Students Returning to Campus - COVID 19 | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Returning to Campus - Students

Under the guidance of the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health,  NWACC continues to implement COVID-19 safety measures at its locations to keep returning students safe.

The college is offering flexible course options - on-campus and online - that are designed to support your academic experience as well as your personal safety.

COVID-19 Vaccine Student Information 

NWACC students are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Find vaccine locations on the Arkansas Department of Health’s vaccination locator website. You can also search local pharmacies or local vaccine clinics

NWACC is NOT mandating that you receive the vaccine, so the choice is up to you. Please educate yourself on any of the vaccine’s risks and consult your physician if you are high risk, have known allergies or have other concerns. You should always seek medical advice before receiving a new vaccine. View the CDC website to learn about possible vaccine reactions. 


Course Options

Course instruction is offered on campus, online at a scheduled time and online anytime. The following summarizes the various types of instruction. 

On-Campus & Online Scheduled Time

Many labs and technical courses will include social distancing face-to-face instruction at a set time and on campus. Social distancing guidelines will limit the number of students in a classroom. Other courses will be offered through a hybrid approach which includes social distancing face-to-face instruction on campus and streaming instruction online.

Some examples of how this might be accomplished include:

  • When possible, offering larger classrooms to allow for social distancing.
  • Limiting the number of students allowed in individual classrooms and laboratories at one time.
  • Perhaps one-third of the students attend every third face-to-face class with the other two-thirds of the students streaming instruction online.
  • Classes will meet as scheduled with options to adjust modes of instruction.

Online Scheduled Time

Some courses will be offered to you online through a video conferencing tool at a scheduled time. The class will be streamed live and you will be able to ask questions and participate in discussions.

Some examples of how this might be accomplished include:

  • During a regularly scheduled class, you will be able to stream a live lecture and participate in discussions.
  • Classrooms will include camera technology that will allow you and other students to view the lecture in real time.
  • Classes will meet as scheduled with options to adjust modes of instruction.

Online Anytime

Many courses will be offered to you through online technology and NOT at a scheduled time. Instructors will be available to answer questions by email or other conferencing technology.

  • Offering larger courses online will allow classrooms to open up for smaller social distancing face-to-face courses.

Prepare for fall classes with the computer and technology that best fit your needs. Learn more about recommended computer specs such as RAM, operating systems and hard drives by visiting the Computers and Technology for College web page. 

Academic Support Services 

The following NWACC academic support services are available online and at NWACC locations:

  • Pauline Whitaker Library
  • Bentonville and Washington County Information Commons
  • Writing Center
  • Math Center

However, services will have limited hours of operation with a limited number of students, faculty and staff allowed in their physical locations. 

View our Student Resources page to see how to connect with various student services and resources this fall. 

Safety Measures and Access:

  • Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all students, faculty and staff at all NWACC facilities. This includes the library, computer labs, Writing Center and Math Center.
  • Protocols and scheduling for cleaning throughout each day are currently being designed.
  • Where appropriate, these services will maintain both virtual/online hours as well as on-site hours. On-site hours will be limited, and in-person visits will require appointments in order to maintain social distancing.
  • Shared materials will be minimally available. This includes staplers, tape dispensers, writing utensils and computers. Disinfecting wipes will be provided for use between each user.
  • Library materials will be available but will be retrieved by library staff and delivered in a contactless manner.
  • Tutoring, class instruction and one-on-one instruction will only occur in spaces that can accommodate social distancing requirements.
  • Computer labs will be configured to accommodate social distancing requirements, and depending on demand, there may be time limits for computer use.
  • Technology help in computer labs may be limited or unavailable to accommodate social distancing.


COVID-19 Safety Measures on Campus:

Students and employees are asked to perform a daily health screening by utilizing the COVID-19 Daily Checklist before leaving home and arriving on campus.

There will be designated doors to each building. View campus map showing building entrances. Days and hours may be limited, but this will be based on class schedules, various department needs, and student services.


Students: No parking permit or hang tag will be required for NWACC locations for fall 2020. Be sure to ONLY park in the student designated parking on the grounds and in the parking garage.

NWACC REQUIRES face coverings at all college locations, even though the state mandate has ended.

NWACC requires all students and employees returning to campus to wear a face covering upon entry/exit into buildings, while walking through any public or shared spaces, while using shared equipment, and when encountering others in the classroom or inside college buildings. 

Face coverings are to cover both the mouth and nose to minimize spreading respiratory droplets when talking, coughing or sneezing. Although not all face coverings may prevent the person wearing the face covering from being infected, they help stop the spread of respiratory droplets to others. Some infected people may be asymptomatic, so widespread use of face coverings can help slow the spread.

Students and employees are asked to provide their own personal face coverings. If you are not able to obtain your own, NWACC will make efforts to assist you with securing one. Please keep in mind that face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing, but to be used in addition to keeping space between others. Face coverings are not required when alone in enclosed spaces.

If you are wearing a homemade face covering, be sure it is properly washed/disinfected on a regular basis.

Students are to adhere to social distancing practices by keeping six feet from others whenever possible, avoiding large public gatherings in venues, and following proper personal hygiene practices. The goal of social distancing is to limit exposure to infectious bacteria and viruses. In addition to keeping space between individuals, students are to also wear a face covering to help reduce the spread of illness.

Students are to adhere to public health hygienic recommendations by washing hands regularly, especially after touching commonly used items or coming into contact with someone who may be ill. Proper hand washing involves scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If you are not able to wash your hands, hand sanitizer dispensers are available in all NWACC buildings. 

Please be sure to also avoid touching your face, nose and mouth and avoid rubbing your eyes, and practice proper coughing or sneezing etiquette.

NWACC’s custodial service has increased rounds of cleaning throughout campus to ensure common areas and classrooms are sanitized regularly. Additional disinfecting supplies will be provided throughout the college for students and employees to use for cleaning shared items such as keyboards and desktops.

NWACC understands that students and employees have many questions during these uncertain times. Feel free to visit the FAQ page and view answers that we are able to provide at this time.


COVID-19 Terms & Reporting

COVID-19 Related Terms, Definitions & Guidelines:

Positive (or presumed positive):
An individual who has been tested by a medical provider or facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) because he/she has symptoms or believes to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Testing: There are two different types of tests used to diagnose an individual with COVID-19: Antigen test and PCR laboratory test.

Antigen Test (Rapid Test) – Detects COVID-19 by antigen test in a respiratory specimen. 

  • Antigen test is also referred to as a rapid test, as results can be returned to the person in as little as 15 minutes (and up to 2-hours).
  • For the antigen/rapid test, the result of negative is not sufficient to provide an accurate determination of COVID-19. This is due to the fact that Antigen tests have a higher rate of false negative results. Antigen tests that are returned as negative must be followed by a PCR test.
  • If you receive a negative result and you are symptomatic or have been exposed to a known positive, it is also critical that you follow up with a PCR test. Do not assume you are negative.

 PCR Test (Standard Laboratory Test) - Molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material.

  • PCR tests look for the presence of antibodies, which are proteins made in response to infections. Antibodies are detected in the blood of people who are tested after infection; they show the body’s efforts to fight off a specific infection (
  • Currently, test results are returned in 1-5 days.
  • PCR tests are more accurate than antigen/rapid tests.

:  Someone who has symptoms of the COVID-19 virus that exhibits:

  • Symptoms appear between 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • Symptoms may include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath of difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

Close Contact:  Someone who has been in contact with a known positive or presumptive positive person that meets the following criteria:

  • Has been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Has been within 6 feet of positive person for equal to or greater than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period.

Isolation: Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick ( Example: A person who lives in your home is diagnosed with COVID-19. This person needs to be isolated to a separate room and bathroom in the house, if possible.

Quarantine: Separates and restricts the movement of people who were diagnosed with and/or exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick ( Example: Two days ago, you were in direct contact with a person who has now been diagnosed with COVID-19. You will be asked to quarantine in your home for 14 days.

When do I need to quarantine (or isolate)?

The following are recommendations by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on when to quarantine/isolate.

  • If you are positive or presumed positive: Isolate for 10 days.
    • If you live in a household with others, isolation may mean that you stay in a separate room or space, sharing as little space or having as little contact as possible with household members.
  • If you are close contact: Quarantine for 14 days.
    • Testing is recommended at or around the 5th day mark after exposure has been determined. Testing before the 5th day mark can sometimes return negative test results when the individual is actually positive.
    • If symptoms develop, retesting is recommended at the time symptoms occur.
    • If you test negative, he/she is to continue with the 14-day quarantine.

  • If you are symptomatic: Isolate until negative test results.
    • Testing is recommended immediately. Iisolate until test results come back negative.
      • If a rapid test (antigen test) is done and comes back negative, a PCR test must follow and come back negative before ending isolation.
      • MUST be symptom free for 24 hours without any medication that reduces a fever, and have improvement of symptoms.


If you've have COVID-19 symptoms – fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, etc. – and/or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and/or you have been diagnosed with COVID-19,  DO NOT COME TO CAMPUS and report this information to Dean of Students office at
What "exposure" means:  A potential “exposure” means you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of an individual with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 while not wearing a face covering for a total of 15 minutes or more.

Examples of exposure/close contact:

  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact (hugged or kissed them) with an individual who has COVID-19
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with an individual who has COVID-19
  • Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Learn more about reporting COVID-19 symptoms, exposure and cases on the Reporting COVID-19 web page.

Once an college member reports a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure to Human Resources or Dean of Student’s Office, the college will take the following actions:

  • Collect essential information from the individual in question for contact tracing purposes such as building, classroom and other areas visited, who they came into direct contact with, what dates they were on campus, were they wearing a mask, etc.
  • May require COVID-19 test results from those reporting a diagnosis and may request additional information from those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Will report all positive COVID-19 cases to the State of Arkansas. Likewise, the state of Arkansas will report positive cases to the college.
  • Individual will receive follow-up calls from Arkansas Dept. of Health and UAMS for contract tracing purposes.
  • Contact the department’s cabinet representative
  • Notify NWACC facilities for additional cleaning
  • Notify Department of Safety concerning potential room and/or building closure for cleaning.
  • Notify Risk Management and Public Relations
  • Notify exposed employees/students
  • Follow up with employee’s supervisor or student’s dean for additional testing updates

NOTE: NWACC will strive to maintain all aspects of employee/student privacy and not share the names of those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 with the media.