COVID-19 Advisory Archive
Below is an archive of communications regarding Harper College's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For the latest information, see harpercollege.edu/advisory.
Harper campuses are currently closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Fall 2020 semester: To protect our students, faculty and staff, the fall 2020 semester will be offered
primarily online. The course schedule will be available and registration will take
place beginning May 29 for continuing students. Classes will be offered in the following ways:
- Online: Most courses will be taught online for fall.
- Online with live class meetings (scheduled chat): Some classes will require students to attend live, online class meetings at a set time. These courses will be fully online but will require you to be online and connected by webcam and microphone at set times. These courses and their live meeting times will be noted in the course schedule as “scheduled chat” courses.
- Blended: We are seeking state guidance to teach some courses with labs and practica in a blended format. Using state guidance, these courses would consist of an online lecture and on-campus labs. Labs would be conducted with safety measures including fewer than 10 students, physical distancing, personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning.
- We expect campus to remain mostly closed in fall. We're planning to open only labs (pending state guidance) and the Testing Center for pre-scheduled appointments. We will continue to assess the situation to determine if additional spaces can be safely opened.
- Summer 2020 session: Summer session credit courses will be taught online.
- Spring 2020 semester labs: A limited number of spring semester labs will have to be completed on campus. We are finalizing a plan to safely conduct those labs over the summer.
- Spring 2020 semester grades: To help address some of the unique challenges that students are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re offering flexibility in grading for the spring semester. Learn about the no-harm grading policy for spring 2020.
- Remote learning resources: View resources or call 847.925.6484 for additional assistance. See also: Student FAQs.
- Services: The college will continue to provide services remotely.
Employees: To keep essential systems running, only a limited number of pre-authorized personnel are permitted on campus at this time. Employees will continue to work remotely until campus can reopen safely.
Events: While all on-campus events are canceled, a variety of virtual events are taking place.
Travel: College-sponsored travel is suspended until further notice.
Because the situation is dynamic, please refer to the most recent updates for details.
This message was sent to Harper College employees:
Dear Harper College Community,
While public health officials in Illinois have expressed guarded optimism that we’re slowing the spread of COVID-19, it seems the state has yet to hit its peak. Infections in the Chicago area are particularly prevalent, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases in suburban Cook County alone.
That’s why I was saddened, but not surprised, that several members of our college community have shared with us they recently tested positive for COVID-19. Please understand the college has an ethical and legal responsibility to protect the privacy of any infected student or employee. We will not be providing any additional information or notification unless directed by public health officials.
To ensure we follow appropriate protocol, we reached out to the Cook County Department of Public Health immediately upon learning of a positive case. Because community transmission is widespread and we closed campus more than a month ago (beyond the two-week incubation period for COVID-19), officials informed us that no additional action is needed beyond the physical distancing measures we have already taken.
What we must do is show compassion and support these individuals in their recovery while honoring privacy and complying with FERPA and HIPAA laws.
- Students: If students inform you they have tested positive for COVID-19, encourage them to contact Vicki Atkinson, dean of student development, for additional support. With the student’s consent, she will coordinate care check-ins and provide holistic support for any academic and non-academic needs.
- Employees: If employees inform their supervisor they have tested positive for COVID-19, the supervisor should contact Angela Bowling, benefits and compensation manager. With the employee’s consent, she will help coordinate any work-related or personal support.
For the small group of essential employees in our police and facilities departments who continue to work on campus, the college continues to implement practices to help protect these very dedicated staff members including social distancing, self-monitoring and cleaning that follows CDC recommendations.
Many in our Harper community are struggling right now, perhaps due to illness, finances, stress, isolation, or the demands of balancing work with being a parent or caregiver. I’m also cognizant that K-12 schools staying closed for the remainder of the school year is another concern for families.
These are tough times, and I’m asking each of you to check in with each other. Practice patience and empathy. Be flexible with your colleagues and students, remembering we’re all doing the best we can right now. I’m considering a phone call campaign to check in with employees, similar to how we’ve been reaching out to students to show our support. Stay tuned for more details.
I’m pleased to learn in our remote environment that many of you are forging connections – through humor, creativity or simple, supportive gestures. You may not think of these interactions as significant, but now, more than ever, they foster the connectedness that lifts us up. Please consider sharing your efforts with our communications team.
Finally, I sincerely thank you for your resiliency and for doing your part to help our Harper community stay healthy and safe. As you may have seen this afternoon, Gov. Pritzker announced he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order through May. I invite you to take part in tomorrow’s town hall to learn more about what this means for us, how we’re supporting students, faculty and staff, and to ask questions.
Dr. Avis Proctor
It is our responsibility to do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our campus community, particularly those who are most vulnerable. While we are hopeful that physical distancing measures will begin to flatten the curve, it’s clear that the alarming surge in coronavirus cases both in Illinois and throughout the U.S. requires us to postpone the reopening of campus and take additional action.
- Online learning: All spring semester AND summer session credit courses will be converted to online instruction. Independent, flexible learning will continue the next two weeks as originally planned. Fully online instruction will begin April 13.
- Labs, internships and clinicals:We are exploring options for these courses and learning experiences. Faculty are in the process of addressing this and will reach out to the students in their courses directly.
- Spring grades: To help address some of the unique challenges you’re facing, we’re offering flexibility in grading for the spring semester. We will provide additional details soon. All active employees scheduled to work during spring semester, including regular part-time and student workers, will be paid for their regularly scheduled work hours through May 15.
- Graduation: We are committed to celebrating students’ success and achievements through virtual events. Graduates will receive more information in the coming weeks.
- Working remotely: Employees will continue to work remotely through May 15. Employees will be provided with a week’s notice should this date change.
This pandemic has brought us to uncomfortable spaces in many ways, and our shift to online learning and remote working present a variety of challenges. However, based on current knowledge we believe these steps are necessary and in the best interest of our entire community. This is an ever-evolving situation, and plans may be adjusted if everyone’s safety can be ensured.
Through this uncertainty, the college is committed to supporting employees. We will coordinate Harper’s benefits with the federal emergency paid-leave benefits program outlined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, should employees need this coverage. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed recently includes direct payments to most families and offers other assistance.
We appreciate your patience as we work on solutions – both to help our students successfully complete their coursework and to meet the needs of our employees and community. Together, we will come through this stronger and more deeply connected than ever before.
The college recognizes that the current state-of-affairs surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is quickly changing. As such, we are accelerating our plan to implement social distancing measures. Starting Tuesday, March 17, most employees will begin working remotely. Essential employees needed on campus to support operations of the college will be notified. Specific information on our revised schedule, some tips for working remotely, and payroll is posted on HIP, the employee portal.
Dear Harper College Community,
I write to share an update on our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While we have not identified any cases of infected Harper College students, faculty or staff, the safety of our community is our primary concern in this rapidly evolving situation. As we approach Spring Break, a popular travel period, Harper College is taking the following proactive measures to minimize our risk of exposure:
- We are implementing off-campus, flexible learning for credit students March 16-April 12. For information on Continuing Education, please see below.
- For employees, the college will maintain its regular work schedule through March 29.
- Beginning March 30, we will begin a two-week social distancing period. This two-week period, March 30-April 12, aligns with the 14-day incubation period for COVID-19.
- During this time, employees and students will not come to campus (except essential personnel, who will be notified).
What is off-campus flexible learning?
Students will not be on campus during the flexible learning period. There may be exceptions for individuals who present a hardship. Credit students will be completing independent homework, readings and projects from home provided by their faculty. The goal of this flexible learning period is to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus, while striving for successful, on-time course completion. Students who need assistance learning remotely can call 847.925.6484.
Faculty will be developing curriculum for online delivery in preparation for the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic requires we move to full online instruction. That decision will be made by April 13.
Campus events: March 16-April 12
All on-campus events are canceled.
Travel: Now-May 31
Effective immediately, all college-related travel outside of Illinois is suspended through May 31. This applies to both out-of-state, domestic and international travel. Please use your judgment when choosing to attend in-state events or explore attending virtually.
For all of us, this is a time of uncertainty. I want to assure you that we continue to actively monitor this public health threat as well as local, state and federal actions that may impact the college. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances. Please continue to visit the Harper College Advisory webpage for information on prevention, resources and actions you can take related to COVID-19.
Dr. Avis Proctor, President
Harper College continues to closely monitor the global outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We will keep our campus community informed as developments occur. To date, we have not identified any cases of infected Harper College students, faculty or staff. However, it is incumbent upon all of us to remain aware and vigilant of this public health situation.
We have assembled our emergency planning and response team, comprised of all areas of the college. This team will meet at least weekly to discuss, monitor and plan for necessary responses or changes to business and learning. At our meeting this morning, the team decided to implement the following:
Changes to Travel
International: Following the guidance of the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harper College is suspending all college-sponsored international travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. We expect this list of countries to grow and encourage anyone considering international travel to closely follow the latest travel advisories and alerts.
Domestic: Nonessential travel including professional development, college-sponsored activities and events is also suspended to states that have declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to monitor the situation in the other states as the situation evolves. We are restricting nonessential, college-related travel to:
- New York
In addition, we are asking everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Please assist us in wiping down classroom tables, workspaces, phones, desks, tables, door handles and keyboards. A centralized purchasing system is being developed; more information will be provided to employees on how college departments can purchase the appropriate supplies.
Let’s work together to keep our college safe.
We want to take an opportunity to assure everyone that we continue to actively monitor the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and remain vigilant as the situation evolves.
As you may have seen in recent news coverage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week encouraged U.S. communities, hospitals, schools and other organizations to begin preparing for a disruption due to coronavirus. And on Monday, Northwest Community Hospital announced two confirmed cases.
It is important to note that at this time, there are no confirmed cases of any infected Harper College students, faculty or staff. Federal and state public health officials have reiterated that the risk to the public remains low. All classes, events and activities will continue as normal.
The college is taking proactive steps to keep our campus community healthy and safe. In addition to following the guidance and recommendations of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC, we have implemented appropriate precautions including:
- The college has assembled its emergency planning and response team.
- We are reviewing academic and business continuity protocols, including study abroad and business travel.
- Our custodial staff is paying special attention to sanitizing door handles, handrails, bathrooms and other surfaces.
- We are emphasizing the importance of everyday practices to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including coronavirus and the flu.
- Hand sanitizing wipes and tissues will be placed in every classroom and lab.
Your safety is important to us. We are committed to keeping you informed. Thank you for your cooperation and support.
We’ve been following the news about the spread of a new respiratory virus known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We also recently looked into a report that a Harper College student may have been exposed to coronavirus. This student was not infected and at no time posed a risk to campus.
Again, there are no confirmed cases of any infected Harper College students, faculty or staff.
Public health officials have said the risk remains low in the United States. We’re closely monitoring this public health concern and following the guidance of the Illinois Department of Public Health. To help keep our campus community safe, we can educate ourselves about coronavirus and take preventative actions that prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, influenza and other illnesses.
What is coronavirus?
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and cause respiratory illness. This new strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first detected in Wuhan, China, and is thought to be spreading from ill people to others. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. The CDC always recommends the following everyday preventative actions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
If you have concerns about your health or symptoms you’re experiencing, please contact your healthcare provider or visit the NCH Outpatient Care Center in Building M.
Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health or the CDC to learn more about coronavirus including answers to Frequently Asked Questions. If you have questions or concerns specific to health and safety at Harper College, please submit them here.
We have moved to remote learning and instruction for the Spring 2020 semester and we understand that this transition has presented challenges for you, as has the unprecedented impact of the COVID 19 virus. Many of you are struggling with job losses, homeschooling children and the worry of possible infection. We are aware of these challenges and continue to assess the situation to lessen the stress this is causing.
As such, I am pleased to share that we have adopted a No-Harm Grading Policy for Spring 2020 classes. Below is a summary of the policy. Please check in with your academic advisor before making any decision regarding your grades. Please note that these policies apply to courses ending between March 16 and May 15.
- Faculty will grade as they usually do: A, B, C, D, X for Incomplete—but an F will now be NP which stands for No-grade Pandemic. You will not receive credits for courses graded NP, so you will need to retake these courses if they are required for your program or to transfer. However, NP grades will not be included in your GPA. Faculty will post grades by Friday, May 29, 2020.
- After receiving your grades, you can switch any grade of A, B, C to P for Pass. Courses graded with a P are not included in your GPA, but the credits are counted. It is unlikely that you will opt to change an A grade to a P, but we want to be clear that only grades of C or above are considered passing (P), which is important for transfer. You can switch a D grade to an NP so that it does not impact your GPA, but the course will need to be retaken if credit is needed for your program or to transfer. This is tricky because for some programs a D can be used for completion if your overall GPA is above a 2.0. Please check in with your advisor before making changes. You will have until Monday, June 15, 2020 to make any changes which will be done through your MyHarper Student Portal.
- If you are in a Health Career Program you will be given the same grades listed in #1. However, you must also adhere to grading policies in the Health Career Program Handbook and should check with your faculty members if you have any questions, as grade changes are not always possible.
I cannot stress enough that you should discuss any grade changes with your academic advisor.
In addition to the no-harm grading policy, our librarians and tutors are standing by, offering services online to help you be successful in your classes. These policies and services are designed to lessen the stress many of you are feeling during these uncertain times. Please know we are here to help you and understand that we are in this together!
Dr. Maria Coons
Thank you for your patience, flexibility and perseverance in these unprecedented times. I know you have many questions about the rest of the semester and I hope this note provides some guidance and clarity.
In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our campus community, we are making the following changes:
- Spring semester: All credit courses will go completely online for the rest of the semester.
- Summer session: All courses will be offered online only.
- Labs, internships and clinicals: We are exploring options for these courses and learning experiences. Faculty are in the process of addressing this and will reach out to the students in their courses directly within the next few weeks.
- Spring grades: To help address some of the unique challenges you’re facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re offering flexibility in grading for the spring semester. Additional details will be provided soon.
- Graduation: We are committed to celebrating your success and achievements. We are planning to do this virtually and will provide more information to graduates in the coming weeks.
I understand that this sudden shift to online learning presents a variety of challenges and may not be what you hoped for. We’ve put together some tips for successful online learning and a list of resources to help you get online and connected, if necessary. We are all in this transition together and I am confident we can succeed.
Through this uncertainty, we are committed to supporting you. Our staff and faculty are launching more online services than ever before. You can now make an appointment with the Writing Center online, use online resources from the Library, and participate in Student Involvement live events and chats. We may be working remotely, but we are all here to help you.
Dr. Avis Proctor
In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Harper College is providing relief
for students with payment plans for spring or summer. We recognize many of you may
face additional financial challenges during this time and want to see you successfully
complete your courses.
What to Know:
Spring 2020 Payment Plans:
Payments scheduled for April will be rescheduled to May 5.
Summer 2020 Payment Plans:
Plans with payments beginning in April will now begin in May, running May 5 to August 5.
What to Do:
- If you would like the new payment schedule:
- No action is necessary.
- If you want to keep the original payment schedule:
- Please complete this form by April 1.
You can also make a manual payment at any time following these instructions.
We hope this change gives you a little more breathing room, that you can focus on your courses, and that you stay safe and healthy. As always, visit harpercollege.edu/advisory for updated information on the Harper College COVID-19 response and services plan.
We understand this is an uncertain time; there’s no “routine” right now and anxiety is high. We also know that you’re managing a lot, between your coursework, family life and what may be happening at your workplace.
Your personal well-being is more important than ever at a time like this. To help us understand your current concerns and the hardships you may be facing, please complete a brief survey.
This survey will help us determine how we can best support you as we all manage the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, please review this list of available community resources.
To build community and sustain our personal well-being, we are offering you the chance to opt-in to regular text messages. These messages will feature helpful tips, virtual events and more. To opt-in, simply text “HARPERHEALTH” to 313131.
Know that we are working on your behalf and doing as much as we can to help you be successful. If you have questions, please submit them or call 847.925.6484.
Stay safe and stay well.
Dr. Avis Proctor
Thank you for working with us as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that transitioning to off-campus, flexible learning may be difficult for some, but we are committed to your success and helping you complete your courses.
To make this process easier, we want to make sure you are aware of some resources:
- Student Service Desk: If you need help accessing Blackboard or other Harper systems, please contact the Student Service Desk at 847.925.6866. They will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please be patient as the Student Service Desk is managing a high call volume.
- Access your courses online through Blackboard.
- You can also find them through the “My Blackboard Classes” section of your MyHarper portal.
- If you are new to Blackboard and need some help navigating, this Blackboard Basics video may help.
- No internet at home? You may qualify for up to two months of free basic internet service from Comcast.
- Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point for FREE:
- All students can download Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point for free on up to five computers, five mobile devices and five tablets.
- Download the software.
- Your username is your Harper email.
- Your password is your six-digit birthday (MMDDYY).
- Access to textbooks: The HarperStore (bookstore) is not charging ground shipping on orders through April 12, so you can have your learning materials delivered directly to home.
In addition, student services like the One Stop, Academic Advising, Access and Disability Services, Academic Support Centers and the Library will have limited availability during this time. Hours and services will vary and
are noted online.
We are continuing to monitor this public health threat as well as local, state and federal actions that may impact you and the college. Continue visiting the Harper College webpage and remember all Harper College campuses are closed to the public, including students, through April 12.
If you have questions or concerns, please submit them.
I am writing with an update on our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While we have not identified any cases of infected Harper College students, faculty
or staff, the health and safety of our community is our primary concern in this rapidly
evolving situation. We are taking the following proactive measures to minimize our
risk of exposure:
Off-campus flexible learning period: March 16-April 12 (except Spring Break March 23-29)
- From March 16 to April 12, you will be learning from home and won't come to campus.
- During this time, you will complete independent homework, readings and projects provided by your faculty. The goal of this flexible learning period is to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus, while striving for successful, on-time course completion. Your faculty members will give you your assignments.
- You are not expected to engage in coursework over Spring Break (March 23-29).
- If you need assistance or additional support to learn remotely, please call 847.925.6484.
- All clinical experiences are suspended.
Campus events: March 16-April 12
All on-campus events are canceled.
Travel: Now-May 31
Effective immediately, all college-related travel outside of Illinois is suspended through May 31.
For all of us, this is a time of uncertainty. I want to assure you that we continue
to actively monitor this public health threat as well as local, state and federal
actions that may impact you and the college. I appreciate your patience and understanding
as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances. Please continue to visit the Harper College Advisory webpage for information on prevention, resources and actions you can take related
If you have questions or concerns about these safety procedures, please submit them.
Dr. Avis Proctor
Harper College President
Harper College is closely monitoring the global outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). At this time, we have not identified any cases of infected Harper College students, faculty or staff.
We are taking proactive steps to keep our campus community healthy and safe, and have assembled our emergency planning and response team. This team is monitoring and responding to the situation.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, we are suspending all nonessential travel to states that have declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. This includes all college-sponsored activities and events. Currently, travel is restricted to:
- New York
Following the guidance of the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, we are also suspending all college-sponsored international
travel to countries with a CDC warning level 3 or higher.
We are asking everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, making sure to wash all surfaces. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands; you’ll find many hand sanitizer stations around campus. Please assist us in wiping down desktops and computers, using the sanitizing wipes in classrooms and labs.
Finally, we have established a webpage to keep you informed. We will keep this site updated with information about the coronavirus, including prevention tips. You can also submit a question about health and safety at Harper.
Let’s work together to keep our college safe.
Earlier today Harper College announced a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. There are no identified cases of infected Harper College students, faculty or staff, but the safety of our community is our primary concern in this rapidly evolving situation. As we approach Spring Break, a popular travel period, Harper College is taking the following proactive measures to minimize our risk of exposure.
Here is what you should know:
- All Continuing Education classes, regardless of the location of the class, are suspended beginning on Monday, March 16. We currently intend to resume classes on Monday, April 13. Students will not attend any Harper College Continuing Education classes either at Harper College facilities or at partner locations throughout the community.
- We will attempt to reschedule the three missed weeks at the end of your class. Specific information about your class will be sent to you when it is available.
- All on-campus events are canceled for the period of March 16 – April 12.
Updated 3/16: Continuing Education employees will maintain our regular work schedule through March 16. Beginning March 17, we will begin a social distancing period through April 12. There will not be staff on campus during this period, however, online registration will continue. During this time you may email specific questions to email@example.com.
Please continue to visit the Harper College Advisory webpage for information on prevention, resources and actions you can take related to COVID-19. Please note that off-campus flexible learning does not apply to Continuing Education classes.
Scott Cashman, Ph.D.
Manager Continuing Education
For the latest status on specific Harper events, see our Event Calendar. Events that have been canceled will be updated with "Canceled" in the title.
The Health and Recreation Center (Bulding M) is currently closed until further notice. For additional event, facility and programming information see harpercollege.edu/campusrec.
For information on the Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) outpatient care center in Building M on Harper's campus, visit their website at: https://www.nch.org/locations/nch-outpatient-care-center-at-harper-college/
All on-campus have been canceled until further notice. Please contact the Harper College Box Office at 847.925.6100 for more information.
For updated Veterans and GI Bill information, see Veterans Services.
CARES Act Disclosure
Questions or concerns?
If you have concerns about your health or symptoms you’re experiencing, please contact your healthcare provider.
Have questions about coronavirus? Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline.
If you have questions or concerns specific to health and safety at Harper College, please submit them.