Health & Safety Updates: COVID-19
Health & Safety
For the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff and visitors, the following is required:
All residential members of the Calvin Seminary community (faculty, staff, and students) will be tested in the month of August before classes begin.
After the initial test, anyone who develops symptoms or is exposed to persons with COVID-19 will need to be tested again before returning to the building.
A person who has symptoms or who has been exposed to COVID-19 is required to complete the COVID-19 Symptoms/Illness Reporting Form. This form is confidential and will be reviewed by one member of the COVID Response team in order to do contact tracing and to provide various necessary accommodations. Quarantine facilities will be provided for residential students and sick leave allowances will be provided for faculty and staff.
Even while observing social distancing, masks are required in all public spaces in the building at all times. Exception: if one is in their private office space, they do not need to wear a mask if alone. However, when someone enters their office, a mask must be worn.
All faculty, staff, and residential students will be receiving a COVID safety packet containing three washable masks, two small refillable bottles of hand sanitizer, and a thermometer. Hand sanitizer refills will be made available through the office of the Dean of Students (contact Sarah Konynenbelt).
Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. CDC: What is social distancing?
The following are protocols for social/physical distancing:
Everyone should stay 6 feet apart (at least two arm lengths) at all times and in every space in the building (student center, classrooms, offices, bathrooms, various patios and the courtyard).
To facilitate social distancing:
-Signage will be placed in all public spaces, classrooms, and main entrances.
-Seats in the student center and in the classrooms will be marked to guide socially distanced sitting.
-Avoid social gathering in groups in the Seminary building. Groups of 10 or more indoors are not allowed.
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and other infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you touch your mouth, nose, and eyes; when you sneeze or cough into your hands; or when you touch and prepare food. CDC recommends washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. (CDC: Handwashing.)
As part of the CTS commitment to safe practices, all students, staff and faculty will be asked to commit to regular handwashing. CDC recommends the following key times to wash and sanitize hands:
o before, during, and after preparing food
o before eating food
o after using the restroom
o after blowing nose, sneezing or coughing
Daily Health Monitoring
A daily temperature check accompanied by monitoring of other symptoms helps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
To this end:
▪ Faculty, staff, and residential students will be provided with a thermometer and asked to record their body temperature daily.
▪ If your body temperature is 100.4 Farenheit/ 38 degrees Celcius and above, and/or you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should not enter the Seminary building, you should remain at home and contact your healthcare provider.
▪ In addition to staying away from the seminary building and contacting healthcare providers, individuals should complete the COVID-19 Symptoms and Illness Reporting Form by clicking on the link above. (See also Section “g” on Isolation & Quarantine below).
The Kent County Department of Health describes contact tracing as a public health tool that is used to help in “...identifying others that may have had recent close contact with a person confirmed to have the virus and giving those close contacts guidance on how to stay safe and healthy. This includes close contacts self-quarantining to prevent further spread of the virus.” (Kent County, Contact Tracing in the Workplace).
To facilitate contact tracing in the event that a student, staff or faculty member has been exposed to or has a positive COVID-19 result, we will do the following:
▪ Require assigned seating in classrooms to help identify people sitting next to each other for contact tracing.
▪ Require a person infected with COVID-19 to:
o complete the COVID-19 Symptoms and Illness Reporting Form and a follow-up confidential interview with a member of the COVID Response Team
o self-quarantine if exposed, or isolate if infected, for the required period of time for recovery.
o identify people with whom they’ve had contact in the seminary building, seminary housing, or on seminary property.
▪ Inform the Kent County Health department if and when positive Covid-19 tests are confirmed.
Preparation for Isolation and/or Quarantine
Isolation and quarantine help protect the community by preventing exposure to those who have or may have contracted COVID-19.
Isolation means separation of those who are infected from those who are not sick.
Quarantine means separation and restriction of movement of people who were exposed to COVID-19 to monitor their symptoms and see if they become sick. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of COVID (or any disease) which might occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected without being symptomatic. (CDC: Quarantine and Isolation).
In the event that you are infected with COVID-19, the following ISOLATION protocols will be followed:
▪ First and foremost, contact your primary care physician or visit the emergency room.
▪ For students in seminary housing who are required to isolate, the seminary will provide one of the four apartments which have been designated for this purpose. Students who live off campus should isolate at home.
▪ Staff and faculty will be required to make their own arrangements for isolation.
▪ Students, faculty and staff will be asked to fill out the COVID-19 Symptoms and Illness Reporting Form to enable contact tracing.
▪ A report from a medical provider indicating that the individual is free of Covid-19 will be required in order to return to the seminary building or regular seminary housing. Students will submit the information to the Dean of Students. Faculty and Staff will submit the information to the Director of Human Resources.
QUARANTINE due to exposure OR contact to COVID-19:
You are considered to have been exposed to or in close contact with a person with COVID-19 when:
a) you were within six feet of the person for more than 15 minutes;
b) you provided care to someone who was sick with COVID-19;
c) you had direct physical contact (touching, hugging, kissing, etc),
d) you shared eating or drinking utensils,
e) they sneezed, coughed, or somehow got droplets on you
In the event that one is exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with an infected person but is asymptomatic, the following QUARANTINE protocols will be followed:
▪ Fill out the COVID-19 Symptoms and Illness Reporting Form.
▪ Staff and faculty will be required to make their own arrangements to quarantine for 14 days.
▪ Students will be required to quarantine for 14 days in one of the designated apartments or at home.
▪ The 14 day count begins after the last contact you had with the person diagnosed with COVID-19.
▪ Monitor and track the following symptoms:
Fever or chills (100.4◦F/38◦ C or above) cough,
shortness of breath,
other symptoms of COVID-19
▪ As much as possible, stay away from others especially those with high risks of getting COVID-19
Cleaning and Sanitation
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that “COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.” While this is not the main method through which the virus spreads, it is nonetheless a risk factor and therefore to keep surfaces disinfected, in addition to wearing masks and social distancing, will mitigate risk of spreading COVID-19.
The following are protocols for disinfecting and sanitizing spaces and surfaces:
▪ Every night, the cleaning crew, using CDC recommended products and protocols, will clean and disinfect all public spaces/surfaces, including classrooms, bathrooms, chapel, auditorium, and the Student Center as well as staff/faculty offices. All touch- points including desks, door handles, file cabinet drawers, etc. will be sanitized.
▪ Disinfecting/sanitizing products including spray bottles, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and hand sanitizers will be available in all public areas of the seminary building (labeled Sanitation Stations) for use throughout the day.
▪ Laminated signage will be posted at each public gathering area reminding people to disinfect and sanitize areas or equipment after use.
Below are the requirements for disinfecting and sanitizing spaces during the week day:
▪ Sanitize after using a space for a meeting with other people (for example: at the end of each class, after eating lunch at the Student Center, or after meeting with someone in your office).
▪ Staff and faculty members are responsible for disinfecting their own office spaces during the day, especially after using their office for a meeting. They will be provided with the necessary supplies.
▪ At the end of each class, two students will be designated to sanitize the classroom before the next class starts.
▪ After each use, every individual will be asked to wipe down all copy machines, coffee machine buttons, refrigerator doors, and counter tops.
▪ Laminated signage will be provided at each public gathering area reminding people to do this.
Compliance with All Health & Safety Guidelines
Compliance with all the safety protocols will keep members of the community safe and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As such:
▪ Faculty, staff and students will be asked to sign a covenant as their commitment to follow all guidelines and protocols set forth by CTS.
▪ Signatures will help with accountability in complying with these guidelines.
Academics & Classrooms
Classrooms: Configuration & Scheduling
To prevent the spread of the virus and protect students and faculty in the classrooms:
▪ Plexiglass shields for the instructors will be installed in classrooms where face-to-face instruction is taking place.
▪ Faculty and students are required to wear masks at all times in the classrooms
▪ Classroom seating and capacity will be configured to allow for the required social distancing.
▪ Seating charts will be created for each class, and attendance taken, to allow for contact tracing when needed.
▪ Classes will be held in larger spaces, such as the auditorium, Covenant Room, larger classrooms, courtyard, and an outdoor tent to allow for the required social distancing.
▪ A sanitation station containing paper towels, disinfectant solutions and hand sanitizer will be placed in all classrooms.
▪ At the end of each class, one or two students will be designated to sanitize the classroom spaces (desks, seats) before the next class starts, after which they are reminded to use hand sanitizer and wash hands. We recommend doing this on a volunteer and rotational basis.
▪ Classes will be scheduled with enough time between classes for cleaning of the rooms/desks.
Course Offerings: Residential, Hybrid and Online Formats
In compliance with the State of Michigan guidelines, we are able to offer classes in a face-to-face format for those who choose to be residential students. This also ensures that international students who study on campus are in compliance with federal requirements.
All core courses are offered in online, hybrid, and in-residence formats. All electives are available in at least two of these formats.
As always, all courses are posted in Canvas. Residential courses will be recorded and posted in Canvas to accommodate students who may not be able to attend class.
Accommodations will be provided for faculty wishing to teach online and residential students wishing to take classes online or in a hybrid format. We will offer opportunities for synchronous teaching using Zoom. This will allow all students to log in and attend class together, whether online or face-to-face. Students should contact the professor if they will attend the class synchronously online.
Travel courses have not officially been cancelled; however, a final decision will be made and communicated as we approach the date when a final commitment needs to be made.
▪ Signage is on all building entry doors and in public spaces with reminders of safety protocols including mandatory mask wearing, washing hands, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces, etc.
▪ Signs on touchable surfaces are laminated for easy disinfecting.
▪ Disinfecting/sanitizing products including spray bottles, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, and hand sanitizers will be available in all public areas of the seminary building (labeled Sanitation Stations) for use throughout the day. Disinfecting products will also be provided to faculty and staff for their offices.
▪ Classrooms have Plexiglas shields installed to mitigate the spread of COVID in the classroom.
▪ The HVAC system has been upgraded in an effort to keep air circulating 24/7, bringing in as much outside air as possible.
▪ All doors will be locked at all times. The Seminary building can be accessed using the seminary ID card. Note: building hours are as follows (subject to change as needed):
o M-F 7:00am-5:30pm card only; 5:30pm-midnight with card and pin number
o S: 6:45am-10:00pm with card and pin number
o Sunday: the building is closed
Apartments / Student Housing
▪ All apartments will be cleaned, painted, and repaired before new students can occupy them.
▪ Four apartments will be available for students who are infected with COVID-19 in order to isolate or quarantine.
▪ Students will be required to adhere to all COVID protocols when using common spaces (e.g. laundry rooms, play areas) including:
o social distancing
o wearing face masks/coverings
o sanitizing equipment and appliances (e.g. washing machines) after use
▪ The above guidelines will be communicated through signage in all of the apartment buildings and via email to students living in the apartments.
Alternative Spaces (Tent & Patios)
▪ The Covenant Room patio, the Parsonage patio, and the courtyard may be used as additional spaces for meeting/learning.
▪ A 30' x 60' tent with a capacity to seat 36 people will be installed in the seminary’s parking lot for classes and meetings.
▪ The same safety protocols (distancing, masks, sanitizing) will be required in these areas.
Exemptions - Work From Home
Staff members may return to work in the building. However, if your job allows, you are encouraged to work from home or some combination of the two. Staff members should arrange their work schedules with their supervisors.
Staff are encouraged to update office instructions and cross-train others for their key job duties should isolation or quarantine be needed.
Faculty members may select whether they will teach remotely or in person. There is also an option to meet outdoors as long as weather permits.
Faculty and staff members should clearly communicate their availability to students and colleagues. Contact and schedule information should be clearly posted on office doors, communicated via email messaging, and noted in the course syllabus.
In the event that a faculty member or staff contracts COVID-19 or is exposed to a person with COVID-19, he or she should fill out the COVID-19 Symptoms and Illness Reporting Form.
All staff and faculty will be tested for COVID-19 during the month of August. The final date by which testing should be completed will be August 31, 2020.
Testing will be available through a lab or clinic and further information will be provided.
Priority Health will cover costs of testing and any Covid-19 expenses for those covered by this health insurance. Anyone not covered by Priority Health is encouraged to discuss COVID related coverage with their health insurance provider.
Self-Monitoring for Employees
Employees are required to record their temperature every day. If you record a temperature of 100.4o Fahrenheit/38o Celsius, with accompanying COVID related symptoms, you should remain at home and contact your medical provider.
Thermometers have been provided in the COVID Safety packets to facilitate self-monitoring. Instructions for thermometer use were distributed previously via email and can be found on the CDC website.
Follow All Health & Safety Guidelines
Employees will continue to be sent governmental regulations to follow via CTS communication.
All employees have been equipped with a COVID safety packet containing three reusable masks, a thermometer and two small bottles of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer refills are available through Sarah Konynenbelt in the Dean of Students office.
Employees will be supplied with sanitizing wipes/spray bottles to facilitate the cleaning of touch points in their respective offices during the day.
Employees will self-monitor and should not enter the building if symptoms are experienced. If a faculty or staff member is not able to come to their office and is also not able to work from home because of their symptoms or any other CARES Act eligible reasons (from March 2020 employee email or contact HR Manager for details), they should contact their supervisor and the HR manager. The HR manager will share information about next steps for isolation or quarantine and the employee’s supervisor and the HR manager will discuss work responsibilities and sick leave arrangements with the employee.
If a faculty or staff member’s ability to function in their job changes as a result of COVID-19, it is very important to communicate the necessary information to faculty, staff and students regarding alternate plans and coverage so that work and learning can continue. This will be done in coordination with the employee, supervisor, Academic Office, and the HR Manager.
All staff members should update their procedure manuals and cross-train others for key tasks so that back-up systems are in place in the event that an employee is not able to work in the seminary building and/or work remotely for a period of time..
All seminary-related travel will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Office or the employee’s supervisor. Any faculty or staff member who plans to travel (domestic or international) for seminary-related reasons should complete the travel plan form. Prior approval is required in order to receive reimbursement of costs of travel.Travel Plan Form
As members of the Calvin Seminary community, we are called to love and care for our neighbors. This extends to caring for their health and for our own so that we can ensure a safe and healthy community for everyone.
All employees will be asked to commit to keeping the community safe by signing the “Loving Our Neighbor - A Safe and Healthy Return” Covenant.
Training – Safe College Mandatory & Optional Courses
In addition to the safety measures taken to keep each individual and the community safe and healthy, training is crucial to keep us up to date on the latest medical information and safety protocols related to COVID-19. To this end:
All employees will be required to take a SafeColleges mandatory on-line training about COVID-19 before the end of August, 2020.
Other Safe Colleges training modules are also available and faculty and staff are encouraged to complete them (for example Covid-19 cleaning).
Careful review and observance of this opening plan is an important part of the training for all employees.
Late last week, Kent County, Spectrum Health, and Mercy Health, in collaboration with Vaccinate West Michigan, announced a new COVID-19 vaccine clinic that will allow large numbers of community members to be vaccinated at a central location.
Vaccinations began on a small scale on Monday at the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, and over time, this impressive facility will be well-equipped to vaccinate large numbers of people as more doses of the vaccine become available.
For now, vaccines will be offered by appointment only, based on vaccine availability and recipient eligibility. At this time, state and federal criteria determine who is being vaccinated with current eligibility limited to those age 65 and older as well as certain essential workers, such as K-12 teachers and childcare workers, and health care workers, doctors, dentists, and their staffs.
The other great piece of news around the announcement of this new clinic is a new website where people can register their interest in receiving the vaccine when it becomes available and when they are eligible.
At www.wmvaccineclinic.org, you can click on a big green button that says: "Learn how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination."
There you will find instructions for how to register for the vaccine through Spectrum Health’s MyChart. Note that you do NOT need to be a Spectrum Health patient to use this service. Also, anyone who is already registered via the previously publicized Spectrum Health MyChart questionnaire will be notified that they are in the queue and that they will receive appointment information as slots become available.
In addition, those who are unable to use the online tools to complete registration can call 833-755-0696, keeping in mind that call volumes are extremely high and registering online is the fastest, easiest, and preferred method.
This new clinic will be in addition to clinics that Spectrum Health and Mercy Health and others have opened and plan to open going forward. Also, Calvin Health Services is still waiting for its first allotment of vaccine and is fully supporting these new efforts downtown, including an offer to assist at new pop-up clinics specifically targeting underserved communities.
Anyone at Calvin who fits into one of the phases currently eligible for vaccination has received a letter from the university confirming eligibility. All others should review this site to determine where they fit in the eligibility phasing and should register via the Spectrum website as soon as possible.
All visitors/vendors will have their temperature taken at the door before accessing the building and masks are required in all public areas.
While the COVID virus continues, students, faculty and staff will not be allowed to bring family into the building, including the Student Center and the Game Room. The ping pong table, Foosball table and all video games are unavailable at this time.
Building Access for Seminary Guests and General Deliveries
Seminary guests and office supply deliveries should enter the building through Door J (unless prior arrangements have been made). Call or 616.957.6044 for entry to the building.
Building Access for Facility Deliveries
Other vendors and deliveries for facilities will access the building through Door A by calling 616.957.7107
CARES Act – Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students Required Report (6/10/2020)
On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States signed the CARES Act (H.R. 748), which provides emergency relief funds to organizations and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), found in Section 18004 of the CARES Act, provides funding to institutions of higher education “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” The following information is provided by Calvin Theological Seminary as required by the Department of Education (“ED”) in order to comply with the reporting requirements under the CARES Act.
Institution Name: Calvin Theological Seminary
Date of Report: June 10, 2020
Calvin Theological Seminary has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement document under section 18004 of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.
Total amount of funds Calvin Theological Seminary has received from the Department of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students: $35,650
Total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004 of the CARES Act as of the date of this report: $35,650
Estimated total number of students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965: 81
Total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant: 23
Method(s) used by Calvin Theological Seminary to determine which students received Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they received:
Students eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), were eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants. Students enrolled as of March 13, 2020 (not including guest, dual-enrolled, audit, hiatus), meeting satisfactory academic progress, were eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants. Emergency Financial Aid Grant amounts were determined based on the filed FAFSA’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) prior to any COVID-19 related professional judgments and paying particular attention to students’ socio-economic circumstances.
Instructions, directions, or guidance provided by Calvin Theological Seminary to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants: Calvin Theological Seminary repeatedly sent a communication to all eligible students via their school issued email account. The email led them to a self-certification page where they entered the necessary information and certified their eligibility. Once the deadline for submission passed, these certifications were reviewed by the financial aid director. Students were awarded funds based on their self-certification and their spring enrollment. Funding levels were determined by the student’s enrollment at the time of disruption. Once all information was received and reviewed, checks were cut and mailed to the student’s preferred address.