Library Expands Hours for Pickup Service

Starting September 8, the library is expanding book pickup hours to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday. All current students, faculty and staff may request circulating items through Library OneSearch. Sign in with your K credentials to request an item. Library staff will retrieve the books for you. You will receive an email when your materials are ready. Most requests are filled within one business day.

Your materials will be on a cart for pickup in the receiving area of the library on Academy Street. Patrons will need to ring the buzzer at the door and wait to be let in. Please be patient. You might need to ring twice if library staff are performing other tasks.

Patrons may locate their items by last name, take their books from the cart and exit the same way they entered the building. Please ensure the door closes completely after visiting. Please wear a face mask when picking up items to keep Information Services staff safe. Patrons are welcome to use the available hand sanitizer near the pickup cart.

Please place all items you return in the Academy Street drop box. For staff safety, please don’t leave returns on the cart with pick up items. Returned items are quarantined for at least 72 hours in the drop box.

If you are not in or near Kalamazoo, please email reference@kzoo.edu and a reference librarian will help you identify libraries and services in your area. If you have a concern about your requests or need assistance placing a hold, please email circulation@kzoo.edu

MeLCat and Interlibrary Loan

MeLCat is available for students, faculty and staff. You will receive an email when your materials are ready for pickup through the method above. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is currently available for article borrowing only. You will receive ILL articles in PDF format through our Interlibrary Loan system.

Health Center Fall Hours Begin September 8

Please call 269.337.7200 to schedule a visit with the Student Health Center as walk-in appointments will not be available this fall. Fall hours begin Tuesday, September 8, and will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Students will be seen primarily through virtual (phone or MyChart video) appointments. Visits will be available for students to receive prescription medications such birth control, mental-health appointments, sexually-transmitted infection testing, ill appointments and more. Very limited in-person services will be provided and referrals to other providers may be given.

Visit the Student Health Center website for up-to-date information and resources. Hours and services might change to adjust to students’ needs.

Health Insurance Questions
We understand Fall 2020 is complex and it is important that all students have access to healthcare where they will be living.

Health Insurance Questions

Health insurance charges have been removed from fall 2020 bills. Students who specifically enrolled in health insurance are still enrolled and have not been refunded. If you wish to change your insurance coverage, contact Healthsv@kzoo.edu.

COVID-19 Testing Available for Students

The Student Health Center will provide nasal swab PCR diagnostic tests for COVID-19 to students who are ill or are concerned they have been exposed. These highly accurate tests look for the virus’s genetic material. Please call 269.337.7200 to schedule. Your health insurance will be billed for the test. Test results will take 2-3 days.

Feeling Sick?

If you are concerned about COVID-19, you can access COVID screening questions in your MyChart.

  • MyChart Website: Under QUICK LINKS-COVID-19 Daily Symptom Checker
  • MyChart App: Symptom Checker

You can contact the Student Health Center by MyChart or phone for an appointment.

After the Student Health Center is closed, you can:

  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.
  • If you need to speak to a resident doctor on call at the Family Practice Clinic at WMed 24 hours a day, you can call 269.337.6500. Be sure to identify yourself as a Kalamazoo College student.
  • Visit the State of Michigan website for a list of local COVID-testing locations.
  • Visit the Student Health Center website for a list of medical transportation options.

If you need to quarantine or isolate, visit the Student Health Center isolation and quarantine plan for more information.

President Gonzalez Answers Questions About Fall in Virtual Meeting

Kalamazoo College invited students and their families to a virtual meeting with President Jorge G. Gonzalez on Tuesday, September 1. The meeting, moderated by Chief Information Officer Greg Diment, encouraged attendees to ask questions about the virtual fall term. View a recording of the meeting below. An FAQ is being created from questions submitted; if you have questions that you did not submit, please email info@kzoo.edu.

  • 1:38, President Gonzalez’s opening remarks
  • 14:39, financial questions
  • 21:32, access to services
  • 32:21, academics
  • 46:10, the future
  • 51:45, general questions

Orientation Update

Below is a message that recently went out to the incoming first-year class along with the updated orientation schedule. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Hello Class of 2024!

Please find the updated orientation schedule now that the College has made the decision to move online for the fall term. A majority of this schedule will now take place in your orientation groups team that you have been using to communicate with your peer leader and seminar group. Your peer leader should have also reached out to you about setting up a third call to further talk through this schedule and how we will be utilizing Teams on those days.

In addition to the orientation experience taking place on Teams, all documents and videos that you will need to watch that day will also be found in the 2020 Orientation Groups Team under the “Files” tab. Over the course of this week and leading up to orientation, you will see more documents there. Please check back often.

Finally, while we understand that this virtual experience might not have been what we all had been hoping for, we can promise that there is much to look forward to, both in orientation and beyond. By the beginning of next week, we will also be providing you with the link to develop your own unique orientation experience on Saturday, September 12. This will be a great opportunity for you to begin to make the connections and find the groups and people that make Kalamazoo College such a special place. Please take advantage of this day and continue to reach out to your peer leaders with any questions you might have.

We can’t wait to see you soon!

Jon Collier
Director of Student Activities

Dana Jansma
Senior Associate Dean of Students

Important Update: K Shifts to Fully Virtual Fall Term

Dear Kalamazoo College Community,

Throughout our fall planning process, we have stated repeatedly that the health and safety of students, faculty and staff would be the driving factor in any decisions we made regarding the return to campus. We have been closely following local and national health trends, consulting with public health experts on an ongoing basis and watching the experiences of other higher ed institutions as they reopen.

Based on the worrisome trends we’re seeing nationally, we have come to the very difficult decision that bringing students back to campus in the fall would not be in the best interest of the community as a whole. Therefore, we will transition to a fully virtual curriculum for fall 2020 and residence halls will be closed.

I know that this is a deeply disappointing decision for everyone, especially for those of you looking forward to your first on-campus experience. While faculty and staff across the College are prepared for a return to campus next month, external factors have led us to this difficult decision. I want to share some of the data we’ve been following that led to our decision.

Case numbers remain persistently high across much of the U.S.; within Michigan, the eastern half of the state remains at high risk of spread, while the Kalamazoo region and other western regions remain in the medium-high risk category, according to the health department’s MI Safe Start Map. As campuses across the country have reopened, we’ve seen many reports of COVID clusters and spikes as students return, and small colleges in similar settings to ours are experiencing troublesome rates of infection. We have also learned that employees working directly with students are experiencing exposure and infection. The loss of employees in direct support positions to quarantine or isolation puts students at potential risk. 

For these reasons, we must continue to act with an abundance of caution. Our students come from all over the U.S. and the world, and we are not an insulated campus. Instead, we are an integral part of a dynamic city where institutions and the community interact. The best protocols and strongest commitments to following them are not a guarantee against this virus. With ongoing concerns about the risks of COVID transmission in a residential setting, as well as local, state, and national efforts to control the spread of the virus, we feel we must do our part to “protect the hive.”

As we move forward, I want to assure you that faculty have been working tirelessly this summer to create a strong virtual foundation for coursework. Faculty have invested significant time and resources in reimagining their courses for remote learning. I am confident they will deliver the high-quality and personalized instruction for which Kalamazoo College is known.

I’m certain you’ll have many questions, and over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing more information with you about these changes, including information regarding virtual orientation, access to necessary resources for SIPs, the reimbursement of fall term student activity fees, return to campus for staff, and more. We will be updating the COVID-19 webpage and you may continue to send your questions to info@kzoo.edu.

As painful as this decision was to make, I know that it will provide a safer and more certain start to the academic year. I am profoundly grateful to everyone in our community for their patience as we’ve worked through each unknown and planned for multiple contingencies. I can’t express how much we all miss having our students on campus, and we look forward to having everyone together later this academic year.

Saludos and be well,

Jorge G. Gonzalez

President

Campus Dining Update

Campus dining in the fall has been carefully planned to provide a variety of high-quality food options and locations while also enabling appropriate physical distancing. Dining will include options at Welles, the Richardson Room and the Book Club (in the library). We will also add a venue to pick up freshly prepared items in Dewing Hall. This will provide four locations for dining, and will enable as much distancing as possible.

  • Welles Dining Hall will be able to accommodate sit-down dining at a reduced capacity that is physically distant. A variety of options will be available there, including traditional “home line” food, a daily vegan entree, salads, and desserts, to name a few. The food will be freshly prepared and packaged to go.
  • As in the past, the Richardson Room will include freshly prepared and packaged salads and other items, as well as a limited offering of sandwiches to go.
  • We are happy to share that we will be able to offer a limited commuter plan to off-campus students, and will provide more details in the coming weeks.
  • Dining will be quite different in the fall given our collective responsibility to maintain physical distance and avoid waiting in lines and queuing. We will all be responsible for abiding by campus expectations related to physical distance, wearing masks, and hand hygiene at every dining venue. Dining, with appropriate distance, will work best when we use all four venues and when we move quickly through them.

Modification of Credit/No Credit Policy

The Kalamazoo College faculty have voted to make modifications to the Credit/No Credit policy for fall term 2020. The changes to the currently published catalog policy are highlighted in bold below. The unbolded information remains unchanged from the published policy.

Credit/No Credit Policy

All students may elect to take at most TWO letter-graded courses on campus as CR/NC (Credit/No Credit) in FALL 2020, with only one of the two counting against the maximum of four courses over their college career (not including Spring 2020).

  • Students may elect this option for at most one course in any one department. The CR/NC grade option is not available for Shared Passage Seminars or for the final course taken to satisfy the language requirement (i.e. 103 or 201).
  • Letter-graded courses taken as CR/NC may not count towards any major, minor, or concentration (including required cognates), nor may they satisfy prerequisites for those course sequences that require a “C- or better,” without special permission from the department.
  • Students who take a course for a CR/NC grade may retake the course for a letter grade
  • Students may choose to apply the CR/NC option at any time during the course, up to 5 p.m. Friday of 10th week. The professor will assign a letter grade as per normal procedure, but the Registrar’s Office will convert passing grades to CR and will convert an F to NC. (Professors will not be formally notified if students have taken this option.)

These changes reflect the desire to provide additional flexibility for students and reflect consideration of student feedback about the CR/NC policy last spring.

August 20 Fall Update for Students and Families

Campus Dining

Campus dining in the fall has been carefully planned to provide a variety of high-quality food options and locations while also enabling appropriate physical distancing. Dining will include options at Welles, the Richardson Room and the Book Club (in the library). We will also add a venue to pick up freshly prepared items in Dewing Hall. This will provide four locations for dining, and will enable as much distancing as possible.

  • Welles Dining Hall will be able to accommodate sit-down dining at a reduced capacity that is physically distant. A variety of options will be available there, including traditional “home line” food, a daily vegan entree, salads, and desserts, to name a few. The food will be freshly prepared and packaged to go.As in the past, the Richardson Room will include freshly prepared and packaged salads and other items, as well as a limited offering of sandwiches to go.
  • We are happy to share that we will be able to offer a limited commuter plan to off-campus students, and will provide more details in the coming weeks.
  • Dining will be quite different in the fall given our collective responsibility to maintain physical distance and avoid waiting in lines and queuing. We will all be responsible for abiding by campus expectations related to physical distance, wearing masks, and hand hygiene at every dining venue. Dining, with appropriate distance, will work best when we use all four venues and when we move quickly through them.

Modification of Credit/No Credit Policy

The Kalamazoo College faculty have voted to make modifications to the Credit/No Credit policy for fall term 2020. The changes to the currently published catalog policy are highlighted in bold below. The unbolded information remains unchanged from the published policy.

Credit/No Credit Policy

All students may elect to take at most TWO letter-graded courses on campus as CR/NC (Credit/No Credit) in FALL 2020, with only one of the two counting against the maximum of four courses over their college career (not including Spring 2020).

  • Students may elect this option for at most one course in any one department. The CR/NC grade option is not available for Shared Passage Seminars or for the final course taken to satisfy the language requirement (i.e. 103 or 201).
  • Letter-graded courses taken as CR/NC may not count towards any major, minor, or concentration (including required cognates), nor may they satisfy prerequisites for those course sequences that require a “C- or better,” without special permission from the department.
  • Students who take a course for a CR/NC grade may retake the course for a letter grade
  • Students may choose to apply the CR/NC option at any time during the course, up to 5 p.m. Friday of 10th week. The professor will assign a letter grade as per normal procedure, but the Registrar’s Office will convert passing grades to CR and will convert an F to NC. (Professors will not be formally notified if students have taken this option.)

These changes reflect the desire to provide additional flexibility for students and reflect consideration of student feedback about the CR/NC policy last spring.

Prevent the Spread!

As a reminder, these are three of the most important preventative steps each of us must take to curb the spread of illness in our K community:

  1. Mask Up. When in shared interior spaces, or when physical distancing isn’t possible outdoors, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth (without ventilation valves).
  2. Wash Up. Wash your hands frequently and for a duration of 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol content.
  3. Back Up. Everyone is expected to maintain a physical distance of six (6) feet from others, in interior and exterior spaces.
    While it’s critical we follow these steps on campus, it’s just as important to keep them in mind when off campus! Avoid parties and social gatherings where public health guidelines are not being followed and help protect the hive.

Fall Campus Update

Public Health Practices and Expectations

Everyone associated with the College shares in the responsibility for “protecting the hive.” Public health guidance is unanimous in advocating specific practices designed to prevent and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In keeping with this guidance, Kalamazoo College expects that all students, employees, and visitors to campus abide by the following measures without external enforcement. They are a condition of being on campus property.

Should any student, employee, or visitor fail to fulfill the following expectations, they may be removed and banned from campus, either temporarily or permanently.

  • Cloth face masks without a ventilation valve are required for everyone in shared interior campus spaces. Such masks must be worn properly so that the nose and mouth are both covered. Shared interior spaces include but are not limited to classrooms, laboratories, hallways, points of service, offices and all campus buildings. Occupants of spaces that are not shared (residence hall rooms, discrete offices) do not have to wear face coverings if they are in those spaces alone. Face coverings are required if another person enters those spaces.
  • Everyone is expected to maintain physical distance of six (6) feet from others while on campus, in interior and exterior spaces. Physical distancing markers will help remind people of this, and each person is expected to monitor this individually, as well. Note that this applies to areas where lines or queues have traditionally formed—the Book Club, the Richardson Room, Welles Dining Hall, the Mail Center, and the Bookstore, to name a few.
  • Frequent, thorough (20 seconds in duration) hand washing is expected. When soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol content can be used.
  • People who have symptoms of illness are expected to stay away from campus, regardless of academic or work commitments. Communication about such absences must be initiated by the person who is staying home to the appropriate instructor or supervisor.
  • Daily self-screening before going to campus must be completed. Information about the student self-screening process will be shared prior to the start of the fall quarter.
  • Residential students who are recommended for quarantine or isolation by campus medical providers must relocate to those spaces immediately, per the College’s process. A specific process has been established that will allow for immediate occupancy and meal delivery.
  • No large gatherings are permitted on campus.

While these expectations focus on campus behavior, the same principles apply to responsible behavior while away from campus. Avoiding large gatherings and frequent travel off campus will help ensure safety for the whole campus community. Please help us protect the hive!

Expectations about public health practices may change as more information about the novel coronavirus becomes available.

K’s Plan for Testing and Tracing

Following is the College’s plan and rationale for COVID testing. Should public health recommendations or other relevant factors change, the plan may also change.

Kalamazoo College’s plan for COVID PCR testing, informed by federal, state and local public health guidance, including from the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department, is to focus on students who are symptomatic or who have had known exposure to COVID. This approach is part of the College’s overall strategy of emphasizing physical distancing, ubiquitous wearing of masks, and hand hygiene, all of which are proven to minimize the spread of the virus.

These preventative measures—distancing, masks, and hygiene—are the primary strategy for the College’s response to the virus.

Testing for symptomatic and exposed students is aligned with public health guidance and is reasonable given the current demands on testing resources. The supply chain for tests and related supplies is currently unreliable, as is the time for test results to become available. Receiving results more than 24-48 hours after the test makes them of little value for immediate response and disease mitigation.

Currently, labs cannot guarantee timely results, so we cannot rely on the data from them for quick response by the College.

Differences in Diagnostic Tests

It’s helpful to understand the differences between diagnostic tests for the virus.

Antigen Point of Care Testing is a form of rapid testing that tests for proteins from the virus in nose and throat secretions. Antigen Point of Care testing as an asymptomatic screening measure is not widely endorsed by the medical community, and will play a limited role in the testing protocol at K. Rapid tests, which take the least amount of time for processing, can result in a misleading number of “false negatives,” which may lead a person to believe that they do not have the virus when they do. Such a conclusion may encourage risky behavior which may lead to additional spread of the illness.

PCR tests, on the other hand, look for the genetic material of the coronavirus. The test uses a technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which greatly amplifies the viral genetic material if it is present. It is considered to be a highly reliable test when active infection is present. Test samples are typically sent away to a lab, which can take multiple days to process.

In either case, testing provides an indicator of a single point in time. A person may be negative at the time of a test and become infected shortly thereafter.

These facts together suggest that we exercise great caution in using tests as a primary tool to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Both PCR and rapid Antigen testing will be available to students, and campus medical clinicians will determine when and which test is warranted. We will prioritize our student health center personnel and community testing supplies for testing symptomatic individuals and close contacts of positive COVID cases, and will supply additional local resources for further testing of students as needed.

The College, along with the county health department, will continue to monitor information related to testing. If data about testing and/or the context (supply chain, laboratory demands, testing recommendations) change, we’ll reconsider our strategy. For now, preventative measures are the most reliable in containing and preventing the spread of the virus. As previously noted, daily self-screening for symptoms will also be required.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing for students who test positive for COVID-19 will be conducted by the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services (KCHCS) Department.

The Kalamazoo College Student Health Center staff are also trained in contact tracing, and will provide assistance to the county, if needed. Contact tracing entails interviews with the infected person and a review of their recent activities.

People at risk for infection based on their exposure to the infected person will then be contacted. Not everyone who has been exposed to an infected person is at risk for the disease. The nature and duration of the exposure are important in determining who will be contacted. For example, passing a positive person in a hallway while masked is of less concern than being in the same room without appropriate distance and a mask for 30 minutes. The College will rely on the expertise and resources of the KCHCS for contact tracing.

Changes to the Fall Calendar

The one-day Fall Break, currently scheduled for October 16, will be removed from the academic calendar. Classes will be held as scheduled on that date. Removing the fall break will discourage students from leaving Kalamazoo for a long weekend in the middle of term and traveling to areas that may be hot spots for the coronavirus.

Additionally, the College will not hold a Family Weekend in the fall and Homecoming will be postponed until April 23-25, 2021, so that we may limit visitors to the campus.

Campus Parking Update

For the coming academic year, students may request parking permits without charge. All parking permits must be registered online using the WebAdvisor. First-year students that have opted out of on-campus housing are eligible to apply for a commuter parking permit.

Please note that the issuance of a parking permit does not guarantee you a place to park on the campus lots. The permit only grants you permission to park in an authorized lot. However, we do anticipate more parking availability in lots and streets due to reduced staff on campus and fewer in-person classes. Please watch your student email for more information about parking, or visit the Motor Vehicle and Parking Policy.