Subject: COVID-19 action plan FAQ
Date: March 12, 2020

Dear students,

Over the past 24 hours, Calvin University has taken an unprecedented step of instituting online course instruction from March 16, 2020 to at least April 13, 2020. We recognize that this change is very disruptive and has raised a number of questions for you and your families. This email and the FAQ that follows will begin to answer some of those questions.

As President Le Roy mentioned in his communication to the Calvin community last night, our campus will remain open. In order to prepare well and care for our students properly, we’d like to know your plans for housing (on and off-campus) and any travel plans you may have. Knowing this information will help us, particularly in the event of increased COVID-19 regions, locally or elsewhere. We are asking ALL Calvin students to fill out this brief form:

For those of you who will remain in on-campus housing during the regularly scheduled Spring Break, the form will also serve as your housing registration for that week. Residence halls and apartments will remain open, and dining services will also be available (more information in the FAQ below).

While the learning and community environment around us will certainly look different in the coming weeks, both for those of you who remain on campus and for those who leave, we’re eager to support your Calvin experience. The FAQ below provides information about housing, dining, campus safety, student support, and more. This is an ever-evolving situation, and we appreciate your patience as we work to problem-solve and respond to issues in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions


Will I be able to leave and/or return to campus housing as desired during the next four weeks?

Yes. We simply ask that you keep us informed by using the link above for housing and travel plans, updating your information as your plans evolve. For example, if you plan to stay on campus through spring break and then change your mind, let us know.

What residence hall or apartment services and policies will be in effect during this time?

Front desk services will continue for mail and package delivery, and Residence Life staff will continue to be available for community assistance. All residential policies that apply to your areas will continue to be in effect, including Open House hours and noise policies. While large group gatherings are discouraged, students are still invited to stay in contact with each other, to be creative in having social times, and to encourage one another as we adjust to on-line instruction and less structured days. In accordance with CDC guidance, we are asking all members of the Calvin community to practice social distancing, which means remaining out of settings in which people congregate, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.

What will happen with the Room Draw process?

We continue to collect student housing preferences for next year through March 17. Assuming that we are able to resume in-class instruction on April 14, the Room Draw process is scheduled to proceed normally on April 14 and 16. If changes in the schedule are needed, all students requesting housing for next year will be notified and an alternate plan for Room Draw will be identified and implemented.

How will on-campus dining work during the period of online instruction?

Calvin dining services will continue to operate. There will some changes to the hours of operation in the dining halls effective Monday, March 16. Depending on the number of students who elect to stay on campus, there may be times when only one dining hall is open. (Good hygiene language here) Students can find up-to-date information about hours of operation on the Calvin Dining Services website.

Will I have access to the dining hall if I remain on campus during Spring Break?

Meals will be available through Calvin Dining Services during spring break week. All students who currently have a meal plan will be able to access the dining hall using their ID cards. Students will be charged per meal, and the charge will be applied to their student account. Students who currently have a community dining plan will be able to swipe for access to the dining hall as usual. Disposable containers will be provided at the entrance to the dining hall to assist students who wish to take their meals to go. In the event that there is a positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Kent County or at Calvin University, the method of meal delivery may change (e.g., boxed meals). The Calvin dining services team continues to implement frequent sanitizing and cleaning to help stop the spread of illness.


Will the university be considering refunds for either tuition or room and board?

The university is working to maintain as close to full operations as possible in the areas of both academics and campus services. Academic courses, which are paid for by tuition, continue to be offered, so there is no plan at this time to refund tuition based on COVID-19. Similarly, Calvin is offering housing and dining plans to students during this time period, so refunds for room and board will not be offered.

Will the university be granting refunds for cancelled off-campus study, service learning, or athletic trips?

Each of these situations is being evaluated individually. How and whether we may be able to grant refunds varies on the airline waivers and other non-refundable costs related to each trip. If you are involved in one of these trips, you can expect to hear from the director of your trip with additional information.


Will there be events on campus?

While there may be some smaller events on campus, our desire to follow state and local health advisories will mean that many events will be postponed or cancelled, as they are in the Grand Rapids community as well. Student-news will be your source for relevant information about activities and events on campus.>p?

Will we have Chapel services on campus?

Unfortunately, no. While there will be no chapel services until after Easter, we do hope to foster connection and spiritual formation through various virtual events, such as a playlist of worship music, sharing “best of” chapels from previous semesters, and live-streaming devotionals with Pastor Mary.

Can we continue Bible Studies and Discipleship Groups?

Very small groups (with proper social distancing behaviors) are fine, and we also encourage the following:

  • scripture memory recitations posted online and/or sent to (Josh 1:7-9; Luke 24:25-32 are the texts we are using this spring)
  • prayer walks around campus
  • the use of apps such as Dwell (still free w/ a Calvin email!), Pray as You Go, and the Public Reading of Scripture

During the period of online instruction, what recreation options are available for students?

Our goal is to maintain recreation opportunities for students to the extent possible, including activities like intramurals, group fitness, and the climbing center. We anticipate that these activities will be modified slightly to align with community health standards. Information on specific activities and hours will be regularly updated on the websites linked above.

I’m involved in interviews for a student leadership role for next year. What will happen with this process?

Student selection processes will continue— we’re excited to have your interests and skills contributing to our community. The format and method of interviews may be adjusted to accommodate community safety standards and to ensure that applicants can engage the process regardless of where they are. Supervisors and mentors of these roles will contact you about any alterations in the schedule and will provide additional information about the hiring process, including the possibility of remote interviews.


I have an on-campus student job. How will the transition to online instruction impact my ability to work?

During the online period (presently planned for March 16 – April 14), many student employees will be able to continue working on campus. There are a number of particular questions pertaining to student employment that we have attempted to answer below. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact the student employment office by emailing

Am I required to work during this period?

No. Students may choose to work during the period of time in which instruction is online, but they are not required to do so. Students who decide not to work during this period should notify their supervisor as soon as possible.

Will I be penalized and lose my on-campus job if I decide to leave campus and study from afar during the online instruction period?

No. Students will not be penalized or lose their on-campus job if they choose to leave campus during this timeframe. However, students must notify their supervisors prior to leaving and make arrangements with them that indicate when they intend to resume working.

Will the student be paid if they do not work?

No. Students will only be paid for the hours that they work.

Is there a chance that a student’s work schedule will change during the online period?

Yes, and this will depend on the particular role and type of work. For example, some student employment positions may be impacted by the reduction or cancellation of events and programs, which may reduce staffing needs. Other student employment positions may be called upon to work additional hours to support Calvin’s efforts to continue operations. Student employees should work with their supervisors to determine staffing needs and should clearly communicate their availability and preferences.

Can students work remotely?

Yes, depending on the type of work. There are some student employment positions that will accommodate student employees working remotely. Supervisors and student employees should work together to decide if working remotely is feasible. This option is only available if a supervisor offers flexible accommodations and approves the work in advance. Human Resources will be providing supervisors with more information and guidelines for employees interested in working remotely in the coming days.

Are there certain types of work that should be reduced or not performed during this period?

Likely, yes. Activities that expose students to situations involving large-group gatherings may be considered high-risk and should be avoided, if possible. The health and safety of all Calvin employees is a priority to us. Students who are concerned about their ability to stay healthy and safe in the course of their work should notify their supervisor immediately.


What can domestic and international travelers do to protect themselves and others? Should I travel?

The Health Services website includes an FAQ with detailed travel safety tips. Please note that CDC recommendations are constantly evolving, and students should weigh the risk of potential disruptions to their academic experience before travelling. After spring break, domestic travelers from a U.S. county with a positive case must self-monitor for 14 days. All returning travelers with symptoms of fever and cough will need to self-isolate and seek medical advice. Students engaged in community learning experiences (e.g., K-12 schools, healthcare settings, and internships) should consider whether planned travel could potentially disrupt their ability to complete these requirements. For example, if a Calvin student visits a U.S. county that becomes a restricted area of travel during spring break, the community learning experience may be put on hold until that student has been cleared for participation. Please consider these factors when making travel plans— recognize that changing dynamics may influence your decisions about how, when, and where to travel.

What sort of counseling resources will I have access to during this period?

The Center for Counseling and Wellness (CCW) will remain open, though the Wellness Room is closed until further notice. Students with symptoms of fever and cough should stay home. Services will be provided via HIPAA-compliant videoconference as needed. Group and workshop facilitators will be in communication with participants about scheduled meetings on a case-by-case basis. Students are encouraged to actively utilize online mental health resources through CCW, including:


Can students utilize career services if they are remote?

Yes, students will still be able to have coaching appointments with their Career Coach.  To schedule an appointment, students should go to Handshake When scheduling, students will have the option to select an appointment medium (Face to Face, Phone Call, Online, or Email). If necessary, the coach will follow up with appointment instructions for remote sessions.

Will Career Center events still occur during the online period?

No. All scheduled Career Connection workshops will be cancelled during this timeframe.  However, students are encouraged to utilize LinkedIn Learning for training on specific content areas. Students can access the site using their Calvin login credentials via

The Career Center’s online resume tool, Optimal Resume, can be accessed using your Calvin credentials at

During the online period, will Calvin LifeWork students still be expected to complete modules?

Yes. Students participating in Calvin LifeWork are expected to complete all assignments as planned, with the exception of the sophomore teamwork module, which requires participation in a face-to-face experiential activity (Calvin Lifework Escape Room). The Escape Room will resume once students return to campus, the completion deadline for this module will be extended, and there will be no penalty if the module is not completed by the end of March.


Will all offices operate as normal and will all Calvin staff and faculty be present on campus during this time?

It’s likely that there will be disruption to the normal operations of some offices across campus. On a campus our size, there are a number of individuals who are vulnerable or immune-compromised. When the absence of campus employees disrupts the normal hours or operations of a Calvin office, we will do everything we can to ensure that services and supports to students are maintained. Even now, departments across campus are brainstorming creative ways to engage students through virtual means (e.g., email, video conferencing, online workshops, etc.). Stay tuned for details....

When will I hear from my faculty members about on-line instruction?

Calvin’s faculty are being creative and resourceful, as they step into this brand new mode of instruction here. You can expect to hear more details from your professors in the next few days about what your online experience will look like over the next few weeks of their class, including how they will be delivering their content and what tools and resources are available to you.

Will Campus Ministries still offer pastoral care?

Yes, pastors will continue to be available for in-person or online conversations by appointment during usual office hours. Students are encouraged to download Microsoft Teams if they would like to have a pastoral conversation online.


What service will Campus Safety offer?

Between March 13 and April 14, the Campus Safety Department will continue to operate on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis. The front desk area will remain open between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Officers will still answer calls for service and provide escorts, though most escorts will be done by walking, which may slow response time somewhat.

Where can I park?

Normal parking regulations will remain in effect, so park in the same areas as normal. Vehicles left in short term lots for extended lengths of time or parking overnight in non-overnight lots will be ticketed. Please be courteous to fellow students who might also need access to short term parking.

Will I have access to academic buildings?

Academic buildings will be unlocked Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Students will still be able to use their ID cards to access buildings as early as 7:00 am and after 5:00 pm until 1:00 am. Academic buildings will remain locked on Saturdays, but students will be able to use their ID cards for access between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. There will be no Sunday academic building access.

How can students report an incident or issue during this time?

Students can report in-person to a Resident Life staff member, Campus Safety or any member of the Student Conduct Office. The Office of Student Conduct will be open and staff will be available on-call if you would like to meet with someone about your concerns. To make a report online, click here.

For emergencies or immediate needs, please contact Campus Safety: (616) 526-6452

To talk to someone in person and set up a meeting, please contact the Interim Director of Student Conduct, Martin Avila: or 616-526-7598.


Will Calvin continue to provide academic support during this time?

The Center for Student Success will remain open to help students during this month. If you are living in Grand Rapids or remaining on-campus, you are welcome to meet with someone here. (If you are feeling sick, please connect by phone or email.) If you will be away from campus, we are available via phone, email, or video chat.

What is some good advice to help students transition to this new model of online learning?

  • Keep a normal schedule. Plan to engage with your classes and your coursework for at least the same amount of time that you would if you were taking classes on campus.
  • Make sure you have a good understanding of how your professor plans to move your course online and what your specific requirements will be. Be patient with your professors! They are figuring this out, too.
  • Check your Calvin email regularly -- at least daily, and if possible multiple times per day. This is how the university (including your profs) will communicate with you.
  • Don't forget the resources that are still available to you: peer tutoring, academic coaching, rhetoric center, academic counselors, and your faculty members are all available to you if you need assistance. Watch for communication from all of these folks about how to connect with them during this month.
  • Practice self-care -- regular sleeping, eating, and exercise is important and will help you be in the best position possible to tackle any academic challenges that you encounter.