Academic Updates for COVID-19

Academics in May term 2021 will be similar to what we experienced this past year, with hybrid classes, remote learning options, safety protocols and social distancing, and added academic support. The pandemic task force has been providing you with weekly updates, which keep you informed about current issues and requirements, such as the mandatory testing before you can begin classes next week. This Academics page will give you quick access to the most recent COVID-related academic policies and practices.

Please know that GC holds your well-being and health as a guiding concern for the spring 2021 semester. If you have additional questions, please contact your advisor or the academic dean (

Start of Classes

The academic dean’s office offers additional academic updates and guidelines as we return to classes. Please note that May term classes start on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at 9:00 AM. In this intensive format, classes meet every morning between 8-9:30 AM and 10:30 AM-12 PM, with schedules varying by class. Check with your professor, Moodle calendar, and syllabus for more details.

Our classrooms have provided safe learning environments this year, with minimal COVID spread due to required masks, social distancing, and cleaning protocols. Those practices, along with campus-wide practice of the “big 4” outside the classroom, will continue this spring.

Vaccination opportunities

Vaccines are available to everyone, and we strongly encourage you to get the vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to help keep you, your family and friends, and the entire GC campus safe. GC has vaccines available, so watch for announcements about vaccine opportunities. You can also sign up for a vaccine with Elkhart County through Get the Shot Indiana.  

Use this form to notify the institution that you have received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. You are exempt from weekly testing after you have completed both doses.

Fill out the Vaccine Confirmation Form

Mandatory Testing

Mandatory testing will continue with limited testing from 12:30-2:00 PM. Once you have passed the two-week mark after receiving your second vaccine, you do not need to continue with mandatory testing.

Instruction Mode

The majority of classes will still be offered in a hybrid learning format, with some face-to-face (F2F) instruction and some remote sessions by Zoom. Some classes, particularly those that are based on labs, clinicals, or physical learning activities have been approved to be F2F. Some will be fully remote (synchronous) and some online (asynchronous). You can find the delivery mode in the course offering lists (found in MyGC). For more detail, see the description of flexible teaching formats below.


Please note that departments and professors have chosen the format that best meets each course’s learning outcomes, so you can expect the format and requirements to vary. Please talk to your professor about expectations. However, all formats require regular attendance and full participation for success. See the remote learning policies below, as well as the frequently asked questions.

Remote Learning and Academic Supports

Students who are not able to be physically present due to individual health concerns will have the option to study remotely for the full semester, or temporarily while in quarantine or isolation.

The full-semester remote learning option is available if students are unable to be physically on campus this spring due to specific COVID-related circumstances, such as:

  1. having one of the CDC high risk medical conditions,
  2. living with someone who has a CDC High Risk health condition,
  3. supervising children doing remote learning,
  4. being an international student unable to return to the U.S., or
  5. being unable to wear a mask or face shield for health reasons.

We expect these situations to be rare; however, we want to support students if they are in one of these circumstances. Please note that full-semester remote learning is only available for COVID-19 related circumstances and for some types of courses.

Temporary remote learning is available after submitting a COVID-19 report form and confirming quarantine or isolation status with a contact tracer.

Please note that remote learning, full semester or temporary, are only offered as a health-related learning alternative and are only available when approved by the Academic Dean’s office. Remote learning is not available for non-COVID related reasons and is not available for individual student requests. Such requests will be denied.

>> Remote learning policies for students

Flexible Teaching Formats

We were grateful for the opportunity for in-person classroom instruction in the fall, although many classes were hybrid, with both remote and face-to-face (F2F) activities as part of the course schedule.

Faculty continue to revise class structures for the safest and most effective learning, while also recognizing that we will need to be flexible, constantly monitoring and managing the risks involved. They are designating their courses into one of four teaching categories that will be noted on the class offering list on MyGC, so that you know what to expect about contact and attendance expectations.

Any F2F classes will be small, arranged for physical distancing, and cleaned regularly.  Students will continue to be required to wear a mask; instructors will wear a face covering.

Commuter students who may have a remote class session on the same day they have a F2F class can find quiet spaces on campus designated for remote learning.

Off-Campus Internships, Clinicals

Students will work directly with their academic advisor and department chair to address placements for internship experiences. This will vary for each department. Students can also work with the Career Networks office for an off-campus internship.

The department chair for nursing has been working closely with our partners at Goshen Health and Beacon Health to plan for the required clinical rotations and ensure that our students will NOT be working with COVID-positive patients. We are also using nursing simulation experiences to replace some of the clinical hours.

Good Library

The Good Library hours will be as normal (M-TH: 8-midnight; F: 8-5; Sat: 1-6; Sun 1-midnight).  There is normal access to all the materials in the library. You can also pick up items from the library with minimal / no contact. We will offer online and in-person ASK desk services. Some chairs and sofas have been removed, and other furniture has been rearranged to promote social distancing. Partitions will be provided for small group study.  Each area will have “capacity” restrictions. There are 6-foot boxes around popular areas, such as the copy machines and the circulation desk. In addition, services from staff will be conducted with physical distancing wherever possible. Certain computers in the lab, newsnook and ASK Desk room have been taken offline, to de-densify those spaces.

Access to specific areas and services (such as the ASK Desk and Think Tank) will vary depending on the current number of GC students and faculty with a positive result in isolation.  Restricted areas and services are posted daily on the front door of the library.

>> Get more information here:

Convocations and Chapels

In the fall semester, we offered a full line up of  excellent convocations and chapels that were live streamed and are still available online. Some events included socially distanced participation in the College Mennonite Church fellowship hall. In the spring, we will offer fewer events with the hope for increased participation online or in person. Because of the COVID-19 challenges, we will not track attendance. Seniors with chapel/convo deficiencies are invited to communicate with the registrar to make a plan to address this.

>> Schedule:

Global Education

The Global Engagement Office will re-open GC’s international program fall term 2021. Study-Service Terms are planned for Ecuador and China in the fall, Ecuador and Indonesia in the spring of 2022 and Senegal and Ecuador the following summer.

By the time students travel, approved vaccines should be widely available in the US, including for our students. We will have good data, both on efficacy in reducing risk to the individual vaccinated as well as reduction in ability to transmit the virus to others. The current NYT coronavirus world map shows that all of the countries students will visit are in the two lowest categories for covid-19 cases. They should also have access to vaccines by the time students arrive. Health protocols will be specific to each individual program and the recommended practices of the CDC and local authorities. See the January 11, 2021, news release and updates on the Global Engagement Office/Study-Service Term (SST) pages.

 Please contact Jan Shetler ( if you want to explore any of these options or others from outside providers. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore global citizenship up close.

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is following the framework and guidelines of the main campus. In addition they have developed their own detailed management plan, including how they will manage illness that might occur and keeping students, faculty and staff safe. They will continue to offer outdoor experiences and have created online resources to offer the same courses in a remote manner. The instructors are committed to provide students with a rich and meaningful experience in either case.

Streamlined Academic Calendar

We will start the spring semester one week later than originally planned and replace our spring break with several study days throughout the semester to reduce exposures from students’ travel away from campus and back. At this time, we have not changed our May term academic calendar.

>> Academic Calendar

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to fill out the request for remote learning form or can I just talk to my advisor or professor about remote learning? All students requesting a full semester of remote learning must complete this form. Professors will be given a list of students with an approved remote learning academic plan. All other students who attempt to learn remotely without approval may earn unexcused absences.
  2. Can I choose remote learning for one class and not another? No. Remote learning is only available to students with approved requests based on specific needs. Before requesting remote learning, students should work with advisors and individual professors on expectations for specific types of classes (like labs, for example).
  3. Can I decide to learn remotely for part of the semester but not all of it? Not unless you are approved for a temporary remote learning plan.
  4. Can I live on campus and still do remote learning? Yes, for a temporary basis while in quarantine or isolation. However, students may not live on campus and select the full semester remote learning option. All other students will need to adhere to the attendance and participation requirements specified by professors for each course.
  5. If I have to do temporary remote learning because of COVID-19, will my room and board charges be reduced? No. Residential students in temporary quarantine or self-isolation will still be utilizing room and board services. Students approved for full semester remote learning would not have been billed for room and board.
  6. Can I select remote learning as an international student? Yes. Like all students, international students already in the U.S. may request remote learning for the reasons stated in this policy. International students unable to return to the US because of border closures may request a full semester of remote learning, but will need to review their course load with their advisor to determine which courses will work with remote format and time differences. Contact Dan Koop Liechty, International Student Advisor (, with questions.
  7. Can I request remote learning for a non-COVID-19 reason? No. Remote learning is only provided for COVID-related circumstances. All other students must follow the attendance and participation requirements for each class and should not request remote learning for other reasons.
  8. Can I choose remote learning if I am on academic warning or probation? It depends on the individual situation. Please consult Judy Weaver, Director of the Academic Success Center (, and your advisor to consider how remote learning might be impacted by your learning style.
  9. If I have a documented learning disability, can I have learning accommodations with a remote learning academic plan? Yes. Please consult Judy Weaver, Director of the Academic Success Center (, and your advisor to consider how remote learning might be impacted by your learning style.
  10. If I choose remote learning, will I still have access to counseling services or student life resources? Yes. Counselors are able to meet with students remotely regardless of where they live. Students will be able to participate in virtual events that Campus Activities Committee (CAC) and clubs put on.
  11. What do I do if I would like to take a leave of absence or defer my enrollment because of COVID-19? Students considering a leave of absence should contact their academic advisor to discuss their options and follow the standard procedures in the catalog. Newly admitted students who want to learn more about deferred enrollment should contact their admissions counselor.