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Students outdoors at Covenant College

Fall 2021 COVID-19 Plan

updated August 31, 2021

 

Entry Requirements

In order to have our best possible start to the semester, we are implementing the same type of mandatory screening requirements that we had for fall and spring semester last year.

  • Vaccinated students must provide proof of vaccination upon or prior to their arrival on campus. Copies of vaccination cards can be emailed to healthservices@covenant.edu for those who would like to send this information prior to arrival.

  • Unvaccinated students must provide proof of being COVID-free in a similar fashion as last year: negative PCR test result from the previous three days, negative rapid antigen test within the prior 24 hours, or proof of positive test dated between the previous 10 and 90 days.  These documents can be brought with you to campus or sent to studentdevelopment@covenant.edu.

  • Residential students need to do this prior to being allowed to move into their campus housing.  Commuter students must have completed this step before engaging in activity on campus (work, athletics, classes, etc.).

  • We will not accept antibody test results per the recommendations of the CDC and other medical counsel

 

Vaccine Recommended

  • We continue to recommend the COVID-19 vaccine and strongly encourage you to get it in the next few days if you are still undecided so that you have time to receive both shots of the two shot vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer) by the start of the academic year (we also accept the J&J one shot vaccine).

  • We are not requiring the vaccine, but recognize that it is the best path forward for us to limit the spread across campus. In recent days we have seen an increase in positive cases among employees, student workers, and summer camp attendees. This coincides with the increase in cases across the country as a result of the new delta variant which is highly contagious and spreading rapidly through unvaccinated individuals of all ages. As a result, we hold loosely to these plans recognizing that we may need to increase restrictions depending on local and community spread in August.

 

Distancing and Capacities

We will begin the year with no distancing requirements on campus. Capacity limitations set for last year have been removed.  All classrooms, meeting rooms, dining facilities, auditoriums, etc. will resume 100% capacity to start the new academic year. Classroom seating will be distanced as much as possible.

 

Updated Mask Policy - to begin the year

  • Masks will be required for students when in classrooms and other indoor instructional spaces (labs, studios, music rehearsal spaces, etc.). Faculty members can teach unmasked and can give students permission to remove their mask temporarily when asking or answering a question.

  • Masks will be required in chapel and for indoor intercollegiate athletic events.

  • Masks are not required in other indoor spaces including, but not limited to, residence halls, dining facilities, gym space, etc. - though unvaccinated students are encouraged to wear masks when indoors and unable to socially distance.

  • The mask requirement for Health Services that was communicated previously remains in effect for the coming year.

 

What to Bring to Campus

  • Face coverings that cover both nose and mouth and fit securely to your face (not face shields) - All students should bring five to seven face masks to campus in August as an outbreak could necessitate moving to a mask requirement at certain times and places (classes, chapel, etc.) where the community is in close proximity and transmission is more likely.  I know this is likely discouraging to many of you, but we again are asking for flexibility from you as we respond as necessary to protect the community and stay on track for in-person learning. 

  • Personal thermometer - We continue to recommend daily screenings to stay on top of potential infection.  Should you be quarantined, you will be asked to record your temperature regularly by Health Services.

 

Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines

Students who test positive will need to isolate for a minimum of 10 days off campus, or if available, in an isolation room on campus. If on campus, meals will be delivered.

 

Unvaccinated students identified as close contacts with a person who has COVID-19 must quarantine for 10 days at home or, if available, in a quarantine room on campus. Boxed meals can be picked up at designated times and location.

 

Vaccinated students identified as close contacts who are symptomatic should contact health services for a test and plan to quarantine in the meantime.

 

Students testing positive and those named as close contacts who are unvaccinated must immediately stop all in-person activities for the duration of their assigned isolation or quarantine. If in quarantine or isolation on campus:

  • Please avoid close contact with others.

  • Students are not to attend classes, chapel, athletic practices/competitions, music rehearsals, or any other student activities.

  • Students are also not allowed to enter any campus offices, dining facilities, or common spaces, including the gym and library.

  • Students are allowed to go outside on their own to exercise and get fresh air.

  • Students should wear their masks at all times when outside of quarantine space indoors or unable to distance from others outdoors.

 

Students must make every effort to travel home if at all possible. With a limited number of rooms on campus, space will be prioritized in the following way:

  • Sick students unable to travel home

  • Students who have at-risk family members at home

  • Students from the furthest distance unable to travel home

 

The college is working with local families and alumni to find additional space off campus that could be utilized by unvaccinated close contacts who have not developed symptoms and are unable to travel home. Students staying in these off campus locations should have access to a vehicle and would need to honor the following guidelines:

  • Remain in their room and wear their mask;

  • Pick up meals at the ScotsDesk to eat outside or in their quarantine room;

  • Follow all directives from the college regarding testing;

  • Alert Health Services immediately if symptoms develop.

 

Academic Expectations

  • Students in isolation (infected) or quarantine (exposed) will now have access to Google Meet for their courses with very rare exceptions. It is the responsibility of students in isolation or quarantine to email their professors and share with them their note from Health Services or Student Development designating their 10 day quarantine or isolation so that they can be invited to their classes via Google Meet by their professors.

 

We are exceedingly grateful for the Lord’s protection upon this community for the entirety of the 20-21 academic year and for the fact that we were able to complete both semesters in person.  This was due in no small part to the faithful compliance of the Covenant community to the measures we implemented for the protection of one another. While we hoped not to have to implement many restrictions for the upcoming semester, the steady rise of cases directly attributable to the COVID-19 delta variant gives us reason to have plans in place and request compliance and flexibility from you all again.  Regardless of your vaccination status, we ask that you remain faithful to wash your hands regularly (especially remembering to sanitize your hands before going through the food line), practice good respiratory etiquette, and immediately contact Health Services and get tested should you become symptomatic or become aware that you are a close contact to an infected individual.

 

While the vaccine remains the best tool for slowing the spread of infection, we do recognize that some cannot get vaccinated due to personal medical conditions.  Our faithful vigilance as a community to these and any other measures needed in the future will hopefully allow us to slow the spread and sustain in-person classes and chapel for the duration of the academic year once again.  Thank you for your attention to these guidelines and please join me in praying for the Lord’s continued care of our Covenant Community.