Summer Housing

As we prepare for the final term of the academic year, we also look ahead to the summer. After reviewing campus resources, requirements imposed by the pandemic, and the historical need for summer housing, we have made the decision not to house students on campus for the summer. We believe this is the most responsible decision in the context of student health and safety, our top priority. We hope that we can return to a more typical summer program for housing students in 2022.

Departments that will employ or engage students in summer research may still do so, provided that public health guidance regarding physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene is followed. Specific information about summer research will be coming soon from the Provost to faculty.

We appreciate your understanding and patience.

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

Community Safety Commitments

Responsible, other-centered individual decisions aligned with public health guidance are the single-best way to “Protect the Hive” and the larger community from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In order to ensure the safest possible environment, the following list of Community Safety Commitments applies equally to every member of the campus community (students, faculty and staff), every visitor and every vendor or contractor.

Note that some departments and offices (Athletics, Residential Life, as examples) have requirements in addition to the ones listed here. All requirements pertain where appropriate.

  • Every person is expected to complete the daily symptom tracker (students using MyChart and employees using Campus Clear) prior to every campus visit, no matter how brief or infrequent.
  • Every person is expected to wear a mask covering the mouth and nose, indoors and outdoors, unless alone in a confined space (residence hall room, office) with the door closed. Exceptions for residential students include while bathing and brushing teeth.
  • Every person is expected to keep six (6) feet of distance from others in every campus setting.
  • Every person is expected to engage in frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
  • Every person is expected to abide by scheduled or phased activities, such as dining, as assigned to avoid unnecessary queuing and lines.
  • Every person is expected to participate in arrival and surveillance COVID testing, as scheduled. Note that testing time is limited so individuals may need to adjust personal schedules to accommodate the required testing.
  • Every student directed to quarantine or isolation (QI) campus housing is expected to respond promptly and to comply with all relevant directives and guidance. This includes remaining in QI housing for the duration of the QI period and cleaning up after themselves in shared spaces like kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Every student is expected to comply with the direction and advice of the Student Health Center, and to respect the finite human and medical resources available to them.  
  • Every person is expected to comply with contact tracing efforts. Consider downloading the state of Michigan COVID Alert app for mobile devices to provide additional contact tracing support.
  • Every residential student is expected to communicate with family, friends, and loved ones that they are not permitted in the residence halls after the initial move-in period.
  • Every person is expected to comply with College, local, state, and federal pandemic-related orders.
  • Every person is expected to comply with all Community Safety Commitments without relying on the reminders of others.
  • Every person is expected to abide by the best currently available public health guidance when they are not on campus. Every single decision made by each of us affects the health of every other person with whom we interact. 

These Commitments, and additional requirements for specific departments and offices, are expected to be kept, without reminders, by everyone equally. Students who fail to keep the Commitments risk immediate removal from campus, if they are in residence, or loss of privileges to use campus facilities if they are off-campus. To be clear, students enrolled in in-person or hybrid classes who are removed from campus or from campus privileges will jeopardize their ongoing in-person enrollment. Employees may face disciplinary action.

While we hope to rely on the good judgment of community members in abiding by the Community Safety Commitments, we will enforce them with speed and rigor if the situation warrants.

December 16, 2020

Quarantine and Isolation Plans for Winter Term

As we look toward the limited resumption of in-person learning in January, we write to provide some detailed information about the College’s quarantine and isolation (QI) plans. As with all of our COVID-19-related practices, QI housing plans are aligned with public health guidance and may change if/as recommendations change.The College has set aside space in campus housing to quarantine and isolate students living in the residence halls who require it, based on COVID-19 testing results or exposure/contact with others who have contracted the virus. Students who live off campus and need to quarantine or isolate will be provided guidance from the Student Health Center (SHC) about how to do so in their living spaces. The SHC has provided such guidance to off-campus students this fall. They will not be housed in campus QI spaces. Designated COVID-19 Care Coordinators (CCC) have been appointed and will manage the logistics of ensuring that students who transition to QI housing have the support they need. This includes coordinating communication with dining, residential life, campus safety, and faculty, among others. QI housing space comprises small, home-like environments and include kitchens for food and snack preparation. (Meals and snacks will be delivered to QI students daily.) These spaces will also be provided with cleaning supplies compliant with guidance from the CDC. Students in QI spaces will be in daily communication with CCC and/or SHC staff. The College will work in concert with the Kalamazoo County Health Department on contact tracing. 

Expectations for students: 

  • Comply with directives for quarantine and isolation from campus health officials. This includes relocating to QI housing promptly and following all directions for the duration of time in QI housing.
  • Respond quickly and honestly to contact tracing efforts.
  • Prepare a “go bag,” including your own bedding and towels, study materials/resources, and items to help pass leisure time. Having this ready ensures the quickest possible response to health guidance.
  • Take seriously your responsibility in QI to protect others by keeping your distance, wearing a mask, and cleaning up after your use of shared facilities (kitchens, bathrooms) with the supplies provided.
  • Stay in communication with CCC and Student Health Center (SHC) staff, as appropriate. 
  • Stay in QI housing until approved for return to regular housing assignments, do not invite visitors (including family members) to QI space and do not visit others while in QI housing.
  • Stay in regular communication with your family and loved ones. 
  • Do not “cheat” time requirements for QI because you are tired of the restrictions, as this puts others at risk. 

Expectations for families: 

  • Support good planning by your student (preparing a go bag, for example). 
  • Support guidance and direction from the College, including participation in contact tracing efforts.
  • Stay in regular communication with your student as they will have the best information about their health status.
  • Do not plan to visit your student on campus, in their regular housing location or in QI housing.
  • Make and finalize explicit plans regarding a student who has contracted or been exposed to the virus. Please see below.

If you plan to quarantine or isolate at home with family, plan now for safety measures:

  • How quickly can you leave campus? Prompt action (within a few hours) is a key to mitigating the spread of the virus.
  • How will you travel? Public transportation places others at risk if you are infected or have been exposed. If travelling by car, create as much space and ventilation as possible, ensure that all occupants wear masks, and do not stop once the infected/exposed person is in the car.  
  • How will you minimize risk to loved ones at home? How will you minimize physical proximity to vulnerable people (due to age or underlying health conditions) at home?

The College has planned for QI housing carefully, and we ask that you do the same. Please prepare for the winter term as if you will contract the virus. If you will consider returning home for QI care, please make concrete, explicit plans now so that you don’t have to do so in the midst of making other medical decisions.Other campuses have experienced students and families attempting to “game” QI housing—by arguing about test results, by being dishonest about contact/exposure, and by demanding multiple tests to “test out” of QI status. Our limited human and testing resources require that all of us come to campus prepared to comply with the plans that are in place. They are designed to ensure as much safety as possible, and they will not work without cooperation across the board.We will expect prompt, cooperative response to health directives; specific protocols will be shared with students who require QI housing once on campus.Finally, the month of December includes traditional times for family and other gatherings. Such gatherings enable the virus to spread quickly. If you plan to be on campus, living in a residence hall, attending classes, or using campus resources, we implore you to adhere closely to public health guidance in the weeks prior to the start of classes. Wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, keeping physically distant from others, and practicing good hand hygiene are all proven methods of minimizing the spread of the virus. They also give us the best chance of a successful winter term back on campus. We also strongly encourage you to get a flu shot prior to coming to campus, if you haven’t already. This will minimize the risk of having multiple respiratory outbreaks on campus or putting additional strain on testing and health center resources, as the symptoms are very similar to COVID-19.We know that this pandemic is an ongoing source of uncertainty for many people. By providing options to return to campus for winter term or to continue learning remotely, we seek to provide agency for each student and family to determine the best option for their individual situation. For those who are returning to campus, it is imperative that all of us, individually and collectively, follow campus protocols and public health guidance so that we can protect the hive. 

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

COVID-19 Go Bag

We recommend that every residential student bring items needed to assemble a Go Bag in the event you need to go into a quarantine/isolation room. You should consider what you might need if you’re out of your room for several days. 

Suggested items include:

  • Personal medications
  • Fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen.
  • Thermometer
  • Tissues
  • Towels, bed linens, blanket, pillow
  • Personal hand sanitizer
  • Several masks
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Snacks, tea, powdered drink packets
  • Changes of comfy clothing for multiple days
  • Slippers or socks
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, contact lenses, contact solution, shampoo and conditioner, body wash or soap, brush/comb, ponytail holders, feminine products, etc.)
  • Entertainment items—books, puzzle, etc.
  • Computer and power cord
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Items for class: books, pens, highlighters, etc.
  • I.D. and your insurance information
  • Bag/bags to pack with  

You will be provided:

  • Meals/snacks daily
  • Access to microwave/ fridge
  • Trash bags/paper towels
  • Dish soap

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.