, 20, 25, page 90, item A and page 92, item A provide details on student conduct expectations and guidance.

Yes. Students, employees and visitors within college-owned or leased spaces and on college property may be asked to leave if they do not adhere to any required health and safety rules we have established.

If you have a medical condition or disability that prevents you from safely wearing a cloth face covering, you will not be required to wear one and alternative arrangements will be made.  See RVC Student Handbook (link).

We are committed to cleaning and sanitizing all university spaces to minimize the ability of the virus to spread. Our Facilities and Physical Plant Operations team has developed rigorous sanitation procedures and processes.

We will continue to closely monitor conditions locally and regionally. A resurgence of COVID-19 at any time between now and through the fall semester may cause a change to any of these plans.

Support Resources

The rapid and unplanned transition from normal operations to fully remote learning instruction last spring reinforced our resiliency and taught us how to support students with very little time to prepare. Our late spring and summer have been fully devoted to preparing to guide and support our students in the safest way possible in the coming academic year. This includes making counseling and student services available in a tele-counseling and Zoom style environment and adjusting the physical environment of facilities to promote social distancing and protective equipment. Units across Student Services are prepared to offer the same quality services to assist our students while promoting safety and reducing risk.

Information Technology Services is working with the Facilities teams to assess the system infrastructure needs for each room identified for instruction. Infrastructure needs include the ability to do lecture capture and live Zoom meetings. Another approach would allow for students not being in the room, but still have a live class online.

Clear face shields are available as an alternative to cloth or paper face coverings that hide the speaker’s lips, making it difficult for people who rely on reading the speaker’s lips as an adjunct to communication. These shields are available from Central Stores. Units can work with the Facilities and Services Consulting Team to determine if a clear plexi-glass shield placed in front of the instructor’s lectern is an option.

International Students

You have a number of options. You may be able to start your program online, and join on-campus at a future date. You should work with your academic advisor to select the courses that are best for you. Permission to join a graduate program late is granted at the department level.

Please contact your academic department to see if this is an option offered for your specific program. Undergraduate programs cannot be joined late—if you will not be able to start the Fall semester on time, you should contact Intercultural Student Services Office, Coordinator Mary Foreman to discuss options for starting your on-campus program at a later semester.

Regardless of whether you join your program late or defer your attendance, your I-20 or DS-2019 will need to be updated to reflect the date you will enter the US.

Student Life and Activities on Campus

We are reviewing the various events that traditionally happen during Welcome Week. We will share more information in mid-July.

The Student Center and the Physical Education Center plans to reopen on a limited bases in mid-July.  The hours, activities and facilities we are able to open are contingent on many evolving factors, including those related to staff safety.

Student Services and PEC staff will implement a variety of new safety measures, including but not limited to:

  • Emphasizing cleaning/sanitization of high touch areas;
  • Removing/closing machines and limiting activities to comply with social distancing guidelines in our free exercise areas;
  • Limiting activities and programs to those that comply with safety rules (gatherings of 50 or fewer);
  • Closing off spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained (e.g. free weight room, locker room);
  • Postponing services that require shared equipment (e.g. towels, sports equipment);
  • Increasing ventilation rates and better HVAC air filtration;
  • COVID barriers and single entry/exit points to help protect employees and customers at our service stations.

Student Life and Student Services staff members are working on fall programming initiatives, adjusting traditional programs to comply with safety guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). For in-person programs, we will comply with social distancing guidelines (six-foot distance) and will require participants to wear a face covering. We also will offer online programs where appropriate when unable to host in-person programs.

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and how it may impact our community and state, Rock Valley College, in accordance with recent decision by the NJCAA, will return to athletic competition in the fall of 2020 as long as the State of Illinois is in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.

Currently, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and volleyball will begin practices, in some capacity, on August 1 with the intent to begin competition on September 1. We are utilizing the NJCAA Sports Procedures guidelines to determine start dates for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s bowling, and women’s bowling.

The safety and well-being of our student-athletes and staff remains our top priority. We will have numerous safety protocols and procedures in place as we welcome our student-athletes back to campus.

Furniture in the spaces will be arranged to accommodate social distancing; areas will be clearly marked for appropriated spacing and pedestrian traffic flow.

Faculty and Staff

The college has instituted a Faculty Online Orientation, which provides a solid foundation for offering online instruction.  This orientation is appropriate for both faculty and adjuncts.

Faculty and staff who are unable to return to campus for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic will still have opportunities to teach and engage students remotely. Employees in special categories (health or childcare-related challenges) will be asked to contact Human Resources to discuss work from home extensions.

Yes. Students, employees and visitors within college-owned or leased spaces and on college property may be asked to leave if they do not adhere to any required health and safety rules we have established.

Based on the Governor’s Executive Orders and advice from our local public health officials, the college has implemented requirements related to use of face coverings and social distancing in campus facilities and on other college property in response to health and safety concerns. More detailed information can be found in the RVC Student Handbook (link)

Based upon space limitations, faculty availability and curriculum requirements, units will determine which classes will be online and which will be in-person. We encourage colleges to be creative with space, time and modality to create opportunities for students to have in-person class time.

Areas will determine what supplies they need to provide. No special training is required, but employees and students should take the Illinois and Winnebago County Safety’s COVID-19 safety training and should wipe down high-touch surfaces before touching them as part of their individual safety responsibility.

If you still have questions, you may visit the college’s main COVID-19 FAQ or send your questions via email to rvc-publicrelations@rockvalleycollege.edu