COVID-19 Campus & Community Support for Students

RCTC  recognizes that this a difficult and unprecedented time which may be filled with uncertainty. Your safety, health, and well-being are our primary concern and we want to be able to support you in any way that we can.

We understand that at this time you may be facing some obstacles that would make it difficult to meet your academic goals. Please use this feedback form to share if you have any concerns related to basic needs (housing, food, financial, medical, mental health, child care, etc.), clarification on official College communication, access to relevant technology, or information on campus services available at this time. After completing this form, you will be contacted by a staff member at the College as soon as possible to provide support and assistance.

You are not alone and we will navigate these challenges together. Yellowjackets take care of their hive!


This Website contains resources on campus and within the community to provide support during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can find resources on the following:

  • Child Care
  • Discrimination and Harassment Reporting
  • Financial Support
  • Food Resources and Support
  • Healthcare and Insurance
  • Housing & Homelessness
  • Internet and Technology Support
  • Mental Health
  • Scams and Price Gouging
  • Survivors of Domestic Violence
  • Textbooks
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Veterans
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Wellness and Exercise


This is not exhaustive of current offerings and will be updated regularly to reflect changes with services, resources, and support.   Download a basic needs resource guide.


Olmsted County COVID-19 Information and Resources

COVID-19 updates from Olmsted County and community resources.

Aunt Bertha – Search for social services in your community

You can easily search for social services available in your community using Aunt Bertha – The Social care Network. You can find information on food, housing, childcare, and health resources.

United Way 211

United Way 2-1-1 provides free and confidential health and human services information for people in Minnesota. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to connect you with the resources and information you need. If you’re looking for information about services available in your community for you or a loved one, we’re here to help.

Call 2-1-1 or toll free at 1-800-543-7709 to speak with one of their highly trained information and referral specialists by phone. Your call is completely confidential, and they have call menus in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

Child Care

Parent Aware

Offering free tools and resources to help families find quality childcare. Call 1-888-291-9811 or visit Parent Aware to search for child care options.

Families First Crisis Nursery

Overwhelmed by financial issues, illness, or loss? Families First of Minnesota offers Crisis Nursery services — short-term care for children in Olmsted County while their parents deal with the problem. If you are an Olmsted County resident with children birth through age twelve, call 507-287-2020 to access Crisis Nursery services. After normal business hours, call 507-535-5625.

Child Care at YMCA Early Childhood Learning Centers 

he Minnesota YMCA has 500 openings for children at its 10 locations in the Greater Twin Cities and Rochester area. Parents/guardians can go to the YMCA website to register immediately or show up in the morning at an eligible location, where a Y staff person will help get them registered (typically takes 30 minutes.) Call Lindsay Azoca for more information at 507-200-4024 or email

Emergency Child Care – Rochester Public Schools

Per order of Governor Walz and an expansion of the definition of “emergency worker,” beginning Monday, March 23, children of both Tier One and Tier Two of the emergency worker roles will be considered eligible for Emergency Child Care services at elementary schools in Rochester Public Schools. This service is available only to enrolled Rochester Public School students Kindergarten through age 12. Free care is available during school hours, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Fee-based extended care is available 6:30-9 a.m. and 3:45-6 p.m. for $12/session/day/child. Fees will be invoiced after April 6.

Parents must register for this service at and provide confirmation of employment in an emergency worker role, per the document Care for Children of Families of Emergency Workers available from the Minnesota Department of Education.

For more information, call the Minnesota schools and daycares hotline at 651-297-1304.

Discrimination and Harassment Reporting

No Minnesotan should have to live in fear because of who they are. If you have experienced discrimination or bias due to COVID-19, call Minnesota’s Discrimination Helpline at 651-539-1133 or 1-800-657-3704 or report them online. 

Financial Support

Student Emergency Fund

The Student Emergency Fund (SEF) provides students with financial support when they need assistance with unexpected emergency expenses surrounding situations such as accidents, illnesses, death of a family member, transportation issues, fire damage or need for temporary housing. We will also help provide assistance with expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds distributed do not generally exceed $500. 

You can apply for the SEF online (login using and the password should be the same as their StarID).

Unemployment Insurance – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

If you have had hours reduced or lost your job because of the COVID-19 pandemic you may apply for unemployment benefits. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is encouraging people who have lost work to apply for benefits as soon as possible and to be patient as they anticipate a large amount of applications.

You may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance if:

  • You are a bar, restaurant, or other worker affected by temporary closures
  • You are an individual who is sick or quarantined due to COVID-19
  • You are unable to work because you are caring for a person who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had to quit your job due to a lack of childcare.
  • Your hours were reduced, or your employer has shut down operations due to COVID-19

Apply for Unemployment Insurance

Need Help Paying Bills

Need Help Paying Bills provides information on assistance programs, charity organizations, and resources that provide help paying bills, mortgage and debt relief (financial, rent and government assistance).

Food Resources and Support

Hive Supply

The Hive Supply, our campus-based food pantry, is still open for student use during this time. To comply with current recommendations for the CDC related to social distancing we have created pre-packed brown paper bags with items from the Hive Supply as a grab and go option. Students are able to pick up a bag of food items on campus in the Atrium during business hours (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday).

Hive Supply Deliveries

The Hive Supply will now be making deliveries of food items to students in need who are not able to visit campus. Deliveries will be available every-other Monday, starting February 15th and will continue throughout the semester. Deliveries will be made on Mondays from 10:00am to 4:00pm and dropped off at the door or entrance to an apartment complex. Students will be notified when their delivery is dropped off. We are currently making deliveries within the Rochester city limits. If you do not live in Rochester please e-mail Kodi Hoscheit at for assistance with a delivery. Request a Hive Supply delivery by 4:30pm on Friday.

Channel One Regional Food Bank

As of Monday, March 23, the Channel One Food Shelf is open for drive-up/curb-side registration and pick up ONLY. Hours remain the same, 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8 am to noon Friday. The Salvation Army is also distributing boxes at their downtown location.

Households can come for a box of non-perishable groceries, and bags of limited amounts of perishable dairy, produce and frozen protein (meat). In order to follow health guidelines, we urge clients to come to Channel One only when in need of groceries.

If families are already registered, they can check in with the Channel One “community card” or Channel One ID number. Households can also check in with the name of the head of the household and their birth date. New households can register curbside with the name of the head of the household and their birth date, without further verification. We only ask for enough information to be able to tell people apart, and decide how to serve them best.

Check Channel One website and Channel One Facebook page for the most current updates.

Community Food Response

Open 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. During the COVID-19 pandemic they are distributing prefilled bags outside to maintain social distance. Community Food Response is located at  3945 10th Ave. NW (east of Gage School). Call 507-281-5061.

Minnesota Department of Human Services COVID-19 Emergency Food Support

Emergency food support and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Minnesota Food Helpline

If you’re struggling to put food on the table, call 1-888-711-1151 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. You can also use the chat feature on the helpline’s website, or use this map to find resources near you.

Open Table – Burrito Food Truck

Open Table is a mobile food ministry that serves a meal every Thursday evening to guests in SE Rochester. Their yellow food truck stops first at Oak Terrace and Parkside mobile home parks, and then drives down Marion Road and serves guests near Eastridge Estates apartments.

Rochester Public Schools Drive Up Meal Locations

During the school closure related to COVID-19 beginning Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 FREE meals will be made available to any child age 0 to 18 years old.

Drive Up Meal Locations include: Riverside Central Elementary School, John Adams Middle School, and Rochester Mayo High School from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM on weekdays, March 18 – March 26. Families will drive up, and meals will be brought to the vehicle similar to a drive-through line.

Meals will consist of a cold lunch with breakfast included for the next day. Lunches are intended to be eaten immediately or should be stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours. Please discard any leftovers within 3 days. Cold foods should be kept cold (milk & cheese < 41 degrees).

If your child is on a special diet and needs meal accommodations, please contact Kayla Timmerman, SNS Dietitian at 507-328-4250 or email at

The District is also offering a meal grab and go delivery service with our school buses. This service will begin on Monday, March 23. More information to follow.

Ruby’s Pantry

Ruby’s Pantry distributes food at Pop-Up Pantry locations across MN & WI. There is no income or residency requirement and for a $20 bundle donation you will receive an abundance of groceries.

The Pop-Up Pantry is open the 1st Wednesday of the Month at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Zumbrota, MN (1549 East Avenue). Registration begins at 4:30pm and Food bundles are available from 5:00pm to 6:30pm.

Salvation Army – Bread Pantry and Lunch Program

The Bread Pantry is open to take free bread from the bread cupboard located at 20 NE First Avenue. Basked goods are collected from local grocers and bakeries to stock their shelves. The Bread Pantry is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm. The lunch program is available with meals to go from 11:30am to 12:00pm.

Please call 507-288-3663 with questions.

Free Lunches for Children in Rochester

Below is a list of restaurants that are providing free meals for children in need:

  • Victoria’s Ristorante & Wine Bar
    • Please see the front desk for a meal (Marinara Sauce with Pasta, Meat Sauce with Pasta, or Buttered Noodles and fresh bread). No questions asked and no purchase required.
  • Casablanca
    • Free lunch for kids in need.
  • Newt’s
    • Free Mac and Cheese with choice of fries or applesauce.
  • True Smoke BBQ
    • Free lunch for children offered from 10am to 2pm.

Y.105FM is keeping an updated list of restaurants providing free meals to children.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, helps Minnesotans with low incomes get the food they need for nutritious and well-balanced meals. The program provides support to help stretch your household food budget. It is not intended to meet all of your household’s food needs. It is a supplement. If you are approved for SNAP, you can use your benefits at many stores, farmers markets and senior dining sites.

SNAP eligibility and application

Three Rivers Community Action is able to assist with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach and applications.

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)

WIC is a nutrition and breastfeeding program that helps young families eat well and be healthy. WIC helps pregnant woman learn about nutritious foods for a healthy pregnancy and birth, support breastfeeding, and helps families provide nutritious foods to their young children so they are healthy, happy and ready to learn.Women who are pregnant or nursing or individuals with a child under the age of five may be eligible for WIC.

To see if you are eligible contact the WIC Hotline at 1-800-942-4030 to find a WIC Clinic near you.

Healthcare and Insurance

Student Health Services

“Ask-the-Nurse” and “Virtual Nurse Practitioner” are free telephone or Zoom visits to review health concerns, questions, and symptoms.  Students can schedule these appointments at

COVID-19 Symptom Assessment and Testing Recommendations

No-charge Symptom Assessment

You can use the following resources to have symptoms screened free of charge for COVID-19

Health Insurance Response to COVID-19

Health insurance providers are taking action by providing co-pays, coronavirus testing, prescription assistance, and information hotlines. List of insurance providers.

MNsure and Medical Insurance

If you are uninsured you may be eligible to enroll in Medicaid and MNsure programs to gain access to low-cost health insurance coverage that meets your needs. When you apply for financial help thought MNsure you will also find out if you qualify for Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care which provides low-cost to no-cost health insurance.

 Housing and Homelessness

The Landing MN

The Landing MN, Inc. is a resource-based non-profit organization working to help those facing homelessness in the greater Rochester, Minnesota area.

If you are in need of assistance seeking housing contact The Landing.


COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

Help is coming soon! Program to open in late March.

Good news for Minnesotans seeking rent relief: The new program will be available soon.

We recognize that many people have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn and are in great need of assistance. We are working hard to build a program that will make it easy for individuals to apply and relatively quick to process payments.

The new program is called COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance and it will help eligible renters with overdue rent since March 2020, up to three months of upcoming rent at a time, and related utility payments. The program will be open for applications in a matter of weeks, with an anticipated launch in late March.

Eligible renters will include households that earned 80% or less of area median income in 2020 or in the most recent month. Landlords will be able to apply on behalf of their eligible tenants as well. Detailed guidance will be published on this webpage as it becomes available.

Be sure to sign up for updates on the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program to receive email updates about when the program will open and how to apply.

Internet and Technology Support

Broadband Access for Students

For students who do not have broadband internet access at home, several service providers have created opportunities for college students to get free internet including installation.

For students in Rochester, Charter (Spectrum) Communications is offering: Free Spectrum broadband and WiFi access for 60 days in home with K-12 and/or college students that don’t have an existing Spectrum service level up to 100 Mbps.

Comcast is creating options for more wireless and data access for subscribers and non-subscribers, including free wifi hotspots nationwide for all and unlimited data for their subscribers.

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development Office of Broadband Development has additional information and resources on reduced rates for Broadband Services.


Mental Health

Campus Based Mental Health Services

Visits with the Zumbro Valley therapist continue to be available for new and on-going mental health therapy.  All visits are by video or by telephone.  Students should contact to schedule an appointment. Students are never denied services for mental health therapy if unable to pay.

College Counseling

Our College Counselors are available to provide support through personal counseling, referrals to community resources, and academic advising and planning. They are able to assist students with financial support through the Student Emergency Fund. College Counselors are able to provide appointments through a web-based meeting or over the phone at this time.

Call 507-285-7260 or visit AdvisorVue to schedule an appointment.

Guided Mediations

UCLA Health provides free Guided Meditations that you can practice on your own. Guided Meditations are available in English and Spanish. Download the UCLA Mindful App from iTunes or Google Play.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI has compiled a list of information and resources related to COVID-19. The NAMI information and resources includes information about loved ones who are incarcerated, support for small business owners, and strategies for managing isolation during a quarantine or social distancing.   

NAMI Minnesota has moved their NAMI support group meetings online. Support Groups include Young Adults, Anxiety and Panic, Parenting, and Family.

Managing Stress During COVID-19

The following agencies and organizations have developed guides that provide helpful strategies to manage stress and knowing when to get help.

Minnesota Department of Health Managing Stress and the Threat of COVID-19

United Healthcare Emotional Support Help Line

United Healthcare is offering an emotional support help line through one of their subsidiary companies called Optum. The toll-free help line will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as necessary and the service is free of charge for any student. Students would have access to specially trained mental health specialists to support them if they feel they are experiencing anxiety or stress related to the recent developments around COVID-19.

Call 1-866-342-6892

Online 12 Step Meetings

Individuals in recovery may have concerns about being able to practice social distancing while still engaging in a meeting.

 Scams and Price Gouging

The Attorney General’s Office provides information on potential COVID-19 scams. If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 scam, please call (651) 296-3353 (Metro) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota) or use this link to File a Complaint with the AG’s Office.

Survivors of Domestic Violence

Are you concerned about your personal safety at home and having to be isolated and/or quarantined with an abuser? We recognize that for some individuals staying at home is not the safest option right now. If you are worried about having to self-isolate in a dangerous home situation, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Call 1-800-799-7233

TTY 1-800-787-3224

Chat at

Learn more about how survivors can stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.


RedShelf Responds.

Providing students simple access to eBooks during complicated times. In collaboration with the academic publishing community, RedShelf is providing students with free, convenient access to their learning materials.

Search for a textbook.

VitalSource Helps

VitalSource Helps supports students at semester-calendar schools who may have lost access to course materials due to their campus moving online to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students and instructors at impacted 2 and 4-year non-profit institutions in the U.S. and Canada can now access an expansive catalog of eTextbooks, through May 25, 2020 in the US and April 30, 2020 in Canada, at no charge.

Students simply log into the VitalSource Bookshelf app using their school email address and can then find and view course materials from participating publishers via VitalSource’s Explore capabilities within Bookshelf. For more information click .


Rochester Public Transit (RPT)

RCTC Students can use their student ID to ride any RPT route at any time.

Please note that effective Friday, March 20, regular weekday transit service is being suspended and RPT will begin operating reduced service as follows:

Routes 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 (typical weekend holiday service) will begin operation seven days a week. Direct route service to the Park & Rides will continue Monday through Friday.


Car Rentals – Enterprise

Enterprise is reducing the minimum age to rent a car to 18 through May 31st, to allow for college students to get home to families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is also waiving the young renter fees for rentals during this time.

Car Rentals – Hertz 

Hertz is waiving the young renter fees and lowered the renter age from 20 to 18 years old to help college students and young drivers returning home or needing transportation.


Many residential utility companies are working to ensure that Minnesotans are adequately protected by suspending customer disconnections, arranging payment plans, and extending cold weather rule protections.

Three Rivers Community Action Energy Assistance Program (EAP) 

For information on the Energy Assistance Program through Three Rivers Community Action. Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) now only requires proof of one months’ income. The deadline for households to apply for EAP benefits has been extended to July 1, 2020.

Volunteer Opportunities

United Way of Olmsted County is hosting a master list of COVID-19 volunteer opportunities in the community.

COVID-19 Community Volunteer Opportunities.

Wellness and Exercise

Unable to visit the gym or fitness center, but looking for ways to remain active while social distancing? The following companies are offering online, on demand, and livestreamed classes. (list sourced from ).

  • Cardio and Strength Workouts:
    • Fitness Blender: Free cardio, strength and stretch workout videos
    • Tone It Up: Daily online workouts with a 7-day free trial
    • Beachbody: Online classes with a 14-day free trial
    • ObéFitness: Live fitness classes with a 30-day free trial (use code ATHOME)
    • CrossFit: Free at-home workout videos, including single exercises and drills
    • The Sculpt Society: Online cardio and sculpting workouts with a 14-day free trial
    • NEOU: Various live, on-demand workouts with a 30-day free trial.
    • P.volve: Streamed functional movement workouts with a 30-day free trial (use code ONEPVOLVE)
    • Fhitting Room: On demand HIIT and strength workouts with a 30-day free trial
  • Yoga, Barre, and Pilates:
  • YogaWorks: Online yoga classes with a 14-day free trial
  • Down Dog App: Free yoga, HIIT and barre classes until April 1, 2020
  • SkyTing: Online yoga classes with a free 7-day trial
  • The Bar Method:Online barre classes with a 14-day free trail, plus some free workouts via Instagram
  • Barre3: Online barre classes with a 15-day free trial
  • Blogilates: Free workout videos, challenges and plans
  • Pilates Anytime: Access to over 3,000 Pilates classes with 15-day free trial