The week after next we will celebrate Thanksgiving. As a Calvin community, we will take time that week to express our thankfulness to God, and then many of us will leave campus for times of fellowship and celebration with friends and family. 

After our return to Calvin, we will be in the homestretch of the fall 2021 semester with the last day of classes on December 8 and the last exams on December 16.

To ensure a positive finish to the fall semester, we have some important information included below.

This CRT update includes info on: 

  • Travel Testing – We will have rapid antigen testing available in the Huizenga Tennis & Track Center (our usual testing location) for anyone who wants a little peace of mind prior to their Thanksgiving holiday travel. Students who need a more formal test result to travel (for example, to a country like Canada) can also be tested on campus but with a different test and via a different process. More details can be found below under the Travel Testing heading.
  • Protocols After Thanksgiving – When we return to campus from a wide variety of locations, we want to be especially careful about our health and safety protocols, especially as Kent County continues to hover at the 17% mark for test positivity and remains in the High category on the CDC’s four-part ranking system for community transmission. Indeed, after our Thanksgiving return, we have just eight days of classes and less than three weeks together before the semester ends. We will need to be smart and vigilant to finish the semester well, and we will encourage some added protocols, including limits and modifications to events, for the first 10 days following our return to work and classes after Thanksgiving break. See below for more information on how we plan to stay safe together after Thanksgiving.

Before we get to those two items though, a quick reminder about masks: they are required in indoor public spaces at Calvin. There are signs posted around campus to remind the campus community about the importance of proper masking; please abide by this requirement.

For the most part people in our community have been wearing masks, but there are certain locations, including the Hekman Library, Johnny’s, and Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex where the people who need to enforce the mask requirement – often Calvin student employees – are feeling pretty dejected because of the ways they have been treated, often by their fellow students.

We currently have a mask requirement for good reasons and the people on our campus who are asking others to wear masks and wear them properly should be treated with respect and care, not with disdain and arguments. If you have been one of the people disrespecting this requirement or undermining those who are working to enforce it, be better, please.

Travel Testing

Students, faculty and staff traveling domestically who would like a COVID test for peace of mind prior to travel can have a rapid antigen test done for $10 at the Tennis & Track Center on campus. Testing appointments do not need to be made in advance. Walk-ins are more than welcome, and results are available in 15 minutes or less. Hours this week and next are Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:30-11:45 am and 1-4:45 pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-11:45 am and Fridays from 1:00-3:45 pm. The week of Thanksgiving the testing site will be open these same hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

For students planning international travel, the rapid antigen test will likely not meet the requirements of travel authorities. Most countries want a PCR or NAAT test, which is different than the rapid antigen test.

Health Services offers PCR testing with same-day results for international travelers Monday through Friday until December 17. Appointments need to be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Health Services prefers you schedule well ahead of time to ensure that they can schedule the appropriate staffing to accommodate increased testing. They do not have any Saturday or Sunday testing, so students should plan accordingly. 

The cost of same-day PCR testing at Health Services is $150, and they accept HSA and credit cards. To request a test, send an email to or fill out the travel test request form on the patient portal:

As is always the case, patient privacy is a primary concern with our on-campus testing program. Results are communicated privately to those who are tested, primarily through the Navica app for our rapid antigen tests, but alternately, if need be, through a paper system. Positive antigen tests are sent to Health Services for a confirmatory PCR test and that is reported to the Kent County Health Department, utilizing all the privacy guidelines that Calvin operates within for any and all medical data, test results, etc.

Protocols After Thanksgiving – Testing and Symptoms

As we return to campus from a wide variety of states, provinces, and countries, we will need to be especially careful with our behavior to ensure a strong finish to the semester. Masks will remain in effect after Thanksgiving and through exams in indoor public spaces (unless CDC guidance for our county changes), and our other mitigation measures continue to be active as well.

Note that we will not do mandatory return-to-campus testing for all students. That said, mandatory surveillance testing for students, faculty, and staff who chose Option 2 in August will be in effect for the week following Thanksgiving. A reminder that this testing should not be used by people who have COVID-like symptoms. Symptomatic individuals should report through #CampusClear.

Also, similar to how we are managing Thanksgiving pre-travel testing, we will again offer peace-of-mind rapid antigen testing to anyone (students, staff or faculty) who would like it at a cost of $10 after Thanksgiving break. Walk-ins will be welcome at the testing facility in the Tennis and Track Center.

As a reminder, symptom monitoring by everyone in our community will be critical following our return to classes and work on campus post-Thanksgiving. Stay aware of any COVID symptoms you might have and report those symptoms using #CampusClear. Using #CampusClear will help everyone in our community get access to the necessary next steps for COVID care. The CDC has a list of COVID symptoms that might be helpful.  

Protocols After Thanksgiving – Events and Gatherings

The CRT would also like to encourage student groups and organizations to limit and modify events for the first 10 days following the return to campus work and classes after Thanksgiving break (10 days is the primary window for a COVID infection to become known after an exposure). The following are some modifications that could be used when planning events in the first 10 days after Thanksgiving break to ensure that we have a healthy community in December:

  • Limit event size and avoid large-capacity events.
  • Events and group activities with students who normally spend time together outside the classrooms are preferred over events where introducing and meeting new people is the intent.
  • For all events, remind participants that wearing a quality mask correctly DOES make a difference.
  • Avoid having food and drinks at events.
  • Avoid group travel, if possible.
  • Don't schedule overnight outings.

As always, if you have questions, please send us an email, and we will do our best to respond promptly and sincerely. With gratitude this Thanksgiving season, we extend our thanks to all who continue to take COVID seriously and work to keep our community safe. We are close to a 90 percent vaccination rate for staff and faculty and at almost 85 percent for students. We also continue to practice good mitigation habits with our surveillance testing, mask wearing, hand hygiene and more. Together, we are making a difference. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Covid Response Team (

Jennifer Ambrose
Eric Arnoys  
Laura Champion
Kelsey Colburn
Bear de Boo (Student representative)
Phil de Haan
Todd Dornbos
Andy George
Brian Paige
Jane Prins
Katie Verhulst
Sarah Visser, chair
John Witte
Cindy Wolffis