This FAQ was last updated on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. As guidance regarding COVID-19 evolves, we will continue to update this document with the most current information. Please check back frequently. More information on plans for the upcoming academic year can be found on the Planning for Fall 2020 website.


What is a coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The global outbreak of this novel coronavirus, named COVID-19, was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Most people experience mild symptoms, but for some the illness is severe, and in some cases fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A global health emergency was declared in February. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic. The situation remains fluid as the virus continues to spread across the United States.

How can I best track the spread of COVID-19?

For the most up-to-date tracking of cases, we recommend the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, which frequently updates a map illustrating where cases have been confirmed.

A new resource is now available that will help us track local COVID-19 activity levels. The tracker is available on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at The data is updated weekly on Wednesdays by 2 p.m.

How can I prevent the spread of illness? 

As the CDC notes, there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus; however, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including: 

Please continue to practice physical distancing no matter where we are; we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect others and ourselves by staying home whenever possible and practice proper safety measures:

  • Maintain at least six feet between you and another individual.
  • Wear a mask when you are in public where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Please note that all individuals living or working on the Lawrence campus are required to wear masks when they are in interior public areas or when gathering in a group both indoors and outdoors. Faculty and staff can request a mask by completing a request form; students should contact the Dean of Students.
  • Avoid public transportation whenever possible.
  • Limit non-essential travel.
  • Limit social gatherings and avoid crowded venues.
  • Practice good hygiene, including handwashing; disinfect surfaces you touch; and avoid touching your face.
  • Follow these guidelines if you are feeling ill.

All of these actions are necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

What should you do if you are concerned you might have COVID-19? 

Before going to your health care clinic, call your health care professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. If you are a member of faculty or staff, or a student living off-campus, this means your local health care professional. Students living on campus can reach out to Wellness Services. Your health care professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Information on health services at Lawrence can be found at

Updated: Information about symptoms, testing, and a self-check process can be found at the CDC’s Symptoms and Testing page.

Information for students regarding the Wellfleet student insurance plan can be found at:

What should I do if I am not feeling well? 

In short, stay home. It is especially critical that employees do not report to work while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, or fatigue. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. For staff, faculty, and students not residing on-campus, please contact your primary care physician or local healthcare provider with questions about your health.

Many times, with the best of intentions, employees report to work even though they feel ill. Employees who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines. If remote work is an option for your position, a conversation with your supervisor, department chair, or the Provost’s Office to discuss the practicality and logistics of this arrangement should be had. The University recommends having these discussions even before an employee presents symptoms or is diagnosed. 

If you will not be reporting to work, staff employees must contact their immediate supervisor and faculty employees should contact their department chair and/or the Provost’s Office. For employees who accrue sick leave, the University’s paid sick leave policy can be found in the employee handbook. In the event a sick leave balance is exhausted, vacation time or personal day may also be utilized, where applicable.   

What if someone in my immediate household falls ill? 

Consider this situation with an abundance of caution. According to the CDC, symptoms generally appear within 2-14 days of exposure. If in doubt or if you are beginning to feel unwell, err on the side of caution. 

For employees who accrue sick leave, the University’s paid sick leave policy does cover care for sick immediate family members when they are unable to care for themselves. This policy can be found in the employee handbook. In the event a sick leave balance is exhausted, vacation time or personal day may also be utilized.           

Have more questions? 

We are providing contact emails that relate to particular areas of concern. If you have questions about your particular personal situation, we encourage you to reach out to those contacts with your question.




Off Campus Programs: 


Financial Aid: 

Student Accounts: (billing and refunds): 

Campus Life: 

On-campus events: 


International student services: 

Travel restrictions:   

Faculty & Staff: 

Wellness Services: 

Center for Academic Success:     


Additional Questions Email: 

Live Q&A Webinar Recordings

View recordings of the live Q&A sessions from the afternoon of Friday, March 13 for additional information and answers to submitted questions:

Students & Families click here. (Can’t access YouTube? Click here to access the recording.)

Faculty and staff click here. (Can’t access YouTube? Click here to access the recording.)