Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains frequently asked questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic affects students and employees at SAU.

 Please scroll down for the FAQ section.

COVID-19 Resources

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 getting tested for COVID-19 can visit 
  • 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, your symptoms have improved, AND it's been 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • 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.

Public Health Video
Misinformation About COVID-19

There's lots of misinformation about COVID-19. Professors in the SAU Master of Public Health program settle the rumors.


What are the new dates for beginning and ending classes?

The first day of classes for the Fall 2020 semester is Monday, August 17.

The last day of in-person classes for most students will be November 24.

This paragraph updated 6/16/20: Faculty will have the option of 1) providing a face-to-face finals experience using regularly scheduled class time through November 24, or 2) holding a virtual session during the week of November 30-December 4 at a time identified by the Registrar (if synchronous).

This revised fall schedule means classrooms and residence halls will close from Thanksgiving (November 26) through mid-January, a time when health experts predict a potential "second wave" of COVID-19.

The Registrar's Office will release in late June an adjusted Fall 2020 academic calendar that includes final exam dates and times.

Decisions about Spring 2021 will be made this fall.

How will classrooms and schedules be arranged to abide by social distancing guidelines?

The university will soon introduce a course schedule that will foster social distancing.

Students and university employees will be asked to commit to a list of steps and precautions that will limit the likelihood of infection and spread of the virus. The university is working with an architectural firm and office furniture vendor to develop room configurations that accommodate social distance requirements.

The schedule may require some classes to operate using a hybrid model that maximizes face-to-face interactions, with some material delivered online.

Students in lab or experiential courses will receive additional social distancing instructions from their professors.

When and how will we receive more details about the August return to campus?

The university will provide additional details later this month or when available on the process of returning to campus through online forums for students and their families, and for faculty and staff.

Regular communication about plans and details will be available via this website and SAU email throughout the summer.

Fall 2020 Student Forums
Students will receive an email containing a Webex link to join their respective forum.

Graduate students - Monday, June 29, 6-7 p.m.
International students - Tuesday, June 30, 3-4 p.m.
Returning students (two forums) -Tuesday, June 30, 6 to 7 p.m., and Wednesday, July 1, 10-11 a.m.
Incoming first-year and transfer students - Wednesday, July 1, 1-2 p.m.

When is Winter 2020 Commencement?

Winter 2020 Commencement exercises are scheduled for Dec. 19.

SAU Administration has not yet determined whether the ceremony will be conducted in-person. This fall, a decision will be communicated to the campus community.

Housing and Meals

When and how can students move back to campus?

Residence Halls will open at near-capacity with new cleaning and disinfecting practices and protocols in place.

Move-in days for the residence halls are Aug. 15 and 16.

Early Move-in for Fall athletes, student leaders, and student employees is Aug. 7, Aug. 9, and Aug. 12.

Please note that in an effort to limit the number of people gathered, student athletes will not be available to assist students.

The Residence Life staff is currently working on logistical details of the move-in dates that will be communicated as soon as it is completed.

Who is allowed to help students move?

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, each student may bring two people with them to help move.

Will there be any changes to how students receive their meals?

This fall, typical buffet-style dining and self-serve methods won't be available.

Instead, servers will place food selections on dishes and hand them to diners.
We are currently analyzing the best way to serve meals that will accommodate social distancing and help to limit spread via surface contact.

As always, students may eat meals in the cafeteria or take meals in to-go containers.

Public Health

What public health protocols is the University implementing for Fall 2020?

To ensure the health and safety of students and employees, St. Ambrose University will follow safety recommendations outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as from state and regional health officials.

These will include:

  • maintaining social distance of 6 feet wherever possible;
  • requiring masks and face shields and other personal protection equipment, as necessary, in classrooms and group gatherings on campus;
  • requiring daily symptom monitoring for students and employees by responding to questions and self-temperature check via mobile device or computer before reporting to work or class;
  • referrals for testing and contact tracing of potentially COVID-19-infected students or employees when recommended by partnering health professionals;
  • disinfecting classrooms and enlisting necessary hygiene and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus;
  • and requiring vendors and campus visitors to first check-in at the Security Office through a process that will include a health screening and temperature check.
Will students, faculty, and staff be required to wear or bring their own mask?

The CDC suggests that students and employees use a cloth face covering when in public such as attending class, in common areas, and at events. See CDC information about cloth face coverings

Students, faculty, and staff are expected to provide face coverings and they will be also available in the book store.

How can students and employees report possible COVID-19 exposure or symptoms?

Before attending class or reporting for work, students and employees will use the HealthCheck 360 Tracker on a daily basis. Users have the choice to receive daily screening reminders via phone or email.

The tracker will ask a few questions and require a self-temperature check to ensure that they are asymptomatic and won't inadvertently spread COVID-19.

Instructions will be sent this summer on how to register for the HealthCheck360 Tracker.

What should students bring to campus to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Students should bring face masks, a thermometer, disinfectant wipes/spray, and hand sanitizer. Read more about what to bring this fall on the Health Services' page, "Preparing for College."

Meal delivery will be available to students living in a residence hall in the event they are exposed to the virus and must self-isolate. Upon a positive COVID test the student will be given instructions on how to isolate in a specified room on campus or another location. Please see the section, Isolation Protocol for Sick Students.

Where can students find assistance for COVID-19 concerns?

SAU employs a full-time registered nurse, Nancy Hines. Nurse Nancy provides free, confidential care and referrals and can assess when students need to see a physician for severe symptoms. Students may also access publicly available sites and other resources available to them.

What if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

For students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and don't have permanent housing or cannot return home and isolate, a section of housing will be reserved for the duration of their illness (approximately 14 days).

Please see the section below, Isolation Protocol for Sick Students.

What if a student is considered high-risk or frequently in contact with someone considered high-risk for COVID-19? Will this population of students be allowed to do distance learning for Fall 2020?

Any student can enroll in distance-only courses this fall and work toward their degree off-campus.

However, not every course is fully available using distance learning formats and not every course required for degree completion may be available in Fall 2020 via distance learning. We will provide advising resources for students to work on a plan for ensuring progress toward timely completion of a degree.

Students who would prefer not to return to campus should work through their advisor or the Academic Advising Office to schedule classes that meet their needs.

Isolation Protocol for Sick Students

Based on currently available information and recommendations, students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate themselves in a specified single room on campus. See the University Health Services page for additional information.

Meal delivery and campus assistance will be available in such cases.


When will practices and games resume?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has implemented a "Return to Play Threshold": Before the season begins for each National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) participating school, the local authorities of each school must first give clearance. When half of NAIA programs gain clearance, then the season can begin. For example, NAIA football has 95 participating institutions. When half (47) of these programs gain clearance from authorities to play, the NAIA football season will be authorized to begin.

The NAIA has made the following rulings in a June 4 email to member schools:

  • Practices for all sports may resume Aug. 15.
  • Competition for all sports begins Sept. 5; football games begin Sept. 12.
Since it will be a shorter season, will athletes play fewer games?

The NAIA approved reducing the maximum number of contests for these fall sports:

  • Cross Country: 7 meets (down from 8)
  • Football: 9 games (down from 11)
  • Men's and Women's Soccer: 14 games (down from 18)
  • Women's Volleyball: 22 dates (down from 28)
Are there additional guidelines regarding national championships for each sport?

Currently, the NAIA intends to host all fall national championship events as currently scheduled. Obviously we cannot predict what will happen in the next six months, but we are optimistic that the championships will be hosted as planned.

What if a student-athlete contracts COVID-19 during the season?

Various options for health and safety protocols - including testing and screening - are being examined by the NAIA. Decisions related to these areas will be shared when available.

Will fans be allowed at football games or other outdoor athletic events this fall?

SAU Administration still is determining whether it will be safe for spectators to gather and attend outdoor games.

What decisions has the NAIA made about winter sports?

At this time, there are no planned changes for winter sports. The NAIA will soon begin to evaluate the possible impact of COVID-19 on the winter season and then prioritize decisions to help member institutions prepare for possible adjustments, if necessary.

Visiting Campus

SAU Visitor Policy

Vendors and general campus visitors will be required to check-in first at the Security Office where they will have a brief health screening and temperature check.

The Galvin Fine Arts Center also will conduct screenings for events visitors. The Admissions and Welcome Center will screen prospective students and family members.

St. Ambrose University Visitor Policy

The ongoing safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains St. Ambrose University's primary focus. To support the best safety for students, faculty, and staff, the University is restricting nonessential visitors on campuses until further notice. For business-critical visits (e.g., student visits, material deliveries), the following steps will be required to safeguard employees and visitors:

  • All visitors must check-in and complete a screening assessment and limit interaction with students and employees.
  • All visitors must practice social distancing, wear face coverings when appropriate, and adhere to good hygiene while on-site.
  • There will be three check-in locations: Admissions, Rogalski Center, and Galvin Fine Arts.
How does the campus opening for academics and sports affect Fall campus events?

University events will resume as appropriate and when 6-feet of physical distance or other recommendations can be accomplished.

All Fall 2020 events open to the public will be listed at and for Alumni events, visit Information on appropriate precautions to limit potential spread of infection will be listed for each event.

Homecoming and other public events are currently being evaluated to determine how they will proceed in a manner that helps to ensure the health and safety of participants.

Will non-SAU college students be allowed to visit their SAU friends on campus?

No. Unless they are invited to campus for an academic and/or athletic event, non-SAU students are not allowed on campus until further notice; this includes overnight visits.

What's Open On Campus?

Open Offices

Open and available during regular business hours (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday)

Academic Advising – Available by phone, email, and WebEx. No in-person or walk-in appointments. Email
Admissions and Welcome Center – 
No on-campus visits. Admissions Counselors are available through by phone, email, online chat, and WebEx.
Campus Ministry – Available by phone, email, and WebEx.
Career Center – Students may call to set up WebEx or phone meetings as needed. No in-person meetings or walk-in hours.
Cosgrove Dining Hall – Students authorized to stay on campus will receive take-out meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Please see "Meal Service" above.
Cosgrove Computer Lab – Open to all SAU students, 24/7
Counseling Center – Maintaining current office appointments and via TAO Connect. After-hours: Call the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Dean of Students
Health ServicesCall first to schedule an appointment.
Post Office/Mail Room

  • All offices and individuals will need to pick up their mail from their mailbox at the campus post office.
  • To conform to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, please use your mailbox combination to retrieve your mail rather than asking for your mail at the front desk.
  • If you don't know the box number or combination, email, and Kelly will provide that information as time permits.
  • The Post Office will be closed Noon-12:30 p.m. daily.
  • If you need a package forwarded to you please call Mail Services (563) 333-6000 or email

Residence Life – Students may call the office to set up WebEx or telephone meetings as needed.
Security - Responding to campus needs and doing regular walk-throughs on campus in the residence halls (which will remain locked and accessible only with BeeCard for authorized students). 
Student Activities
 – Student organization/club meetings are being held online.
Wellness and Recreation Center – Open beginning June 1 to students, faculty, and staff with the following rules:

  • Open areas: weight room, cardio room, and fieldhouse. Lee Lohman remains closed.
  • Open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Access by BeeCard only
  • 33% capacity in each area. Student employees will be directed to keep people spaced appropriately and to keep capacity under 33%; please be cooperative with their directives. (Beginning July 1, the WRC will be open to 75% capacity.)
  • Limit your workouts to one hour, so that everyone who wants to take advantage of the facilities may do so.
  • If you are working out and see people outside of the facility waiting to use it, please be courteous to others and complete your workout in a timely manner.
Closed/No Access

Academic Buildings

  • Ambrose Hall - 3rd and 4th floors
  • Center for Health Sciences Education
  • Center for Communication and Social Development
  • Galvin Fine Arts Center
  • Hayes Hall
  • Lewis Hall
  • McCarthy Hall
  • McMullen Hall
  • North Davenport Education Center

Ambrose Dome
Children's Campus
St. Vincent Athletics Complex

The building is closed as of 5 p.m. 3/20/20. Staff will continue to work in the building to provide support in any way possible. See resources on the Library's Facebook page.

Library personnel will be able to answer questions, research information, scan documents and deliver them digitally, create LibGuides for your classes, and provide links to information.

Library materials can be returned via the book drop near the front door. Call and ask for an extension if you'd like to keep something longer. More information about services can be found on Libguides.

Library: 333-6245,, or online chat.
IT Office: 333-6368,
CIDT Office: 333-6039, or individual staff members with questions

Financial Aid

How does the CARES Act impact my student loans?

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 a helpful Q&A, visit the federal student aid page.

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 World Health Organization named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Current data for COVID-19 suggests that the majority 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.

Visit the CDC or WHO websites for complete and current information about COVID-19.


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