COVID-19 Protocols for Summer/Fall

Dear Campus Community:

Before we say goodbye to students for the summer, we wanted to take a moment to outline the expectations for COVID-19 safety protocols starting this summer and continuing into the next academic year:

VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS 

Students

As previously communicated, all students are required to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations prior to arriving on campus next fall.

  • The CDC considers you up to date when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible. Current students will likely remain up to date through the start of fall term, unless recommendations change over the summer.
  • To be up to date, you must be 2 weeks post your primary COVID vaccine series and have had your booster if you are eligible. You must get your booster when eligible to remain on campus. This date will vary based on your personal situation, so please plan ahead!
  • Students will not be permitted to move into campus residences, participate in athletics, attend classes or engage in any in-person activities if they are not up to date with all of the College-required vaccinations.
  • To update your COVID-19 or any other vaccination record, you may report it to the Student Health Center via My Chart or by email at healthsv@kzoo.edu.
  • Vaccine exemptions will be extremely rare and will not be granted for personal preference. This is true for all vaccines required by the College, not just the COVID-19 vaccine. Students seeking an exemption should review the campus immunization policy and contact the Student Health Center (SHC) to request a form.

Faculty and Staff

  • Faculty and staff are required to be fully up to date on their vaccinations.

Visitors

  • Vaccinations will not be required for on-campus visitors beginning June 7 through the fall, unless conditions change. We will re-evaluate this policy in August.

ISOLATION HOUSING

  • The College will be discontinuing COVID-19 isolation housing for residential students in the fall. Students should plan to return home to isolate if possible or isolate in their residence halls.
  • We will continue to offer the “Sick Meal Request” form so that students may designate friends to pick up meals for them from the dining hall when ill (this applies to any illness).

COVID-19 TESTING

  • COVID-19 testing, as with other services, will not be available at the SHC over the summer. Students in the area over the summer may refer to the SHC website for other testing locations.
  • As in the past, we recommend students test for COVID-19 with a rapid or PCR test prior to coming to campus in the fall. We do not anticipate offering mass testing at the start of the term unless conditions call for it.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 prior to move-in or a resumption of campus activities, we ask that you remain at home through your isolation period and contact the SHC with your positive test result through MyChart. College staff will work with you to notify your professors if there will be any delay to starting
  • The SHC will continue to offer COVID-19 testing next year for students who are symptomatic or have been exposed.

MASKING REQUIREMENTS

  • K anticipates that our mask-optional policy will continue.
  • Faculty/staff will still have the option to require masking inside classroom spaces, in individual offices or for gatherings, and anyone who wishes to mask when not required should feel comfortable doing so.
  • Mask-wearing will be expected whenever you are experiencing symptoms of any illness, have a positive COVID-19 test, are awaiting test results or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Please plan to bring a supply of well-fitting masks in the fall to use as needed. 

COVID-19 DASHBOARD UPDATES

  • Tuesday, June 7, will be the last update to the COVID-19 Dashboard for the summer months. We will resume updating the dashboard in September.

Thank you to everyone for the outstanding job Protecting the Hive this year. It has taken a dedicated effort by the entire campus community to ensure a healthy in-person academic year, and we are extremely grateful for your flexibility and commitment to our protocols. We are optimistic that conditions will continue to improve, and as always, if they fluctuate, we will be ready to adapt as necessary. Please monitor your K email over the summer in the event that conditions or requirements change.

Stay healthy and stay safe, Hornets!

J. Malcolm Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

COVID-19 Protocols for Commencement Weekend

Please note that all Commencement health protocols remain subject to change based on COVID-19 conditions. 

MASKING: Following the campus mask-optional policy, Commencement activities will generally be mask-optional throughout the weekend, including the Commencement ceremony and Baccalaureate. The College will support all students, faculty, staff and visitors who choose to wear masks, and some of the smaller events may require them. Please be prepared to mask if required. 

VACCINATIONS: Given the high rate of vaccination for our students, faculty and staff and the low community level in Kalamazoo, we will not be requiring vaccinations to attend Commencement activities throughout the weekend. 

TESTING: While not required, we strongly encourage those who are unvaccinated and/or unboosted to test prior to coming to campus. All participants and attendees should test if they experience COVID-19 symptoms prior to Commencement and to refrain from attending if they are ill. Please help us continue to Protect the Hive and all our Hornet families and friends.

Mask-Optional Policy Effective April 6

Dear Campus Community,

After review of the most recent COVID data, Kalamazoo College’s mask-optional policy will take effect today, Wednesday, April 6. 

As a reminder, mask-optional means:

  • Masks will not be required as a general rule inside College buildings. They may still be required by faculty members or staff inside classroom spaces or in individual offices, or for gatherings. 
    • In classes where masks are not required by the faculty member, students and faculty may still choose to wear a mask if they wish. 
    • In classes where masks are required by the faculty member, all students must continue to wear a mask.
    • If you would like to post a sign in your area (office, cubicle, room, etc.) requesting that masks be worn, a printable sign is available online.
  • Masks may be required by athletics staff as needed in shared spaces (such as team busses or athletic training room spaces).
  • Mask-wearing is expected whenever you are experiencing symptoms of any illness, have a positive COVID-19 test, are awaiting test results or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 
  • Members of the community should feel comfortable continuing to wear masks anywhere and anytime, if they prefer to do so. 

We suggest that you always carry a mask with you on campus so that you can wear one if you want or need to. If you forget your mask, there will be some stationed in every building. 

We support those individuals who continue to mask up due to health conditions or other personal reasons and ask that you respond to masking requests with consideration and respect. 

Thank you for Protecting the Hive,

J. Malcolm Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

K Adjusts Q/I Guidelines to CDC Recommendations

Dear Campus Community:

The College has been transitioning its quarantine and isolation (QI) guidelines to align with the latest CDC QI recommendations issued on January 9, 2022.

We will be updating the health protocols on the COVID-19 website; in the meantime, here are four key items that have changed for both students and employees, effective immediately:

  1. Who is Considered Up to date on Vaccinations: The CDC now considers your vaccinations up to date” when you’ve completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination AND a booster (when eligible). If you have completed the primary vaccination series and are not yet eligible for a booster, you are also considered “up to date” until your booster is due. 
    • You are eligible for a booster 5 months after the last dose in your primary series for Moderna or Pfizer, or 2 months after your first J&J dose. A person is considered boosted and up to date right after getting their booster dose.
  2. Who Has to Quarantine When Exposed:
    • If you are not up to date on your vaccinations and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, there is now a 5-day quarantine period. Stay home and do not go to class/activities/work for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home/in your residence hall. Students may grab to-go food and visit the Student Health Center.
    • If you are fully up to date, you do NOT need to quarantine unless you develop symptoms.
    • In either situation, you should mask around others for 10 days, monitor symptoms and test at least 5 days after exposure.
  3. How Long to Isolate When Positive: If you test positive for COVID-19, you are required to isolate (stay home and separate from other household members, or transfer to Isolation Housing) for at least 5 days; this is a change from the 10 days that were previously required. (Students who are isolating when this change goes into effect will receive notification from a QI coordinator letting them know what, if any, adjustment will be made to their isolation period.)
  4. Who Performs Contact Tracing: Due to the volume of positive COVID cases, the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services department and the Student Health Center are no longer able to do thorough contact tracing. You will need to let anyone that you have been in close contact* with, starting 2 days prior to your positive test or your symptom onset, know that they need to review the current CDC recommendations for exposure to a COVID positive case.

*The CDC defines a close contact as someone who was less than 6 feet away from a confirmed infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, within 2 days prior to illness onset or positive test, even if both parties were masked.

When students take a COVID-19 test through the Student Health Center (SHC), the SHC will provide instructions on next steps for quarantine or isolation when they send you your results. Please read them carefully. If you test positive, whether you live on or off campus, a QI coordinator will also contact you.

With the change to the quarantine period, it’s strongly recommended that you get your booster as soon as possible after becoming eligible. There are additional spots remaining for the January 20 booster clinic if you have not signed up already.

Thank you for Protecting the Hive,

J. Malcolm Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

Important COVID-19 Information for Winter Term

Students and Families:

As the highly-transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant spreads across the country, Kalamazoo College continues to monitor the situation closely and communicate regularly with the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services department. At this time, we do not expect any changes in class modalities at the start of the term and classes will begin in-person. However, we do have some important updates and reminders to share:

BOOSTERS:

  • All members of our campus community who were fully vaccinated either with a two-dose regimen more than six months ago or a one-dose regimen (J&J) more than two months ago are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster. The College will be requiring that all eligible faculty, staff and students receive a booster as part of K’s vaccine requirements.
    • More information about booster requirements will be communicated after the start of the term. This information will include timelines that account for varying eligibility dates.
    • We will be holding additional booster clinics on campus in January; however, if you are eligible and have access to a booster at your local pharmacy or health department, we strongly encourage you not to wait.
    • If you received a booster on campus in November, we have your record and no further action will need to be taken. If you have already received a booster off campus, you may send a copy of your updated vaccine card to healthsv@kzoo.edu.

TESTING:

  • We request that all students take a COVID-19 test if available (either a home test or a rapid or PCR test at a testing facility) within 48 hours before arriving on campus in January.
    • If you test positive for COVID-19 prior to move-in or a resumption of campus activities, we ask that you remain at home through your isolation period and contact the Student Health Center (SHC) with your positive test result through MyChart. College staff will work with you to notify your professors if there will be any delay to starting classes.
    • You do not need to provide a negative test result to the SHC.
    • If you are unable to access a COVID test and/or arrive on campus after testing with concerns about symptoms or possible exposure, please contact the Student Health Center when you arrive and mask at all times in public until you receive a negative test.

MASKING:

  • As noted in our November communication to students, the College will continue its indoor masking policy for the winter term.
  • PLEASE WEAR MASKS PROPERLY OVER NOSE AND MOUTH. We started to see a lot of noses toward the end of term—a mask that is frequently pulled down to breathe or talk, or is worn under the nose, is not effective.

TRAVELING:

  • If you are traveling over break, please review the CDC’s latest guidelines for international and domestic travel. Note that a negative COVID-19 test is now required within 1 day of air travel into the U.S. It is recommended that you test again 3-7 days after international travel.
    • The Center for International Programs will continue to communicate any travel requirements or instructions to international students and students studying abroad. Please follow the guidance they provide.

FLU SHOTS:

  • Flu shots are strongly encouraged to mitigate the number of illnesses circulating on campus. Flu most commonly peaks in February and significant activity can continue into May. You can get a flu shot and a COVID vaccine at the same time.

We will keep you informed and updated if current health conditions necessitate any operational changes in the weeks ahead. As a reminder, campus offices are closed from December 22–January 2 for the holidays.

Thank you for continuing your efforts to Protect the Hive. Be safe and we hope you enjoy the rest of your winter break.

J. Malcolm Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

Vaccinations Required for Faculty and Staff

Kalamazoo College is encouraged by the high number of vaccinations already reported on campus and will now require all faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with the vaccine series started no later than September 13, which is the first day of fall classes.

The decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations of our entire community is consistent with the College’s stated commitment of protecting our health and safety. The College continues to evaluate public health guidance, observe the impact of variants like the delta variant, and gather input from our community.

Colleagues who are fully vaccinated and already reported their vaccination information do not need to take additional action, other than following other College COVID protocols like masking and daily health screenings.

Colleagues who have started or completed their COVID vaccination process, but not yet reported their status, should submit their vaccination information to Human Resources as soon as possible.

Colleagues who have not yet begun the vaccination process, need assistance finding a vaccination location, or have questions about the vaccination requirement may visit the Human Resources site for more information.

Important Message on COVID-19 Vaccines

To Students and Families:

As we continue to plan for in-person living and learning next academic year, we are writing to share that Kalamazoo College will require students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to arriving on campus next fall. This will include any student who intends to live on campus, attend classes or engage in any in-person activities. We will grant limited exceptions for medical reasons, as we do with other vaccinations. 

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and related serious outcomes. They are an important component in helping us return to a more “pre-pandemic” way of life on campus. We appreciate the many students, faculty and staff who have already received their vaccinations and voluntarily shared their status with the College; this information helps with planning and decision-making as we continue our gradual reopening. 

The health of our community is our number one priority, as it has been since the start of the pandemic. Our decision-making will continue to be driven by credible scientific data and public health guidance. We recognize some people may still have questions about COVID-19 vaccines. If you have general questions about the vaccines, please visit the CDC website or the FDA website for more information. 

In the weeks to come, we will communicate more details about K’s requirement, including how to register your vaccination and guidance for international students. Please watch your email or look for updates on the COVID-19 website as information becomes available.  

We look forward to welcoming our community safely back to campus in the fall. Thank you for “Protecting the Hive.”

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

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.

Ventilation Plan

Strategy

As scientists learn more about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it is clear aerosolized virus from exhalation plays a primary role in transmission.  The operation of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can help reduce the concentration of virus, thereby reducing the risk of transmission.  This is done primarily through increasing the amount of outside air introduced into a building through its HVAC system’s outdoor air intake.  However, underconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly harmful or lower their resistance to infection.  Therefore, modifications to the amount of outside air must not exceed the system’s ability to condition the air.  The College is following the guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in implementing operational modifications to help mitigate the risk of exposure.  

Methods

Increased Percentage of Outdoor Air

All campus buildings with central air handling will be set to increase the percentage of outdoor air intake to the point that the HVAC system can still condition the air.  Occupants can expect that this increase in fresh air will have an impact on the ability of the system to control temperature and humidity and should plan for less thermal comfort.  The amount of fresh air that can be introduced into the building will vary in accordance with outdoor air conditions.  Opening windows in these buildings is discouraged, because this will further impede the ability of the HVAC systems to condition the air.

Central Air Filtration

All buildings are receiving new filters prior to the beginning of the academic year.  These are high quality filters that meet the design specifications of the system in which they are used.  They are not in all cases HEPA filters, which capture particles down to .3 microns.  This is because that level of filtration may impede that system’s ability to draw air through the filter, negatively impacting the system’s ability to circulate air.

Forced Air System UV Treatment

For buildings with residential type forced air systems, UV treatment modules are being installed at the furnace.  This will expose the air to UV light as it passes through the furnace, which has been shown to kill the virus.

Local Electrostatic Air Purification

In special situations, where increasing the outdoor air may be difficult, or the virus load is more localized, electrostatic air purification units will be installed.  For instance, singing is known to project exhalation further, so spaces used by groups for this purpose will have stand-alone electrostatic air purifiers.   

Single Occupancy – Radiant Heat Only

Some buildings on campus, typically residence halls, do not have centralized air handling, only radiant heat.  These buildings have exhaust fans that exchange air in bathrooms, but individual bedrooms have only heating radiators.  In these cases, each bedroom has only one occupant, and they have control over who enters the space.  Occupants are encouraged not to have guests.  These rooms also generally have operable windows that allow them to introduce fresh air directly, but they will need to cooperate with other occupants who may be affected through shared thermostat zones. 

Specific Buildings

The following is a list of buildings or building groups that will help occupants know what to expect in their specific circumstances. 

Admissions Center, Anderson Athletic Center, Arcus, Dewing Hall*, Fieldhouse, Fitness & Wellness Center, Hicks Center, Light Fine Arts*, Mandelle Hall, Stetson Chapel, and Upjohn Library Commons

This group of buildings all have centralized air handling.  Fresh air will be increased to the point where conditioning can still be maintained.  Occupants should expect that thermal conditions will be less controlled than normal.  Operable windows should NOT be opened.

* Dewing Hall: 3rd Floor Instructional Spaces, and Light Fine Arts: Singing and Wind Instrument Instructional Spaces: These specific spaces within buildings already listed above will have electrostatic air purifiers within the instructional spaces.  Thermal conditions will be less controlled than normal, as the main air handler will have increased outside air.

Dow Science

This building normally operates with 100% outside air due to the nature of the laboratory work within.  This will be operated as normal.

Olds-Upton

This building has central air-handling; however, the thermal conditioning is limited and the building houses sensitive scientific equipment.  To maintain conditioning, the outdoor air will be increased only moderately when possible, and electrostatic air purifiers will be operated in the instructional spaces.  Operable windows should NOT be opened.

Humphrey House

This building has a central make-up air unit, but thermal controls are dispersed in zones throughout the building.  Operable windows may be opened, occupants will need to cooperate with those in adjacent spaces.

Crissey, DeWaters, Harmon, Hoben, Severn, Trowbridge

This group of buildings does not have centralized air handling.  Bathroom air is exchanged with exhaust fans and bedrooms will be single occupancy.  Operable windows may be opened, occupants will need to cooperate with those in adjacent spaces.  Common spaces will be arranged to allow only socially distant occupancy and gatherings will be discouraged.

Living Learning Houses

Living Learning units in individual houses will have UV light treatment installed on their furnaces, these spaces will operate as normal.  Operable windows may be opened, occupants will need to cooperate with those in adjacent spaces.