Subject: Safe Return Update
Date: August 26, 2020

Dear students, 

We are filled with excitement as we welcome more and more students to campus, and we anticipate the majority of our new and returning students will join us over the next few days. The purpose of this email is twofold: 1) to give you a quick last-minute checklist of actions for you to confirm that you’ve taken, and 2) to provide you further clarity about what our life together will look like as we begin this fall semester.


COVID-19 screening
Remember, you need to schedule your COVID-19 screening for this week. Sign up for an available time. If you are a student worker or student leader who had your screening at Calvin done prior to this week, you need to stop by the screening table outside the main entrance to the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex anytime this week to pick up a green wristband. You can also get your wristband next week Monday or Tuesday in the Student Life Office or on the Commons Lawn. Green wristbands signify that you have completed the screening requirement. (See “accessing campus” section below for why this is important.)

Bring a thermometer
We won’t be providing a thermometer for you, but a thermometer is one of the most crucial items you’ll need when you complete your daily self-assessment in the #CampusClear app. Please come prepared!

Make a commitment
It will take each of us working together to ensure a healthy and successful fall semester. Watch the training videos and sign the “Love Your Neighbor” covenant.


Roadmap for success
Remaining  a healthy and safe community is a team effort, and it comes down to each of us committing to these five basic things:

1. Use the #CampusClear App daily.
This is a 10-second self-assessment that will give you clear instructions on whether to move about campus or stay home. (
Get started today)

[Note: Do not “test” to see what happens if you click on a symptom you don’t have – this takes valuable time away from our COVID Response Team members who are committed to following up on every report that comes in. Please report honestly and accurately.]

2. Practice good personal hygiene.

3. Stay six feet from another person in both indoor and outdoor public spaces.

4.  Wear a mask indoors at all times.
The only exception to this rule is when you are in your private residential room with your “pod,” meaning those who are your roommates, suitemates, or apartment mates.

5. Wear a mask outdoors when you are unable to keep a six-foot distance.

For example, you’ll wear your mask when you are going between classes on the walking paths and when you are meeting outside in an area that is or could become more congested. If you are in a hammock that is six feet distant from someone else or are relaxing under a tree that is not near the walking path, you likely will not need to wear your mask. When in doubt, wear a mask.
Accessing campus 
Your student ID will be the only way for you to access indoor spaces on campus as buildings will be locked.

When you arrive to check-in for your COVID-19 screening test this week, please stop by the tent outside the main entrance to the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex where you will receive a lanyard and a cardholder for your ID that attaches to the lanyard. This will make it more convenient for you to access your ID and will clearly identify you as a member of the Calvin community. Students who have already completed their COVID-19 screening test at Calvin should also plan to visit the tent outside the main entrance to the Spoelhof Fieldhouse complex to pick up a lanyard and cardholder.

Once you have completed a screening test for COVID-19, you will be given a green wristband. The wristband will signify to your professor, your peers, and residence life staff that you have completed your screening and are cleared to live and learn on campus. Please keep this wristband on until you have gone to each of your classes once. In essence, it’s your initial pass into class. Each day, your self-assessment using the #CampusClear App will provide you clear instructions on whether you can move about campus or need to stay home that day. And after the first week of class, your professors may ask you to show the “Good to Go” screen within your #CampusClear app each day as you enter the classroom.

Your dining experience
Residential dining will continue by observing physical distancing guidelines, decreasing capacity in locations, reorganizing serving stations, and removing self-service items. You can use your Knight’s Bucks at Johnny's and Peet's for takeout. You can see hours of operations here: Dining Hours. Students are encouraged to download the Creative Dining Services Eatable App, which includes menus for all dining locations, meal balance information, and provides a quicker way to check into the dining hall. 

Here are a few answers to some recent dining-related questions we’ve received:

Will I get enough to eat?

The dining halls will be serving you a full box of food that you can customize from a variety of entrees and hot sides. You will also get to pick three additional items to take out of the dining halls with you (these include side salads, dessert cups, fruit, cookies, ice cream, and baked goods).

Can I get multiple meals at the same time?

We would ask that you eat what is provided first, but you can swipe in for more during the meal period. You can also swipe in to the Uppercrust (upstairs in Commons Dining Hall) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a cold lunch option or order a sack lunch for pick-up in the morning at Knollcrest Dining Hall. Don't forget that you have Knight’s Bucks that can be used in Johnny's and in Peet's for another meal or snacks.

Where can I eat on Campus?

The dining halls will be open with limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. All seats are 6 feet apart and will be cleaned and sanitized between diners. There are also tents set up by Knollcrest and Commons dining halls, along with benches and beautiful lawns across campus. If you are eating with others, please do so outside and practice proper social distancing of at least 6 feet between each diner. The lowest-risk dining location option is eating in your personal residential space on- or off-campus.

Dining Services’ goal is to shift back to pre-COVID operations and provide you with more flexibility and variety just as soon as we are able. Check out the Dining Services FAQ page for more information or submit your own questions to


To begin the fall semester, we will be restricting events/meetings/gatherings on campus until mitigation techniques prove effective. So, what does this mean? In short, any gathering that needs to happen that is not clearly for instructional purposes should be done either virtually or outdoors. If the gathering needs to happen indoors, then it must involve only 10 or fewer people. More info on parameters for hosting events, meetings, and gatherings, including how to get approval for a gathering and reserve a space can be found here.

No open house hours
To begin the semester, we will have restrictions on indoor visitors in apartments and residence halls—which includes both external and internal/Calvin visitors. In short, you will not have card access to any residential spaces except your own. Don’t worry— this won’t be permanent—see the “Start strong” section below! 


The traditional Opening Convocation ceremony will be experienced virtually this year. The ceremony will be available via livestream at 2 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 28, with orientation groups gathering in classrooms around campus to watch the event.  All students, no matter where you are, are encouraged to participate in the virtual event. And your families are welcome and encouraged to watch the Convocation ceremony as well.
Start strong
We are in this together, so let’s start strong. We are hopeful that our individual and collective efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will put us in a position to consider easing restrictions as we move further into the semester. Of course, any changes we make would need to align with advice from the local health department and follow the guidelines from the State of Michigan. We will be holding students accountable to the behavioral expectations outlined in Calvin’s Policy for the Prevention of Diseases.  Please do your part—if you see something concerning, say something. It will take all of us working together to ensure a safe and healthy semester.

Please make sure to review the Safe Return to Campus Playbook for more details related to each of the above items and many, many more. The Table of Contents at the beginning of the Playbook should help you navigate the document so that you can get the information you need as you prepare for fall 2020. If you still have questions after referencing that document, please email

We are praying for you and eager to kick off the 2020-21 academic year!


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