Notice:

Fall semester starts August 24. Lake Region State College is open and making preparations for its Fall 2020 semester in light of the COVID-19 situation. Information regarding protocols, classes, and more can be found on the college's COVID-19 page below: 

LRSC COVID-19 Preparedness & Response

Information for Fall 2020 and all past announcements and updates regarding the COVID-19 situation at LRSC can be found here.

Past COVID 19 updates

LRSC President Doug Darling will provide updates to the COVID-19 situation and its impact on the college, its students, faculty, staff, and community. The most up to date information is at ND Department of Health or Center for Disease Control.

Fall 2020 Information

Past announcements since March 2020

July 2020 updates

Lake Region State College has heard your message loud and clear. You want face to face courses on campus. We are working with the rest of the ND University System to make that happen. 
Our Royals Smart Restart is a comprehensive plan to minimize the risk of COVID-19 and reopen the campus for residential living and in person courses. To be successful, it will require ALL OF US to make some changes in the way we do things. Most importantly, it will require taking personal responsibility for your actions and following COVID-safe protocols.

LRSC is asking ALL students to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to campus. There are 30+ test sites/dates set up across ND for NDUS students, faculty and staff.  The weekly schedule can be located at this Department of Health website. This link will show the test dates occurring in the near future. Other testing dates and locations will be added, so check often for updates.

Please attend a test site nearest you. You MUST pre-register for the testing at https://testreg.nd.gov/ . If you are from out of state and can’t get tested prior to coming to campus, there will be testing in Devils Lake on August 4th, 11th, 18th, 22nd, and 25th.  

If you test positive, we will make it possible for you to keep up with your courses while you stay home and quarantine per ND Department of Health guidelines.  Those guidelines can be found: Department of Health testing and care page.

To prevent an outbreak on campus, anyone who tests positive will be quarantined, their contacts traced, and those close contacts isolated per ND Department of Health guidelines.  We are asking all students, faculty and staff to take personal responsibility and avoid situations that are high risk for COVID-19.  

To provide a safer learning environment, we are limiting the number of students in some courses based on the size of the classroom and plan to utilize meeting rooms and other venues to accommodate a larger enrollment.  

We will make courses available using distance education technology in a real-time, synchronous format for those who have to quarantine, isolate, or who are ill and doing their part to protect others by staying home or in their residence hall room. 

New practices and procedures in Dining Services, Bookstore, Housing, and other campus services will be implemented. Please find the most current information on the LRSC COVID-19 Preparedness & Response link from the campus website

Please refrain from attending large gatherings and do your part to stay COVID free.    Having a successful restart will require everyone to exhibit self-discipline, act responsibly, and have respect for the safety of all who live, learn, and work at Lake Region State College.  
 

As we close another week here at Lake Region State College, I wanted to provide updates on our progress regarding Fall 2020. 

The campus is excited to have staff return to campus on August 3rd. Hopefully, all who are furloughed are ready to return. 

Our goals for the Smart Restart: 1) Keep the campus healthy. 2) Provide a high quality, accessible,
education and, as much as is reasonably possible, provide a personal, face-to-face experience where all students can succeed. 3) We want all of our students to have the opportunity to continue their studies and complete their degrees.

This week, the ND State Board of Higher Education issued a resolution that they strongly encourage the NDUS colleges and universities to require masks as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That will be the general scenario at LRSC, per our smart restart protocol, which states face masks are required.  When indoors, faculty, staff, students, and visitors shall wear a face covering when walking in hallways, when in areas open to others, when riding in vehicles, and in dining services/student union (except while seated and eating/drinking).   Face coverings are also required when in the classroom, science lab, computer lab, Learning Commons, or meeting rooms unless certain circumstances exist. See the full plan at https://www.lrsc.edu/discover-lrsc/lrsc-covid-19-preparedness-response.  

The testing plan outline for faculty, staff, and students is closer to being finalized. UND Medical School Dean Joshua Wynne said there will be subsequent testing available for students. There will be testing available here in Devils Lake. Student Services will be sending out notices to students and any materials related to testing will be on the COVID-19 information page on the LRSC website. LRSC plans for Residence Halls, Dining Services, Bookstore and other areas are still being worked through. 

Please remember that this material, along with our restart plans is a process that may be adjusted depending on developments within the region or state. Having a successful fall will require everyone to exhibit self-discipline, act responsibly, and have respect for the safety of all who live, learn, and work at Lake Region State College. 

We know you can do these things. It’s the Royal thing to do. 

All information for the college’s COVID-19 preparedness and response can be found at https://www.lrsc.edu/discover-lrsc/lrsc-covid-19-preparedness-response.  This page is accessible from the homepage through the green alert banner.

Lake Region State College has finished awarding the CARES Act Grant for students. The amount of the award is $55,439.  Disbursed is $55498 to 108 students.

LRSC CARES Act Funding Final Report, July 20, 2020
 

LRSC faculty and Staff

We are continuing to address plans for fall semester in light of the safety measures required to create a COVID Safe environment. This week we published the employee protocol regarding quarantine and isolation.   Please remember all material, along with our restart plans is a process that may be adjusted depending on developments within the region or state.  The student quarantine and isolation protocol is dictated by the ND Department of Health and our local public health officials.  As soon as we have details, we will publish that to our COVID-19 Preparedness and Response page.  

Other COVID-19 related actions this week include:

  • The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has decided to move the fall sports competition season to the spring semester.  Teams will be allowed to practice and hold scrimmages this fall but will not compete for record.  At this time our shooting sports team is unaffected by this decision.
  • The North Dakota University System is planning a number of testing events in the near future so that students, faculty, and staff can be tested before the fall semester begins. The widespread testing would take place mid-August in cities across the state (including cities served by Lake Region State College). This free testing will not be mandatory for students, but highly encouraged. When more details are available, information will be uploaded to our COVID Safe Information page.  
  • Student Orientation and Faculty In-service are being modified to maximize our ability to deliver information in a COVID safe environment. The schedule for student orientation is being finalized and will be sent to students as soon as it is ready.

Please remember that having a successful fall will require everyone to exhibit self-discipline, act responsibly, and have respect for the safety of all who live, learn, and work at Lake Region State College.  We know you can do these things, and we expect you to.

Information on Residence Halls, Dining Services, Bookstore and other areas are still being worked through and will be shared when completed. All of our COVID information will be housed on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness and Response page on the LRSC.EDU website. This page is accessible from the homepage through the green alert banner.

LRSC Faculty and Staff:

Many staff with private offices have returned to campus and I had hoped to have remaining staff, who are not furloughed, back on campus next week.  We are in the middle of several maintenance projects, cleaning up and making repairs from the storm, monitoring the slight increase in the number of positive COVID 19 cases in our state, and the yet unknown affect the July 4th holiday, filled with activities and family get-togethers, will have on the case trend over the next few weeks.  For these reasons, we are going to hold off on bringing the remaining staff to campus and will allow additional flexibility for all staff to continue to work from home.  I have set August 3rd as the new target date for all staff to begin working from campus.   If you have a need, or your supervisor needs you to begin working from campus sooner, please make those decisions together.  

We are asking all members of our community to minimize the spread of illness by taking the following actions when working from campus:

  • Unless you are alone in your office, staff on campus should wear face coverings when interacting with others and when walking the hallways when it is likely you will encounter others.  
  • Maintain a six-foot distance between you and those you are working with or talking to.
  • Do not sit or stand close together.  
  • When two or more people need to see the same information, utilize a wall monitor, screen sharing, and/or printed copies, but do not huddle closely around the same computer screen.  
  • Avoid standing in each other’s doorway or sitting down for a discussion in offices without face masks and make using the phone, Teams, and other forms of electronic communication a higher priority.

Other things we must remember to do:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • If you are sick, stay home
  • Be prepared to stay home by keeping enough food, prescription medications and other necessities on hand
  • Frequently clean all commonly touched surfaces such as telephones, doorknobs, countertops
  • Avoid large gatherings

If you have been in contact with someone who is ill, please report that to Sandi in Human Resources and follow the isolation guidelines given to you by the Department of Health or your medical provider. If someone in your home must self-isolate because of potential exposure or they are awaiting test results, we ask that you also report that to Sandi and require that you follow the self-isolation guidelines set forth for household members.  
 
As testing for this virus continues, we expect to see additional confirmed cases in our community, region, and state.  We are working on ways to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on campus and intend to send our Fall Restart COVID Safe protocol on Friday July 10th.   

Doug Darling, Ph.D. 
President
 

June 2020 updates 

Lake Region State College is preparing to welcome students, faculty, and staff back to campus in late August for an exciting year of teaching and learning.  To do so, considering the risks surrounding COVID 19, we are evaluating numerous ways to provide a safe environment.

We intend to be fully operational this fall with students living in the residence halls, eating in our student union and dining room, athletic teams competing, student clubs doing the great work they do, and providing all of the services to students as before this pandemic occurred. I believe we can do this and provide for a very positive experience on campus.  In addition to promoting the basics of social distancing and hand hygiene, we are considering other ways to limit exposure and reduce the risk of transmission.

We are working to increase technology in each of our classrooms to allow for virtual attendance for students who have traveled from afar and must self-isolate for a time, been ill and unable to attend class, or are arriving to campus late due to travel restrictions.  Mask wearing will be a reality in some classrooms and group meetings, where the density of students makes the social distancing objective impossible to achieve. 

We have created an information window for the computer help desk and are planning one for student services in order to limit the amount of traffic in and out of those areas and to prevent congestion wherever possible.  Wellness barriers will be seen on most desks where service to students is provided.  We will have an abundance of hand sanitizer, disposable masks, and are in the process of obtaining clear face shields for faculty who would like to wear one in lieu of a mask.

Changes in food service operations are still in the planning stages but we are committed to exceeding all of the recommendations for a safe and effective food service operation.  We are working with our local public health office and the ND Department of Health to make testing available and are evaluating all of the COVID safe recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they apply to institutions of higher education.  We have reached out to our faculty and staff to get their recommendations for creating a safe environment.  

We are fortunate to be located in northeastern North Dakota and live among some of the most socially responsible people in the country.  We are far from the epicenter of this virus but we must not be complacent.  Putting reasonable protections in place is necessary in order to protect those that live, learn, and work at Lake Region State College.
 

Lake Region State College is preparing to launch some of its restart initiatives in the next week. Our goal is to get back to delivering face to face courses for fall semester while minimizing risk for our students, staff and faculty. The full restart plan still is being formulated, but this is what we know as of now:

Staff with private offices should start moving back and resuming their duties from campus any time after June 15 but no later than July 6. Please work with your supervisor on your specific plan to move back from your home office to your campus office. 

Staff who work in an open air environment (especially those sharing workspaces with others) will start returning to work July 13. Before returning to full staffing in these open air areas, some preparation work will need to be completed to ensure a safer, smarter work environment.  These preparations might include installing plexi-glass shields, desk dividers, or even moving work stations to help with social distancing.  Supervisors have been asked to forward office area modifications to Lloyd and Corry as soon as possible.  Sandi has been designated as the purchaser of shields, dividers, and other protective barriers.  Supervisors should communicate those needs to her in writing as soon as they are identified.  

Plans are being considered to create a service window for Student Services to make services available without visitors walking into the office suite.  We will also plan to restrict access to other areas by installing more electronic card access points.   In addition, we are considering moving some departments (and related personnel) to provide greater protection for students, staff, and faculty while maximizing the services we can provide.   

As people return to campus, the use of community coffee pots will end. Please bring your own coffee from home (using a thermos) or visit the campus coffee shop (when it opens). Water fountains that have the bottle filling option will be available but the fountain will be disabled.   We are working to have water bottles and other items available for students, faculty, and staff. 

Additional flyers, signs, and placards will go up throughout the summer to remind all of the very valuable preventative measures we are working hard to incorporate.  A more detailed plan, creating a COVID safe environment, will be completed soon. We will be reaching out to many faculty, staff, and students for input as the planning continues. 

May 2020 updates

Lake Region State College (LRSC) reviewed funds in G5 on April 28, 2020. The funds were received on April 25th. The Lake Region State College CARES Act Distribution Report was first published May 28, 2020 (30 days from becoming award of the funds) and is updated every 45 days. Last updated: May 28, 2020.

LRSC CARES Act Distribution Report
 

Earlier this week Staff Senate met with me with a request to start summer hours early. With many of us working from home….LRSC summer hours will begin May 4th and run through August 16th.  Watch for the official memo from HR outlining the details about summer hours. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum today presented his strategic budget guidelines for the state of North Dakota for the 2021-2023 biennium, with an emphasis on teleworking, process improvement, reduced facility costs and the use of technology for efficiencies to offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic collapse in oil prices and tax revenues.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting impact on the global demand for oil, have led to a historic collapse in oil prices. Burgum noted he is not calling for a budget reduction through the allotment process at this time. Rather, he is asking agencies to carefully manage their budgets, continuing to look for ways to innovate while being fiscally responsible.

For institutions of higher education, base budgets are requested to be developed assuming 90 percent of their current funding formula. Special fund agencies are being asked to reprioritize 5 percent of their current adjusted appropriation to strategically reinvest in high-impact areas.

We are calculating the potential impact this will have to Lake Region State College and should have more solid numbers for the campus soon. Regardless, this budget will be a significant challenge.

It’s been a busy week as the semester winds down. Hopefully you are completing projects and preparing for exams. Our peace officer training students received their certificates earlier this week. Thanks to the partnership with Minot State, 15 more potential peace officers are ready for employment. 

Earlier today everyone should have received an email from Scott Dunbar on nominating students for the Who’s Who awards. Although the on campus semester was cut short, we had many students who are graduating worthy of recognition. Please take the time to fill out the nomination forms. 

Weekend Assignment – please do these 3 things this weekend. 
1.    Take a minute to express gratitude to someone – a friend, colleague, healthcare provider or someone deserving of gratitude.  
2.    Reach out and connect with someone you haven’t heard from in a while just to check on them and let them know you are thinking about them
3.    Please take some time to rest and recharge this weekend.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you.  Thank you for all you do for LRSC and our students. 

President Doug Darling

The Covid -19 pandemic has changed our world in ways we could never have imagined over the past three months. I’m extremely proud of the way our students, faculty and staff have adapted and continue to move forward.  
                                    
The financial impacts on individuals, our campus, state and country continue to grow. To protect our employees and our institution we are taking some precautions to preserve our budget in case of enrollment declines or budget allotments from the state. 

The 20 members of our campus community, listed below, were given a two week notice of being placed on a temporary unpaid leave of absence.  This leave will begin on May 1st with an anticipated return to full time hours on August 1st.  

This was a decision that wasn’t made lightly and we fully expect each of these employees to be kept financially whole through our state’s weekly unemployment compensation benefit and the weekly federal unemployment stipend available under the CARES Act. 

Lake Region State College will continue to provide for their health care coverage and will work with them so other benefits do not lapse.    

These changes are not permanent, they are temporary and will help us position ourselves in the most positive way possible considering the current uncertainties.  Our hope is by acting now and taking advantage of opportunities in the CARES Act we can financially protect our employees long-term. A furlough now creates budget savings to protect employees and the institution should tuition shortfalls from enrollment declines or future budget cuts surface.

LRSC Students, Faculty and Staff - We want you all to know that we miss you! I hope all are doing well. We can’t wait to have the LRSC family together soon. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and reach out if you need anything for your courses or other questions. We are here for you! 

A number of faculty and staff have messages for you – click the link below.

We miss you video.
 

April 2020 updates 

April 14, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and Chief Operating Officer Tammy Miller today outlined the finalized hospital surge plan for North Dakota, expressing confidence that the state has the hospital capacity it needs to handle a surge in COVID-19 patients if one should occur. 
 
Burgum noted that North Dakota is currently using less than 1 percent of its hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients, and the state’s positive test rate of 3.1 percent is the second lowest in the country, with 341 confirmed cases out of 10,916 total tests. 
 
“While our hospitalizations remain low and we don’t believe that any additional health care facilities beyond hospitals’ own Tier 1 capacity is going to be needed, it is our responsibility in government to prepare for the worst-case scenarios, and in that regard, our state is well-prepared,” Burgum said during today’s press briefing. 
 
The surge plan was developed through the state’s Unified Command in partnership with health care providers across North Dakota. 
 
“Our mission is to protect the citizens of North Dakota and to minimize the loss of life and economic hardship,” said Miller, who co-leads the Unified Command with Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, director of the Department of Emergency Services. “As we put together this plan, the overarching goal is to ensure that our hospitals and communities will have the resources they need to handle any surge in COVID-19 patients.”
 
For the purpose of surge planning, the state identified bed capacity in 50 hospitals based on three tiers:
 
•    Tier 1 – 2,098 beds: existing hospital capacity with current staff, supplies and equipment. 
•    Tier 2A – 2,394 beds: hospitals increase their bed capacity and stretch staff through scheduling, with a surge of equipment from the state medical cache as requested. 
•    Tier 2B – 3,488 beds: hospitals further increase capacity with a surge of equipment, supplies and staff from the state.
•    Tier 3 – 4,000 additional beds: This tier involves setting up minimal care facilities that would be used only if hospitals in the region have reached their maximum level of surge capacity with beds, supplies, equipment and staff that can be provided through state resources. Minimal care facilities could provide up to 4,000 additional beds, pushing the statewide total to nearly 7,500 beds.
 
The North Dakota Department of Health will monitor hospital surge and determine when and if a minimal care facility is needed. Miller stressed that minimal care facilities are not alternative hospitals, but rather are set up and organized to handle COVID-19 patients who may need hospital admission but, based on hospital capacity and triage priorities, that level of care isn’t available. 
 
In the unlikely scenario that they would be needed, Tier 3 facilities would open first in Bismarck and Fargo. The state has pre-positioned 200 beds each at the Fargodome and University of Mary Fieldhouse in Bismarck. Each Tier 3 facility would be overseen by a lead hospital. Sanford Health would be the lead hospital in Fargo and Bismarck, in partnership with Essentia Health in Fargo and CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck. 
 
If necessary, six additional Tier 3 facilities could be opened in the state’s other metro areas. Those locations and lead hospitals would be: 
•    Devils Lake: Lake Region State College gym, overseen by CHI St. Alexius Health-Devils Lake 
•    Dickinson: Dickinson State University’s Weinbergen Gym, overseen by CHI St. Alexius Health-Dickinson 
•    Minot: Minot State University Dome, overseen by Trinity Health 
•    Grand Forks: University of North Dakota Wellness Center, overseen by Altru Health in Grand Forks 
•    Jamestown: University of Jamestown Newman Center/Larson Center, overseen by Jamestown Regional Medical Center 
•    Williston: Williston State College’s Thomas Witt Leach Complex, overseen by CHI St. Alexius Health in Williston. 
 
For more information on the state’s COVID-19 response, visit www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus or www.ndresponse.gov

Posted: Date April 03, 2020
Author: Office of Postsecondary Education
Subject UPDATED Guidance for interruptions of study related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department appreciates that postsecondary institutions and their students face unique and urgent circumstances as a result of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This guidance provides updated information that expands upon the Department’s March 5, 2020, guidance and provides additional regulatory flexibilities due to the lawful declaration of the COVID-19 national emergency.

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared that a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak began on March 1, 2020, as stated in “Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak,” Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020, Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 53 at 15337-38. The Department considers this declaration to be equivalent to a federally declared major disaster, as defined in The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in 42 U.S.C. § 5122(2) (Stafford Act) and provides the following information about additional emergency flexibilities and regulatory relief for institutions of higher education and their students.

In addition, on March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116-136, which provides flexibilities beyond those captured in this document. The Department is reviewing the Act and intends to provide additional guidance on the Department’s COVID-19 webpage in the near future.

Finally, as with the March 5, 2020, guidance, this guidance document is a general statement of policy under the Administrative Procedure Act issued to advise the public prospectively of the manner in which the Department proposes to exercise its discretionary power and enforcement discretion as a result of, and in response to, the duly declared COVID-19 pandemic national emergency. The Department does not intend for this policy statement to create a legally binding standard affirmatively determining any member of the public’s legal rights and obligations for which noncompliance may form an independent basis for action. As required by the Administrative Procedure Act, the Department will afford members of the public a fair opportunity to argue for lawful approaches other than those put forward in this guidance, to argue for a modification or rescission of its terms, or both. To suggest another lawful approach or to argue for a modification or rescission of any of the flexibilities or provisions hereof, please email the Department’s Regulatory Reform Officer at COVID-19@ed.gov and reference in the subject line "Attn: Regulatory Reform Officer."

We recommend that institutions document in their records, as contemporaneously as possible, any actions taken as a result of COVID-19, including those actions described in this document.

Effective Period of Guidance

Although our March 5, 2020, guidance applied to students who had already begun their current term, more recent guidance from President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that social distancing may be required for a longer period. We thus extend those flexibilities to any payment period or term beginning between March 5, 2020, and June 1, 2020, inclusive.

Unless otherwise specifically stated in this guidance document, the emergency flexibilities set forth below remain effective until and through June 30, 2020, unless the payment period crossover extends over award years and is attached to the 2019-2020 award year. In that case the effective date is through the end of the crossover payment period.

The Department will extend the effective period of its guidance if circumstances warrant an extension and will inform the public of such an extension at the appropriate time. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 emergency and CDC guidance, the Department will adjust dates as necessary.

Accommodating Students Whose Enrollment is Disrupted by COVID-19

In our March 5, 2020 guidance, we explained that our goal is to work with institutions seeking to accommodate students and continue their education despite interruptions caused by COVID-19. This remains unchanged, as we believe institutions know best how to protect their students, faculty, and staff.

Academic Calendars - Standard vs. Non-standard Terms
We understand that some students may have been recalled from travel abroad programs or experiential learning opportunities after the semester began. Therefore, institutions may offer courses to those students on a schedule that would otherwise cause the program to be considered a non-standard term or a nonterm program, if doing so enables those students to complete the term. If an institution utilizes this flexibility, it can continue to disburse aid based on its original academic calendar. These flexibilities will also be provided to institutions or their additional locations or programs that must temporarily cease academic instruction or extend scheduled breaks as a result of COVID-19.

Approved Leaves of Absence
For students who wish to take an approved leave of absence due to COVID-19-related concerns or limitations (such as interruption of a travel-abroad program), the Department will permit them to take such leave for the purposes of Title IV fund eligibility, even if the student notifies the institution of his or her request after the date that the leave of absence has begun. In such a case, the institution may retain the Title IV funds for that student to apply when the student resumes enrollment.

Normally, institutions are not permitted to put students on a leave of absence during the suspension of coursework, including clinicals or internships/externships; however, if the coursework suspension results from of COVID-19, in this limited circumstance the Department will permit the institution to put the student on an approved leave of absence until the institution can resume coursework or can find another placement for the student.

Enrollment Status Changes
We do not have the statutory authority to waive the requirement that institutions award or disburse Title IV funds based on a student’s actual enrollment status. For example, assuming an institution defines full-time enrollment as 12 credit hours, when a full-time student enrolled for 12 credit hours drops or withdraws from three credits, that student is now enrolled at three-quarter time status; however, for Direct Loans, the institution must only confirm at least half-time enrollment status as of the time of disbursement. It is not necessary to recalculate a student’s Direct Loan eligibility based on changes in enrollment status that occur after the institution originates a Direct Loan. For enrollment status changes that occur after an institution’s established Pell Grant recalculation (census) date, we do not require recalculation. The student must have begun attendance in all courses comprising the enrollment status on which the Pell Grant payment was based.

Distance Education

Approval to Offer Distance Education
Because of the COVID-19 national emergency, and as an emergency measure to accommodate students, the Department provides broad approval to institutions to use distance learning modalities without going through the standard Department approval process, even if the institution would normally be required to seek Departmental approval for the use or expansion of distance learning programs. At this time, this flexibility applies only to payment periods that overlap with the Department’s March 5, 2020, guidance or that begin on or between March 5 and June 1, 2020. If an institution chooses to continue offering a new program or using distance education in a manner requiring the Department’s approval after that point, it may be required to obtain approval under the Department’s and its accrediting agency’s applicable policies and procedures.

We also continue to permit accrediting agencies to waive their distance education review requirements; however, we encourage accreditors promptly to develop new policies and procedures for providing rapid approval of distance education programs for institutions working to accommodate students whose enrollment is otherwise interrupted as a result of COVID-19. Accrediting agencies should document the process by which their decision-making body decided to waive or provide expedited review of distance education programs. This flexibility is not available for clock-hour courses that lead to licensure if the licensing body will not accept distance learning courses or hours or give credit for them toward the number of hours a student must complete.

For the purpose of Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), distance learning does not require the use of sophisticated learning management systems or online platforms, although accreditors may have additional standards included in their review of distance learning programs; however, accreditors may waive those standards for schools implementing distance learning programs solely for the purpose of allowing currently enrolled students to complete a term interrupted by COVID-19 closures. To meet the Department’s requirements for providing distance education, an institution must communicate to students through one of several types of technology – including email or by telephone – described under 34 CFR § 600.2, and instructors must initiate substantive communication with students, either individually or collectively, on a regular basis. In other words, an instructor may use email to provide instructional materials to students enrolled in the instructor’s class, use chat features to communicate with students, set up conference calls to facilitate group conversations, engage in email exchanges, or require students to submit work electronically that the instructor will evaluate.

The Department asks institutions to review the "FERPA and Virtual Learning Related Resources" resource list, the March 30, 2020 webinar, and related materials from the Department’s Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO). As educators and students move to virtual learning due to the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, SPPO has identified resources that discuss virtual learning, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These resources include toolkits, letters, and Q&As on information security best practices, the use of the school official exception under FERPA, classroom observations, and the use of emails, videos, and other virtual learning tools. SPPO has also issued a FERPA and COVID-19 FAQ on the health or safety emergency exception under FERPA at https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/resources/ferpa-and-coronavirus-disease-20.... For additional resources on FERPA, please read SPPO’s website at https://studentprivacy.ed.gov.

Institutions may provide distance learning temporarily to accommodate students as a result of a COVID-19 interruption, including in cases where students began attendance in classes offered in a brick-and-mortar setting but were transitioned to a distance education format in the middle of the term. This includes students who are enrolled at a U.S institution but are participating in a study abroad experience in a foreign country. In such a case, the student may participate in distance education provided by either their home institution or their foreign host institution. In these cases, to enable students to complete the current term, we will treat institutions that were properly accredited and authorized by states as being approved by these agencies to offer distance education and will accept the accreditation and state authorization of the institution for the programs in which those students were enrolled prior to the interruption due to COVID-19.

Institutions may also enter into consortium agreements with other Title IV institutions so that students can complete courses at other institutions but allow their home institution to award credit. Where accrediting agencies require students to complete a final number or percentage of credits in residence at the institution, accrediting agencies may also waive that requirement for students impacted by COVID-19 without objection from the Department.

The Department urges institutions to study the Department’s March 17, 2020, guidance to accrediting agencies, which permits accreditors to engage in virtual site visits of institutions or programs currently under review, scheduled for renewal of recognition, or in a show-cause or probationary status. This guidance also permits accrediting agencies to extend accreditation terms or provide additional good cause extensions, including if the institution or program has otherwise exhausted all regularly-provided good cause extensions, to enable institutions and programs to continue serving students during COVID-19 related interruptions of regular campus operations.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Post-secondary institutions working to move programs to a distance learning format in order to continue serving students during a COVID-19 interruption may have concerns about their ability to ensure that instructions and materials meet the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and, for public institutions, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department recognizes that in this unique and ever-changing environment, these exceptional circumstances may affect how education, including needed accommodations for students with disabilities, is provided. Institutions should not decline to provide distance instruction, at the expense of most students, to address matters pertaining to accommodations for students with disabilities. Rather, institutions must make decisions that take into consideration the health, safety, and well-being of all their students and staff. Additionally, the Department understands that, during this national emergency, postsecondary institutions may not be able to provide services in the same manner as they typically would for the rest of the academic year.

Postsecondary students with disabilities must receive academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, and reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures, where doing so would not impose an undue burden nor cause a fundamental alteration. Some academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, and reasonable modifications in the postsecondary context, can be provided online, while some cannot. Whether an institution serves students in a brick-and-mortar or an online environment, the institution must ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access educational programs, consistent with protecting the health and safety of the student and those providing that education to the student.

Where possible, instructors should work to accommodate students with disabilities, such as by using audio technology to read documents to students who are visually impaired. It may be appropriate to make other academic adjustments and reasonable accommodations through virtual means, such as online or telephonically.

Postsecondary students with disabilities typically work with their disability services’ coordinators through an interactive process to determine appropriate academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services, and modifications.

With respect to issues concerning website accessibility and online education, the Department urges institutions to consult its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) webinar available here or as a link on the Department’s coronavirus webpage, https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus. If you have questions for OCR or want to request additional information or technical assistance, you may contact OCR’s Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center at OPEN@ed.gov.

Foreign Schools
Pursuant to section 3510 of the CARES Act, the Secretary permits any part of an otherwise eligible program at a foreign institution to be offered via distance education, if the applicable government authorities in the country in which the foreign institution is located have declared a public health emergency, major disaster or emergency, or national emergency related to COVID-19. Retroactive to March 1, 2020, institutions may use this flexibility for the duration of such emergency or disaster and the following payment period for purposes of title IV of the HEA. The term “foreign schools” are those institutions located outside of the United States that participate in the Title IV Direct Loan program and award their credentials to U.S. students. This term excludes study-abroad programs in which a foreign institution provides instruction to a student who remains a degree-seeking student from the student’s domestic U.S. institution. Students in this category have always been permitted to engage in distance learning.

The Secretary also permits foreign institutions to enter into written arrangements with institutions located in the United States that participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program for the purpose of allowing a student of the foreign institution who is a Federal Direct Loan borrower to take courses from the American institution. For the purpose of this provision, foreign public or nonprofit institutions may only enter into written arrangements with public or nonprofit institutions in the United States. Foreign medical, nursing, and veterinary institutions that are for-profit may enter into written arrangements with U.S. public, nonprofit, or for-profit institutions.

At a later date, the Department will provide guidance to institutions on how to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act applicable to institutions under section 3510.

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) and Reporting Requirements (34 C.F.R. § 668.22)

Institutional Charges, Refunds, and R2T4 Calculations
The CARES Act makes significant changes to the requirements and flexibilities surrounding R2T4. The Department is currently reviewing the implications of the Act and will provide appropriate guidance as soon as possible.

General Provisions (all Title IV Programs)

Academic Year (§ 668.3)
The Department is authorized to approve a reduced academic year if an institution offering credit-hour programs is unable to offer at least 30 weeks of instruction during its academic year. If an institution determines it will temporarily cease providing instruction, extend a break, or otherwise reduce the length of its term in a manner that results in fewer than 30 weeks of instruction in the academic year as the result of COVID-19 disruptions, it should send an email to CaseTeams@ed.gov to request a temporary reduction in the length of its academic year. The request must:

Identify each educational program or programs for which the institution requests a reduction and the requested number of weeks of instructional time for those programs (institutions are permitted to request the waiver for all programs); and

Demonstrate good cause for the requested reductions (which would include disruptions related to COVID-19).

Institutions should include in the subject line of the email the institution’s name, OPEID, and the state where the main campus is located. The request will be reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate School Participation Division, which will communicate its final determination to the institution.

Agreements to Permit Study at Another Institution (§ 668.5)
If an institution is unable to continue to provide a student’s eligible program because of COVID-19, it may enter into a written agreement with another institution (such as one that has a larger number of courses or programs available through distance learning than the home school can provide) to enable the student to continue his or her academic program while receiving Title IV assistance.

Compliance audits and audited financial statements (§ 668.23)
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has extended its due date for submission of the single audit to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse. The Department will provide additional guidance on this extension.

Institutional Participation (§ 668.26(a)(1))
The temporary cessation of educational instruction due to the urgent circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic will not result in a loss of institutional eligibility or participation.

Campus Security Reporting and Equity in Athletics Disclosures (§ 668.41)
The Department will provide appropriate guidance as it continues to monitor the COVID-19 national emergency.

Notifications Regarding an Immediate Threat to Health or Safety (§ 668.46)
The Clery Act and its implementing regulations require institutions to notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring on campus. The Department does not interpret the statutory language as requiring institutions to give regular, on-going updates on COVID-19 or to proactively identify positive COVID-19 cases within the campus community. The Department also does not interpret the statutory language to apply to positive COVID-19 cases among individuals who are not attending classes, working, or residing on campus or to require notifications to such individuals.

An institution may satisfy the emergency notification requirements of the Clery Act and § 668.46 as follows: (1) provide students and employees a single notification through the regular means of communicating emergency notifications informing them about COVID-19 and necessary health and safety precautions, as well as encouraging them to obtain information from health care providers, state health authorities, and the CDC’s COVID-19 website; or (2) create a banner at the top of the institution’s homepage containing that same information, including a statement about the global pandemic and a link to the CDC’s website.

Cash Management (34 C.F.R. Part 668, Subpart K)
Institutions must comply with the cash management regulations unless unable to do so due to COVID-19 disruptions. Where an institution is unable to comply, it should document the reason(s) for instances where it is unable to comply and retain the documentation in its records. These include, but are not limited to, the following regulatory requirements:

Borrower Requests for Loan Cancellation (§ 668.165(a)(4)(ii))
Excess Cash (§ 668.166)
Notices and Authorizations (§§ 668.165(a)(3) and 668.165(b)(4)(iii))
Need Analysis
Any aid (in the form of grants or low-interest loans) received by victims of an emergency from a federal or state entity for the purpose of providing financial relief is not counted as income for calculating a family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) under the Federal Methodology or as estimated financial assistance for packaging purposes.

Professional Judgment
Section 479A of the HEA gives an institution’s financial aid administrator (FAA) the authority to use professional judgment to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to the cost of attendance or to the values of the items used in calculating the EFC to reflect a student’s special circumstances. The Department encourages FAAs to use professional judgment to reflect more accurately the financial need of students and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In making case-by-case determinations, the FAA must obtain and retain in the affected student’s file documents that supporting and substantiating the reasons for any adjustment.

Institutions must make and document professional judgment determinations on a case-by-case basis without regard to how broadly an event may affect its student population. The use of professional judgment in the Federal Methodology need analysis is discussed in the Federal Student Aid Handbook. Additionally, FAAs must report to the Central Processing System (CPS) as a “correction” transaction and with the “PJ” indicator any professional judgment decisions that affect a student’s eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (§ 668.34)
The CARES Act provides additional flexibilities to institutions regarding the calculation of SAP. An institution of higher education may, as a result of a qualifying emergency, exclude from the quantitative component of the calculation any attempted credits that were not completed by such student without requiring an appeal by such student. The Department intends to provide additional guidance regarding how to implement these additional flexibilities.

Verification (Part 668 Subpart E).

Verification Status Code “W” Warning and “Deobligation” Process Postponed
Typically in April, FSA initiates a warning and “deobligation” process for student records reported with a verification status code of “W” under which schools are warned that Pell Grant disbursements to students with this code will be regarded as “overawards” and reduced to a zero dollar amount ($0.00), even though the disbursements were previously accepted in the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System. Approximately two weeks following this warning, we systematically reduce the affected disbursements. The warning and “deobligation” process is also repeated each July and October. Given the occurrence of this April deadline during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are canceling the April 2020 warning and “deobligation” process to allow schools additional time to perform internal reviews and to avoid the “deobligation” of otherwise eligible Pell Grant awards. We will re-evaluate the process scheduled for July 2020 and October 2020 as we approach those dates.

For those borrowers in verification groups V4 or V5, the flexibilities listed below apply if the institution is unable to receive the required documents in person or by mail (e.g., qualified staff are not on campus to complete this task or students are not able to mail documents). These flexibilities also apply if the applicant or student is unable to provide the required documents in person or cannot provide notarized documents by mail.

We suspend the in-person submission and notary requirements for V4 and V5 verification. The institution may allow an applicant or student to submit copies of the required verification documents electronically to the institution. This may occur by uploading a photo of the documents (including from a smartphone), PDF, or other similar electronic document through a secure school portal, by email, etc.

We also recognize that forms of identification (such as a driver’s license) may expire with no real and reasonable opportunity for renewal due to social distancing requirements. Institutions may accept a copy of an expired document if it expired after March 1, 2020.

Further, the Department waives the requirements under § 668.57(b) and (c) that a dependent student submit a statement signed by one of the student’s parents when no responsible parent can provide the required signature. In such a situation, the institution must note and retain an explanation of why neither of the student’s parents was available to provide such a statement.

Federal Student Aid Program Information

Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Programs

Deadline for Reporting Initial Disbursement Records (Federal Pell Grant § 690.83 and TEACH Grant § 686.37)
Generally, an institution must submit to the Department a Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or TEACH Grant disbursement record for a student not later than 15 calendar days after the institution makes a disbursement to the student or becomes aware that a disbursement needs to be adjusted.

For the Federal Pell Grant program, if the institution becomes aware that previously reported payments or expected payments for a student are no longer accurate, the institution must submit an accurate disbursement record for that student no later than 15 calendar days after becoming aware of the need to make the change. The institution should promptly contact its School Participation Division if it is unable to meet these deadlines.

Additional deadline details are included in the deadline date notice published annually in the Federal Register. For the TEACH Grant Program, an institution must submit to the Department subsequent disbursement records, including adjustments and cancellation records not later than 15 calendar days following the date of the disbursement, adjustment, or cancellation. The appropriate School Participation Division will address any concerns about the deadlines for submitting disbursement records (including adjustments and cancellations) for the TEACH Grant Program on a case-by-case basis.

Final Federal Reporting Deadlines
Upon an institution’s request, the Department will extend the deadline for reporting final Federal Pell Grant payments if the institution is unable to meet the published deadline. An affected institution should make the request as soon as possible by submitting a request via the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) website (https://cod.ed.gov) or by contacting the COD School Relations Center at 1-800-474-7268.

All Federal Student Loans Held by the Federal Government—Zero Interest and Suspension of Payments
In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, President Trump announced that zero interest would accrue on student loans held by federal government agencies for at least 60 days beginning on March 13, 2020.

The CARES Act extended the interest reprieve and implemented an automatic forbearance until September 30, 2020, for any borrower with a student loan held by the Department. The Department published frequently asked questions (FAQs) with responses for borrowers on its studentaid.gov website.

All Federal Student Loans Not Held by the Federal Government—Zero Interest and Suspension of Payments
Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program lenders and institutions who hold Perkins loans may provide the same zero interest and cessation of payments benefits to the loans they hold on a voluntary basis. Borrowers of these loans should contact their servicer (or the institution if paying the institution directly) for additional information.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program/FFEL Program

Borrowers in In-School Loan Status (§ 685.207) and In-School Deferment Status (§ 685.204)
The Department will continue to report to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) as “in-school” for the loan status of each borrower who was in an “in-school” status on the date the borrower’s attendance at the institution was interrupted due to the COVID-19 national emergency. The Department will continue the borrower in that loan status until the institution reports the borrower as withdrawn. (Please also see above section Enrollment Status Changes for information about required reporting.).

Submission of Direct Loan Payment Data (§ 685.301(c))
This regulation requires an institution to submit Direct Loan payment data in accordance with procedures and deadlines established through a notice published in the Federal Register. An institution that is unable to meet the requirements specified in the Federal Register Notice must contact its School Participation Division to discuss its concerns.

Collection of Defaulted Loans
The CARES Act requires the Department of ED to cease collection activities on all defaulted loans, including administrative wage garnishment and the Treasury Offset Program until September 30, 2020.

Satisfactory Repayment Arrangements (§ 685.102)
The Department will not treat any payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of six consecutive, on-time voluntary full monthly payments required to re-establish his or her eligibility for assistance under Title IV of the HEA. If the Department does not extend the effective period for the temporary relief provided by this guidance, the required sequence of qualifying payments resumes at the point at which it was discontinued.

The Department will not treat any payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of three consecutive, on-time voluntary full monthly payments required to establish eligibility to consolidate a defaulted loan. If the Department does not extend the effective period for the temporary relief provided by this guidance, the required sequence of qualifying payments resumes at the point at which it was discontinued.

Payments to Rehabilitate Defaulted Loans (§ 685.211(f))
The Department will not treat any payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of nine on-time monthly payments within ten months for purposes of rehabilitating the defaulted loan through September 30, 2020 as directed in the CARES Act.

FFEL Program: Lenders and Guaranty Agencies and Loans held by the Department Satisfactory Repayment Arrangements (§ 682.200(b))
The FFEL loan holder should not treat any payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of six consecutive, on-time voluntary full monthly payments required to re-establish his or her eligibility for assistance under Title IV of the HEA.

A FFEL loan holder should not treat any payment a borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of three consecutive, on-time voluntary full monthly payments required to establish eligibility to consolidate a defaulted loan.

Borrowers in In-School Loan Status (§ 682.209(a)) and In-School Deferment Status (§ 682.210)
The loan holder should continue to report to NSLDS as “in-school” the loan status of each borrower who was in an “in-school” status on the date the borrower’s attendance at the institution was interrupted due to the COVID-19 national emergency. The loan holder should continue the borrower in that loan status until the institution reports the borrower as withdrawn.

Collection of Defaulted Loans (§ 682.410)
Guaranty agencies must stop collection activities on defaulted loans until September 30, 2020, on all federally held loans. Collection activities must resume at the end of the period at the point at which they were discontinued. The guaranty agency must document in the loan file why it suspended collection activities on the loan and is not required to obtain evidence of the borrower’s status while collection activities have been suspended.

Payments to Rehabilitate Defaulted Loans (§ 682.405)
The FFEL loan holder should not treat any payment the borrower fails to make as an interruption in the nine on-time voluntary full monthly payments within ten months for purposes of rehabilitating the defaulted loan.

General Campus-Based Program Issues

Allocation Reduction Due to Under-Utilization (§ 673.4(d)(3))
The CARES Act makes changes to provisions relating to the allocation of campus-based program funding. The Department intends to provide additional guidance on the allocation reduction due to under-utilization.

Filing Deadline for Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP)
The Department will issue appropriate guidance as it continues to monitor the COVID-19 national emergency.

Federal Work Study (FWS)
The Department’s March 5, 2020, guidance regarding FWS payments aligns with flexibilities provided under the Stafford Act, which permits FWS students to receive FWS, even if they are unable to work their scheduled hours or must perform their work in a different way (such as online rather than at a facility) as a result of COVID-19 interruptions, provided the institution is continuing to provide educational services and is paying its faculty and staff. As explained in the March 5, 2020, guidance, for students enrolled and performing FWS at a campus that must temporarily cease providing instruction due to COVID-19, for a FWS student who is employed by an employer that temporarily or permanently closes as a result of COVID-19, or for students quarantined and unable to travel to campus or their jobsite, the institution may continue paying the student Federal work-study wages during that cessation.

Payments may be made in an amount equal to or less than the amount of FWS wages those students would have been paid had they been able to complete the work obligation necessary to receive FWS funds.

An institution may pay a student enrolled at an eligible institution who:

Received an FWS award for the award period during which a COVID-19 related interruption occurred on the campus;
Earned FWS wages from the institution for that award period; and
Was prevented from fulfilling his or her FWS obligation for all or part of the award period due to a COVID-19 related interruption.
This flexibility applies only to students who have begun their FWS job prior to the declaration of the national emergency and may not exceed one academic year.

The CARES Act provides additional flexibility for institutions to provide emergency grants from their remaining Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) allocations, which include grants to students who would have otherwise received FWS wages had they started their job prior to the national emergency. The Department will issue guidance on the use of remaining SEOG allocations.

The CARES Act also allows the Secretary to waive the non-federal share in certain circumstances. The Secretary will consider this waiver authority and will issue guidance on this issue.

Community Service Requirements (§ 675.18(g))
An institution must use at least seven percent of the total amount of its FWS Federal funds granted for an award year to compensate students employed in community service. In addition, the institution must ensure that it includes at least one project for tutoring children in reading or one project for family literacy in providing community service. The HEA provides that a waiver of one or both community service requirements may be granted if the Secretary determines that enforcing the requirements would cause hardship for students at the institution. The Department considers the inability of an institution to expend at least seven percent of its total FWS Federal allocation for community service and/or to have at least one project for tutoring children in reading or family literacy due to the COVID-19 national emergency as an appropriate basis for a waiver. An institution must submit a request for a waiver along with a statement that explains the reason for its inability to comply with one or both of the community service requirements. An affected institution should request a waiver as soon as possible by using the annually published waiver submission guidelines or by contacting the Campus-Based Call Center at 1-800-848-0978.

Flexibility in Making Certain FWS Payments (§ 675.18(i))
As explained above, the CARES Act provides additional opportunities for institutions to award grants to students using reallocated SEOG funds. The Department will publish guidance on how to administer grants made from reallocated SEOG funds.

Federal Perkins Loan Program

Borrowers in Repayment (§ 674.33)
The Department authorizes institutions to grant forbearance, for a period not to exceed three months, to a Federal Perkins Loan borrower who is in repayment and who is unable to make payments due to a COVID-19 related interruption.

For an institutionally held Perkins Loan, interest accrues during any period of forbearance. A borrower may request this forbearance orally or in writing and is not required to submit documentation to be considered eligible for this forbearance. An institution must document the forbearance in the borrower’s file. To receive forbearance beyond the three-month period, the borrower must make a request to the institution and provide supporting documentation. (At the expiration of the three-month period, the institution should examine the borrower’s situation to determine potential eligibility for an economic hardship deferment or unemployment deferment, as appropriate.) This period of forbearance is counted toward the three-year maximum limit on the number of years of forbearance that may be granted to a borrower.

Collection of Defaulted Loans (Part 674, Subpart C—Due Diligence)
The institution may stop collection activities through September 30, 2020 upon notification by the borrower, a member of the borrower’s family, or another reliable source that the borrower has been affected by the COVID-19 national emergency. Collection activities must resume when the period ends. The institution must document in the loan file why it suspended collection activities on the loan and is not required to obtain evidence of the borrower’s status while collection activities have been suspended.

Satisfactory Repayment Arrangements on Defaulted Loans (§ 674.2)
An institution should not treat any scheduled payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of six on-time, consecutive, monthly payments required for the borrower to make satisfactory repayment arrangements on a defaulted Perkins Loan and to re-establish their eligibility for assistance under Title IV of the HEA. If the Department does not extend the effective period for the temporary relief provided by this guidance, the required sequence of qualifying payments resumes at the point at which it was discontinued.

Payments to Rehabilitate Defaulted Loans (§ 674.39)
An institution should not treat any scheduled payment the borrower fails to make as a missed payment in the stream of nine on-time, consecutive, monthly payments required for the borrower to rehabilitate the defaulted loan. If the Department does not extend the effective period for the temporary relief provided by this guidance, the required sequence of qualifying payments resumes at the point at which it was discontinued.

Conclusion

We encourage school communities to take all appropriate steps to ensure the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. If you have questions about the information provided in this guidance document or you are encountering a scenario that we have not addressed, please email the Department at COVID-19@ed.gov. In response to questions from the postsecondary community, the Department has also established FAQs that we will update periodically.

We established the webpage https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus to provide general information for school communities, including links to information posted by the CDC and Prevention, and as the location for the Department’s guidance. We encourage institutions to refer frequently to these informational resources.

As we get ready for the Easter holiday break, I want to touch base with everyone and again say thank you for all your hard work and dedication this past month. 
Please remember to unplug when needed.  Keep up the heroic efforts. Whether you are a student, staff, or faculty, you are a hero for adjusting and persevering during this time. 

Spend time with the family you are at home with and take a deep breath. Don’t forget to check on family and friends and help those who need assistance.
And always remember to reach out if you need help with a class, work assignment, or more. We are still a family. #LR4Life  #RoyalsFamily  #LRfamily

Doug Darling
 

On April 7 Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) in partnership with ProudCrowd, creators of the popular Bison Tracker app, launched a free mobile app, Care19, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Dakota.

This app will help the NDDoH reduce the spread of COVID-19 by more efficiently and effectively identifying individuals who may have had contact with people who have tested positive. Once the app is downloaded, individuals will be given a random ID number and the app will anonymously cache the individual’s locations throughout the day. Individuals are then encouraged to categorize their movement into different groups such as work or grocery. The app will only store the location of any place a person visits for 10 minutes or more, and the ID number of each individual contains no personal information besides location data.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be given the opportunity to consent to provide their information to the NDDoH to help in contact tracing and forecasting the pandemic’s progression with accurate, real-time data.

“This is an opportunity for North Dakotans to be leaders in the worldwide response to COVID-19,” said Burgum. “Our goal is for at least 50,000 North Dakotans to download the app. The more people who participate, the more helpful the data will be. The aggregated information this app is gathering can save lives. Embracing this technology is one more way we can show that we’re all in this together.” 

The NDDoH has worked tirelessly to track COVID-19 cases, and about 250 people have jumped in to help ramp up efforts. Despite all the cooperation, this manual process is very time-consuming and not 100 percent accurate. Through a public-private partnership, the Care19 app will dramatically improve the state’s contact tracing abilities.  

If individuals are categorizing movements, the NDDoH will be able to get a more accurate understanding of how COVID-19 is spreading – whether due to traveling, community spread or close contact spread – and where potential clusters are located. 

“We are extremely excited that our work on the Bison Tracker could be reshaped to quickly support the fight against COVID-19”, said ProwdCrowd CEO Tim Brookins. “Big thanks to Governor Burgum and his team, as well as my Microsoft co-workers who helped me bring Care19 to life.”

The first roll-out of the app is now available at the Apple App store and coming soon for Android users. 

For more information about the Care19 app, go to the NDDoH website at https://www.health.nd.gov/Care19.

The Lake Region State College Faculty Senate, Chief Academic Officer, and Registrar have agreed to allow students to choose an S/U grade option for spring semester 2020.  Students who are dissatisfied with the final grade earned and recorded, may contact the instructor (no later than Monday, May 25, 2020) and request the grading basis be converted to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.  
 
Upon request of the student, the instructor will notify the Chief Academic Officer who will inform the Registrar of the student’s decision to exercise this option.  The Registrar will make the change in grading basis.  Unless the course syllabi included provisions for S/U grading at the outset, the faculty member will not be able to use the S/U grading basis without following this process and involving the Chief Academic Officer and Registrar.     
 
Prior to making the request to exercise this option, students must consult with their advisor so they understand how this might affect transferability to a college outside the ND University System, how it may affect satisfying a pre-requisite, how an S/U grade for a required course could affect entry into certain programs or graduate school, and/or how an S/U grade might impact program completion requirements.  
 
The S/U grading basis is not available to students in the Peace Officer Training Program or who are enrolled in the Dakota Nursing Program at Lake Region State College.  If you need further explanation or clarification, please contact Academic Affairs Director Brandi Nelson at the following email:  brandi.nelson@lrsc.edu  
Sincerely,

Lloyd Halvorson, Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

March 2020 updates 

Please note the following changes regarding Dining Services and the Learning Commons: 

Dining Services will close Wednesday afternoon (April 1). The few remaining students in the resident halls are now living in apartments with kitchen facilities. College Care for Kids remains open and have made other arrangements for meals. 

The Learning Commons is now closed. Sheila will continue to support students, faculty, and staff with their material/resource needs by phone (701) 662-1533 or email: Sheila.Collins@lrsc.edu. Resources are also available at: https://www.lrsc.edu/student-life/library-learning-commons. New Horizons computer lab will still be accessible. 

Staff and faculty continue to reach out to current and prospective students. Through this entire process, Lake Region State College is continuing to show its grit and create positive results for students. 

Stay safe and healthy,

Doug Darling
 

Our first and highest priorities remain educating our students in the best way possible, as well as promoting the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Because we are trying to have as few people as possible physically on campus in offices, we are adjusting the setup of the switchboard/information window.

•    Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday March 31st) the switchboard will be answered remotely (M-F 7:45-4:45) by Jennifer, Joycelyn, and/or Bobbi. 
•    Fed Ex, USPS, and UPS will continue deliveries of mail and packages each day as normal.  
•    Outgoing mail must be in the mailroom by 11:00 each day as one of them will come to campus to process at this time.  
•    To maintain social distancing, please stay in the hallway and communicate with them through the Information window while they are there.  
•    The mail boxes will be locked from the inside, so if you stop by to get your mail you will need your mailbox key.

A team from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers St. Paul division will be in North Dakota, and possibly on our campus, this week. The Corp is visiting many ND communities to analyze logistics of various facilities as temporary medical units in the fight against COVID-19. More information will be made available if future plans involve LRSC. 

I will send out additional messages as needed throughout the days and weeks ahead. Please stay safe and healthy. 
 

As the first full week with most of us working or learning from a distance concludes, I want to sincerely say “Thank You” to everyone who transitioned their daily routines into new practices.

Although we aren’t physically working face to face, we are keeping our teams and groups together thanks to technology. Thank you to all faculty, staff, and students who are continuing operations using Blackboard, Microsoft Teams, Instant Messaging, and other devices. Please be reassured, that while we are working remotely, we are staying connected.  Lake Region State College is a great place because of our flexibility and service to students and each other. Please don’t lose that camaraderie as we continue with the semester. 

Our first and highest priorities remain educating our students in the best way possible, and promoting the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.

Soon we will start the preparation for recovery and return to Lake Region State College…bolder, brighter, and better than before. 

Taking a page from our Governor’s playbook, please show gratitude to your coworkers and to our health care workers and first responders.  

Please stay safe and healthy. 

Doug Darling, Ph.D. President
Lake Region State College
 

Today starts a new chapter at Lake Region State College. The new normal includes delivery of classes online and the majority of faculty and staff working remotely. As stated last week, there still are processes to work out and we will be in a constant state of change for some time. Please be understanding of each area’s and individual’s situation while we convert to these new workstyles.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, it became apparent that holding our traditional commencement activities in May would be impractical.  LRSC’s Spring 2020 graduation,  Nursing’s May pinning ceremony, and Adult Learning Center graduations are canceled. The Athletic banquet scheduled for May 14 has been canceled and the Booster drawing will take place during the Booster Golf Tournament in July.

We’ve continued to be responsive to students leaving our housing units. The move out process in the residence halls is progressing smoothly thanks to the organized procedure established by Housing. We hope to complete the process with all housing students in as precise a fashion.

To alleviate some traffic near offices and the Learning Commons, the College Care for Kids drop off and pick up entrance will be changed to the door between the Dining Room and the Adult Learning Center effective Tuesday morning (March 24). The Adult Learning Center reserved parking spots in the North Hall parking lot can be used for drop-off and pick up purposes. 

Communication with the campus remains key and we easily can become bombarded with messages. For the near future, the various listservs on campus will require approval before messages are sent to intended audiences. This will help limit repetitive messages during this time and stop messages meant for a small, specific group from being sent to such a large group.

Last week we shared that LRSC is creating a calling/texting plan, a checklist, and guidance to communicate with the large number of students who have transitioned from face to face classes into online. Faculty, please mark in Starfish should you suspect any issues with student learning.   Jennifer and Joycelyn will be the primary receptionists moving forward and will be a great resource for you if you need any assistance, have questions, or simply need to find someone or something.   

As always, please watch your email and the LRSC website for updates: https://www.lrsc.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-preparedness-and-response.

For the past week, each department and work unit has been creating staffing plans that will allow us to accomplish the important work that must be done, serve our students and faculty, and maximize the health and safety of everyone. 

We are using email, instant messaging, telephones, and technology to communicate with each other, maximizing social distancing by not entering another’s workspace unless invited to do so, and washing our hands with reckless abandon!  

We still have a lot of work to do and consider our staffing plan to be in a constant state of change.  Administration will be meeting daily to evaluate, monitor, and adjust operations as needed. Jennifer and Joycelyn will be the primary receptionists moving forward and will be a great resource for you if you need any assistance, have questions, or simply need to find someone or something.   

Updates related to COVID-19 will be listed in the news section on our website homepage or this page.

Cat, Brandi, and Steve are working on a plan to make contact with all of our full time liberal arts students who have been thrust into an online learning world they did not choose for themselves.  LRSC is creating a calling/texting plan, a checklist, and guidance sheet for callers.  Faculty MUST make raising a flag in Starfish an absolutely necessary task immediately should they suspect a problem.     

We are counting on our CTE faculty, who remain in contact with their students, to make sure the online-academic portion of their course load is going well.  I would ask each of you to proactively ask your students how things are going.  If you should learn that one of your students is struggling online, it is imperative that you let us know.   We want these students to be successful and we have the staffing resources to help.  The goal is to do such a good job with this that our retention and graduation rates actually increase!    

Gary and his team in IT are working hard to prepare the technology that employees need to fully function from home, but it is going to take some time.  I have asked him to prioritize the best he can.  Some machines are ready now, some not until next week.  Please be patient and more importantly demonstrate patience!    

Those working remotely need to remember to use safe practices regarding cyber security. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued a press release earlier this week advising North Dakotans to be cautious about coronavirus-related scams, including helpful tips.

As always, Please watch your email and the LRSC website for updates.

Lake Region State College is following the most recent information regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic.  As the information presents itself we are faced with making changes in how we deliver education, house and feed students, and provide other community services.    

Earlier today the Governor issued an executive order essentially closing in house dining in any food service establishment.  As such, LRSC Dining Services will transition to take out only and the Dining Room and Student Union will be closed to food consumption.    

He also issued an executive order declaring all state buildings closed to the public.  While not specific to colleges and universities, we face the same challenges in trying to protect those that live, learn, and work here.  Effective tomorrow, all exterior doors will be locked and require key card access.  College Care for Kids families will be allowed access only via the doors closest the Learning Commons and Athletic Offices.  

We previously notified everyone that we were transitioning all face to face academic and lecture based courses to online and had hoped to be able to accelerate lab learning for several of our career and technical education programs.  Unfortunately, we have had to transition to alternative delivery for the vast majority of these students.  Affected students have been notified of the changes and how it affects them.

As students come back from spring break and make arrangements with our housing director to leave the residence halls, we will be simultaneously launching a student outreach plan to ensure those students who chose face to face learning and now must do so online are not left without resources.

We are also following the Governor’s recommendation that employees practice social distancing, limit public interactions and gatherings, and telecommute when possible.   Although not all personnel will be physically present during the work day, all services are still available.  Please contact the LRSC switchboard, (800) 443-1313, (701) 662-1600, should you need any information or assistance.    

It is important to take note of the most current travel recommendations regarding self-quarantine. The North Dakota Department of Health has many resources for people regarding COVID-19. Guides, checklists and more information can be found at: https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus-public.  Anyone in the greater Devils Lake region feeling ill should call the Altru Hotline to discuss symptoms before going to the medical facility. That Hotline number is (701) 780-6358.  

In response to the most recent information and to help mitigate the spread of COVID 19, LRSC has made the following operational changes:

  • Academic and lecture based courses, including those scheduled through the Devils Lake Campus, the GFAFB, and UND Launch!, will be taught online (for the remainder of the semester) using the Blackboard learning management system.  Students should watch for an email from their instructor, the base director, and/or the Launch! coordinator.  Students should log into their courses on Monday, March 23rd unless otherwise directed.  
  • Career and Technical Education students in Wind, Auto, Precision Ag, and Simulation Technology should return to campus after spring break and report to their program location at 9 am on Monday, March 23rd.
  • The Minot class of the Peace Officer Training Program will resume as scheduled.  Lt. Maritato will provide detailed information on Monday March 23rd regarding new protocol.    
  • The Devils Lake, Grand Forks, and Mayville students in the Dakota Nursing Program will resume learning, testing, clinicals, labs, and simulation as coordinated by the DNP Consortium Director. 
  • Residence hall students whose courses are all academic/lecture based and will be delivered online are asked not to return to the residence halls after spring break.  Please contact Housing Director Scott Dunbar for more information.  
  • International Students and students in Wind, Auto, Precision Ag, Simulation Technology, and Nursing who live in the residence halls may return as scheduled following spring break.     
  • The Lake Region State College campus is open to current students, faculty, and staff but is closed to the general public.  
  • College Care for Kids remains open.
  • The Learning Commons will be open 7:45 to 4:45 Monday through Friday and closed evenings and weekends.
  • Interlibrary loan will be unavailable.  
  • The LRSC Education Office at the Grand Forks Air Force Base has been closed as the GFAFB has been restricted to essential personnel only.      
  • All spring athletic seasons including, Volleyball, Softball, Baseball, and the Clay Target/Shooting Sports league have been cancelled.  

The following scheduled activities have been cancelled:

  • The Blood Drive scheduled for March 23rd
  • Walking in Two Worlds, Women’s Panel scheduled for March 25th
  • The Hypnotist, scheduled for March 26th
  • Campus Preview Day for April 4th 
  • Campus Registration Day for April 22nd 
  • Annual Scholarship Event for April 22nd 
  • Phi Theta Kappa Initiation for April 23rd 

An additional update will be provided on Wednesday, March 18th and again on Friday, March 20th.  Please watch your email and/or the LRSC website for these updates.  

https://www.governor.nd.gov/news/first-case-novel-coronavirus-confirmed-north-dakota-work-continues-prevent-spread

https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

In support of the national and state efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, Lake Region State College will be adjusting its plans for course delivery, hours of operation, and more. The new operational guidelines for the college will be sent out Monday, March 16th. Please watch your email and the LRSC website for updates: https://www.lrsc.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-preparedness-and-response.

In the meantime, students in need of services are expected to call rather than visit the campus in person. 

All staff should report to work as scheduled on Monday. 

The health and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance. This is a fluid situation, and Lake Region State College will continue to monitor and communicate changes. 

Living and working like we do, we can’t eliminate all contact completely, but we need to take prudent steps to slow down the spread of the virus. 

Information and updates on this ongoing medical issue can be found at the following sites:

https://www.governor.nd.gov/news/first-case-novel-coronavirus-confirmed-north-dakota-work-continues-prevent-spread

https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Gov. Doug Burgum today declared a state of emergency for North Dakota in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis and issued guidance to K-12 schools with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte.

The governor’s executive order activates the State Emergency Operations Plan to assist local and tribal officials and directs all state agencies to provide resources and capabilities, including authorization to activate the North Dakota National Guard. President Trump, in declaration a national emergency this afternoon, urged every state to set up emergency operations centers immediately.

“We have been preparing for this since January when we activated Emergency Operations Center in the North Dakota Department of Health,” Burgum said. “Today’s emergency declaration is the next logical step in our proactive efforts to contain and mitigate the coronavirus disease through a whole-of-government and whole-of-community approach. It gives us more access to federal resources, including testing capabilities. We will continue to keep the public informed with updates and additional decisions as this situation rapidly evolves.”

Information and updates on this ongoing medical issue can be found at the following sites:

https://www.governor.nd.gov/news/first-case-novel-coronavirus-confirmed-north-dakota-work-continues-prevent-spread

https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

As of today (March 13th, 2020) LRSC plans include the following. Remember that these plans are fluid and could change at any time. Please watch your email and the LRSC website for updates: https://www.lrsc.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-preparedness-and-response

  • Classes at our home campus in Devils Lake will resume after spring break (March 23rd) as currently scheduled and in their original format.  
  • Classes at our Grand Forks Air Force Base will resume with the start of Term IV after spring break (March 23rd).   
  • UND Collaborative Enrollees will be accommodated by faculty and provided a way to participate remotely until UND resumes face to face delivery.
  • The Minot class of the Peace Officer Training Program will continue as scheduled.
  • The Devils Lake, Grand Forks, and Mayville students in the Dakota Nursing Program will participate as required by the LRSC Nursing Director.
  • As some Dakota Nursing Program campuses are suspending face to face classes, methods of instruction, testing, clinicals, labs, and simulation will be coordinated through the Director of the Dakota Nursing Program.  
  • LRSC Launch! classes on the campus of UND will suspend face to face classes and utilize technology to deliver coursework until UND resumes face to face operations. 
  • The Lake Region State College campus will remain open and faculty and staff should report to campus as scheduled.  
  • No changes have been made to Dining Services or our Residence Halls at this time.   

Lake Region State College is committed to the health and well-being of our entire community of faculty, staff, and students.   

We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary.  As such, a decision to suspend the face to face delivery of courses could be made quickly as new information presents itself.  Faculty should prepare to teach utilizing the Blackboard Learning Management System and students should prepare to learn in this way.   

Please check the LRSC home page and your email daily for additional updates.  

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We are all aware of the steadily increasing reports of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) which is causing disease and deaths in most countries. With cases now being reported in ND, MN, and SD, it is rapidly approaching our own communities. To better protect our students, staff, and faculty, Lake Region State College has instituted a suspension of all college-sponsored international travel through March 31. As of now, we are not suspending college-sponsored domestic travel, but all college-sponsored travel will receive ongoing regular assessment as this outbreak progresses. It is important for students to be prepared to continue their academic coursework in the event the situation escalates and the campus is unable to hold face to face classes. We would ask students and faculty to take their electronic devices and books with them when they leave for spring break so that teaching and learning can continue uninterrupted online using the Blackboard Learning Management System.

Whether you are traveling domestically for a college-sponsored program, or traveling anywhere for personal reasons, we ask you to thoughtfully take several things into consideration to protect yourselves and others around you. These considerations are particularly important now as many of you have travel related plans over spring break.

  1. The risk of acquiring infection increases substantially the more you are around other people. One of the key principles of mitigating serious communicable diseases is to practice social distancing, (i.e. avoiding events and situations that put us in close contact with many people). Travel frequently puts us in close contact with many people, such as in airplanes, airports, restaurants, and large events or gatherings. Please consider if your travel is necessary, and if it could possibly be postponed or altogether canceled.
  2. People who are at higher risk of more severe outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 should strongly consider foregoing any travel. This would include people over the age of 60, or those with underlying chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, or immunosuppressive conditions.  
  3. If you must travel, try as much as possible to practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds and keeping space between you and others where people congregate. Practice frequent hand-hygiene by washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based product.  
  4. Once you return home, please be vigilant for the development of any signs or symptoms of respiratory tract infection in yourself. If you develop any symptoms of fever, cough, or sore throat, please present to your own medical provider as appropriate, and do not come to work or class until you have been evaluated and your symptoms have resolved.
  • Classes at our home campus in Devils Lake will resume after spring break (March 23rd) as currently scheduled and in their original format.  
  • Classes at our Grand Forks Air Force Base will resume with the start of Term IV after spring break (March 23rd).   
  • UND Collaborative Enrollees will be accommodated by faculty and provided a way to participate remotely until UND resumes face to face delivery.
  • The Minot class of the Peace Officer Training Program will continue as scheduled.
  • The Devils Lake, Grand Forks, and Mayville students in the Dakota Nursing Program will participate as required by the LRSC Nursing Director.
  • As some Dakota Nursing Program campuses are suspending face to face classes, methods of instruction, testing, clinicals, labs, and simulation will be coordinated through the Director of the Dakota Nursing Program.  
  • LRSC Launch! classes on the campus of UND will suspend face to face classes and utilize technology to deliver coursework until UND resumes face to face operations. 
  • The Lake Region State College campus will remain open and faculty and staff should report to campus as scheduled.  
  • No changes have been made to Dining Services or our Residence Halls.   

Lake Region State College is committed to the health and well-being of our entire community of faculty, staff, and students.   

We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary.  As such, a decision to suspend the face to face delivery of courses could be made quickly as new information presents itself.  Faculty should prepare to teach utilizing the Blackboard Learning Management System and students should prepare to learn in this way.   Please check the LRSC home page and your email daily for additional updates.  

Keep watch in your email for further notices regarding measures being taken by the NDUS or Lake Region State College. 

Please have a safe and healthy spring break.

Information and updates on this ongoing medical issue can be found at the following sites:

https://www.governor.nd.gov/news/first-case-novel-coronavirus-confirmed-north-dakota-work-continues-prevent-spread

https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Thank you for your consideration, and I wish you a happy and healthy spring break!