Date: May 11, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

This is our last update for the 2020-21 academic year, a year unlike any other in Calvin’s illustrious history. It was not an easy year, but it was a year in which we learned how to adapt and to persist, to live, love, laugh, and learn even as we worked to keep a global pandemic at bay.

We began the year by affirming what we called our Love Your Neighbor covenant which included these words:

“… I promise to do everything I can to ensure a safe and healthy Calvin community and to care for my friends and neighbors by guarding their health as much as my own, just as Jesus Christ calls us to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. As Paul writes, when we bear each other’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).”

Now, as we finish exams, begin commissioning services and ceremonies, and look ahead to two Commencements on May 22, we can also look back on an academic year that saw us live into that covenant as a community of students, faculty, and staff. Thank you for all that you did to make 2020-21 a success. Your efforts are appreciated.

Moving forward, you can expect one or two updates from us this summer, and then we will likely resume a more regular communication schedule as the 2021-22 academic year draws closer. In the meantime, may your summer be filled with all good things, and we look forward to seeing the classes of 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025 in the fall!

NEW THIS WEEK

  • Summer Hours and Return to Work Update
  • Vaccine this Summer at Health Services
  • Dashboard Paused for Summer
  • Tests for Sale

Summer Hours and Return to Work Update

Beginning on Monday, May 24, Calvin University work and office hours will shift to our typical summer schedule of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays with a 30-minute lunch break. 

Also please note that yesterday, the state of Michigan announced that we have reached the 55 percent vaccination rate milestone as a state (people 16 and older who are at least two weeks past one shot of vaccine). This is the first milestone in Michigan's "Vacc to Normal" plan.

As a result, we anticipate that beginning on May 24, all employees may begin to work in-person on campus once again. We have been looking forward to returning to in-person work and learning in the fall while also planning to maintain a hybrid workplace that combines on-campus and remote work for some employees.

In addition, we will be opening main entrances to buildings again during regular summer business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning May 24) with side entrances remaining accessible with card access.

We will be communicating an updated policy and procedure over the next week that will outline a variety of factors that may be considered for receiving approval to work partially or fully off-campus.

The next milestone in “Vacc to Normal” is in sight. At 60 percent plus two weeks, there will be increases in indoor capacity at sports stadiums, conference centers, banquet halls, exercise facilities, and gyms. And at 65 percent plus two weeks, all indoor capacity limits get lifted with only social distancing required. Finally, at 70 percent plus two weeks, the state will lift the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.

Vaccine at Health Services This Summer

If you have not yet been vaccinated and would like to do so through Health Services, please use www.calvin.edu/go/vaccine-interest-survey to let us know of your interest, and we will work to schedule you. We will be able to offer both Moderna and the one-shot Johnson and Johnson this summer.

Here are the current dates for on-campus mini-clinics where we aim to offer both first doses and second doses of Moderna (including for Calvin employees who have children who might have had a first dose of Moderna out-of-state) and the one-shot Johnson and Johnson:

  • June 10 – 9-10 am
  • June 16 – 9-10 am
  • July 14 – 9:30-10:30 am (and possibly 10:30-11:30 am if needed)
  • August 11 – 9-10 am (and possibly 10:30-11:30 am if needed) 

Anyone who might need a second dose of Moderna at one of the upcoming mini-clinics and who did not get their first vaccine dose at Calvin will need to show proof of their first dose.  Please keep in mind that the first dose will need to have been at least 28 days prior to the mini-clinic date, and the second dose will only be offered to those who have an appointment. Call Health Services at 526-6187 if you have questions. Thanks!

Dashboard Paused for Summer

Our COVID-19 Dashboard has been an immensely helpful resource for our campus all year and has been an immense amount of work for those who dig out the data, analyze it, and publish it so faithfully every day. The dashboard will be put on pause this summer and then return in some form for the 2021-22 academic year. Our thanks to professor Erica Boldenow and manager of institutional effectiveness and analytics Lauren Amick for their amazing work on the Dashboard this year.

Tests for Sale

Have you been reading about at-home COVID-19 tests? Have you considered them but worry about the price and the reliability?  Look no further.

We have extra COVID-19 test kits available for sale now. This is the same test – the Abbott BinaxNOW – that we used all spring semester and have found to be extremely easy to use and incredibly reliable.

They are also inexpensive. We will be selling them at $3.75 per test (sold in boxes of 40 tests), and if you’ve looked at other over-the-counter tests you know how good that price is!

The test uses a nasal swab that doesn’t need to go as high up as some of the other tests you might be familiar with. The swab then goes into a packet to which you will have added six drops of what is called a reagent. In just minutes, the packet will signal whether the test is positive or negative- an extremely easy process.

There are two notes about Calvin’s test kits to consider as you decide whether home testing is for you.

First, because one box of 40 tests comes with only one bottle of reagent, the boxes cannot be split up for re-sale. Thus, although very inexpensive at our price of $3.75 per test, each box is $150 plus tax ($159 total). You can certainly make arrangements to share the box with friends and family as you choose, but we're unable to sell fewer than 40 tests at a time (per box).

The other note is that right now the tests say they expire on June 18, 2021, but the FDA had approved an extension of that date to December 18, 2021, an extension granted to all of Abbott’s BinaxNOW tests.

We believe, as does the CDC, that these tests could be a great tool this spring, summer, and fall for lots of uses, including sports teams that want a little extra peace of mind before a weekend tournament, a family reunion that wants to be sure to care for its most elderly attendees, a neighborhood that is planning a block party, and much more.

The FDA notes that for those not yet immunized, like school-age children, frequent at-home testing could help curb the spread of COVID-19, but even vaccinated people can carry the virus without having symptoms.

These tests are available right now in the Student Life office at Calvin during normal business hours. Cash, check, and credit card accepted. You can order the tests online (that form also will give you a place to include credit card info) and then pick them up at Student Life. If you have questions, you can email covidsurveillancetesting@calvin.edu

#CampusClear

Anyone who is not living on campus this summer can stop using #CampusClear. Also, anyone who might be on campus this summer – either students taking in-person summer classes or working on campus or faculty and staff who will be physically present at Calvin for various reasons – should use #CampusClear only if you have symptoms, if you were told you were a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or if you tested positive for COVID-19. Please plan to begin this new approach on May 14, the first day after the last of the spring 2021 exams.

Negative COVID Test for Those Traveling

We are offering by-appointment-only testing for students and others who need to travel and need proof of a negative COVID test to enter their destination country or state.

For travel to countries or states that allow a negative rapid antigen test, students can take an antigen test at Calvin at no cost. Visit www.calvin.edu/go/covid-screening for available dates, or email your request to covidsurveillancetesting@calvin.edu.

However, some countries or states may require a PCR test for entry, and we are also offering a by-appointment-only rapid PCR test with same-day results. The cost will be $150 (cash or credit card; no insurance) and can be requested using the patient portal.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay #CalvinStrong.

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