We will continue to add additional FAQs to this page as they are developed.


What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever (100.4° F or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?

If you are experiencing a fever, cough and shortness of breath, or if you suspect you have been exposed to someone with coronavirus, you should call ahead to a healthcare clinic. Your healthcare professional will work with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Even if you don’t suspect coronavirus, particularly now, you should stay home if you have a cough, sore throat or fever. Report the illness and subsequent absence to your direct supervisor.

What happens if someone on campus gets diagnosed with COVID-19?

If a Carleton community member receives a lab-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and we need to take action, the Minnesota Department of Health will contact us with instructions on how to proceed. MDH will advise us on the College’s role and next steps we need to take. 

If a student living on campus receives a lab-confirmed or clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, we are prepared to move the student to a separate residence during the isolation period. 

If you have been told of a Carleton community member case of COVID-19 and are concerned about possible exposure, please consult the MDH website, call Security at (507) 222-4444 or submit a Community Concern form.

What is the difference between social distancing, self-quarantine and self-isolation?

Social distancing is the act of limiting your interactions with others. It includes not shaking hands, avoiding crowds, standing 6 feet from others, working remotely when possible, and staying home if you feel sick.

Self-quarantine is for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. You should self-quarantine if you have traveled to a high-risk area within the past 14 days or if you have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. During the 14-day self-quarantine period, you should stay home, take your temperature twice daily, and closely monitor yourself for signs of a respiratory illness.

Self-isolation is for people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been confirmed to have the virus. During self-isolation, you should stay home, avoid contact with others, and closely monitor your health.

If I’ve been sick, when can I stop self-isolating?

If you have been sick with respiratory symptoms or fever, you should self-isolate for 10 days after the onset of your illness. You can stop self-isolating after that 10-day period as long as you have been fever-free for 72 hours (without the use of medication) and your symptoms have improved.

Where can I find more resources?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health are the most up-to-date sources of information on the coronavirus outbreak.

Work Expectations

Do I need to wear a face covering when I’m on campus?

Following recommendations from the CDC and the State of Minnesota, the College strongly encourages people to wear a face coveringWearing a face covering is a courtesy that reduces the chance of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to someone else. It is not intended as a means of personal protection, and it does not negate social distancing guidelines.

If you need a face covering, you can make one from common household materials. The College has also received donations of homemade masks from generous community members. Donated masks can be picked up from the mail area in Sayles-Hill or the foyer of Hoppin House.

How do I practice social distancing while at work?

Social distancing is a powerful public health tool. Departments should be working to implement several social distancing strategies, such as:

  • Staff rotation: For offices that require an on-campus presence, we recommend staggering in-office and remote staff so those on campus can keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others. This will reduce the number of employees on campus and help limit potential exposure for those who must report to campus.
  • Essential meetings: Plan to use remote tools, such as Zoom or Google Meet, in place of in-person meetings.
  • State guidelines: While on campus, be aware of and practice strategies from the Minnesota Department of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19.

How long should I expect to work remotely?

We have encouraged all supervisors to permit their employees to work remotely as much as their job allows through at least the end of June. Until further notice, the one-day-per-week remote work limitation has been temporarily lifted, though we are asking all employees to complete a Remote Work Agreement to familiarize themselves with the remote work data security requirements like using our Virtual Private Network (VPN). For those offices that necessitate an on-campus presence, we suggest staggering department staffing and allowing employees to work remotely at least 50% of the time.

Due to the nature of their positions, some staff are not able to work remotely. However, having fewer regular staff on campus will help those staff maintain a ‘social distance’. We also encourage supervisors to consider schedule modifications to help reduce the number of individuals on campus at one time.

Human Resources has additional information on Remote Work During COVID-19.

Am I required to work remotely?

All employees who can work remotely should expect to do so through the end of June. Supporting the students on campus and the spring academic term requires that some work be performed on campus by essential employees.

What are the communications expectations for remote workers?

As outlined in the Remote Work Agreement, employees working remotely are expected to:   

  • Notify manger and coworkers of any temporary change in the posted remote work schedule
  • Be available to manager and coworkers by telephone and email during core hours
  • Return calls and emails in a timely manner
  • Fulfill required communication (such as daily contact) with manager
  • Forward office calls to the remote site
  • Meet additional expectations which may be set by supervisors

Will my pay be affected?

We expect all regular Carleton employees to continue to work their normally scheduled weekly hours at their regular rate of pay. Casual employees who work events or limited hours (i.e. sporting event time-keepers, evening building staff, etc.) will not be called to work if the event has been canceled or the building closed. Bon Appétit and Barnes & Noble employees should contact their respective employers for additional information.

Where can I find tips and tools for working remotely?

Both ITS and Human Resources have tips, tools, best practices, and professional development resources on working remotely. New information is regularly added.

How are Bon Appetit and Barnes & Noble taking care of their Carleton-based employees?

It is important to us that Carleton-based dining and bookstore workers, who are employed by Bon Appetit Management Company & Barnes and Noble, are also being taken care of at this time. We have worked closely with both companies, and it is our understanding that their employees will retain health coverage as well as income while they are placed on temporary, unpaid leave during Spring Term.

Importantly, we understand that unemployment insurance and the enhanced federal benefit of $600 per week will typically provide benefits to more than replace their regular wages through June. These employees will also retain their existing health coverage through their respective employers. Carleton has also chosen to provide additional funds that will enable both companies to pay returning workers a supplement to assist them with deferred healthcare premiums or other expenses. While this comes at an added cost to the College, we believe it is the right thing to do at this time.

Are there any considerations for new employees?

Human Resources will share this information with new employees before they arrive to campus. New employees will be expected to follow the same steps as current employees regarding COVID-19 precautions.


Do I need to use VPN while working remotely?

Yes, in all cases. VPN is Carleton’s secure way of effectively “wrapping” your off-campus network connection in a Carleton blanket, so to speak. It encrypts your network traffic, which protects all Carleton data and login credentials no matter where you are. There is a short installation process, and after that you simply turn it on or off.

When you are using the VPN, your computer is essentially on the Carleton network, much as if you were in your office. It is an easy-to-use solution that will give you, among other things, access to your network drives and library database resources. You can also use it to provide security when using non-secure networks, such as WiFi at home, in coffee shops, or libraries.

How do I print when I’m working remotely?

Printers are too delicate to be moved easily.  If you need to print from home, you can either send the job to a person in your office who is working on campus and have them print it for you, or you can print remotely using Webprint.

Will I be compensated for using my home internet while working remotely?

No. Employees are responsible for providing internet service at the remote work location.

I don’t have a home phone. Do I need to forward office calls to my cell phone?

It is expected that office calls will be forwarded to the remote site. If you don’t have a home phone, you should forward calls to your cell phone. Calls only need to be forwarded during regular office hours.

What if I don’t want people to have my personal cell phone number?

You are not required to share your personal cell phone number with callers. Callers should be directed to dial your office number. When returning calls using your personal phone, you can dial *67 prior to dialing the number to block caller ID. If needed, you can work a few hours each day from the office to return calls.

Illness & Time Off

Is the coronavirus screening covered by health insurance?

For those covered by Carleton’s health insurance plan, the coronavirus screening test will be covered at no out-of-pocket-cost for all employees and dependents. If you have other coverage, please contact your provider.

If I am self-quarantined due to risk of COVID-19, do I need to use sick accruals?

Employees who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19 should stay home, practice social distancing, and closely monitor their health. Employees may be able to work remotely during this time. Regular, benefits-eligible employees will not lose pay or accrued leave time for any absence related to their own or a household member’s COVID-19 quarantine or illness. Additional information will be provided on how to report and document COVID-19 related quarantines or illnesses.

If I become ill with COVID-19, do I need to use sick accruals?

Regular, benefits-eligible employees will not lose pay or accrued leave time for any absence related to a COVID-19 quarantine or illness. We have created a new leave code that will be activated after employees report their absence related to a COVID-19 illness or quarantine using this form. For other health-related absences, employees should follow regular procedures for using their standard sick time.

What if I need to care for a sick relative with COVID-19 symptoms?

Employees should stay home if a household member has developed symptoms of COVID-19. Employees may be able to work remotely during this time. Due to the proximity, the employee should assume they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and monitor their own symptoms. Regular, benefits-eligible employees will not lose pay or accrued leave time for any absence related to their own or a household member’s COVID-19 quarantine or illness.

How do I report an absence related to a COVID-19 quarantine or illness?

Employees should report their absence related to a COVID-19 illness or quarantine using this online form and to their supervisor directly.  Completing the form will prompt Human Resources to activate a new “Public Health Emergency” leave code and email instructions on how to access the new leave code.

What if schools are closed or I do not have childcare for another reason related to COVID-19?

Temporarily, employees will be allowed work remotely while caring for their children. If remote work is not feasible, employees can use accrued sick or other leave to care for their children if they lose childcare for a reason directly related to COVID-19. This includes absences due to K-12 school closings. Additionally, some employees may be able to adjust their work hours. Please contact Human Resources for additional information.

My childcare situation has changed. What do I need to know about my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

With a number of childcare closings, you may be unable to spend FSA funds as initially intended. While there is no new or altered IRS guidance related to changes in FSA regulations as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to modify your pre-tax election to support your needs at this time. Examples include:

  • Suspend your election: If your daycare has closed and is not billing you for services, you may consider suspending your election. Should you choose to do this, you may re-elect once your daycare services resume.
  • Modify your election:
    • You may increase or decrease your election if your daycare provider has adjusted their fee schedule during this time.
    • If a child is switched from a paid provider to “free care” (i.e. neighbor or relative) or no care. An election change should be permissible whenever there is a change in provider.
  • Add an election: Should your family needs require that you seek new provider services that have a cost, you may add an election. For example, you could consider hiring a babysitter to care for your children while you are working in your home. This will qualify so long as the babysitter is over the age of 19 and is not your spouse, the parent of the child, or anyone you can claim as a dependent on your tax returns.

Please visit optumbank.com for the latest developments and up-to-date information on regulation changes related to health care spending and savings accounts.

What considerations are being made for staff who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19?

No employee should have to risk their health to come to work. Whenever possible, employees with documented high-risk health conditions will be given the opportunity to work from home temporarily. For those who cannot perform their work from home, Human Resources will work with them and their supervisors to evaluate the request and explore accommodations.

What can I do to minimize the risk of spreading illness?

  • Stay at home if you are sick (with any illness, but especially if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, etc.);
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands;
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Where can I go for additional support?

We recognize this can be a very stressful time. The Employee Assistance Program is available to all employees by calling 1-866-326-7194 or visiting hpeap.com and entering “Carleton College.”

Travel, Meetings & Visitors

If I’ve recently traveled, when is it OK for me to return to campus?

If you’ve traveled internationally, you should not return to campus until 14 days after your return to the U.S. You should stay home, practice social distancing, and closely monitor your health. The CDC offers clear guidelines that you should follow.

I have upcoming personal travel plans. Will I be allowed to return to work when I get back?

We urge you to be judicious in making your personal travel plans and try to avoid all nonessential personal travel. Please stay current with the evolving recommendations and guidance from the MDH and CDC.

Employees who elect to proceed with their travel plans should understand that the COVID-19 situation is changing on a daily basis and it is possible that they will have difficulty returning to campus and may be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning.

I canceled my Carleton-sponsored travel, and the airline gave me a voucher for another flight. Do I need to repay the college?

If a ticket credit is issued instead of a refund, you should use that credit for future College-approved travel. If you wish to use the credit for personal travel, you may do so and reimburse the College for the portion of the new ticket that was covered by the credit. The cardholder should document the credit on their credit card statement.

What considerations should be taken when organizing a department or small group meeting?

We recommend teleconferencing or video conferencing using Zoom or Google Hangouts in favor of in-person meetings. For sessions that do occur in person, meeting organizers should choose a space large enough to allow for social distancing of at least 6 feet between attendees.

May job candidates come to campus for interviews?

No, beginning March 16, all interviews will be conducted virtually. Rare exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the divisional vice president, in consultation with Human Resources.

Is the College canceling all large events?

Yes. All large campus events have been canceled through the remainder of the fiscal year. We strongly discourage groups of people where it is not possible to maintain a social distance of approximately 6 feet.

Is the Office of Admissions still hosting campus visits and events?

The Office of Admissions has suspended all visit programs and visits to campus at this time. We are providing admitted students with other opportunities to experience Carleton.

Dining, Facilities & Other Services

What are the dining hours and options for Spring Term?

We’ve gone cashless to stop the spread of germs! Staff using Schillers receive 10% off in Sayles Cafe and 20% off in the dining hall.


  • Breakfast: 7:30-10 a.m. (Sayles; meal swipes will be accepted for hot breakfast)
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (LDC)
  • Dinner: 5-6:30 p.m. (LDC)

Saturday and Sunday

  • Brunch: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (LDC)
  • Dinner: 5-6:30 p.m. (LDC)

Sayles Cafe Hours
7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

Sayles Cafe Options
Hot breakfast and lunch offerings, as well as barista and grab-and-go. Meal swipes will be accepted for breakfast.

What is the College doing to limit the spread of germs in campus dining spaces?

Campus food handlers are specifically trained in proper safety and hygiene procedures. We follow all federal and state-level regulations. Additionally:

  • All diners are required to wash their hands before entering food service.
  • Pre-work temperature checks are being done for all dining managers and employees.
  • All dining staff members are wearing face masks and gloves during service periods when in contact with students and as their jobs safely allow.
  • All meals are available to go.
  • We are sanitizing throughout each meal period.
  • We are changing service utensils every 30 minutes.
  • Self-service stations have been removed, including the salad bar.
  • We have adjusted seating arrangements in the dining hall to support social distancing guidelines.
  • All diners are invited to swipe their own card.

What changes have been made to building access?

Exterior doors on all campus buildings are locked. Faculty, staff and students will need to utilize their OneCard to gain access. Faculty and staff will have 24/7 access to the building where their office is located.

Students permitted to stay on campus will have 24/7 access to their residential hall or residence. Access for on-campus students to additional campus spaces is as follows:

  • Arboretum, between dawn and dusk
  • Language and Dining Center, from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m., 7 days a week
  • Sayles Hill, from 7 a.m.–midnight, 7 days a week
  • Science Center and Weitz Center, atrium and study spaces only, 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • The Rec Center will remain closed until further notice.

What changes has Facilities implemented in response to Minnesota’s Stay at Home Order?

Facilities is reducing staff and will re-evaluate as needed as the governor’s orders change. This includes maintenance, custodial, grounds and administrative staff.

Maintenance has one person in each discipline on site each day (with the exception of painting) to perform essential services only. Others may be called in for emergency response. Our contracted movers have suspended services and no return date has been identified.

Custodial has suspended cleaning activities in unoccupied houses and buildings that have been closed by the College. Office cleaning has also been suspended. Daily cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms and student-occupied public spaces will continue.

The Facilities Office is minimally staffed at this time, mostly addressing access issues for contractors. You may continue to submit work requests, but those that aren’t urgent will be scheduled at a future time when staff levels return to normal. The Facilities Office is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30-4:30 p.m.

How do I ensure my campus work area and materials are properly sanitized? Can Custodial Services offer cleaning products or extra support?

Custodial Services uses commercial concentrated products that require additional safety training in order to use. If you have concerns about keeping your area or materials clean, please contact Custodial Services for support.

Will campus movers be on campus during this transitional time?

Moving services have been temporarily suspended. Please submit an online work request for moving services or contact Patti Sabrowski at psabrows@carleton.edu or (507) 222-4739 with questions.

Will campus mail continue to operate?

Mail Services will deliver to departments on campus once per day. Please contact mailservices@carleton.edu if you need to make arrangements for a particular delivery.

Innovative Office Solutions will be delivering all orders to Mail Services, which will then complete delivery.

Mail Services is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How can I purchase something from the Bookstore?

The Bookstore is closed to public access, but continues to take and fulfill online orders. Shipping is free, and online orders for those on campus can be picked up at Mail Services.