Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding NDSU’s COVID-19 planning and response. Ongoing updates related to COVID-19 planning and response will be shared with the NDSU community via email and will also be added to this webpage dedicated to information on the novel coronavirus.

What is COVID-19, how does it spread and how can you protect yourself?

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the name for the disease caused by the recent spread of a Novel Coronavirus.  Coronaviruses are a member of a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the current novel coronavirus which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, like the SARS or MERS viruses, cause serious infections like pneumonia. The name of this new virus is SARS-CoV-2; the disease caused by this virus is known as COVID-19.

How Does the Virus Spread?

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

How Can I Protect Myself?

  • 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.
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Put distance between yourself and other people, at least 6ft
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.
Can I still access counseling services?

Due to COVID-19 and NDSU moving to all on-line classes for the rest of the semester, changes are being made to Counseling Center services. 

The Center’s professional staff members will begin providing video counseling services for students as of Thursday, March 26th.  To schedule an appointment, students should call the Center (231-7671) and we will work to get the person scheduled to talk to a counselor as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about someone else and would like to consult about how best to help this person, call the Center (231-7671) and one of the staff members will discuss your concerns with you.

In an effort to practice healthy social distancing, the Center will not be open for face-to-face operations for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.  We will be providing video support for students and telephone consultation for concerns about others during this time period.

If a student is in crisis, call the Center and we will have someone speak with the person as soon as possible for a crisis appointment via telephone or video.  If help is needed outside of normal business hours, call the Center (231-7671) and FirstLink (the FM area 24-hour hotline) will answer the call and help deal with the situation (they can also contact the Center’s on-call counselor as needed).  FirstLink can also be contacted by dialing 2-1-1, calling 701-235-7335 or 1-800-273-8255.

Please take care of yourself and others by following the North Dakota Department of Health guide for COVID-19 prevention; this information can be found in the COVID-19 updates section of the NDSU web page.  General self-help information related to mental health concerns can also be found on the Counseling Center’s web site:

Can I still access Student Health Service?

Yes! Student Health Service, the campus clinic and pharmacy, is still open to serve your health care needs. We are still seeing students in person and are offering select appointments through the virtual option of telehealth. The pharmacy is open and able to serve students either in person or by mailing prescriptions. The mailing fee will be waived during the pandemic. Call the pharmacy if you have any questions at 701-231-7332.

Sexual Assault Prevention & Advocacy services are still available. To schedule a time to connect with the advocate in-person or via phone or video chat please email Learn more about campus services and how to support a survivor in your life by visiting

Phone 701-231-7331

What should I do if I am sick?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19 stay home except to get medical care. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs (trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face), or if you think it is an emergency call 9-1-1. Students with symptoms should call Student Health Service at (701) 231-7331. Faculty and staff should contact their primary healthcare provider.

What is NDSU doing to respond to COVID-19 and reduce the risk of exposure?

What is NDSU Doing to Respond to COVID-19?

  • Activating our Crisis Management Response Team, with representation from across campus that are monitoring the situation and preparing to respond to various scenarios. 
  • Staying in regular communication with state health officials. Regularly monitoring national and state organizations, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), North Dakota Department of Health and Fargo Cass Public Health. 
  • Monitoring and reacting to changes in travel recommendations from official government agencies.
  • Keeping our community informed by sharing best practices and expert guidance on public health infection control. 
  • For other questions, please contact

How is NDSU Reducing the Risk of Exposure?

We have established a crisis management response team responsible for preparing, monitoring and reacting to the spread of this disease.  The team is following the guidance of health officials to help in its efforts of preparation and response.  In messages to the campus community, we have provided information about the international COVID-19 outbreak and steps being taken along with recommendations on how to minimize the risk of acquiring infection for this as well as the common cold and influenza. The CDC also provides guidance on this topic at these sites:

Is funding available through the CARES Act?

Funding is available to students who qualify through the CARES Act Grant. For additional information visit:


On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed in to law.  This act included emergency funding to institutions of higher education, referred to as the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), providing students with emergency grants to offset unexpected expenses (including food, housing, technology, health care, child care and course related material) they may have incurred as campus operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1. North Dakota State University signed and returned the Certification and Agreement form on 04/21/2020 with the intent of using no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

2. The amount allocated to North Dakota State University in CARES Act Grant funds is $3,864,163.00. This amount is designated for emergency financial aid grants for students.

3. Of these funds, $2,806,297.58 has been disbursed to students as of May 14, 2020. Only Title IV federal financial aid eligible students can be awarded the CARES Act Grant Funds according to the US Department of Education. These students must have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file and be enrolled for Spring 2020 semester as of May 4, 2020.

4. There are an estimated 7,877 eligible undergraduate, professional and graduate students representing approximately 65% of the student population.

5. 7,877 students received CARES Act Grant funding under Section 18004 (a)(1) of CARES Act as of May 14, 2020.

6. NDSU must pay CARES Act grants directly to students and may not apply the grants toward any outstanding institutional charges.

Will campus facilities and services remain open?

Campus facilities will remain open as regularly scheduled to the best of their ability. Departments may change hours of operation due staffing availability and to accommodate remote working. Please contact departments directly. See March 21, 2020 update regarding operations. 

Wellness Center Update Hours

Memorial Union Update Hours

Dining Center Update Hours

Library Update Hours

How is the Exchange Visitor Program impacted?

While it continues to be difficult to obtain visas and travel during the pandemic, certain categories of Exchange Visitors are permitted to enter the United States at this time.

Currently, the only Exchange Visitor category at NDSU on which Proclamation 10052 has had impact is the Student Intern category.

However, Proclamation 9984 has had an impact on specific countries regardless of visa category.

We appreciate your understanding and recognize this may affect your research plans.  If you have a visitor in the aforementioned group, please contact them and postpone their appointment until at least June 1, 2020 -- recognizing that this date could also change depending on updated guidance from the federal and state authorities.   

It is important to clearly understand the implications of the Proclamations. For more information, please contact Tabitha Thomas and/or Deborah Maertens (International faculty and scholar advisors) at (701) 231-8052;; or

How are Study Abroad Programs impacted?

As of the 2020-21 academic year we are assisting students on an individual basis following the safety and entry requirements associated with each host country.

We anticipate a return to normal study abroad program for the 2021-22 academic year.

Does NDSU require I quarantine or get a COVID-19 test after domestic or international travel?

NDSU community members who have traveled should follow ND Department of Health and CDC travel guidelines when they return to North Dakota. Those can be found on the following websites:

On September 21, 2020 North Dakota Department of Health State Officer lifted the 14-day quarantine order for those returning from international travel.

On January 12, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that all air passengers arriving to the US from another country will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. This order takes effect on January 26, 2021. In addition, the CDC recommends getting tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days after international air travel. More information can be found at the following CDC link:

More Resources:

NAFSA International Educator's webpage on COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. Visas and Entry:

How can I help reduce stigmatization or bias related to COVID-19?

Many of us are concerned about what the people in our communities may be experiencing, including possible stigmatization or discrimination based on racial bias or appearances. Please help others understand that the risk of coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.  Stigma doesn’t fight the illness and will hurt innocent people, but sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumor and misinformation from spreading.  Guidance is available from the CDC regarding this issue.

What other resources are available to learn more about COVID-19?

There are a variety of regularly updated resources available to those who want to learn more about COVID-19:

For questions related to COVID-19, the North Dakota Department of Health have activated a hotline, which can be reached at 866-207-2880 from 8am to 5pm Monday-Saturday or email Individuals who need medical advice should contact their health care provider.

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