COVID-19 Communication

For more information on our current alert level, please visit the Roadmap to Reopening.


What is quarantine? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to Covid-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.” Anyone who is exposed to a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 – is within six feet for more than 15 minutes – must quarantine if possible. A person in quarantine must remain exclusively in the assigned space for 14 days since his or her last contact with a person with Covid-19.

What is isolation? Those who test positive with Covid-19 must isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test if asymptomatic, or for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, and be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to home. To learn more, visit the CDC’s website.

The university will provide limited isolation and quarantine housing for infected students. Students living within 250 miles of Dordt should quarantine at home until they have met the conditions for their return. For infected students who live further than 250 miles, Dordt is providing isolation and quarantine housing. For more information, please see our "Roadmap for Reopening."

Covid-19 Student Case Reports

Dordt University maintains this dashboard to update the community on the number of positive Covid-19 cases among students as well as the number of students who are in quarantine or isolation. The dashboard will be updated twice a week.

September 24, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 17
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 57

September 21, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 8
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 63

September 17, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 0
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 9

September 14, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 0
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 4

September 10, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 2
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 24

September 7, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 3
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 38

September 3, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 28
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 78

September 1, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 24
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 64

August 25, 2020

  • Active positive Covid-19 cases (students): 9
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 27

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Fall 2020 Semester FAQs

This information was updated on August 19, 2020.

  1. What should we expect for the fall 2020 semester?

  2. What will Dordt’s fall 2020 academic calendar look like?

  3. What preventative measures is Dordt taking to mitigate COVID-19 spread?

  4. Tell us more about the COVID-19 alert levels.

  5. What will students and employees be expected to do this fall to help mitigate COVID-19 spread?

  6. What will on-campus dining be like this fall?

  7. What guidelines do you recommend?

Fall 2020 Semester FAQs

1. What should we expect for the fall 2020 semester?

Our primary goal for the fall 2020 semester is to provide a safe environment for students, with face-to-face instruction, residential living, community dining, and a full spectrum of co-curricular activities, including athletics, fine arts, clubs, and cultural events. Reaching this goal will require cooperation, collaboration, and careful living from all members of the Dordt University community. God has called us to live, learn, and work together in a challenging time.

To provide an on-campus learning experience this fall, we must be vigilant about protecting ourselves and others. This means that the fall semester will likely look different than a typical semester. There will be times where students and employees might feel inconvenienced or irritated by precautionary measures. Still, as we seek to provide a safe, academically rich on-campus experience this fall, we need to work together for what is best for the campus community as a whole.

Please watch Dordt's "Guidelines for Re-Opening" video for more information about what to expect this fall.

2. What will Dordt’s fall 2020 academic calendar look like?

Here are some details:

New student move-in: New student move-in will begin on Friday, August 21. Incoming students are allowed to bring a maximum of two support people to campus. The admissions team will reach out to students in the coming days to learn more about anticipated arrival time and plans. Meals will be available for purchase on August 21.

Week of Welcome (WOW): WOW, Dordt’s incoming student orientation, will begin on Saturday, August 22, and will include programming for incoming students as well as their support people. Families who are unable to join will be able to participate virtually on Dordt’s website. Many events will take place outside, weather permitting. Meals will be provided all day on August 22.

To view the latest WOW schedule, visit

Heartland Break: We will not hold Heartland Break this year. Instead, we will have a mid-semester break on Wednesday, October 14, where students will not have classes.

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving break will be held from Wednesday, November 25, at 5 p.m., until Sunday, November 29, with classes resuming on Monday, November 30. At this time, we ask students to stay close to campus during Thanksgiving break as we strive to lessen the likelihood of a COVID-19 spread due to traveling. We will also provide special meals and activities during the week so that students will have a chance to make the most of their break. Christmas break will begin on December 11, which is two weeks after Thanksgiving; students will have a longer Christmas break than usual, returning on January 7, 2021.

End of fall semester: The last day of exams will be on Friday, December 11. We will release the final exam schedule by early November. Please do not make vacation plans before Saturday, December 12.

Looking ahead to the spring semester: The spring semester will begin on Thursday, January 7. The last day of the semester will be Friday, May 7.

3. What preventative measures is Dordt taking to mitigate COVID-19 spread?

We are making every effort to ensure that your time at Dordt is a good, safe experience. This includes taking many precautions to mitigate COVID-19 spread.

Dordt has purchased a large number of digital infrared thermometers and will conduct temperature checks throughout campus. There will be many hand sanitizing stations throughout campus and increased efforts to sanitize surfaces. Dordt is installing removable screens on classroom podiums. Classrooms will be set up so that social distancing can take place. There will be signage across campus encouraging students, employees, and the Dordt community to adhere to social distancing and hand-washing practices. Dordt is partnering with Sioux Center Health to gain access to an ample amount of COVID-19 tests.

Dordt will not host overnight visitors this fall.

4. Tell us more about the COVID-19 alert levels.

Dordt leadership will implement a phased approach to travel and social contact, based on COVID-19 infection rates in the area and other factors. This alert system will help Dordt to manage the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mitigation efforts will increase as the alert level increases.

Here is an example of what the alert levels might entail:

COVID-19 Alert Level Description
Blue Regular campus operations, as they were prior to COVID-19 pandemic.
Green Includes face-to-face instruction for healthy students and instruction available online for sick or immunocompromised students. 
Yellow Includes heightened precautions in residence halls, on-campus dining, and more. There will be restricted travel and interaction with the outside community.
Orange Campus will only be open to students and employees. Employees will be permitted to work from home, and some students may return home.
Red Campus will close, and most students will return home.

When determining level status, we will be guided by the decisions of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other experts. The current alert level will appear prominently on beginning sometime in August.

To read more about the alert levels, please review Dordt's "Roadmap for Reopening."

5. What will students and employees be expected to do this fall to help mitigate COVID-19 spread?

Students and employees will be required to complete a daily health assessment for 15 days prior to their arrival on campus and until Wednesday, September 30. Students will enter their health information, including their temperature, on a daily basis. Students who do not complete the process will not be allowed to begin classes. This information will be kept confidential and only accessed by Dordt University Campus Health. 

Students will also need to sign a Community Covenant for COVID-19. This covenant will describe the additional community standards required during this pandemic, such as compliance with testing and quarantine, masking as necessary, and restriction in travel if warranted by the alert level. A copy of the COVID-19 Community Covenant has been distributed to students to sign.

As of August 3, Dordt is requiring students, employees, and campus visitors to wear a mask while in on-campus buildings. This means that, while on Dordt’s campus, you need to wear a mask in all public places or common indoor spaces, which include:

  • Hallways

  • Restrooms

  • Classrooms

  • Laboratories

  • The Hulst Library

  • In the entrance to the Rec Center and in the locker rooms

  • Conference rooms

  • Building and office lobbies

You do not need to wear a mask when:

  • You are in your dorm room or apartment

  • You are working out in the Rec Center

  • You are outside and are more than six feet from other people

  • You are working in an office by yourself or more than six feet from your co-workers

  • You are separated from visitors or passersby by a plastic screen

Dordt will provide random temperature checks for students using digital infrared thermometers. We also ask that students bring their own thermometers to campus this fall. Students whose temperatures exceed 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit may not go to class and must contact Campus Health immediately. Their temperature information will not be recorded if it is below 100.3 degrees.

If a student becomes infected with COVID-19 during the fall semester, they will be quarantined until they are declared healthy by medical personnel. Students from within 250 miles of Dordt University will be required to quarantine at home; students from more than 250 miles may quarantine on campus, with individual personal meals provided by Dordt Dining Services. Students will also be able to move to online education during their illness.

The campus community will also be expected to adhere to distancing guidelines. We ask students and employees to bring face masks, hand sanitizer, Tylenol or other fever-control medications, tissues, wipes, a personal water bottle, a thermometer, and other items that might help with alleviating sickness.

Also, additional travel restrictions may be imposed by the state of Iowa. If the state of Iowa requires individuals returning from out-of-state travel to quarantine for a period of time, Dordt may not be able to provide on-campus quarantine accommodations. 

6. What will on-campus dining be like this fall?

Dordt Dining Services cares about serving students and employees safely. Dordt Dining and Creative Dining Services have developed new standards for protection during COVID-19; learn more here.

Students can expect to have more carry-out options. All food will be served by Dordt Dining Services personnel; there will be very few self-serve stations. Dordt Dining Services will limit the number of students who can dine in the Commons or at the Grille at a given time. There will also be floor stickers signaling where students should stand to maintain social distancing.

Dordt Dining Services will also be able to deliver food to students who must quarantine or isolate on campus. 

7. What guidelines do you recommend?

Maintain a distance of six feet (two meters) between you and others as much as possible. Avoid crowds and touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wear a cloth face covering, and be sure to cover coughs and sneezes. Clean your hands often, especially upon leaving and arriving at your destination, using the bathroom, and before eating. When washing your hands, be sure to use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you’re using hand sanitizer, make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol. As you travel, consider keeping a travel log, as this information will be essential if contact tracing is needed. Consider bringing medication, disinfectant wipes, disposable gloves, and water and non-perishable food.

Helpful Resources:

CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Statement

To assist students who have been impacted financially, Dordt University is distributing emergency government grant funding via the CARES Act. The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund-IHE/Student Aid supplies funding for institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to on-campus students who have been impacted by disrupted campus operations due to COVID-19, many of whom are facing financial challenges and are struggling to make ends meet.

The CARES Act requires all colleges and universities participating in the program to provide access to the following information.

On April 22, 2020, Dordt signed and returned to the Department of Education the CARES Act Certification and Agreement. This document is an assurance that the university has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

The total amount of funds that the university will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students is $1,082,435.

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission is $541,218.

The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 905.

The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 565.

The university ‘s method of evaluating eligibility was based on the student being Title IV eligible and based off of the students Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants, and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  Remaining funds will be distributed to students who have shown additional financial need as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expected Family Contribution Band Award
0 - 6,000


6,001 - 18,000 $750
18,001 - 30,000 $300

Dordt University will send out the following letter to qualifying students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants:

Dear Student,

We realize that many of our students are facing financial challenges due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  To address the pressing financial need of students, Dordt University has received funds through the CARES Act that we are making available to you via an emergency financial aid grant.  This grant does not need to be repaid, and you are not required to substantiate your expenses; it is for your expenses related to the disruption of campus (food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child-care expenses).

As a current student you may also be eligible to receive aid from the Hope Fund.  This is a separate fund provided by generous gifts from students and donors.  If you would like to apply, please use

If you have any questions, please feel free to call Harlan Harmelink at 712-722-6082 or Brenda Postma at 712-722-6010.

Thank you,

Dordt University Business Office


Previous announcements:


Campus Communication on Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19)

February 3, 2020

What is novel-coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia related illness. It was first identified in December 2019, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including 11 current cases in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness in recent health concerns.
What is the risk?

The World Health Organization has declared this a Public Health Emergency.  However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance. 

Symptoms and transmission:

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing.

Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

Travel Advisory:

The U.S. State Department has issued a level 4 travel alert (travel not advised) for all parts of China. 

Dordt University officials and The Global Education office are watching developments closely.  Questions concerning the potential effect of the illness on study abroad programs may be directed to Rebecca Tervo.


People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection (source: CDC).


There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of Novel-Coronavirus and all respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.  Return to regular activities (including work or class) when you have been fever-free, without the use of medications, for 24 hours.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms you:
  • Traveled to Hubei Province where Wuhan is located
  • Visited mainland China
  • Have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient
You should:
  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel or contacts and your symptoms. Sioux Center Health’s Emergency Department can be reached at 712-722-1271, Physician Offices at 712-722-2609.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. Please do not use public transportation or just arrive at a health care facility without calling ahead.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Student Health and Counseling offers advice by phone (712-722-6990) during our business hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, to help save students and staff a trip to the Emergency Department.  

Kind Regards,
Robert Taylor, Dean of Students
Beth Baas, Director, Student Health and Counseling