March 18, 2020

Dear Calvin Community:

Thank you for your continued patience as the university responds to the dynamic and evolving public health crisis surrounding the spread of COVID-19. We are grateful to share that we are currently unaware of any confirmed cases of the virus within the Calvin community. We are thankful to God for this news, and we continue to pray for our community members.

Unfortunately, I must also communicate some disappointing news to you today. The developments in recent days, and the advice of government, public health authorities, and Calvin’s leadership team make it clear to me that a quick end to this pandemic is unlikely. This reality has led us to the conclusion that we must make substantial changes to our operations for the remainder of the semester.

Within recent days, CDC guidance and a State of Michigan order have limited the number of attendees at single gatherings to 50 people for two months. Additionally, guidelines from the White House have pushed that number down to ten. These orders, and those to come, directly impact the way we operate, provide instruction, and provide housing and meals to our students. Our primary aim is to continue to fulfill our mission to provide excellent Christ-centered education. Faculty and staff are already doing remarkable work in online education, and we are marshalling our resources to deepen and expand our capacity to do this work even better.

Residence halls will now close for the semester on Saturday, March 21 Monday, March 23, and online instruction for classes, which began on March 16, will be extended through the end of the spring semester. We have not yet decided about Commencement, but plan to do so by April 24. I have provided greater detail for these important changes and additional information for students, faculty, and staff below. While making these decisions is extremely difficult, we believe that this is ultimately in the best interest of our students. The dynamic and complex nature of this situation leaves little certainty about how federal and state regulations might increase in the coming days. And so, taking these actions now will enable our students to return home before stricter travel regulations are put in place. It will also let us take good care of those students who have significant reasons to remain on campus for the remainder of the semester.

I am deeply saddened by this situation, especially as it relates to the experience for the class of 2020 who are finishing their time as Calvin students in this unprecedented manner. Some of our students are missing their final season competing alongside teammates and friends. Others will miss out on final music or theatre productions, or other capstone projects or experiences. The list of disappointments is quite long. Most importantly, we all will miss out on sharing these moments together, in community. This is what grieves me the most.

So while we grieve what is lost and live in this time of great uncertainty, I take comfort in the good promises of God, and inspiration from the excellent work of faculty, staff, and students as they rise to meet the challenge to create a virtual learning community shaped by Calvin’s mission.

May God continue to bless and protect you, your friends, and your family,

Michael Le Roy
President

STUDENTS

CAMPUS HOUSING

Questions should be directed to housing@calvin.edu or 616-526-6120.

  • All residence halls, on-campus apartments, and Calvin-sponsored residences (e.g., Project Neighborhood, Perkins House, Garden House, etc.) will close for the semester on Saturday, March 21 Monday, March 23, at 5 p.m., and will not reopen for Spring Term 2020.
  • Students currently in campus housing should completely check out of their rooms before 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21 Monday, March 23. In order to check out without additional charges, students will need to complete a self-checkout process. Students checking out of campus housing should remove all of their belongings, clean the space, return residence hall furniture to its original arrangement, and complete a Checkout Form (Forms will be available at residence hall and apartment front desks and are also available online: Checkout Instructions (pdf) and Checkout Form (pdf). Once completed, the Checkout Form should be placed inside the provided envelope, along with the room key, and the envelope should be deposited at the front desk of your residence hall. Please note, RAs will not be available for room inspection. A university representative will assess room condition at a later date, and residents will be responsible for damages to their room. Additional communication from Student Life will follow.
  • Students who have already left campus and need to retrieve belongings from their on-campus residences should fill out this “Retrieve My Belongings” Form. Residence life staff will work with students to arrange a time for them to pick up their belongings and complete the checkout process prior to May 21. Students who have already departed campus and are unable to return to retrieve their belongings will be given instructions on how arrangements should be made to have someone else pack and store their belongings.
  • We are exploring options for how to handle potential adjustments to room and meal plan charges and will communicate those plans as soon as they have been finalized.
  • We recognize that “going home” may be impossible for some and we will give special consideration to international students and those experiencing extraordinary circumstances. Please complete the linked Petition Form in order to be considered for an exception to live on campus through the end of the spring semester (May 21). Additional information will be provided in subsequent communications for those who are granted permission to live on campus through May 21.
  • Students living off campus in apartments/houses are free to make decisions as they determine, though we continue to assert that all members of the Calvin community should practice social distancing and limit in-person social interactions to the extent possible.
  • All in-person gatherings for students are discouraged. In-person social interaction should be limited to the extent possible.

DINING SERVICES

Questions should be directed to housing@calvin.edu or 616-526-6120.

  • Dining services will continue to provide takeout meals, but only for those students who are granted permission to remain in campus housing.

INSTRUCTION AND CALENDAR

Questions should be directed to the registrar at successcenter@calvin.edu or 616-526-6155. If you have questions about particular courses in which you are enrolled, please continue to communicate with the faculty member teaching the course.

  • Online instruction, which began on March 16, will be extended through the end of the semester. There will be no return to in-person classes for spring semester. Calvin is committed to delivering all credits and courses, so no tuition refunds are anticipated.
  • All classes will be canceled on Monday, March 30, and daytime classes will be canceled on Tuesday, March 31, so that faculty can prepare to continue to teach their course online for the rest of the spring semester. Tuesday night classes will meet on March 31. All Monday classes will meet on Easter Monday, April 13.
  • We anticipate opening online registration for upcoming terms in April, as scheduled.
  • We will make decisions about international off-campus May interims this week. We intend to make final decisions about domestic off-campus programs by mid-April.

ACADEMIC SUPPORT

Questions should be directed to Thea Brophy at tjb28@calvin.edu or 616-526-6077.

  • Academic support, advising, and tutoring will continue to be provided remotely.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Questions should be directed to Jane Bruin at jeb54@calvin.edu or 616-258-8560.

  • Calvin will assist international students who are unable to return home and need to remain in on-campus housing throughout the semester. International students seeking permission to stay in on campus housing must complete the Petition Form in order to be considered for an exception to live on campus through the end of the spring semester (May 21).
  • The Department of Homeland Security and ICE agency have released the following policy change: International students are now permitted to continue their studies via online classes outside of the United States. This means that international students may complete the spring semester either here in the U.S. or choose to return to their home country without any conflict to their immigration status.
  • If you are an international student who chooses to depart the U.S., you must ensure that you have a signed I-20 with a valid travel signature. If you have questions about this requirement or any concern related to international student services, please email Brent Wilkinson at bw28@calvin.edu or Tara Braun at tlb32@calvin.edu.

EVENTS (INCLUDING ADMISSIONS VISITS)

Questions should be directed to events@calvin.edu or admissions@calvin.edu.

  • All university events are canceled immediately through the end of the semester (May 21).
  • All large admissions events, including Fridays at Calvin, are canceled. Small admissions tours will remain available. Admitted and prospective students will receive additional communication from the Calvin University Office of Admissions & Financial Aid.

ATHLETICS

Questions? Contact Jim Timmer, director of athletics, jrt3@calvin.edu.

  • All athletic practices and games are canceled through the end of the spring semester.
  • No spring practices are allowed for nontraditional sports seasons.

HEALTH SERVICES

Calvin’s Health Services is eager to make sure your mental and physical health needs are met throughout these unusual circumstances. If the following details do not answer your questions, please call us at (616) 526-6187 or reach out through our secure patient portal.

  • COVID-19 testing and isolation measures: If you are currently feeling sick and wondering if it is COVID-19 or something else, please fill out this form. Once you fill it out, we will stay in touch by phone until you have a more convenient care option. If you have questions about isolation measures or if you are sick and have questions about being around immune-compromised family members, you can get the most current information on the CDC’s website. If you still have questions, please reach out, and we will help guide you. If you are staying in the area, we will continue to manage your medical concerns about COVID-19 testing and isolation.
  • Beyond this week: Virtual appointments can be scheduled for students who are already established patients and living in Michigan. We are working hard to offer virtual care across state lines during the pandemic, as privileges allow. We hope to have more information on this soon. Maintaining continuity of care is essential, and we will do our best to help you manage during these unusual times. You can reach out through the secure patient portal.
  • Our hours: Health Services will remain open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. EST.
  • International students: If you are traveling to a location outside the United States, we want to help you with any medical needs as you transition to care from your local provider. If you are currently taking any prescriptions, please contact Health Services for a refill before your departure. We also encourage you to stay in touch with us through the secure patient portal.
  • Outside Michigan: If you are returning home to a destination outside Michigan, please know that continuity of care is essential, and we can make accommodations for ongoing medication refills while you are away. Stay in touch with us through the secure patient portal, and we will call you during office hours.
  • Within Michigan: If you are remaining in Michigan, we can continue your care virtually until we have you back on campus. Reach out to us to arrange for follow-up care.

Please know that wherever you are headed, we are here to help and will do whatever we can to assist you. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions and concerns.

COUNSELING AND WELLNESS

The Center for Counseling and Wellness (CCW) continues to provide virtual mental health support for Calvin students. Students are encouraged to access evidence-based, online resources through the CCW website and to reach out to the CCW office for consultation about treatment and support options. You can do that by calling (616) 526-6123 or emailing counseling@calvin.edu. HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing is available on a limited basis for in-state clients, in accordance with state licensure laws.

Online mental health resources include:

Mental health emergency resources include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741
  • Local emergency services: 911
    • Pine Rest Urgent Care & Contact Center: (616) 455-9200 Note this is for West Michigan emergencies only
    • Calvin University Campus Safety (616) 526-3333 (Note this is for on-campus emergencies only)

BUILDINGS

Questions should be directed to facilities@calvin.edu or 616-526-6444

  • Access to all non-residential buildings will be restricted to employees whose offices or labs are in those buildings, or to employees providing support to those buildings, unless an exception is granted by the area vice president.
  • Mail Services continues to operate, but now with revised protocols given the changing nature of work on campus. Residential student mail is being held at the Mail Services building for pickup by students. Additionally, for departments that are operating digitally and have contacted Mail Services, mail will be held for pickup by department reps. Mail Services will not be handling personal packages or mail for faculty and staff but will continue to offer this service for students who are granted permission to remain in campus housing.

EMPLOYEES

Questions: Contact human resources at humanresources@calvin.edu.

  • The full economic impact of COVID-19 is impossible to calculate at this point. We believe that we are still in a solid long-term financial position but also realize that we will need to make some budget and staffing changes based on lower revenues from the economic impact of the Coronavirus and expected reductions in enrollment. Here are some steps that are currently being taken:
    • No more university travel during this fiscal year without approval by a vice president
    • Suspension of all non-essential purchases
    • Adjusting temperature set points in buildings to reduce utility costs
    • Reduced catering and other expenses related to events that are no longer being held
  • Additionally, we are working to determine how we might possibly reassign staff to departments whose work is most impacted by the recent changes.
  • We also have started discussions with employers in sectors that provide critical resources and services to our community to explore whether we might loan staff to their organizations to meet community needs during this crisis.
  • We are also asking that any staff who are willing to reduce their FTE for the remainder of the fiscal year explore this option with their supervisor, department head, and vice president. Any FTE reduction will not result in a reduction in benefits during this fiscal year.
  • University buildings will remain accessible for employees, but only for those positions whose work is required to provide essential services on campus. We continue to ask all other staff to work remotely until further notice.
  • Personal travel for employees is strongly discouraged at this time.
  • As we move forward with our goal of keeping our students, employees, and community safe, we remain committed to providing our students with the best education possible during these unusual times. Thank you for your adaptability in these circumstances, and please know we are praying for each of you.