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 students do if they fall ill and suspect coronavirus?

If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you should self-isolate and contact Security at (507) 222-4444.

Next, you should contact a healthcare provider. Locally, you can:

  • Call the Northfield Clinic during regular business hours at (507) 646-1494. A triage nurse will discuss your symptoms and determine the best location if you need to be seen.
  • Take the Allina Health COVID-19 screening for free online. If an online visit is advised and you elect to participate, a fee will apply.

For after-hours support, call the Northfield Hospital Emergency Room at (507) 646-1100. If you need emergency medical care, call 911.

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 for 14 days 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 self-quarantine period, you should stay home, take your temperature twice a day, 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 7 days after the onset of your illness, or for 72 hours after resolution of the fever, whichever is longer.

Do I need to wear a mask to keep myself healthy?

The CDC has indicated that wearing face masks routinely is not recommended for people who are well. Washing your hands and avoiding touching your face are the most effective methods of illness prevention.

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. You may also call the Northfield Clinic’s coronavirus information hotline at (507) 646-1919.

Students Leaving Campus

If I leave campus for spring break, may I return for the beginning of Spring Term?

No, you may not return to campus if you travel for spring break.

What will happen to my belongings that were left on campus?

All items will be placed into campus storage for you. If you have questions, please contact Residence Life.

Is it OK for my car to stay on campus?

Yes. If you have a valid permit, your car may remain on campus.

How can I get my mail that is sent to my campus address while I’m away?

Mail Services will be forwarding First Class letter mail for students not on campus during the start of Spring Term to their home address listed with the college. Address updates may be made through Mail Services. Parcel notifications will be sent as normal. Please contact Mail Services if you need a parcel forwarded to a home address. You may be responsible for additional shipping costs.

I am facing a financial hardship. Can the college help me?

Yes. You may apply for emergency funding through the Dean of Students Office.

When should I plan to return to campus?

As noted in President Poskanzer’s March 12 message, we hope that students can return to campus and that we can resume face-to-face classes after midterm break on Tuesday, May 5.

Students Staying on Campus

Do I need to pack up my belongings?

No, you do not need to pack up your belongings at this time. 

Which campus services are available to me?

Over spring break (through April 5):

  • Burton Dining Hall is open with limited hours.
  • Sayles Cafe is open with limited hours through Friday, March 27, and will then close through April 5.
  • Medical and counseling telehealth appointments are available through SHAC.
  • Mail delivery on campus continues as usual.

The Rec Center is closed through April 5.

Gould Library is closed through April 5.

The Bookstore is closed to public access through April 6, but continues to take and fulfill online orders. Shipping is free, and online orders for students staying on campus can be picked up at Mail Services.

Decisions about available services for the first half of Spring Term will be made at a later date.

Am I allowed to go to the Twin Cities or elsewhere in the state and return to my on-campus residence?

We expect that you will remain on campus or in the surrounding community. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 remains our priority.

Am I permitted to have visitors in my on-campus residence?

No. We aim to limit the number of people on campus.

Academic Schedule & Courses

Will Spring Term be extended by one week?

No. We will complete the term as planned on June 8, including the final exam period.

When will my classes be held?

Faculty are designing courses so that much of the engagement can occur asynchronously. However, if faculty want to have required synchronous class meetings, those will be held during the scheduled course time block. Small group or one-on-one meetings for a course may take place outside of scheduled course time blocks.

How will time differences affect remote class times?

Faculty are designing courses so that much of the engagement can occur asynchronously in order to accommodate the many time zones in which students will be located. 

How will remote learning work for courses that cannot be moved to an online format, like science labs, physical education, and studio art?

Faculty will have all possible latitude in designing and delivering courses that allow them to meet their learning goals for students. Some courses may need to be canceled and replaced with alternatives more suitable to online delivery. These decisions are being made in conversation with departments and the Dean of the College Office.

Should I contact my faculty member about my Spring Term courses?

Please refrain from contacting faculty with questions about Spring Term courses at this time. Our faculty need time to re-evaluate their Spring Term course plans. More information will be forthcoming about your Spring Term courses after April 1.

How will I learn about changes to my courses?

If you are impacted by a course change, you will be contacted after April 1 by a department chair. Information about alternative courses that meet the desired requirements for graduation will be provided to you. Your advisor will also be notified about course changes.

Will my courses be offered pass/fail?

All of our academic expectations, procedures, and policies remain in place for Spring Term.

Will graduation requirements be adjusted in any way?

The College’s academic policies and procedures will continue to be enforced for Spring Term 2020. This also holds true for outstanding graduation requirements for twelfth-term seniors except for those who need only one P.E. course in order to graduate.

I only need one P.E. course in order to graduate. Do I need to register for Spring Term?

Because P.E. courses require individual feedback regarding correct technique to keep students safe, we are not attempting to offer these courses online. This graduation requirement will be waived for twelfth-term seniors whose only remaining requirement is one P.E. course.

What if I only have outstanding comps credit to complete in the spring?

For those students whose only remaining requirement for graduation is 3 or fewer credits of comps, you are not required to register for the 12-credit minimum. Instead, you may register only for your remaining credits and pay the $1,051 per-credit rate. Because this may have an impact on your federal financial aid eligibility or visa status, you should consult with Student Financial Services and the Office of International and Intercultural Life, as applicable. Students electing to limit their enrollment in this way also should not plan to return to campus when in-person classes resume in May.

I don’t have the ability to do remote learning at home. What should I do?

Information Technology Services is surveying students to determine needs and possible accommodations.

How can I get textbooks for my Spring Term classes?

You should order through the Bookstore website, as usual. Shipping is free, and online orders for students staying on campus can be picked up at Mail Services.

Will the Carleton Summer Liberal Arts Institute be offering AP Summer Institute workshops and pre-college academic programs for high school students this summer?  

Yes. We expect that these summer programs will continue as planned.

Financial Services & Student Employment

Will the College offer a tuition discount for Spring Term?

Tuition will not be discounted for Spring Term. The College is not closing, and faculty are working to provide an excellent academic experience for all students. Room and board, however, will be prorated for the time you spend on campus during the amended academic term. Student activity fees also will be reduced.

Will I owe less because of the changes in room and board charges and student activity fees?

Adjustments to room and board charges and student activity fees are in progress and will reduce the amount you owe for Spring Term. These adjustments may not yet be visible on your account.

  • If you are off campus for the first four weeks of the term and return for the last five weeks of the term, your Spring Term cost will be reduced by $2,499.
  • If you were permitted to stay on campus, your Spring Term cost will reduce by $544.

We’ve extended the due date for Spring Term fees as we address the situation, but families are encouraged to send their Spring Term tuition payment at this time. Should the adjustment to the room and board charges on your account create a credit balance, the credit can be applied to Fall Term 2020 or refunded upon request.

Will I receive less financial aid since I’m not on campus?

Even though there will be a reduction in the room and board charges and student activity fees for Spring Term, you will receive your full financial aid award. We know that families still incur costs when a student is at home, as well as unexpected expenses to get home. We are also sensitive to the fact that students who are no longer on campus will not be able to earn their full student employment award for Spring Term, thus incurring an additional financial burden. Considering these factors, we believe students should receive their full financial aid awards, despite owing less in room and board charges and student activity fees. 

Will my financial aid be delayed for next year?

We don’t anticipate any delays in the awarding or distribution of financial aid for the 2020-21 academic year. Nearly 60% of our returning students have already received their award for the upcoming academic year in the Round 1 financial aid award release. We continue to process and are still on track to release Round 2 awards by the end of May. While much of the financial aid application process can be completed online, the Student Financial Services Office remains available to answer your questions by phone or email.

During the first four weeks of Spring Term, what is happening with my student employment award?

Your student employment award, like your financial aid, will not change. Students who have remained on campus can arrange their work hours with their supervisor as normal or watch the Job Postings for opportunities.

If you are not living on campus during the first four weeks of term, some positions may allow you to work remotely. Please check with your supervisor to determine if this is an option.

Keep in mind that student employment wages are paid for hours worked. If you are concerned about your earnings and your tuition payment, please review the FAQ regarding revised room and board charges for spring term. Remember, you will receive a credit for your room and board charges during the period you are not on campus, which may compensate for any unearned wages.

Contact Student Financial Services if you have additional questions.

Can I keep my spring break student employment?

If you successfully petitioned to remain on campus, you may be able to keep your student employment assignment. Contact Student Financial Services for more information.

I have decided to graduate early.  What will happen to my financial aid and any payments already made for spring term?

If you are approved to graduate after Winter Term, all Spring Term aid will be canceled. If you had federal student loans, you will have exit counseling information sent to your home address. Please contact the Business Office about refunds of any payments.

What will happen to my aid if I take a leave of absence during Spring Term?

If you take a leave of absence, all aid for Spring Term will be canceled.  If you had federal loans, you will have exit counseling information sent to your home address.

Travel & Events

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

If you’ve traveled to a Level 3 location or anywhere in Europe, including the United Kingdom, you should not return to campus until 14 days after you returned. You should stay home, practice social distancing, and closely monitor your health. The CDC offers clear guidelines that you should follow.

If I leave campus for spring break, may I return for the beginning of Spring Term?

No, you may not return to campus if you travel for spring break.

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.

Is the College canceling all large events?

Yes. All large campus events scheduled to take place in the first half of Spring Term have been canceled. 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?

Effective Saturday, March 14, the Office of Admissions is suspending all visit programs and visits to campus at least through May 4, 2020. Accepted Student Days will not be held on campus in April as initially planned. We are looking into remote alternatives to provide admitted students with opportunities to experience Carleton.

Dining, Facilities & Other Services

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, we are:

  • Sanitizing throughout each meal period.
  • Changing service utensils every 30 minutes.
  • Requiring diners to wash their hands before entering food service.
  • Removing self-service stations, including the salad bar.
  • Allowing diners to swipe their own card.
  • Offering to-go containers.
  • Adjusting dining hall seating arrangements to support social distancing guidelines.

What are the dining hours for spring break?

Burton is open for brunch (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) and dinner (5-6:30 p.m.) through Sunday, April 5.

What are the dining hours for the first half of Spring Term?

Beginning Monday, April 6, Burton will be open 7:30-9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and 5-6:30 p.m.

Can I use my meal plan to dine at St. Olaf?

Not at this time. The meal plan reciprocity with St. Olaf will resume once we return to a normal academic cycle.

What changes have been made to building access?

Exterior doors on all campus buildings are locked. All faculty, staff and students need to utilize their OneCard to gain access. Students permitted to stay on campus will have 24/7 access to their residential hall. Students, faculty and staff will have access to all academic and administrative buildings Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and to Skinner Memorial Chapel from 5 a.m. to midnight daily. 

What extra measures are being taken to clean campus buildings?

Custodial Services will continue to clean and disinfect all public spaces daily in all buildings. Beginning Monday, March 23, Custodial Services is deep cleaning and disinfecting all vacant student housing.

Does the College have cleaning products that students can use?

Yes, all residential buildings have a supply of general cleaning supplies for student use.

Will campus computer labs be open?

No. All campus computer labs are closed at this time.

Has the Northfield Express Bus service changed?

As of March 28, Hiawathaland Transit will be suspending the Red/Blue Routes and the Express Route until April 10. Dial-a-Ride Service will still be available in Northfield, and OneCard will be accepted as payment.