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Important information for COVID-19

Columbia College announced today it will be suspending all on-campus classes for students nationwide and transitioning to a virtual learning platform through the end of the Spring Semester, which concludes on April 25. While the college does not have any known COVID-19 cases among its faculty, staff or students at this time, college leadership is taking a preventative stance in accordance with public-health recommendations.

"The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff around the country is our main focus every day, and this situation obviously requires increased scrutiny and action on our part," said President Dr. Scott Dalrymple. "Making this transition allows our students to continue their educational pursuits while dramatically reducing the risk of possible exposure and transmission of COVID-19."

Learn more important information about the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) from the Our World and Data website.

Columbia College postpones Spring Commencement Ceremony events

Columbia, Missouri – March 24, 2020 - With the declarations of emergency at every level of government related to the Coronavirus and recommendations to restrict gatherings to small numbers of people, Columbia College has made the difficult decision to postpone its Spring 2020 Nurses Pinning, Ivy Chain Ceremony and two Commencement Ceremonies that were set for April 25 and cancel commencement ceremonies that were scheduled through May 31 at some of its locations nationwide.

"Our commitment to the wellbeing of our students, faculty, staff and guests who would be joining us on campus is our top priority. Cancelling these events is an unfortunate but necessary measure to limit the transmission of the virus," said Dr. Scott Dalrymple, President of Columbia College. "The opportunity to celebrate our students and their academic achievements is extremely important to us. We are looking forward to the members of the Class of 2020 joining the Columbia College Alumni Association and appreciate the sacrifices they have made to get this point."

Read more

Below are some of the steps the college is taking to reduce exposure to the virus and to keep the college community safe.

Columbia College frequently asked questions

Is Columbia College closed?

Columbia College has transitioned all in-seat classes at all of the Columbia College locations across the country to virtual (online and IVC) course. Classes at the Columbia College residential campus in Columbia, Missouri, will not be in session during the week of March 16-20 and then those students will be on Spring Break during the following week. Students will transition to virtual classes beginning on Monday, March 30. Students enrolled in any in-seat classes at Columbia College Global (CCG) locations will begin virtual classes on Monday, March 16.

Additionally, Columbia College faculty and staff will begin working remotely for the foreseeable future. Faculty and Instructors will continue to teach your course virtually, and staff will be available through the Columbia College email accounts. While there will still be a small group of staff on our actual campus locations, our goal is to still provide excellent customer service despite our transition.

Other resources and contact information

Issue Department Phone Number Email Address
Financial Questions Enrollment Services Center 1 (800) 231-2391 ex. 7252
Technology Help/Accessing Online Courses Technology Services Help Desk (573) 875-HELP (4357) or (800) 231-2391, ext. 4357
Residential Life or Dining Residential Life (573) 875-7450
Academic Advising and Student Success Coaching Your Academic Advisor or Student Success Office Look up your advisors contact info in the Cougartrack Directory
Transcripts, Registration, etc. Office of the Registrar (573) 875-7526
Help with Academic Accommodations for students with disabilities Student Accessibility Resources (573) 875-7626
General Questions about Student Life Student Affairs (573) 875-7400
Questions about returning rental textbooks Bookstore (Barnes & Noble) 800-231-2391, ext. 7341
Questions specific to Columbia College Global sties You can contact your CCG location directly 800-231-2391, ext. 7661
Need help finding a job, resume writing, internships Grossnickle Career Services Center (573) 875-7425

If you do not see what you are looking for here, please visit our website at and log-in to Cougartrack and look in our Directory at the top right side of your screen.

Classes and coursework

Why is Columbia College going to virtual classes?

The health, safety, and success of our students is the most important reason for our decision. This is not a decision we took lightly and our goal is to limit the transmission of the virus for the sake of our campus community and the communities we reside in. The college has received no reports of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) from any of its faculty, staff and students around the country.

How long will classes be virtual?

Effective March 16, all classes at all Columbia College locations will be virtual for the remainder of the 16-week Spring and 8-week Spring 2 semesters. College officials will continue to evaluate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and make a decision about future academic semesters and terms at a later date.

I am nervous about taking an interactive virtual course. Where do I go for help?

Columbia College is providing training for students, faculty and staff to help students transition to interactive virtual courses (IVCs). Some courses will be through the D2L learning platform students are already familiar with, while other class sessions will communicate using Zoom. Your faculty member will be reaching out to you with instructions about how your class will look going forward.

Students can also reach out to our Technology Services Office to get additional support or instruction.

Phone: (573) 875-HELP (4357) or (800) 231-2391, ext. 4357

What is the difference between an online course and an interactive virtual course (IVC)?

An online course is asynchronous, meaning students do not have to login at a particular time to attend the course. A virtual course is synchronous and very closely reflects the traditional classroom experience. Faculty and students are logged into Zoom Video Conferencing and attend the course virtually from separate remote locations at the same time.

Will all courses use Zoom?

Depending on your course faculty will use different methods of instruction – online courses, interactive virtual classes, or hybrids. Faculty are making these decisions based on what they believe will create the most effective learning environment for you.

Where do I access Zoom?

Through a link in your course in D2L. Further documentation will be available on Zoom closer to when courses resume.

Will I be expected to attend all Zoom sessions? Will the Zoom sessions be the same time the in-seat course took place?

Yes, if your faculty member hosts Zoom sessions, you will be responsible for attending and they will occur at regular course time.

Will faculty still be holding office hours?

Yes, office hours will still happen and will be done virtually using Zoom. You can also contact faculty about scheduling a meeting via phone.

Will I be getting an updated syllabus?

Yes, faculty will provide with an amended syllabus as soon as possible reflecting any changes in course structure.

How will I take my exams and quizzes?

Faculty will communicate with you about how exams and quizzes will be given.

I am enrolled in an online course that requires a proctored exam and I planned to take that exam at a CCG location or the Testing Center. Will I still be able to take my exam there?

No, there will be no proctoring services available at any Columbia College location. You will need to use ProctorU or an approved private proctor. Please reach out to your instructor with any questions about this.

What if I cannot attend the Zoom sessions or complete online activities due to time zone differences, technological limitations, or other extenuating circumstances?

Please communicate with your faculty member if you have any issues and they will work with you on what the best options may be.

What if I miss a Zoom session? Will they be recorded to review later?

Yes, Zoom sessions will be automatically recorded for students to watch back later. They will be available immediately after a course session through the Zoom link in D2L.

Will attendance be taken?

Yes, faculty are still responsible for taking attendance and you are still responsible for attending any Zoom sessions.

I do not have access to internet. What do I do?

Students without internet access can still join the Zoom session via phone. Zoom has a Smartphone app or you can participate without video capability on a phone. Since all Zoom sessions are being recorded, you can also go back and review the course sessions later when you gain internet access. If you have any concerns with this, please contact your faculty member.

I’ve joined the Zoom session via phone and need to ask a question or unmute myself. How do I do that?

The following commands can be entered using your phone's dial pad while in a Zoom meeting:

*6 – Toggle between mute/unmute, *9 - Raise hand

How will I connect with my Academic Advisor to get advised for the coming semesters?

You can reach out to your advisor using Appointment Scheduler (AVISO) in Cougartrack under CC Links. You can also email your Academic Advisor directly.

How do I return my rental textbook?

Please follow the step by step instructions below to get a pre-paid UPS return label to use to ship back your books.

How to retrieve your pre-paid UPS label:

  1. Go to
  2. Click TEXTBOOKS on the left side of the top toolbar
  3. Select TEXTBOOK RENTALS from the drop down menu
  4. Scroll down until you see RENTAL RETURN on the right hand side and click on RENTAL RETURN
  5. A new page will load and you will enter your Order ID (your order number) and your email that was used to place the order
  6. Click submit to access your free UPS return label
  7. Print the label
  8. Pack your book up in a box, seal it, and attach the label you printed to the outside
  9. Drop off at a UPS pick up location

You can print your return label as many times as you like, but you can only use it once. If you’re returning multiple books, please put them in one box and use one shipping label. The label will be accessible until the due date.

A few reminders about rented textbooks:

  • You can highlight and take notes in your book
  • Keep your books safe and dry

If you have any questions please feel free to send us an email at Thank you for shopping with us and have a great semester!

Residential life and dining services

Will I have to move out of the residence hall?

Yes, Columbia College asked students to vacate the residence halls and Cougar Village apartments by Wednesday, March 18 at 12:00pm. 

Do I have to take all of my belongings?

Yes, students will be moving out of the residences halls for the remainder of the academic year.

If I cannot move home, can I stay on campus?

If you are an international student or a student who is unable to make the trip home by Wednesday, March 18 at noon, we will be providing students the opportunity to extend their stay with us until they are able to travel home. Reasons for extended stay may include any of the following reasons below:

  • If you are an international student concerned that you would not be allowed to return to Columbia College due to visa issues. Be sure to consult with the Office of International Student Services regarding any visa questions you may have.
  • If you are a student who will have difficulty returning to your home because it is in an area significantly impacted by COVID-19.
  • If you do not have a home, or if going home would be unsafe.
  • If you have an internship or in-person requirement for Graduation for spring 2020.

Columbia College Residential Life staff will work with students individually to help them find a way to get home in the safest and most expeditious way possible. Residential Life will be communicating with residential students directly regarding move-out procedures via Columbia College email.

Will the dining hall still be open?

Dulany Dining Hall and the Cougar Café will remain open for normal hours through Wednesday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m.. The Dining Hall will then switch to limited hours and offerings as the number of students on-campus decreases. The Dining Services staff will continually review numbers of students on campus to determine the best way to meet the needs of students still living on campus. Dining Hall hours will be posted in the Residence Halls and at Dulany Dining Hall.

How do I forward my mail?

Students can email the with forwarding information from their CougarMail account.

Housing and meal plans

Will I have to pay the remainder of housing and meal plan costs since I moved out early?

No, students who moved out of the residence halls as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) will have their housing and meal plan costs for the semester prorated to March 18, 2020 and will have a refund for housing and meal costs applied to their student account in the amount consistent with their residence hall and meal plan cost.

Will commuter students who had a meal plan also received a refund?

Yes, the same applies to commuter students who only have a meal plan. Your meal plan cost will be prorated to March 18, 2020 and a refund will be applied to your student account in that amount.

What about students who use scholarship or institutional aid to cover their housing cost?

The prorated refund will take into account scholarships or other institutional aid when calculating refunds for students. For example, if a student received a scholarship or institutional aid that covers all, or a portion of housing costs, that scholarship will also be reduced by the same percentage that the housing costs are being reduced.

What about students who have stayed on campus past March 18, 2020?

Students who left after March 18 because they were unable to get home by that date will simply have their room and board refunds prorated to the date in which they check out of the residence halls. Students staying past April 17 will not receive a prorated refund since it is the last full day classes before finals.

When will I see my account updated?

Our staff is working hard to get your account updated as quickly as possible. Your account will be updated by April 2. Final payments are now due Friday, April 3. Late fees have been waived for this final payment. Payment plans will be automatically updated to reflect any modified amount due.

How will I receive the prorated refund?

If the prorated refund produces a credit balance on your student account, the refund will be issued to the student.

Find more information about the refund process at Columbia College

Events and programs

Are there still programs and events happening on campus?

No, all Columbia College sponsored programs and events have been cancelled for the remainder of the semester.

What about Ivy Chain and Commencement?

We understand the importance of both the Ivy Chain and Commencement events to recognize the achievement of our students and to continue a tradition that is over 100 years old. As a result, final decisions have not been made about the Ivy Chain or Commencement ceremonies for April 25, 2020. The college will continue to monitor the spread of the virus and make a final decision in the near future. Columbia College encourages students to not make any major purchases or costly travel arrangements in relation to Ivy Chain or Commencement at this point. All Columbia College Commencement Ceremonies at CCG locations are also still being reviewed and no final decision has been reached regarding any commencement ceremony.

Does this include Cougar Athletics?

Yes, unfortunately all athletic events have been cancelled for the remainder of the academic year with the exception of eSports, which can compete from anywhere.

Financial matters for students

Will my tuition be refunded or discounted for Spring Semester?

Our goal is to continue instruction throughout the course of the semester. As long as instruction continues, tuition will not be discounted or refunded.

Student Employment

Work Study Positions

In compliance with Federal Guidance, since Columbia College has closed campus has closed to students, and students are unable to work their federal work study positions, Columbia College will continue to pay the student employee under federal work study if the following criteria are met… 
1.The student is still work study eligible.
2.The student has started in the position, or has completed starting paperwork and has accepted a position under the work study program previous to the campus closure announcement.
3.The reason the student is unable to work is due to campus closure or all classes moving to an online educational format, not because the student chooses to leave campus.
4.The student must remain enrolled in classes to receive the work study funds.


The following criteria has been created in regards to the way the student is paid….
1.The student will not need to log hours for the time period in which the campus is effectively closed.
2.The hours will be paid out in a bi-weekly paycheck.
3.The student will not earn over their allotted amount awarded at the beginning of the semester in the financial aid package.
4.Hours will be determined by the amount of approved hours in the financial aid review. 
5.If a student reduces the number of courses taken, or otherwise has a reduction in their financial aid award amount, the new award amount will be used to determine total allotment.

This policy is in place to assist our work study students to have continued income, as awarded by federal financial aid. The decision to continue payments of the work study funds is to ensure students receive expected income to meet their needs during campus closure, or a move to an online platform.


Work Program Positions

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused an abrupt end to our semester at Columbia College and caused disruption across the world. There has been an additional disruption to International Work Program students who have experienced the additional stress of not being able to obtain local employment or take advantage of Federal Financial Aid in the United States. Columbia College Work Program jobs ended on-campus when the college closed the residential campus in Columbia, Missouri on March 13 and moved to virtual and online classes.  
To help ease the burden caused to our International Work Program students by the disruption of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Columbia College will pay International Work Program Students who have been unable to return to their home country or who have been unable to find alternative housing options with family and friends in the U.S. Columbia College will continue paying International Work Program students who meet this criteria their regular hourly pay rate and will pay students for the weekly average number of hours they worked during the semester between the start of the Spring Semester and March 13, 2020. International Work Program students will not continue working this semester in order to earn this money since many are unable to continue their work.  
International students who have gone home or to be with family and friends in other locations in the United States outside of Columbia, Missouri will not be eligible to receive this benefit. Also, Domestic Work Program students will not be eligible for this benefit since they are still able to find other employment, are eligible to receive federal financial aid and have the ability to travel home to be with family.  

If I have questions about my finances, whom should I contact?

Students should still reach out to the Enrollment Service Center to have your questions answered by phone, chat function or email. Since the college is closed, students will not be able to visit the walk-in in Missouri Hall for the remainder of the semester.

Enrollment Services Center
Phone: 1 (800) 231-2391 ex. 7252

Anxiety and COVID-19

We know that the unprecedented changes to our academic process and the other numerous impacts of the COVID-19 can increase stress and anxiety. The following are resources with information on how to take care of yourself and remain calm.

  • Remember ODAAT: One Day at A Time. The old adage remains true. Focus on what you have to deal with today rather than every “what if…” that comes to mind. You can handle today.
  • Limit how much time you spend online and watching news updates about the illness. While it is important to remain informed, too much time and attention focused on the coronavirus can increase stress.
  • Make your self-care a priority. Take time each day for quiet and for exercise, eat a healthy diet, limit caffeine, and get consistent rest. Keep a structured time for going to bed and waking in the morning. Stay active socially, even if virtually.
  • Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
  • Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty
  • If you are having difficulty, experiencing increased anxiety or depressed mood, or simply would like support, contact a local mental health provider. Options for locating someone include:
    • Check with your insurance company for the provider search tool
    • Psychology Today offers a Therapist Finder tool
    • Call your local community mental health center to ask about local resources

Messages from the President

Update on Commencements - March 24, 2020

College Community,

In light of the recommendations from the CDC to restrict gatherings, it’s become necessary to officially cancel all Commencements through at least the end of May.

While the decision to cancel was obvious, it wasn't easy. Our students have worked their entire lives towards this milestone. They were excited. Their friends and families were excited. This is a rite of passage that we feel entitled to. Our faculty is also sorry to miss it. They worked side by side with the students to achieve this milestone. This isn't easy on any one.

The following commencements will be affected:

  • April 25 – Columbia, Missouri
  • April 30 – Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • May 2 – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • May 7 – Fort Sill, Oklahoma
  • May 9 – Denver, Colorado
  • May 29 – San Luis Obispo, California
  • May 30 – Whidbey Island, Washington
  • May 30 – Marysville, Washington

Graduating seniors will be invited to walk in the December 19, 2020, commencement in Columbia, Missouri and CCG graduates may also choose to walk in their specific location commencements in 2021. More information will be provided as those dates near.

It is possible that additional CCG location commencements will need to be cancelled as well, and that will be re-evaluated in mid-April.

Be safe, stay well and thank you for your flexibility and understanding in these unprecedented times.

Dr. Scott Dalrymple

President, Columbia College

CC's COVID-19 Action Plan - March 13, 2020

Dear Students,

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a growing concern for the entire world, and CC is certainly no exception. We are taking a number of actions to help keep the College community safe. Here I will outline some major decisions we’ve made. Many were difficult decisions, and some will hurt; but we must prioritize the health of our students and employees above everything.

Day campus classes & residence halls

For the day campus in Columbia only, classes are canceled for next week, March 16-20, to allow time to shift courses to virtual formats. (Note one exception: Nursing Students in Columbia and Osage Beach plan to use next week to complete laboratory and clinical requirements that simply can’t be done virtually.) Once day classes resume on March 30, all work will be completed virtually for the rest of the spring semester.

Students living in residence halls are being asked to move out by noon on Wednesday, March 18. (Residential Life will consider exceptions for truly extraordinary circumstances.)

CCG and in-seat classes

All Columbia College Global classes at all locations (including the Columbia Evening program) will shift to virtual classes starting this Monday, March 16. They will remain virtual until the end of the current 8-week school term.

Online classes

Online classes will be unaffected.


Earlier today, the Council of Presidents of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) voted unanimously to cancel the spring season for all sports. The NAIA is considering the effect of this on athletes’ future eligibility. (Our eSports team can still compete, since they can play from anywhere and aren’t governed by the AMC.) I know how disappointing this cancellation will be for our student athletes and fans.


Beginning this Monday, March 16, all events at all CC locations, including Columbia, are hereby cancelled through the end of the spring semester. This includes both CC events and events sponsored by outside organizations. It includes Honors Convocation. Again, I understand how disappointing this news may be.

Ivy Chain & Commencement ceremonies

The Ivy Chain and Commencement ceremonies in Columbia are scheduled for April 25, approximately six weeks from now. While we aren’t yet deciding to postpone them, there is a strong possibility we may ultimately have to do so. There are CCG commencement ceremonies scheduled for early May, and the same logic applies. I’ve advised students that family members should avoid making non-refundable travel plans. I know how much commencement means to all of us, and we won’t make these decisions lightly.

College travel

Until further notice, all non-essential employee or student travel is prohibited. This includes conferences and professional development, even if fees have already been paid. Seek a refund or credit when possible; many organizations are relaxing their refund policies. Requests for exceptions (for essential travel) can be directed to my office.

Effect on employees

Given the changes above, some College activities will obviously be reduced for the rest of the semester, while others will continue relatively unchanged. Our jobs are all different. Some can be performed remotely; others can’t. You should report to work as usual on Monday. Over the course of next week, your supervisor will assign you to one (or more) of the following categories; we don’t yet know how long this temporary situation will last.

  1. Report to work as usual. Many jobs, or parts of jobs, simply must be performed in person. If this is the case for you, then you will continue to report to work as usual unless told otherwise by your supervisor. Of course if you are sick, or have reason to self-isolate or quarantine, you should not report to work and should use sick time.
  2. Work from home. Some jobs, or parts of jobs, can be performed remotely. If this is the case for you, and you have an appropriate home environment to work remotely (available equipment, a quiet place to make phone calls, etc.), your manager may approve a temporary work-from-home arrangement.
  3. No need to report. For some positions, there simply may not be enough work for you to perform, at least at times. In such cases, your supervisor may ask you not to report for work. More details will be coming from Human Resources next week.

There’s no good news here. I understand that some of these actions will create inconvenience, while others will cause disappointment and even hardship. But this is a once-in-a-hundred-year event, calling for bold measures; not since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 has the world faced something like this. My great grandmother died in that epidemic, leaving my four-year-old grandmother an orphan. If I could go back in time and spare my family years of pain by announcing decisions like these, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Please visit the College’s COVID-19 page for more information and updates. A message to students will follow in a few minutes, and a press release will go out this afternoon.

Be well, and thank you for your grace and understanding during these extraordinary times.


CC Coronavirus Response - March 11, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

It seems like every 15 minutes we hear some news about the coronavirus COVID-19. If you’re paying attention to that news, you know that many national, state and local governments, as well as private companies and institutions, are taking significant actions in response. The World Health Organization has now officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy is effectively shut down. People returning to Israel from anywhere in the world are now subject to a 14-day quarantine. Many cruise ship passengers are stuck in limbo. Large gatherings, including pro sports events, are now banned in some US cities. In Missouri, Bayer has temporarily closed its operations near St. Louis, and, like many institutions nationwide, St. Louis University, Maryville University, and Washington University have shifted classes online for the rest of the semester, as we have in Washington State. It’s natural to ask whether we’re planning to do the same nationwide, and/or in Columbia.

I had a very productive meeting with our Crisis Response Team yesterday afternoon. We discussed this question at length. Know that many of us are working almost exclusively on this issue. I won’t be coy-- there is indeed a possibility that all CC locations will finish out the semester online, and that employees will be asked to work remotely when possible. However, there are many issues to resolve, including how to handle laboratory classes, time for hourly employees, remote work arrangements, and so forth. We’re working vigorously to create a solid plan.

I promised to keep you up to date—so even though I can’t provide a definitive answer right now, I want you to know that the administration is actively addressing the issue. This is a rapidly changing situation and I’ll be in touch as I know more.

Dr. Scott Dalrymple

COVID-19 Update - March 4, 2020

We’ve all seen the increasing media coverage regarding the coronavirus now labeled COVID-19. Thus far, we have had no reported cases of COVID-19 by any member of the Columbia College community. Although the immediate threat to the American people appears to be low, there is growing concern about the global outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expect the virus to spread within the United States. Given CC’s nationwide presence, it seems highly likely that members of the College community will be affected somehow.

I want you to know that the College is taking this threat very seriously. We have a standing group that meets regularly to discuss potential threats to the College community, whether they be active shooters, natural disasters, or pandemics. This Crisis Response Team has been discussing the possible impact of COVID-19 for weeks. Members are now working with me and other senior leaders to consider various scenarios that may face us in the coming weeks. Here are the members:

Columbia College Crisis Response Team

  • James Arnold, Athletic Director
  • Rob Boone, Associate VP for CC Global - Military Division
  • Sam Fleury, Senior Director, Public Relations & Strategic Communications
  • Dave Heffer, Director for Campus Safety
  • Cliff Jarvis, Executive Director, Plant/Facilities Administration
  • Michelle McCaulley, Executive Director of Human Resources
  • Dr. Nathan Miller, Associate VP for CC Global - Civilian & Online Division
  • Jeanne Naeger, Nurse Practitioner
  • Marie Newell, Director of Social Media
  • Andrew Reeves, Regional Director, Civilian & Online Region 4
  • Dave Roberts, Dean for Student Affairs
  • Gary Stanowski, Chief Information Officer
  • Dr. Sarah Vordtriede-Patton, Dean, School of Natural Science and Mathematics
  • Miranda Wilkerson, Assistant Provost, International Programs
  • Jason Youngquist, Senior Information Technology Security Engineer
  • Terri Zeilenga, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs/Director for Wellness, Health, & Counseling Services

Jeanne Naeger, the College’s Nurse Practitioner, is working closely with the Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services to stay current on the local response to the coronavirus, and to share information with the Columbia College community. Here’s what we know now:


Symptoms of Coronavirus may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVD-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread and ongoing community spread of COVID-19. Call ahead before going to see a doctor or emergency room.

I’ve heard some people dismiss this virus, saying something along the lines of, “What’s the big deal? We have a new strain of flu every year.” That’s a dangerous attitude for a couple of major reasons. For one thing, the annual flu kills thousands of people each year in the U.S. alone—a big deal. (Sometimes a super-deadly strain appears. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 killed 500,000 people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide, including my great-grandmother.)

But beyond that, COVID-19 appears to be much more deadly than the average flu. Just this morning, I attended a meeting in Jefferson City and saw some new statistics shared by the Missouri State Health Department. The mortality rate of the seasonal flu is typically around 0.1%. Among young children, COVID-19 is now estimated to have a 0.2% mortality rate, or twice that; in other words, 2 out of every 1,000 children who contract the disease will, sadly, die. That’s disturbing enough, but as patient age rises, so does the mortality rate. For people in their 50s, the rate is estimated at 1.4%, or 14 out of 1,000. For those over 80, the current estimate is nearly 15%, or 150 out of 1,000.

Clearly, it doesn’t help anyone to panic. But do not dismiss this virus as "just another flu."


Basic measures remain the best defense against coronavirus, flu, and other communicable diseases:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with well individuals when you are sick.
  • Cover coughs/sneezes in your elbow/sleeve or with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balance meals to support a healthy immune system.
  • If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.


With spring break around the corner, students, faculty and staff making travel plans should take precautions to keep safe and avoid becoming ill. Traveling abroad carries a number of potential risks. Even a country not currently experiencing an outbreak could suddenly be declared a high-risk area, resulting in heightened exposure to the virus, difficulty with departure, immigration barriers in returning to the U.S., and even possible restrictions on returning to campus. Columbia College strongly recommends not traveling to locations with CDC or State Department Level 3 alerts or higher.

Columbia College does not facilitate travel to any country or location designated as Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory by the U.S. Department of State and requires all participants traveling on CC sanctioned trips to enroll in STEP prior to departure. In accordance with the International Travel Policy and STEP Program Requirement, we are suspending College-affiliated education abroad programs in South Korea (at our partner schools) and Italy (MOSAIC’s Florence program) for summer 2020. Faculty-led trips to Ireland and Jamaica are proceeding as planned, though the College may withdraw approval for international travel at any time when a significant health or safety concern arises.

Future updates

The College will continue to monitor coronavirus developments, and we will communicate with you as we know more.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Hopefully we’ll all look back and say that we over-prepared. But we will prepare.


Columbia College to temporarily transition in-seat classes to virtual classes for locations in the state of Washington

CDC frequently asked questions

View the CDC's frequently asked questions Share facts from the CDC Printable fact sheet PDF

How it spreads

The information about the virus continues to develop. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization believe the virus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. When an infected person exhales, coughs or sneezes, the droplets are released and may be inhaled or land on the mouths or noses of nearby people. This is why it’s important to stay six feet away from an infected person. When droplets land on objects, others who touch those surfaces, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth may be infected (this is not believed to be the main form of spread.) The risk of catching the virus from someone who does not have symptoms is low.

How to protect yourself

  • Wash your hands often. Rub vigorously for 20 seconds on front, back, and under nails with soapy water. If you do not have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol. Rub until your hands are dry. Do not touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
  • If someone you know is sick, avoid close contact. When able, stay six feet away from someone who is ill, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used objects or surfaces.

What to do if you are sick

  • If you become ill, stay home. Do not attend class. Contact your faculty and/or location director to let them know you are ill. It is important for your contacts at the College to know you are ill. This helps us monitor illness in our communities. If you are concerned about attendance, talk with your faculty member(s).
  • Isolate yourself from others by staying in one room away from others; use a different bathroom that others will not use, if possible.
  • Contact a medical provider by calling first. Do not go to a medical office without having called ahead of time.
  • Stay where you are. Do not go to the store, bank, gas station, etc. until you have spoken with a medical provider; then, follow the medical provider’s directions.
  • If you are coughing, use a tissue to cover your cough and throw it away immediately; if a tissue is not available, cough into your elbow.


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