Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

Updated April 9, 2020

This webpage provides the latest information about Northwestern University in Qatar’s actions to respond to the spread of the coronavirus. Northwestern’s home campus is also providing frequent updates on its website, which includes a FAQ page.

For a daily summary of global updates on the COVID-19, visit Global Rescue’s page.

Updates:

March 29, 2020:

  • The MoPH has activated a number of remote access channels to healthcare services at PHCC and HMC. Patients can receive virtual consultations, be issued sick leave certificates, and request medication refills delivered to their homes. For more information, click here.

Earlier announcements:

NU-Q has implemented the following changes to the operational and academic activities until further notice.

  • All travel by faculty and staff should be updated on TACIT.
  • The U.S. Government has announced a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel. It is advising US citizens to return home. Due to the uncertainty of travel in the coming months, you may want to review your travel plans and notify the dean of any changes.
  • NU-Q’s graduation has been postponed.
  • The NU-Q building will remain closed until further notice. Those wanting to enter the building will need to use their NU-Q badge and sign-in at the VIP entrance when they arrive and depart. If you park in the garage, please proceed directly to the sign-in desk before going to your office. The number of security staff in the building has been reduced and they need to know who is in the building in case of an emergency.
  • Classes are being conducted remotely through the end of the semester.
  • All scheduled events through the end of April are postponed.
  • All NU-Q sponsored travel is canceled through April 30th. This policy will be reassessed on April 15th for travel beyond that date.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to work remotely, as agreed with their supervisors.
  • To report an emergency or concern, please contact hsse@qatar.northwestern.edu or call +974 5584 7532. 

 The Qatar Foundation has made the following changes:

  • The QF Primary Health Care Center (QF-PHCC) is activating telemedicine consultations, where appointments with patients will be conducted via phone. Patients should call QF-PHCC on 44541240 or 44541244, or email qfphcc@qf.org.qa, to book an appointment. 
  • Education City is moving to decrease the number of people on its campus. Faculty and staff are still allowed in the NU-Q building, but you must sign in at the VIP entrance when you arrive and depart.
  • Education City is now accessible through certain gates until further notice. The open gates are: 1, 2, 6, 9, 11, 19, and the East Gate. All other gates are now closed. The access points which remain open are only for staff and faculty who need to visit Education City, and for students who live in Education City.
  • Facilities in Education City, including the EC Tram, Student Center, and Qatar National Library are closed.  

 Qatar has announced several initiatives to address the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These include: 

  • The Qatari Supreme Committee for Crisis Management announced that all public gatherings are prohibited.
  • Delivery services will only be allowed for restaurants and other food establishments.
  • Supermarkets and hypermarkets will remain open with further limitations applied.   
  • The closure of all commercial and wellness centers, including malls, spas, and beauty parlors, as well as any home services. 
  • Stopping for two weeks (renewable) all incoming flights to Doha beginning Wednesday, March 18 with the exception of cargo and transit flights.
  • Qatari nationals will be allowed to enter the country and will be required to be quarantined for 14 days
  • All public transportation (metro and Karwa buses) has been stopped until further notice.
  • Restaurants will not provide in-person dining – just home delivery and take away.

Prevention and Wellbeing

  • What do I do if I am tested positive for COVID?
  • If a member of the household tests positive?
    • Self isolate for 14 days after last exposure.
    • Do I need to be tested? Contact your health care provider for guidance.
    • Where do I go for care? Contact your health care provider.
  • What if I had close contact (within six feet) with someone who has developed symptoms or tested a positive?
    • Stay home while case details are reviewed to determine the need to self­-isolate
    • Contact your health care provider for guidance on being tested
    • Self-monitor any possible symptoms for 14 days since the exposure.
  • What is someone I know but I have not had close contact with tests positive? 
    • You do not need to do anything as long as you do not have symptoms and you were not a close contact
    • Contact your health care provider for guidance on being tested
    • You should self-monitor your symptoms every day for 14 days.

 

  • Can NU-Q somehow provide us with N95 masks if we're traveling?
    • There are a limited number of masks that can be requested at the security desk of the NU-Q building.
  • Where can I get tested for coronavirus in Qatar?
    • All testing is managed by Hamad Medical Corporation. If you have concerns about your symptoms and would like to visit a doctor for further consultation, you can visit a PHCC clinic or hospital near you for testing. For those on campus, QF Primary Health Care Clinic is available, no appointment necessary. You can call at 4454-1244 it is open from 7:30 am – 6:30 pm and on-call nurses are in both Janoubi and Shamali from 6:30 pm-7:30 am.
  • Does my insurance cover for coronavirus-related medical care if I end up getting it?
    • COVID-19 related expenses are not covered by the DBAC policy; however, students are encouraged to submit claims via Direct Billing/Reimbursement since it is possible that some aspects of a claim may be reviewed for consideration.
    • Considering the novelty of the COVID 19 situation, I believe this will be an on-going dialogue with DBAC and is best handled on a case-by-case basis. Regarding coverage of testing for or treatment of COVID-19 at facilities other than QF clinic, please contact customer care with your questions about Doha Bank Assurance Company covered services.  
  • Is it advisable to go to the doctor for routine medical check-ups, or to avoid hospitals altogether?
    • All routine check-ups through PHCC have been canceled. It is advised that all non-urgent medical care be postponed.
  • I received a message from PHCC that all non-urgent scheduled appointments will be canceled. How do I get the needed medical care?
    • If your appointment was at QF Clinic, they have not canceled any appointments. The rest of PHCC is managing COVID-19 cases, but you can likely find care at one of the facilities that have direct billing with Doha Bank Assurance Health Insurance. Please click here to see direct billing providers.
    • The QF Primary Health Care Center (QF-PHCC) is activating telemedicine consultations, where appointments with patients will be conducted via phone. Patients should call QF-PHCC on 44541240 or 44541244, or email qfphcc@qf.org.qa, to book an appointment. 
  •  

 

  • Are trips and events being postponed or canceled? Or does it depend on the event/trip?
    • All events – where possible – will be re-scheduled.
  • Is the GESI program still happening it not?
    • The home campus in Evanston will be deciding on this program shortly.

 

  • I heard the Doha airport is shut down, what does this mean? If so, how do we approach this situation?
    • Qatar has suspended all commercial flights into the country for at least two weeks. Both cargo and transit flights will continue. During this time, only Qatari citizens will be granted entry to the country.
  • I have a question about when students go home to countries from which Qatar has restricted travel. If I leave, when would I be able to come back?
    • Travel ban decisions are being made by the Qatari authorities and we do not know when the travel bans will be lifted.
  • What happens if the students can't come back for the fall, because of the travel restrictions?
    • Right now, we should all focus on completing this semester. Any decisions made will be based on everyone’s health and safety and we deal with these issues as they arise.

 

  • How can I get in touch with faculty and staff?
    • Please reach out via email. You can schedule a time to meet via BlueJeans or schedule a phone call.
  • Can we look into making all courses Pass/No Credit?
    • The last day to change grading status from grade to Pass/No Credit (P/N) for Spring 2020 is extended to the last day of class, April 23, 2020. Students may elect the P/N option for any NU-Q spring 2020 course. You should consult with your academic adviser to initiate this change. We have enquired with the home campus about the application of pass/no credit for core classes and will report back.
  • Will NUQ's summer classes be canceled? or will they be online too?
    • That decision will be made in the next few weeks.
  • The strength of the Wi-Fi connection is sometimes spotty. If/when this impacts my ability to complete my academics online, what guarantee do I have that my faculty will be lenient and understanding?
    • Communication is key. If you anticipate any disruption in the virtual learning space, communicate that with your instructor. We will work towards finding a solution to continued connectivity issues on a case by case basis.
  • Is it feasible to do an internship abroad during the summer, or is it better to just not plan for anything in the summer?
    • NU-Q will not provide any financial assistance for summer internships abroad. The World Health Organization anticipates that the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. This will likely result in more travel restrictions and greater potential health risks.
  • Will summer study abroad grants be available?
    • These programs are run by Evanston and funded by NU-Q. Evanston has not announced the status of those programs.
  • Can exams/assessments be optional?
    • Courses will be graded as always; however, faculty are allowed to make adjustments if necessary.
  • Will the registration for fall 2020 continue as normal? If so, when will that happen?
    • Fall 2020 registration will take place as normal. We are aiming to publish the fall 2020 schedule by Thursday, March 26, with registration following shortly thereafter. Advisors will be available remotely for advising sessions. We will announce details and deadlines once confirmed.

 

 

 

  • How can I pay my bill to Business and Finance?
    • Please refer to your last student statement sent a few days ago with the many options besides cash.  Please email studentfinance@qatar.northwestern.edu with any questions.
  • Students on Financial Aid living in the dorms have their housing covered until early May. If there are travel restrictions in place and students cannot travel to their home country, will NU-Q or QF extend their financial support?
    • Yes, we will provide support.
  • Ticket prices have doubled, will NU-Q help pay for airfare to return home?
    • For students on financial aid, NU-Q can provide partial financial assistance to support your return to your home country. E-mail studentfinance@qatar.northwestern.edu with your request, a current airfare quote, and a receipt from a past flight purchase. 
  • Will NU-Q be offering any discounts/refunds on tuition?
    • NU-Q complies with the policy of the home campus, which is not providing discounts or reductions. We should note, that students will be receiving credit for the semester as originally planned.

 

  • Will QF residence halls be closed? If so, are international students going to be asked to return home - even though some of us are from CDC level 3 countries?
    • QF will keep the residence halls open.
  • I left QF residence halls, but I left a few things in my room. I will not be able to come back until the fall semester, is that okay?
    • If you are unable to take all of your belongings, you can leave them in your room. Please indicate that you have left items in the room on the Departure Notification Form, link here.
  • Will NU-Q provide funding for graduating students who are stuck in the QF housing over the summer?
    • QF Student Housing has announced that students who are unable to return home will be allowed to remain in Student Housing into the summer. It is not clear whether there will be an additional fee.  If there are additional fees, NU-Q will provide support to those students who currently receive financial aid.
  • Currently, the grocery shuttle is running and Lulu Express is open. If that were to close, or the shuttles temporarily halted, what’s the back-up plan?
    • Housing will continue to offer food services through the Dining Hall. If the shuttle stops online delivery options from Lulu or Carrefour are available. If those options become unavailable, Housing will step in to facilitate access to necessary food.
  • I know that Shamali and Janoubi each have a building set up for self-isolation cases. What if the Coronavirus spreads in Housing? Will they contain all of Housing as a quarantine facility or will they move all Housing residents into the quarantine facilities run by the Qatari Health Ministry?
    • We are confident that QF has taken appropriate precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Housing. This includes increased cleaning, food delivery, and limiting external guests. We encourage social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 but should there be a case in the Residence Halls, we would follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Public Health and the CDC.
  • How is NU-Q collaborating with QF Housing to check on the welfare of the international students and what kind of activities (if any) can still be provided for us?
    • NU-Q Student Affairs is in regular communication with Housing and will continue to engage with students virtually. Housing and the CDAs are also planning virtual engagement opportunities.
  • Can we check out of Housing before the end of the semester? Can we get a refund for the time we are not living on campus?
    • You can check out of housing effective immediately.
    • Step 2: Pack and remove all belongings and leave the room in clean condition.
    • Housing will provide prorated refunds for those that leave the residence halls before the end of the semester.

 

  • Do we have any updates on graduation?
    • Graduation has been postponed. Please provide any feedback here.
  • I have a question related to seniors - how does this change the way we complete our senior checklist?
    • There will be more information for graduating students in the coming weeks including the process for the graduation check-list.
  • Will NU-Q be able to support Egyptians in applying for a visa when returning for graduation?
    • NU-Q will continue to support students seeking a visa; however, the final decision on these issues is with the Qatari government.
  • Will NU-Q fund a graduate’s flight back to Qatar for graduation?
    • It is under consideration.
  • What happens with QF financial aid? How do recipients start paying it off (graduates)?
    • Financial aid is provided by QF and operated by them. Their current practice is that students have six months to seek employment. We do not know if they will make any changes to this policy.

 

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