September 25, 2020

Dear faculty and staff,

An alum who regularly gets her daily exercise by walking the ring road on campus recently commented that she is proud of Calvin students, as she noticed that they were all wearing masks and socially distancing. Overall, Calvin students have taken the pandemic seriously and are doing their part to help keep our community safe. Likewise, the care that faculty and staff are taking to maintain the health of the Calvin community is commendable as well. Thank you for caring for yourselves, your colleagues, and students so well!

The COVID Response Team has been getting a number of questions from faculty, staff, and students; so, in addition to posting an FAQ on the Safe Return website, we thought you’d like to read a few samples of the frequently asked questions and answers that are being shared in a student communication to be distributed today.


1. Will the dashboard be updated to reflect how many students are in isolation/quarantine?

Yes, we have data about the number of students in quarantine or isolation, and we hope to incorporate this information into the dashboard soon. Whenever more data is publicly introduced, there is the possibility of confusion, so we are working hard to ensure that we can include this information in a way that is transparent and clearly understood. Please stay tuned.


2. Will Calvin be doing random testing?

Yes, we are working on ongoing surveillance testing plans, and we hope to have clearer plans in the coming weeks. Athletes are already being randomly tested weekly due to the nature of their activity and potential travel, and we’re now figuring out who else it makes sense to screen in an ongoing way. The prevalence of asymptomatic carriers is quite low, so our best bet is still symptomology—that’s why filling out #CampusClear is so important in keeping our community safe. If we know who has symptoms, we can make decisions that best help to keep the community safe.

Complying with Protocols

3. Have students been punished for breaking COVID-19 protocols 

Yes, students have been held accountable when their behaviors do not align with safety protocols. We have responded to a number of reports of non-compliance, and we’re focused on reminding students that their actions impact the people around them as well as the broader Calvin community. For the most part, we’re impressed with the level of care and responsibility that students are demonstrating.  When students fail to comply, disciplinary sanctions are assigned, and these sanctions become increasingly more severe with repeated offenses.  While we don’t enjoy the burden of enforcing policy day in and day out, we also recognize that compliance with health and safety protocols is the best way to ensure that we are able to continue in-person classes.   


4. Can I eat or drink during class?

Consumption of food is not permitted during class. In addition, you may not remove your mask to eat or drink while in a classroom. If you need to drink water during class, we encourage you to use a water bottle that has a straw attached to it, so you can slip the straw under your mask to drink.


5. When will open house hours resume?

Residence Life has put together a phased plan that outlines how we intend to open up additional opportunities in the coming weeks for students to safely connect with peers in residential spaces. Beginning on Friday, September 25, Calvin is allowing four people from the same residence hall floor to gather together in a room so long as they wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid consuming food or drink, and keep the room window and door open for ventilation.

Please remember that you, too, can continue to ask questions like these by emailing

Your adaptability to operate in this pandemic and your diligence to follow protocols in place for the benefit of community are truly appreciated. May God’s grace abound as, together, we finish this week and move into another!


The COVID-Response Team

Kristen Alford

Jennifer Ambrose

Laura Champion

Todd Dornbos

Jim English

Todd Hubers (co-chair)

Matt Kucinski

Brian Paige

Sarah Visser (co-chair)

John Witte