Dear Rio Family,

 As you are aware, state and local officials have taken additional steps in recent days in an effort to more aggressively attack the spread of COVID in communities. We have all watched the state and national numbers climb. At Rio, we have monitored these situations and continued almost daily contact with those health officials concerning the situation as it relates to Rio. 

 As the numbers in our area continue to increase, we must reevaluate what is best for our campus community.  We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students quarantined as a result of off-campus exposures in the past few days.  As a result of the impact the community spread is having on our campus and out of an abundance of caution to keep our students safe, we have made the difficult decision to convert all instruction to remote learning for the remainder of fall term.  This means that effective at 5 pm tomorrow, November 20, all face-to-face instruction will be suspended through the end of fall term. 

Campus operations and services, dining, and residential halls will remain open for the remainder of the term.  Please watch for follow-up emails from Student Affairs with important information regarding your classes, housing, finals week, and services available to you throughout this process.  Those individuals will be able to assist you with any questions or concerns you have.

 On behalf of the Rio family, I am so proud of how all of you have persevered during this term.  We have rallied during these stressful, emotional, and frankly, strange times.  Thank you for your part in making this semester a successful one.  I look forward to seeing all of you back on campus for our spring semester in January!

Most importantly, stay safe. Remember to wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands, and stay home when you can.  We know these things make a difference.

Together We Storm!

Ryan Smith, President

University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College

FAQ’s

Are facial coverings required on campus?

Yes, facial coverings are required at all times for students, employees, and visitors. Employees may remove their masks when alone in their office.

All students must also wear facial coverings while in congregate areas or in transition on campus.   A washable Rio Gaiter face covering will be provided for each employee and student.  In addition, disposable facial coverings are located in each building.

 

How will classes be different this fall as compared to last spring?

Rio has reviewed all classroom and lab space on campus. We have reconfigured each classroom (or marked seats to avoid in the case of labs and rooms with fixed seating) to include six feet of distance between students and faculty. Each room has a sign outside the door indicating its maximum COVID-19 capacity to ensure physical distancing.

 

How are classrooms being cleaned?

Each classroom is sprayed with Vital Oxide disinfectant immediately after class. The non-wipe product is safe for asthma and respiratory concerns, and disinfects against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

 

I was in contact with someone who was tested for COVID-19, should I quarantine?

If the person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and you had direct exposure (see direct exposure definition below) to the person within 48 hours of when they became symptomatic, you may choose to quarantine until test results are confirmed.   If the person was tested but experiencing no symptoms, you may continue on campus as normal but should consistently wear facial covering and practice social distancing and good hygiene.  If the you become symptomatic, immediately quarantine and could consider testing.

What is considered direct exposure?

The Gallia County Health Department defines direct exposure as at least 15 minutes of contact within 6 feet of an infected person with no facial covering. (Need more specifics, i.e., are both people wearing facial masks, the infected person, the non-infected person?)

An employee was spending time with a friend and that friend later found out they previously spent time with someone who tested positive. Should the employee quarantine and be tested?

Probably not. The Gallia County Health Department does not recommend quarantine or testing an asymptomatic person who has not been directly exposed (see definition above) to someone who has tested positive. The employee may continue to work on campus and should consistently wear facial covering and practice physical distancing and good hygiene. If the employee becomes symptomatic, they should immediately quarantine and may consider testing.

How long should someone who may be infected quarantine?

Local, State, and National (CDC) officials recommend 14 days. However, please remember that only a physician, another healthcare provider, or your local health department can require you to quarantine.

 

A student in my class has tested positive. Should everyone who has been in a classroom with that student, or who has met with that student, be quarantined?

It depends. The Gallia County Health Department will work with that student to trace their contacts and determine who could be at risk for exposure. Physical distancing and regular disinfecting of classrooms and office areas greatly reduces the risk of exposure. Only individuals who were within six feet of the infected person with no facial covering for more than 15 minutes is considered high risk of infection and should quarantine. Based on results of the contract tracing process, the Gallia County Health Department (or other health department for students not from Gallia County) will let anyone who came into contact with that student know if they should quarantine and/or any other steps they should take.

I see students gathering in the halls with no masks. What should I do?

You may remind students of the importance of physical distancing and wearing face coverings and that it is required for everyone on campus. Politely ask students to practice physical distancing.

Is six feet of social distancing enough?

Rio is working with and following local, state, and national health officials’ guidelines to mitigate risk of infection to employees and students. The current recommendation from those officials is six feet of physical distance to decrease risk of exposure.

Why is Rio not taking everyone’s temperature at the door?

Upon the advice of local health officials, Rio is asking all employees, students, and guests to take their temperature each day before coming to campus and closely monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms.  Unfortunately, fever is only one of several symptoms, and is not present with each positive case so is not a definitive indication someone is infected.

What will happen if a resident student tests positive for COVID-19?

Rio has designated Moulton Hall as an isolation dorm for any student who has tested positive.   Meals will be brought to students in isolation and they will not be permitted to have guest or leave the hall unless seeking medical attention.

If I get sick and have to miss class, will I fail my class?

Instructors will work with students who miss class due to exposure to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Any student who is experiencing symptoms should quarantine and contact the campus nurse at childers@rio.edu or 740-245-7389. They should also contact all of their instructors.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 on campus?

The University of Rio Grande will cover the cost of testing for students and employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Contact the Office of Student Affairs via phone or email for testing information. Employees and students may choose to be tested on their own, however local health officials recommend only the nasopharyngeal swab for accurate diagnosis of COVID-19.

 

How will classes be different this fall as compared to last spring?

Rio has reviewed all classroom and lab space on campus. We have reconfigured each classroom (or marked seats to avoid in the case of labs and rooms with fixed seating) to include six feet of distance between students and faculty. Each room has a sign outside the door indicating its maximum COVID-19 capacity to ensure physical distancing.

 

How are classrooms being cleaned?

Each classroom is sprayed with Vital Oxide disinfectant immediately after class. The non-wipe product is safe for asthma and respiratory concerns, and disinfects against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

I am living on campus; can I have my own room?

Yes, Rio has decided that all on campus residents will be assigned a single room. If a student wishes to have a roommate, they may complete a request form for a roommate and sign a waiver verifying he/she/they understand the additional risk associated with having a roommate.

 

How will dining be handled?

Dining services will continue, but with some adjustments. There will no longer be a self-serve option.  Students and guests of Hallmark will still enjoy all-you-can-eat dining, but all food will be served from the line by a Hallmark staff member.  In addition, physical distancing has been implemented for all seating, and additional outside seating will be available.

What should I do if I don’t feel well?

Commuter students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home. With the exception of medical care, we recommend you remain in your own home and away from others.  Contact your medical provider with any concerns you have. If you must miss class due to symptoms, contact your faculty member and notify the campus nurse.

Resident students should remain in their dorm room and contact the campus nurse at childers@rio.edu or 245-7389. He/she/they should not interact with other students or staff unless instructed to do so by the campus nurse. Contact your faculty member if you will be missing a class.

 

What will happen if a resident student tests positive for COVID-19?

Rio has designated Moulton Hall as an isolation dorm for any student who has tested positive.   Meals will be brought to students in isolation and they will not be permitted to have guest or leave the hall unless seeking medical attention.

If I get sick and have to miss class, will I fail my class?

Instructors will work with students who miss class due to exposure to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Any student who is experiencing symptoms should quarantine and contact the campus nurse at childers@rio.edu or 740-245-7389. They should also contact all of their instructors.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 on campus?

The University of Rio Grande will cover the cost of testing for students and employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  Contact the Office of Student Affairs via phone or email for testing information. Employees and students may choose to be tested on their own, however local health officials recommend only the nasopharyngeal swab for accurate diagnosis of COVID-19.

I prefer students to wear masks during my class.  If a student refuses, what do I do?

 Faculty have the right to set rules and regulations for their individual classroom.  If a student refuses to wear a mask after you have politely asked them to do so, you may ask the student to leave the class for that day.  You should follow up with the student individually and discuss your classroom policy so you can reach an agreement before the next class period.  As a reminder, masks are available in every building and should be in most classrooms.

One of my students emailed me and said they couldn’t come to class because they had a sore throat and fever.  Can I tell them they have to get tested before they can return to class?

If a student shares that they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, you can remind them that our campus nurse is available to help them navigate questions and concerns regarding the virus, and that we do have testing available for students with symptoms if they are interested.  Please refer any concerns to Marlene Childers, campus nurse by email childers@rio.edu and she will follow up with the student.

A student was coughing during class.  Should I ask them to leave?

 If you believe a student in your class is showing signs of illness, please have a private conversation with the student.  You may ask if they are ok and feeling well.  The student could be experiencing symptoms from other explainable ailments, such as allergies.  The Health Department encourages everyone to know their body and be aware of unexplainable symptoms related to COVID-19.

One of my students told me they were getting tested for COVID-19.  How do I know if that test is positive or negative before I let them return to class?

 If a student tells you they are being tested for COVID-19, please notify Health Services in the Student Affairs Office with the student’s name and student ID number.  The Student Affairs Office will work with local health officials and reach out to the student.  We can require a copy of a negative test result from a student before allowing them to return to campus.

A student told me they were exposed to COVID and asked what they should do.  What should I tell them?

 The local Health Department, through contract tracing, determines who has been exposed to an infected person (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes).   If someone believes they were exposed, but has not been contacted by the Health Department, they should contact their local Health Department and share that they believe they have been exposed.  The Health Department will determine the risk.

How do I know a quarantined or isolated student is allowed to return to class?

 If a student has been quarantined or isolated by a local Health Department, the student will receive an official release date.  Health Services in the Student Affairs Office will work with the student and local Health Department to receive a copy of that release before the student returns to campus.  Feel free to reach out to Health Services in the SA Office to confirm a student’s release date.

If a student in my class tests positive, will the entire class be quarantined?

 The Health Department determines who should be quarantined based on who had direct exposure to an infected person (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes).  Social distancing guidelines and masks requirements should dramatically mitigate the risk to others on campus.

Health Alerts

The Coronavirus and What You Need To Know – Officially Named COVID-19

The coronavirus has spread from Wuhan, China to other countries across the world.    The way that the coronavirus is spread is still being investigated.  It is thought to have come from animals at a market,  but it continues to spread from person to person.   Tracking the coronavirus is challenging as people are very mobile.  Symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough and shortness of breath.  These symptoms are believed to appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days.  While the risk of this virus is believed to be low to the United States, the flu, however, continues to remain high within the United States and being a threat to the very young and the elderly.

To keep healthy, it is important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing.  Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.  If soap is not readily available, use alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water. If you are sick, stay home; do not go to work or school. Seek medical attention if needed.

CARES ACT 

The University of Rio Grande has signed and returned to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement for the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act on April 15, 2020. The University of Rio Grande has recently received a total of $1,717,045 from CARES Act funding. 50% of the total funding will be distributed to students directly to be used as Emergency Financial Aid Grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The other 50% will be utilized to off-set costs experienced by the institution to develop and deliver immediate remote learning operations along with other operating expenses related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Based on the U.S. Department of Education guidelines of Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Rio Grande has identified 1073 students who are considered eligible to receive the student Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. In an effort to help the greatest number of students possible, URG has determined to distribute a portion of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to all students who are eligible as of May 1st, 2020.

Eligibility

The CARES Act requires students who receive the grants to meet Title IV federal financial aid eligibility requirements, as determined by a completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2019-20 academic year.

According to guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education, applicants also cannot have been enrolled in exclusively online programs for the spring 2020 semester before COVID-19 forced all classes online.

To be eligible for the grants, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Filed a FAFSA for the current 2019-2020 academic year;
  • Not enrolled in an exclusively online program for the spring 2020 semester before COVID-19;
  • Have a valid social security number;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • If male, be registered for U.S. Selective Service;
  • Have a high school diploma or GED or have completed high school in an approved homeschool setting;
  • Making satisfactory academic progress;
  • Not in default on a federal student loan; and
  • Have been enrolled at Rio Grande for the spring 2020 semester as an undergraduate or graduate degree-seeking student, and be enrolled in one or more classes creditable toward a degree.

Determining Award Amount

The proportionate share given to students is determined by a student’s financial need based on the 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

  • Students who qualify for 2019-2020 Federal Pell Grant funding will receive funding based on the number of hours the student is enrolled for Spring 2020 term.
  • Students who have a 2019-2020 EFC of 5575-50000 will receive $500
  • Students with a 2019-2020 EFC higher than 50000 will receive $250

The funds may be used to cover the following expenses:

  • Housing;
  • Food;
  • Utilities;
  • Course materials;
  • Child care;
  • Technology or other resources needed for online coursework;
  • Medical expenses (including additional support needed for accessibility purposes);
  • Travel or moving expenses for returning home due to the transition to online learning

The University of Rio Grande will not require an additional application to receive these funds. If students qualify based on the eligibility requirements above, they will receive a check in the mail for the amount determined using the above-mentioned method. Checks will be disbursed May 15th.

Please contact the Director of Financial Aid, Meghann Fraley for more information at mfraley@rio.edu.

Update March 22

Due to the rapid developments of Covid-19 and in keeping with the order of Governor DeWine for all residents to remain at home, we have decided to convert all campus operations, including all academic classes, to remote work until further notice.

We have taken steps to convert face-to-face courses to alternative delivery methods beginning April 6.. We believe we have developed a strong plan to meet the needs of our students. While we recognize there are many factors and several unique situations, this decision provides our students with a no-fail pathway.  Faculty will continue to work with students to assist them in the successful completion of courses.

The leadership team has developed a plan to convert necessary business operations to remote work. This includes working with staff and department leaders to determine those operations that can only happen on campus. The campus will be officially closed. Anyone who needs access to buildings must have prior permission from their supervisor to enter. During this time, campus police will continue to be on duty.

Our residence halls will be closed; however, we have a few students who are unable to return home and will remain on campus. We will continue to provide those resident students with meals and support. Director of Resident Life, Seth Lawrence will remain on campus and continue to assist those students.

We remain committed to our Rio family and are not considering any layoffs or furloughs at this time. We will continue to operate as much as we are able in a remote setting. Management will be working with staff as we plot the days, weeks and possibly months ahead. We ask for flexibility as we work in an unpredictable and changing environment.

These are stressful times so should you need to talk to a counselor, we have a telephone hotline available at 1-800-252-5554.  I am so proud of our Rio family for coming together and helping each other through this unprecedented time.  Your support, understanding, and patience do not go unnoticed.

An Important Message from the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College

Rio Grande is dedicated to the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community. We first wish to thank everyone for the patience and support during these unchartered times. Every decision we make is how can we support all of students and staff. Though there is no one size fits all solution, we have made the following decisions with the majority in mind and understand that some unique circumstances will need to be addressed with their resolutions.

  • We know for our graduates’ commencement plans are weighing heavy. At this time, we have decided to postpone commencement activities. Please know that this does not impact a students completion of work and graduation from Rio. We are only postponing the event that celebrates these accomplishments.
  • We are preparing a plan to return to limited on-campus operations on April 6. Computer access and Wi-Fi will be made available with restrictions on the number of students and locations. Please understand this is an uncertain prediction at this time.
  • Many of our resident students have inquired about refunds for the weeks out of the residence halls. We are discussing and will work through the details as the upcoming weeks unfold.

We are planning to complete the term on our regular schedule. All academic activity will resume Monday, April 6; however, we are planning for courses to be completed through alternative learning options. This means students will have a choice concerning how to receive the information needed to complete the coursework. All online and hybrid courses have continued and will continue as scheduled.

The best solution for most of our current face-to-face classes is to adopt an outcomes-based approach to finish the semester. This means if a student can pass a final exam/write a final paper/etc. that demonstrates understanding of the basic course outcomes of the class, then a grade for the class is earned. Again, this is not a solution for every classes. Professors are designing and communicating to students with certification or state-mandated requirements to continue with the information provided by specific governing bodies.

We have kept in mind those students who do not have the capability or want to complete courses online. For this reason, faculty will provide you the information you need to complete your final assessment in three different ways:

1. On Blackboard
2. As an email attachment to your student email
3. A printed course pack that can be picked up at one of our campuses.

These alternative delivery learning packets will be made available on April 6th. Blackboard and email attachments will be sent out at that time. If you have requested a printed copy, packet pick-up will be made available at specified locations during specific on the Main, Jackson and Meigs campuses.

We understand that, in many of your courses, this new outcomes-based approach puts additional pressure on one final assessment (as opposed to individually-graded activities and assignments) to determine final grades, but we believe that this approach will result in higher rates of completion for you. If you do not pass this final assessment, we have developed a failsafe option. Please stay in touch with your faculty and they can work with you on this option if necessary.

Rio will always remain committed to each of our students during this difficult time. We recognize that many of you may experience unemployment, food or housing insecurity, transportation issues, and the need for physical or mental wellbeing intervention. The Office of Student Affairs operates a food pantry on campus, available to all students. During our closure, it will operate every Monday from 10 am to 2 pm. For information on off-campus resources, please visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website for information on these and other concerns.

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