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North House Folk School greatly values the health and safety of its community of students, instructors, staff, and volunteers. Therefore, we are closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and want to share our response plan.

Updated July 27th, 2020

North House is beginning a phased reopening of campus in July and August. Our goal is to begin welcoming students back to campus in a limited capacity while continuing to ensure the safety and health of our students, instructors, staff, and community.

  • Unfortunately, some classes during this period must be cancelled. Students enrolled in these classes will receive a full refund.
  • Certain classes that can be hosted safely on campus while observing social distancing and other precautions will continue as scheduled. Students who prefer not to attend will receive a full refund.
  • Other classes are being transitioned to an online format. Students enrolled in the physical course have the option of transferring into the online course.
  • Our plans for courses from September 1st onward are still under consideration. We are hopeful we can use a similar strategy, hosting some coursework on campus, transitioning/developing other courses for online engagement, and most likely cancelling some already scheduled courses. Details regarding these plans will be shared on a regular basis.

We are in the process of contacting all students enrolled in a class in July or August to notify them of the status of their class. If you are registered for a class in July or August and haven't received an email from us by June 19th, or if you have any questions, please email us at info@northhouse.org or call us at 218-387-9762.

Information for Students Attending Campus

What North House is doing

  • Extra cleaning and sanitation of facilities
  • There will be no public access (including family visitors) to classrooms.
  • Limited number of students on campus; a max of 3 concurrent courses, held only in large format classrooms that can provide 6 feet of space between students with a private bathroom. Max group size 10, including instructor. As many activities as possible will happen outdoors.
  • Sadly, no pizza bakes or community gatherings beyond your class.

What we ask of students and instructors on campus

  • Arrive healthy. Consider practicing conscientious social distancing two weeks prior to the course. If you can get a test prior to coming, please do so. If you’re sick, please don’t come. You will receive a full refund.
  • Wearing a mask while on campus will be required, both indoors and outdoors at times. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we will not be able to make exceptions.
  • Maintain six feet of distance from anyone outside your family group as much as possible. We recognize that there will be situations where closer proximity is unavoidable, please do your best to minimize this.
  • Tools that are shared should be treated as if contaminated. Students should sanitize their hands prior to use and following use. They should be kept in a designated area and this expectation should be clearly communicated by the instructor.
  • We will need your help in maintaining a clean and safe classroom environment throughout your course. At the end of the teaching day, students and instructors will sweep the floor, take out the trash if necessary, and wipe surfaces down - doorknobs, common tools, light switches, workspaces.

Additional items students should bring

  • Required materials and tools; please carefully review the list at our website.
  • A water bottle
  • If you are bringing lunch to campus, please be aware that we do not currently have a common area available, and so cannot provide access to a microwave or utensils or dishwashing facilities. We will have a cooler available for lunch storage. Lunch is to be eaten outdoors if at all possible, seated a minimum of six feet apart. If weather requires eating indoors, students can use the classroom in which their class is held. At this time, there will be no coffee or tea available on campus. We hope to be able to offer this service in the coming months.
  • Lots of layers, including a raincoat and footwear. We will plan to have open windows and lots of outdoor activity when possible.
  • Sunscreen, sunhat, again for extra outdoor time
  • Please be sure to bring masks/facial coverings that fit you well and can be worn for an extended period of time. On the North House campus the term face mask means covering the nose, mouth and chin and consisting of at least two layers of fabric (or a commercial mask).
  • Patience: we’ve never run a folk school during a pandemic before, and we’re all learning together. We know it will require all of us to bring an extra measure of grace and compassion for one another as we navigate this new reality.

Daily Health Screenings

We will also perform a health screening every morning of class, which includes taking your temperature with a forehead thermometer and asking if you have experienced the following in the past 7 days: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or chills. Should you answer yes to any of these questions OR have a temperature of 100.4 or greater, we will ask you to leave campus. We will issue you a pro-rated gift certificate.

If any student is asked to leave because of a health concern, the other students and instructor can choose whether or not to continue the course, or end it at that time. Pro-rated tuition refunds will be issued as gift certificates; materials fee refunds will be a case-by-case basis.

Good to know

  • You are welcome to visit the school store—it is open to the public for one shopper at a time on Wednesday to Thursday from 12pm - 4pm and Friday through Sunday from 9am - 4pm. We will have an opportunity for you to schedule your visit so that you don’t have to wait to shop and miss class.
  • We ask all visitors to be extra diligent in planning a trip to this very rural area.There are very limited health care facilities here. If you were to become sick while visiting, you would need to leave to get care or testing. If traveling alone, consider your back-up plan for return travel.
  • Grocery store access is always a bit limited in our small town, but even more so at this time. You may wish to bring a few staples along.
  • Restaurants are open at only 50% capacity and for take-out and curb-side delivery. Many require reservations to dine indoors. Many are short-staffed for a variety of reasons beyond their control, and may not be open their usual hours. They are eager to serve you, but patience and a little extra time is required.
  • While we will do our best to take all reasonable steps to create a safe learning environment for you, there is an inherent level of risk in participating in a class. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver that acknowledges you are aware of this risk and are assuming it willingly.

General Information

North House’s administrative offices are open and our school store welcomes online orders but our campus is closed to the public. In June, our school store welcomes online orders but our campus will continue to be closed to the public. Starting in July, our school store, front office and campus will be open.  School store & front office hours are Wednesday - Thursday, 12pm - 4pm, and Friday - Sunday, 9am - 4pm.  We welcome inquiries at any time - email us at info@northhouse.org or call 218-387-9762.

We look forward to hosting future classes and events but will stay abreast of the very dynamic realties created by COVID-19. We anticipate some additional course cancellation and changes will be necessary, and on a rolling basis, we will assess if and when to do so. For classes in which you are already registered, we will contact you by email or phone if there’s a scheduling change or cancellation. Unless you’ve heard from North House directly, assume your class is continuing as planned.

If you were planning to come to North House for a future class but are ill, please stay at home and get well. Similarly, if you are in a group that is at higher risk for coronavirus, we do understand and support your need to avoid public gatherings. In both instances, for classes in which you are registered with a start date prior to September 1, we will work with you to reschedule or provide a gift certificate in the full amount for future coursework. Please email us at info@northhouse.org for help with rescheduling or refunds.

As a reminder, public health authorities advise that some of the best things we all can do to help prevent the spread of coronavirus include:

  • Carefully washing hands with soap and water multiple times a day, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick or have symptoms.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds