FAQ

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Gov. Walz ordered all Minnesotans to shelter at home from March 28 to April 10. What does this mean for St. Olaf?

Following Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-20 to shelter at home, all St. Olaf College buildings will be CLOSED March 28 through April 10. Employees who have been designated as essential on-campus employees have heard from their supervisor and know when they are expected to be on campus. All others are expected to remain off campus until after the order expires. If you are uncertain if you are allowed on campus, you should follow up with your supervisor.

In an effort to protect the health and safety of these essential on-campus employees and the students who continue to reside on campus, St. Olaf lands and buildings are closed to all visitors.

When can students return to campus to pick up their belongings?

Because of the statewide shelter at home order in place through April 10, no one is allowed to return to campus at this time to pick up their belongings. Students and their families should plan to come to campus either the weekend of April 24-26 or May 1-3 to pick up belongings. We will have storage available for furniture from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on both weekends, as space permits.

If you cannot return to pack up your items, we will pack them up and put them in campus storage for you. Every student should fill out this form — even those who have already taken their belongings with them.

About

Why is it called COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”
There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

A person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eye.

See the CDC website for more information about transmission.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
How do you get tested for COVID-19?
At this time, diagnostic testing for COVID-19 can only be conducted at the approval of the CDC and can only be done if criteria are met for testing. These criteria are defined by the CDC as criteria for “Patients Under Investigation.” If these criteria are met, your health care provider will work with the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC to obtain and send a laboratory specimen to the CDC for testing and arrange for isolation while waiting for results. Before you call your clinic and a triage nurse to discuss your symptoms please review the detailed information from the Northfield Hospital + Clinics.
Who is at higher risk of becoming seriously ill?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Symptoms; Prevention; If You Are Sick

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Are there ways to prevent contracting the virus?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick since you may be more susceptible to catching COVID-19.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice), especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • For information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing recommendations.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. The CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.

I’m sick. What should I do?

Consider whether you may have a cold or the flu.

Call a local health care provider if:

  • You have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
  • If you have no reason to suspect that you have COVID-19 yet you are experiencing these severe symptoms.

If you are not having difficulty breathing then stay home or in your dorm room. You should not go to class, practice, work, or public places if you:

  • Have a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or above)
  • Until you are fever free without fever-reducing medication for at least 72 hours
  • Have been diagnosed with influenza and are still in the contagious period (which can last 5-7 days)
  • Have the stomach flu (which is not the same as Influenza or respiratory flu) and are still within 72 hours after you have stopped vomiting

See the CDC list for other measures and considerations.

I’m sick. How do I know if it is COVID-19 or something else, like influenza?

If you have a fever, cough, or (most importantly) difficulty breathing and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, then it is possible that you have contracted COVID-19.

If you have influenza-like symptoms you should call your local healthcare provider. You should also avoid interaction with other people to limit their exposure. Staff and faculty should stay home and students should not go to classes or activities until their doctor has advised that they are no longer contagious.

What do I do if I am worried I may have contracted COVID-19?

Take steps to get professional medical advice and prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID-19, by doing the following:

  • Call a local health care provider if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are sick. You are most contagious when you have a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or above). You should not go to class, practice, or work until you are fever free without fever reducing medication for at least 72 hours.

See the CDC list for other measures and considerations.

I am worried about a colleague or student who is showing symptoms. What should I do?
Please remember that many faculty, staff and students are still experiencing common illnesses like cold and flu. Do not assume that someone who is ill has COVID-19. Be mindful about spreading fear or anxiety and making assumptions about faculty, staff, or students who may be from the geographic areas at the epicenter of the COVID-19. If someone has symptoms, encourage them to seek medical advice. You may also notify benefitsandcomp@stolaf.edu and a member of Human Resources will follow up to ensure the individual is taking appropriate self-care measures and steps to prevent exposing others.
Is it necessary for students to wear masks? If I do want a mask, where can I get one?
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend that healthy individuals wear masks unless they are a health care worker or they are caring for a sick individual who is known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Further information about WHO recommendations are available.

Plans & Preparation

What will the college do if a student, staff or faculty member exposed others prior to being confirmed as a COVID-19 case?

Our main priority is the health and safety of the St. Olaf community. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will be reported to the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Our response will follow the guidance we are given from the CDC and MDH. If it becomes necessary to quarantine individuals, these efforts will be coordinated with local health department officials. If concerns about more widespread infection arise, it may become necessary to take further measures. If this becomes necessary, St. Olaf will seek guidance from local health officials to determine what additional steps are needed for the St. Olaf community. In addition, students, staff, and faculty who are well but are taking care of or share a home with someone with a case of COVID-19 should follow instructions from local health officials.

Will we hold commencement?
It is unlikely that we will be hosting commencement at the end of May. St. Olaf is committed to finding a way to honor our seniors and to celebrate with them and their families. We’re not yet sure when or how we will do that, but will be in touch with more information.
Will we hold reunion?
We will not be having reunion on campus this spring. We are looking at alternative ways to properly celebrate reunion, and we will communicate with our alumni as soon as we have further details.

Student Specific

I’m planning to be off-campus next fall, but I’m wondering if my program will happen as planned. Can I register for classes on campus just in case?

International and Off-Campus Studies is still planning and hoping for off-campus study programs this fall to continue as planned. Many of our partners are offering very generous cancellation policies to enable students to stick with their plans as long as possible while we wait for the pandemic to subside.

Many students have questions about fall course registration. Our systems presently prevent students from registering on campus if they are committed to studying abroad. IOS is working closely with IT and the Registrar’s Office to try to find a way for students to be able to register for on-campus classes as a backup. We will send more information to all committed off-campus participants before the end of break, in advance of registration.

How do I sign up for direct deposit if I haven’t already?
You can complete the following form electronically and send it securely through our secure document exchange using your St. Olaf email.
How do I request a refund from my Ole card?
Please email csgold@stolaf.edu with the amount of your Ole Dollar balance that you would like to be refunded. That amount will be credited to your tuition account and a refund can be requested through SIS.
Will the post office continue to serve students who remain on campus?
The post office will remain open. If students get a package delivered, they will receive an email. If they want their package forwarded, they need to email or call the post office. If anything changes, the post office will communicate with the school.
Will IT services continue during extended spring break and online classes?
IT will remain open and close at 5pm each day.
Does the Stay Home order issued by Governor Walz impact my ability to continue to work on campus?
If you are currently living and working on campus, you may continue to perform your student work responsibilities, unless your supervisor notifies you of any changes.
How will my work award be impacted if I am unable to work due to being gone from campus?
The credit issued for housing and meal plans helped to offset any pending balance due from unearned work awards. We acknowledge this may not have fully offset the balance and some students did not receive the credit. The college will be making decisions in the near future regarding remaining outstanding work awards.
Are there jobs available on campus for students?
There are very limited jobs available for students who need to stay on campus. Please reach out to studentemployment@stolaf.edu and we can let you know if there are any departments that are in need of student workers.
If I am unable to perform my job in person, would I be allowed to work remotely as a student?
Some students may be allowed to perform work remotely depending on the nature of their work (e.g. tutors, research assistants, supplemental instruction, etc.). Please reach out to your supervisor for guidance on this option. Supervisors will work with the HR office to review whether the student’s work is crucial to the college’s continued operations.
Will students receive a partial reimbursement for room and board?
The college has been reviewing how to reimburse families for room and board. We took immediate action this week by providing a reimbursement of up to $1,125 per student depending on your current room and board plan. This immediate reimbursement is meant to cover the time away from campus through April 17. We are also working on a plan for reimbursement to cover room and board through the rest of the school year, and we will be in touch soon with those details. If you have immediate questions please send an email to tuition@stolaf.edu.
Who can stay on campus?
We do have a population of students who may not travel to their home or have another place to stay. We will continue to house and feed the small number of students who must stay on campus. All students who are able to do so have been asked to return to their homes and may not return to campus to visit.
I am worried about a fellow student who is showing symptoms, what should I do?
Please remember that many students are still experiencing common illnesses like cold and flu. Do not assume that someone who is ill has COVID-19. Be mindful about spreading fear or anxiety and making assumptions about staff or students who may be from the geographic areas at the epicenter of the COVID-19. If you have concerns about a particular student, send Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life Pamela McDowell the student’s name and she will follow up to ensure the student is taking appropriate self-care measures and steps to prevent exposing others.
Northfield Hospital has told me that they don’t have that many test kits. What is the college doing to facilitate testing if it’s needed?
Testing is a function of the Northfield Hospital and guided by the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health. The hospital has set up a nursing triage line for any community member to call with questions about COVID-19. During the day (8:00 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday), individuals can be screened by calling the clinic at 507-646-1494. After hours, individuals should call the Northfield Hospital Emergency Department at 507-646-1100.
Why haven’t students had more of a role in determining the college’s response to COVID-19?
Students have been sending questions and comments to the Coronavirus Response Team. By doing so, they have helped to bring matters to our attention and contribute to our process.
Will the college cover the cost of additional travel expenses related to having to change my travel plans?
We understand that altering travel plans can be stressful, disappointing, and costly. Many airlines are now waiving change fees, and many other travel providers are offering similar refunds or re-booking policies. The college will not cover additional travel expenses.
As a student, what if I don’t have internet access at home or a personal computer?
We are aware that not everyone has internet access at home and that moving to online classes will create hardships for some members of our community. IT will work with students without a laptop/internet to talk through options for completing their course assignments. This may include IT providing them with laptops and potential hotspots. Please fill out the following IT form if you need access to a laptop or internet access.
Now that we’re moving to distance learning for the rest of the semester, what do I do if my class is more of a hands-on class (studio art, etc.)?
Faculty members will need to determine what can and cannot be continued in an online format, and will communicate with their students about the transition to distance learning.
Are there any current programs for off-campus study that have been impacted? Can I still participate in a future off-campus study program?

The International and Off-Campus Studies Office has informed all St. Olaf students studying abroad that they should return home immediately. If students choose to stay abroad, it will be at their own risk and against the college’s strong recommendation. This includes the college’s Environmental Science in Australia program. We understand this news is disappointing, but we made this decision with our students’ health and safety foremost in mind.

At present, we are planning to offer all off-campus programs next year. Our policy is that programs will not be offered under the following circumstances:

  • In the case that a country is raised to and remains a Level 3 or higher status by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the U.S. State Department.
  • In the case that airlines suspend flights to the program location.
  • If the program partner chooses to close the program.
  • If for health, safety, or other compelling reasons the college determines that a modification or cancellation of the program is appropriate.

In the case of any of these issues, St. Olaf will be in touch with students and the program host to discuss their individual circumstances. If you have any questions, please contact us at ios@stolaf.edu.

I’m an international student and my study abroad program has been canceled. Can I come back to campus?
All St. Olaf students studying abroad in every country have been advised to return home immediately. For students who cannot return to any location other than St. Olaf, the college is making arrangements to support their self-quarantine away from campus for 14 days.
International students are concerned that they will not get credit for taking online courses. With the college moving its (face-to-face) courses online, do the courses remain categorized as face-to-face?

Thank you for thinking about the international students. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has issued special guidance regarding COVID-19. If St. Olaf College decides to transition our curriculum to online delivery, we will request special permission from SEVP. Since online learning does not require physical presence in the U.S. we must also include our plan for institutional oversight of students who will remain in the U.S. and how they will maintain lawful status and an active SEVIS record during this unprecedented time. This is especially important in order to maintain the students’ ability to engage in practical training (CPT and OPT) benefits. We are confident our request would be approved by SEVP as we have heard from other ACM/GLCA colleagues that have made this transition.

There is no concern at the moment for our international students if we move to online classes in regards to their immigration status. We would just want to be in touch about what we would report to SEVP if/when we are at the point.

What about my library materials?

Due dates for materials checked out from St. Olaf Libraries and Carleton College Library have been extended to May 20, 2020 for all graduating seniors. For all other students, due dates for books and DVDs have been extended to September 10.

All students, regardless of graduation date, should return Reserves, AV equipment, and Interlibrary Loan items by May 20. Please contact library@stolaf.edu for questions about mailing items back to the library.

What is the plan for academic advising and support?
Please see the CAAS web page for more information.
What are the resources and considerations for disability and access for students?
Please see the Disability and Access web page for more information.

Faculty and Staff Specific

General

What is a Stay Home Order?
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a stay at home order for all Minnesotans through April 10. A stay at home order directs Minnesotans to limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. By limiting social interactions, we decrease the chance of transmission of COVID-19 and help our health care sector prepare for increased demands. For more information visit the Governor’s website.
Will the college remain open?
Yes, the college will remain open as there are still students living on campus. The only employees who should come to campus are those who are needed to continue the essential on-campus operations of the college. Employees working remotely will continue their duties during the college’s regular hours of operation.
What does the Stay Home Executive Order mean for me?

If your role requires that you must come to campus to continue the on-campus essential operations of the college, then you should do so while continuing to practice diligent social distancing.

If your position can be performed remotely, then you can no longer commute to campus. Identify what you will need to take to your home to be able to work from there indefinitely. Don’t be caught without the materials and technology that you need, as you will be unable to retrieve them from campus.

If you are not sure if you need to be working on-campus or must work remotely, please speak with your supervisor.

Will my position responsibilities remain the same during this COVID-19 pandemic?

Decisions regarding work responsibilities will be determined within your division/department. During this pandemic, certain employees may not be performing their typical work on campus or remotely and instead must take on other responsibilities in support of the college. Staff may also be reassigned to use their special skills or background that would be beneficial in an emergency situation.

What do I do if my child’s school is closed?

Our goal is to balance being flexible while also maintaining essential services and supporting the students who remain on campus. We recognize that many of you have concerns about how you will balance your commitments at work and at home. Please work with your supervisor to discuss your situation and possible remote work strategies (e.g. alternate child care arrangements, working a flexible schedule, etc.).

What if my department has specific information regarding its hours and operations that needs to be communicated?

Please notify the Coronavirus Response Team and we will link from the COVID-19 site to your respective department website that states the detailed information.

Illness and Quarantine

If I’m working remotely do I still need to report if I am self-isolating or sick?
Yes, faculty and staff must report here if they will be missing work due to their own self-quarantine or are ill from COVID-19 or caring for a family member who has become sick due to COVID-19.
How would an employee be paid during a need for self-quarantine for 14 days, due to their own, or their family member’s, exposure to someone with COVID-19?
Exempt (salaried) employees will receive salary continuation. Hourly employees will use their Sick Leave Reserve (SLR). If an hourly employee does not have enough SLR then the college will provide hourly employees up to 10 SLR days to cover their quarantine absence. These SLR hours must be logged in the Time Entry System in the “SLR-ER” field. However, the use of “SLR-ER” cannot be used in an instance following an employee’s personal travel, which is against the college’s recommendation, and a personal leave of absence must be taken using vacation/PTO time for the travel days and subsequent self quarantine time frame.
What happens if an employee becomes ill after having been exposed to COVID-19?
Our current sick leave policies would apply – an exempt (salaried) employee would receive salary continuation for this illness period. If an hourly employee becomes ill with COVID-19, they would be provided 5 days of Sick Leave Reserve (SLR), to bridge the gap until Short-Term Disability commences. The one-year requirement to be eligible for short term disability will be waived for hourly employees who have less than 1 year of service.
What do I do if I am sick or someone in my household becomes sick?

Faculty and staff must report here if they will be missing work due to their own self-quarantine or are ill from COVID-19, or caring for a family member who has become sick due to COVID-19.

Follow the CDC guidelines if you are feeling sick. If you have influenza-type symptoms, you need to stay home. You are most contagious when you have a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or above). You should not return to work until you are fever-free without fever-reducing medication for at least 72 hours.

If someone in your household is sick, please take extra precautions and follow 10 things to manage health at home, if possible or confirmed COVID-19. The Northfield Hospital and Clinics would like those who are experiencing symptoms and think they may have contracted COVID-19 to call before going to the hospital. During the day (7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday), individuals can be screened by calling the clinic at 507-646-1494. After hours, individuals should call the Northfield Hospital Emergency Department at 507-646-1100.

I am worried about a colleague or student who is showing symptoms, what should I do?
Please remember that many faculty, staff and students are still experiencing common illnesses like cold and flu. Do not assume that someone who is ill has COVID-19. Be mindful about spreading fear or anxiety and making assumptions about faculty, staff, or students who may be from the geographic areas at the epicenter of the COVID-19. If someone has symptoms, encourage them to seek medical advice. You may also notify benefitsandcomp@stolaf.edu and a member of Human Resources will follow up to ensure the individual is taking appropriate self-care measures and steps to prevent exposing others.

Working Remotely

Is there a policy regarding remote work?
Please review the new Remote Work policy for more information.
What resources are available to employees working remotely?
IT has created these Remote Work Resources for faculty and staff. Make your supervisor aware of your technology needs for remote work so that each division can send those requests in one document to the IT Help Desk.
What if I need to work remotely and I don’t have Internet access at home or a personal computer?
We are aware that not every employee has Internet access at home and that moving to online classes will create hardships for some members of our St. Olaf community. We have no plans to provide Internet services to employees. However, several Internet providers are now offering low cost solutions for individuals during this pandemic. Typically, personal computers may not be used to perform remote work, especially when specialty software is required. IT has created these Remote Work Resources for faculty and staff. Make your supervisor aware of your technology needs for remote work so that each division can send those requests in one document to the IT Help Desk.

Working on Campus

How do I practice social distancing while working on campus?
If your role requires that you must come to campus to continue the on-campus essential operations of the college, the college has asked supervisors to arrange shifts so that team members can practice diligent social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Benefits and Compensation

How can I get paid if I can no longer work my regular schedule due to COVID-19 changes?
There are some staff positions and responsibilities that cannot be performed remotely and/or work schedules have been adjusted resulting in staff being able to work less than their regular work schedule. For those who fall into this category, we have modified the Time Entry System to allow staff to log and be paid for these non-work hours.

Beginning the week of March 21, 2020, these employees may record any missed, non-work hours by using the “COVID” box in the Time Entry System. These hours will be paid at the employee’s standard hourly rate and deductions will be taken as usual. Any planned time off should be tracked in the PTO or Personal Choice Day boxes as applicable. Any time tracked using COVID pay will not accrue PTO or be used in calculating overtime, similar to a leave of absence as outlined in the Staff Handbook.

Can I change my Dependent Care Reimbursement election if my child’s daycare/school is closed?

Bookstore

How can I contact the St. Olaf Bookstore?

Website: stolaf.bncollege.com
Phone: (507)301-9745
Email: SM8262@bncollege.com

The St. Olaf Bookstore will be open 24/7 via the website, store manager will be available by phone or email M-F 10am-3pm

What do I do if I need to buy books for term 2?

All books for all term 2 classes are available online. By going to stolaf.bncollege.com you can select the classes you are taking and order the books you need. The bookstore will be processing orders daily and shipping them out so that students are receiving them ASAP.

What if I want to by clothing, supplies, and/or gifts?

All clothing, supplies, and gifts will be available for purchase online at stolaf.bncollege.com. The bookstore will be processing all orders daily including general merchandise orders. All orders will be shipped same day if they are placed by 10am.

Since the bookstore is closed, will I have to pay for shipping when I order online?

With the bookstore being a no visitor zone, all online orders will have free shipping.

If I am done with my rental books for the semester, how can I return them?
  1. The St. Olaf Bookstore is closed temporarily so rental books cannot be returned in person at this time. However, if you are still in the states, you can print a free UPS label through the bookstore website stolaf.bncollege.com. After you generate the label, you can drop the package off at any UPS location. As soon as UPS brings the package to us, we will check in your book. Textbook rental return due date has been extended one week for transit time. Rental books will be due back by May 28th. Please note that this shipping option is not available internationally.

    We understand that returning rental books from international destinations will not make it back to the store right away. We will extend the rental return period until June 10th for international students. Please do your best to get them in the mail as quickly as possible. If you are unable to because of your country’s restrictions, please email the bookstore and we will work with you on extending return due dates or buy out options.

  2. You may buy out your rental book. The price will be at a reduced rate and once you do this, you will own the book. This means that you will not have to worry about checking it in at the end of the semester. If you want to do this, please email sm8262@bncollege.com. Please make sure you provide your name, the phone number you rented with, as well as the title of the book you want to buy out.
What if I can’t order online and I am near the bookstore?

If there is a situation where you cannot order online, you may contact the bookstore and we will create a solution so that your needs are met. We will be available by email or phone to set up appointments between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm to assist.

Can I place orders over the phone?

The bookstore cannot take payment information over the phone due to PCI compliance. We will be happy to walk you through the steps to order items on our website. Please call with any questions.

What if I have an online order to pick up in store?

If you have an online order to pick up in store, please contact the bookstore and we will set up a solution for you to pick up the online order. If you have left campus and have forgotten to pick up your order, please call or email us your address and we would be happy to ship your order to you.

What if I cannot afford my textbooks?

Through the remainder of the Spring 2020 term, free access to many eTextbooks for students at Barnes & Noble College campuses that have closed due to COVID-19 through our partnership with VitalSource. For more information visit our website.