Health and Safety

Protect the Hive Graphic

Spring 2023 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!


Fully Vaccinated: At least two weeks past the final dose of a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

Unvaccinated: Have not received any dose of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine or are less than two weeks past the final dose of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Booster shots: Additional doses of a vaccine needed periodically to “boost” the immune system.  

Up to date: You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible.

Quarantine: The practice of separating people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. 

Isolation: The practice of separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Close Contact: The CDC defines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset, regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask.

Shared Interior Spaces: Shared interior spaces of campus buildings are typically used by multiple people and include but are not limited to classrooms, laboratories, the library and library study rooms, hallways, points of service, offices, lounges, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

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.
  • COVID-19 booster shots are recommended upon earliest CDC eligibility.
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 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). 
  • Masks will continue to be required in the Student Health Center at all times.
  • 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.
Guidance for Gatherings and Campus Visits
  • There are currently no restrictions on gatherings in terms of size or location. Outdoor gatherings are encouraged where possible.
  • Event participants and visitors must follow latest campus masking requirements.
  • Additional protocols may be required for events on a case-by-case basis for the safety of our community. 
If You’re Feeling Ill: Students
  • 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. 
    • Scheduling a 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. 
  • Use the daily symptom checker before you come to campus if you are unsure whether to come.
If You’re Feeling Ill: Employees
  • Please wear a mask at all times while you are symptomatic with any illness.
  • Please distance from others when ill. 
  • Do a symptom check before you come to campus and please stay home if you are experiencing COVID symptoms
  • Contact your supervisor and HR for further instructions.
  • Visit the COVID-19: Information for Employees page for more information. 
Guidelines if Exposed to COVID-19

If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, 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 days after exposure, or sooner if you have symptoms. (Your date of exposure is Day 0.) 
  • 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 used an antigen test, see FDA instructions on repeat testing.

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.

If you are testing prior to travel or to visit an immunosuppressed person and you do not have symptoms and you have not been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, you may return to normal activities. Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others, including monitoring for symptoms. 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). [QI Calculator:]

Employees should contact Human Resources to notify them of your positive test and receive further guidance.

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 2 days 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 within 6 feet of a confirmed infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within 2 days prior to 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 269-337-6500. 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 must be started within several days after you first develop symptoms to be 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. 

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.

If you had moderate illness (if you experienced shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing), or severe illness (you were hospitalized) due to COVID-19, or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through Day 10. If you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you.

If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider for further guidance. (Students may consult with the Student Health Center for guidance.)

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.

Because our campus is nearly 100% vaccinated and because the current virus variants are associated with milder illness, students are rarely getting severely ill from COVID-19. These reasons—coupled with K’s very high rates of boosters—makes K especially well-positioned to use an isolate-in-place protocol.

Under this 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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