Beavers Forward

Questions and Answers

Questions and answers about Buena Vista University's plan for returning to campus learning.

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Top COVID Questions

Can I take a COVID-19 test before arriving on campus for the Spring Semester so that I don’t have to wait for my results once I arrive?

No. Although your test result may be negative, you may not have been infected at the time the sample was collected. 

What if I have tested positive for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the Spring Semester?

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of the date you are set to return to campus, you will need to report the exposure to Health Services or Athletic Training (if in season), and they will work with you on a return-to-campus plan. 
  • In accordance with local health guidance, if you tested positive for COVID-19, and recovered, in the past 90 days you will not need to take another COVID-19 test. During this timeframe, your body contains antibodies that will protect you against another infection. 

What if a student has COVID-19-like symptoms but hasn’t been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19? Will they have to quarantine for exhibiting similar symptoms?  

Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to symptoms of the common cold, strep throat, tonsillitis, an upper respiratory infection, or the flu. Students who exhibit symptoms, must contact Health Services for an assessment, and Health Services then will determine whether or not symptoms will be monitored as an ‘alternative’ illness. 

During this time, students will be asked to self-quarantine in their room, attend classes through Storm Lake Remote, and complete a Student Illness Report form daily so Health Services can monitor progress. If symptoms improve, the student can return to face-to-face classes after being fever-free for 48 hours OR improving if no fever. If symptoms worsen or increase, an individual may be tested or referred to a medical provider. Not every illness is COVID-19, and this assessment gives Health Services the option to keep the campus safe while not testing everyone for COVID-19. 

If an individual is referred to a medical provider, they may be asked to be tested for COVID-19.  It is BVU’s policy, in accordance with CDC guidance, to quarantine anyone tested for COVID-19—unless they were tested for surveillance purposes. 

What is the process for determining if someone is a close contact and needs to be tested?

When a student is tested for COVID-19, either on their own or by BVU’s TestIowa site, they quarantine for 10 days. Health Services then works with the student to determine close contacts (someone the individual has been within six feet of for 15 consecutive minutes or longer with or without a face cover). Athletes’ work-out and practice tape viewing is used to determine close contacts when participating in weight-lifting or practices. If the student tests positive, Health Services notifies the students identified by contact tracing which includes roommates. Close contacts will be interviewed by two nurses or athletic trainers to determine next steps. Once determined, the following takes place in one of two scenarios: 

  • Not a close contact: Continue honestly completing the COVID-19 Symptoms Checker daily. Monitor symptoms, wear a face covering, follow physical distancing, and wash hands correctly and often. If the student develops symptoms they should be tested. 
  • Close contact: Complete the BVU TestIowa Student Assessment which provides a QR code needed for testing. The student or Health Services can schedule a test date and time through Bookings on the Health Services website. Once tested, the student must quarantine.

Under guidance by the IDPH, BVU may provide names of COVID-19 positive individuals and close contacts for contact tracing purposes without fear of breaking confidentiality or laws.  

Why do students have to return home for quarantine if they live within six hours of campus?  

Based on guidance by the CDC and due to limited quarantine and isolation space, we ask students that live within six hours of campus, have the means to travel, and can drive, to return home to quarantine or isolate. 
If for any reason the student feels they cannot return home, a student can complete the Appeal to Stay on Campus form provided by Health Services or Athletic Training. Once received, the appeal form is evaluated by three members of the Student Success staff.

If a student tested negative, why do they have to quarantine?

Although a test result may be negative, the individual may not have been infected at the time the sample was collected. The incubation period for the virus can be up to 10 days. Unless an individual is tested on the 10th day from their exposure, a negative test earlier in the quarantine period does not mean the individual is not infected. Symptoms can develop after a test was taken, and an individual can be contagious 2-10 days after the exposure, even if they remain asymptomatic.

The only time students wouldn’t need to quarantine is if they were tested for surveillance purposes—such as testing guided by NCAA for sports teams.

How do professors know that a student is moving to Storm Lake Remote? 

Health Services and Athletic Training notifies the deans and professors of the date a student will start and end Storm Lake Remote learning, so students do not need to contact their professors to alert them. 

How does a student return to campus once their quarantine or isolation time is over?

Each student in quarantine or isolation, whether at home or on-campus, is asked to call either Health Services or Athletic Training to properly clear their return to campus. The return-to-campus criteria is as follows:

  • The student has completed their 10-day quarantine or isolation.
  • The student has been fever-free for the past 48 hours and provides an accurate temperature on the day of the call.
  • The student's symptoms are resolved or improving if symptomatic.

How important is it to get a flu vaccine?

While a flu vaccine won’t prevent COVID-19, getting vaccinated may prevent a flu outbreak. Getting the vaccine not only reduces an individual’s chance of getting the flu, but the risk of catching both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Symptoms from the flu can be less serious should a person get infected, which makes it easier to differentiate between the two illnesses. Getting the vaccine will also help students to avoid missing class, work, and reduce their number of doctor visits.

Will BVU require students and employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

While BVU will not be requiring the vaccine for employees or students, it is strongly encouraged in an effort to protect the health and safety of our campus and local community while we work toward providing a more typical residential campus experience in the future. Health Services plans to distribute the vaccine and will have sign-up and administration similar to the annual flu vaccine. We will share more information on vaccine distribution as it becomes available to us.

When can I start having guests in my room/suite?

Guests will be allowed starting on Feb. 1.

Do I still need to wear a face cover and physical distance when I have guests?

Yes. Residents and guests must wear a face cover and physical distance. 

Is the party registration policy being reinstated as well?

No, parties are still not allowed on campus.

Can off-campus guests visit such as commuters, family, or non-BVU friends?

No, we are still only allowing residents to visit other residents.

Is it possible that visitation could be suspended again?

Yes, it is possible if the University deems it to be in the best interest of the  health and safety of our students, employees, and community. 

What safeguards are being taken in residence halls? 

Residence halls will have increased cleaning measures and limited capacity in shared spaces as well as physical distancing and face covering requirements in place. The only people allowed in a room or suite are the students assigned to that room or suite. No external guests will be permitted. 

What if my roommate chooses not to take precautions like wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, or cleaning measures? Will I be allowed to move to a different room?

Students are encouraged to have conversations with their roommate about physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and cleaning measures. If those conversations do not remedy the situation, please contact your Resident Assistant or Area Coordinator to begin roommate mediation. If the remediation is unsuccessful, options to move will be provided.

How will preventative measures be enforced? 

For everyone’s health and safety, students are required to follow health and safety guidelines. Noncompliance may lead to consequences as outlined in the Student Handbook, and removal from campus housing.


How do students become eligible for remote learning?

Requests for remote learning for Spring 2021 must be COVID-19 related. COVID-19 related health concerns must comply with the CDC high-risk categories and/or ADA accommodations.

Will BVU students and employees receive COVID-19 training so they know what to expect when returning to campus?

All new BVU students are required to complete a mandatory online training and quiz before Jan. 18, 2021. The purpose of the training is to familiarize everyone with the updated health and safety policies on campus. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, plans remain fluid, and students and employees will be notified if there are changes.

What are the new expectations for students and employees?

The BVU community is expected to follow practices that will keep the community safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Students and employees will be responsible for reporting daily symptoms and temperature, wearing face coverings in public spaces and when physical distancing is not possible, frequent handwashing, cleaning personal items and spaces after use, limiting face-to-face events and meetings that require close contact, and most importantly: holding each other accountable for these practices. 

What if I’m at a high risk for getting COVID-19?

Students with health concerns should contact Disability Services and Health Services for accommodations. Employees with health concerns should contact Human Resources for accommodations.

How does BVU plan to track COVID-19 symptoms?

BVU will monitor daily symptoms for students, employees, vendors, and others by using the COVID-19 Symptoms Checker found within the BVU App. The app allows for self-screening and will identify those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 and direct them to self-isolate and contact Health Services. The University will be able to more quickly identify those who are showing symptoms or who may have been exposed. 

If there is a positive COVID-19 case on campus, what is the University’s plan?

The University will work with local and state public health with contact tracing to identify potential exposure. If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, or if an employee or student has lived with, worked with, or been exposed to person with a primary exposure the following will occur: 

Residential students: Due to limited quarantine and isolation space on campus,  students will be asked to return home if they live within six hours from campus and have adequate transportation. Students unable to return home will be placed in isolation and cared for by Health Services and Student Success staff. Meals will be delivered to their isolation room, and students will check in at least daily with Health Services via telehealth to ensure their needs are being met. If symptoms progress and their condition continues to worsen, a referral to a local medical clinic or hospital will be made.   

Employees: Must self-isolate and contact their medical provider for testing and appropriate medical care. 
Commuter students: Students who live with their parents must self-isolate and contact their medical provider for testing and appropriate medical care. Students who have chosen to live off-campus but aren’t living with parents or family must self-isolate and contact Health Services.  They will then be asked to complete the Student Illness Reporting Form which will determine if further medical care and testing is needed. 

Will BVU Health Services offer services to students and employees?

Health Services will be taking both virtual and face-to-face scheduled appointments for students through Bookings. Employees will be expected to seek medical care with their primary physician during COVID-19, but Health Services expects to return to assisting employees with minor illness and screenings as soon as possible.

How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all students and employees are expected to follow the health and safety guidelines laid out by the University including physical distancing, frequent handwashing, increased cleaning, and staying home when sick.

When can an employee or student safely return to campus, campus activities, and/or classes?

Following CDC and IDPH guidance, employees or students suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 can return to campus and attend class after having no fever for at least 48 hours (two days) without the use of medication that reduces fever AND other symptoms have improved AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

An employee or student that worked with, lived with, or was exposed to a person with primary exposure can return to campus or class 10 days after the last exposure to the person from which they had primary exposure.

Will the annual flu shot help with the COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. BVU will continue offering the annual flu vaccine each fall.

Will BVU students be allowed to leave campus during the fall semester?

Students will be encouraged to stay on campus and avoid traveling to and from home or other destinations during the Fall Semester.

Are there special precautions to keep BVU students safe in the Storm Lake community?

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by following the Protective Triad: wearing a face covering, frequent handwashing, and physical distancing. We ask that students limit gatherings of 10 or more, social outings to bars and restaurants, and other high-risk behaviors that could increase risk of exposure. Exposure should be kept to a minimum.  

Are face coverings mandatory on the Storm Lake campus?

Face coverings (mask or shield) are absolutely required in the presence of other people at all times in indoor spaces and in outdoor spaces, when physical distancing is not possible.

Do local medical clinics and the local hospital have the capacity to care for BVU students and employees? 

BVU’s reopening plan was based on the recommendations from the CDC, American College Health Association, and the Iowa Department of Public Health and their ability to care for BVU students. 

Was the rate of positive cases of COVID-19 in Buena Vista County taken into consideration?

Yes. BVU has been working closely with local health officials to develop our reopening plan.  

The number of active cases on campus, as well as information and resources. COVID-19 Information


What academic considerations will be made for a student who falls ill with COVID-19? Will they be allowed to make up work?  

The catalog policies regarding illness remain in effect, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are enhancements to existing policies. Flexible sick leave policies and practices are in place that enable faculty, staff, and students to self-isolate when they are sick, have been exposed, or are caring for someone who is sick. Several options may be available, depending on the student’s needs. If a student is COVID-19 positive but their symptoms are mild and not impeding their ability to continue a class, every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that the student can join the class remotely. If the student is too ill to attend class remotely, faculty and staff will work with students on a case-by-case basis to help them meet academic requirements and receive a quality education.  

If a student has to drop classes due to a severe case, what accommodations will be made?

If the student must miss class and is not able to finish the work prior to the end of the semester, the student can request a change of grade contract or if the student wishes to withdraw, a medical withdrawal and leave of absence may be available. 

What happens if a professor catches COVID-19 or is quarantined?  

Deans and faculty are working on contingency plans for course continuity. BVU faculty are working to prepare their courses in advance and have them prepared for students’ arrival. The University has excellent technological resources which will allow faculty to deliver courses remotely, should they be quarantined or test positive but feel well enough and wish to continue teaching the class. 

How will my classes and labs be different due to COVID-19?

Classrooms will be configured in compliance with CDC guidelines to allow for appropriate physical distancing. Safety precautions such as face covering requirements and increased cleaning measures will be observed. Breakout sessions, study groups, office hours, and advising will be virtual using technologies like Zoom, video phones, and video conferencing. 

What should I do if I am uncomfortable returning to campus and attending in-person classes?

Please contact your school dean. You may be able to continue as a Storm Lake student through remote learning or through one of our fully-online programs through BVU’s Extended University Programs. If you have a medical condition and require accommodations, our Disability Services staff can assist you. 

What should I do if I have concerns about my courses? 

You may reach out to your professor who serves as your academic advisor, the academic liaisons for your school: Harold Walter Siebens School of Business, Dan Anderson; School of Education, Ben Clark; School of Liberal Arts, Kristen Fox; School of Science, Jamie Tennyson; or Student Success staff. 

Interaction with my professor and classmates is important to me. Will this be possible? 

The University is committed to offering live instruction from expert faculty which allows for student interaction with their professors and peers. To ensure that live instruction is available to all students, BVU will have hy-flex classrooms. Hy-flex refers to classrooms that are equipped with video/audio recording and live streaming options so students can participate in synchronous learning through a combination of both face-to-face and remote interaction. This will allow students who must be quarantined or students who are on a rotation due to classroom size to attend classes virtually from a safe place on campus or at home. 

How will I know if any of my classes have changed formats or locations?

Student course schedules on BeaverNet currently list the assigned classroom space – including new adjustments. Storm Lake classes are being offered face-to-face, with only a few exceptions. In very few cases, courses have been divided because of the large section size and will meet on a reduced number of days. We may be required to alter a class format due to certain accommodations and we have repurposed some spaces on campus which have the ability to hold larger numbers while allowing for proper physical distancing. 

What will happen if the University goes to fully remote learning again?   

BVU continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and follow guidance from public health, medical, and government officials and will make necessary adjustments as warranted. Given the modalities of instruction, if it is deemed necessary, the University will pivot to virtual synchronous instruction. The possibility of having to quickly move to online instruction is integrated into our faculty planning for the fall semester. 

What can I do if I can’t connect to Zoom, Canvas, or other platforms during class time?  

If you are having problems connecting during class, please email your professor to let them know and then contact  

How do I order my books if I’m using the Storm Lake Remote option? 

The books for your courses will be the same whether you are joining us on campus or as a remote learner. You may attain your books from the source that is appropriate for you. One avenue is to order through the Lehnus Campus Bookstore and select “ship to me.”

Financial Aid

If campus has to close, will room and board be refunded? 

If campus is closed before the end of the semester, a calculation will be done to refund the remaining room and board cost. Room and board has already been pro-rated and applied to student accounts due the change in the academic calendar and classes on campus ending Nov. 20.

Can a Storm Lake campus student choose to study from home and avoid paying room and board, or be refunded for room and board costs? 

If a student chooses the distance learning (off-campus) option in the fall, they will not be charged room and board. Students choosing this option will not be allowed on campus. 

If students are spending less time learning in-person, will tuition be prorated? 

Tuition will not be refunded or prorated if the modality of learning is changed. 

Since my cost of attendance is less for the fall semester because of the pro-rated room and board charges, will that impact my financial aid?

The aid posted to your student account will factor in the decrease in cost of attendance and therefore, may be adjusted. If you have questions, please contact Financial Aid.

Will my total BeaverBucks on my meal plan be adjusted?

The BeaverBucks amount will also be pro-rated in the same manner as room and board charges.

I’m worried about fulfilling requirements to keep my scholarship. Who should I contact about this?  

Students can reach out to the Center for Academic Excellence to receive academic support. Our merit scholarship renewal policy, along with other financial assistance related policies, may be found in the Financial Aid Handbook.  

Does BVU offer any resources for undergraduate students experiencing hardship due to COVID-19?  

If an independent student (or their spouse) or a parent (dependent student), has lost employment for more than eight weeks in 2020, please review the relevant Special Condition Forms and complete the form relevant to your family’s situation. We will contact you if that information leads to additional financial assistance becoming available. Students may also contact Student Success for information on the Student Emergency Fund.

Human Resources

What happens if someone in my office tests positive for COVID-19?

Human Resources will be conducting contact tracing for all individuals that have been on campus and test positive for COVID-19 to discover individuals that may have had direct exposure to employees on campus. If HR believes other employees are at risk, they will be contacted and may be asked to self- quarantine and seek medical advice. 

Do I have to take PTO if I test positive or feel symptoms similar to COVID-19? 

In December 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) amended a provision to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The provision allows employers to voluntary resume the FFCRA that included the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, that expired on December 31, 2020. BVU will resume offering this benefit to employees through March 31. Employees are not eligible if they exhausted their leave benefits in 2020.

If I take vacation and travel, do I have to quarantine upon return?

Employees are not required to self-quarantine if they return from personal domestic travel. They will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks if they return from personal international travel. Limited travel will be allowed for employees to conduct University business. Non-essential travel including conferences and networking events will not be allowed. 

What happens if my spouse or child tests positive for COVID-19?

You will need to report your secondary exposure to Human Resources. You are not allowed on campus and you will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days and to seek medical advice. Your supervisor, VP, and Human Resources will approve if work from home is an option.

What happens if my child’s classmate or teacher tests positive for COVID-19? 

You will need to report your tertiary exposure to Human Resources. You will be able to work on-campus, but you will need to self-monitor your symptoms for 10 days from the last time your child was exposed. If you are unable to report to work due to lack of childcare, your supervisor, VP, or Human Resources will approve if work from home is an option. You also have the option to take PTO. If your PTO is exhausted, then ask HR if donated PTO is an option. 

What are my options if I am considered high risk? Am I able to work remotely?

Employee are required to work with Human Resources to discuss any work accommodations. Each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

What happens if my child’s class moves to remote learning or childcare facility closes and I am unable to work due to lack of childcare? 

These situations will be evaluated on a case by case basis, but here are a couple possible scenarios: 

  1. Work from home. You will need approval from supervisor, VP, or Human Resources.
  2. Take PTO. If PTO is exhausted, donated PTO may be an option depending on availability balance.

What happens if my spouse’s co-worker test positive for COVID-19?

You will need to report your tertiary exposure to Human Resources. You will be able to work on-campus but you will need to self-monitor your symptoms for 10 days from the last time your spouse was exposed to his/her co-worker. 

Will BVU require students and employees get the COVID-19 vaccine?

While BVU will not be requiring the vaccine for employees or students, it is strongly encouraged in an effort to protect the health and safety of our campus and local community while we work toward providing a more typical residential campus experience in the future. Health Services plans to distribute the vaccine and will have sign-up and administration similar to the annual flu vaccine. We will share more information on vaccine distribution as it becomes available to us.

Contact Information

Health Services & Wellness

Available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Email | 712.749.1238

Campus Security

Available 24 Hours

Office of Admissions

Email | 800.383.9600

Center for Academic Excellence

Email | 712.749.1237

Human Resources

Email | 712.749.2052

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