Subject: “Presumed Positive” at Calvin University
Date: March 26, 2020

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

As was communicated yesterday by human resources, because COVID-19 is considered widespread in our area, anyone with specific viral symptoms will likely be designated as a "presumed positive" case, without even being tested (this differs slightly from a “confirmed positive” designation, which means that testing has occurred, and COVID-19 has officially been confirmed). In fact, we do have a "presumed positive” situation within our on-campus student population right now, and that student is able to isolate in a residence hall suite. There are other “presumed positive” situations like this noted for members of our community off-campus as well. With testing still limited, assuming someone with viral symptoms is presumed positive for COVID-19 is a crucial step in slowing the spread of the virus.

With this in mind, Calvin employees and students in and around Calvin who are experiencing any symptoms of cough, fever, sore (or scratchy) throat, or shortness of breath/wheezing need to isolate in place and complete this form. For employees, this will allow health services to have the most accurate information and for your supervisor to know when you are cleared to return to campus. For students, this will help health services and housing staff to assist with isolation measures.

Additionally, please contact Spectrum Health at 616-391-2380 for possible testing. When you call, make sure you mention that you are part of a communal living environment at Calvin University, or note the most recent time you were on Calvin’s campus (for some, that was two weeks ago).

Things continue to change rapidly with this evolving pandemic, and we recognize this is one more bit of concerning news. First, please know that the student mentioned above has mild symptoms, remains in isolation, and is receiving support and medical care. We pray for the student’s quick recovery. Second, all close contacts of this presumed positive case have been notified. Based on measures we have taken over the past few weeks, close contact between people on campus has been very limited, which significantly reduces the potential for spread. And third, we want to reiterate that we have been planning for this situation and continue to follow national, state, and local guidelines to ensure the safety of this student and our greater Calvin community.

With the broadening definition of what constitutes a “presumed positive” diagnosis, we will be changing what and how we are reporting to our community. While efforts are underway to expand access to testing, we must assume that anyone with symptoms is a presumed positive case. And believing that the number of presumed positive cases will grow quickly, we will not be sending a notification out to the community every time there is a new case. Please visit Calvin’s COVID-19 website for the latest updates.

One thing that has not changed during this evolving COVID-19 pandemic is the understanding that social distancing is VITAL to stopping the spread of this virus. This is why in recent weeks, besides moving all classes online, instructing the majority of faculty and staff to work remotely, and sending students home who can go home, we have also drastically changed the way on-campus dining is handled for students granted permission to remain in on-campus housing, and we continue to ask all residential students to stop congregate behaviors.

We remain vigilant in doing all we can to limit face-to-face social interaction as we help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To read more about Calvin’s ongoing response, visit our website and read the frequently asked questions.

Please know that we are here to support and guide you in this uncertain time, but we also need your help. Please continue to take preventative measures, practice social distancing, and provide us with the information we need to help keep you and our communities safe.

Laura Champion, M.D.
Director of Calvin Health Services

Sarah Visser, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life