Dear Returning Students living On-Campus,

We are excited that you’ll soon be 
back with us on campus for the 2020–2021 academic year, and we are working hard this summer to plan a move-in process that is flexible for residents and maximizes health and safety. To have a successful transition to your on-campus home at Calvin, we encourage you to read all the information posted below—it’s lengthy, but important. If you have any questions regarding Move-In 2020, please contact Housing and Residence Life at (616) 526-6120 or e-mail us at  

As you know, living on campus is an opportunity to meet new people and see the world in a new way—all as part of a unique Christian community. While the year will begin differently than most, given the way COVID-19 has disrupted so many things, we are eager to welcome you back to Calvin and to see the ways all of our students flourish as we navigate the year together. We are trusting God’s deep provision in our lives and in the work of Calvin University.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

John Witte
Dean of Students

P.S. If your plans have changed and you will not be living on campus, or you have any questions, please contact the housing office (616-526-6120;


Your Move-In Process

To ensure maximum flexibility and reduce the number of people moving in at the same time, we are planning for a staggered arrival schedule. This will stretch our process across several days, with certain days set aside for first-year students and other days set aside for returning students. The move-in process will involve 1) pre-scheduling your day/time of arrival, 2) pre-scheduling your COVID screening test, and 3) arriving on campus to move in and be screened at your designated time.

Things to do before you arrive

  • Be aware of your health prior to arrival, and avoid large group gatherings and places where others aren’t using masks, etc. Make your final couple of weeks at home as healthy as possible!
  • Pre-schedule your arrival time using the separate email link you will receive by Monday (look for an email from Calvin Housing <>', in your Calvin email).
  • Pre-schedule your COVID screening test for the day of your arrival (sometime within your arrival window) or earlier that week (if you are in Grand Rapids and are able to come to campus earlier for screening). More information on screening is below, including an option to be tested at home prior to arriving.
  • Complete this short educational module to learn about campus policies and protocols to protect our community’s health and wellness.
  • Self-monitor for symptoms at least 72 hours before you arrive. Students should not report to campus if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Instead, please isolate, seek medical consultation, and follow the instructions you receive from your medical provider prior to coming to campus. Students are also encouraged to contact Calvin’s Health Services with any medical-related questions or concerns: 616-526-6187. 
  • Start packing! Learn what to bring (and not bring), and check out dorm amenities. Consider packing light—students tend to bring more than they actually need, and it makes for a smoother move-in experience.
  • Add your cell phone number to your Calvin Profile page. *
  • Add contact information to your Emergency Contact page *

*You’ll need to log in with your Calvin username and password for these.

When you arrive on-campus

  • Report directly to your assigned residence hall or to the KE front desk for check-in and move-in. Please do not arrive earlier than your reserved day and time slot.
  • Please limit the number of family members who help with move-in, preferably being assisted by only one or two others. Face masks will be required at all times during this process.
  • Be screened for COVID-19 at your designated time (stopping your unpacking for a while to do so, and then returning afterward to continue). See below for additional information about screening.
  • Speak with a Calvin staff member at the COVID screening about any health-related questions or concerns, including needed health-related supplies.
  • If you need to retrieve any belongings from a basement trunk-room, there will be specific procedures to follow in order to request and schedule this access.  Trunk rooms will not be available at all times, and care will be taken to allow only one student in the room at a time. More details will be shared upon your arrival.


Move-In process for roommates

  • The app for pre-scheduling your arrival time will prevent roommates from arriving during the same arrival windows, thus spreading out the move-in process. You may want to communicate with your roommate(s) ahead of time in the event that one of you has some arrival time limitations.
  • If you move in before your roommate, you’re asked to leave the room when your roommate arrives for their move-in time, so that your roommate and accompanying family can begin their move-in process.
  • After both of you are moved in, you may be present in the room together while wearing masks and paying attention to distancing, but you will not be permitted to sleep in the room together until both individuals have received confirmation of a negative screening test (results will be back by 5:00 p.m. the next day). At that point, masks will not be necessary in your private room and you (and your suitemates in the residence halls) will effectively become a new “family unit” within the Calvin community.
  • Finding space for later arriving roommates to sleep alone in a room (until negative screening tests are back) will take some creativity for later arriving roommates.  In the residence halls, RAs will help find isolated sleeping space for those that need help, using empty rooms in the building or other empty spaces on campus. For KE residents, students should be able to shuffle around as roommates arrive, allowing the recently arriving students to have an isolated bedroom while those already present share the second bedroom or sleep in the living room, etc. Think creatively!

NOTE:  The process will be made easier if you’re able to come to campus BEFORE your move-in day in order to get the screening test or can bring a test result from home (see below for details). This would allow you to sleep in the same room already on the first night

As you can imagine, the process of moving students into shared living spaces is quite complicated during this unprecedented year. But we’re confident that with everyone’s best efforts and a spirit of flexibility, it will go well. Future emails may provide additional details or answers to questions that come up, but feel free to contact us if you’re not able to find the answer to your questions.

More about COVID-screening:

  • Calvin is partnering with Helix Diagnostics to provide screening tests at no charge for every student, staff, and faculty as they return to on-campus work and life. After you have made your arrival time reservation, pre-schedule your screening appointment
  • To ease the process on the day of your screening, please download this form, sign it, and bring it with you to the screening. Copies will be available on-site as well.
  • Calvin is utilizing a PCR test, which detects the virus’ genetic material and helps determine if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others.  
  • The entire screening process should only take a few minutes. During our move-in week, we should be getting results back by 5:00 p.m. the next day.
  • All screening during move-in week will be done outside, near the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, and will be well marked. Find your way to the main entrance patio of the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex and follow the signs!

Early testing at Calvin or at home

To ease the complications of sleeping in private rooms until test results are back, we are encouraging residential students to consider screening earlier in the week if possible. Simply find a screening time slot that works for you. Your results will be available by 5 p.m. the next day. If both roommates are able to do this, then there are no conditions on sleeping in the same room for the first night.

Alternately, some students may be able to receive a screening test at home earlier in that week and bring a copy of their negative result to campus when they move in. This would be at your own expense but would have the potential to ease the sleeping conditions on the first night. Testing taken elsewhere must be administered no earlier than Monday, August 24, so be sure to verify if results will be available in a timely manner. Bring a copy of the lab results to the COVID screening location at Calvin after you move in, so that we can properly record the results.

Remember that the screening test is meant to provide a baseline for all students, staff, and faculty as they return on campus and to alert us to any asymptomatic carriers. (Note: community members who have symptoms before returning to campus will not be permitted to return until they have received clearance from a medical provider). The screening test results are accurate for a particular point in time, but they do not guarantee that Calvin community members will not be at risk in the future. Self-monitoring for symptoms, maintaining social distance, and wearing face coverings will be critical elements to our strategy to ensure a safe campus in the weeks and months ahead. We’re also asking all members of the Calvin community to sign our “Love Your Neighbor Covenant” (part of the educational module in first section above), indicating their willingness to take personal responsibility for fostering safety and wellbeing on campus.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Arrival Questions 

Can I sign up to check-in on whatever move-in day I choose? 
Each student will be instructed to sign up for a particular arrival window that corresponds to their particular living arrangement or to the type of orientation they are participating in (i.e. International orientation, Impact orientation, Wilderness orientation). When you access the arrival reservation app (look for the link in your email soon), you’ll see the dates that are available to you.  
If I signed up for a time and need to change it, what do I do? 
The reservation system will allow you to update your record. We highly recommend that you coordinate the details of arrival times with any roommates prior to using the system. 
Can I move in and stay on campus earlier than my designated move-in date?
For special circumstances, the reservation system will allow you to request an early arrival. You’ll receive confirmation from the Housing staff within 2 working days, along with any special instructions or details. (New students who are scheduled for Thursday, August 27, and whose travel plans require a Wednesday arrival will be permitted to indicate a Wednesday evening move-in slot, and should schedule their COVID screening on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.)
How much time do I get to move in my belongings? 
Our arrival time slots are typically 3-3.5 hours long (morning or afternoon). As in years past, we will have a limited number of rolling bins and shopping carts. Once your vehicle is unloaded, you are asked to move your car outside of the unloading zone to a designated parking area, and then continue to unpack your boxes and arrange your room. 
I am bringing my car to campus and my parents are helping me move in. Can I bring both cars on move in day? 
Yes, you can bring two cars to campus, but please move them to the designated parking area for your residence hall immediately after unloading.

I’m a returning student with an on-campus job and I am supposed to be at Calvin earlier than the move-in dates…who should I talk to? 
Use the arrival reservation system (link coming in your email) to request your early arrival date. We will coordinate with your supervising department to make approvals.

General Questions 

What do I do with university furniture in the room that I don't want to use? 
All furniture found in the room
 or apartment upon your arrival must remain in the room. We do not have room to store specific items and residents are not allowed to take the items out of their suite. Often residents will creatively use or hide these items—consider asking your RA for tips. 
Is there a preferred method of arranging my room furniture? 
We will provide some diagrams of preferred stacking arrangements which keep a healthy distance between roommates’ heads while sleeping.

Will I find out more about any unique COVID-19 rules, practices, protocols, etc.?
Yes, there will be plenty of communication and online resources for you related to these topics—some still coming this summer and others when you arrive on campus. Remember to bring some important health-related items like face masks, a thermometer, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Calvin will be asking you to monitor your health every day, using a simple daily app, and to report illness right away so that we help support you and mitigate the spread of the virus to anyone else. Wearing of face masks in public indoor spaces will be required and is currently a mandate in the State of Michigan.