Dear faculty and staff,

We are now just a few weeks away from our coordinated safe return to campus as faculty and staff, and we wanted to provide some clarity on a few important items as we approach this exciting milestone. While we will provide brief, but important updates in this email, we encourage you to continue to visit the Safe Return website, which is regularly updated and should be your main stop for information about your returning to campus.

For now, a few things to bring to your attention:

Arriving on campus
Since our previous communication on July 10, we have screened and tested the majority of faculty and staff who have been regularly working on campus for several weeks or months now. If you are someone who has been regularly working on campus, you are expected to be screened as soon as possible. Please sign up for an open time slot at

For the vast majority of us who have been working remotely for the past few months and who will begin working on campus beginning August 17 or plan to work occasionally on campus this fall, we should plan to be screened during the weeks of August 3 or August 10. Please register for an available time slot at If you want to know what this test looks like, check out Pastor Mary’s Instagram account.

Committing to one another
We know that this fall will look different. But we enter into this community together, and we all share the responsibility of doing our best to love our neighbor well. Completing the training (which includes a couple of short informational videos) and putting into practice daily symptom monitoring practices are requirements for all faculty, staff, and students.

In the spirit of committing to love our neighbor well, we also created an agreement that we are expecting all faculty, staff, and students to sign (you will be able to sign this covenant at the end of your online training that is required before you return to campus). While this covenant does not represent a legally binding waiver, it is a way for each of us to commit to caring for our friends and neighbors by guarding their health as much as our own, just as Jesus Christ calls us to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

One of the practices we have been getting used to over the course of the past few months and will need to continue this fall is wearing masks in public places, which in our case includes most of the spaces we frequent on campus, including classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and buildings throughout campus. Really, it includes almost any indoor place on campus with the exception of your personal office (as long as you are not meeting with someone else in that space).

Because masks are essential to our work, the university will provide each employee with two reusable cloth face masks, and you also have the option of bringing in your own if you prefer. Please check with your department chair or assistant to see if they have ordered masks. If they haven’t, please contact Jennifer Ambrose at to order your masks.

Transforming spaces
Our instruction, classroom, and lab working group has been finalizing the class schedule this week. While we don’t anticipate many, if any, changes to the existing class schedule, we do anticipate a number of location changes for where specific classes will meet. These are our plans currently, and we remain committed to being fully flexible with the schedule in response to a changing environment, the governor’s orders/CDC guidelines, and so this is subject to change.

Beginning on Monday, we will be making modifications to existing classrooms around campus and creating new classroom spaces that meet the recommended standards for the COVID-shaped world we live in. This will also include installing the necessary technology in every room where a class will be held, to create an optimal learning environment for both in-person students and those needing to join remotely at times.

If you have questions about your office space and whether it meets the current health guidelines, please contact Jennifer Ambrose, environmental health and safety officer, at and she will evaluate your office space and help you consider alternatives for adjusting the workspace.

If you need to request an accommodation to your work based on a health condition you should complete this COVID-19 accommodation request form and submit it to the human resources office.

If you need to request signage for your office, classroom, or building space, please put in a request on the facilities website. Just click the button “Submit a COVID-19 related work request” to get started.

Finally, President Le Roy and members of the administration hosted a community conversation last week with incoming and returning students and their families. There were a lot of questions that we received, and we provided as many answers as we could in the time we had together. We saved the questions from the chat-screen during that event and are working on providing answers to those questions. We will be adding an FAQ with many of those answers to the Safe Return website early next week, and we will make sure to add to and update the FAQ regularly over the coming days and weeks. As you are talking with students and families or as you are curious yourself about questions related to our safe return, we encourage you to access the FAQ as a resource.

We hope and pray that you and your families are safe and well. We are excited to join back together on campus as we continue to deliver on our mission to equip students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

The Safe Return Team

Sarah Visser (co-chair)
Laura Champion
Todd Hubers (co-chair)
Todd Dornbos
Arlene Hoogewerf
Kristen Alford
Tim Ellens
Juli Haga
Matt Kucinski
Russell Bray
Jim English
John Witte