Rock Valley College

Reopening Plan

COVID-19 Reopening Plan: Phase 5.4

On July 1, 2021, Rock Valley College implemented Phase 5. Phase 5 for higher education begins with returning larger quantities of students back to campus while still mitigating the risks of COVID-19. 

The College is now operating under Phase 5.4 based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) as well as guidance set by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). Under Phase 5.4, capacity limits for on-campus events are removed beginning March 7, 2022. 

Plan Overview

Credit classes with and without labs are at full capacity.
  • In-person classes must be prepared in such a way as to allow the class to switch to all online should the need arise.
  • Social distancing has been dropped.
  • Class sizes are not minimized.
  • Masks are now optional for all individuals regardless of vaccination status.
  • Capacity limits for events have been lifted.

All Non-Credit classes, including Community and Continuing Education, Workforce Development, and Adult Education, are allowed as long as they follow the same guidelines as credit classes and labs.

Exterior Doors of all buildings will return to a normal winter/spring schedule for lock/unlock starting.

View RVC's full Phase 5.4 plan here.

On August 26, 2021 Governor JB Pritzker’s office issued Executive Order 2021-20. Executive Order 2022-05, issued February 04, 2022, carries the 2021-20 Order over, along with Order 2021-22.  This executive order, in part, requires all higher education sites in the state of Illinois must now require all personnel and students to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Higher education personnel include full-and part-time employees, volunteers and contractors who are in close contact with other persons on campus or in a campus affiliated building or location for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.  Higher education students are all students of the college to include full-and part-time, continuing education, adult education, Center for Learning in Retirement, and any other student who might attend any in-person training or class.

All students and personnel must submit proof of vaccination consisting of (1) a vaccination record card or photograph of the card; (2) documentation of vaccination from a health care provider or electronic health record; or (3) state immunization records. Any individual who does not provide the proof of vaccination must complete weekly to COVID-19 testing and submit proof of compliance.

Therefore, Rock Valley College will require all students and employees, who are not completely online, to upload their proof of vaccination or results of weekly testing into a new technology platform. An email will go out to individuals at the beginning of each week to remind them to upload a weekly test.

All students and employees should monitor the Rock Valley College COVID-19 website for additional information and updates.

Per Executive Order 2021-22, and in consultation with the Winnebago County Health Department, any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 and has completed the proper isolation period, and is symptom free, shall be allowed to return to any RVC campus. If unvaccinated the individual will still be required to test weekly; however, it is understood that the individual may still return a positive result for up to 90 days after initial infection. These individuals will be monitored through the RVC contract tracing team. This also applies to visitors or spectators who have tested positive but have proof their infection date was at least 14 days prior to event date or can produce a return to normal activity notification from their local health department. All individuals must be symptom free at the time of the event. 

Phase 5.4

  • RVC may implement additional restrictions if there is any change in status that results from state/local/CDC guidelines, if employees and/or students test positive after being in contact with other employees or students, or if rates of community spread increase in the area.
  • RVC is working to return the college to normal operations while still mitigating the risk and still using proper cleaning, respiratory protection and hand hygiene.
  • These guidelines apply to ALL grant and non-grant employees as well as all students and visitors.
  • As of March 07, 2022, masking will be optional.  However, all individuals have the right to request a mask in their immediate presence, private office or designated lecture space. If persons choose to mask or not to wear a mask, please remember to be respectful of their choice. 
  • As of March 7, 2022, capacity limits for events have been lifted.
  • Phase 5.4 is the return of students, and 100 percent of employees.
  • Protective shielding will remain in place where deployed.
  • All employees and students will be allowed to visit offices during normal business hours.
  • Employees and students are encouraged check their temperature before coming to the College campus; however, for those employees and students who do not have a thermometer, locations (see map) will be set up in each building for them to do so. Employees and students who have not checked their temperature should enter through a designated door for their building and utilize temperature measuring station.
    • Employee and students should wipe off touchless thermometer before each use using sanitizer.
    • Employee and students will measure personal temperature using the touchless thermometer.
    • If temperature is above 100.0 degrees F conduct a second reading of temperature.
      • If temperature is still above 100.0 utilize cleaning disinfectant, clean off thermometer and door handle as you exit building.
      • Return to vehicle, contact supervisor, and do not return to work or school.
    • Below 100.0 degrees
      • Employee or student wipes off thermometer using cleaning disinfectant.
      • Employee or student wipes hand off with hand sanitizer.
      • Employee and student continue into building.

It is highly recommended the employee or student goes to restroom and washes hands using CDC recommended hand washing standards before entering their personal work or classroom area.

Rock Valley College strongly encourages employees, students and visitors to continue to self-report if they test positive for COVID-19 by using the following Rock Valley College web pages:

  • All employees, students, and guests regardless of vaccination status, as of March 07, 2022 will have the option to choose to wear a mask or not. 
  • In general Zoom meetings or other virtual meetings can continue to be utilized for any size meeting.
  • Groups visiting any of the Rock Valley College campuses, will be asked to complete a visitor log in order to contact the visitor should a positive case occur that the visitor may have encountered. If this interaction occurs, the visitor(s) may be contacted by the Winnebago County Health Department.


  • All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, have the option to wear a mask when they are inside any RVC owned or leased property, per CDC and IDPH recommendations.
  • Employees, students, and guests can wear cloth or homemade masks while at RVC. Masks must not include images or text that is threatening, obscene, or otherwise illegal or contrary to College policies.
  • All students and employees are to bring their own face mask to use while on any RVC property. Face masks will be provided by RVC for employees, students, and guests who need a mask and did not bring their own.
  • On Main campus, masks will be available at the Student Center Information Desk for pick up. Students, employees, or visitors should utilize the mask for one day and then dispose of the mask.
  • Non-main campus buildings will have a designated location or person who will distribute RVC provided face masks.
  • Employees, students, and guests, regardless of vaccination status, do not need to wear masks while walking in hallways or other interior areas of the buildings.  As of March 07, 2022, this is now optional.
  • Employees who have a private office or the classroom designated lecture area, may ask an individual to wear a mask prior to entry. 
  • Individuals who are uncomfortable with meeting in person may reserve the right to request a phone meeting or a zoom meeting.

Employee Failure to Comply with PPE Guidelines & other requirements.

  • Employees who fail to comply with the PPE Guidelines or other requirements will be subject to discipline though the Human Resources Department office and may be required to leave the campus until compliance is regained.

Student Failure to Comply with PPE Guidelines & other requirements.

  • Students who fail to comply with the PPE Guidelines or other requirements will be subject to discipline though the Dean’s office under the Student Code of Ethics or General Guidance on Mask Usage.
  • Disinfectant will be provided for employees allowing employees to voluntarily assist in disinfecting common areas during the day to supplement normal cleaning and disinfecting done by the cleaning crew.
  • Disinfectant will be available in each classroom to allow for students or employees to voluntary clean their respective workspace.
  • Hand sanitizers will be placed throughout each office area and in each building.
  • Additional cleaners will be utilized to clean common surfaces during the day.
  • Regular spraying of rooms will continue with the Clorox 360.
  • All individuals that are exhibiting symptoms, must complete the RVC online reporting form.
  • Employees, students, and visitors must remain home if not feeling well for any reason and will be sent home if they are not feeling well while at any college campus.
  • Once you begin your day, continue to observe yourself for any changes such as fever, coughing and/or difficulty breathing.
  • If your condition changes while at campus or you suspect someone else is symptomatic of COVID-19 contact the RVC Police who will follow the policy on Communicable Diseases using the guidelines listed in the Communicable Diseases Administrative Procedure.
  • Employees and students who are not symptomatic but have a sick family member at home who is confirmed to have COVID-19 should monitor their symptoms.
  • If an employee or student tests positive for COVID-19 they should notify their supervisor or instructor immediately and not come to campus. The employee or student should then complete the online COVID reporting form.
  • Supervisors and instructors should immediately direct the employee or student to the RVC web page COVID reporting link regarding an employee or student who tests positive. This will allow RVC to make the necessary investigations and contact the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) quicker for guidance if needed.
  • Working with the WCHD, RVC will determine if any other employees or students who may have had close contact with the COVID-19 individual should be contacted and asked to quarantine.
  • Employees or students who are deemed by the WCHD as exposed will be given guidelines by WCHD to isolate at home. Because individuals who come to campus can travel from other counties to RVC campuses this information may be transferred or originate from a different county health department.
  • If after 5 days of quarantine, the exposed employee or student has no COVID- symptoms and/or a negative COVID-19 test, they may return to campus once they have been provided a return date by an RVC case investigator.
  • The College will deep clean areas in which the employee or student worked, studied, or frequented, as necessary. This could potentially involve temporarily moving other employees or classrooms to a different part of the campus or transition to working/teaching remotely, as needed.
  • People who are fully vaccinated can also refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic, facilitating continued participation in in-person learning and sports.

Room Layout – Classroom and lab layouts will return to normal. ALL Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may have the choice to wear a mask or not.

  • Lecturing – Instructors may move about the room freely. Any instructors who is uncomfortable with the mask optional scenario, should REMAIN inside a marked six-foot area. No students are allowed in this area without approval from the instructor.
  • Students – Social distancing is no longer in effect and students may sit or move about the room as needed.
  • Students and visitors will be allowed on campus and exterior doors to buildings will be open.
  • All drinking fountains and water dispensers have been tested and turned on.
  • Student Fitness Center will be open for normal business hours. Please see the RVC web page for hours of operation.
    • Individuals who use the fitness center must wipe-down equipment before and after each use as required. 
  • Outside walking paths are open
  • Food service vendors will be allowed to open at their own discretion but will be required to implement personal safety procedures.
  • Department refrigerators and microwaves will be allowed back into the department for use.
  • Vending machines will be allowed to open at the vendor’s discretion.
  • The bookstore will be allowed to open normally to customers.
  • College Library will be fully available (normal operations) to students and visitors.
  • Advising and Financial Aid will be available fully to students.
  • Tutoring and testing will resume to students.
  • All persons should provide adequate space between one another when eating together.
  • Delivery of food will be allowed.
  • Use of communal or departmental refrigerators and microwaves will be allowed but individuals should not share food from the same dish.
  • Employee should only touch their items inside the refrigerator.
  • Employees should wipe down communal amenities after each usage.
  • Group orders of pizza, donuts, or other like items is not allowed for both students and employees. Please utilize boxed lunches, food trucks or plated meals. Reduce seating capacity if a large number of people will be gathered together for eating.
  • Any food for events will continue to be in “box lunch” format, food trucks or plated meals.
  • College sponsored events, whether on campus or off campus, must follow RVC, IBHE, IDPH and CDC guidelines for higher education regarding meals and personal hygiene safety.
  • Rental or usage of college facilities by outside organizations is allowed if the RVC guidelines are followed for Phase 5.4. Critical exceptions can be approved by the College president.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals should avoid large gatherings.
  • Any organization using RVC locations shall be required to fill out a contract tracing documentation which will list the names and telephone numbers of each individual who is attending the event. In addition, the organization shall attest on this document that all individuals, who are listed and attending the event, have been fully vaccinated or have a valid COVID test result, two to three days prior to the event, indicating they are not positive with COVID-19 or meet the positive result exemption listed on page 4 of this document.
  • Travel for College business will be allowed and must be approved by the appropriate Leadership.
  • Individuals traveling should COVID test 2-3 days prior to departure and again upon return for the safety of the campus. Testing can be done for free at the ERC front lobby. Please see the RVC web page for hours of operation.
  • International travelers should follow CDC guidance located at:

  • Employees who have a private office may have any visitors mask if needed. 
  • Individuals who visit private offices may reserve the right to ask the office holder to place a mask on if it is requested.
  • For workstations or check in locations, where student or visitor interaction occurs (reception desk, SC information desk, accounts receivable, financial aid, records, etc.) the employees will be provided with hand sanitizer.
    • Plexiglass screens will remain in place to separate the students/visitors from employees.
  • Employees should avoid sharing workstations.
  • When sharing of workstations is unavoidable, employees should wipe down the workstations before and after each use.
  • Conference Rooms – Disinfectant will be available to allow employees to wipe down their seating location and work surface.
  • Computer Labs – Disinfectant will be available to allow students to wipe down their seating location and work surface.
  • Program Labs – Program Labs will be sanitized by cleaners before the classroom is re-utilized.
  • Use of common areas are open. Appropriate social distancing is encouraged for persons who choose to utilize a common area.
  • Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, as of March 07, 2022, have the option of wearing a mask or not wearing one.
  • These areas will be added to the Clorox 360 disinfectant spray routine.
  • Cleaners will work to wipe down these areas with disinfectant during college operation hours.
  • Recruiting for Athletics has resumed.
  • Fans for indoor sporting events shall have the option of wearing a mask or not.  Masks will be provided if requested at the entry door.
  • Athletes are required to thoroughly clean equipment with supplied disinfectant after each use.
  • Athletes will be allowed to practice in accordance with local health department, IDPH, NJCAA and Region 4 guidelines.
  • Indoor athletic events will continue, as allowed by local health departments, IDPH, IBHE, the NJCAA and Region 4 guidelines.
  • Outdoor athletic events will continue, as allowed by local health departments, IDPH, IBHE, the NJCAA and Region 4 guidelines.
  • Team travel will be allowed. 
    • Testing and masking is at the discretion of the NJCAA Guidelines and the campus guidelines of which RVC is visiting.
  • Fitness Center will resume normal operational hours.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated, can also refrain from quarantine following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, facilitating continued participation in in-person learning and sports.
  • In person meetings of Rock Valley College student clubs have resumed. Masking is optional but please be respectful of those that choose or not choose to wear a mask.
  • Student events, whether on campus or off campus, must be approved by appropriate vice president, events coordinator and emergency manager.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals should avoid large gathering events.

Music Guidance

  • Masking is optional
  • If symptomatic, do not come to campus and report through the RVC web page COVID reporting form.

Theater Guidance

  • Masking is optional
  • If symptomatic, do not come to campus and report through the RVC web page COVID reporting form.