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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

North House Folk School greatly values the health and safety of its community of students, instructors, staff, and volunteers. Therefore, we continue to update our safety plans for our on-campus programs.

Last Updated: Wednesday May 11th 2022, 8:00 AM
  • At the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, North House cancelled all scheduled on-campus coursework. Crafting in Place was created to knit together a community that couldn't assemble in person.
  • On-campus classes restarted slowly in Fall 2020 with reasonable safety precautions to protect the health of students, instructors and staff.
  • In March 2022, after new CDC guidelines minimized the importance of wearing masks, these safety precautions were updated to allow students to participate without doing so.
  • This led to high community transmission in Cook County and across the US, spurring a re-evaluation of the importance of masking to protect the North House community

As we enter the third year of the COVID pandemic, we will continue to utilize the tools that have kept our community safely learning together. Community is at the heart of North House’s mission and we ask that all program participants work together to keep everyone healthy. We ask that all participants in North House programs act in the best interest of the community through diligent attention to safety practices. We recognize that choosing to participate at this time carries with it an inherent risk that cannot be eliminated but can be minimized through intentional, collective care for the well-being of everyone on campus. 

With recent changes on the state and national level with regard to the pandemic and mask use, North House has updated the norms we will use to manage campus safety. Please refer back to this site for the latest expectations, which are subject to change in the event of a change in guidance from public health or the spread of Covid-19 on our campus.

Currently: As of March 2, 2022: Masks Appreciated

  • Staff, students, instructors and visitors are encouraged to wear masks according to their own comfort level.
  • As a courtesy, all are also encouraged to wear a mask around other staff, students, instructors and visitors who are choosing to mask.
  • Air purifiers, ventilation, and windows continue to be used for air circulation.

North House is also following CDC and MDH guidance which encourages folks who aren’t yet vaccinated to continue wearing their masks. We are also aware that many friends of the school feel more comfortable wearing masks in this setting, and we ask that all participants practice care and consideration for those around them. We encourage everyone to bring a mask with them to class for situations where social distancing is hard to maintain or when asked by other students while working in close proximity.

Beginning May 19, 2022: Masks Required

In alignment with North House’s plan to respond to community Covid levels as defined by the CDC (and with Cook County recently rising to Medium Risk Level), we plan to resume Masks Required beginning May 19. If levels return to low before the start of your course, we will return to Masks Appreciated, but students should come prepared to mask.

  • Staff, students, instructors and visitors are required to wear masks indoors.
  • Air purifiers, ventilation, and windows continue to be used for air circulation.
  • Students should come expecting to mask for the entirety of their course. Students who are unwilling to wear masks in the classrooms will be given a refund and asked to leave.

If you choose to cancel as a result of this policy you will receive a full refund. Simply call our friendly front office staff and they’ll be happy to help 218-387-9762.

Negative Rapid Test Required 12 Hours Prior to Class

As an added layer of protection, North House will require all students and instructors to take a rapid test for Covid-19 no more than twelve hours prior to the start of a class. We will provide students with one test kit, which they are encouraged to pick up the day before class. The test can also be completed on campus the morning of the class. In the event of a positive test, the student will withdraw from the class and a full refund will be provided. This procedure will be in effect January 15 through February 13, and will be reviewed in early February for possible extension.

Vaccines Recommended

Cook County has worked hard to manage the pandemic, and is among the most highly vaccinated counties in the country! As an organization that values community, we strongly urge students and instructors to be as up-to-date as possible with vaccinations before coming to campus. This helps us to care for each other, and especially care for our neighbors who aren’t able to get vaccinated. You can learn more about vaccine research and vaccination clinics using Minnesota's "Find my Vaccine" tool

Covid-related Cancellations & Refunds

We ask anyone who is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, or who has tested positive for Covid-19, to please stay home and attend class another time. (Please see the CDC’s guidance on Calculating Isolation for more details.)

We will continue to provide a full refund to anyone who needs to cancel due to exposure, positive test, concern for risk, or sickness.

Information for Students Attending Campus

What North House is doing:

  • Limited public access (including family visitors) to classrooms.

  • Limiting number of students on campus. At this time, we are not hosting pizza bakes or community gatherings outside of class.

  • At the recommendation of our HVAC consultants, we have installed air filtration systems in the classrooms, school store and administration buildings. When weather permits, we will instead opt to keep windows open to allow for adequate ventilation.

What we ask of students and instructors on campus:

  • Arrive healthy.  If you are unvaccinated, consider practicing conscientious social distancing two weeks prior to the course. If you are unvaccinated and can get a test prior to coming, please do so. If you’re sick, please don’t come. You will receive a full refund.
  • Get vaccinated: although we are not requiring vaccination, we encourage this as a precaution prior to coming to campus. 
  • Practice good hand hygiene: wash and sanitize your hands frequently, especially when touching shared tools and resources. 
  • 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.
  • 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. Students will be asked to sign a liability waiver that acknowledges you are aware of this risk and are assuming it willingly.

General Information

  • School store & front office hours are Monday–Friday 9am – 5pm.
  • 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 realities created by COVID-19.