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Enhancing NKU as a Student-Ready Institution for Fall 2020

In the Spring Forum address on April 21, 2020, President Vaidya outlined two scenarios to be considered for NKU for Fall 2020. The NKU COVID-19 Preparedness Team was tasked with providing a recommendation. 

The details of the COVID-19 Preparedness Team’s recommendation are outlined in the following sections (a PDF version is also available). As NKU moves forward, many additional details and updates will be provided on all of these matters.

We hope this outline gives a solid picture of our recommendations for NKU’s approach to the Fall 2020 semester. We strive to plan as much as possible but also be prepared to be flexible to adapt and respond to situations as they arise.

There are “Give Feedback” buttons throughout this site for you to provide input on each section. If there are additional areas of concern, please email the NKU COVID-19 Preparedness Team at


Health & Safety

The sections below outline health and safety considerations for NKU’s reopening.

The following plans are being made for a return to campus.

Under the recommended approach, some level of in-person class meetings with substantial mandatory health and safety accommodations will resume in Fall 2020. Flexible approaches to instruction will be required.




The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is currently making plans and preparations for both the Summer and Fall 2020 semesters. The NCAA has instituted a recruiting dead period, which severely limits the recruiting activities for coaches. NKU Athletics summer workouts and countable athletically related activities could potentially begin as early as July 6, 2020, based on university permission and guidelines provided by health officials and the state of Kentucky. The safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, and staff will be at the forefront of these decisions.

The Department of Athletics has created an Athletics Preparedness Team, led by team physician Dr. Matt DesJardins, to formulate a plan for reopening athletic-related activities under the guidance set forth by government and health agencies, NCAA/Horizon League, and the University.

The Athletics Preparedness Team’s plan is being formulated with considerations for the following topics:

  1. Compliance with the University’s July 1 soft opening
  2. Preparing office areas to adhere to social distancing guidelines
  3. Determining proper social distancing protocols, as well as proper cleaning/disinfecting procedures, for the following areas:
    • Strength and conditioning
    • Athletic training
    • Locker rooms, restrooms, etc.
    • Film room
    • Academic centers
    • Campus Housing
  4. Identifying staff who are essential versus those who can continue effectively working from home
  5. Acquisition of necessary PPE for staff and student-athletes
  6. Testing requirements

Norse coaches, staff, and student-athletes will adhere to campus guidelines set forth for all students, visitors, and staff while on campus.

Additionally, all Fall 2020 athletic competition is subject to decisions pending by the NCAA and Horizon League. Four possible scenarios being considered for the Fall 2020 semester include the following:

  1. Athletic competition resumes in the Fall 2020 semester with no interruptions or restrictions
  2. No Fall 2020 home events—or Fall 2020 home events held without spectators
  3. No Fall 2020 home events and basketball games played without spectators until Jan. 1, 2021
  4. No Fall 2020 home events and no home basketball games—or home basketball games played without spectators

Human Resources

As summarized below, Human Resources is working on several items for the transition back to campus. These will all be done in accordance with Kentucky’s Healthy at Work guidelines. Healthy at Work is a phased approach to reopening Kentucky’s economy and is based on criteria set by public health experts and advice from industry experts.

Information Technology


IT is planning a flexible approach to the Fall 2020 semester with regard to classroom technology, tech support, equipment loan program, Norse Tech Bar, system support and administrative support. IT’s goal is to support the university’s administrative and academic needs independent of decisions made with regard to mode of learning. IT will execute plans this summer to be prepared for in-person classes, flexible hybrid, and fully online instruction. These plans include the following:

  • Prepare as many classrooms as possible for the hybrid instruction mode, which allows the most flexibility. Leverage prioritization of classrooms based on the input of the COVID-19 Academic Workgroup. This will require the procurement of the necessary equipment as soon as possible and then installation over the summer.
  • Procure media kits containing webcams, microphones, and other necessary equipment available for faculty, which would allow them to teach in person or remotely.
  • Adjust classroom support/IT staff on campus as demand dictates.
  • Add as many of the required academic software titles as possible to our virtual lab solution for remote access.
  • Maintain/open our physical labs with the correct social distancing.
  • Operate the Norse Tech Bar per social distancing guidelines to provide direct student/faculty/staff support.
  • Replenish the laptop and iPad carts in time for the fall semester, replacing the loaner devices that were removed. The procurement of these devices will be made in May and replacement within the classrooms will occur over the summer.
  • Procure enough high-end loaner laptops for students and faculty that support remote working/learning for faculty and students for the more advanced academic programs.
  • Procure enough equipment and be prepared to cover student loaner requests for wifi hotspots, laptops, headsets, and webcams.
  • Procure enough equipment and be prepared to cover faculty loaner requests for wifi hotspots, laptops, headsets, webcams, and monitors.
  • Enhance evening and weekend helpdesk and support hours.
  • Develop/provide online trainings that support hybrid learning and staff efficiencies.
  • Provide best practices and security procedures for a successful online experience.

Student Affairs & Experience


Below are key elements of the plans of Student Affairs for the summer and Fall 2020.

  • University Housing: Callahan Hall will be open for summer housing, with one student per room in rooms with shared bathroom facilities. In Fall 2020, Callahan will be open with one student per room in rooms with full bathrooms. Other campus housing facilities will either be closed or open with a reduced number of students. In both the summer and fall, certain wings will be designated as quarantine areas. University Housing will examine a depopulated residency model for Fall 2020 based on CDC recommendations and guidance from national University Housing and Residence Life guidelines.
  • Norse Commons (Housing Office): Reduced staff in office (25%); limited or no student employment at the front office; hire additional students for Operations & Maintenance (O&M); mailrooms will remain open (potentially limited hours); residential village information desks will not be open except during opening/closing; no visitors in the main office. University Housing will promote phone and Zoom appointments. University Housing will also set up a Zoom conference station for individuals who arrive to Norse Commons.
  • Dining Services: In Fall 2020, the service model will shift to limited options with limited hours in the Student Union; continuous serve at one residential dining location; corporate-mandated strategies regarding cleaning, uniforms, and social distancing; limited point-of-service interaction. The plans will be designed to adapt to the changing situation.
  • Student Union (SU) and the University Center (UC): The SU and UC will open with limited hours of operations. Social distancing strategies will be enforced for common areas, lounge areas, and meeting spaces.
  • FUEL NKU: Operations will continue with limited paid and volunteer staff. To avoid contamination, donations of products are not accepted. There will be social distancing on site and constant cleaning/disinfecting.
  • Campus Recreation Center (CRC): For Fall 2020, classes will get priority over any open recreation. CRC will limit people in the building, implement regular disinfection, and require masks/temperature checks, following the guidelines stated in the Screening, Testing, and Contact Tracing section under Health and Safety. Although challenges with enforcement and availability of PPE will need to be addressed, CRC will abide by recommendations of the CDC and the national collegiate campus recreation suggested practices. The virtual+ programming that has been in place during Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 will continue until modified recreational and fitness operations open tentatively in August.
  • Counseling Services: Counseling Services will continue to provide telehealth services, as well as offer in-person sessions as appropriate based on University decisions. Crisis services are also available 24/7 for our students.
  • Early Learning Campus: NKU’s Early Learning Campus will be open as the state of Kentucky permits and pending the University’s reopening recommendations for Fall 2020. Likely, additional classrooms will be added to create smaller class sizes, as well as additional disinfecting and staff.
  • International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS): Below are some of the key elements of the plan for addressing the arrival and check-in of international students:
    • Thermometer and facial covering should be added to the student packing list.
    • Advise international students to arrive July 27-July 29, 2020, to quarantine for 14 days before immigration check-in and orientation on August 5, 2020.
    • Orientation is in the process of being created for virtual use. International students may need devices to use for virtual immigration check-in since most students will not yet have phone chips/plans.
    • Starting August 1, 2020, international students will begin the check-in process, including paperwork and training. Staff will need to be present.
    • Remove furniture in ISSS lobby; add plexiglass barriers; encourage/require masks; utilized gloves as needed.
    • Once international students are settled in, staff can revert to being more virtual. Rotate staff - 1 or 2 people per day in the office; encourage/require masks; ensure necessary cleaning supplies are provided.
  • Events: Events will be scheduled either in-person or virtually depending on the timing and number of participants. Below are some examples:
    • Fraternity and Sorority Life: Sorority recruitment will take place January 28-31, 2021.
    • Fresh Start: For Fall 2020, this program is working on a virtual experience but would like it to be in person for the 140 new and returning students.
    • Registration Day: The Student Organization Fair is being designed to be a potentially virtual experience.
    • Fresh Fusion: This Fall 2020 event involves 3,500 people outside. It is being designed to be a potentially virtual experience in which student organizations film a 1-minute video for recruitment.
    • Summer Spark: Summer Spark, which involves 125-150 students, will be virtual for Summer 2020.
    • Orientation: The new student convocation in the BB&T Arena will most likely be a virtual experience on August 14, 2020.
    • NKU ROCKS, LAMP, LGBTQ Ambassadors: Depending on University decisions, these programs will be modified to include social distancing and virtual experiences.