Dear Students,

Recently John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and a professor at Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary, posted to Facebook an excerpt from an autobiography by Rev. Idzerd Van Dellen, a pastor who helped found a tuberculosis hospital in Denver, and one of the namesakes of the Rooks-Van Dellen residence hall where we happen to be housing students in quarantine and isolation.

In that autobiography, Van Dellen had a paragraph about the 1918 influenza pandemic.

He wrote: "When I came outside the place where I had been in close contact with this contagious disease, I would wash my hands in the snow. A brother criticized me for this.  He claimed that I should have more confidence in the Lord, who could protect me, and that I should not fear contagion. I told him that we should use God-given means, trusting that the Lord would bless them."

As John noted in his posting, "While much has changed in a century, Idzerd's views on the matter are just as relevant now as they were then."

We hope the Calvin community had a good Thanksgiving break, despite the many changes that needed to be made this year because of COVID-19. And keep using those God-given means at your disposal as we all work together to stay safe and healthy.


  • Interim
  • #CampusClear Hiatus
  • Health Services for Students


At this point we plan to have two days of remote learning - Thursday, January 7 and Friday, January 8 - to begin Interim with in-person instruction scheduled to begin on Monday, January 11.

However, we are continuing to evaluate these plans considering the current COVID spread in Kent County and the state of Michigan, and as we await further direction from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The November 15 order from the MDHHS that required colleges to end in-person classes is set to expire on December 8, so we expect to know more next week about whether MDHHS will extend that order and, if so, whether it will impact Interim plans, including an FAQ for faculty that we had hoped to provide by today.

Current plans are that COVID screening testing would begin on Tuesday, January 5 and be offered each day that week. We would likely run further clinics twice a week the rest of Interim with another block of test days and times prior to second semester. These will be rapid-result tests with results expected back in approximately 15 minutes.

We will again be using Eventbrite to schedule arrival COVID-19 screening tests, and we encourage roommates to begin to think about coordinating their staggered arrivals (anytime between January 5-9 for returning students). Additional details about January screening tests will be forthcoming. 

#CampusClear Hiatus

All students, faculty and staff can stop using #CampusClear once they are no longer living, studying, or working on campus. Students who are still living on campus should continue to fill out the #CampusClear app daily. And anyone working on campus should also continue to use the app daily.

Anyone who might have a positive test result between now and the return to on-campus instruction and work in 2021 needs to let us know that. We plan to administer screening tests in January 2021, so it is important for us to track which members of the Calvin community may have had COVID-19. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 at any point, please report through the COVID Reporting Form so that we can note this in our records.

When reporting through the form, please attach supporting documentation (i.e., health department letter indicating isolation, notification on your patient portal, etc.). For more on this, and lots of other important items, plus a link to the COVID Reporting Form, please see:

Health Services for Students

Students who have returned to campus or the Grand Rapids community after Thanksgiving Break should consider seeking COVID-19 testing at Health Services for even mild symptoms or if you learned that you came in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

Once tested, please self-quarantine until your results are available. Also, consider retesting at least once during the latter half of the 14 days if you sought testing in the first half of your quarantine.

Health Services is open Monday through Friday for virtual care visits and in-person visits as needed through the end of the semester (December 16). Helix COVID testing will be available intermittently through winter break for students living on or near campus. Please use the patient portal to request COVID testing.

Note that on-campus testing and medical assessment is available with limited hours, so students who get tested should plan to remain confined until the test results are available. Such results have consistently been returning within 72 business hours, but testing done on a Thursday or Friday may not return results until the following Monday or Tuesday.

Travelers who need a mandatory test within 72 hours of a flight departure should obtain a PCR test through Health Services one week prior to travel and if negative, the office can perform a rapid antigen test during normal business hours to align with travel requirements.

For COVID test requests complete the form at:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts tell us students who traveled away from the area for Thanksgiving Break should consider self-quarantine measures as you rejoin housemates and suitemates. In addition, they recommend that students who return to or have remained in the local community after Thanksgiving Break should limit themselves to essential activities only, such as testing, visiting the pharmacy and buying groceries through the end of the semester.


The COVID-Response Team
Kristen Alford
Jennifer Ambrose
Laura Champion
Phil de Haan
Todd Dornbos
Jim English
Todd Hubers (co-chair)
Brian Paige
Jane Prins
Sarah Visser (co-chair)
John Witte
Cindy Wolffis