Information for Students Arriving on Campus this Weekend

If you still have questions about the move-in process, COVID-19 testing or the winter term academic calendar, this announcement that was sent to students and their families might help.

To Students and Families: 

This communication is geared toward students who will be arriving on campus this weekend to start in-person learning and living. Residential students have also received additional information from the Office of Residential Life. Here we provide important reminders: 

  • If your entrance medical records and requirements are not complete by Thursday, January 14, at noon, do not plan to move on campus. Please contact the Student Health Center with questions at 269-337-7200 or healthsv@kzoo.edu. Until your requirements are complete and you have been cleared by the Student Health Center, you will not be permitted to move on campus or start in-person learning.   
  • If you are COVID positive or ill, do not come to campus. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID infection, do not come to campus. Prevention of spread is the most effective tool we have. We’ve recently been contacted by students asking if it is OK to move in while COVID positive. It is not. We need your help in minimizing the risks posed by COVID and other illnesses. 
  • If you are unable to or decide not to come to campus, please contact the Office of Residential Life to finalize the details. To opt out for the term, please complete the opt out form by Thursday, January 14. To delay move in due to illness, contact reslife@kzoo.edu.   
  • Remember that after a speedy, efficient move-in process, only students who are residents of their buildings will be permitted inside. Families and friends from outside the residence hall will not be permitted in the buildings. 
  • Develop a plan related to quarantine and isolation (including a go bag) if you live on campus. If you plan to quarantine or isolate at home, ensure that your plan will enable you to leave campus safely and quickly. This includes making no stops on the way from campus to home, staying distant from others in the household at home, and strict adherence to public health guidance. 
  • Residential students have already received detailed check-in information from the Office of Residential Life. Please refer to that communication, or reference the move-in information on Residential Life’s COVID-19 page.   
  • Arrival testing is the first part of the residential check-in process, and will start at the Hicks Student Center. This is COVID-19 screening for well students only. If you are not feeling well, or have recently been exposed to COVID-19, please avoid coming to campus at this time. Staff members will direct students to and through the testing process to retain the necessary distance from others. All students are required to wear masks that cover their mouth and nose. A robust staff of medical personnel will be on hand to administer the tests as quickly and efficiently as possible. Even so, you may have a short wait. All students must bring a photo ID to complete the testing process. 
  • All students who are tested are expected to quarantine in their residence hall until their test results are complete. This means students should stay in their residence hall and leave only to go to the dining hall, and should not interact with others unless at least six feet distant and masked. Students awaiting test results should not interact with others beyond their place of residence until test results are known. Test results will be shared with students via their Kalamazoo College email from the Student Health Center.  
  • More information about arrival testing can be found on the COVID-19 website.  
  • Get in the habit of completing your MyChart app daily symptom checker each morning. Attach it to breakfast, your first cup of coffee or brushing your teeth so that it becomes part of your routine. You will be asked to show the completed daily check in a variety of campus locations. 

Finally, we have received some questions regarding the academic calendar and break days. At this point, we do not anticipate changes to the academic calendar for the remainder of the year, unless a change in circumstances requires it. For winter term, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is on Monday, January 18, and the winter break day is Friday, February 5. 

Thank you for doing your part to Protect the Hive and we’ll see you on campus! 

Revised Winter Term Schedule

Dear Students and Families:

As many of you know, the State of Michigan has had a series of pandemic orders in place since November 21, all of which are designed to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The orders have resulted in flattening the curve for infection in the state. On Friday, December 18, 2020, the current order was extended and slightly amended. As part of the announcement, Governor Whitmer asked colleges and universities to delay resumption of in-person learning until mid-January. We will comply with the governor’s request and will start in-person learning on Tuesday, January 19, 2021. 

The revised timeline for winter term is as follows:

  • All classes will begin in an online format as planned on Monday, January 4, 2021.
  • Classes with in-person components will start those in-person elements on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. 
  • International students and Resident Assistants who had planned to arrive early for the start of the term will still be able to do so. Staff members working with each group will be in contact with those students separately.
  • Winter sports athletes who had planned to return on December 26 will receive communication from Athletic Director Becky Hall regarding their move-in date and times.
  • Other students planning to live on campus will now shift their arrival time by one week, with arrivals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 15–17, 2021. Arrival times and COVID testing details are being confirmed and will be communicated as quickly as possible. You will also receive email communication directly from Residential Life.
  • Students planning to live off-campus and avail themselves of campus resources will also complete arrival testing, as communicated earlier. We are in the process of finalizing the testing dates and times, and will send that information along as soon as we have it. We will be using an online scheduling system to ensure a smooth process for off-campus students. 
  • Reminder: If you will not be on campus for any amount of time for any reason in the winter term, please opt out of the campus testing protocol via the Opt Out form. This link will enable you to opt out of both arrival and surveillance testing.

Billing and Credit

Student accounts will be updated by January 11, 2021 to reflect room and board credits for those students whose move into the residence halls is delayed. Any refunds owed to students as a result will be processed by January 15.  For those students who have not entered into a payment plan, final payments for ALL winter term charges are due no later than January 18. Questions may be directed to Billing@kzoo.edu.

Building Access

Academic buildings and the Fitness and Wellness Center will open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, with the start of in-person learning. Students who need access to specialized facilities for SIP work and other similar special projects before January 19 should contact their faculty supervisor to request academic facility access, as they did during fall term.

We recognize that delaying move in and resumption of in person components to courses by a week will be disappointing to many students and families, as it is to us. As has been the case throughout our preparations for returning to campus, we are committed to basing institutional decisions on public health guidance and to maximizing options for students to make choices about whether to learn remotely or here in Kalamazoo based on their individual situations. For those who are returning to campus in mid-January, we remain excited about having you here in person this winter. 

Thank you,

Sarah B. Westfall
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

MI COVID Alert App Offers Another Tool to Beat the Spread

As Kalamazoo College students, faculty and staff plan to return to campus, a tool from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) can help all of us Protect the Hive and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

MI COVID Alert App advertisement

How it Works

MI COVID Alert is a secure and free contact-tracing app operable through Bluetooth on any Android- or iOS-based cell phone located in Michigan. No one at K will be required to use the app, yet it can efficiently alert users when they’ve been within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. It also helps users track any symptoms and anonymously report when they’ve tested positive.

The app sends push notifications to users and maintains those notifications within the app platform itself. After it’s conveniently downloaded through Google Play or the App Store, MI COVID Alert seamlessly updates itself regarding new cases every two hours in the phone’s operational background without hindering any phone functionality.

“It’s very easy, it’s free and it’s a way to be automatically notified if you’ve been exposed to COVID,” Student Health Center Office Coordinator Jennifer Combes said. “Basically, you download it and you can forget it. As long as you turn on your push notifications, you don’t have to check it every day. It will automatically alert you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive. And if you personally test positive, it’s an anonymous way to notify others that they’ve been exposed as well.”

Designed with Privacy in Mind

The app will never publicly reveal a user’s name, who they’ve met or their specific location. That means it maintains privacy and security while reducing the time required to alert people when they’ve been exposed. Combes was among the Student Health Center staff who consulted the College’s technology experts in Information Services before seeking to use the MI COVID Alert app.

“Privacy advocates have been justifiably concerned about digital surveillance in response to COVID-19,” Education Technology Specialist Josh Moon said. “We’ve seen some overreach already. The Bluetooth technology behind the MI COVID Alert app is a step in the right direction with its use of random codes and anonymity. I was comfortable installing it on my phone.”

Contacts who receive push notifications of past potential exposure will be given the option to be put in contact with Public Health and may be subsequently enrolled in contact monitoring.

“Generally, a user who is exposed and voluntarily provides their phone number will get a phone call from a contact tracer,” Combes said. “The contact tracer will go through what needs to happen from there. It might mean quarantining, it will mean watching for symptoms, and it might mean testing if there are any symptoms.”

Participating helps support the efforts of local contact tracers. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to place a strain on state and local public health departments, and they are at capacity with contact tracing. The app can help speedup notifications and catch more potential exposures so people can take precautions sooner.

One More Tool in the Toolbox

MI COVID Alert can’t replace good habits such as wearing a mask, washing hands, practicing social distancing, covering coughs and sneezes, and getting tested when symptoms appear. Regardless, Student Health Center representatives including Combes encourage its use to add another level of protection and prevention. The more people who download and use the app within a community, the more effective it becomes.

“The main goal is to control the spread of this virus,” she said. “There are a lot of tools, but this one helps you know as soon as possible if you’ve been exposed so you don’t expose others.”

Learn more about the MI COVID Alert app at the MDHHS website.

K Winter Term Update

Dear Students and Families:

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services extended a slightly modified statewide epidemic order effective through December 20, 2020. This is an effort to sustain recent practices designed to decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the state. We anticipate information about any subsequent state orders close to December 20.

While we monitor state and local guidance, we also continue to plan for the limited resumption of in-person living and learning in January. For students moving into residence halls, move-in dates are scheduled for January 8–10. The Department of Residential Life will communicate with every student planning to live on campus for the winter term about details related to arrival times and procedures, assuming state guidance permits in-person learning. In subsequent communication, we will provide more specific information about entry and surveillance testing.

If you are interested in living on campus—whether you are a first-year or upperclass student—please contact the Office of Residential Life directly at reslife@kzoo.edu. Space is available for a number of upperclass students who wish to live on campus.

Preparing for Winter Term

As the year-end holiday season approaches, it is essential that all students prepare for the winter term in a variety of ways. We recommend the following:

  • Follow CDC guidelines for safely navigating the holidays in terms of indoor gatherings, physical distance, and other COVID-prevention practices. Get adequate sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise and eat a healthy diet.
  • If you live with friends off campus, consider renegotiating expectations related to safe and healthy behavior. Off-campus students in Kalamazoo experienced ongoing COVID outbreaks through the fall, some of which were attributed to inconsistent behavior within large houses. The decrease in comfortable outdoor gatherings in winter necessitates greater control of indoor gatherings and navigation, so clarity of expectations is essential.
  • If you will be in multiple locations in the coming weeks—at home, in Kalamazoo or elsewhere—adhere closely to practices that keep yourself and others safe. Wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands.
  • If you plan to live on campus or participate in on-campus courses in the winter, take seriously your responsibility to limit contact with others, especially in the two weeks before classes start. Quarantining in a committed way prior to starting campus classes and residential living is an effective way of minimizing the spread of the virus. If we have a safe start, we are more likely to have a successful winter term.
  • Pack smart. If you plan to live on campus, we have previously noted you should prepare a “go bag.” We also encourage you to pack lightly so that you can return home quickly if public health circumstances warrant. Please come with an adequate number of masks and a personal supply of soap and hand sanitizer. Remember that you will want to wash reusable masks regularly.
  • Remember that the first week of classes will be online for everyone, even for students taking classes with in-person components.
  • Visit your course Moodle sites, where applicable, before the first day of class to familiarize yourself with expectations and the Moodle system. If you require books or other resources, make plans now for getting them.
  • Think carefully about what worked well in the fall in terms of time management, how you were able to get academic work done, and what helped you focus on your classes. What can you continue for the winter and what can you change or improve?

Preparation will be key to a successful winter term and we thank you for doing all that you can to protect the hive. We encourage you to take the next few weeks to rest and recharge. We will continue to email weekly updates, and if you have questions or concerns, please contact us at info@kzoo.edu.

Stay healthy, stay safe.

Sarah B. Westfall
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

Winter Term Update Nov. 19

Dear Students and Families:

As the fall term concludes, we write to provide an update on planning for the winter term. We know that the fall has been challenging in many ways and hope that the coming holidays bring some respite and safe reconnection with loved ones. 

With a few exceptions during holiday weeks, we will provide weekly email updates on the College’s plans. We also encourage you to keep an eye on K’s COVID-19 page.

Students and families have raised the question of what would prevent in-person, residential learning in January. The College’s ongoing assessment of key indicators—community spread of the virus, local hospital capacity, spread of the virus among students and employees, testing supplies and resources, availability of PPE, capacity of designated campus quarantine and isolation spaces, and health of staff in key areas (for example, the Student Health Center, Campus Safety, Facilities Management and Dining), to name a few—will inform decisions about in-person learning. If our assessment of these issues suggests that we cannot safely resume a modest level of residential living and in-person learning, we will change our plans and communicate them immediately. Similarly, we will continue to pay close attention to federal, state and local public health guidance. A legal mandate from any of these entities could result in an immediate change to our plans, as well. The primary concern for the College is the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, and this priority continues to guide our planning process. 

As we go forward, planning efforts to resume a modest level of in-person learning in January 2021 are aligned with the most successful practices currently in use. Plans for the winter term include:

  • Testing upon arrival for all students and employees who will spend time on campus during the winter term.
  • Daily surveillance testing for up to 2% of students and employees.
  • Ongoing testing and support for symptomatic students and for those students who have had exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.
  • Residential students assigned to rooms by themselves to decrease density.
  • A phased move-in for residential students, controlled access to residential spaces by non-residents and designated quarantine and isolation spaces. 
  • Designated staff members to facilitate COVID-related care and support.
  • Reduced classroom densities to accommodate physical distancing; airflow in each classroom space has been evaluated, with appropriate modifications made, as part of the campus ventilation analysis.
  • Enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols for campus facilities, including the provision of ultraviolet lights and air purifiers in public places where they are needed.
  • All winter term classes offered in an online format for the first week to facilitate entrance testing for students and employees. Designated classes will transition to hybrid or required on-campus components during the second week of the term.
  • Assigned dining times for lunch and dinner to decrease density and to avoid queuing, with a range of freshly prepared meals to go and a limited number of in-person dining seats (depending upon local and state guidance).
  • Clear expectations for community behavior (community safety commitments) designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These expectations—such as masking and social distancing requirements—will be continually communicated in the coming weeks and are expected to be met by every member of the campus community and by every visitor to campus. Students who fail to meet the expectations risk immediate removal from campus residence and/or access to campus resources. While our goal is to rely on the good judgment of community members in abiding by the commitments—without reminders—we will enforce them with speed and rigor when warranted. This means that access to in-person classes might be jeopardized if students fail to abide by the expectations.
  • Careful planning by the Athletic Department, aligned with guidance from the NCAA, about the resumption of athletic preparation and competition. Winter sports will include men’s and women’s basketball as well as men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Spectators will not be permitted at practices or competitions.

We will provide more detailed information about these broad areas in the coming weeks, along with other relevant matters. We invite questions, which can be submitted to info@kzoo.edu, and we will answer them as soon as possible.

We wish you a happy end of finals, a happy Thanksgiving, and healthy, safe days ahead. 

Sarah B. Westfall
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

Campus Response to New Pandemic Order

In response to the newly announced epidemic order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), which the Governor announced Sunday, the College is implementing the following campus restrictions to flatten the curve, protect the health and safety of all K students, faculty and staff, and to increase the chance of successfully re-opening the campus to limited capacity in January.

Effective Tuesday, November 17, through Tuesday, December 8:

  • The Library student study space will end and the Fitness Center will re-close (current fitness reservations through Tuesday, Nov. 17 will be honored)
  • In-person campus tours for Admission will be put on hold 
  • Each vice president will review their business areas to reaffirm that only staff who are required to be on-site to carry out their work are coming to campus; all others should continue to work remotely
  • Individuals who have obtained permission to be on campus for specific business or academic purposes will continue to have access.

Please note that access to campus spaces is predicated on everyone wearing a mask and practicing appropriate physical distancing—and can be revoked for non-compliance.

We are convening a meeting of the Fall Monitoring Group today. 

We encourage you to download the MDHHS COVID Tracking app, which will alert you to possible exposures.

Thank you all for doing your part to Protect the Hive.

Saludos,

Jorge G. Gonzalez

President

Recording of October 29 Information Session for Students and Families

Kalamazoo College invited students and their families to a virtual information session with President Jorge G. Gonzalez and the President’s Staff on October 29. View a recording of the meeting below. An FAQ is being created from questions submitted; if you have additional questions about winter term, please email info@kzoo.edu. Thank you!

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.