Update to K’s Mask Protocols

Dear Students and Families,

We wanted to share with you that effective today, Kalamazoo College is requiring all employees, students and visitors to wear face coverings while indoors in shared spaces, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated, those who are feeling ill and those who may feel more comfortable doing so are strongly encouraged to mask outdoors, as well.

This change to our previous face covering policy is based on CDC guidance recommending indoor masking for all persons when COVID-19 case rates are substantial or high in a specific locale. Kalamazoo County’s level of community transmission has moved to “substantial.”  

The College will provide more guidance on health protocols specific to student life (housing, athletics, etc.) over the coming days and weeks as we approach fall term. At this point in time, we do not foresee any significant changes to plans for housing, dining or class modalities, and health protocols will primarily focus on vaccination, masking and hygiene efforts.  The College will continue to monitor public health data and guidance from local, state and national health officials and we will relax or strengthen COVID-19 protocols as circumstances warrant. 

As it has been throughout the pandemic, the College’s top priority is the health and safety of students and employees. We have been able to limit COVID-19 cases on campus over the past 18 months because students, staff and faculty have overwhelmingly followed health protocols. Vaccination for those who are able and wearing face coverings when needed will be key to our continued success in limiting the spread of the virus and allowing us to move forward with our plans for in-person living and learning. By engaging in these behaviors, every one of us associated with the College can contribute to “Protecting the Hive.”

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you soon. 

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost 

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for Students

Kalamazoo College is thrilled to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. This vaccination opportunity is for ALL K students age 18 and older.

Thursday, April 15, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 
OR
Thursday, April 22, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Hicks Student Center—Banquet Room

Register for your appointment by selecting an available time to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. Vaccine supply is limited.

By scheduling an appointment, please note:

  • You are committing to return 4 weeks later at the same time for dose #2.  This means an appointment on 4/15 and 5/13 OR 4/22 and 5/20.
  • Bring your health insurance card (or social security number if you do not have insurance) and a government-issued identification card.
  • Complete the consent forms OR arrive 5 minutes early to complete a paper copy.
  • You MUST wait up to 30 minutes after receiving the injection as a safety precaution.

Visit the Student Health Center website for more information.

Thank you for Protecting the Hive!

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

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 Winter and Spring 2020, with only the SECOND 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 midnight EST 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.

Spring Break and Spring Term Update

To Students and Families:

As we pass the mid-point of the winter term, we are looking ahead to the spring term and want to provide some helpful information. 

Spring Break

Residential students have received Information via email regarding the option to stay on campus for spring break. They may stay on campus at no charge for room and board to avoid unnecessary travel. This is intended to enable students to stay on campus for the entire break, avoiding multiple exits and entrances into the campus community, to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The student form for staying on campus will be available on February 22, 2021.

Some focused programming will be available to students staying for the break, and more specific information will be available to them soon.

All students, regardless of where you will be spending spring break, are strongly encouraged to continue with mitigation measures—masking, physically distancing from others and washing hands frequently. Cases on campus have so far been low, and county and state-level cases are declining as well. These are all good signs, yet we must continue to engage in mitigation to limit future surges in infection.

Classes

As with the winter term, we are providing as much flexibility as possible for students to take courses in the modalities that are most comfortable to them. The first week of classes will be virtual, regardless of the modality, to enable entry testing for all students.

The majority of courses will again be offered virtually, with all courses identifying instructional mode (online, hybrid or required in-person components) in the spring course schedule. Students will be meeting with their advisors over the next couple of weeks and, as part of that conversation, can talk through which instructional mode or modes will best fit their situation.

Housing

All first-year students have received information from the Office of Residential Life about living on campus, whether they are currently on campus or are considering moving onto campus in the spring. We also expect to have a limited number of rooms available for current sophomores, juniors and seniors who would like to live on campus during the spring term. Students will continue to live in rooms by themselves during the spring, and will be expected to abide by ongoing COVID-prevention and mitigation standards, including socially-distanced gatherings and dining, ubiquitous mask-wearing, and robust hand hygiene. Questions related to residential life can be directed to reslife@kzoo.edu.  

Testing

Entry and surveillance testing will be required for all students who plan to spend any amount of time for any reason on campus for the spring term. Entry testing is required before any in-person campus programs and services can be accessed, and will occur according to the following schedule:

  • March 27         1–5 p.m. 
  • March 28         1– 5 p.m. 
  • March 29         11 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • March 30         11 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • March 31         11 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • April 3              3–5 p.m. 
  • April 4              3–5 p.m.

You are highly encouraged to schedule your entry testing.    

March 10 will be the last day of surveillance testing for the winter term. Surveillance testing will resume April 5 after entry testing has ended. 

Surveillance testing will involve up to 10% of the student body each week. You will be notified by K email when you are selected for surveillance testing and given a link to schedule your appointment. Remember: If you do not show up for your surveillance testing date and time, you may not be able to reschedule. If that happens, your key card will be deactivated and you will lose access to campus. If you live on campus, you may be required to vacate the residence halls immediately. 

Looking Ahead to the Fall

We very much hope that the fall will enable us to return to what we love: safe, in-person learning and living. This is what we are planning for, knowing that external circumstances and guidance may influence our best intentions.

A key issue is the campus housing requirement. Historically, first- and second-year students have been required to live on campus. The unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has presented caused us to suspend this requirement for the 2020-2021 academic year. Looking forward, public health conditions are expected to stabilize, and with that, normal housing operations will resume. 

To that end, incoming first-year students and rising sophomores will be expected to live on campus once again beginning in Fall 2021 and for the entirety of the next academic year. If this applies to you, then you should plan accordingly. For anyone who is currently in a long-term, off-campus lease or has signed one for next year before the date of this announcement, you must provide proof of a lease agreement with dates. You may do so by contacting reslife@kzoo.edu and indicating that you are seeking exemption for this reason. Additionally, the standard petition process is available to those students who fall under the housing requirement but are seeking to waive the housing and/or board requirement based on health or financial hardship. We expect to have a limited number of spaces available for rising juniors and seniors who would like to live on campus next academic year. The Office of Residential Life will provide information about this during the spring term. 

Virtual Information Session

We will hold a virtual information session for students and families hosted by President Jorge G. Gonzalez on Wednesday, February 24, from 7 to 8 p.m. ET. We will send more details soon regarding how to log in. Questions may be submitted in advance by emailing Hornet2021Questions@kzoo.edu. A recording of the event will be made available for those unable to attend. 

Commencement

More information about commencement will be shared with seniors in the weeks ahead.
 

Stay healthy, stay safe, and thank you for doing your part to Protect the Hive.

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

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! 

Campus Activity Levels

As has been the case throughout this pandemic, the first guiding principle of campus decision-making is providing a healthy and safe environment for those who work and learn on our campus. The second is ensuring that our students can continue to make progress toward graduation in a way that is as consistent with K’s overall educational philosophy and mission as possible.

K will continue to adjust its balance of online and on-campus activities throughout the 2020-21 academic year (or as long as it takes for the COVID-19 pandemic to become controlled), based on current regional and local conditions. The activity level chart indicates various levels of on-campus activity, using the following color-coded categories:

Campus Activity Levels color chart

Color shifts, from Orange to Yellow or back to Red or Purple, will depend on regional, local, and campus conditions. For example, changes in the number of regional COVID cases, hospital capacity, testing response time, or staffing levels in critical areas could trigger a change in level. The College will conduct daily monitoring of relevant factors and communicate changes via Hornet Hive updates, K Alert, and signs on campus.

Protecting the Hive: All students, faculty, and staff are expected to observe public health and social distancing guidelines, both on-campus and off-campus interactions. These include maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other people, wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and participating in baseline and ongoing, random testing for the virus. The College has undertaken other mitigation measures, such as reducing the capacity of classroom and other spaces, limiting access to some facilities, and improving ventilation in buildings (sometimes reducing the ability to control heating and cooling).

Current Activity Level

(Updated May 26, 2021)

Protecting the Hive: K will be operating at Yellow Level. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to observe public health and campus guidelines. Maintain social distance from other people, wear masks where required, wash hands frequently, and participate in ongoing, random testing for the virus if unvaccinated. Shifts to other levels will depend on regional, local, and campus conditions.

Hybrid Learning, Cautiously Open at Reduced Density

  • Classes meet online, outdoors, or indoors, with social distancing
  • Designated indoor and outdoor study spaces and other facilities open, with social distancing restrictions
  • Meetings, advising, student and staff services: social distancing required; virtual mode and outdoors interactions encouraged
  • Residence halls open with single room occupancy and social distancing restrictions
  • Remote work encouraged; onsite staff may work on rotational schedule

Public Health and Social Distancing Restrictions:

  • Initial baseline and ongoing, random covid testing
  • Complete health screening each day before coming to campus
  • Six feet physical distance when possible
  • Masking in common interior spaces and when distance not possible indoors or outdoors
  • Frequent hand washing

Other: Business travel requires approval by relevant VP or President

Activity Level Descriptions

Note: The intention of this grid is to provide a range of operating stages that allows us to respond to changing events but at any time, a mandate from federal, state or local government or public health officials may override these criteria to move to greater restrictions on activity. Loosening restrictions by any of these external sources will not, however, automatically result in loosening restrictions for on campus activity; loosening of restrictions on campus will be based on assessment by President’s Staff of local conditions on campus and in the Kalamazoo community.

YELLOW: Open, Social Distancing

Hybrid Learning, Campus Open with Social Distancing

  • Classes meet online, outdoors, or indoors, with social distancing
  • Designated indoor and outdoor study spaces and other facilities open, with social distancing restrictions
  • Meetings, advising, student and staff services: social distancing required; virtual mode and outdoors interactions encouraged
  • Residence halls open with single room occupancy and social distancing restrictions
  • Remote work encouraged; onsite staff may work on rotational schedule

Public Health and Social Distancing Restrictions:

  • Initial baseline and ongoing, random covid testing
  • Complete health screening each day before coming to campus
  • Six feet physical distance when possible
  • Masking in common interior spaces and when distance not possible indoors or outdoors
  • Frequent hand washing

Other: Business travel requires approval by relevant VP or President

ORANGE: Reduced Density

Hybrid Learning, Cautiously Open at Reduced Density

  • Provost and Registrar will work with faculty to reduce density in classroom buildings for in person or hybrid courses
  • Limitations on indoor study spaces and other facilities (e.g., with reduced density and/or by appointment only)
  • Indoor non-class meetings/sustained interactions of five or more people require approval by relevant VP 
  • Increased social distancing restrictions in residence halls
  • Increased remote work per departmental/unit plan
  • Outdoor work or activities continue with required safety protocols

Public Health and Social Distancing Restrictions:

  • Initial baseline and ongoing, random covid testing
  • Complete health screening each day before coming to campus
  • Six feet physical distance when possible
  • Masking in common interior spaces and when distance not possible indoors or outdoors
  • Frequent hand washing

Other: Business travel requires approval by relevant VP or President

RED: Restricted

Remote Online Learning with Limited Access to Campus Facilities

  • No on-campus classes; very limited student access to campus facilities with Provost approval
  • Virtual mode or outdoors required for all meetings/sustained interactions
  • In-person services provided only with approval of relevant VP 
  • Residence halls have additional safety measures or reduced density
  • Outdoor work may be restricted

Public Health and Social Distancing Restrictions:

  • Campus access requires approval by relevant VP or President
  • Must conduct daily health screening and follow all public health, social distancing restrictions

Other: Business travel requires approval by relevant VP or President

PURPLE: Highly Restricted

Remote Online Learning. Campus access is restricted to essential activities

  • Campus closed to students and staff, except offices and employee support required to maintain safety, security, and basic operations of campus

Public Health and Social Distancing Restrictions:

  • Campus access allowed only as specified by relevant VP or President
  • Must conduct daily health screening and follow all public health, social distancing restrictionsInitial baseline and ongoing, random covid testing

Other: Business travel prohibited unless approved by relevant VP or President

Campus Offices and Services

As part of our efforts to maintain physical distance and reduce the density of individuals in campus spaces, many campus employees will continue to work remotely throughout the academic year. Offices and services will remain available to students, but hours for in-person interaction and drop-in access to services may be more limited than in terms past. Specific hours and contact information for each office are available at this link.

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