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

Week 2 COVID-19 Updates and Reminders

On Tuesday, Michigan public health officials presented the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, noting that the state’s strategies are focused on preventing severe outcomes and death, protecting health care capacity and keeping vital infrastructure, such as schools, functioning amid the latest surge.

Michigan’s chief medical executive (and Kalamazoo College alumna) Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian noted that vaccines, masks, distancing, ventilation, tests and antibody treatment are the tools that will be utilized going forward. Kalamazoo College’s approach is and has been closely aligned with the strategies recommended by public health experts. As COVID-19 evolves and eventually becomes endemic (consistently present, like influenza), we will continue to rely on science and advice from experts to guide us.

Our nearly 100% vaccination rate on campus, our strict masking requirements and our testing availability on campus factor into our decision to remain in-person at this time. While our cases have increased, they have been very mild or asymptomatic, following the national trend with populations that are vaccinated and boosted. Universities and colleges that started their terms online are also seeing increased transmission trends; this is likely because transmission most commonly happens outside of classrooms in places where masking and vaccination are less strictly enforced or entirely absent.

That is why it is absolutely CRITICAL for each of us to take the same precautions outside of class that we take inside the classroom during this surge. That is why it is also important for the College to strictly enforce our health protocols, and we rely on one another to kindly remind and insist upon following them. If you are reminded by faculty, staff, RA’s, campus safety, or your peers to follow our protocols, please be respectful and remember that following the guidelines is everyone’s responsibility. We are all experiencing COVID fatigue, however, it is never appropriate to respond with rude or hostile behavior.

As we approach week three of the term, we want to provide updates on some key items related to our health protocols:

COVID-19 Testing for January 17

  • There will not be COVID-19 testing on Monday, January 17, in the Student Health Center as the campus is closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Refer to the SHC website for options for testing and care.

Dining Options

  • We wanted to remind students that there are to-go containers at stations throughout Welles Dining Hall. Please take advantage of this grab-and-go option if you would prefer take out to in-person dining in Welles. 
  • Some students have asked why we have not switched to fully grab-and-go dining. We recognize that the dining hall is an area of campus where there is an increased risk of transmission; however, previous experience with grab-and-go has shown us that closing the dining hall simply creates situations where students find other common areas to congregate and dine (Hicks atrium, residence hall lounges, etc.). This does not reduce the transmission risk, and it also creates problems with our waste stream as meal containers are disposed of across campus. Therefore, we feel the most practical option is to leave the dining hall open while also providing to-go options to meet a variety of student needs.

Quarantine and Isolation (QI) Housing

  • We have recently expanded the number of beds available for isolation by incorporating additional college-owned housing. Unfortunately, in the process of quickly preparing this housing, we missed some areas in cleaning one of the units; the student placed there was transferred to another location while we resolved the issue. The house was inspected by the health department based on student concerns and no issues were identified and no citations were given. We apologize for the added stress that this created during an already stressful time.

COVID-19 Dashboard

  • The COVID-19 dashboard is being updated on a daily basis. This dashboard includes the results of the COVID-19 diagnostic tests administered on campus, as well as self-reported student and employee data.
  • As a reminder, students who test independently through home tests or other testing sites should contact the Student Health Center through MyChart or by email at healthsv@kzoo.edu as soon as possible to report a positive test. The SHC will notify faculty regarding your positive test and the dates of your isolation period, as they do for students who test positive through the SHC.

COVID-19 Booster Reminder

  • There will be a second booster clinic on campus on Thursday, January 20, 2022, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. in Hicks Banquet Room West. Appointments are required and limited to first come, first served. Visit https://hr.kzoo.edu/c19booster/ to learn more and to make an appointment.
  • Students who receive a booster off-campus should send a copy of their updated vaccine card to healthsv@kzoo.edu to update their record. Records must be updated by March 1 (or upon eligibility if CDC eligibility date is later).
  • Students who receive a booster on campus need to take no further action.
  • CAN I GET A BOOSTER IF I AM SICK OR EXPOSED? If you are COVID-19 positive you should wait until your isolation period ends before seeking a booster. If you have been exposed and are experiencing any symptoms, you should also wait to schedule a booster until a confirmed negative test. If someone has been exposed but is symptom-free or has had a negative test, they are welcome to proceed with a booster.

Thank you for Protecting the Hive,

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

Danette Ifert Johnson
Provost

COVID-19 Update

Students:

Welcome back to campus! We hope you had a great winter break and a happy new year.

We are beginning the winter term amidst the latest surge of COVID-19, so we wanted to touch base with you about important health and safety protocols that are essential to maintaining in-person living and learning.

Because the omicron variant is much more transmissible, the combination of getting your booster, wearing masks indoors in public spaces and avoiding large unmasked gatherings is even more critical to mitigating the spread. Please note:

  • Get a boost. COVID-19 booster clinics will be offered to students, faculty and staff on campus on January 14 (9 a.m.–1 p.m.) and January 20 (10 a.m.­­–2 p.m.) in Hicks Banquet Room. You can register for an appointment at https://hr.kzoo.edu/c19booster/.
    • Boosters are required and your booster record must be submitted to the Student Health Center (SHC) by March 1, 2022, or upon earliest CDC eligibility. Students who are not in compliance with the policy may not be permitted to return to campus for spring term. 
    • If you receive a booster on campus, 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.
  • Mask up. Masks—worn properly over the nose and mouth—will be required in all indoor spaces unless eating or drinking (and eating and drinking may be restricted in some public areas). Medical-grade face masks, such as N95 or KN95 masks, are most effective against transmission.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. Keeping away from others when symptomatic is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, as well as the flu and other viruses.
  • Test if you’re sick with COVID symptoms or have been a close contact. COVID-19 testing will continue to be available to students through the SHC.
    • If you test positive, the College will continue to follow the 10-day isolation period recommended by the CDC for higher education and congregate living. If we receive updated guidance in the days or weeks ahead, we will communicate that to campus.
    • If you have been exposed to COVID-19: Fully vaccinated close contacts should get tested within 5-7 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors around others for 14 days after exposure while monitoring symptoms.
  • Be cautious of crowds. Avoid indoor off-campus social gatherings where people are likely to be unmasked or unvaccinated.

Last fall, your vigilance with following health and safety guidelines meant that we were able to return to a more typical Kalamazoo College experience. We ask for your continued care as we enter this next challenging period.

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

Updated Mask Protocols

All Kalamazoo College employees, students, and visitors to campus will be required to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth while indoors in shared spaces, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated, those who are feeling ill and those who would simply feel more comfortable doing so are strongly encouraged to mask outdoors as well.

In spaces that are not shared, such as single-occupancy offices, you do not have to wear a face covering if you are alone. Face coverings are required if another person enters the space. Shared interior spaces include but are not limited to classrooms, laboratories, hallways, points of service, offices, and all campus buildings.

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

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