COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Communication


Frequently asked questions (faqS)

*Last updated 05/05/2020

Billing Adjustment FAQs

Dordt University will provide a billing adjustment for partial room and board credits for on-campus residential hall closures.  

1. What is the room and board billing adjustment? 

2. What are the options for the billing adjustment? 

3. How can I view my billing adjustment? 

4. Can I use my billing adjustment to reduce my federal loans? 

5. Is Dordt required to give me a billing adjustment? 

6. I’ve heard about the Hope Fund—what is that, and is there an option for me to give?  

7. Will I get a billing adjustment for my Defender dollars? 

8. I'm an international student and cannot receive a check. How do I get my adjustment?

9. A portion of my financial aid package covered my room and board. Will I still receive an adjustment based on my full room and board charges for the semester?

10. My adjustment is a different amount than what I anticipated. How did you make the calculation? 

11. Can I use this for charges that aren’t room and board (e.g., summer or fall tuition)? 

12. Can the adjustment be deposited directly into my bank account instead of sending a check? 

13. If I am returning to Dordt next year, can I get a check for the adjustment instead of a credit on my account?

General FAQs

1. How can I get my belongings from Dordt and take them home?

2. How do I return my housing key?

3. Is Dordt able to mail me any of my belongings?

4. Who should I call in case I can’t get into my residence hall?

5. Where can I find more information?

6. Will my scholarships continue even if my activity is discontinued this semester?

7. What should I do to prepare for my online coursework?

8. How do I return my DTA / cable box?

9. What if I need to be on campus this summer?

10. May I store some of my things at Dordt?

11. How do I return my rental textbooks?

Billing Adjustment FAQs

1. What is the room and board billing adjustment? 

Dordt University will provide a billing adjustment for partial room and board credits for on-campus residential hall closures. Adjustments will be posted to the student’s u.dordt.edu account by Thursday, April 23. 

Students who did not return to Dordt’s campus after spring break were on campus for 57 days during the spring 2020 semester. In total, there are 109 calendar days in the spring 2020 semester. Therefore, Dordt will provide a 47.7% billing adjustment for room and board costs incurred by the student.  

Students who, following spring break, filled out the exemption form to stay on campus will have an adjustment based on their actual time on campus.  

2. What are the options for the billing adjustment? 

For the Business Office to finalize the processing of the billing adjustment, please fill out the form at u.dordt.edu/adjustment by Wednesday, April 29. 

For returning students, the billing adjustment can be applied as a credit for the summer 2020 semester or the 2020-21 academic year. It can also be donated to the Hope Fund.  

For graduating and non-returning students, if the billing adjustment results as a credit on the student’s account, they will receive a check unless they choose to donate to the Hope Fund. Graduating students and non-returning students will need to provide an updated address in order for Dordt to send the check. 

If a student plans to stay on campus all semester, they will not receive a billing adjustment. 

3. How can I view my billing adjustment? 

On u.dordt.edu, each student will be able to access an individual statement detailing their adjustment.  

4. Can I use my billing adjustment to reduce my federal loans? 

If you would like to use all or part of the credit balance on your account to reduce the amount borrowed under a federal loan (PLUS, Stafford) this spring, please contact Harlan Harmelink (Harlan.Harmelink@dordt.edu) by May 1, 2020. 

5. Is Dordt required to give me a billing adjustment? 

While Dordt is not required to reimburse room and board under these extreme circumstances, we trust that God will provide for Dordt’s financial needs.  

6. I’ve heard about the Hope Fund—what is that, and is there an option for me to give?  

The Hope Fund was started to help Dordt students who have financial hardships due to COVID-19 and to ensure a firm financial foundation for Dordt University. Learn more at dordt.edu/hope.  

If it is possible for you to do so, we would ask you to consider donating your credit for room and board to assist Dordt students who want to continue their educational pursuits but face extraordinary hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to maintain the on-campus community we all love. Those making donations will receive a donation receipt for tax purposes. 

7. Will I get a billing adjustment for my Defender dollars? 

The billing adjustment does not include Defender dollars that were included with a meal plan. For more information, please see page 15 of the Dordt University catalog.  

Students are able to utilize the Defender dollars on the Campus Store’s website. Please access the store at bookstore.dordt.edu. The last day to utilize Defender dollars through the Campus Store is Friday, May 8 at 12 a.m. CDT. 

8. I'm an international student and cannot receive a check. How do I get my adjustment?

If you are an international student and are no longer living in the United States, we can wire the adjustment payment to you. Please contact Sarah Holesinger at Sarah.Holesinger@dordt.edu for more information.  

9. A portion of my financial aid package covered my room and board. Will I still receive an adjustment based on my full room and board charges for the semester?

This might affect the adjustment amount you receive. If you have questions, please contact Sarah Holesinger at Sarah.Holesinger@dordt.edu

10. My adjustment is a different amount than what I anticipated. How did you make the calculation?

The calculation is based on the room and board charges incurred and the amount of time you lived on campus during the spring 2020 semester.  

If you have questions, we would be happy to walk you through your adjustment.  Please reach out to Sarah Holesinger at Sarah.Holesinger@dordt.edu

11. Can I use this for charges that aren’t room and board (e.g., summer or fall tuition)?

Yes, you are able to apply this adjustment to tuition for summer classes or the 2020-21 academic year. 

12. Can the adjustment be deposited directly into my bank account instead of sending a check? 

At this time, the Business Office does not have the infrastructure to process one-time payments through direct deposit. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

13. If I am returning to Dordt next year, can I get a check for the adjustment instead of a credit on my account?

If you are a returning student, the billing adjustment will be a credit on your account that can be applied to your summer courses or the 2020-21 academic year at Dordt.  

General FAQs

1. How can I get my belongings from Dordt and take them home?

If you live within 70 miles of Sioux Center, you may return to campus as soon as you are able. We strongly recommend that you plan ahead and leave home with a full tank of gas and any food that you will need while you are away. This will allow you to arrive on campus, pick up your things, and return home without utilizing any services on your route to and from Sioux Center. Please do not plan to spend the night in Dordt Housing. If you have building access needs, please call the phone numbers posted at the entrances of each housing facility. Please fill out our "Check Out" form so that we know your plans.

If you live in the Kuyper Apartments or in West Hall, you may return to campus as soon as you are able to pick up your things. We are attempting to empty these two buildings as soon as possible so that we can use them for students who have been approved to stay on campus, and for self-isolation. Please do not spend the night on campus. If you have building access needs, please call the phone numbers posted at the entrances of each housing facility. Please fill out our "Check Out" form so that we know your plans.

If you live in North Hall, East Hall, Covenant, Southview or East Campus and you live more than 70 miles away from Sioux Center, please be patient and watch for future communication from Dordt. As we work to partner with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), we want to avoid inviting large numbers from greater than 70 miles away to the Sioux Center community. We will continue to monitor the guidance set forth by IDPH and welcome you to campus as soon as we are able.

2. Do I need to return my housing key to Student Services?

If you come to campus, please submit your key into the library book return drop box located in the entrance to the Campus Center that is closest to the library. Please place your key in an envelope (envelopes are provided near the drop box) and place it in the box.

If you need to mail your key back to Dordt, please place it in a padded envelope and send it to the address below. Please make sure you use a padded envelope (bubble wrap integrated into the envelope) otherwise your key will likely break through the envelope and become lost in the mail.

               Dordt University

               Student Services

               700 7th Street NE

               Sioux Center, IA  51250

3. Is Dordt able to mail me any of my belongings?

At this time, Dordt will not be mailing any personal belongings back to your permanent residence. If necessary, we are willing to work with your friends or members of your church to assist you in retrieving your belongings.

4. Who should I call in case I can’t get into my residence hall?

The phone number for security (712-722-6116) will be posted on each residence hall entrance door. We are here to assist you and want to ensure your safety.

5. Where can I find more information?

The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to provide information to students through the “COVID-19 Response” webpage and on u.dordt.edu. Please also continue to check your email regularly for updates.

6. Will my scholarships continue even if my activity is discontinued this semester?

Yes, scholarships will be honored.

7. What should I do to prepare for my online coursework?

Here are some suggestions from the faculty how best to prepare for your online coursework:

  • Keep a routine and plan on at least as many study hours as before.
  • If you plan to come to campus to retrieve personal belongings, collect your textbooks.
  • If you don’t plan to return to campus, consider having your roommates ship your textbooks to you.
  • If you are in a situation where you don’t have your course texts available, Dordt will find a way to work with you. The Hulst Library has many electronic resources to support your research.

9. How do I return my DTA / cable box?

Please leave your DTA, (remote, power cord, HDMI cable, and Coaxial Cable and DTA box) on your kitchen table if you live in an apartment, or on a desk if you live in a residence hall.

10. What if I need to be on campus this summer?

If you are planning to be on campus this summer, please contact your summer work study supervisor. 

11. May I store some of my things at Dordt?

Yes, our regular storage option is available for all students. Please pick up a box from the main entryway to the Rec. Center. Pack your things in the box and write your name and room number on side of the box in large print. Seal the box with tape and leave it in your apartment / residence hall room. Remember to lock your door on the way out so that your box is secure until Dordt employees pick it up and move it to a designated summer storage location. We are unable to store items that do not fit inside the designated boxes (TVs, couches, etc.). If you have questions, please contact studentservices@dordt.edu.

12. How do I return my rental textbooks?

To return your rental textbooks, please drop them off in the Hulst Library’s drop box. 

If you are off campus or need your rental books until the end of the semester, you will need to mail them back to the Dordt Campus Store. Please use the following address:

Dordt Campus Store

700 7th St. NE

Sioux Center, IA 51250

Rental textbooks must be postmarked by May 18. Students, you will receive reminders individually on what books you have rented along with further information to help this process. If you have questions, please contact bookstore@dordt.edu


Helpful links:


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

$1,200

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 https://u.dordt.edu/hope-fund.

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

 Dordt to hold classes on campus this fall

April 30, 2020, 10 a.m.

Dordt University plans to hold classes on campus for the fall 2020 semester. This includes plans to reopen on-campus dorms and apartments, dining halls, the recreation center, and other facilities that are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will adhere to state and federal guidelines to protect the health of students, employees, and the greater Sioux Center community.

“We can’t wait to welcome our students back to campus this fall,” says Dr. Erik Hoekstra, president of Dordt University. “I have confidence in Dordt’s student services staff and medical professionals as well as the Sioux Center medical team as we prepare to have students return to campus. With great care and concern, we will seek to make Dordt University one of the safest places an 18-24-year-old can be until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed.”

As of April 29, there are seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sioux County. Also, according to an April 27 proclamation, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has begun loosening social distancing measures in 77 Iowa counties including Sioux County, effective May 1. This signals a possibility of additional restrictions being lifted in the coming months.

“Dordt’s leadership, student services, campus health, and campus facilities are working to implement a variety of measures including flexible scheduling, social distancing, self-isolation in residences when necessary, increased sanitization, and controlled campus access. We want to provide a safe environment for the residential, Christ-centered learning community we all love at Dordt,” says Howard Wilson, chief administrative officer.


COVID-19: DORDT UNIVERSITY UPDATE

March 25, 2020: 6:30 p.m.

Campus Community,

Thank you for your prayers as Dordt University makes decisions regarding how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that God has control of all things, including what the future holds for our world during this epidemic.

The Dordt leadership team has made the decision that we will not resume on-campus instruction on Monday, April 13, as previously communicated. Rather, as of today, Dordt will extend online instruction to the end of the spring semester.

We came to this decision after careful consideration of many factors. For example, over the last week, COVID-19 cases have increased nationwide and in the state of Iowa. We also determined that many Dordt students would not be able to readily return to campus, as they would need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. It is likely that more than one-third of the student body could not return to campus due to distance or expense. The health and safety of Dordt students and our community is of utmost importance to us.

Additionally, and as communicated earlier, Dordt’s investment in online education over the past three years means that we are convinced that the student experience through this time will be strong. Certainly, we continue to affirm that not all of the educational experience at Dordt is academic—and we look forward to the time when we can once again enhance the academic quality with the face-to-face emotional, social, and co-curricular aspects of the Dordt experience. Yet, we are certain that the educational outcomes of this semester can be completed through a non-residential approach while we balance the health needs of our broader culture.

Dordt University will host commencement at 11 a.m. CDT on Friday, May 8. We anticipate this will be a virtual experience, and we will provide additional information in the coming weeks. We will follow the academic calendar as previously scheduled through the end of the academic year. All other spring semester events are postponed or canceled. Dordt will continue to post updates on dordt.edu/coronavirus.

Further, Dordt’s campus is closed to the community. Only current employees and permitted students are allowed on Dordt’s campus. Please call ahead at (712) 722-6000 if you need to connect with a department. Office staff will continue to provide services to students and constituents, whether remotely or in-person.

Information about summer events will be forthcoming. At this point, we still plan to hold Dordt Discovery Days, which is scheduled for late June. 

We continue to pray for the Dordt student who tested positive for COVID-19 while at her home in Canada. We are grateful that she is feeling better and is on the road to recovery.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been sustained by many things, including classic hymns—and I hope that these words help give you hope in the days ahead:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!

What more can he say than to you he hath said,

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

 

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

 

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

Sincerely,

Erik Hoekstra

President


Student tests positive for covid-19 in canada

March 23, 2020: 5:00 p.m.

Dordt University has learned that a current student has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after returning home to Canada.

This individual was on Dordt’s campus from Saturday, March 14, through Monday, March 16, having returned from PLIA, a spring service trip. All who traveled with the student or came in contact with her upon her arrival back to campus have been informed of the student’s diagnosis.

“The student informed us that she is feeling better; we are so grateful for this good news. We love our students, and we trust in God’s sovereignty even amidst difficult situations,” says Dr. Erik Hoekstra, president of Dordt University. “I am humbled by the response of our campus community to lead well in these difficult times.”

Dordt officials have asked the approximately 150 students who currently remain on Dordt’s campus to practice self-isolation and strong social distancing.

“Dordt is committed to providing a safe environment for both our students and the community of Sioux Center,” says Howard Wilson, chief administrative officer at Dordt.

This past weekend, Governor Kim Reynolds (Iowa) and the Iowa Department of Public Health released a statement:

“Iowans who have traveled recently for business or spring break vacations, whether internationally or domestically outside of Iowa, should strongly consider self-isolating for 14 days. This will support Iowa’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and limit the introduction of the virus from other points of travel.”

Please continue to pray for all those affected by this disease, particularly those serving on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

For more information regarding Dordt’s COVID-19 response, please visit dordt.edu/coronavirus.


PLANS REGARDING COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

March 12, 2020: 6:45 p.m.

Campus Community,

It has been an astonishing day with many disruptions to our campus, regional, and global communities. Yet, as those who know Jesus Christ as the one who holds the future, this is an opportunity to care for one another through a time of uncertainty as the news changes rapidly.

Dordt University’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Response Task Force has been monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As of Thursday, March 12, there are 14 reported cases in Iowa; there are no confirmed cases on the Dordt campus and surrounding community. Dordt is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of State, World Health Organization, and state and local public health agencies. We join in the extraordinary efforts of national and global communities to limit the spread of this virus.

The Dordt leadership team has made the following determinations:

Dordt will extend spring break by one week. Although courses were originally scheduled to resume on Tuesday, March 17, they will now begin on Monday, March 23. As of March 23, courses will be held online until Monday, April 13, when we currently anticipate that in-person classes will resume. A decision regarding this possibility will be made and communicated on or before April 3. During this time, offices will remain open and campus operations will continue in support of our students.

To do our part in helping to reduce the impact of this virus, we will offer limited on-campus housing and dining options. For those who are able, we would ask that you live at home or off-campus through Sunday, April 12. We will work with international students, students with regional for-credit internships or field placements, and those with extraordinary circumstances to remain in on-campus housing. These students must request permission to live on-campus using this form, by Friday, March 13, at 2 p.m. CST, if possible.

Students not remaining on campus will have an opportunity in the week ahead to collect personal items necessary for online learning, such as laptops. We are asking that students make every attempt to complete this process by Tuesday, March 17. Class resources, including online texts, will be provided as part of online instruction.

Through these efforts, we seek to prioritize the safety and health of our students, employees, and the broader community.

Dordt is committed to providing a robust learning experience in an online format. More than 70% of Dordt faculty have already taken Dordt’s introductory seminar for online teaching or already have extensive experience teaching online, preparing us for this endeavor. Additionally, we are continuing to equip and support faculty for successfully adapting instruction to an online format.

Dordt is working with international education partners to assist our students who are currently studying abroad. These students have been communicated with individually.

Please continue to monitor dordt.edu/coronavirus, as we will be posting up-to-date information regularly there.

Regardless of circumstances, our confidence lies in a sovereign Lord whose plans transcend human understanding and give us hope for the future. We have come to these decisions with a great deal of research and prayer. We ask you join us as we pray for all those affected by COVID-19 throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Dr. Erik Hoekstra
President
Dordt University


Event information

Please note the following updates to facilities closures or changed hours: 

  • Hulst Library: Closed to the public 
  • Rec Center: Closed
  • Dordt University Campus Store: Closed
  • Campus Center Game Room: Closed 
  • Music Building practice rooms: Closed
  • All Seasons Center: Closed 
  • Other campus buildings: Open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday - Friday 

Please note the following updates regarding upcoming events: 

  • Friday, March 20
    • Concert choir tour – Postponed until further notice 
  • Thursday, March 26 
    • “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” mainstage production (March 26-28) – Postponed until further notice
  • Friday, March 27 
    • Women’s Softball Skills Camp (March 27) – Canceled
    • Marco Den Toom organ concert – Postponed until further notice 
  • Wednesday, April 1 
    • Pastor’s Day Lunch (April 1) – Canceled 
  • Saturday, April 4 
    • ACT test– Postponed until June or July test dates  
    • Kristen Kobes Du Mez and First Mondays Speaker Series – Postponed until fall 2020 semester 
    • Women’s Basketball “More than Conquerors” Camp – Canceled
    • Men’s Football 1-Day Free Youth Camp – Canceled
  • Tuesday, April 7 
    • Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra “Brahms: German Requiem” – Canceled 
  • Monday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 15 
    • Men’s Baseball Youth Camp – Canceled
  • Thursday, April 16 
    • Board of Trustees Dinner (April 16) – Additional information is forthcoming 
  • Thursday, April 30
    • Ideafest – Canceled
  • Wednesday, May 13
    • Grade School Track Meet – Canceled

Previous announcements:

March 12, 2020: 10 a.m.: Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
February 28, 2020: COVID-19: Campus Precautionary Measures
February 3, 2020: Campus Communication on Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

March 12, 2020: 10 a.m.

As of the evening of Thursday, March 12, Dordt University will provide an update on decisions related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We join in the extraordinary efforts of national and global communities to limit the spread of COVID-19. Dordt’s primary concern is the health and safety of our students, employees, and the broader community. Our planning is taking into account academic continuity for our students.

Dordt students are currently on spring break until Monday, March 16.

Please keep our institution in prayer as we determine next steps. Regardless of circumstances, our confidence lies in a sovereign God whose plans transcend human understanding and gives us hope for the future, no matter what that holds.

Dordt University’s Crisis Management Team continues to consider a measured and multifaceted approach, including:

  • Considerations for student and faculty travel, including mission trips and study-abroad programs. We are working with our international educational partners regarding next steps.
  • Educational options in the event of the widespread North American outbreak.
  • Ongoing health education for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Preventative measures on campus and in the community, including isolation of infected individuals.

As of March 11 at 12 p.m., the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that, effective immediately, it will be cancelling all remaining winter championship events, including those that are currently underway. 

We ask that you join us as we pray for all those affected by COVID-19 throughout the world.

Howard Wilson
Chief Administrative Officer
Dordt University   


COVID-19: Campus Precautionary Measures 

February 28, 2020 

Dordt University is regularly monitoring the current Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There have been no diagnosed cases to date on campus or in our surrounding community. While the situation changes daily, there does not yet appear to be a significant risk for our campus, yet we have been proactively communicating with our students since February 3.

We are developing plans for a response in the event of an outbreak in our community, on our campus, or in our student body. Dordt University’s Crisis Management Team is considering a measured and multifaceted approach, including:

  • Preventative measures on campus and in the community, including isolation of infected individuals.
  • Considerations for student and faculty travel including mission trips and study-abroad programs.
  • Ongoing education for students, faculty, and staff. 
  • Educational options in the event of a widespread North American outbreak. 

Dordt’s student health team and administration are regularly monitoring public health information from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and Sioux County Community Health Partners.  We recommend this source of accurate and helpful information. A web page dedicated to campus Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates is available on our Student Health website. 

Our greatest concern is for your student’s well-being; we are committed to implementing all necessary measures to protect their health. Please continue praying for Defender Nation, scattered around the world, and for all those affected by this disease.

Howard Wilson
Chief Administrative Officer
Dordt University   

(Updated March 6, 2020 with more accurate name for COVID-19)


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.

Treatment:

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).

Prevention:

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