COVID-19 Information

Due to this rapidly changing situation, the University will post updates as new information develops.

Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions

April 2, 2020 - TEMPORARY Policies on Pass/No Pass and Course Withdrawal

(Effective April 2, 2020)

Dear Students,

We are deeply aware of the challenges that moving courses that were originally planned to be delivered face-to-face to distance delivery has caused you and your faculty. As we work to confront the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing us all, we want to add some degree of control back into your lives.

Many institutions of higher education across the nation have modified their Pass/No Pass and Course Withdrawal Policies in response to the challenges of moving courses to distance delivery that were planned for face-to-face delivery. We have modified our policies and timelines as outlined below to better serve you.

Please note, we are currently developing the specific processes for choosing the temporary alternatives outlined on the Registrar's Policies page, and we will communicate these processes as soon as they are finalized.

Paul Koch, PhD

Iowa Health Department: COVID-19 CDC: COVID-19

Meet Online Like a Pro

April 6

Virtual Meeting Training

3-4 p.m. | Join PDC experts for a free instructional session on virtual meeting platforms, such as Zoom, Webex, and Google Meet. Full details on the PDC Virtual Training page.

Virtual Training

Wash Your Hands

wash your hands

The Centers for Disease Control recommend frequent hand-washing to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.

CDC: Steps to Prevent Illness

CDC poster

Reduce Your Risk For Exposure

Prevent the Spread of Disease

Should you become ill with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, follow these steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to others:

  • If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms: Contact your health care provider to determine if you need testing and receive instructions about caring for yourself at home. Iowans with questions about COVID-19 can call the state's hotline at 2-1-1. 
  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 should isolate at home during their illness and only leave if needing medical care. Stay home until you have no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Call ahead: If you need medical assistance, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the doctor's office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. If you have a local health care provider, call their office.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share food, beverages or personal items.
  • Clean and disinfect: Use disinfectant wipes to clean high touch surfaces such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, and phones.

A Message from the President
Joan Lescinski, PhD, CSJ

Sister Joan reminds us of our tenacity and compassion for each other.

Admissions Events

Visit Days and Individual Visits

The health and safety of our university employees, students and visitors to campus are paramount. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and sharing updates here.

All campus visits have been canceled. Please click here to see our Virtual Visit page for more information.

Prospective students may call to set up WebEx or phone meetings as needed.

If you'd prefer to reschedule your visit, set up a WebEx meeting, or visit with us by phone call 563-333-6300 or email

We signed up for an admissions visit event that was canceled. Are there any other options?

Unfortunately, all campus visits are suspended through March 31, 2020, per the State of Iowa.

We're making the best of the situation and instead scheduling Virtual Visits. Click here to learn more.

Are admissions staff still available to help me through the enrollment process?

Yes, university offices remain open and our admissions staff is available to answer your questions about any impact the pandemic may have on the enrollment process.

If you have concerns about meeting application or deposit deadlines, please don't hesitate to call us at 563-333-6300 or email

International and Study Abroad

International Students and Families

St. Ambrose University has decided to suspend face-to-face classes through May 8, 2020. Please note that classes are NOT being canceled, but moved to distance delivery. 

As international students, I am sure you have some unique concerns about how this will affect you. Therefore, I would like to provide some important information relevant to your situation.

ON CAMPUS HOUSING: If you are currently living on campus, you may remain in campus housing during this time.

VISA COMPLIANCE: Temporary online or distance learning will be allowed for international students. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently allowing students on a non-immigrant visa (F-1 and J-1) to be fully enrolled in classes with no face-to-face instruction if the school you are attending has made that decision. I will be sending a report to DHS notifying them that St. Ambrose University has decided to continue classes using remote instruction beginning immediately. We expect to revert to face-to-face instruction on or about March 30, 2020, but that will certainly depend on the circumstances.

MANDATORY REPORTING: It is important that international students maintain their nonimmigrant student status, even during emergency events. This means international students must continue to take all the necessary actions to remain in status, to the extent possible under the circumstances, and communicate with their designated school official (DSO) about the emergency plans on their campus, including any changes to their address.

International Student Location Reporting Form

KEEP UP WITH YOUR STUDIES: Be on the lookout for communications from your faculty members, and contact your faculty member directly if you are having challenges accessing information and materials related to your course. It is important to continue your studies during this time!

BE CAUTIOUS TRAVELING: Traveling outside the US is NOT advisable at this time because it MAY affect your visa status. Traveling in the U.S. is also not advisable at this time.

If you have any questions about this temporary situation, please do not hesitate to contact Cathy Toohey or Sumita Amrik. We are here to help you!

Study Abroad Students and Families

Below is part of an email to sent to all Study Abroad students and families.

March 16, 2020

In response to the expanding global disruption caused by the spread of COVID-19, St. Ambrose University has been continuously assessing and reassessing risk at all SAU worldwide locations.

Uncertainty around travel restrictions has increased significantly across the globe in the last 48 hours. Since the response to the global pandemic has become increasingly unpredictable, ALL SAU study abroad programs are suspended with immediate effect.

We know that, for some, this end to ambiguity will come as a relief, and that for others this will be truly awful news. We, too, are disappointed that this semester must be cut short in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must put the safety and wellbeing of our students above all other concerns, and we believe that this is the best path forward at this time.

As travel restrictions continue to increase we strongly urge you to leave immediately. If travel restrictions are applied to your specific region, please note that previous restrictions have not applied to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or their immediate family members. Flight availability may diminish in the coming days; do not delay in making the swiftest possible departure arrangement. There is the potential for more restrictive quarantine measures during enhanced screening on arrival at U.S. ports of entry.

Visit the Department of Homeland Security website for the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.

Our approach has been to monitor the increase in confirmed cases and then use our best judgment when determining whether or not to recall students.

We understand that this decision to return home will likely cause distress and disruption. Please know that St. Ambrose University is here to support you through this transition and we are here to lend our support and assistance. Additional details concerning recoverable program costs and contingency plans to complete the academic coursework will be forthcoming, but we wanted to promptly communicate this information to you as you prepare for your return.

If you have an emergency while abroad that requires St. Ambrose University assistance, contact the 24/7 Campus Security Emergency number: +1-563-333-6104.

Health Services

For Authorized, On-Campus Students

How SAU Health Services is Helping
Health Services has implemented a triage process for assistance with your health needs. Your safety and well-being continue to be a priority, however walk-in appointments are no longer available.

Instead, follow these steps:

  • Email Nurse Nancy or call 563-333-6423. Provide information if you need to schedule an appointment for an illness or injury. If you need to be seen for an injury or non-respiratory illness, we will schedule an appointment for you to come to the Health Service for assessment.
  • If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever), you will be asked to schedule an appointment via WebEx for a face-to-face conversation with me online. The conversation will be between only you and myself to protect your privacy. Your response to questions will determine whether you can be seen in the Health Service or need to be referred to your healthcare provider or urgent care center. You will be instructed to call prior to visiting those resources.

We acknowledge this situation can cause you concern but know we will continue to monitor this health issue and comply with best practices to ensure the safety and well-being of our campus community.

Nancy Hines, RN, BSN, MS
Director, Health Services

Residence Life

Housing and Meal Information

St. Ambrose University Residence Halls and University Owned Houses and Townhouses are closed to unauthorized students through May 8, 2020.

Residence Life/Housing/Move Out questions are all located on the FAQ page.

For specific housing questions, please email Information regarding Housing Processes for next year are pending.

GENERAL COVID-19 Questions

What is the Coronavirus?

2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus has now been detected in multiple locations internationally, including in the United States.

Current data for COVID-19 suggests that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic (without symptoms) and most of the persons who become ill completely recover within 2 weeks. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Those most at risk of the virus are older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

Prevention of COVID-19 is the same as that for other respiratory illnesses (such as influenza). Remember to cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow; clean your hands frequently with soap and water; and contain germs by staying home when ill.

  • While you are at home, please take the time to prepare for COVID-19 in the same way you would prepare for other events that could disrupt your normal routine.
  • Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What will you do if you cannot go to work or school because of illness? How will you get groceries if you become ill?
  • Purchase a thermometer and keep in your residence to check your temperature if you become ill.
  • Purchase and keep over-the-counter medications in your residence to provide relief from your symptoms.
  • If possible, have hand sanitizer available in your backpack and disinfectant wipes in your residence that you can use to clean hands and wipe down surfaces.
  • Bring non-perishable food and beverages back with you to campus, which can be stored in your residence in the event you become ill and unable to leave.
  • Do not return to campus if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Contact your health care provider to determine if you need testing and for instructions to care for yourself at home. Contact your professors to inform them you are absent due to illness and obtain assignments that can be done from your residence.
Who should self-isolate?

Iowa Dept. of Public Health Isolation Guidance for lowans
Updated 03/22/2020

COVID-19 is circulating in lowa communities and many more lowans are likely to become ill in the coming weeks. This guidance describes isolation recommendations for well lowans with potential COVID-19 exposure and lowans who are ill with fever or respiratory symptoms (such as cough or difficulty breathing).

Isolation recommendations for well lowans with potential COVID-19 exposure:

lowans should stay at home and isolate themselves from other people and animals in the home in the following situations. Isolation should be in place for 14 days after the last exposure.

  • Traveled outside of lowa for business or vacation in the last 14 days.
  • Taken a cruise anywhere in the world in the last 14 days.
  • Live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.

Isolation recommendations for lowans with fever or respiratory symptoms (such as cough or difficulty breathing):

Approximately 80% of lowans infected with COVID-19 will experience only a mild to moderate illness. Most mildly ill lowans do not need to go to their healthcare provider or be tested to confirm they have COVID-19. Sick lowans must stay home and isolate themselves from others in their house.

Stay home and isolate from others in the house until:

• You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
• other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
• at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

If you think you may need healthcare, call first. Your provider can assess whether you need to be seen in the office or if you can recover at home. Also, there may be options for you to talk to a medical provider from home using technology.

How does this virus spread?

From person to person – within about 6 feet from each other – mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

The CDC is now reporting that the virus is beginning to spread within communities whose residents have not traveled to places with outbreaks nor been exposed to people with COVID-19 symptoms.

Updated March 18, 2020

What travel restrictions are currently in place?

All SAU students and employees who are outside the U.S. have been instructed to return home immediately. As of Mar. 16, all Study Abroad programs have been suspended.

Travel advisories are listed on the CDC Travel Health Notices web page.

Previous Campus Updates

March 29-April 3

March 31, 2020

Due to the current emergency with COVID-19, St. Ambrose University Residence Life would like to alleviate some of the possible economic stress our future students may be facing.

Effective immediately, we are implementing a change in our housing deposit (which normally requires a full $250 deposit with the initial contract). You will pay $100 when submitting your housing contract and Student Accounts will bill the additional $150 portion to your student account. If the contract is canceled by the student/purchaser by June 1, 2020, $75 of it will be refunded (minus a $25 processing fee).

We hope that you and your family are well, and we look forward to having you join our community in the Fall of 2020!

March 30, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, emergency legislation intended to meet urgent public health and economic needs during the pandemic.

The CARES Act includes several provisions that apply to certain loans owed by some federal student loan borrowers. Most provisions apply only to Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL loans) currently owned by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information and Q&A, please visit the federal student aid page.

March 23-27

March 27, 2020

Due to ongoing concerns posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Ambrose University's Spring 2020 Commencement ceremonies will not be held in-person on May 9, 2020.

Read the announcement sent to students and families by President Joan Lescinski, PhD, CSJ

Read the Commencement FAQ

Mar. 25, 2020

From the Iowa Dept. of Public Health: COVID-19 is circulating in lowa communities, and many more lowans are likely to become ill in the coming weeks. This guidance describes isolation recommendations for well lowans with potential COVID-19 exposure and lowans who have a fever or respiratory symptoms (such as cough or difficulty breathing).

Please scroll up to "Who should self-isolate?" to read this important guidance.

March 16-20

Mar. 20, 2020

Order for Illinois Residents to Shelter in Place:
What you can and can't do during Shelter in Place

Portion of 3/20/20 Email Sent to SAU Residents:
As you have heard, St. Ambrose University will be moving to distance learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

Our goal is to facilitate an orderly checkout process that adheres to social distancing guidelines by limiting the number of people on campus.

Please read the FAQ page for Moving Out instructions and before calling or emailing.

Mar. 19, 2020

Due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, St. Ambrose University announced courses will continue in a distance-delivery format through the end of spring semester, May 8, 2020. Classes are NOT canceled.

An announcement from the University about Spring Commencement ceremonies is pending.

We will be confirming details with students and families very soon regarding the timeline and process for returning to campus to pick-up personal belongings (in addition to other details and logistics connected with this new direction).

The University began the distance-delivery-only format on Monday, March 16, at the conclusion of its mid-semester spring break. Face-to-face classes tentatively were scheduled to resume on March 30, but the continued escalation of the Coronavirus pandemic led to Thursday's decision.

"We know this is truly disappointing for our students, as it is for the entire St. Ambrose community," said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, president of St. Ambrose. "These are decisions virtually no one in the U.S. higher education community previously has been forced to make. Like many other institutions, we will follow directives from health professionals and governmental agencies to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff."

Campus offices will remain open to staff and faculty, and students who do not have alternative housing or have a demonstrated academic need will be allowed to continue living in their residence hall.

All University events are canceled through May 8.

March 17, 2020

sister joan

St. Ambrose University President Joan Lescinski, PhD, CSJ, recorded a video message for students, parents, and the campus community.


Mar. 16, 2020

Today, Monday, March 16, we begin the practice of distance delivery of St. Ambrose University courses for a period of two weeks. Instructors are reaching out with instructions for how students can access their coursework and complete their assignments.

We ask that you practice patience and be understanding as, like you, our faculty members adjust to this unanticipated and unprecedented change. We are mindful of your questions and concerns that events may force us to extend this practice beyond our scheduled re-opening of face-to-face classes on March 30.

University leaders are meeting at least daily to re-assess and give careful consideration to the current timeline. The President and the Cabinet anticipate making a decision on a potential extension of the current policy by Monday, March 23. The timeline for this decision could be advanced, pending events and government recommendations and mandates.

All decisions will be made in the best interests of our students, their families and the St. Ambrose University community.

March 9-13

Mar. 13, 2020

Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across our country and now with confirmed cases in Iowa, SAU classes will be offered online beginning Monday, March 16.

Residence Halls and University Owned Houses and Townhouses will be closed at 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 16. Only students who have no alternative housing or have a demonstrated academic need to remain - student teaching, clinicals, or internship - will be allowed to return to their campus residence.

Mar. 12, 2020 St. Ambrose Moves to Distance Education Only

Given the growing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Ambrose University has determined that it is in the best interest of our students, university employees, and all concerned, to suspend face-to-face classes immediately and move to distance delivery through at least March 29.

Changes to this schedule will be announced as quickly as possible should evidence support an extension.

Residence Halls will be closed after 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 16, with exceptions for students who have no alternative housing or have a demonstrated academic need to remain. Arrangements for modified food service and other essential services for students remaining on campus will be announced. Students will be asked to file a form requesting on-campus housing for this period. A form will be posted here later today.

All University events scheduled for March 14-29 will be postponed. This includes athletic events, home and away.

Campus operations are not suspended and offices will remain open.

Mar. 11, 2020

Should the need arise to move classes online and/or close campus, St. Ambrose has contingency plans in place to provide distance education where feasible for our students.

University officials are monitoring this fast-changing situation closely and will continue to be in communication with students, parents, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

We are prepared to take action as necessary to keep our students and everyone within the SAU community as safe as we possibly can.

Mar. 10, 2020

On Mar. 10, the SAU Campus Community and parents received the following message from SAU Director of Health Services, Nancy Hines, RNMembers of our community will soon return to campus from various locations as a result of our spring break. Since the health and safety of our campus community remains a priority, I am writing to provide you with an update on the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and our local health department are closely monitoring the situation and report the overall risk to Iowans remains low right now.

Current data for COVID-19 suggests that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic (without symptoms) and most people who become ill completely recover within 2 weeks. People of all ages can be infected by COVID-19, but older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Please take the time to prepare for COVID-19 in the same way you would prepare for other events that could disrupt your normal routine.

· Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? Or your daycare provider became ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? 
· Prevention of COVID-19 is the same as that for other respiratory illnesses (such as influenza). Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow, clean your hands frequently with soap and water, and contain germs by staying home when ill. 
· Keep over-the-counter medications in your residence to provide relief from your symptoms.
 · Have hand sanitizer available in your backpack to clean hands and disinfectant wipes in your residence to wipe down surfaces. 
· Non-perishable food and beverages can be stored in your residence in the event you become ill and unable to leave.

March 6

Mar. 6, 2020
Here is the latest information from our public health professionals on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This page will be updated weekly.

Cases continue to be identified internationally and in the U.S. with numbers changing daily as the disease continues to spread. The Iowa and Illinois Departments of Public Health (IDPH) are working with federal, state and local public health and clinical partners to share information. There continues to be no confirmed cases in Iowa and Illinois had 2 confirmed cases but these individuals fully recovered. There is person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in the U.S but the immediate health risk remains low. This could change dependent upon the spread of this virus. Remember that we are in flu season and flu activity in the United States remains widespread and high at this time. The prevention measures of Influenza and COVID-19 are the same. This is also Spring Break season and individuals will be traveling, so be mindful of how quickly illness can spread and take precautions to protect yourself.

These strategies reduce your risk for exposure:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Do not attend classes, go to work or participate in extracurricular activities if you have a fever. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Clean your room regularly. Disinfect surfaces such as keyboards, counters, door handles to reduce your exposure to germs.
  • Don't share food and drinks.
  • Don't smoke or vape.
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.

You can connect to updated information from the IDPH and the CDC by visiting Scott County Health Department (SCHD) Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage and SCHD Facebook page. This is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 website. If you are traveling outside the country, visit the websites of the CDC, the US State Department, and/or WHO for travel warnings and alerts. Please inform the health service and Education Abroad Coordinator if you're traveling to those areas that contain warnings and alerts.

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!