Rock Valley College

Fall 2020 Semester FAQ


updated 9/16/2020 at 11:30am

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.

While the Bookstore will accept in-person appointments, the preference is to serve students by phone, email, and online if at all possible. To schedule an in-person visit to the Bookstore, please call (815) 921-1680.

How to find the books for your classes:

1. Log into RVC Online Services
2. Under Academic Profile (bottom right), select “My Class Schedule and Textbook List”
3. Use the drop-down box and select the term
4. Once your schedule appears, select the “Text Books” button at the bottom of the page. This puts your schedule in the Bookstore website.
5. Select the item(s) you need and add it to your cart (you may need to scroll to the top or bottom of the page to add it).
6.  Go back and add supplies or other items you want/need
7. Click on the cart to finish checking out. We suggest creating a Bookstore account for ease of future use.
8. We ship from our store in Rockford unless otherwise noted, so you don’t need to choose upgraded shipping.  What get shipped out one day is usually out for delivery the next business day.

If you need to look at a class you are not registered for, you can use the textbook tab at  Using the dropdown boxes, enter the term, department, course and section you are interested in seeing materials for.  Different sections use different books so please choose carefully.

Paying with FA~Link for Fall Books*

For students with money through the Financial Aid Office, typically Pell Grants, scholarships, and loans.

  • Use the directions listed above for "How to find the books for your classes."
  • During the checkout process, you will select the payment type of Financial Aid.  You will use your student id# without the “s”.
  • FA~Link does not pay for shipping so please either select the free shipping or attach a credit card to pay for the shipping.
  • You can attach a credit/debit card to the order if needed as well.
  • While you can place your FA~Link order now, it will be placed on hold with the other Fall orders.   FA~Link can be used Aug. 3 - Sept. 14, 2020.

Paying with Paper Book Vouchers for Books*

For Voc. Rehab students, DHS-ORS, Workforce Connection, SACN, and Sponsorship from the RVC A/R Office.

  • Use the directions listed above for "How to find the books for your classes."
  • During the checkout process, you will select the payment type of Voucher.  You will use the last 5 or 4 of your social security number based on what is written on the voucher. 
  • Vouchers do not pay for shipping so please either select the free shipping or attach a credit card to pay for the shipping.
  • Please work with your provider/caseworker/coordinator to make sure the voucher was emailed to so we can enter the voucher into our system.
  • You can attach a credit/debit card to the order if needed as well.

*If you have more than 1 form of payment (some items covered by FA~Link and some items covered by voucher), you will need to place separate orders for each form of payment.  While FA~Link & book vouchers will pay the book rental fees, you must still secure the rental with a credit/debit card that is not prepaid, no different than if you rented in the Bookstore.  Your card should not be charged unless you don’t bring the book back at the end of the semester.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Bookstore at (815) 921-1680 or

Yes, but please contact your direct supervisor to affirm your work status for the fall semester. 



We have developed an FAQ specific to Pass/Fail that we strongly urge you read through carefully before making your decision.

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

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.

If you have returned home and your school closes temporarily:

The college you are attending offers online instruction or another alternative learning procedure, non-immigrant students should participate as a fill-time student in online classes to remain in active status in SEVIS.

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.

Rock Valley College, in accordance with a recent decision by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), will postpone most of its athletic competition until the winter/spring of 2021. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball will begin competing in January 2021, while men’s soccer and women’s soccer will begin competing in March 2021. There will be no changes to the bowling, baseball, or softball schedules other than to non-traditional seasons for those sports. Bowling will begin competition as scheduled this fall, while baseball and softball will compete in the spring of 2021.

Coaches will utilize the fall to continue to monitor the pandemic, while also implementing department guidelines and procedures for safety protocols. All RVC athletic teams will begin practices while shifting the focus for the fall to strength and conditioning, individual development, and team-only practices. Teams will not compete in any scrimmages against outside competition even though it is allowable under the NJCAA’s new Sport Procedures Guidelines.

The safety and well-being of student-athletes and staff remains the top priority, as the College begins this fall with a phased approach to returning to athletic competition.

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