Health and Safety

Protect the Hive

COVID-19 Health Protocols

Every person associated with the College shares in the responsibility for “Protecting the Hive.” Public health guidance advocates specific practices designed to prevent and limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. In keeping with this guidance, Kalamazoo College expects that all students, employees and visitors to campus abide by our campus protocols and follow steps required to mitigate and manage potential illness. If recommendations change, we will adjust our protocols accordingly. Thank you for Protecting the Hive!

Health Protocols

Vaccination Recommendations
  • It is strongly recommended that all K students, faculty and staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 with a World Health Organization-authorized vaccine.
  • The CDC recommends everyone 6 years and older get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’ve received any original COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If you recently had COVID-19, you should still stay up to date with your vaccines, but you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose by 3 months from:
    • when your symptoms started.
    • or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test.
Masking Guidelines
  • The College has a mask-optional policy. 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 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). 
  • Masks will continue to be required in the Student Health Center if you are feeling ill or have been exposed to a contagious illness.
  • Proper 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. (Please follow CDC recommendations for masking when COVID-19 positive or when exposed to COVID-19.)
  • Members of the community should feel comfortable continuing to wear masks anywhere and anytime, if they prefer to do so.
  • When masking, please wear the mask properly over nose and mouth and do not pull it down to talk/sneeze/cough. The CDC recommends that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well.
If You’re Feeling Ill
  • Students need to isolate themselves if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Until you have tested, do NOT go to class, the cafeteria, or the fitness and wellness center. Have a friend pick up and drop meals/food at your door by filling out the Sick Meal Request Form on the dining services website.
  • Test for COVID-19 by:
    • Taking a home test. Home tests are available for purchase at most local pharmacies as well as the Student Health Center. 
    • Scheduling a rapid or a PCR COVID test with the Student Health Center through MyChart or by calling 269.337.7200. Continue to isolate until the results come back.
  • Please wear a mask at all times while you are symptomatic with any illness.
  • Please distance from others when ill. 
Guidelines if Exposed to COVID-19

If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, there are steps that you should take regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. 

Steps include: 

  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days. 
  • Wear a mask around others indoors for 10 days. 
  • Test 5 full days after exposure, or sooner if you have symptoms. (Your date of exposure is Day 0.)
  • The FDA recommends 2 negative antigen tests (if you have symptoms) or 3 negative antigen tests (if you do not have symptoms), performed 2 days (48 hours) apart to be confident that you do not have COVID-19. 
  • If you test positive, follow isolation guidance. 

Take extra precautions for 10 days when around people more likely to get very sick.

My COVID test was negative. Am I good to go?

A negative COVID-19 test means the test did not detect the virus, but this doesn’t rule out that you could have an infection.

If you have symptoms:

  • You may have COVID-19, but tested before the virus was detectable, or you may have another illness.
  • Take general public health precautions to prevent spreading an illness to others.
  • Contact a healthcare provider, or the SHC if you have any questions about your test result or if your symptoms worsen.

If you do not have symptoms, but were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, you should continue to take recommended steps after exposure. Get tested again if symptoms appear.

What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19

If your COVID-19 test is positive, please isolate yourself right away. Your isolation period will be at least 5 days, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Calculating Isolation: Day 0 is your first day of symptoms or a positive viral test. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or after your test specimen was collected (if asymptomatic).

Students should contact the Student Health Center (if positive test was received off campus) to notify them of your positive test and receive further guidance. See the Guidance for Students Needing to Isolate and What if My Roommate Has COVID-19? sections for more information.

Contact Tracing

  • Please let anyone that you have been in close contact with, starting 24 hours prior to your positive test or your symptom onset, that they need to look at the current CDC recommendations for exposure to a COVID positive case.
  • The CDC defines close contact as someone who was who was with an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within 24 hours of illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask. 

If you are not feeling well:

  • Students can contact the Student Health Center (SHC) for medical advice or call for afterhours care at 269.585.0200. Identify yourself as a K student. If you are having trouble breathing or having worsening symptoms, please call 911 for emergency care.
  • Consider contacting a healthcare provider, the SHC, or pharmacy to learn about treatment options that may be available to you. Treatment should be started within 48 hours after you first develop symptoms to be most effective. You are more likely to get very sick if you have an underlying medical condition. Possible treatment may be available for you.

Faculty notification for students:

  • The Student Development office will send an official notice to your professors that you will not be in person to class for at least the next 5 days. 
  • In some classes, there may be a virtual option; if you are well enough, you will be expected to attend class virtually. In all cases, you will need to notify your professors to work out a personal plan to complete any missed work. Please do not attend class in-person while in isolation or feeling ill. 

If you are a student-athlete: 

  • Notify the athletic department soon to report your positive COVID-19 results and receive further instructions.
Guidance for Students Needing to Isolate

Student Isolation Instructions

  • If you live on campus You are encouraged to go home for the isolation period if you are able and it is safe for your family. If you are unable to go home, you will remain in your residence hall room or suite. 
  • If you live off campus: Off-campus students will isolate at their off-campus residence, or you may go home if you are able and it is safe for your family. The Student Health Center can advise you on what isolating in your current home entails, or you may refer to the CDC link regarding isolation.
  • It is important that you do not leave your room or apartment except to seek medical care or to get food. If you must leave, wear an acceptable and well-fitting KN95 mask while you are out. If you have a meal plan, use the “Sick Meal Request” form to have a friend pick up meals for you.
  • If you are isolating in a shared suite, you should remain in your room unless you need to use the suite facilities (kitchen, bathroom, etc.), and be sure to maintain physical distance and wear a mask when you do. 
  • Avoid common spaces, including common areas in your residence, as much as possible. Avoid contact with others in your room/suite, as much as possible and avoid eating with others. Students are strongly encouraged to wear medical-grade face masks, such as the KN95 masks, especially during the first 10 days after testing positive.
  • You and your roommates should not invite visitors to your room/suite until your isolation period is over. Don’t share personal household items, like electronics, cups, towels, bedding, and utensils. Follow the CDC recommendations regarding the best way to clean high touch areas (light switches, door knobs, counters, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) in order to reduce the incidence of infection.

Ending Your Isolation: End isolation based on how serious your COVID-19 symptoms were:

If you had no symptoms, you may end isolation after Day 5.

If you had symptoms, you may end isolation after Day 5 if:

  • You are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication)
  • Your symptoms are improving

If you still have fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve. Students who have moderate to severe symptoms or a weakened immune system may consult with the Student Health Center for further guidance if needed.

After Your Isolation: You need to wear a well-fitting mask through at least Day 10.

What if My Roommate Has COVID-19?

We understand you may have questions about living with someone who is COVID-19 positive. It’s important to remember that residential students who become sick with many different illnesses—including colds, flu, mono, or a stomach virus—usually remain in shared rooms/suites with their roommates while recovering.

Under an isolate-in-place protocol, residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate in their own room/suite—even though their roommates may be negative for COVID-19. We understand that this isolate-in-place arrangement may present concerns for roommates who have not yet tested positive and are asymptomatic. Unfortunately, given the highly transmissible nature of the current variants, and the fact that most people who test positive were contagious two days before symptoms appeared, it is likely that roommates have already been exposed to the virus. Students living in residence halls who have a roommate that tests positive for COVID-19 are considered a “close contact” and will need to follow exposure guidelines.

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