Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Message from the President

Members of the Park University Community,

Throughout the uncertainty of the past year and a half, we have remained Park United – students, faculty and staff together – regardless of physical location. Other colleges and universities have described this coming academic year as the “new normal.” Here at Park, as we are “Re-United” as a learning community this fall, we believe that our future will be better than normal.

We understand we need to remain vigilant to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve. We also know that by remaining United, we can safely resume our beloved traditions set aside last year.

At Park University, we have committed ourselves since 1875 to transform students’ lives. That commitment has never wavered even through times of economic uncertainty and pandemic.

Our COVID-19 response team continues to engage state and local health officials. As circumstances necessitate updating university policies, we will post the latest information here and distribute it internally.

If you have any questions regarding these policies, please contact the Office of Student Life, Human Resources, or Chief of Staff Laure Christensen.

Pirates, Buccaneers and the entire Park community – let’s make this 2021-22 academic year a great one.

All faculty, staff, students and campus visitors are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols and guidelines outlined below. Failure to do so may result in corrective action.

Social Distancing

Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Physical distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Individuals who are physically on campus should follow these social distancing practices:

  • Wear a face mask on campus when indoors, in classroom, outside of a personal living/working space, when actively eating and drinking, and indoor common spaces where 6′ of physical distancing is not possible.
  • Limit group gatherings.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

Campus Centers

All Park University campuses nationwide are open. If you have a question about your campus being open, please contact the campus center directly.

For a list of all of our campus centers, click here.

The University will continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting for common areas. Custodial staff have a schedule for regular cleaning and disinfection of all classrooms and common spaces. Additionally, the University provided hand-held disinfectant sprayers for campuses. One should be available in each classroom and one per floor in administrative areas. Sprayers are also available for checkout from RAs in the residence halls.  If you need additional supplies or refills, you, your campus center director, or your administrative assistant can submit a SchoolDude ticket. If you have questions, contact Facilities Services.

There are several ways that Park University will notify students, faculty and staff with urgent updates/information as it relates to the coronavirus:

*If you have not already done so, sign up for the ParkAlert system to receive Park University text alerts, for urgent University-related updates and/or weather-related messages. Visit Park Alerts for more information and to register. If you registered prior to August 2020, you must re-register as all previously registered accounts were purged from the system at that time. If you registered after August 2020, it is suggested that you verify your information and options by signing in to your account at omnilert ParkAlert.

Please refer any questions about ParkAlert, including problems related to accessing your account, to alert.support@park.edu.

It is important that we all follow new University policies and safety guidelines regarding COVID-19. If you want to report a violation of the new COVID-19 policies by a Park community member, please do so HERE.

Should a student or employee contract COVID-19 and have possibly exposed others in the workplace, the Office of Student Life of Human Resources will notify potentially exposed students and employees of the exposure and advise them of the appropriate isolation or quarantine protocol.

The COVID-19 Reporting Tool will be used to report exposure, symptoms, and/or positive tests. The tool is very similar in looks to the previous Daily Symptom Tracker, but employees and students will not receive daily tracker reminders. They will be asked to access the tracker when they need to report exposure, symptoms, and/or positive tests. As an alternative, students can complete this COVID-19 Response Form. Individuals can also email the relevant group at hr@park.edu  or studentlife@park.edu with questions.

If you are a student who wants to report that you have been directly exposed to COVID-19 or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please report here.

All Parkville and Gilbert residential students will be required to be tested for COVID-19. All Parkville and Gilbert student athletes will be tested prior to their first fall practice or team activity. Routine testing is not planned at this time, but it will be available if a student or employee are symptomatic and/or exposed. In Gilbert, students will be referred to community testing sites for testing.

If you are not a residential student or student athlete, we can assist you in finding testing resources by emailing studentlife@park.edu. Employees should contact hr-covid@park.edu

While size limitations for large gatherings have been rescinded, the CDC and local health departments advise that large events and gathering be avoided when possible, and sponsors should consider the level of risk when planning events. If large gatherings are planned, sponsors should promote healthy behavior and maintain a healthy environment to reduce risk. All attendees should follow the University’s masking policy. Food and drinks may be served.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The U.S. Department of Education has identified a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allotment of $2,805,843 million for Park University.

One-half of this amount ($1,402,922) is designated by the DOE to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus. To read the complete statement, including the eligibility stipulations defined by the DOE, click here.

Missouri

Emergency funds from the Missouri Scholarship and Loan Foundation have opened for students who are Missouri residents, and are in urgent financial need to continue their program. To fill out the application and find out more, go to My Scholarship Central.

The U.S. Department of Education has provided money to college and universities for institutional support as well as student support through three federal awards known as Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF):

Institutional Quarterly Reporting

Details of Park’s HEERF 18004(a)(1) Institutional Support spend through December 31, 2021:

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact Student Financial Aid by email at finaid@park.edu or call 1-816-584-6290.

Student Reporting-HEERF I

Information Regarding Emergency Grants to Students

We are pleased to advise that under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), Park University has now received and has distributed the allocation for emergency assistance to eligible students who have been impacted by unexpected expenses due to disruption of campus operations by the coronavirus pandemic. Such expenses include items under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare. In guidance that it issued on May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education directed any university which received its allocation of emergency funds for students to provide particular information in a manner that is easily accessible to the public. That information is as follows:

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Park University signed and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education the Certification and Agreement on April 15, 2020 and assures that Park has used no less than 50% of the funds it received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

  1. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

Park University’s allocation of funds for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students was $1,402,922, received on April 30, 2020.

  1. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter).

$1,402,922.

  1. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of May 11, 2020, 2,106 students had demonstrated their eligibility by providing a valid FAFSA form. Students who have not yet provided a valid FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year, or other evidence of qualification for funds under Title IV, received notices of the urgency to provide a valid FAFSA or other proof of qualification under Title IV funding, or else they would miss the opportunity to receive any of the emergency funding.

  1. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Checks and ACH payments have been executed to 2,116 students.

  1. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

The method for determining which students have received the grants was as follows:

  1. a) Park University compiled a list of students who participated in classes with face-to-face instruction (i.e., not those students who were 100% enrolled in online courses) and analyzed which of those students had submitted a FAFSA or other documentation demonstrating eligibility to receive Title IV funds.
  2. b) Park University sent communications, by email and text, to each student enrolled in face-to-face classes who had not filed a FAFSA and did not have other evidence on file of eligibility for Title IV funds, asking that student to submit a valid FAFSA form or other proof of eligibility immediately. Any student who failed to file the FAFSA form or other proof of Title IV funding eligibility by Park’s deadline would forfeit his or her opportunity to receive an emergency funds grant, and those funds would instead be allocated to other eligible students.

As of May 15, 2020, 2,919 students were identified as potentially eligible to receive CARES Act emergency funds. Of those, 813 had not completed a FAFSA form by May 8, 2020, or provided other proof of eligibility to receive federal funds under Title IV. Park withheld those funds (“the segregated funds”) that would have been paid to these 813 students and gave them an extended time frame, until June 12, 2020, within which to file a FAFSA form or other proof of eligibility under Title IV, or forfeit their opportunity to receive emergency funds.

  1. c) Funds have been distributed to students via direct deposit, where available, or by check. To the extent that checks are returned to Park undeposited or expired, Park University will assess how to allocate the funds represented by those unclaimed checks. With regard to how much each student received, each eligible student received $57.74 for each credit hour taken in a class with face-to-face instruction. In addition, each eligible student who was in university housing received an additional $200. On top of that, each student who received a Pell Grant received an additional $200.
  2. d) Park University extended the deadline to June 12, 2020, for those students who had not completed a FAFSA or submitted other evidence of eligibility for Title IV funds, referenced in b) above. Park received an additional 11 FAFSA forms by the extended deadline of June 12, 2020, and those 11 students received their allocations as described in c) above. The remaining students who failed to submit a FAFSA form or other proof of eligibility for Title IV funding were considered ineligible, and the segregated funds that would have been allocated to them were instead allocated to the eligible students, using the same allocation formula described in c) above. After the segregated funds were distributed to the 2,116 eligible students, in addition to the initial funds that were distributed to them, each of those eligible students had been sent an average of $72.22 per eligible credit hour across both disbursements.
  3. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Park University has provided the following communications to students concerning the emergency financial grants:

  1. a) Letter to Student Recipients of Emergency Funds;
  2. b) Letter to Students Without FAFSA Forms Requesting that they Provide FAFSA;
  3. c) Follow-up message regarding deadline for filing FAFSA or other Title IV proof;
  4. d) The following text went out 4/30 at 1 pm:

The DOE has identified a CARES Act allotment for ParkU Check your email for details park.edu/apply-financial-aid/ Questions? finaid@park.edu;

  1. e) The following text went out on 5/6 at 11 am:

FAFSA DUE DATE 5/8 to be considered 4 the CARES Act. You could qualify. Do ur FAFSA today! Questions? Contact finaid@park.edu 816-584-6290 Attached is the initial email that was sent to the students without FAFSA April 30, 2020. A text message was sent to this same group reminding them to check their Park e-mail on April 30, 2020 and May 6, 2020; and

  1. f) A general update regarding CARES Act was posted to our COVID web page on 4/29/20: park.edu/coronavirus.

Any student with questions regarding the emergency funds should contact Student Financial Aid at finaid@park.edu or at 816-584-6290. Anyone interested in additional information on the CARES Act provided by the U.S. Department of Education should refer to https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html.

Student Reporting-HEERF II

Federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II – Emergency Grants for Students

The Federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), 2021, has allocated emergency financial aid grants called the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II to assist students with exceptional need. These grants can be used toward educational costs and other emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.

Student amount of funds received and support

Park University has been allocated $1,402,922 under the CRRSAA for direct student support in a way that prioritizes eligible students with exceptional need and ensures that funds are distributed as widely and expeditiously as possible, per federal guidance. Based on the method to determine student eligibility below, Park University has identified 2,919 students and will distribute an average award of approximately $480 to each student.

Student eligibility criteria:

  • Be a U.S Citizen or Permanent Resident that is eligible to complete a FAFSA
  • Have a valid FAFSA on file as of 1/17/2021
  • Demonstrate exceptional need by having a valid EFC between 0-6000
  • Students selected for verification must have completed verification to have a valid EFC
  • Be an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in at least one course as of March 7, 2021.

FAQs

  • Do I need to repay this Grant?
    • No. An emergency grant, whether funded by HEERF II or the University’s Student Hardship Fund, does not need to be repaid. This grant does not impact or replace any financial aid you may currently receive, and it is a one-time grant.
  • What if I currently owe tuition or other expenses to Park University?
    • The full amount of the emergency grants will be given directly to students and will not pay outstanding balances owed to Park University. Any outstanding balance remains the responsibility of the student.
  • How much will I receive?
    • Based on the eligible students that have been identified above, the approximate award will be $480.
  • How will I receive the grant money?
    • If you had direct deposit information on file by April 11th, 2021, you will receive an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If not, a paper check will be mailed to the address on file.
  • When will I receive the grant money?
    • Park University will begin disbursing funds on April 16, 2021. If you are receiving a paper check, please allow 10-14 days.

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact Student Financial Aid by email at finaid@park.edu or call 1-816-584-6290.

Student Reporting-HEERF III

Park University has received $7,194,157 from the American Rescue Plan, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), to provide direct support to our students in the form of emergency financial aid grants. Consistent with the federal legislation, we will prioritize these federal grants for students with exceptional need.

In accordance with the Department of Education guidelines, Park U will distribute the emergency student grants in the following ways:

Who is Eligible to receive an emergency grant through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021?

  • Must be currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student as of August 16, 2021
  • Must have filed a 2021-2022 FAFSA and have an EFC of 15,000 or less
  • Students in this group do not need to request or apply for these funds

What if I do not have a FAFSA on File?

  • Coming soon there will be an application available for non-FAFSA filers.
  • Students who have encountered unexpected educational-related expenses due to COVID-19, are invited to apply for a limited number of HEERF III grants.
  • Students who are not eligible to complete a FAFSA or do not want to complete a FAFSA will be eligible to apply. This includes international students.

Will the money be applied to my outstanding balance with Park University?

  • No, per the U.S. Department of Education guidelines, Park University cannot automatically apply the funds to an outstanding balance. If you would like to make a payment to your student bill once you receive the funds please log into your MyPark account to make a payment.

How will I receive my grant?

  • You should have already received an email requesting that you provide us with your direct deposit and updated address information. If you did not receive that email and want to verify the information on hand please contact student accounts.
  • If you do not have direct deposit set up, you will receive a paper check sent to the address on file with the Registrar.

Fund from the HEERF III are not considered Financial Aid and do not affect a student’s current or future financial aid eligibility.

Professional Judgement

Financial Difficulties: If your family is experiencing financial issues (such as a lost job, reduction of income, or other extenuating circumstances) and would like to obtain information about the process of filing a Professional Judgement Appeal for the 2021-2022 academic year, please contact us at finaid@park.edu or 816-584-6290.

Who Should Apply

Families facing severe financial problems due to job loss, medical expenses, foreclosure, or business declines should contact the Office of Financial Aid for a review of their aid eligibility. If you have experienced a significant and prolonged loss of family income, you may be eligible for additional aid for the current academic year. We can work with your family to find the best mix of resources to keep you enrolled. The application will be provided to you by the financial aid office along with additional instructions on what documentation will be acceptable based on your appeal reason(s).

Circumstances that will be considered include:

  • Loss of income because of recent unemployment (unemployment must last for at least 10 weeks to warrant a reconsideration of a student’s aid eligibility).
  • Loss of income due to a circumstance beyond your control such as a change in health
  • High unreimbursed medical and/or dental expenses.
  • Business loss (because of bankruptcy, foreclosure, or natural disaster).
  • High Cost of Attendance because of higher-than-usual book or supply expenses or child care costs (this can only be adjusted if the student is (1) single and provides at least 51% of the child’s support; (2) married, with a spouse/partner who is employed at least 20 hours per week; or (3) married, with a spouse/partner who is also a student).

Use of Professional Judgement

Evaluation of financial aid applications, re-evaluation of an aid package, or an appeal of a financial aid decision, are handled through a review process using professional judgement by financial aid professionals in the Park University Office of Financial Aid. Any request submitted will be considered using best professional practices and making such a request does not guarantee approval. Financial aid regulations are subject to change through legislation or policy changes by the U.S. Department of Education.

Processing Time of Professional Judgements

All requests will take a minimum of two weeks to process. Submitting all documentation with the application will save processing time. Failure to submit supporting documentation can greatly increase processing time and in some cases be the cause for denial. The Office of Financial Aid cannot, under any circumstances, process a request received after the end of the enrollment period.

HEERF III Grants Awarded through December 31, 2021

$4,000,600 in grants were made to 3,385 students

$20,250 were made to 27 students via the application process

Park follows the recent CDC guidance regarding safety guidelines and when individuals should quarantine or isolate. You will receive instruction after you complete the COVID-19 Reporting Tool from the Office of Student Life or Human Resources.

The CDC guidelines are as follows:

Positive for COVID-19Exposed to COVID-19
EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS

Stay home for five days.

If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), you may leave your home.

Continue wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.

If you have a fever, continue to stay home until you are without fever for 24 hours)
HAVE been boosted
OR
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine WITHIN the last 6 months
OR
Completed the primary series of J& J Vaccine WITHIN the last 2 months

Wear a mask around others for 10 days.

Test on day 5, if possible.

If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home.
HAVE NOT been boosted
BUT
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine OVER the last 6 months
OR
Completed the primary series of J& J Vaccine OVER the last 2 months
OR
Have NOT been vaccinated

Stay home for 5 days. After that, continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.

If you can’t stay home, you must wear a mask for 10 days.

Test on day 5 if possible.

If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home.

Sample Timeline:

Exposure or Symptom date: Friday, January 7, 2022

Minimum Isolation Period: through Wednesday, January 12, 2022***

Minimum Masking Period: through Monday, January 17, 2022

*** Provided individual is asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours)

The University is currently following CDC recommendations that all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear mask indoors, including classrooms and in commons areas where 6’ of physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Exceptions include:

  • When individuals are actively eating or drinking. Instructors will set policy regarding food and drink in their  classrooms
  • When individuals are in their private office space
  • When individuals have a documented exemption

Please note that this policy could be revised based on any mandates or guidelines implemented at the federal, county or municipal level, as well as athletic conference and DoD guidelines.

Face Masks

Cloth or disposable face masks should be worn by all students, employees and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Face masks have been recommended by the CDC as they help minimize the spread of COVID-19, as it can be spread to others even if you do not feel sick. Please note that masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Disposable masks will be available and may only be worn for one day and then placed in the trash.

Students, employees and visitors with health concerns related to wearing a mask may contact disabilityservices@park.edu to learn more about available accommodations.

Putting on masks

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the mask.
  • Ensure the mask fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the mask properly with the nose wire snug against the nose (if applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Avoid touching the front of the mask during the process.
  • Taking off masks
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the disposable mask.
  • When taking off the mask, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after removing the mask.

Care and storage of masks

Keep disposable mask stored in a paper bag when not in use. Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day; place in trash if it becomes soiled or damage.

To date, Park University has fielded multiple local and national media inquiries related to COVID-19. As is University policy, all media requests should be directed to the following staff in the Office of Strategic Communications.

Brad Biles, Director of Communications and Public Relations, brad.biles@park.edu /  (816) 584-6888

Erik Bergrud, Chief Strategic Communications Officer, erik.bergrud@park.edu / (816) 584-6412

Faculty, staff and students may conduct in-person meetings at normal room occupancy.  All attendees should follow the University’s masking policy.  Virtual meetings are strongly encouraged.

Faculty, staff and students on campus should continue to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

The Omicron variant has taken the lead over Delta as the predominate variant in the U.S.  See the table below for a list of symptoms and their frequency, by variant.

SymptomSymptom Frequency (Omicron)OmicronDelta
Runny Nose73%CommonCommon
Sore Throat60%CommonCommon
Headache68%CommonCommon
Fatigue64%CommonCommon
Sneezing60%CommonSometimes
Persistent Cough44%SometimesCommon
Fever29%SometimesSometimes
Loss of Smell19%RareSometimes
Shortness of Breath**RareSometimes
**No data available

Faculty, staff and campus visitors showing any symptoms during self-screening should not report to campus, should notify their immediate supervisor and Human Resource Services at hr-covid@park.edu. Students should use the COVID-19 Reporting Tool.  If you have questions, you can contact the Office of Student Life, studentlife@park.edu.

Individuals developing any symptoms while on campus should immediately leave campus and contact a qualified medical professional.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. These conditions include:

  • Older adults (age 65 and older)
  • People with HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immune-compromised

Those who have been instructed to return to work and have concerns about doing so due to a medical condition that places them in a higher risk group, those who are pregnant or those who wish to seek ADA Reasonable Accommodations related to returning to the workplace should contact Human Resources at hr-covid@park.edu.

Pirate Fitness on the Parkville Campus is open to all faculty, staff and students. All participants must follow the University’s masking policy.  Please check the CREW page for hours and upcoming events.

Residence Life has returned to full occupancy. Single occupancy rooms are available if students are interested. Residents are required to follow University policies.

Contact residencelife@park.edu if you have questions.

Employees should limit the sharing of equipment and other resources, including phones, desk and office equipment. Equipment that must be shared, such as a copier, should be disinfected after use and the employee should immediately wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

Park University is tentatively planning for university-sponsored study abroad to recommence in Summer 2022.

Park will only approve study abroad if the planned country of travel is not in a Tier 3 or 4 travel warning, as outlined by the CDC.

All University travel must be pre-approved by a supervisor and respective vice president/chief. For faculty and academic-related travel, the dean should recommend a decision and the Provost will need to approve.

The University still strongly encourages vaccination. Vaccines and boosters are readily available in local communities. Additionally, the University will plan to offer periodic vaccination and booster clinics to faculty, staff, and students. Look for separate communications with more specifics.

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.