Featured FAQs for Fall 2021

COVID Response / Featured FAQs for August 2021

The following FAQs have the latest answers and info about pressing questions related to COVID and the beginning of the new school year at Calvin University. For more general FAQs, see the main FAQ page.

Questions about new protocols (August 2021)

NOTE: Each student or employee for whom we do not yet have proof of full vaccination will receive an email the week of August 16 asking about their intent to get vaccinated and, if applicable, their reasons for remaining unvaccinated.

  • Who is required to participate in COVID-19 testing at Calvin?

    Unvaccinated faculty, staff, and full-time students who are taking classes or working in-person on campus will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Dually enrolled students taking less than six credits, other part-time students taking less than six credits and not living on-campus, and fully online graduate students are exempt from the weekly testing but should be self-monitoring for symptoms and not coming to campus when ill. Employees with alternative remote work situations should also be self-monitoring for symptoms and not come to campus when ill. Those employees who work intermittently on campus should reach out to Human Resources to review testing protocols based on their specific situation.

  • Why are there differences between the ways Calvin is handling vaccinated vs unvaccinated members of the community?

    We are testing unvaccinated individuals because the health department recommends regular surveillance testing for unvaccinated people. Just as we have in the past, we will certainly will test vaccinated folks who exhibit symptoms, and we are asking all members of our community, vaccinated and non-vaccinated, to use #CampusClear for symptom reporting. At this time, diagnostic testing (the type of testing used when someone has symptoms) can go through insurance, so the institution does not bear the costs of such tests. Surveillance testing is not generally able to go through insurance, and rather than charge all students or employees an additional fee to cover the cost of these tests, we felt it was most fair to pass along any associated costs of testing to those who have opted to remain unvaccinated and are currently required to participate in regular surveillance testing.  

    Quarantine is for people who have an exposure to someone who has a positive test. At this time, the CDC and our local health department do not recommend quarantine for those who are vaccinated but do require it for those who are not vaccinated. Isolation is for people who have a positive test result, and thus both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people who test positive will be required to isolate.

    Although we will not charge students for on-campus spaces they may use when in isolation or quarantine (if somewhere other than their own space), we will charge a $30 housekeeping fee after a student leaves a quarantine space, and a $2 per meal “packaging and delivery charge” per meal for those who are in need of meal delivery (note: meals are delivered twice a day, typically, with breakfast being sent with the previous day’s dinner).  Only symptomatic students in quarantine or those with confirmed cases of COVID who live on-campus will be asked to utilize meal delivery. Quarantined students who are not symptomatic will be allowed to get their own meals in the dining halls (while fully masked) and use our “green-to-go” containers to take the food back to their rooms.
  • If I am planning to get vaccinated, but the start of classes is less than two full weeks from my second dose of vaccine (or my only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), do I need to still do the pre- and post-arrival COVID testing?

    Yes, if your Johnson and Johnson vaccine (one dose) or your second Pfizer/Moderna vaccine is on or after August 16h, you will need to go through the pre- and post- arrival COVID testing that we will administer on campus or upload proof of a negative COVID test obtained no more than 72 hours before your arrival on campus via the COVID reporting form at: www.calvin.edu/go/covid-reporting.

  • What type of testing will be offered?

    The weekly testing will utilize Abbott BinaxNow rapid antigen tests, which were used with remarkable success and accuracy last semester at Calvin. This is obtained by using a swab just inside the nose. Calvin’s testing partner, Helix Diagnostics, will also provide saliva tests, if requested and at additional cost.

  • What will be the weekly cost for students participating in the surveillance testing?

    Weekly on-campus COVID-19 antigen testing for asymptomatic unvaccinated students will cost $15 per test. The cost will be billed to the student’s miscellaneous account at Calvin (please note: this same $15/test cost will also apply to the arrival testing, previously published as $20). While our testing partner, Helix Diagnostics, cannot bill to credit cards (or HSA cards), your miscellaneous charges statement from Calvin Financial Services can be used for HSA reimbursement, if eligible. Payment requirements for employee tests are still being finalized and will be communicated directly to those individuals who choose not to get the vaccine.

  • How will weekly test results be communicated, and what are the privacy considerations?

    Our plan is to have students testing on-campus use the Abbott “Navica” app on their personal phones, which will allow them to leave the testing area immediately upon completion of the test. Students would receive a text message with their result (see the Navica app for electronic privacy policy). Alternately, students may choose to wait at the testing site for their results (15 minutes). Results will be confidentially communicated to individual students, with positive test results also communicated to Calvin Health Services and applicable members of the Calvin COVID Care team. A confirmation PCR test will be obtained at the time of the positive test to rule our false positive antigen results. This option is also available to employees, likely with a phone call to communicate a positive result and an email with a negative result. 

    We would encourage students and employees to download the free NAVICA app for either iPhone or Android TODAY to set up your account if you had not previously done so. Please note, the NAVICA app will only be utilized for communicating test results; it does not replace the #CampusClear symptom-monitoring app, which should also be downloaded if not done so previously. 

  • When and where will weekly COVID testing occur?

    The majority of the on-campus weekly COVID testing will occur in the mornings at the Tennis and Track Facility of the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, though alternative locations will also be considered. In the coming weeks, specific testing details will be published, and students will be able to reserve a weekly time that works in their schedules. In addition to this on-campus testing option, testing for Calvin students and employees will also be available (at the same $15/test price) at the new Helix Diagnostics testing site, approximately four miles south of campus on the East Beltline (open 8:30-5:30, M-F) to accommodate those desiring more privacy or different hours of availability.  

  • How long will testing be conducted into this academic year?

    We will follow the direction of our local and state health departments as they establish risk levels for each county in the state of Michigan. If risk levels drop sufficiently, weekly testing could be discontinued in favor of random surveillance. Evaluation of testing protocols and details on risk thresholds will be worked on during the month of September, with an updated communication by the first week of October. 

  • Can students and employees be tested for COVID-19 elsewhere and report the testing result to Calvin?

    Yes, we will accept proof of testing from other certified labs and testing sites, using our COVID-reporting form (www.calvin.edu/go/covid-reporting). There are no additional charges when utilizing this method, other than charges incurred at the off-site option. This applies to both arrival testing and our on-going screening tests. If a student or employee tests positive at an off-campus lab, they should utilize the Campus Clear app to alert the Covid Care Team.

  • I received both doses of the COVID vaccine series in Michigan. Do I need to upload my proof of vaccine?

    Calvin Health Services has access to the state vaccine registry, so it is not necessary to upload proof of vaccine for those who obtained their vaccine series in Michigan. If you received your vaccine outside of Michigan, or if your vaccine provider in Michigan was delay in reporting it to the state registry, you can upload a copy of your proof of vaccination to www.calvin.edu/go/covid-reporting. Calvin Health Services will verify and update their records appropriately.

  • Who will be required to quarantine when exposed to an active COVID-19 case?

    Calvin University is a residential campus, which means that there is an increased public health risk and potential for significant spread within our campus community. We want to honor each person’s medical, religious, and personal reasons for remaining unvaccinated. That said, because of the real risk of spread to others, unvaccinated students and employees will be asked to quarantine when exposed to COVID, per CDC guidelines, and will be asked to participate in the health department’s request for weekly surveillance testing when the counts are substantial or high in our county. Calvin will do its best to provide alternative housing arrangements for students in quarantine, but space may be limited, and students within driving distance may be asked to quarantine at home in the event of space shortages. Costs for meal delivery to quarantine spaces (if needed) and housekeeping charges upon move-out will be passed along to affected students.

  • If I am unvaccinated and have had COVID in the past but it was more than 90 days ago, do I need to go through the pre- and post- arrival testing and weekly surveillance testing?
    There is some indication that those previously infected with COVID are somewhat protected even beyond the 90 days initially stated in the CDC guidelines, but there is growing evidence that those infected who are unvaccinated are not protected against the Delta variant. It is for this reason that any previous COVID-19 infection that occurred more than 90 days before the start of fall classes is not being considered proof of immunity. There simply has not been enough time nor research to thoroughly understand the impact of the Delta variant. In the coming months, there may be more information on antibody levels and their association with the risk of contracting or spreading COVID if infected, especially around the new variants, and we will do our best to update our protocols when the CDC endorses these considerations.
  • Do commuter students who remain unvaccinated need to go through weekly COVID screening?

    The local health department has advised that all students who remain unvaccinated go through weekly surveillance testing, especially when the counts are considered “substantial” or “high” by the CDC. The week of August 8, Kent County was listed as one of the locations where the counts are “substantial.”  Currently, Kent County's level of transmission is “high.” Check the CDC tracker site for the current status, positivity rates and more at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#county-view

  • The CDC is not requiring mask wearing for all schools. Has Calvin taken that into account?

    Yes, we have. Both the CDC and our local Kent County Health department are recommending mask-wearing in the strongest terms, though they stop short of requiring masks. We elected to not mandate the vaccine but to get a clear count of vaccinated students and employees and remain prudent the first weeks of classes (while we gather all the vaccine status data). As soon as we have a clear count of the percentage of those fully vaccinated on campus and the risk (or lack of spread in our Calvin community) in the first week of classes, we will certainly take that into consideration.

  • Is it true that those who have recovered from COVID-19 might just need one shot to boost their immune system?

    We have been keeping up with the latest CDC recommendations about boosters and previous immunity due to having COVID in the past. When the CDC endorses this practice, we will follow the updated CDC guidelines. 

  • Beyond masks in public areas— will there be other restrictions or rules? Will this be the same as last year?

    Besides the mask requirement for public spaces, we are not implementing any further restrictions at this time. For example, we have no plans to implement occupancy limits, activity restrictions, or visitor bans. We are not requiring distancing for classes or events. Students will be able to visit one another in residence halls, play sports, and enjoy fully open dining halls. Masks will not be required outdoors.

    We are hopeful that this will be a short and temporary measure, with re-evaluation beginning after the first weeks of class, and modifications made to the policy as the dynamics of disease transmission in our community are better understood. We are working to preserve the greatest chances of a normal semester, and eventually we assume we’ll be mask free again, just as we were for most of the summer months. 

  • What will the dining halls be like?

    Our dining halls will operate as normally as possible—students will be able to dine inside but can also take their meals to go in our green-to-go containers. Masks should be worn upon entering and exiting, and while getting food, but may be removed at tables while eating.

  • What will the dining halls be like?

    Our dining halls will operate as normally as possible—students will be able to dine inside but can also take their meals to go in our green-to-go containers. Masks should be worn upon entering and exiting, and while getting food, but may be removed at tables while eating.

  • If I have guests in my private space on-campus (rooms or apartments), will we need to wear masks?
    Students who have guests in their private on-campus living spaces who are all vaccinated may remove masks in those settings only, if they choose, but all guests must agree. Vaccination confirmation will not be checked, so this policy will be enacted on the honor system. This does not apply to public spaces such as basements, hallways, lobbies, coffee kitchens, etc., where masks will be required and enforced.

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