COVID-19 Campus Updates Archive (chronological)

4.16.21 — Friday update: Report your vaccinations

Greetings campus,

Thank you to all who have told us that you have been vaccinated! With only 49% of students self-reporting that you have received a vaccination at all so far, we assume that some of you just haven’t let us know yet. Please do; it is important! Just fill out this form (even if you were vaccinated on campus or have only received one dose).

This will make a significant difference in our ability to plan for the coming weeks and next year as we have a stronger understanding of whether we are near herd immunity level, meaning around 80% of campus members vaccinated. If we can reach that level, we will be much closer to being able to operate more “normally” again. We all have to do our part though to get there. In the meantime, thank you for continuing to follow the Big Four!

Notes:

  • Change in this coming week’s COVID-19 campus testing clinic times: The clinics will only be offered on Sunday (April 18) from 1-2 p.m. and Monday (April 19) from 10 a.m. to noon. We will not have a testing clinic on Thursday afternoon.
    • Once you are 2 weeks past your second vaccination dose (and you’ve told us you’ve been vaccinated), you are exempt from weekly testing.
  • If you received your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at our GC clinic on April 1 or 2, you will need to receive the second dose this coming Thursday afternoon or Friday morning (April 22-23) at the same location. Please sign up on this Google sheet. You are eligible to sign up on either Thursday or Friday regardless of whether you received your first dose on April 1 or 2. Bring your vaccine card with you when you come for your second dose.
  • Need a vaccination?

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


4.9.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

Last week’s vaccination clinics on campus went well! We were able to vaccinate 272 people on Thursday and Friday, including some friends and family of campus members. Thank you to all of the nursing and public health students who played key roles in implementing these clinics, along with supervision and hands-on help from faculty, including Brianne Brenneman, Jewel Yoder and Ruth Stoltzfus. We are also grateful to have partnered with Goshen Health on this.

A couple of important notes:

  • If you have been vaccinated, have you let us know? Please fill out this form ASAP so that we can better track our campus’ vaccination rate (even if you were vaccinated on campus).
  • Once you are 2 weeks past your second vaccination dose (and you’ve told us you’ve been vaccinated), you are exempt from weekly testing.
  • If you continue to need a vaccination, you can schedule an appointment through the state’s website for any of the available local sites.
  • While Indiana’s state-wide mask guidance changed from a mandate to a strong recommendation as of Tuesday, know that Elkhart County has extended its mask requirement until May 14.
  • Our thanks to the Student-Led PTF who sent care packages to remote learners living in the U.S. We are looking forward to welcoming several remote learners to campus for in-person classes during May term.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


4.1.21 — Vaccines still available today and tomorrow!

Greetings campus,

We continue to have openings on our sign-up sheet for COVID-19 vaccination appointments during our clinics today and tomorrow. If you have not signed up and haven’t already received your Pfizer vaccine, we strongly encourage you to.

Who: Everyone 16 years or older, including if you are from out of state/international, is eligible. Insurance is not required (though bring your insurance card if you have it).

When: 

  • TODAY: 2-6 p.m.
  • TOMORROW (Friday, April 2): 9 a.m.-noon (slightly shortened from what we communicated yesterday)
  • We will offer our second dose clinics on April 22 and 23.

Where: Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall (across from the testing location)

>> Sign up for your vaccination appointment time here. 

In case we have extra vaccines available, we are accepting your family members and friends (names and phone numbers) on an on-call list (a separate tab on the sign-up form). If these times or dates do not suit you, sign up for your vaccine through this Indiana website.

If you are feeling hesitant about getting a vaccine, have questions or just want to talk with someone about your options, send an email to pandemic@goshen.edu.

Once you are vaccinated, please let us know. Fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. Once you are vaccinated (and you’ve told us), you are exempt from weekly testing two weeks after your final vaccine dose.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force

P.S. If you made it all the way to the bottom of this email, we have a special treat for you: breaking news about our latest COVID-19 initiatives for campus. Enjoy!


3.31.21 — Important: On-campus vaccination clinics THIS WEEK

Greetings campus,

We have received confirmation from the Indiana State Department of Health that vaccines are on the way to GC and will arrive in time for us to offer on-campus vaccination clinics THIS WEEK for all Goshen College students (including out-of-state and international students) and employees (16 years and older). Here are the details:

When: 

  • Thursday, April 1, 2-6 p.m.
  • Friday, April 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • We will receive enough vaccines for all employees and students who have not yet received a vaccination and will be able to vaccinate 11 people every 10 minutes during the clinic.

Location: Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall (across from the testing location)

>> Sign up for your vaccination appointment time here. 

You’ll find one tab for each day of available times. In case we have extra vaccines available, we are accepting your family members and friends (names and phone numbers) on an on-call list (a separate tab). If these times or dates do not suit you, sign up for your vaccine through this Indiana website.

What to bring to the clinic and what to know: 

  • Bring your insurance card with you. There is no out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine, but your insurance will be billed for administration of the vaccine.
  • Wear a loose fitting shirt or a T-shirt.
  • Plan for a 15-minute waiting period on site after your vaccination.
  • If you are having any COVID symptoms or are currently in isolation/quarantine, you cannot receive a vaccine at this time.
  • We will be distributing the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for ages 16 and older. If you want to talk to someone about their experience with the shot and how they felt afterward, this is the same vaccine that was given to many of our students and employees on March 10 at Goshen High School.
  • This is a two-dose vaccine that requires 3 weeks between the first and second doses. We will offer our second dose clinics on April 22 and 23.
  • We also want to say a big THANK YOU to all of the employees and students who are involved in making these clinics happen so quickly for us!

If you are getting your second vaccine dose today at Goshen High School: Bring your vaccination card with you. In addition, to save time when you arrive, you can take this form filled out with you.

Once you are vaccinated, please let us know. Fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. Once you are vaccinated (and you’ve told us), you are exempt from weekly testing two weeks after your final vaccine dose.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


3.30.21 — Vaccination reminders

Greetings campus,

This is a reminder that as of TONIGHT at midnight, all students (including out-of-state and international students) and employees (16 years and older) are eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana.

  1. The Indiana State Department of Health is preparing to send us vaccines specifically allocated for our entire GC community. When we receive the vaccines, we will make vaccination clinics available on campus as quickly as possible, at the latest by next week. We will communicate this to you as soon as we know. This will be the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for ages 16 and older, and requires 3 weeks between the first and second doses.For these on-campus vaccination clinics, we will first prioritize students who will not be returning to campus for classes during May Term so that we can provide you the second dose before you leave campus. If you are in this group and have questions, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.
  2. In the meantime, we recommend that you schedule an appointment through the state’s website for any of the available local sites at the earliest available time. Goshen Hospital is operating a vaccine clinic just south of campus, so you might find that location as a convenient option. Students who are not permanent residents of Indiana are considered residents because you are enrolled at Goshen College, so click “yes” to the box indicating you are eligible to be vaccinated. If you would need to cancel your appointment later, for whatever reason, you can call 211.

If you received your first vaccine dose on March 10 at Goshen High School: Plan on getting your second dose TOMORROW (March 31) at the same time if possible (though they are open between 7 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.) and same location. No registration is required, but bring your vaccination card with you. Student Life is providing transportation if needed, as was communicated in a separate email.

Once you are vaccinated, please let us know. Fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. Once you are vaccinated (and you’ve told us), you are exempt from weekly testing two weeks after your final vaccine dose.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


3.26.21 — Friday update: Lots of vaccination news!

Greetings campus,

This week, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that the state will open vaccine eligibility to all Hoosiers 16 years and older beginning next Wednesday, March 31! He also announced that he will change the  state-wide mask guidance from a mandate to a strong recommendation as of April 6, but allowed counties and employers to make their own decisions. We want you to know that Goshen College will continue with the Big Four with no changes in our mask policy at least through commencement.

Vaccination updates:

  • Options to get a vaccine (none of which have any out-of-pocket cost):
    • We are actively working with Goshen Health and the Indiana State Department of Health to secure vaccination appointment slots for our entire GC community (including out of state and international students) in a convenient location as early as possible and will communicate as soon as we can. This would be the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for ages 16 and older, and requires 3 weeks between the first and second doses.
    • Maple City Health Care Center (MCHC) in north Goshen (213 Middlebury Street) is starting to schedule vaccination appointments now for anyone 18 and older for March 31 and after. MCHC is only able to schedule 7 days in advance, so you may have to call back over several days to get an appointment. The number to call to schedule your appointment is (574) 387-6445. MCHC is giving the Moderna vaccine (approved for ages 18+), which requires four weeks between the first and second dose. Plan ahead to make sure you would be in the area at that time to receive your second dose.
    • Starting March 31 (if you aren’t eligible before then), you can schedule an appointment through the state’s website for any of the available local sites.
  • We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated. Here are three good reasons:
  1. You will protect your friends, family and our community from continued COVID transmission.
  2. You will get to return to doing fun things sooner, such as gathering with groups of other vaccinated people without masks and social distancing.
  3. You will not need to worry any longer about becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID. While the vaccines are 94-95% effective from any COVID illness, they are practically 100% effective against hospitalizations and death.

Recent guidance from the CDC for those who have been fully vaccinated (2 weeks after your second dose) also gives clarity about the benefits and what you can start to do again. And if you want to know more about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, many helpful resources are available on the CDC website, including safety and effectiveness information, specific details about what is in each of the three approved vaccines, data from the vaccine testing trials about side effects and adverse reactions, etc. If you would like to have a confidential conversation about the vaccines and whether it is right for you to get one, our pandemic coordinator Kevin Miller, BSN MPH, is available to talk with you and can be reached by emailing pandemic@goshen.edu.

  • REMINDER if you received a vaccine on March 10 at Goshen High School: Plan on getting your second dose on Wednesday, March 31 (NEXT WEDNESDAY) at the same time if possible (though they are open between 7 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.) and same location. No registration is required, but bring your vaccination card with you.
  • Once you are vaccinated, please let us know. Fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. Once you are fully vaccinated (and you’ve told us), you are exempt from weekly testing.
  • We’ve added a new vaccination line graph to our data dashboard.
  • And on a non-vaccination note, please be aware of a slight time change to the campus COVID-19 testing clinic on Sunday, April 4 (Easter): Due to the holiday, it will only be open from 2-3 p.m. (instead of 1-3 p.m.).

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


3.19.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

We are struck by how far we have come in the past year since that day — March 16, 2020 — when we announced a transition home and to all online classes. It’s been a hard year, but we are so proud of each of you in our GC community for persevering with grace, grit, kindness and trust! We hope you take some time to reflect personally and with your peers or colleagues about what has changed, what you’ve learned and what you’ve accomplished.

Now, a few COVID-related notes for this week:

Variants confirmed locally: We are glad we don’t currently have any cases on campus, but now is not the time to relax our Big Four protocols. One case of one variant (COVID B.1.1.7) was confirmed last week in Elkhart County, and we should assume there are more as the county is seeing an increase again in cases overall. The good news is that the vaccines work against this variant. The faster our community becomes vaccinated, the more quickly we can stop this much more contagious variant.

Testing: Students, we continue to expect that you will get tested during our mandatory weekly clinics, at least three out of every four weeks. If you absolutely can’t make it to any of the scheduled clinics, reach out to us (pandemic@goshen.edu) to schedule an alternative time to get tested.

Vaccinations:

  • If you received a vaccine on March 10 at Goshen High School, plan on getting your second dose on March 31 at the same time if possible (though they are open between 7 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.) and same location. No registration is required but bring your vaccination card with you.
  • We’ve added a new vaccination chart to our data dashboard. You can follow our vaccination progress as a campus from there now (they’ve been climbing rapidly lately). It is based on self-reporting, so please let us know if and when you are vaccinated here. Two weeks after your vaccination is complete, you no longer need to be tested weekly.
  • We strongly encourage all who are able to get a COVID-19 vaccine when eligible. If you are feeling hesitant about getting a vaccine, have questions or just want to talk with someone about your options, send an email to pandemic@goshen.edu. We want to be of assistance to you, and will speak with you in confidence. The CDC also offers many helpful resources, including safety and effectiveness information, specific detail about what is in each of the three approved vaccines, data from the vaccine testing trials about side effects and adverse reactions, etc.
  • If you are 45 years old or older, the State of Indiana just opened up COVID-19 vaccine scheduling to that group this week. Younger people should also be aware that specific groups of patients at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who are identified by their healthcare provider are also eligible. See that list and schedule an appointment here.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


3.12.21 — A very hopeful Friday update

Greetings campus,

It’s been a momentous and positive week. Here’s the news:

Vaccinations are accelerating! This week has been a real turning point, as vaccine access and uptake continue to increase. Many employees have recently received or are scheduled soon to get their vaccines based on their age eligibility. In addition many employees, including some student employees, were able to participate in an unexpected mass vaccination opportunity conducted by Meijer at Goshen High School on Wednesday. Thank you for your quick response and participation!

As some of you experienced, the speed at which the March 10 opportunity unfolded contributed to an unfortunate misunderstanding about student access and eligibility. Some students were turned away at the door after simply following our directions. We apologize for that, and will continue to do our very best to get all of our employees and students access to the vaccine as soon as we possibly can.

So that we can monitor vaccination rates in our GC community, please fill out this vaccination reporting form when you’ve received your first and your second dose. This will enable us to offer all of you the best public health recommendations, individually and for our community as a whole. We are all in this together, celebrating with each vaccination, and protecting those of us who are not yet vaccinated by maintaining our community behaviors. Each vaccination protects all of us.

We have new guidance about what fully vaccinated people can safely do. Based on guidance from the CDC earlier this week, we can begin to be more specific about what COVID-19 vaccinations allow us to do: people who are fully vaccinated can meet together in small gatherings and meetings without masks and social distancing, outdoors and indoors. The CDC did not define a “small gathering,” and we expect more specific guidance from them soon. But for now, we imagine this to mean groups of up to 15-20 people. Meanwhile, to protect and support those who are not yet vaccinated, keep practicing the Big Four when you are in public spaces or when your small gatherings include those not yet vaccinated.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean? Two weeks after you have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are considered to be fully vaccinated. In addition to being able to meet with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks and social distancing, you will also be exempt from the mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing on campus. If you are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you will not need to go into quarantine. The three approved vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19, but they are not 100% effective. If you develop COVID-like symptoms you should separate yourself from others and get tested. The good news is that if you do develop COVID-19 after being vaccinated, it is very likely to be a mild case.

And we are pleased that as our retirees are becoming fully vaccinated, you might see them more and more on campus again — volunteering, at the library, in the RFC, in Java Junction, etc. — even as they too follow the Big Four. Join us in welcoming them back!

A few other helpful notes:

  • So far 347 campus members (compared to 191 last week) — 218 students and 129 employees/retirees — have reported that they have been able to receive at least one vaccine shot, and 170 of those have received both doses. If you’ve been vaccinated but haven’t yet told us, please fill out this vaccination reporting form after both your first and second dose. And we’ve started updating our COVID-19 Daily Dashboard with this info as well.
  • Our on-campus mandatory testing clinic continues to go well. We’ve conducted 5,196 tests this semester and have discovered 6 positive cases this way. Thanks again to all of the volunteers making that happen so efficiently and well!
  • Upcoming study days: Just a reminder that March 16 (next Tuesday) and April 2 are scheduled study days with no classes or assignments due that day, and are reserved for rest, self-care and studying.
  • If you’ve been vaccinated, we encourage you to download and use the V-Safe app from the CDC. This helps to build a very large database of post-vaccine symptoms that will eventually help show how safe and effective the vaccines are. It is a way for all of us to contribute to science and the greater good.
  • If you are feeling hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine for whatever reason or just have questions about them, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has many very helpful resources, including safety and effectiveness information, specific detail about what is in each of the three approved vaccines, data from the vaccine testing trials about side effects and adverse reactions, etc. Start with this FAQ page and follow other links on the site to learn about the vaccines.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


3.5.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

We hope that you are taking advantage of the sun and warmer weather to be outside more lately. (And yes, we are working on getting tents back up soon!)

The stress of the pandemic is taking its toll on all of us, and we want to encourage you to take care of your mental and emotional health. Here are some good ways:

  • get outdoors and into nature
  • eat well and drink plenty of water
  • move and get exercise
  • get plenty of sleep
  • relax, reflect and pray
  • connect socially
  • give yourself permission not to do everything you used to
  • talk to a counselor
  • talk to our campus pastor

Athletic spectators and campus event audience update: We again welcome current GC students and employees (though unfortunately not families) to attend home athletic events and designated in-person events (ex. Concerto-Aria Concert this weekend) on a first come, first serve basis until the venue capacity has been reached. Each venue and bleacher set have a capacity limit based on physical distancing. Some events will require tickets to manage audience numbers. GC rostered players and special performers may have external guests added to a pass list. Baseball and softball home games will not have limits on lawn chair seating. As always on campus, expectations about following the Big Four at these events remain.

Over 2 million vaccine doses on average are being administered across the country on a daily basis, up from 1.3 million per day a month ago. In Indiana, 15.6% of the population has received at least one dose. So, if you haven’t already received a vaccine, the wait isn’t much longer. Here’s what you need to know about vaccines this week:

  • Did you know COVID vaccines are now available to 50+ year olds in Indiana, as well as teachers (pre-K to 12) nationally? Encourage the people you know and love who are eligible to sign up for their appointment ASAP at ourshot.in.gov (Indiana teachers can sign up at Kroger, Walmart or Meijer).
  • So far 191 campus members — 119 students and 72 employees/retirees — have been able to receive at least one shot, and 153 of those have received both doses. Note that these are mostly nursing students and faculty, persons 50+ years old and persons who volunteer in a testing clinic.
  • Have you already been vaccinated? Please let us know. Fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. Once you have both shots (and you’ve told us), you are exempt from weekly testing.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


2.26.21 — Friday update: 500,000

Greetings campus,

On Monday, this country marked the tragic milestone of surpassing 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. This is hard to fathom, but most of you probably know at least one person lost to this pandemic. Consider lighting a candle in their memory as you pause to honor the humanity and heartbreak that the number represents. May it give you an extra sense of commitment to do your part to keep that number from growing larger.

But there is also good news. This week, the FDA reviewed and is set to approve a third vaccine (made by Johnson & Johnson) that requires only one shot in the arm, rather than two, and causes fewer side effects. While its reported protection from any COVID illness was not as complete as the first two vaccines now in use, this third vaccine trial was underway in eight countries as the new more severe and contagious variants were circulating. The J&J vaccine performed very well in preventing severe COVID illness. Remarkably, there were no hospitalizations or deaths in the vaccine arm of the trial. You can read a good plain language summary of the three vaccines here.

Locally, Elkhart County’s test positivity rate has decreased, shifting our county status from yellow to blue, which means we have low community spread. And at GC, after clearing our daily dashboard last week, we’ve continued this week with no new cases!

It’s hard to keep it up, but we do not want to let down our guard or think that we’ve somehow conquered this yet. Please persevere in your commitment to following the Big Four on and off campus.

Vaccination updates: 

  • As of Tuesday this week, COVID vaccines are now available to 60+ year olds in Indiana. Encourage the people you know and love to sign up for their appointment ASAP at ourshot.in.gov. If they do not have internet access, they can call 211 for assistance in registering.
  • We are preparing to be able to provide a vaccination clinic on campus for all students and employees as soon as vaccines are made available to us.
  • While vaccinations are not widely available yet, 168 campus members — 105 students and 63 employees/retirees — have been able to receive at least one shot, and 132 of those have received both doses. Note that these are mostly nursing students and faculty, persons 60+ years old and persons who volunteer in a testing clinic.
  • The pace of vaccinations is slowly but steadily increasing across our state and nation, and experts predict that the pace will accelerate in the next two months.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


2.23.21 — Thank you from Student-Led PTF (for students)

Hello Student Body,

We want to thank everyone who joined us Friday, Feb. 12th for the Card Making Event. We made a total of 33 cards and 19 inspirational cards. This past week we purchased goodies to make care packages. Our plan is to include the cards in the care packages and send them out to students who have been affected by COVID-19 by being in either quarantine or isolation since Jan. 11th. Resident life staff will be delivering those care packages to those students.

We plan to continue these care packages as needed for students who have to enter quarantine or isolation going forward. We are also hoping to use some of the extra goodies and inspirational cards to send to our remote student learners as well. Just a little reminder that we are here for students! We know that it can be a very difficult and frustrating time.

Feel free to contact us at studentledptf@goshen.edu (or reach out to any one member of the team) with any questions or ideas that you may have!

Warm Wishes,

Student-Led PTF

Wes Beck
Sandra Cortez
Eden George
Ronit Goswami
Grace Hitt
Aly Kennel
Krislynn Lancaster
Katja Norton
Lesly Rios-Mendoza


2.19.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

This week, we managed to clear our daily dashboard, with no students or employees in isolation or quarantine. Amazing work, Maple Leafs! In addition, COVID infections and deaths have decreased significantly locally, nationally and globally. While this is reason for significant optimism, even with extra testing many college campuses are seeing increases in cases this semester. Let’s keep our numbers low!

We need to stay vigilant because of the documented spread of a more contagious variant in our region. The Indiana State Department of Health and the CDC are actively monitoring the “UK variant” (named B.1.1.7), and have documented a rising number of cases caused by this genetic variation. This variant is 70% more contagious than the original and is expected to be the dominant form of COVID in this country. by late spring. The positive news is that this variant does not cause more severe disease, and the currently approved vaccines are effective at preventing it and reducing severity of illness. Nevertheless, we caution you not to relax your commitments to our Big Four on and off campus.

Here are a few good news items, followed by recommendations:

COVID-19 Student Relief Fund grants: Undergraduate students, you will receive a COVID-19 Student Relief Fund grant during February. An email notification was sent yesterday with the amount of the grant and the date it will post to your account. The grants are funded by the Federal Government’s Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act passed in December, and through gifts from our generous alumni and donors. Learn more here or read the email sent for details.

Upcoming study days: Just a reminder that Feb. 23 (next Tuesday), March 16 and April 2 are scheduled study days with no classes or assignments due that day, and are reserved for rest, self-care and studying.

Student-led PTF care packages update: Thanks to all of you who contributed to the 30+ care packages that were created last week for students who are in quarantine and isolations during this semester. And thank you to the Student-led PTF for leading this care for fellow students.

Vaccination update: We are preparing to be able to provide a vaccination clinic on campus for all students and employees as soon as vaccines are made available to us, but in the meantime 155 campus members — 101 students and 54 employees/retirees — have been able to receive at least one shot, and 117 of those have received both doses! Note that these are mostly nursing students and faculty, persons 65+ years old and persons who volunteer in a testing clinic. The pace of vaccinations is slowly but steadily increasing, and experts predict that the pace will accelerate in March and April.

Wondering what you should know if you would ever need to be in quarantine or isolation on campus? See our “Quarantine and Isolation Survival Guide” for more details and our “Dos and Don’ts Guide to Isolation Expectations.”

Have you picked up mask filters at our testing clinic or started to wear a double mask? We strongly encourage increasing your mask protection with the rise of virus variants across the country.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

  • Use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report any symptoms, exposure or test results from off campus. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise and work through next steps.
  • The Big Four = mandatory face masks (read the policy here), 6 feet of physical distance, regular hand washing/sanitizer, daily symptom monitoring (use this daily checklist) and reporting. These are our best defenses against COVID-19 and what we expect of all members of our campus community, even if you have had COVID-19 recently or received the vaccine.
  • Non-Compliance Form: If you observe a student or employee not following COVID guidelines, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form.
  • Have you already been vaccinated? Let us know. Please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate.
  • Follow our daily dashboard here.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


2.12.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

Our weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing is working well and we appreciate your commitment to showing up. Since the beginning of the testing this semester, 2,738 tests have been conducted on campus. The next time you get tested, join us in thanking the students who are volunteering each week to help make these happen so smoothly and well!

Have you begun to upgrade your mask with a filter or to wear a double mask? We strongly encourage increasing your mask protection with the rise of virus variants across the country. Pick up filters when you get tested on campus, and use them in your cloth masks that have a pocket, or cut a slit in a double-layer mask to slip the filter in. Need more info about why and how? Here’s a helpful article.

Masks are required at all times in athletics and the Rec-Fitness Center (RFC), and this includes on the sidelines of a competition, during practices, in the locker room (except in the shower) and in the weight room. The only exceptions to this are when student-athletes are competing/practicing on the court/field or any campus member is doing aerobic exercise in the RFC or on the outdoor athletic fields.

Vaccination update: So far 151 campus members — 99 students and 52 employees/retirees — have received at least one shot, and 107 of those have received both doses! Note that these are mostly nursing students and faculty, persons 65+ years old and persons who volunteer in a testing clinic. The pace of vaccinations is slowly but steadily increasing, and experts predict that the pace will accelerate in March and April.

Show you care! Join the Student-led PTF today (in the Union’s Hunsberger Commons until 4 p.m.) in making cards for care packages for students who are either in quarantine or isolation.

Are you remembering each morning to do your daily symptom monitoring? Please keep it up and if you have any symptoms (including a mild headache, sore throat or cough), stay home or in your residence hall room, and let us know by using the COVID-19 Reporting Form.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources:

  • Use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report any symptoms, exposure or test results from off campus. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise and work through next steps.
  • The Big Four = mandatory face masks (read the policy here), 6 feet of physical distance, regular hand washing/sanitizer, daily symptom monitoring (use this daily checklist) and reporting. These are our best defenses against COVID-19 and what we expect of all members of our campus community, even if you have had COVID-19 recently or received the vaccine.
  • Non-Compliance Form: If you observe a student or employee not following COVID guidelines, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form.
  • Have you already been vaccinated? Let us know. Please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate.
  • Follow our daily dashboard here.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


2.5.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

Our case numbers remain low, but are not zero this week. This should motivate all of us to remain vigilant about the Big Four, and also confirms the value of our on-campus testing. In today’s communication we want to emphasize two of our Big Four: symptom reporting and wearing masks.

Even with weekly testing, it is critical that each of you report any COVID-related symptoms (including a mild headache, sore throat or cough) immediately using the COVID-19 Reporting Form. We will follow up with you promptly to give you the care and counsel you need to keep yourself and others safe. The faster we detect cases, the more people we can protect from transmission.

And as we learn of more contagious variants around us, we want to encourage you to consider how you can upgrade your mask with a filter, or to wear a double mask. We’ll keep looking for ways that we can support you in this, for example we will provide some sample filters at our testing clinics next week, and encourage you to try it out in a cloth mask that has a pocket. And here’s a helpful article with more ideas about how you can “up your mask game.”

Vaccination update: So far 122 people — 78 students and 44 employees — have received at least one shot, and 81 of those have received both doses! Once you have both shots, you are exempt from weekly testing. Dr. Bethany Wait, Elkhart County Health Officer, recently said: “We are vaccinating 8,200 people per week in Elkhart County…saving an estimated 364 hospitalizations and 50 lives.” Want to know more? Check out this helpful FAQ about COVID-19 vaccines in English and Español.

Here are quick link reminders to our key COVID-19 resources in case you need them:

  • The Big Four = mandatory face masks (read the policy here), 6 feet of physical distance, regular hand washing/sanitizer, daily symptom monitoring (use this daily checklist) and reporting. These are our best defenses against COVID-19 and what we expect of all members of our campus community, even if you have had COVID-19 recently or received the vaccine.
  • Non-Compliance Form: If you observe a student or employee not following COVID guidelines, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form.
  • Have you already been vaccinated? Let us know. Please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate.
  • Follow our daily dashboard here.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.29.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

We wanted to start off with a couple of important points we’ve been learning in recent weeks about COVID-19:

First, take a look at the “Swiss cheese model,” which effectively illustrates how our combination of COVID-19 preventive measures work together to protect you. (This article and graphic explain it really well). Each measure is a layer of the cheese and, by itself, is not a perfect solution because it has some holes that the virus can get through. So it is important that we layer as many measures as possible in order to be most effective and significantly reduce the risks. Mandatory weekly testing on campus is the newest layer we have added, but it should not be your only layer! Even when you are getting tested weekly, you need to keep up the Big Four. Don’t stop wearing your mask and maintaining your distance. Remember, the test is only a snapshot for that day.

Second, the two COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved so far are saving lives! Vaccines, along with other preventive measures, will bring an end to this pandemic. If you have the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine, please take it. As experts explain in this article, the two vaccines approved so far in this country are among the best vaccines ever created — 95% effective against illness and essentially 100% effective against severe disease. The vaccine represents the tightest layer yet in the Swiss cheese model.

And now here are a few other updates for this week:

    1. Visitation policy change: After receiving student feedback, and in consideration of low levels of COVID-19 on campus, we have decided to ease our pandemic visitation policy to allow residential students and off-campus students to visit residential spaces on campus more freely again. Starting today, residence halls, ILCs and apartments are accessible to all students Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Overnight visitors and non-student/employee guests will continue to be restricted from campus housing until further notice. Please follow mask-wearing and distance protocols as much as possible. Like all COVID policies, the decision to change the visitation policy is subject to change depending on the rise of cases on campus and in Elkhart County.
    2. Speaking of our local community cases…we are no longer a red county! Elkhart County has moved to yellow status, about where it was at the beginning of October, with 44 new positive cases per day on average and a seven-day testing positivity rate below 10%. While this is a very significant improvement from November and December, yellow still means high risk and widespread transmission.
    3. Walk-in testing clinic updates (all the details here)
      • After week two of testing, we are pleased to report that we continue to have had no positive tests!
      • Testing clinic line webcam: If you would like to see if there is a line ahead of time, check out our new live webcam of the clinic hallway here (only accessible to viewers on campus).
      • Reminder about location, days and times:
        • Location: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room (across from the Fellowship Hall)
        • Days/times:
          • Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
          • Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon
          • Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
        • Note: So far, the last hour of each testing clinic session tends to have no line.
      • Students, unless you meet certain exceptions (listed here), if you miss more than one week of testing in any four-week period, you will be fined $25.
    4. Student-Led PTF: Students, are you interested in joining this group to help your campus peers through the pandemic? If so, or if you have any ideas or questions for the group, email studentledptf@goshen.edu.
    5. And here are links to our key COVID-19 resources:
      • Use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report symptoms, exposure or test results from off campus. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise and work through next steps.
      • The Big Four = mandatory face masks (read the policy here), 6 feet of physical distance, regular hand washing/sanitizer, daily symptom monitoring (use this daily checklist). These are our best defenses against COVID-19 and what we expect of all members of our campus community, even if you have had COVID-19 recently or received the vaccine.
      • Non-Compliance Form: If you observe a student or employee not following COVID guidelines, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form.
      • Have you already been vaccinated? Let us know. Please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate (so far 70 people — 42 students and 28 employees — have received at least one shot). Once you have both shots, you are exempt from weekly testing.
      • Follow our daily dashboard here.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.22.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

Thank you to all who completed your first week of mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing. We are extremely pleased to report that all tests this week were negative and so far all positive cases this semester are from off campus. You can follow our daily dashboard here.

Here are a few other updates for this week:

    1. A reminder about the mandatory weekly COVID-19 walk-in testing clinics for all students and employees:
      • Days and times:
        • Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
        • Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon
        • Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
      • Location: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room (across from the Fellowship Hall)
      • It is quick and easy….and it is free!
      • Students, unless you meet certain exceptions below, if you miss more than one week of testing in any four-week period, you will be fined $25. 
      • Exceptions to the requirement for all students and employees to be tested weekly:
        • If you are studying or working remotely this semester and not interacting in-person with any campus members.
        • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months.
        • If you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    2. Are you new to campus this semester? Check out these important COVID-19 resources:
      • Use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report symptoms, exposure or test results from off campus. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise and work through next steps.
      • The Big Four = mandatory face masks (read the policy here), 6 feet of physical distance, regular hand washing/sanitizer, daily symptom monitoring (use this daily checklist). These are our best defense against COVID-19 and what we expect of all members of our campus community.
      • Non-Compliance Form: If you observe a student or employee not following these, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form.
    3. Spectator policy change for basketball and men’s volleyball games: The spectator policy has been modified to allow for up to four guests per player to attend through a gate pass list. Spectators must follow the Big Four. No spectators from visiting teams or from outside the pass list will be admitted. All home events in basketball and volleyball will continue to be streamed online free of charge on the athletic department’s YouTube channel.
    4. We are excited that our new Student-Led Pandemic Task Force has launched. Their purpose is to have students helping students through the pandemic. They will be communicating, promoting, connecting and collaborating with students by giving feedback on policies, creating care packages, reaching to students impacted by isolation and quarantine, etc. They can be reached at studentledptf@goshen.edu.
    5. We want to know if and when you have been vaccinated! Until we are able to provide vaccinations widely to all campus members, please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate (53 people so far have received at least one shot). You’ll complete the form both times, and upload an image of your vaccination card. Once you have both shots, you are exempt from weekly testing. We strongly encourage anyone who is given the opportunity to receive the vaccine to do so.
    6. During the cold winter months, Maple City Health Care Clinic’s COVID-19 Mobile Testing Site, previously in the parking lot south of College Mennonite Church, has moved to an indoor location at Walnut Hill  Mennonite Church. This was a very helpful resource for our campus in the fall and we were grateful for their presence.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.22.21 — Students Helping Students Through the Pandemic (for students from the Student-Led Pandemic Task Force)

Hello GC students,
We are the Student-Led Pandemic Task Force (PTF) team. We are writing to you, the GC student body, to introduce ourselves and share our purpose: Students Helping Students Through The Pandemic. We want to communicate, promote, connect and collaborate with you. What does this look like?
  • Giving administration feedback on policies; providing clarity over rules
  • Creating care packages for students impacted by the pandemic
  • Reaching out to remote students and those in isolation and quarantine
  • Possible events (getting together to hand write encouraging cards for students)
  • Your ideas 🙂

We encourage participation and feedback on everything we do. Let us know if you are interested in joining the team, or have ideas of needs that we can meet, and ideas on how we can do that. How to reach out? Our email: studentledptf@goshen.edu or any one specific person on this team. We also encourage ideas and support from the faculty as well!!

Excited to work with and serve you,

Student-Led Pandemic Task Force
Wes Beck
Sandra Cortez
Eden George
Ronit Goswami
Krislynn Lancaster
Katja Norton


1.21.21 — Reminder – Today is the last day for this week’s mandatory testing

Students,

First, thank you to all of you who have come to one of our walk-in testing clinics on Sunday and Monday and gotten your first week’s mandatory COVID-19 test. It has gone very smoothly and so far has resulted in 0 positives!

For those of you who have not been tested yet, you only have one more opportunity this week: TODAY between 3:30-5:30 p.m. Walk in anytime during the clinic at the Church-Chapel’s Koinonia Room (across from the Fellowship Hall). It is quick and easy….and it is free! Learn more about our mandatory weekly testing here.

We will notify you within 1 hour of the test if you test positive. If you do not hear from us within the hour, you may assume your test was negative.

Thank you for helping us all stay healthy! As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.15.21 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

We hope that your semester has begun well and you are starting to get back into the academic, social and spiritual rhythms that come with our campus in the midst of a pandemic. Here are a few updates for this week:

  1. Yesterday we sent out information specifically about the beginning of mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing this semester for all campus members. Please refer to that email or this website for details and to make your plans for weekly testing. As we said: January 17 (THIS SUNDAY) begins the first week of testing for students.
    • A reminder that the walk-in testing clinics each week will be:
      • Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
      • Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon
      • Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
    • Where: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room
    • NO SIGN UP AHEAD OF TIME IS REQUIRED.
    • We will notify you within 2 hours of the test if you test positive. If you do not hear from us within two hours, you may assume your test was negative.
    • There is no cost for these tests for students or employees.
  2. Return to campus testing reporting: Of the 382 tests we conducted on campus before the semester began, all were negative! In addition, three students tested positive before they returned to campus and isolated at home. Two of those three were asymptomatic, so it was good they were identified before they returned, and we are grateful overall for the very low amount of current infection.
  3. We want to know if and when you have been vaccinated! Until we are able to provide vaccinations widely to all campus members, please fill out this form when you receive your first and your second dose so that we can track our campus’ vaccination rate. You’ll complete the form both times, and upload an image of your vaccination card.
  4. Non-Compliance: The Big Four (face masks, distance, hand washing, symptom awareness) are still our best defense against Covid-19. If you observe a student or employee not following the Big Four, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form. We each need to do our part in holding each other accountable. During the fall, Student Life implemented an escalating fine structure for reports of non-compliance related to the Big Four. That continues during this spring semester.
  5. We will be following new CDC guidelines which allow quarantine (for those exposed to someone who tested positive) to be completed in 7 days if the individual is asymptomatic and has a negative test in days 6-7 post-exposure. The length of isolation (for those who test positive) remains unchanged — 10 days minimum from the start of symptoms.

As always, contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.14.21 — Plan for weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing starting this Sunday (for students)

Greetings students,

Mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing on campus will begin this Sunday, January 17. We want to give you more details today as we prepare for that to begin.

    1. Who is required to do this: All students
      • Exceptions:
        • If you are studying or working remotely this semester and not interacting in-person with any campus members.
        • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months. For example, for the week of January 17, you will be exempt if you have had COVID since October 17, 2020.
        • If you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    2. When & Where — 
      • Walk-in testing clinics each week will be:
        • Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
        • Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon
        • Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
      • Where: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room
      • Please arrange your schedules to make one of these times work. However, if none of the available clinic times works for your schedule at all, please email pandemic@goshen.edu so that we can determine a solution that will work for you.
    3. How to get tested:
      • NO SIGN UP AHEAD OF TIME IS REQUIRED. Just show up during one of the available testing clinic times (listed above). Choosing a time that is not at the start time of any scheduled testing block will probably help you avoid longer lines.
      • We will notify you within 2 hours of the test if your test result is positive, and work with you on your next steps for isolation and contact tracing. If you do not hear from us within two hours, you may assume your test was negative.
      • There is no cost to you for these tests, and your insurance will not be billed.
      • When you choose a testing time that works for you, add it to your calendar and stick with it. Consistency will help you remember and make it a habit! If we need to add additional testing times to accommodate everyone, we will.
    4. Why are we testing weekly: Very regular surveillance testing will help us quickly identify any positive cases on campus to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. It is one more significant layer of prevention — in addition to the Big Four and other steps we take. We hope it will help all of us feel more secure about our health, individually and as we teach and learn together.
    5. What will happen if you do not get tested: Students who miss more than one week of testing in a 4-week period will be fined $25. Fines will escalate if more tests are missed.

Remember to use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report symptoms, exposure or test results from off campus. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise and work through next steps. The process for quarantine and isolation, as well as remote learning, remains the same.

As always, you can contact us with any questions at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.8.21 — Friday updates

Greetings campus,

We know emails are boring, but we are just days away from the second semester beginning, so please read completely and carefully. We have a lot of updates and reminders as we prepare for a safe, healthy and joy-filled semester together.

  1. First and most urgently, if you have not completed this Return to Campus COVID-19 Test Form yet, you must do so by Jan. 11. All students and employees who will be studying or working on campus this spring must be tested for COVID-19 and provide a negative test result to us before the spring semester classes begin. After January 11, the IDs of students who have not fulfilled this requirement will be deactivated until it is completed.
    • A reminder that if you plan to meet this requirement by getting tested on campus, your opportunities are THIS Sunday, Jan. 10 or Monday, Jan. 11 (between 1-4 p.m. either day, and you must sign-up here) in the Church-Chapel Koinonia Room. 
    • Students, there is a $50 one-time cost for this on-campus re-entry testing and it will be collected at the test check-in. Only debit or credit card payments will be accepted. You might be asking: why the $50 charge? Our goal has been for students to get tested before returning to campus in case you need to isolate at home as the semester begins. If you are unable to get tested before coming to campus, and the fee is a burden, please reach out to Richard Aguirre in Student Life. We want and need all students (and employees) to get tested, so we will work with you to make sure it happens.
    • There are a few exceptions to being tested, but everyone must still complete the Return to Campus COVID-19 Test Form before Jan. 12. The exceptions are:
      • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 1.
      • If you are studying or working remotely this semester and not interacting in-person with any campus members.
      • If you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  2. Also urgent: Please resume use of our COVID-19 Reporting Form to alert us if you have any symptoms, have tested positive or think you may have been exposed to the virus. Our COVID-19 Daily Dashboard will resume on Monday, January 11.
  3. On January 17 we will begin mandatory weekly surveillance testing, meaning testing of all students and employees who are studying or working on campus, regardless of symptoms. No costs will be charged for this required weekly testing.
    • Testing clinics will be each week on:
      • Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
      • Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon
      • Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
    • A link to the sign-up sheet will be coming next week.
    • We will notify you within 2 hours of the test if you test positive. If you do not hear from us within two hours, you may assume your test was negative.
    • The exceptions for the return to campus testing requirement (see above) also apply to surveillance testing during this semester.
  4. Non-compliance: Practicing the Big Four (face masks, distance, hand washing, symptom awareness) is still our best defense against COVID-19. If you observe a student or employee not following these guidelines, please let us know (anonymously, if you wish) through our COVID-19 Non-Compliance Form. We each need to do our part in holding each other accountable. During the fall, Student Life implemented an escalating fine structure for reports of non-compliance related to the Big Four. That will continue during the spring semester.
  5. Student-led PTF: We are excited to announce that the student members of the Pandemic Task Force will be working this semester with advisors from nursing, public health and student life to create health and wellness activities that address our continued adjustment to the pandemic. As part of this, we have added several new student representatives to our group who are both commuters: Sandra Cortez (a senior nursing and public health major from Elkhart, Ind.) and Krislynn Lancaster (a senior molecular biology/biochemistry major from Milford, Ind.).
  6. Vaccine survey: As we prepare for the availability of a COVID-19 vaccination for members of campus, we are seeking further input and understanding about campus attitudes about the vaccine. Please complete this anonymous survey by the end of the day today. We want to hear from you! And if you are wondering about the benefits of getting vaccinated for COVID-19, check out this helpful site from the CDC.

As always, you can contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected! We’re looking forward to a great semester together.

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


1.4.21 — IMPORTANT REMINDERS: Mandatory COVID testing information

Greetings campus,

Welcome to the new year! As we prepare for the beginning of most classes next week, we want to remind you of a few key actions you need to take in preparation:

  1. Mandatory return to campus COVID-19 testing: ALL students and employees must complete this Return to Campus COVID-19 Test Form before Jan. 12.

    • All students and employees who will be studying or working on campus this spring must be tested for COVID-19 and provide a negative test result to us before the spring semester classes begin.

    • You can be tested on campus on Sunday, Jan. 10 or Monday, Jan. 11 (between 1-4 p.m. either day), though you must sign-up for this rapid test by Wednesday, Jan. 6 (use this sign-up form). See the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet for choosing the date you prefer. Students, there is a $50 one-time cost for this on-campus re-entry testing.

    • If you will not be getting tested during the times provided on campus, you will need to be tested by your doctor or at a testing site between Jan. 6-11, in order to return to the residence halls or classes. Student leaders and athletes approved to return early to campus must submit a negative test result dated within 5 days prior to their return to campus (be in communication with your coach or supervisor if you have questions).

    • There are a few exceptions to being tested, but everyone must still complete the Return to Campus COVID-19 Test Form before Jan. 12. The exceptions are:

      • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 1.

      • If you are studying or working remotely this semester and not interacting in-person with any campus members.

      • If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

  2. In addition to the return to campus mandatory testing, we will be testing symptomatic individuals and those in quarantine (days 5-7 post-exposure) during the semester.

  3. We will also be conducting mandatory weekly surveillance testing (testing of non-symptomatic individuals) on campus next semester at no cost for students or employees. Your insurance will not be billed. Weekly tests will be required of all students and employees who are studying or working on campus. We will share more details as they are finalized.

  4. Finally, as we prepare for the availability of a COVID-19 vaccination for members of campus, we are seeking further input and understanding about campus attitudes about the vaccine. Please complete this anonymous survey by Friday, Jan. 8. We want to hear from you! And if you are wondering about the benefits of getting vaccinated for COVID-19, check out this helpful site from the CDC.

We believe that this extra testing will make a significant difference in our ability to keep our cases of COVID-19 to a minimum and our campus healthy this spring. We hope that it will also increase your own confidence and trust while being on campus. Elkhart County remains at the red (highest) advisory level, but we are very pleased that new COVID-19 cases have fallen by more than half since our local peak in November, when we were all last on campus. A county-wide mask mandate remains in place.

It will still be imperative that all of us follow the Big Four (handwashing, daily self check-in, mask wearing and physical distancing) this semester to remain healthy and not infect others.

As always, you can contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


12.18.20 — Friday update: return-to-campus testing details and more

Greetings campus,

This will be our final weekly update for 2020 and we have a number of important pieces of news and reminders to share with you.

  1. This was a wonderfully historic week with the arrival and distribution of the first COVID vaccines in this country! While there is still a long journey ahead to return to a more normal lifestyle, this will be the beginning of our ability to do so. We do not yet know when vaccines will be available to us as educators and students, but we are already in conversation with our state and county health officials, as well as our local health care provider, Goshen Family Physicians.We strongly urge all of you to be vaccinated following guidance from the CDC. We understand that you may have questions about the vaccines — soon there will be more than one approved — and whether and when it is right for you to receive one. The safety and efficacy of the two leading vaccines is extraordinarily good. We will work with our county health department and with Goshen Family Physicians to keep you fully informed and to answer your questions.
  2. Students: here are more details about our return to campus mandatory testing plans:
    • All students must complete this Return to Campus Test Form BEFORE returning to campus or attending classes. It allows you to upload an image of the negative test result, to check a box if you have already tested positive since October 1 (not August 1 as previously stated) or to indicate if you plan to be tested on campus.
    • You can be tested at your doctor’s office or at a testing site near you. If this is difficult for you, you may be tested on-campus on Jan. 10 or 11 for a one-time $50 fee. You must pre-register for this test. A sign-up form will be sent to all who indicate this plan on the Return to Campus Test Form.
    • All students must be tested for COVID-19 and provide a negative test result to us, dated Jan. 6-11, in order to return to the residence halls or classes. Student leaders and athletes approved to return early to campus must submit a negative test result dated within 5 days prior to their return to campus (be in communication with your coach or supervisor if you have questions).
  3. All employees will be provided the opportunity to be tested on campus prior to interacting with students at the start of the new semester. More information to come about this.
  4. Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, all students should once again fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you experience symptoms or are in contact with someone who might have COVID. Our contact tracing team will resume working with all reports, and your professors will be informed as needed.
    • Students who are in isolation or quarantine on January 11 should remain at home until this is completed. New CDC guidelines allow quarantine (for those exposed to someone who tested positive) to be completed in 7 days if the individual is asymptomatic and has a negative test in days 5-7 post-exposure. Length of isolation (for those who test positive) remains unchanged — 10 days minimum from start of symptoms.
    • Normal room and board charges will begin as scheduled, even for students who arrive late due to quarantine or isolation.
  5. Here’s a reminder of the schedule for the beginning of the new semester:
    • New Student Move-in and Spring Launch will begin on Sunday, Jan. 10, in-person. (See the full schedule for more details.)
    • Continuing residential students can return to campus beginning on Sunday, Jan. 10 (noon-8 p.m.).
    • Night classes will begin on Monday, Jan. 11 and day classes begin on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 8 a.m.
    • Monday, Jan. 18 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Study Day (no classes)
  6. In addition to testing symptomatic individuals and those in quarantine (days 5-7 post-exposure), we will provide regular surveillance testing on campus next semester. As we finalize these plans, we would like to know your opinions about how frequently to test asymptomatic students and whether to make this testing mandatory. Please fill out this very quick survey before Christmas.
  7. We urge everyone to continue to practice the Big Four no matter where you are right now, and to plan to do so again when you return to campus. This includes those of you who have already had COVID-19 because it is not yet clear how long immunity lasts and because it assures others around you that you too are being responsible and careful. Practicing the Big Four is a community standard. And while we strongly caution you about holiday gatherings this year due to the current national surge in COVID cases and deaths, we hope you can find ways to connect in meaningful ways with your loved ones virtually and to embrace holiday cheer in safe ways.

 

As always, you can contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected, and we also wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you soon — distanced, masked, healthy and happy.

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


12.11.20 — Friday update: Spring testing plans

Greetings campus,

This week we wanted to give you more information about our COVID-19 testing plans for the spring semester, as well as a few related updates and reminders.

  1. Returning to campus: All students will need to be tested for COVID-19 (at your doctor or a testing site near you) and provide a negative test result to us, dated Jan. 6-11, in order to return to the residence halls or classes. Please start to make plans for this. Next week we will provide further details and the return-to-campus testing submission form to you with instructions about how to document your test results for us.
    • Students who were confirmed to have COVID after Aug. 1, 2020 are excluded from this requirement. The form will allow you to indicate this.
    • Students returning early to campus will need to submit a negative test result dated within 5 days prior to their return to campus.
    • All employees will be provided the opportunity to be tested on campus prior to interacting with students at the start of the new semester.
  2. Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, all students should once again fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you experience symptoms or are in contact with someone who might have COVID. Our contact tracing team will resume working with all reports, and your professors will be informed as needed.
    • Students who are in isolation or quarantine on January 11 will remain at home until this is completed. New CDC guidelines allow quarantine (for those exposed to someone who tested positive) to be completed in 7 days if the individual is asymptomatic and has a negative test in days 5-7 post-exposure.
    • Normal room and board charges will begin as scheduled, even for students who arrive late due to quarantine or isolation.
  3. COVID testing in the spring semester:
    • During the spring semester, there will be regular mandatory surveillance testing of students on campus (who have not already had COVID-19). We will provide you with more details about that soon.
    • We will also make surveillance testing available to employees.
    • We will continue to provide testing on campus for symptomatic individuals and those in quarantine (in days 5-7 post-exposure).
  4. COVID-related full semester remote learning requests: The deadline for requesting full spring semester remote learning for COVID-related issues is December 15, 2020. Please review the requirements, steps to take and frequently asked questions on the remote learning web page before completing a request. It is very important that you talk to your academic adviser about the suitability of your spring schedule for remote learning.
  5. Also, just a reminder that if you are an employee, or a student continuing to live on campus, please continue to fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you experience symptoms or are in contact with someone who might have COVID. Our contact tracing team will continue to work with all reports. Students not living on campus, please contact your family doctor if you become ill.

Students, you can anticipate an email from the Dean’s Office with more academic reminders soon. As always, you can always contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


12.4.20 — Friday update

Greetings campus,

We hope you all had a very good Thanksgiving, however and wherever you celebrated. While most of you are dispersed right now and not physically on campus, we do want to stay connected with you and will continue to send regular updates as we prepare for the start of our spring semester.

A few notes for this week:

  1. During the break:
    • If you are an employee, or a student continuing to live on campus, please continue to fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you experience symptoms or are in contact with someone who might have COVID. Our contact tracing team will continue to work with all reports.
    • Students not living on campus, please contact your family doctor if you become ill.
    • Students, our counseling services are available to you. If you would like to speak to a campus counselor, please contact Luna Campos to schedule an appointment.
  2. Recommended quarantine length change: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week a change to their recommended length of time for quarantine if you are exposed. They are now suggesting that for people without symptoms, quarantine can end on day 10 without testing and on day 7 after receiving a negative test result. You should still monitor yourself for symptoms until14 days after exposure. This change was made in order to decrease the economic burden of quarantine, increase compliance and decrease stress on the public health system. At the same time, the CDC continues to also endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. GC will follow the new CDC quarantine guidelines.
  3. Students, please plan ahead to get a COVID test at a testing site near you before you return to campus for the spring semester. We will provide you with more detail about this mandatory testing requirement closer to the time.
  4. Students, if you have been tested by Goshen Family Physicians and receive a bill for the cost, please contact Luna Campos, Health Services, for assistance.
  5. Dashboard update: Of the 382 voluntary rapid antigen COVID-19 surveillance tests administered on campus for any students and employees before Thanksgiving (between Nov. 20-24), 14 were positive, which is a 3.72% positivity rate. Our dashboard will return with updates on Jan. 11, 2021.
  6. Help your community over break: The Indiana State Department of Health suggests that if you are an Indiana student on break who has recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative, consider working or volunteering at a nursing home, for a hospital, providing childcare for a family doing virtual learning, or joining the workforce when a vaccine becomes available. You also can consider serving as a substitute teacher for a local school. Sign up here to be connected to opportunities in your community.

 

 

 

As always, you can always contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.23.20 — Reminder: Sign up now for COVID testing offer before Thanksgiving

Good morning,

This is just a reminder that we continue to offer on-campus COVID-19 testing for free to all students and employees (who have not tested positive in the past three months) TODAY and TOMORROW. This test is not mandatory, but we strongly encourage all to take up this opportunity.

These are newly available, rapid antigen COVID-19 tests provided by the Indiana State Department of Health. After you are tested, we will notify you of your test result by text or email (as you prefer) within a couple of hours.

Available times:

  • Monday, Nov. 23: 1-2:30, 4-4:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 24: 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Where to go: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room

>> Sign up here  

As we’ve said before, a test result only reflects your status on that day. Your continued commitment to the Big Four is critical.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.20.20 — Final COVID update of the semester (but not 2020)!

Greetings campus,

We are now in the very final days of the semester. Some of you may already be packed up. Before you go, we do hope you will take advantage of the offer for the free, quick and painless COVID tests being offered the next few days to all students and employees. You can read the details and sign up here.

We also have a few other final updates and recommendations:

  1. We have some further guidance and suggested reading for you about keeping safe during the holidays and if you are heading home. We strongly encourage you to stay home and spend the coming holidays with just your household if possible. We urge you to be very careful. And if you are returning home from college, we encourage you to take additional precautions to spend time with members of your household safely. Read through these for some very helpful tips:
  2. During the break:
    • If you are an employee or a student continuing to live on campus, please continue to fill out the COVID-19 Reporting Form if you experience symptoms or are in contact with someone who might have COVID. Our contact tracing team will continue to work with all reports.
    • Students not living on campus, please contact your family doctor if you become ill.
  3. Students, please plan ahead to get tested before you return to campus for the spring semester. We will provide you with more detail about re-entry screening closer to the time.
  4. Students, if you have been tested by Goshen Family Physicians and receive a bill for the cost, please contact the Student Life Office for assistance.
  5. Our local community in Elkhart County has not yet turned the corner on COVID cases, and the county was moved from orange status to red on Wednesday. You can read the state’s changes to respond to our increasing national crisis and the definitions of the color coding here. Yesterday the Elkhart County Health Department also passed additional public health orders related to face coverings (incremental enforcement steps) and mitigation directives (limits of 25 people at gatherings).

We have all learned a great deal this semester about how to maintain health and well being during this pandemic. In December, our task force will be at work refining our systems for next semester, so please feel free to send us your ideas and suggestions. You can always contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus. And you can look forward to more updates over the coming weeks.

Be well and stay connected as you complete this historic semester!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.19.20 — New COVID testing offer before Thanksgiving for all students and employees

Greetings,

We are very pleased to announce that we have just received a supply of newly available, rapid antigen COVID-19 tests provided by the Indiana State Department of Health. These are easy to use so we can administer on campus to all students and employees before Thanksgiving. They are FREE to you and will not be processed through insurance.

What kind of test is this? This is a rapid test for the protein antigen of the novel coronavirus. The test is done on a swab of your nostrils, rather than the deeper nasopharyngeal swab that is required for the molecular tests or antigen tests that we have offered to date. After you are tested, we will notify you of your test result by text or email (as you prefer) within a couple of hours.

Antigen tests are less sensitive than molecular (PCR) tests for the virus; however this test is authorized for surveillance use in higher-risk settings, as is currently the case in Elkhart County. If you test positive, it is highly likely that you are infectious with the virus; however, we recommend that you get a PCR test from Goshen Family Physicians to confirm.

Who should get it: ALL students and employees who have not tested positive in the past three months. Those who have been tested otherwise in the past weeks and months can be tested again, and we recommend that you do so. This test is not mandatory, but we strongly encourage all to take up this opportunity.

Available times:

  • Friday, Nov. 20: 1-3, 4-6 p.m. (students only)
  • Monday, Nov. 23: 1-3, 4-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 24: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.

We will limit it to 15 people per 15 minute time slot and open more times if needed.

Where to go: Church-Chapel Koinonia Room

>> Sign up here  

As we’ve said before, a test result only reflects your status on that day. Your continued commitment to the Big Four is critical.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.17.20 — What happens if you go into isolation or quarantine now?

Greetings students,

With the end of the semester and Thanksgiving just 8-9 days away, we want to clarify what will happen if you should either test positive for COVID-19 and have to isolate, or be exposed to someone who tested positive and need to quarantine.

  • If you are exposed, our lead contact tracer Kevin Miller will talk with you about whether you want to or are able to quarantine at home, or need to remain on campus in Miller Hall. If you are a commuter student we will talk with you about safety precautions at home during the quarantine period.

  • If you test positive, Kevin Miller will talk with your parents/guardians about whether or not they are able and willing to support you in isolating at home. If not, we will support you in isolation in Kenwood House. If you are a commuter student we will talk with you about safety precautions at home during the isolation period.

  • If you need to isolate or quarantine on campus after Nov. 24, we will ensure that meals as well as access to health care and mental health providers are available to you. For those who remain on campus in isolation, a GC advocate will check in with you daily and someone will be on call if you need help.

Obviously, this is not how you want to spend your break, so we urge you to do everything in your power between now and then to not land in isolation or quarantine, and to be able to return home safely and healthy for the sake of you and your family.

  • Follow the Big Four.

  • Limit off-campus travel to only the essentials.

  • And we strongly recommend you strive to keep 6 feet of distance from everyone, even roommates and close friends whom you may have considered your “bubble.” We know this is hard, but there’s a big benefit to being healthy as you head home to your family.

As we shared last week, voluntary COVID testing continues to be available on-campus this week regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, for those who have not yet participated in surveillance testing this month, as a further step to prevent you carrying the virus to your friends and families. The surveillance testing is available Thursday, Nov. 19 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. in the Church-Chapel Koinonia Room. You can sign up here.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.13.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

This week we are challenged by how much COVID is continuing to spread in our local community (see the county and state data here) and negatively impacting our local hospitals. Our local hospitals remain ready to treat emergency needs, and the Elkhart County Health Department has advised us to finish our semester as planned, noting how well we are recently controlling COVID transmission on campus.

At the same time we are encouraged by the preliminary findings of the high effectiveness of one of the COVID vaccines under trial. A big shout out to our heroic health care providers, as well as medical researchers!

Now more than ever, we must stay focused on how we can each do our part to get this pandemic under control. Our dashboard shows that we are doing a great job protecting our campus community from COVID. Thank you for working hard to support one another.

  1. The scientific support for the benefits of always wearing masks whenever you are around others continues to grow. New evidence shows that when you wear a mask you protect others (called source control) and also yourself (personal protection). The CDC explained: “Individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”
  2. In addition to following the Big Four, we continue to urge all campus members to limit off-campus travel to only the essentials. Do not eat inside restaurants, visit bars or clubs/dance halls, or gather socially with large groups of friends.
  3. And with Thanksgiving approaching, we want to offer you some guidance as you make travel plans and consider gathering with loved ones in the midst of this pandemic. We urge you to be extremely careful this holiday season. The CDC has offered these travel and holiday gathering guidelines. We encourage you to review and follow these before, during and after participation in holiday gatherings. Vox also offers this guide of 11 questions to answer to have a safer pandemic Thanksgiving.
  4. As we shared last week, we are offering voluntary COVID testing on-campus over the next two weeks for students who have not yet participated in surveillance testing this month as a further step to prevent you carrying the virus to your friends and families. These tests are offered at no cost to you. The surveillance testing clinics will be offered on Monday, Nov. 16 and Thursday, Nov. 19 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Church-Chapel’s Koinonia Room. You can sign up here.
  5. With the increase in campus surveillance testing, we want you to be aware that the data dashboard of positive cases includes all positive test results, including those from required or voluntary surveillance testing of asymptomatic students and employees. Surveillance testing has included three expanding phases: gateway testing for athletics prior to the start of seasons (in August and early October); targeted surveillance testing of athletics after reopening and additional groups in late October (music ensembles, small group housing, residence life staff and RAs, etc.); and the broader voluntary surveillance testing offered to all students beginning Nov. 9.
  6. Here is a tool we recommend that may be helpful as you make decisions about your activities and assess the associated COVID-19 risks: mycovidrisk.app.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected as you head into the final days of this semester!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


11.6.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

As we head into the final weeks before Thanksgiving, our goal is to have you finish the semester in full health, ready to return home to your families safely for the holiday break.

As a further step to prevent you carrying the virus home to your families, we are offering voluntary COVID testing on-campus over the next two weeks for students who have not yet participated in surveillance testing this month. These tests are offered at no cost to you. The surveillance testing clinics will be offered on Mondays (Nov. 9 & 16) and Thursdays (Nov. 12 & 19) from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Church-Chapel’s Koinonia Room, and also from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 12). You can sign up here

But most important of all: a test result only reflects your status on that day. Your continued commitment to the Big Four is critical (check out this new video from our Student Senate and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee)! If you are able to stay 6 feet from other people and wear your mask, the likelihood is very high that you will greet your family virus-free. Especially at this time, we ask you to limit your exposures and social contacts to small groups of friends.

A few other updates as we go into the weekend:

  1. We are glad to report that this week we experienced the lowest number of new COVID cases since mid-September. Thank you all for your hard work — keep it up!
  2. On the other hand, our local community COVID numbers continue to be very alarming and are stretching local hospitals’ capacity. We are now averaging more than 200 new positive cases daily and the positive test rate is currently at a moving average of 13.1%.
  3. In light of this, we urge all campus members to limit off-campus travel to only the essentials. Do not eat inside restaurants, visit bars or clubs/dance halls, or gather socially with large groups of friends.
  4. We re-emphasize that while many people who test positive for COVID do not have severe illness, this is not true for all, including among young adults. This is a potentially serious illness that we must all take seriously — for our own sakes and especially for the sake of others whom we could unintentionally spread it to.
  5. Change to athletic spectators: Due to the high number of infections in Elkhart County and the challenge of keeping fans physically distanced, we will no longer allow student spectators at athletic events until further notice. We will allow two family members per student-athlete to attend. Please cheer on our dedicated  athletes via the livestream or follow them on social media.
  6. Get a flu shot, if you have not done so already. Check out these off-campus locations for free shots (with insurance): Goshen Family Physicians (walk-ins on Tuesdays and Fridays), Goshen Health, CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens, and Center for Healing & Hope (free for the uninsured).

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


10.30.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

November is about here (just after Halloween and a Blue Moon this weekend!), so we are entering the home stretch of this semester. Our goal is for all of us to end well, and to return home to our families healthy for the holiday break (keeping up the Big Four is critical to this!). We are cheering you each on during these last four weeks, in your classes, in your end-of-the-semester projects, in your performances and athletic competitions (did you see that our men’s cross country team is ranked 14th in the nation?!)!

We know you’re busy — we’ll keep it brief today:

  1. The Elkhart County numbers are still not going in the right direction. On Wednesday, there were 238 new positive cases, an all-time high so far. The positive test rate also continues to climb and is currently at a moving average of 11.7%.
  2. In light of the high community spread, we continue to urge all campus members to limit off-campus travel to only the essentials. Do not eat inside restaurants, visit bars or clubs/dance halls, and gather socially with large groups of friends.
  3. The expansion of on-campus surveillance testing is ongoing and for now will include music ensembles, students in campus small group housing, some athletic teams, residence life staff and student leadership, and some custodial staff. We also continue to test persons in quarantine 4-7 days after exposure, which has been helpful in isolating some positive cases more quickly.
  4. The on-campus flu clinics have now come to a completion. If you still need to get a shot, check out these off-campus locations for free shots (with insurance): Center for Healing & Hope (free for the uninsured), Goshen Health, CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected — masked and at a safe distance this Halloween weekend!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


10.23.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

We are encouraged to see the progress you have brought about in preventing new infections and limiting exposure, and we hope that we can decrease them further. Many students have returned to their normal activities after isolation and quarantine, and these numbers are once again at a manageable level for our housing capacity. THANK YOU ALL AND KEEP UP THIS GOOD AND VITAL WORK!

At the same time, unfortunately we are seeing our local community numbers surging. There’s a lot of updates this Friday, so please read on.

  1. We are watching our Elkhart County numbers closely, as we are nearing being moved to red status from orange due to a rising test positivity rate and the weekly cases per 100,000 residents. Red status means that state or local officials may restrict activities in the county (click here to see more of what that means). We are in close contact with our county health officials, who recommend that we continue our efforts and keep you as safe as possible on our campus. They recommend no change to our operations, but emphasize the importance of all of the measures we are taking. Local hospitals are nearing capacity for COVID care; however they are maintaining adequate capacity for non-COVID illnesses or injuries.
  2. In light of this, we urge all campus members to limit off-campus travel to only the essentials. Please do not eat inside restaurants, visit bars or clubs/dance halls, and gather socially with large groups of friends.
  3. We are expanding on-campus surveillance testing beginning this week so that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections can be promptly detected and isolated. Goshen Family Physicians will test some custodial staff, music ensembles, students in campus small group housing, as well as athletic teams as they resume practice and competition. This may yield a number of asymptomatic positive cases next week. We will keep you informed through the dashboard.
  4. Now, as always, each of us needs to act as if we are the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carrier of the virus, who could transmit an infection to someone more vulnerable than yourself. There is a lot we still don’t understand about why some people become much more ill than others, but research has shown that the viral load of asymptomatic cases is similar to that of those with symptoms.
  5. We have decided to end the women’s soccer season. While they did not experience an outbreak of cases, the impact of quarantine and isolation made it impossible for this team to complete their season. This is a hard decision, and we extend our thanks to all of the players and coaches for their exemplary work and commitment to being safe this fall! We look forward to celebrating the athletic achievements of our seniors in the spring.
  6. We are improving indoor air filtration as fall weather nudges us indoors. We have not seen any transmission in academic spaces, and we want to keep it that way. We are purchasing 18 portable Honeywell HEPA filters and distributing these throughout campus, as well as increasing air exchanges wherever possible. NOTE: These improvements do not reduce the need for our personal responsibilities with the Big Four. And a big thanks to our Physical Plant crew for all you are doing to help us all this fall!
  7. We added graphs to the Data Dashboard earlier this week! We hope that the visualization of trends is helpful. These will be updated each weekday along with the numbers.
  8. Flu shots: So far 187 students and 112 employees have signed up for flu shots on campus. A few more of you still need to (about 900), though we know some of you are getting flu shots elsewhere, which is good too. This is strongly recommended for everyone, and it is free and fast. On-campus flu vaccine clinics continue on campus for all students and employees every Monday and Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. More information and the required pre-registration form is available here.
  9. COVID-19 Reporting Form: Remember to use our COVID-19 Reporting Form to promptly report symptoms, test results or exposure. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise on testing and work through next steps. Importantly: stay home from class or work if you are waiting on COVID-19 test results.

As always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected — masked and at a safe distance!

The Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


10.19.20 — Update on athletics re-opening

Greetings campus,

Last Tuesday, October 13, we shared with you our need to pause athletics practices and competitions, and to close the Rec-Fitness Center, for at least a week due to the uptick in positive cases. The increase in cases was not only among athletes but significantly affected five of our teams.

We would like to share with you today how we plan to re-open the Rec-Fitness Center and gradually return to athletic play:

  1. The Rec-Fitness Center will open for individuals to use (all students and employees) starting tomorrow (Tuesday). The building has been deeply and thoroughly cleaned. Masks are required and will be enforced in the weight room, including by the installation of security cameras. As we reopen the building, it will be less densely used because of our phased re-opening of athletic programs.
  2. Health and safety of our campus is our guiding concern, and we are taking a gradual and program-specific approach to reopening Maple Leaf Athletics. As we re-open athletics, we are putting in place additional protocols to protect our athletes and our campus community, which will be communicated directly with student-athletes as they are finalized.
    • Women’s soccer and cross country will resume team practices and competition beginning tomorrow (Tuesday).
    • Women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, and men’s and women’s basketball will resume team practices and competition once the health of their teams meet Crossroads League requirements.
    • Men’s volleyball, tennis, softball and baseball — programs not currently in season — will remain on hold at this time.
  3. We are working with Goshen Family Physicians on return-to-play protocols for student-athletes who have experienced COVID-19, as they return to practice and competition to ensure adequate recovery and not risk injury.

We appreciate the concerted efforts of the Athletic Department and the Pandemic Task Force to develop these careful plans, as well as the leadership from head coaches and ongoing input from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

We know the past 10 days has been a hard period for our campus community, and especially for our student-athletes as their programs have been disrupted. Thank you all for your cooperation with the Big Four at all times, as well as following quarantine and isolation guidelines.

Go Maple Leafs!

Gilberto Perez Jr.
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Pandemic Task Force Chair

Erica Albertin
Interim Athletic Director


10.16.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

We are very glad to report that new COVID cases have decreased substantially in the past three days, although not yet to zero on any day. Several people will complete isolation today and over the weekend, and many complete quarantine on Monday. Thank you for your vigilance, timely reporting, and cooperation with isolation and quarantine when needed.

Here are few further notes and updates on this Friday:

  1. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another, with good food, music, humor, gratitude practices, exercise, prayer or whatever it is you most need. These practices help us keep going in these hard days. We know that the events of the past 12 days have added to everyone’s stress. There are many, many people praying for our campus and for your well being. One of the most uplifting things we can do is reach out to help someone else. Thank your favorite prof or GC employee. Be creative. Indulge in something.

  2. There is no shame in becoming sick or having to quarantine. This is hard; we get it. Preventing COVID requires us to behave in ways that are awkward and terribly frustrating. Some people test positive without knowing how they came in contact with the virus. However, when we observe patterns or risky behaviors, we will tell you what we see and take the actions needed to make all of us safer.

  3. New testing protocol for those in quarantine: With the support of Goshen Family Physicians, we are now offering COVID tests to those in quarantine 4-7 days after their exposure to a case. This additional care may reduce anxiety and also helps us isolate positive cases more quickly if they arise.

  4. We have not needed to make use of the Rec-Fitness Center for temporary additional isolation space, and we are working on other plans should this need arise.

  5. Remember that we know how this virus spreads, and we have simple and effective measures to contain it. (Do you have the Big Four memorized yet?) Simple does not mean easy, however. Please stay vigilant!

  6. Among other in-person activities that have needed to make adjustments during this uptick in cases, our current pause in athletics practices and competitions extends to at least Monday, October 19. We are gathering evidence, talking with our athletes and staff, and assessing next steps. We will keep you informed in the next few days about how we plan to proceed.

  7. Haven’t gotten your flu shot yet? On-campus flu vaccine clinics continue on campus for all students and employees every Monday and Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Free flu shots, which are strongly recommended for all, are being done by Goshen Family Physicians and are strongly recommended for all. Health insurance and a valid driver’s license required. More information and the required pre-registration form is available here.

Again, we invite you to find creative and safe ways to express kindness and support to those in isolation and quarantine. And as always, if you have suggestions or questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


10.13.20 — IMPORTANT: Additional measures to halt spread of COVID-19

Greetings campus,

Please read this email carefully. This week has begun with continued new cases of COVID-19 and we need to take additional actions to halt the spread immediately.

Our recent contact tracing provides good evidence to inform our actions. The primary way that Covid is spreading in our community is observed to be through social interactions and gatherings, and not in classrooms or other academic settings. In consultation with the academic dean, we are not shifting to all virtual instruction at this time.

We are taking the following new actions to turn this surge around:

  1. Limit your close contacts to 1 or 2 people total who you regularly spend more than 15 minutes within 6 feet: roommates and possibly a close friend/significant other.
  2. We urge you to keep in-person social gatherings small — 6 people maximum — while staying 6 feet apart and wearing masks at all times. 
    • If you are socializing or studying in a residence hall room, wear masks and limit the number of people present so you can all maintain 6 feet of distance.
    • Large social gatherings — even outdoors — and ones where individuals are inebriated are prime opportunities for Covid to spread rampantly since it is difficult to follow the Big Four in these settings. Such events must not happen at this time.
    • The dining hall and Leaf Raker have been de-densified and the number of chairs at tables has been more limited, but you still need to ensure you are 6 feet from your dining partner by pushing your chairs back from the table as you eat. If you are within 6 feet and one of you tests positive, the other person will go into quarantine. And we strongly encourage you to get carryout as much as possible for your meals.
  3. We strongly discourage driving together at this time. It is nearly impossible for multiple people to stay 6 feet apart in a car. Please walk, bike or stay at home.
  4. If you observe a student or employee not following the Big Four, please let us know through our new COVID-19 non-compliance form. We each need to do our part in holding each other accountable and this can be done anonymously. Repeated violations of the Big Four go through the conduct review board process.
  5. There have been a number of positive cases within our athletic department, affecting five teams and both student-athletes and athletic staff. Therefore, we are pausing all athletic practices, team functions and athletic events/competitions until at least Monday, Oct. 19, when this decision will be reassessed. In addition, the Rec-Fitness Center will also be closed during this time, except for academic purposes. The locker rooms will be open until noon today if you need to retrieve any of your belongings.
  6. To meet the current need for isolation space, we are creating new temporary isolation spaces in the Rec-Fitness Center. These spaces will be safely separated from the limited academic uses of the building. 
  7. We are working with Goshen Family Physicians to put in place a testing protocol for our students in quarantine.

While we understand these changes aren’t what any of us want, they are necessary to keep all of us as safe as possible. We have the knowledge and resources we need to halt this surge in new cases. We don’t want you to be frightened, we want you to be determined. With discipline and vigilance by all of us, we will get this under control.

Be well and stay connected — just not so physically close!

Goshen College Pandemic Task Force


10.9.20 — IMPORTANT quarantine and isolation updates

Greetings,

As noted this morning in our weekly email, we have had a significant increase of positive cases and related persons who have been identified as contacts and needed to be quarantined. This has continued today as well, and we are even more concerned. We are making some changes and also ask you to make some behavior changes based on what we are learning:

  1. We are learning through our contact tracing that too many students are taking regular social risks of being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, for example, while:

    • driving in a car with friends (masks on and windows open are helpful, but do not change contact status),

    • in residence hall rooms together to talk or study,

    • sharing meals.

      These social risks have real consequences: both transmission of the virus and 14 days of quarantine.

      Please keep your social bubbles small — meaning the people with whom you spend time within 6 feet. We know this will be a major change for many of you. Consider only having 1-2 people total that you regularly spend more than 15 minutes within 6 feet: roommates and possibly a close friend/significant other. Large bubbles put more people at risk, and we cannot tolerate 10-12 contacts for every positive case.

  1. When the academic year began, we designated Kenwood House as our primary location for isolating residential students who test positive for COVID-19. We also reserved two offline floors in Miller Hall to accommodate residential students identified through contact tracing to quarantine for 14 days after exposure. At this time we are running close to capacity for isolation and quarantine space and are using two vacant Romero Apartments to isolate two asymptomatic COVID-19 positive students. Students who are assigned there will be under strict guidelines for isolating in that space and pose no threat to other students living in Romero Apartments.

  2. Quarantine is essential to contain outbreaks, and it is essential that quarantine rules are followed. At the same time, we are increasingly aware that moving students for quarantine is disruptive to students’ living arrangements and personal spaces. The risk that people in quarantine pose to others is small — as long as they obey the rules of quarantine. For these reasons, and to manage our residential capacity, students in single rooms who have been named as contacts will be allowed to remain in their single rooms to quarantine.

We continue to assess what changes we need to make to continue with our plan for safe on-campus living and learning, including additional testing strategies. We know from the experience of other campuses that increases in cases can be controlled through discipline and vigilance. We are confident that we can and will do the same. Let’s go Maple Leafs!

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life
Kevin Miller, pandemic task force coordinator


10.9.20 – Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

We have a few important notes, reminders and encouragements for you at the end of this beautiful autumn week, as we continue to keep one another safe and healthy on campus:

  1. A concerning number of cases this week: Last week, we had zero new cases for six days in a row, but we have had a rise in cases this week. Some of those came through symptom reporting and testing, and some are from the gateway testing of our winter athletes who were asymptomatic. They are all in isolation, and a significant number of others are also now in quarantine. We are sobered by this rise in cases, and hope that you will also take this seriously and make needed adjustments to your daily behaviors to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Three of our athletic teams have been affected. Two teams are ceasing practices and all in-person team gatherings as we monitor the situation. The women’s basketball team is fully quarantined.
  2. Visitor guidelines. Given the cases we have experienced this week, we ask you to continue to follow the residence hall visitor guidelines set at the beginning of the semester. At the same time, we know these have been difficult for all to follow and for RAs to enforce. We are meeting and talking with students and student leaders to gain their perspective and will make adjustments as soon as we consider it safe to do so.
  3. Our local community has also seen a recent significant surge in cases (you can view data here). According to the Elkhart County Health Department yesterday, “We have seen a steady increase in new cases since the middle of September, and there is no sign of a leveling off or a decrease in these cases. We actually are almost at the same level we were at when we were a national ‘hot spot.’”
  4. The good news is that we understand well how this virus spreads, and we have simple and effective measures to contain it. Simple does not mean easy, however. Now more than ever, every one of us must commit to vigilance on wearing masks (and wearing them correctly), maintaining physical distance, washing our hands frequently (especially after touching public or shared objects) and doing our daily self-screening. And it is vitally important that you promptly report any illness symptoms that you experience through our COVID-19 reporting form. Our lead contact tracer Kevin Miller will respond promptly to your report to discuss your situation and determine next steps. Not all reports lead to quarantine, and when they do, you are keeping everyone safe. Please do not hesitate to report; failure to report could put others at risk.
  5. We have created a COVID-19 non-compliance form that any student or employee can submit anonymously if you observe other campus members not following the Big Four. The form will allow us to better understand which students or employees we need to talk to about complying, and we hope it can reduce the load that our RAs have carried in this area.
  6. Outdoors and the changing weather: Some of you have been asking about the future of the tents. Two will come down after Oct. 20, and the other three will need to come down before it snows or the ground freezes. But outdoors will always be safer to connect with others than indoors. One recommendation we do have for you as the weather gets colder is to bundle up and dress appropriately so you can continue to be outdoors as much as possible regardless of the temperature or conditions.
  7. Your mental health is always important, and especially now with the increased stress, isolation and uncertainty you may be experiencing. We are glad more of you students are seeking counseling services. Because of that, we are increasing our counseling hours starting next week. There will also be an increase in our outreach in student involvement and residence life programming. We want to make sure you have activities that help you focus on your mental health as well as have fun in this challenging time.
  8. Mid-term is here: get help now if you need it. We know that this is a challenging environment for academic learning. We have just 6 weeks of classes left. Know that it is smart to ask for help when you need it! Talk to your professors about your concerns and challenges. It is important to pace yourself, plan ahead and stay on top of your work so you aren’t trying to play catch up. You might want to find a classmate in each class for support and accountability, or take advantage of study halls being offered. Our Academic Success Center is also available for assistance.
  9. If you weren’t able to attend our Town Hall on Wednesday night but would like to watch the video recording, you can do so here. Thanks for the good questions!
  10. On-campus flu vaccine clinics continue on campus for all students and employees every Monday and Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Free flu shots, which are strongly recommended for all, are being done by Goshen Family Physicians and are strongly recommended for all. Health insurance and a valid driver’s license required. More information and the required pre-registration form is available here.

As we close, we invite you to find creative and safe ways to express kindness and support to those in isolation and quarantine. Enjoy the fall weather as you take care of yourselves and one another. And as always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


10.2.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

We are sobered and saddened this morning as we learn that the President and First Lady have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Join us in praying for their complete and rapid recovery.

We also want to provide a few reminders and encouragements for you as we continue to keep one another safe and healthy:

  1. On-campus flu vaccine clinics have begun on campus for all students and employees every Monday and Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Free flu shots, which are strongly recommended for all, are being done by Goshen Family Physicians and are strongly recommended for all. Health insurance and a valid driver’s license required. More information and the required pre-registration form is available here.
  2. The Pandemic Task Force will be hosting a virtual town hall particularly for students (though others welcome to attend too) on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m. It will feature Gilberto Perez, Jr., vice president for student life, Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs, Kevin Miller, lead campus contact tracer and PTF coordinator, and Wesley Beck, a student member of the Pandemic Task Force. Here is the Zoom link for that webinar and you can submit questions ahead of time that you would like to have answered through this form.
  3. We are now updating our data dashboard every weekday by 10 a.m. with the most recent data.
  4. As required by the NAIA before competition can begin, surveillance testing will be conducted of our winter sports team student-athletes and coaches on Monday. Once we have all of the test results, we will share the full information on the daily dashboard.
  5. As we review our seven weeks of experience with new cases at Goshen College, we observe that transmission is happening in two settings: group housing and off-campus. We are not yet aware of any instances of transmission happening in classrooms, athletics, musical ensembles or residence halls. That is very good news, and thanks to your vigilance.
  6. And finally, in response to several questions, we want to clarify that persons released from quarantine or isolation are safe to be around and interact with — masked and physically distanced, like always. You do not need to fear or avoid them. Those who were in isolation are released under medical oversight, and those in quarantine spent 14 days making sure that they were not in close contact with anyone and did not develop symptoms.

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


10.2.20 — Changes to spring semester schedule

Dear campus community:

After much discussion and careful consideration, Goshen College announces the following changes to the Spring 2021 semester calendar. As we are learning more about managing the pandemic and are guided by the health and well-being of our campus community, we have determined that changes need to be made. We apologize for any inconvenience in your travel plans.

The semester will start a week later than originally announced and not have a week-long Spring Break. Instead, there will be five days without classes spread across the semester. The semester will end as previously scheduled for graduation and  May Term will begin as previously planned.

Here are the key dates:

  • Monday, Jan. 11: Orientation for new students

  • Tuesday, Jan. 12: First day of classes (except Monday night classes that begin on Monday, Jan. 11)

  • Monday, Jan. 18: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (no classes during the day)

  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Last day to drop/add courses

  • Wednesday, Feb. 3: Study day (no on-campus classes; off-campus experiences such as internships and clinicals may still meet)

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23: Study day (no on-campus classes; off-campus experiences such as internships and clinicals may still meet)

  • Tuesday, March 16: Study day (no on-campus classes; off-campus experiences such as internships and clinicals may still meet)

  • Friday, April 2: Good Friday holiday (no classes)

  • Monday, April 19: Reading Day (no classes)

  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 20-22: Final exams

  • Sunday, April 25: Commencement

  • Wednesday, April 28: May Term courses begin

We will make decisions about the availability of travel courses and summer SST in the next month. The updated calendar will be posted on the website.

We appreciate your continued support and work to make campus a caring community as we learn together.

Students, your advisor can help if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Ann


9.25.20 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

We are nearly to the midpoint of our fall semester and have several announcements, reminders and encouragements for you from this week:

  1. As you may have seen on the data dashboard, we had five new positive cases among students this week (including one today that will show up on the dashboard on Monday). This included the first cluster of cases that we can trace to on-campus transmission in a small-group housing space. We believe we have contained the spread through testing, contact tracing, quarantine/isolation and good cooperation by all involved. Because several of the affected students are on the men’s soccer team, the league requires that the team pause competition for two weeks.
  2. On-campus flu vaccine clinics will be conducted by Goshen Family Physicians for all students and employees every Monday and Thursday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Flu shots, which are strongly recommended for all, will be provided free with health insurance, a valid driver’s license and pre-registration. More information and the required pre-registration form is available here.
  3. While generally we see and hear so much praise for all that you are doing to adjust to our current realities, we are receiving some concerns about how the Big Four are not being practiced in some spaces on campus. Remember:
    • If you are indoors on campus (other than your residence hall room or small group home), you must have your mask on. This includes residence hall and academic building hallways and the weight room.
    • Put your mask back on as soon as you are done eating or drinking while you continue to talk with those you are sitting with. This relates to the Dining Hall, Leaf Raker, Java Junction and outdoor eating areas.
    • Always wear your mask properly: covering both your nose and mouth.
  4. If you live on campus and are feeling isolated due to visitor restrictions, we encourage you to gather safely in the Connector, outside or in other larger gathering spaces on campus with peers with masks on and six feet apart.
  5. Our academic leadership team is reviewing our spring semester schedule and are hoping to communicate our spring plan possibly as early as next week. They are also making decisions about travel during May Term and summer by the beginning of November.
  6. We understand that working, living and learning our way through the pandemic is stressful. Please take care of yourselves and one another. Eat well (fruits and veggies are key), get exercise, drink plenty of water. Do fun things that bring you joy, connect with others in safe ways and tend your soul. Remember, there are so many people here ready to help you walk through this difficult time (advisors/professors, Academic Success Center, Student Life staff, etc.), including mental health counselors (schedule an appointment here).
  7. Student Life will be hosting a number of conversation opportunities and wants to hear directly from you about how the college can better support you as students during this time. Watch for those in the coming weeks. As well, the Pandemic Task Force will be hosting a virtual town hall particularly for students on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m. (we’ll send a Zoom link closer to the date).

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Friday, September 18 — Friday COVID updates

Greetings campus,

At the end of week five of our fall classes, we want to again give you a few updates and clarifications:

  1. After two weeks with no new cases, unfortunately, we have had three new positive cases this week. As the dashboard shows, there was one new student and one new employee positive case. In addition, one more student tested positive today. As we update our dashboard once each weekday to reflect the prior day’s data, this case and related quarantine numbers will not appear on the dashboard until Monday and so we wanted you to be aware of where we stand heading into the weekend.
  2. This is a wake-up call for all that we must each stay committed to the Big Four daily, on and off campus:
    • Do your daily self-screening checklist and report if you have symptoms.
    • Wash your hands regularly.
    • Practice physical distancing — at least 6 feet — at all times.
    • Wear your face mask.
  3. We want to especially emphasize the importance of reporting (linked prominently on the COVID site) so that we are aware of and able to track potential and actual cases as quickly as possible. Our Pandemic Task Force Coordinator, Kevin Miller, makes personal contact with every individual who reports and can assist with their determination of the appropriate steps to take.
  4. We hope that the daily dashboard is a helpful tool for you to clearly see our current status in relation to COVID-19 cases and impact overall. We cannot comment on individual cases because privacy is important. In our tightly knit community, details can unintentionally reveal confidential medical information.
  5. On-campus flu vaccine clinics will be conducted by Goshen Family Physicians for all students and employees on Oct 1, 5, 8, 12 and 15. More details about times and location will come soon. A flu vaccination is strongly recommended this year for all GC students and employees and is particularly important this fall because the flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. By reducing the flu, not only are we all healthier, we will be better able to identify the true COVID-19 cases and avoid unnecessary quarantine and isolation.
  6. As you may have noticed, it is starting to feel like fall. With the cooler and wetter weather that comes with that, we encourage you to still spend time outdoors with others as much as possible, but to be prepared for changing weather by bundling up. The tents are still great spaces to eat, study and talk.

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu and learn more at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force:

Dr. Gilberto Perez, Jr., vice president for student life (chair)
Kevin Miller, BSN, MPH, major gift officer (lead campus contact tracer and PTF coordinator)
Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus, president
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communication and people strategy
Dr. Beth Martin Birky, associate academic dean
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, interim director of facilities and director of events
Wesley Beck, a sophomore chemistry and secondary education major from Goshen
Eden George, a senior psychology major from Bangalore, India
Ronit Goswami, a junior exercise science major from Goshen
Katja Norton, a senior nursing major from Goshen


Wednesday, September 16 — Athletic gateway testing results

Greetings campus,

As required by the NAIA before athletic competition could begin, gateway testing for COVID-19 was conducted on all 106 of our student-athletes and coaches between August 27-September 3. Yesterday we finally received the last of those results and we can now fully report that 0 were positive at the time of testing.

This is good news — and also encouragement to all of us to stay committed to the Big Four daily, on and off campus. For example, those dining together outdoors on campus need to still be mindful of keeping six feet apart. We must continue to practice these critical and effective actions. Our efforts are working. Please keep encouraging each other and reminding each other when needed with kindness. We are all in this together!

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Friday, September 4 — Athletic Department announces Fall 2020 spectator policy

Goshen College announced its policy for limited spectators for fall sports on Friday.

Goshen College’s administration has worked closely with the athletic directors and presidents of the Crossroads League to provide a safe environment for athletes and their coaches to return to a modified fall sports season. In order to keep safety as a top priority for all, spectators will be limited.

Each Goshen College participant in an event will be given two complimentary tickets through the pass list. Additionally, Goshen College students and employees will be able to obtain tickets at the gate with their campus ID cards.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until the capacity of the facility is reached. The maximum capacity figures vary based on the size of the facility and include participants and game-day staff.

All home events in soccer and volleyball will be streamed online free of charge on the athletic department’s YouTube channel.

No spectators from visiting teams will be admitted. Media members that wish to attend games should contact the Goshen College Sports Information Office in advance of the game.

All spectators must show identification and adhere to all Goshen College COVID-19 protocols, including the ones listed below. Concessions will not be available; public restrooms will be open, but social distancing must be maintained wherever possible.

These policies apply to events hosted by Goshen College; fans wishing to attend games at other schools should consult the Crossroads League website for information on attendance limitations and streaming options.

Policies for winter and spring sports will be finalized and communicated at a later date.

Goshen College COVID-19 Protocols:

  • Spectators must wear masks at all times, indoors and outdoors.
  • While members of the same immediate family may sit together, households must remain 6 feet apart from other families.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or using the provided hand sanitizer stations.
  • Self-screen daily and do not attend the game if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

 This policy is subject to change based on guidance from Goshen College, athletic governing bodies, or local, state or federal authorities.


Friday, September 4 — Friday  learnings and updates

Greetings campus,

Happy Friday to you at the end of Week 3, with 14 days of class completed. Overall, we are all doing very well at the Big Four — THANK YOU! Especially at the end of a week with no new known or reported cases, we urge you to not to become complacent about these necessary precautions. We must all keep doing our part to keep each other healthy, including holding each other accountable.

We’d like to offer a few updates, learnings and reminders as we end this week:

  1. We have received questions about numbers in quarantine. These data are being added to the daily dashboard beginning today. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 15 students and 3 employees in quarantine, some of whom are in quarantine at home. Our numbers in quarantine have been manageable to handle in the space allocated, and we have plans ready if we need additional space.

  2. A reminder that quarantine is for individuals who have been exposed to someone who tested positive. Individuals in quarantine have not tested positive, in which case they’d be in isolation. So far, no campus members have shifted from quarantine to isolation (becoming sick after exposure), and there has been no on-campus transmission that we are aware of.

  3. As required by the NAIA before competition can begin, surveillance testing was conducted on 123 of our student-athletes and coaches in the past week. Once we have all of the test results, we will share the full information on the daily dashboard.

  4. Remember: Use hand sanitizer before and after touching frequently touched items/locations in buildings on campus — whether in your residence hall, classrooms or offices (printer keypads, keyboards, door handles, coffee pots, microwave, etc.).

  5. While we know this is hard, please DO NOT eat food while in class, unless you are outside. If you need to take a drink from a water bottle during class, the rapid removal and replacing of your mask is acceptable.

  6. It is vitally important that all students and employees get a flu vaccination this fall. This will help all of us stay well, avoid the anxiety of “COVID-like symptoms” from the flu, and help protect us all from the double whammy of influenza plus COVID. We will be sharing more information with you about options for that soon.

Finally, we would invite you each to share your appreciation directly with the many individuals who are going above and beyond right now due to the extra needs that COVID-19 brings: the Res Life staff and RAs who are delivering meals to and walking with students in quarantine, the custodial staff doing extra cleaning, the Academic Success Center staff who are checking in on our remote learners, the Events/ITSMedia staff who are assisting with simultaneous online and in-person events, the contact tracers who are helping those experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed, the coaches and music/theater faculty who are making significant changes to how they approach their activities, the professors making sure that those who are studying remotely are able to engage in class…and SO MANY MORE! It takes us all doing our part, and in many cases, going above and beyond the normal and routine. THANK YOU!

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Thursday, August 27 — Important quarantine updates

Greetings campus,

The health and safety of our campus is always our guiding concern. Yesterday we made the decision to quarantine most of one of our varsity athletic teams for the next 14 days after learning that they were potentially exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus. This week we will also be doing surveillance testing of all of our fall athletes in order for them to compete, and we will communicate about the results when they are completed.

In light of this, we want to to clarify a few points about quarantine:

  1. Students in quarantine on campus MUST REMAIN ON CAMPUS, and cannot attend any gathering with others (class, events, practices, meals, games, rehearsals, etc.) or enter other buildings on campus apart from their residence hall. They must wear a mask AT ALL TIMES except in their room or the shower. Students in quarantine may go outside on campus, but must keep their mask on and stay at least six feet of others AT ALL TIMES.

  2. To prevent going into quarantine, you will need to avoid being within 6 feet of anyone for more than 15 minutes (whether you have a mask on or not, indoors or outdoors). We recognize that this may not be possible for all of us at all times, so we anticipate the need for ongoing quarantine measures, as warranted to prevent a potential outbreak.

  3. It is vitally important if you have symptoms or been exposed to COVID-19 to report to us through the COVID-19 Reporting Form. One of our contact tracers will be in touch to advise on testing and work through next steps. Importantly: stay home from class or work if you are waiting on COVID-19 test results. And if you are ever tested for COVID-19, please inform us about that as well through the COVID-19 Reporting Form.

  4. Remember, quarantine is only for those who were EXPOSED to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Hopefully they will not develop the illness, but it can take up to 14 days from the date of exposure to show up. If they have been infected with the virus, they have the potential to pass it onto others even without symptoms. That’s why they need to be separated from others.

  5. Students in quarantine are receiving multiple supports. While in quarantine, students do remote learning, a GC advocate checks in on them every day and meals are delivered. Like all of our students, they have access to telemedicine and telecounseling appointments.

  6. Could a negative test get you out of quarantine early? Unfortunately, no. It’s possible that you have a low level of virus circulating in your body that isn’t enough to trigger a positive test, but it could develop into illness in the coming days. If after 14 days, you continue to be symptom-free, you will be allowed to return to your residence hall room and to class.

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact the Pandemic Task Force at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Friday, August 21 — Friday learnings and updates

Greetings students and colleagues,

We are so glad you are all back and congratulations on making it to Friday of the first week of classes! It has been a time of getting used to new rhythms, ways of doing things and relating. We are all learning much together — in and out of classes.

On Tuesday we became aware of our first positive case on campus since the school year started. We have known that there will be cases and have been planning for them. And as President Stoltzfus has said a number of times, “we all have to behave as though we could be that asymptomatic, or presymptomatic, carrier.” That is why we will continue to remind you about the importance of the Big Four.

We also know that the awareness of a confirmed case might increase your anxiety and raise questions. Here are some things we have learned this week, as well as some additional information in response to questions we have been asked.

  1. Reporting is working well. You are doing a good job of keeping us informed if you have symptoms or been exposed to COVID-19, which helps us help you and the whole campus. Our contact tracing team is responding quickly and helps us learn about how the virus might be spreading. Here is a link to that form again if you need it. And here is a link to our data dashboard.

  2. Know that we are caring for those in isolation and quarantine. Residence Life staff will provide daily check-ins and provide essential supplies and meal drop-offs 2-3 times per day for residential students. You can read more about how we work with residential students in isolation and quarantine here, but there are supports in place as well for off-campus students and employees. Students should know that the Academic Success Center would be contacted about your status in quarantine and isolation and will help you manage temporary remote learning.

  3. In order to prevent going into quarantine, you will need to avoid being within 6 feet of anyone for more than 15 minutes (whether you have a mask on or not, indoors or outdoors). This will vastly reduce — though not eliminate — your likelihood of getting or spreading COVID-19 and keep you from being an official close contact. Quarantine has to last 14 days regardless of a negative test result in that period, and is only required on campus if directed by a contact tracer.

  4. There have been some changes to the rapid testing site in the parking lot by the Church-Chapel and who is eligible for testing. However, we have an agreement with the testing site that Goshen College students and employees who have symptoms will be able to get tested if you take along your college ID and show it to them. (Many thanks to our partner, Maple City Health Care Center!)

  5. If you are wondering about how classrooms and other public spaces are being cleaned, and how to use the cleaning supplies in classrooms, check out this helpful video by our custodial supervisor, Christy Farley.

  6. Finally, we want you to know what factors would prompt us to make changes to our fall academic plan, and what possible changes could be made if those factors change. The Pandemic Task Force members continually monitor many indicators related to the spread of COVID-19, scientific guidance, and the experience of colleges and universities in Indiana and elsewhere to inform our ongoing decisions about how to safely achieve our mission this fall. You can read more about that here.

As always, if you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact the Pandemic Task Force at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Wednesday, August 19 — Off-campus parties

Greetings students,

Welcome to the Fall 2020 semester at Goshen College! As we look forward to a full semester for all of us of learning, living and working on-campus together, our guiding concern is to keep all of us safe. As we begin and hear of more colleges and universities struggling with community spread of COVID-19, we are asking each member of our community to commit again to the “Big Four”:

  1. Daily self-screening checklist for symptoms
  2. Hand hygiene
  3. Physical distancing
  4. Wear a face mask

It is important for the well-being of all of us and for our ability to continue to learn together in person that these quickly become part of your everyday routine: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on AND off campus, and even when persons in authority aren’t watching.

The events that led Notre Dame to turn to online learning yesterday for at least two weeks motivate us to specifically address off-campus parties without masks or physical distancing. Such gatherings have clearly and significantly (and not surprisingly!) increased spread and infection rates at other colleges and universities. It will take attention and action from all of us to avoid that situation here.

If you want to host guests in your apartment or house, on or off-campus, we urge you to have a clear plan to ensure that:

  • the Big Four are being practiced by all of you,
  • the number of people does not exceed the capacity of your space given physical distancing requirements, and
  • you know the name of every person present.

We know that many of you are already putting such plans in place.  Thank you for your commitment to keeping our community safe and healthy!

It is imperative that we all hold each other accountable for lapses in mask wearing, physical distancing or gathering inappropriately. Compliance depends on all community members having the courage to remind others about the behavior that protects us all. Remind others with kindness and urgency.

If you observe repeated non-compliance with the Big Four by any member of the campus community, please speak up (to a residence life coordinator, a member of the student life team, a professor, the human resources office or another administrator) or submit a community life incident report. And while we are committed to not punishing any behaviors reported through contact tracing, students found responsible for repeated non-compliance or hosting unsafe gatherings will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the college.

We trust that you also want to continue your learning in person, so let’s each do our part to have a safe semester together on campus.

Be well and stay connected.

Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean


Tuesday, August 18 — GC’s COVID-19 data dashboard now available

Greetings students and colleagues,

As we promised yesterday, we now have a COVID-19 data dashboard for our campus available for viewing online. It will include new positive cases among students and employees, as well as total active, positive cases in isolation (whether on or off campus). We will update it each weekday with data from the day before. It includes data for all students and employees if they are working on campus, living on campus or taking classes on campus.

A reminder that “isolation” is the term used for separation from other people when someone is known to be infected or are sick with COVID-19, in contrast to “quarantine,” which is the term used for separation from other people when someone is not ill or known to be infected, but might have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

If you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu. And remember to use our new COVID-19 Reporting Form to report symptoms, positive test results or exposure.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Monday, August 17 — Updates: new reporting form and data dashboard

Greetings students and colleagues,

We have been working at simplifying how you will report to us if:

  • You are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms,

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19,

  • You were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or

  • Someone you live with tested positive for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms.

Whether you are a student or an employee, it is critical that you let us know as soon as possible if any of these are true for you. The best way to do that is to fill out this form. A campus advocate (from Student Life or Human Resources) would then be in touch with you as soon as possible about the next steps, and you would remain in quarantine or isolation until then. This form can also be accessed at goshen.edu/coronavirus.

And later this week, we will begin updating that website daily with a simple data dashboard about COVID-positive cases among students and employees.

If you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Thursday, August 6 — This week’s updates

Greetings students and colleagues,

We are very glad to see students and employees returning to campus! We are preparing for your return in many ways, and as we have said before, as we learn we will change our approaches in light of new information.

We have several updates we wanted to share with you this week related to COVID-19 and our campus:

  1. Change to face shields on campus recommendation: Due to recent learnings and counsel about face shields, we have revised our campus face masks/coverings policy. Please review the policy, especially if you have not done that already. Important changes include:

    • Only face masks will be automatically provided to all students and employees. Employees and students with health risks may also request a face shield if they would like to use one in addition to a mask. Face shields confer additional protection to the eyes and face when worn with a face mask. Face shields and masks each confer partial protection from the virus, but are not the same.

    • Face shields may be worn by employees or students without a mask in limited circumstances, including when instructors and students need to demonstrate something facial, such as while lecturing, or in music or language instruction. This should be kept as brief as possible, and the individuals should maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet and more if possible. If an instructor needs to move among students while in a classroom, a face mask should be worn.

  1. Restricted access for the public and visitors on campus: 

    • Outdoor spaces: Visitors and community members (individuals and very small groups) are welcome on the Goshen College campus outdoors. Large groups need to be in communication with the Events Office.

    • Indoor spaces:

      • Residence Halls: Residential students in Kratz, Miller or Yoder are permitted only on the floors they live on. Students in Romero Apartments and Intentional Living Communities (ILC) will have access to their whole buildings and are not permitted to have visitors. The Connector is open by access-card only to campus this fall. Students who live off-campus are permitted in the Connector, but not in residential spaces. Visitors (non-students and non-employees) are not permitted in residential spaces or the Connector.

      • The Admissions Office is working with prospective students and families for individual and small group visit options to campus, both indoor and outdoor spaces.

      • The Union Building is open to the public Monday-Friday, 8-5. However, the Leaf Raker Cafe will only be open to campus members and not the public, beginning August 18.

      • The Music Center will be open to the public starting August 7, though the public should call ahead to arrange an appointment.

      • The Recreation-Fitness Center is closed to the public and community members until October 12.

      • There are no external rentals for large groups until further notice.

    • Consult goshen.edu/contact for clarity about which offices are open to the public, their hours of operation and how they are providing services.

  2. Elkhart County COVID-19 cases are going in the right direction — down: We’ve been closely monitoring the status of COVID-19 cases in Elkhart County and wanted to share some good news with you. The 7-day positivity rate is now 9.7%, down from 16.2% on July 10. We also have a moving daily average of 37 new positive cases, down from 60 in mid-July. (You can track the data yourself here.) We are not out of the woods yet as a community or nation, and we all need to continue to be vigilant and keep up The Big Four on campus and in all aspects of our lives.

  3. If you test positive for COVID-19 OR are in contact with someone who does, please notify us (students should contact Student Life and employees should contact Human Resources). This is important for all employees and students, regardless of whether you live on or off-campus, and includes before you check-in or start classes. We need to know and we want to help you get what you need.

  4. Returning student check-in will be fully virtual this year. In order to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, students will not go through the in-person check-in line at the Church-Chapel on Monday, Aug. 17. Please note the following details that need to be taken care of prior to the start of classes:

    • Fall tuition or having a Nelnet payment plan in place to cover your semester balance is due by August 18. If you need to make a tuition payment, finalize your payment plan or ask a question about your bill, the Accounting Office will be located in the Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall between 1-5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17. Check the Accounting Office webpage for information on retrieving a bill, setting up a payment or finding your current balance.

    • Financial aid awards need to be accepted and thank you letters written. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.

    • ID cards that were lost need to be replaced by contacting ITS Media.

    • Personal Information Updates need to be completed online via MyGC.

    • Meal plans changes should be submitted to Chad Coleman, as well as all all questions about room and board charges.

    • Parking passes can be requested online.

    • International students need to contact Dan Koop Liechty to be sure all insurance information is up-to-date.

If you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Wednesday, July 29 — Fall 2020 COVID-19 Plan, pledge, vaccinations and Big Four responsibilities

Greetings students (and parents/guardians),

As you start preparing for your arrival on campus, we’d like to share our “Fall 2020 COVID-19 Plan: Fostering a Culture of Common Good, Kindness, Trust and Learning” on our revamped goshen.edu/coronavirus website, explaining how our framework will guide our actions in the many areas of academics, campus life and college operations.

Here is an outline of the plan, with important information to be found within each of these sections:

You’ll be hearing more from us about many aspects of the plan in the coming weeks and months, but we’d like to highlight several new elements in particular right now:

  1. Goshen College COVID Pledge
    As a community committed to fostering a culture of common good, kindness, trust and learning, we are asking all members — students and employees — to sign on to this pledge before the semester begins. You will receive an email in the coming week with a form to submit your digital signature. If you feel you cannot sign on for any reason, please be in conversation with the dean of students (students) or the director of human resources (employees). There will be an additional agreement for student-athletes.

  2. Flu vaccinations are strongly recommended this year for all GC students and employees. We will host a number of flu clinics on campus early in the fall semester. This is particularly important because the flu and COVID-19 have many similar symptoms. By reducing the flu, not only are we all healthier, we will be better able to identify the true COVID-19 cases and avoid unnecessary quarantine and isolation.

  3. We urge all students to begin practicing the Big Four personal responsibilities starting at least 14 days prior to your arrival on campus. This will build necessary habits, and will also help to ensure that we all start the year in good health. Note that we have updated the mandatory face mask/covering policy and the daily self-screening checklist. We encourage all students and employees to bring your own personal thermometer to use during the day in order to help you easily do your daily self-screening checklist to check for COVID-19 symptoms, as well as your personal supply of hand sanitizer. We also encourage you to bring several of your own cloth face masks, especially if you have ones you already prefer, since you’ll want to wear a clean one every day.

As President Stoltzfus writes in the plan’s introduction,

“We continue to learn at a rapid pace about this novel coronavirus. Best practices, testing regimens, and our advice to you can and should change as we learn more about this virus, how it is transmitted, who is at risk and what will protect us. If a part of our plan does not work, we will change it. …

“Our behaviors will determine how much illness we experience, and indeed, whether we are allowed to enjoy small group interactions, athletics, and face-to-face teaching and learning this year. We must all behave every day with the knowledge that we might be an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carrier of the virus who — through our choices and actions — can protect others who might become very seriously ill with COVID-19. …

“No one of us can create a culture; it takes all of us.”

If you have questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Be well and stay connected.

Sincerely,

The GC Pandemic Task Force


Wednesday, July 22 — Remote learning option

Greetings students (and parents/guardians),

We are looking forward to having you on campus in a few weeks! Our faculty are thoughtfully updating their courses, and our Physical Plant and IT employees are preparing the classrooms to follow best practices for physical distancing. We are working hard to provide a safe learning environment that takes full advantage of our dedicated faculty, small class sizes and spacious campus.

We have created an option for a full semester of remote learning for select students this fall. This option is available if you are unable to be physically on campus this fall 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. in August, 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 you if you are in one of these circumstances.

Applications for the above options will be reviewed by the Academic Dean’s office. Please first read the steps to take before requesting remote learning. It is very important that you talk with your academic advisor or the registrar’s office to consider the impact of remote learning on your schedule and plan of study. After approval, we will notify you, your advisor and professors. We will work with support services and Student Life to ensure that you have the resources that you need.

Requests for full semester remote learning must be submitted by August 10, 2020. 

>> Learn more
Consistent with our reopening framework, we are working for the well-being of all members of the campus community in support of our mission with integrity and clear communication. We want to support your return to learning in these unusual times and look forward to the start of the fall semester! If you have further questions about remote learning, please contact the Academic Dean’s office at dean@goshen.edu or 574-535-7503. For other questions about Goshen College’s response to COVID-19, please contact pandemic@goshen.edu.
Sincerely,
The GC Pandemic Task Force and Ann Vendrely, Ed.D., DPT, Academic Dean and VP for Academic Affairs

Thursday, July 16 — Follow-up to Tuesday’s Presidential Town Hall meeting

Greetings all,

We wanted to follow-up with you after Tuesday’s Presidential Town Hall meeting. Thank you to all who could attend and ask questions!

  1. You can watch the video recording and see a full Q&A of the Presidential Town Hall meeting here (this includes the questions we answered live and those we weren’t able to get to). The page also includes the video and Q&A from June’s town hall, if you want to revisit that.

  2. A reminder that there will be future virtual update sessions for specific student groups. You will receive more details about them if they relate to you from the leaders of these areas. All times are for EDT.

    • New student July Virtual Summer Orientation: July 18, 7 p.m.
      Register (if you didn’t attend the June orientation): goshen.edu/orientation
    • New residential students: July 23, 4 p.m.
    • New commuter students: July 27, 4 p.m.

You can find all pandemic-related updates at goshen.edu/coronavirus. And please stay in touch with your ongoing questions and feedback.

Be well and stay connected!

Pandemic Task Force


Thursday, July 2 — A few updates about preparing for the fall semester

Greetings students and parents,

As we enter July — just over six weeks from when classes will begin! — we wanted to share several new updates about COVID-related preparations we are making and information you need as you get ready to arrive and return:

Pandemic Task Force (PTF)

First, we are a new group — GC’s Pandemic Task Force (PTF) — and are taking up the work of the Crisis Management Team for pandemic-related decisions. Our members are:

  • Dr. Gilberto Perez, Jr., vice president for student life (chair)
  • Kevin Miller, BSN, MPH, major gift officer (lead campus contact tracer and PTF coordinator)
  • Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus, president
  • Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communication and people strategy
  • Dr. Beth Martin Birky, associate academic dean
  • Cynthia Good Kaufmann, interim director of facilities and director of events
  • Wesley Beck, a sophomore chemistry and secondary education major from Goshen
  • Ronit Goswami, a junior exercise science major from Goshen
  • Katja Norton, a senior nursing major from Goshen

In addition, we will consult with others on campus and local health officials as needed. If you have any pandemic-related questions or suggestions for GC, please email us at pandemic@goshen.edu.

Important dates for the fall semester:

  • Aug. 1-11: Student leaders, student-teachers, student-athletes and international students will be returning at various times. Members of these groups will receive details directly from coaches or advisors.
  • Friday, Aug. 14: Launch — check-in for all new students and move-in for new residential students (more details to come)
  • Saturday, Aug. 15: Launch continues for all new students
  • Sunday, Aug. 16: Returning students move into the residence halls; Launch continues for all new students
  • Monday, Aug. 17: All returning students check-in at the Church-Chapel Fellowship Hall
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18: Classes begin for traditional undergraduate courses
  • Sept. 30: No class, study day
  • Oct. 13: No class, study day
  • Nov. 20-24 (Friday, Monday, Tuesday): Finals

What will classes be like?

We are working on the plan for classes and wanted to share with you some overall points about your experience in the classroom this fall in order for you to better understand what to expect and how we are working to keep everyone safe.

  1. Classrooms are being reconfigured for physical distancing. Seating will be spread out and there will be no more than 30 students in a class at a time (and those will be assigned large classrooms).
  2. Everyone in class — students and professors — will wear face masks/coverings/shields.
  3. Furniture should not be rearranged in order to preserve physical distancing.

What will student life be like? 

Life is different because of the pandemic, and this will be true in campus life as well. We need your active help to make this fall at GC a positive and safe one for everyone who will be on campus. Here are some points to consider as you prepare to be with your friends, clubs, teammates and other student groups:

  1. We must all work to build a culture of shared responsibility. If all of us respect and adhere to the preventative measures that will be put in place, we will help keep everyone safe and healthy.
  2. We must do this with kindness, support and respect.
  3. We will create opportunities for connection in the midst of physical distancing and smaller group sizes for our activities.
  4. Everyone involved in student activities is expected to follow our mask policy at all times. Student Life staff will be wearing masks or face shields.

Study-Service Term (SST) updates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still difficult to plan for international travel. However, immersive intercultural learning is more important now than ever. While we decided to cancel the Spring SST unit to Ecuador due to the uncertainties, we are moving forward at this time with plans to go abroad in May Term and Summer 2021. Though the summer 2021 Ecuador unit is full, there are still spots available in the Senegal unit (which requires two semesters of college French, fall and spring). You can also sign up for China (Fall 2021) and Indonesia (Spring 2022). Experiential and immersive shorter term options in the United States and locally are also available next year (see this flyer for options). We are working on developing a yearlong Global Public Health Virtual Practicum with Mennonite Central Committee partners and will run the local SST “Dreams and Journeys: Immigrants and Refugees” in the spring if there is enough interest. Please contact Jan Shetler (jans@goshen.edu) if you want to explore any of these or other options from outside providers. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore global citizenship up close.

Mark your calendars: July 14 Presidential Town Hall

We invite you to another Presidential Town Hall meeting via this Zoom link for all students (current and incoming), parents and guardians Tuesday, July 14 from 1-2 p.m. EDT. We will share further information and give you an opportunity to ask your questions. You can submit questions or issues you would like us to cover in advance here, and we will also respond to questions raised during the meeting. We’ll record it for those who can’t attend, but we look forward to seeing many of you then.

Be well and stay connected.

Thanks,

GC Pandemic Task Force


Monday, June 15 — Initial update on plans for fall athletics

Greetings,

I am pleased to share an important update about plans for athletics in Fall 2020-21.

We will welcome our fall student-athletes back to campus on Friday, Aug. 7. Following the NAIA’s announcement of a revised fall sports calendar earlier this month, the first official day of practice will be Saturday, Aug. 15. Until that date, teams will conduct conditioning and other off-the-field activities under the direction of GC’s fall head coaches.

The new NAIA calendar permits regular-season play to begin on Saturday, Sept. 5. Due to the shortened fall season, the cross country, soccer and women’s volleyball seasons have been pared back to approximately 80 percent of their original lengths.

The Crossroads League, of which Goshen College is a member, is expected to issue temporary health and safety recommendations for the 2020-21 academic year later this month. The Maple Leafs will then release more information about the upcoming season.

In order to return to campus and begin the preseason with their teams, student-athletes are required to complete their pre-participation forms for athletic training and sports information by Aug. 1:

You can read more about this news here. Please reach out to Dr. Erica Albertin or Rustin Nyce, our interim athletic leaders, with any questions.

Thanks,

Gilberto Perez Jr.
Vice president for student life and dean of students


Wednesday, June 10


Wednesday, June 10 — Follow-up to last week’s Presidential Town Hall meeting

Greetings all,

I wanted to follow-up with you after last week’s Presidential Town Hall meeting. Thank you for your thoughtful and good questions! We couldn’t quite get to all of them during our hour together, but we still wanted to provide you with our current answers.

  1. We have created a Q&A page with all of your questions and our answers to them here (including all of the ones that we answered live).
  2. If you couldn’t join us, you can watch the video recording of the June 4 Presidential Town Hall meeting here.

As further decisions are made this summer, we will keep providing more details and updates to you. And please stay in touch with your ongoing questions. We’ll let you know soon about the next Presidential Town Hall meeting opportunity.

Be well and stay connected!

Becky

President Rebecca Stoltzfus


Tuesday, June 2

  • A way to help our local community during COVID-19: College Mennonite Church (CMC) is helping to meet needs in our local community, such as food, rent and utilities, during the COVID-19 crisis. The CMC pantry is currently feeding 200 people a week. Those wishing to donate funds to help with this can do so by donating to College Mennonite Church (CMC) with the designation “COVID-19.” Checks can be mailed to: 1900 South Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526. Questions can be directed to Tina Hartman, Congregational Administrator at: tina@collegemennonite.org

Friday, May 29 — Important updates about our fall plans

Greetings all,

We are so eager to see you all on campus in just a few short months!

As the green warmth of summer greets us here in Goshen, we continue to work intensively on our plans for the fall semester. As we are all experiencing, our ways of interacting and moving about the world have changed — even as cities, states and nations begin to ease restrictions. This is true here in Goshen and on our campus, and I am writing to tell you about some of the ways that we will be adapting to keep each other healthy this fall.

I know from my years in public health that our small size, our generously spaced campus and our culture of personal responsiveness are significant advantages as we return to campus. Protecting each other’s health will require new and specific policies and procedures, as well as changes in habits and behaviors — nothing short of a truly community-wide effort, including altruism on the part of every student and employee. This is required because in this pandemic the health of each individual depends on the health of the community, and vice versa.

Our scenario planning task force has worked intensively to map out plans for how we can safely hold on-campus classes and open our residence halls this fall. While we continue to work on many details, I wanted to share with you several important decisions.

  1. Streamlined fall calendar: We will start the fall semester two weeks earlier than originally planned, replace our fall mid-term break with several mid-semester study days and end the fall semester by Thanksgiving. This change is motivated by the need to reduce exposures from students’ travel away from campus and back for fall and Thanksgiving breaks. Move-in days will be August 14 for new students and August 16 for returning students. The first day of classes will be August 18. A final academic calendar for the fall will be communicated to you soon.We have reviewed this shift in the academic calendar with the NAIA, and they are supportive. The NAIA and our Crossroads League will make a decision about fall intercollegiate competitions by July 1. Coaches will be in touch with fall student-athletes about arrival dates and any other impacts.
  2. Flexible residential options: We are offering students who live on campus their choice of whether to live in a shared room or in a single room at the same price. This will be offered both semesters this year. Both single and shared rooms have benefits and are valid choices, and we want to give you as students — with your families — the opportunity to make that decision without finances being a factor. We will be preparing all of our residence hall rooms on campus to welcome you back in this flexible manner, and in addition, we are setting aside rooms for isolation in case students become ill, and for students who must be quarantined due to possible exposures to COVID. We are working with Chef Jeremy Corson and our dining partner, AVI Fresh, to make changes to our dining hall and meal services that will be safe and flexible for you.
  3. Flexible classroom formats: As we return to in-person classroom instruction, we are planning accommodations for students and professors who will not be able to be physically present due to individual health concerns. Class sizes will continue to be small and classrooms will be adjusted to allow for physical distancing. This plan will enable us to continue to offer the rich educational experience we are known for, while also recognizing that we will need to be flexible, constantly monitoring and managing the risks involved.
  4. Guided by public health science: Our campus life this year will be guided by a public health approach based on sound science, state and local guidance, and Goshen College values. Our guiding framework is depicted in this document. At the highest level are the four goals we’ve stated to you previously. We must create together a supportive and pervasive public health education campaign, designed to help each of us take responsibility for our roles in disease prevention. We are forming a new pandemic management team, which I will lead and it will include other public health and medical professionals, faculty and students. This approach will only work if all voices are represented, which is why we need student leaders on this team.
  5. Continued communication: We know that regular communication and dialogue are especially important right now. As further decisions are made this summer, we will keep providing more details to you. And we also want to hear your questions and concerns. I invite you to a Presidential Town Hall meeting via this Zoom link for all students (current and incoming) and parents/guardians next Thursday, June 4 at noon EDT to share further information as well as give you an opportunity to directly ask your questions. Ann Vendrely, academic dean, and Gilberto Perez Jr., dean of students, will also join me. You can submit questions or issues you would like us to cover in advance here, and we will also respond to questions raised during the meeting. We’ll record it for those who can’t attend, but we look forward to seeing many of you then.

Be well and stay connected!

Becky

President Rebecca Stoltzfus


Friday, May 22 — Guidance for re-opening campus

Greetings campus,

Stage 3 of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s stages for getting Indiana “Back on Track” is set to take effect today and we wanted to give you further information about what that means for our campus and re-opening plans in various areas.

>> GC Guidance for Reopening Campus

The two changes from Stage 2 are:

  1. Outdoor spaces will be open, including outdoor fields and tennis courts.
  2. The library lobby will be open for pre-order only.

We want to particularly note that as we re-open across all stages and contexts, compliance is required with campus mitigation strategies for COVID-19: six-foot physical distancing, face masks and daily self-screenings. And we would also add that all guidance and dates are subject to change and reliant upon the key principles of health remaining positive.

Be well and stay connected.

Thanks,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Thursday, May 14 — First confirmed COVID-19 case

Greetings campus,

Yesterday we received confirmation that one of our employees, who has been working on campus, tested positive for COVID-19. We invite you to keep this person in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy and thorough recovery. They are a beloved and valued member of our campus community, and we know your support and care will mean a great deal to them.

We also want to commend this employee for having worn a mask regularly and limiting their interactions with people on campus to brief and appropriately distant encounters, reporting and going home immediately when their symptoms appeared, and working closely with the Elkhart County Health Department’s contact tracer. This person will remain in quarantine at home until released by the Health Department.

As a result of these precautions, no one on campus was identified in the contact tracing process who met federal, state and local guidelines of having interacted with the infected individual in the prior 48 hours for more than 10 minutes and within 6 feet. If there had been, they would have been asked to self-isolate. We have communicated directly with individuals who we know interacted with the individual in the week prior for a shorter period of time and at a greater distance in order to be vigilant about watching for symptoms.

We on the Crisis Management Team have been preparing the policies and guidelines that we sent you this morning well before this case occurred. It is an important reminder to all of us to be vigilant and consistent in practicing good hygiene and following safety recommendations:

  • Wear a face mask/covering while in shared spaces or in close contact with others
  • Respect personal space and maintain 6-feet physical distance during interactions
  • Avoid touching your face, use hand sanitizer when appropriate and wash your hands frequently
  • Disinfect your workspace regularly
  • Use hand sanitizer after touching doors, railings and other high contact areas
  • Self-monitor daily

Be well and stay connected.

Thank you,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Thursday, May 14 — State guidance for reopening, mask policy and daily self-screening checklist

Greetings campus,

On May 1, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb shared guidance on beginning to reopen the state over multiple stages. The second stage outlined began that day, and extends until May 23.

The college’s Crisis Management Team has been assessing what the various guidance from the governor means for our campus. For now, we have focused on the implications of Stage 2 and you can see that here. While we are eager to see each other again, we will proceed with caution as we welcome people back to campus. We are working on plans for the following stages and will share those with you as they are ready and we are closer to those roll-out dates.

We have also developed a new policy related to the requirement for wearing of face masks/coverings on campus for employees, student-employees, students, contractors and guests. Please read it carefully. We will continue to improve it as we move forward, so please offer your feedback.

Employees and student-employees, as we return to working on campus, we also need to develop some new daily self-screening habits in our schedules. Here is a Daily Self-Screening Checklist to help you with that. We will soon have this translated in Spanish and Ukrainian, and will recommend some tech-friendly methods to do this. We would encourage you to hang this at home and in your workspace where you will see it daily. It offers guidance about what to do before coming to campus each day, what to do while you are on campus and what to do at the end of the day. The checklist isn’t intended to be turned in, but do talk with your supervisor if you answer “yes” to any of the questions.

Note that the governor’s stages to reopen are based on several guiding health-related criteria. If they are not met, the governor has said that all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward, or we may collectively need to return to an earlier stage of his stay-at-home order.

Let’s take this slow, and do it right, for the sake of each of us and each other. Be well and stay connected.

Thanks,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Thursday, May 14

  • Counseling services update: In an effort to continue support for all students in this COVID-19 crisis, our counselors will be able to hold virtual sessions with any current students through the end of May. Any student needing or desiring to schedule an appointment are asked to contact our counselors via the appointment request page.
  • Yesterday’s Special Virtual Convocation video recording now available here (Password: 8X=&Df@=). The event featured a series of short interviews that Duane Stoltzfus conducted with students, faculty and staff to share their varied experiences during the pandemic: Gilberto Perez Jr., Eden George, Jeremy Corson, Khampha Stempel, Emma Burton, Minnie Avila and President Becky Stoltzfus.

Friday, May 1 — Apply for COVID-19 Student Relief Funds by May 14

Dear students,

As a follow-up to our email last week, we have finalized an application process for the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to make support available to those of you who have incurred unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. This includes expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Goshen College is receiving federal funds through the CARES Act for this purpose, and we also are raising additional funds to help meet the COVID-19 related emergency needs of students who are not eligible for the federal funding, including undocumented, DACA and international students. The maximum amount of funding available per student is $1,000.

Learn more and apply here.

The application deadline is May 14. Please apply as soon as you can if you incurred unexpected expenses as outlined above. Our goal is to notify you of a decision within one week of the deadline and provide payment within two weeks after approval.

Stay well and stay connected.

Rebecca Stoltzfus, president
Deanna Risser, vice president for finance
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life


Friday, April 24 — Our plans for the fall

Dear students and parents,

I am thinking about the fall semester, and I am sure you are too. It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for an extended time.

First, watch this video I made for you about this: 

As I say in my short video message although we cannot yet rule out other possible scenarios, our plan is to see you on campus in August. And that brings great joy to all of us!

I am writing to provide more detail on what that could entail. As you know, there are still uncertainties, and we will know much more by the end of May. Nonetheless, we want to convey these three commitments.

First, our decisions will be centered around you, our students, as well as our employees. The well-being and health of all members of our campus community is our guiding concern. 

This means that our re-opening plans will involve coordination with our local and state officials, as well as our athletic conference, and will use the best scientific evidence at hand. Goshen’s small class sizes and spacious campus are great advantages. And we are fortunate to be just across the street from Goshen Hospital, a highly respected facility with capacity that has not been strained in the recent peak period in COVID-19 cases.

Keeping each other healthy will require changes in our behaviors, and voluntary cooperation within our GC community. This will likely include:

  • a range of individual and institutional actions to prevent, monitor for and respond to illness;
  • limits on gathering sizes and overall de-densification;
  • offering ways for vulnerable members of our community to still engage meaningfully through a blend of virtual learning and in-person activities.

These ideas are preliminary, and will evolve as we continue to learn about the course of the pandemic, but I wanted to give you an initial sense of what it might look like.

Second, we will enthusiastically pursue our mission and vision in ways that respond to the challenges and opportunities of this time. We will, as always, prioritize and integrate academic excellence with real-world learning and active love for God and neighbor. At Goshen, we are accustomed to encountering the world near and far with open minds and hearts, and a sense of adventure! During this pandemic, our travel and interactions off campus will likely need to be curtailed. This pandemic is bringing real-world learning straight to us — up close and personal. We did not choose this, but we can still practice our values as we learn, serve, lead and take steps toward peace. Especially in this time of challenge and losses, we will cultivate joy, growth and purpose.

Third, while this continues to unfold, we will stay connected with you and keep you informed. Our close relationships are what makes us Goshen! We’re going to figure out how to be GC as safely as possible in new ways. Please be in touch, and let us know your concerns, questions and ideas.

For now, be well, keep learning and stay connected.

Becky

President Rebecca Stoltzfus


Thursday, April 23 — New COVID-19 related funding for GC students

Dear students,

As you may have read in the news, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced funding available to higher education institutions to support students who have incurred unexpected expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. This includes expenses for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care.

Goshen College is set to receive $396,450 of federal funds for this purpose and we are finalizing a plan for distributing the funds to help meet your needs. We aim to communicate that plan to you by Friday, May 1. We will then seek to get the money directly to you as quickly as possible.

Even though the federal funds can only be disbursed to US citizens, we will provide additional dollars to help meet the COVID-related emergency needs of our undocumented, DACA and international students. We are grateful that our generous alumni and donors are making this opportunity for emergency funds available beyond the federal funding.

Stay tuned for more details in the days ahead!

Rebecca Stoltzfus, president
Deanna Risser, vice president for finance
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life


Thursday, April 16 — May term and summer course updates (from the Registrar’s Office)

General May term updates:
  1. All May term courses are being offered as an online course from April 29-May 20.
  2. The drop/add date is April 30, 5 p.m. A course dropped by this time will not show on the transcript.
Due to the change in the delivery mode for May term courses, some policies have been adjusted to help students with the transition. Students should work with their academic advisor when considering the following adjustments:
  • The deadline for students to request a withdrawal from a May term course is extended until May 15. Withdrawing from a course will have a “W” grade on the transcript but does not impact the GPA.
  • Students may request to change the grade type from a letter grade to Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) option. The deadline for requesting this change is May 26.
For the traditional online summer courses:
  • Classes will run from June 15-July 31. Summer registration should happen by June 1.
  • Summer online courses will continue with traditional letter grades and the deadlines for drop/add and withdrawal are consistent with the academic calendar dates.

Thursday, April 16 — FAQ: GC room and board credits due to COVID-19, Spring 2019-2020 (from the Accounting Office)

Q: When will I get my credit or refund?

A: Credit adjustments for unused spring semester room and board services will be calculated and applied to student accounts 6-8 weeks after the student moved off campus due to COVID-19. For most students, the credit adjustment will remain on student accounts and can be applied to future semester charges. Students who are not returning to Goshen College for Fall 2020 will have this credit balance refunded to them via Paymerang eCheck.

Q: How much will my room/board credit adjustment be?

A: The specific amount is based on each student’s room and board selection and related charges. As such, the amount of the credit adjustment will depend on where the student lived, which meal plan they had, and if the move-out date was substantially later than the March 19 deadline. Because spring classes are continuing, albeit at a distance, there will be no credit adjustment given for spring semester tuition charges. There is no refund for students who were on spring SST.

If a student has a current balance due to the college (including any unpaid Nelnet contracts for the spring semester), the credit adjustment will first be applied to the balance due. Any remaining balance due is the responsibility of the student and no refund will be issued. If applying the credit adjustment creates a balance due to the student (a credit balance), it will remain on the student’s account to be applied to future semester charges.

Q: Will there be a refund for May term costs included in this credit for spring semester?

A: As the Tuition & Fees sheet states, “There are no additional costs for on campus May term classes for students who are registered full-time, living on campus and with a meal plan at Goshen College in both fall and spring semesters.” Since there are no additional charges for May term, there will not be any refunds of May term room, board or tuition. Despite moving out early in spring semester, students still get full credit towards May term discounts.

Q: I am having other funds credited to my student account for May Term off-campus courses, SST and housing deposits. Do I have to complete an online refund request or will these be automatically issued?

A: The college is planning to automatically refund credit balances resulting from returned May Term, SST and housing deposits and 2019-20 financial aid via Paymerang eCheck. There is no need to complete an online request.

If you wish to opt out of receiving this automatic refund (except for financial aid balances), please email your request to Greg Sommers by noon on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

Q: I’m not sure if I’m coming back in the fall. What do I do?

A: Talk to your academic advisor to map out a plan. Adela Hufford, associate vice president for retention, is also available to help you through the discernment process. If a student chooses to withdraw from the college, they should work with Adela to submit their withdrawal paperwork by June 10, 2020 in order to receive a refund.

Q: I would like to donate my credit balance refund back to Goshen College for students who have financial hardships. Can I do that and how?

A: Please contact the Development Office, at give@goshen.edu or (574) 535-7564 to make those arrangements.


Thursday, April 16 — SST Opportunities and Cancellations

Dear students and faculty,

We regret the need to cancel Fall SST units to Indonesia (China) and Ecuador due to uncertainties about global travel because of COVID-19. The good news is that we are adding a creative, new domestic SST unit in the fall and a Senegal unit next summer to meet students’ needs. Students can also choose from the new SST-Alt opportunities we are piloting in 2020-21 or find an SST unit that fits their schedule. We added China in 2021-22. We need at least 12 students in each of these programs, so register soon! See the attached document for all of the options.

You can enroll in any of the full semester SST options (including the fall US option) from GC online – SST Enrollment. Students access the SST enrollment form by logging into MyGC. On the Resources page, which is where you should land after logging in, there is a box in the lower right corner called Forms. The SST Enrollment Form is located in this section.

Thank you for your patience as we worked out these details. We still believe that a global education is needed now more than ever, in this time when fear is often directed toward those who are different. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,

Jan Bender Shetler
Director of International Education


Tuesday, April 14

As a way to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020 at a time when we are unable to be together in person, we’re hosting a virtual commencement ceremony on Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. ET at facebook.com/goshencollege and at goshen.edu/live-stream! So gather with your household, make some popcorn and join us as we celebrate our Class of 2020!


Thursday, April 9

  • Change to use of outdoor recreation areas on campus: Effective today, all outdoor tennis courts, sand volleyball and outdoor basketball courts on campus will be closed until further notice. This will help further combat the spread of COVID-19 and remain in lockstep with Goshen Parks and Recreation closings. As long as persons practice social distancing, the outdoor track, sidewalks and bike paths will remain open to walkers and joggers. Taking in some fresh air while giving your body and mind a healthy break from the indoors can be a key piece of a strong-functioning immune system.

Wednesday, April 8 — An update on commencement plans and celebrating you (a message to graduating students from President Stoltzfus)

Dear graduates,

We miss your presence here on campus so very much! And while we are sad that we cannot hold our commencement celebration as planned, I am happy to share our new plans for the 2020 Commencement and the ways in which we will celebrate your years of accomplishment at Goshen College.

We are lucky to have great event planning, film and media talent here at GC, and they are humming away to create a virtual celebration to mark the date you all have been waiting for. In addition, we are looking ahead to create a real, in-person celebration in the future, probably in association with our Homecoming weekend in October.

So, I invite you to mark your calendar (and invite your friends and family!) for Sunday, April 26 at 3 p.m. ET, to a virtual commencement event in which we’ll celebrate each of you for your remarkable achievement. This will be streamed at goshen.edu/live-stream and on Goshen College’s Facebook page.

This is an opportunity for us to show the creativity, adaptability and resilience of our Maple Leaf community. We know it won’t be the same as a traditional in-person event, but we hope to create a meaningful experience for you and your loved ones. This will include slide shows of your achievements, words and music from some of you, a brief speech from me and a reading of your names along with your photos. If you haven’t done so already, please add the headshot that you’d like to use to this folder.

More details of the virtual celebration, as well as future celebrations, are being determined and will be shared in the coming weeks. Stay tuned at goshen.edu/graduation.

Before April 26, we will send each of you a package in the mail (sent to your address on file) containing your diploma cover, a cap and tassel, commencement booklets with each of your names listed and a T-shirt. As happens every year, diplomas will be mailed at a later date once final grades are received.

Thank you each for your patience and know that you are deeply loved and valued by me and each of the faculty and staff here!

Be well, keep learning and stay connected.

Becky

President Rebecca Stoltzfus


Wednesday, April 8

  • Indiana Primary Election: All Indiana voters may choose to cast a ballot by mail in the upcoming June 2, 2020 Primary Election (it was postponed from May 5). To request an absentee-by-mail ballot, please complete this form (ABS-Mail Primary 2020) and return it to your county election officials. The deadline to return the form is May 21, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. local time. Here is more information.

Monday, April 6

  • Yesterday, the Indiana State Department of Health released new and helpful guidance about wearing face-coverings in public.

Friday, April 3 — Adjustments for spring semester room & board charges 

Greetings students,

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones are well. Thank you for all the adaptations you are making this semester!

We know that our residential students have had questions related to room and board charges. Although the required residence hall move-out date was beyond our regular refund date, we understand that you are facing numerous hardships and we want to offer you all the support we can. We have now finalized decisions regarding a process for credit adjustment for the remaining portion of spring semester room and board charges for residential students who moved out when the residence halls closed on March 19.

Spring residential students who moved off campus in response to COVID-19 will receive a credit adjustment for 30 percent of the semester room and board charges paid, which represents the remaining weeks of the semester after you moved off campus. This adjustment will be added as a credit to your student account, available to cover your charges (tuition, room or board) for the 2020-21 academic year. We will issue refunds of the credit adjustments (minus any remaining Nelnet payments or outstanding charges on the student’s account) to graduating students, as well as those unable to leave the credit balance on their account for a future semester.

  1. Room credit adjustments will range from $870-$1,020, depending on where you lived on campus. Note that if you moved off campus after March 19 your adjustment amount will vary from those stated above. Students still living on campus will not receive a credit adjustment.
  2. Meal plan credit adjustments will be as follows:
    • Unlimited – $740
    • 65 Block – $300
    • 30 Block – $130

Please contact Greg Sommers (glsommers@goshen.edu) in the Accounting Office if you have any questions about the process and how it applies in your situation.

Please note that the crediting process may take up to eight weeks. You will receive an email from the Accounting Office toward the end of this process, with specific details about your expected credit/refund.

Thank you for your patience as we work out these important details. We eagerly look forward to seeing you again!

Deanna Risser, vice president for finance
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students


Wednesday, April 1 — April 1 (no joke) community health update

Greetings GC community,

A week ago we shared an update on our community health, and we wanted to again today, along with a resource that could be helpful to you.

Elkhart County is in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases that is (so far) smaller and slower than the large urban centers in the headlines. Nonetheless, the pandemic is here. There are 23 confirmed cases in the county as of last night, and 2 deaths.

It is also beginning to affect our students, employees and their families. To our knowledge, there are still no test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 directly in our GC community, though we are aware of several presumptive cases among students, employees and employee families. To the best of our ability, persons who have had direct contact with those individuals during the window of potential transmission have been informed.

To help all of us know how to respond as cases occur, we created a flowchart guide for students (on and off campus) and employees with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed cases. Please familiarize yourself with it in case you would need it so you know what to do.

And we would encourage you to visit goshen.edu/coronavirus daily for updates that don’t warrant a separate notification, but could be helpful, along with the page dedicated to campus support resources.

Be well, keep learning and stay connected.

Sincerely,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Wednesday, April 1 — Approved academic policy changes for Spring 2020

Dear students:

I know this as been a period of adjustment as we all learn what it means to stay home and learn online. I applaud your work so far and recognize the stress that comes with these changes. Faculty have been discussing ways to support you and today faculty approved some more flexible grading options for you to use this semester and May term.

Here is the full policy change and some frequently asked questions. Please read them carefully.

These changes will allow students to have some flexibility in the grading of courses this semester, such as: selecting credit (CR)/ no credit (NC) grading option after the letter grade has been calculated for the course; requesting an incomplete grade at the end of the course; or deciding to withdraw from a course at the end of the semester. Each choice has different ramifications and should be considered carefully. Students should consult with their Academic Advisor before making any academic changes to ensure that the decision won’t have negative implications for academic progress and plans of study. Once a course of action is agreed upon, the advisor will submit the grade change or withdrawal request to the registrar’s office by the identified deadlines. Incompletes will still be initiated by the student using existing processes in the Registrar’s Office.

Please consider these options carefully and discuss them with your advisor. We hope that these will help you complete the semester with confidence.

Sincerely,

Ann Vendrely
vice president for academic affairs & academic dean


Sunday, March 29

  • A new guide for GC students (on and off campus) and employees if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed case (at right).
  • Elkhart County state of emergency status update: On Saturday, March 28, 2020, Elkhart County increased its travel advisory to a level orange (from an Advisory to a Watch) because Elkhart County now has one or two COVID-19 positive cases that appear to be the result of community spread. Everyone is allowed to travel, but the status change is indicating people should take additional precautions and be more discerning about need to travel. A WATCH level means that the conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended, and emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations. Read the full release here.

Friday, March 27

  • Paperwork for the Accounting Office: Please submit all paperwork to the Accounting Office via Campus Mail, including credit card receipts and invoices.
  • Monday morning prayer with Campus Ministries: Join Joanne Gallardo, our campus pastor, and the Student Ministry Team for prayer on Monday mornings at 10 am. The Zoom ID is: 204-305-583. The gathered group will be praying for themselves, our community and our world. If you have a prayer request, fill out this Google form and the group will include it in their time together. You can remain anonymous if you wish.
  • Emergency Student and Employee Assistance Fund: An Emergency Student and Employee Assistance Fund has been created to help the most vulnerable among our campus community during this crisis. Alumni have already been invited to contribute. If you are able and want to support each other in this way, you can give online and choose “Emergency Student and Employee Assistance Fund.”

Wednesday, March 25 — Community health update

Greetings GC community,

We are fully behind you and with you, as we all adapt to new conditions these days.

Today we are writing about our individual and collective health. As a college community, we continue to adapt to our changing reality; however, our number one goal remains consistent: to slow down the transmission of COVID-19, on and off-campus. This priority remains, even after we have taken the enormous steps of learning and teaching and working from home, keeping social distances, to the utmost extent that we can.

We must all now assume that community-based transmission of the virus is ongoing around us, wherever you may be. There are now several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City of Goshen. Cases in all counties of Indiana are reported daily by the Indiana State Department of Health. For those of you in other states and nations, I am sure that local or state health departments are also making data about COVID-19 cases public and transparent.

As we write this, we are not aware of any test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our GC community (in Goshen or elsewhere), although that could change rapidly. We are praying that any cases we experience will be mild, and that you will seek care swiftly if you become ill.

We each must act to slow down transmission. Please review the essential actions here.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • Students on or off campus: Inform Chad Coleman, our director of campus safety and student life operations, even if you no longer live on campus.
  • Employees: Inform Jodi Beyeler, our interim HR director and VP of communications and people strategy.

This is necessary for now so that we can try to understand who might have been in contact on campus with you while you were possibly infectious. We also want to offer our care and support to you.

We are required by law to keep your health information confidential, while also working to protect potential contacts of suspected cases. If cases arise among us, we will rely on state and local health authorities to report cases anonymously to the public. If we identify that the person might have been in contact with you, we will reach out to you personally. And we will continue to communicate with all of you in ways that are timely and with as much transparency as possible, adapting as the situation changes.

This is not an easy time, but we stand together on our core values. These days require an unusual combination of:

  1. Calm focus on the essential actions we must take to stop the spread of the virus,
  2. Steady attention to our work of teaching and learning, and
  3. Living life as generously and faithfully as possible in this strange time.

Be well, keep learning and stay connected.

Sincerely,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Tuesday, March 24

  • Room & board refund/credit: The President’s Cabinet is working closely with Student Life on a process for refunding/crediting a portion of spring semester room and board charges for residential students. This process will begin after April 1. More information will be communicated when the process is finalized.
  • Criteria for exemptions of essential work on campus during the Indiana Stay-At-Home Order:
    • support for online education and students who are still living on campus
    • essential business operations
    • emergency situations
    • legal compliance

Monday, March 23

  • Indiana Governor orders Hoosiers to stay at home, starting Wednesday: Today, Governor Eric Holcomb delivered a statewide address ordering that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. The Stay-At-Home Order takes effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and ends on Monday, April 6, at 11:59 p.m., but could be extended if the outbreak warrants it. Read more here.
  • Rec-Fitness Center closing: In an effort to further combat the spread of COVID-19, we will officially close the Recreation-Fitness Center indefinitely to students and employees beginning Wednesday, March 25. At that time, the RFC will only be accessible to employees with an office inside the building via ID card access. As long as you practice social distancing, we encourage you to continue activities and exercise outdoors. Taking in some fresh air while giving your body and mind a healthy break from the indoors can be a key piece of a strong-functioning immune system.
  • Locking buildings: Starting Wednesday, March 25, all campus buildings will remain closed and locked until further notice. Employees needing into buildings after Tuesday will have to use their own keys. Building keys can be checked out at the Physical Plant office between 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. weekdays.

Sunday, March 22

  • 3/22/20: Ecuador group at the airport!

    SST updates: The Tanzania group all returned last night and the Ecuador SST group has arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida! If all goes as planned, the Ecuador students and leaders coming back to Goshen should get to South Bend at 5:45 p.m. today.

    In the Quito airport, when the U.S. Embassy staff called the Goshen College names on the confirmed passenger list, she asked whether the whole group got on or not. When confirmed, she said, “Oh thank goodness, I’ve been getting so many calls from your congressional representatives!”


Saturday, March 21

  • Elkhart County Health Department update and travel advisory: The Elkhart County Health Department announced today the first presumptive case of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in the County.A travel advisory is in place beginning 5 p.m. today Saturday, March 21, 2020. With that, residents are advised to only travel for essential reasons such as work, grocery stores, dinner pick-ups, pharmacies, doctor appointments, helping and/or checking in on family members. Read the full press release here.
  • SST updates: We have been working around the clock to bring students home from study abroad in Tanzania and Ecuador after travel restrictions were precipitously announced due to the pandemic response. Progress is being made with the support of many. Read more.

Thursday, March 19

  • Online learning and technology support: ITS has created two FAQ documents that address technology and support for students and employees:
  • Campus Post: Until further notice, Campus Post will continue to receive daily US Postal Mail, UPS, Fedex and Amazon deliveries. Campus Post and our delivery agents continue to pay attention and follow CDC guidance regarding mail handling and distribution. The CDC and the US Postal Service have indicated a very low risk related to transmission of COVID-19 via mail or packages, and all delivery services have communicated that they are taking extra precautions during this season. Read more details here, including their new hours and processes.

Wednesday, March 18

  • Academics: May term classes will only be online. There will probably be a few new classes added to the offerings due to the cancelation of international and off-campus travel during May term, those will be added to the course offerings announcements.
  • Current SST units updates:
    • In Ecuador, travel has been completely restricted and the airport is closed. Fortunately, our Ecuador SST students are safely at a beautiful retreat center for at least two weeks. Their scheduled flights are on April 6, when the first flights are to leave the country again.
    • Gratefully, we have tickets confirmed for the Tanzania group to fly out on Thursday morning and arrive in Goshen on Saturday.
  • Institutional travel:
    • All institutional international travel is canceled through the summer. This includes our Study-Service Theology Term to Guatemala for high school students and our Collaborative MBA trip to Costa Rica.
    • Transportation home is considered essential travel and employees are allowed to drive students to the airport, bus or train station.
  • Ongoing Title IX resources: For the next few weeks of modified campus life, all members of the campus community — students and employees — need to know that the Title IX Office will continue providing resources to anyone participating in on-campus and digital campus activities. We recognize that people may experience harm through online interactions as well as in modified living and working situations. Please know that we are here to help. Here are more details.
  • Virtual counseling services: Our counselors are offering students virtual sessions at this time. Unfortunately, they are only able to provide those services to students in Indiana due to licensure restrictions.
  • Expanded Crisis Management Team update: The college’s Crisis Management Team is led by Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy; and Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety; and includes Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities; Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events; Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life; and Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs. It has been meeting regularly about COVID-19 since Feb. 25 and twice a day since March 12, including President Stoltzfus, and has expanded to include others as needed. The team is processing updates and recommendations from local and federal authorities, and overseeing the college’s needs and responses in the midst of this pandemic.
  • Building availability: Buildings that don’t have access control and do have offices will be unlocked Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All buildings that have access control will continue to be available with access cards (ie. Music Center, Union, Rec-Fitness Center). Remember to carry your cards and keys on campus. Any employees that don’t have entrance keys to their own building can submit a key request online and pick it up at Physical Plant between 8-9 a.m. when they are physically open.
  • Red Cross Mobile Blood drive still on: Thursday, March 19 from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Church-Chapel’s south parking lot. Donors urgently needed. Make an appointment or stop by.
  • Bookstore:
    • Free online shipping offer: Visit the campus store website for free shipping on all items with no minimum purchase. This includes various formats of course materials, supplies, apparel, technology and more.
    • Access to eBooks at no additional charge: Visit the campus store website to gain access to eBooks at no additional charge with your goshen.edu email address. You can access up to 7 eBooks for the designated period free of charge.
    • Free access to Lumen Learning OER courseware: Lumen Learning is offering FREE access to courseware to help supplement content, and offer additional resources to faculty, click here for the Lumen offer.
    • Free shipping on rental returns and deadline extensions: The campus store is offering free shipping return labels and is also extending the non-return period without penalty to assist with increased returns by mail. Click the COVID-19 message on the campus store website.

Monday, March 16 — URGENT: Further campus changes regarding COVID-19

Greetings campus,

The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve very rapidly. Travel restrictions are increasing, and Governor Holcomb has announced that dining-in at restaurants is no longer allowed. Therefore, we are taking some further actions today and this week to keep our community as healthy as possible while we continue our educational mission. Please read this email carefully.

    1. Academics: After today, we are canceling all classes for the rest of the week. Instruction will resume next Monday online. We will complete this semester online. Prior planned training sessions for faculty will continue using technology on Thursday and Friday.
    2. Residential students: It is time to transition home or off-campus. Please make plans to be moved out of campus housing by Thursday noon at the latest, and plan to take everything with you that you can.
      • Residence Life will provide residential students with instructions for checkout.
      • If you need more time, we will work with you on a case-by-case basis. If going home isn’t possible for you right now, please fill out this form as soon as possible so that residence life staff can work with you directly.
      • The dining hall will continue to support us in responsive ways through this transition.
      • We understand that this raises financial questions. We will answer those questions as soon as we can.
    3. International education:
      • In light of increasing travel restrictions, we are working to bring the Tanzania and Ecuador SST groups back at the earliest possible time. They will be routed directly to their homes where possible.
      • International May Term classes and Summer SST Units will not be offered. These include destinations in London, Spain, Nepal, Senegal and Ecuador. We will work with students to find ways to fulfill the credits they are missing because of these cancelations. Students can get full refunds for the deposits they have already paid for these classes.
      • We have not canceled Fall SST units to Indonesia and Ecuador yet. Indonesian language class will be offered in May term as scheduled, online, to keep that option open.
    4. Events: We will not hold large gatherings and public campus events until the CDC advises otherwise. We therefore cannot plan to hold Commencement as usual. We will continue to determine if there is an alternative approach to conferring degrees and celebrating this important occasion with you and your loved ones.
    5. Athletics: The NAIA announced this morning their decision to cancel the spring 2020 sports season, effective immediately.
      • In an effort to provide relief, no spring sport student-athlete will be charged a season of competition. Any spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled full-time in 2020 will be awarded two additional semester terms of attendance, or the equivalent.

We understand that these decisions are disruptive and emotional. In these unprecedented times, we will continue to work daily to do what is best for each of you, our community and the world.

We are all in this together. Thank you for the many acts and words of kindness you are showing. Be well, keep learning and stay connected.

Sincerely,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs

P.S. We will continue to evaluate new information as it develops and share updates as they become available. Learn more about our campus response to COVID-19 at: goshen.edu/coronavirus.


Sunday, March 15

At this time the campus (indoors) is closed to the public.


Sunday, March 15 — A video message from President Stoltzfus regarding COVID-19 and our campus community (with text below)

Hello, Maple Leaf community!

What a week this has been! Life has changed, and there is so much for us to understand and talk about.

The purpose of this video message is to stay in touch with updates and information during this challenging time.

These are our goals at this time:

  1. To slow down the transmission of COVID-19, on and off-campus
  2. To protect vulnerable individuals — those who are older or have other risk factors
  3. To continue to provide excellent education with as much support to you as possible
  4. To support the physical and emotional health of all of you.

We have not closed campus because we want to support all of our students, including those who cannot go home or do not want to go home. At the same time, we are working continually to protect you.

I have six important messages for you today in light of the email message we sent yesterday. I’ll count them off for you as we go along, so you don’t get lost.

ONE: We’re all in this together. To get through this, we need to value our own health and the health of those around us. These are inseparable: to stay healthy ourselves, we have to keep others healthy. And to keep others healthy, we have to keep ourselves healthy.

This is a very emotional time.

  • Many of us are vulnerable to the virus or feel helpless for loved ones who are.
  • We feel deeply disappointed by the cancelling of public events and athletic programs that mean a lot to us.
  • Many of us already struggle with anxiety, and this adds to that.

Facts can help address fears. One fear people have expressed is around cases on campus and students in quarantine.

TWO: Facts around quarantines on campus. 

As of today, we have no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus. A few students, in consultation with us, have self-isolated due to illnesses that do not have symptoms which fit the pattern of COVID-19. Over spring break one student was in South Korea, had no symptoms of illness, and agreed to closely self-monitor in isolation. That period has ended and the student continues to be healthy. We have rooms and procedures in place for those who need to be isolated due to vulnerability or flu-like symptoms. We accommodate roommates on a case-by-case basis. I want you to know that if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, the campus will be informed immediately, along with any new actions arising from that.

THREE: We want you to make the choices you need to make regarding where you live and work.

Students: You may go home now or at any time if you need to. It is important to let your professors know if you won’t be present on campus this week so that they can support your learning. Instruction will continue and you won’t be penalized for distance learning. Online learning will begin in some courses tomorrow, and our transition will be complete by Monday, March 23.

Employees: Consider how you can change your work patterns to decrease interactions. This is especially important if your health would make you more vulnerable to severe disease, or if you live with people who are vulnerable. Share your ideas and questions with your supervisor.

FOUR: Increase your social distance. 

Be with your friends and loved ones if they are healthy, but keep groups small — under 25, as a guideline — and keep more distance than usual. The World Health Organization advises at least 3 feet apart whenever possible.

Stop shaking hands. Wash your hands carefully and thoroughly. Sneeze into a tissue and throw it away.

FIVE: If you are ill…

  • Stay home or in your dorm room. Do not go to class, work and other public activities to limit the spread of infection, whatever the type of infection.
  • If you have fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your doctor.
  • Testing is now available locally if prescribed by a doctor.
  • In case of an after-hours emergency, Contact your RA, Res Life Coordinator or Chad Coleman.
  • We have additional rooms available in our residence halls and we will move you or your roommate to a single room if needed.

SIX: And here is something that matters so very much: increase your kindness and compassion to everyone, especially to people whose home countries — by birth or association — have already been hard hit. It is a global pandemic. We are all in this together.

We are obviously connected now in ways that are dangerous — AND we can continue to be connected in ways that will help us stay well in body and spirit. We need social distance AND social solidarity.

So consider these options:

  • Spend time outside in nature. Hug a tree. Kiss the ground. Take a walk or a run with a friend.
  • Be joyful! Be funny — even while we are also sad and sobered. Last night, Kevin and I read aloud our favorite Winnie the Pooh story: The one in which Kanga and Roo come to the forest and Piglet has a bath. Do the quirky things that make you laugh.
  • Stay informed, but don’t follow the news obsessively. This is really a challenge for me! So I have started this practice: when I compulsively go to my phone or a news site, I try to pause and pray for a specific person.
  • Nurture your faith: pray, meditate, read Scripture, sing!
  • Remember that God works for good in all things. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.
  • Thank the people who are working extra hard in very difficult circumstances: our custodians, the people providing good food for you, people making sure our technology systems are working well, the people who are showing up to care and teach in new ways.

Let’s use the time freed up by all the canceled events to find new and creative ways to stay connected and care for one another — whether working or learning on campus or at home.

If you have a good idea for how we can best support one another and our broader community, please let me know at president@goshen.edu.

Be well, keep learning, and stay connected. Bye for now!

— President Rebecca Stoltzfus


Friday, March 13 — Current changes to campus dining service: 

  • Self-serving selections will now be served.
  • Box lunches are available for pick up or isolated delivery. Send an email to jcorson@goshen.edu with at least an hour’s notice.
  • Bulk food pick ups are available and can be prepared hot or cold. Consult with Student Life if you have this need. The dining hall would need at least an hour’s notice to provide this.
  • Bulk grocery ordering are available: aviserves.com/Goshen
  • Use the “GET APP”

Friday, March 13 — Important campus update about COVID-19 action plan

Greetings campus,

Goshen College’s top priority is the health and safety of our students, our employees and our broader community. At this time, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Goshen is low, and there are no confirmed cases in our county. Nonetheless, Goshen College is rapidly ramping up mitigation efforts to keep our community as safe as possible, while also supporting students to continue learning well and to complete their courses successfully.

We are not closing and will remain a residential campus (dining service, RFC, library, residence halls, etc.). At the same time, we are making the following changes to our approach as a campus in responding to COVID-19, until further notice (effective immediately unless otherwise noted):

  1. Over the next week, we will move from in-person instruction to online instruction wherever possible. Normal class schedules will continue March 16-18 (Monday-Wednesday). On March 19 and 20 (Thursday and Friday), normal class schedules will be replaced with training opportunities to prepare for this change for faculty and students. Classes will resume Monday, March 23 in their new format. More information will be communicated to you as soon as possible.
  2. We will work to accommodate any member of our campus community who has reasons to further limit their in-person engagement. Students should be in conversation with Corie Steinke. Employees should talk with their supervisor.
  3. We will not hold large gatherings and public campus events. Chapel and convocation events are canceled for the rest of the semester and students will receive credit during this period of time.
  • All campus visits organized by the Admissions Office (including Admitted Student Weekend, Explore Goshen Day and individual/group visits) will be canceled or postponed, March 13-April 5.
  • Athletic competitions are suspended until April 1 and will not be rescheduled.
  • Travel:
    • All non-essential professional travel should be cancelled or postponed. Employees, please be in conversation with your supervisor to determine what is essential and non-essential professional travel.
    • Study-Service Term (SST) students in Tanzania and Ecuador are currently on service assignments and in stable contexts in the last weeks of their term, and will travel home as currently scheduled. We continue to closely monitor this though and will take action as needed.
    • We are in direct communication with students pre-enrolled in off-campus May term courses and summer SST units.

Additional information on these changes will follow with specific details for faculty, staff and students.

There is no doubt these changes will disrupt and inconvenience our campus community. However, we strongly believe these short-term disruptions will greatly reduce the risk of significant long-term negative consequences.

Please remember that we are all responsible for our community’s well-being. Being a strong community for each other is one of our greatest strengths. We reiterate that the best actions we can each take right now are strong preventative measures and good hygiene, so please take good care of yourselves and each other.

We will continue to evaluate new information as it develops and share updates as they become available. Learn more about our campus response to COVID-19 at: goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Thank you for your patience and support through this evolving and difficult situation.

Sincerely,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Wednesday, March 11

Greetings campus,

We have been closely monitoring national, state and local guidelines in how we are addressing COVID-19. We are working with local county and city government and health authorities, as well as tracking all Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and changes (they recently created this helpful guide for higher ed specifically).

There are currently 6 confirmed cases in Indiana, with the closest being in Kendallville, Indiana, 37 miles southeast in Noble County, where our Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is located. It is likely there will be confirmed cases in Elkhart County at some point and all residents and organizations must be proactive and preventive. As we strive to make the best possible decisions for Goshen College, we are also in conversation with other colleges and universities inside and outside of Indiana. At this time, no single approach best fits all contexts. Based on what we know at this time, and in line with the advice of the CDC and state and local health authorities, we are continuing with our normal approaches to class and operations, with increased public health vigilance as detailed below. 

Nothing is more important to us than the health and wellbeing of our students and employees. We anticipate that there may be a time when face-to-face interactions with students need to stop and we need to cancel public events or large group gatherings. We will update you regularly. There is no need to panic or cause panic in others. Overall, our goal is to keep everyone safe, while also supporting students to continue learning and to complete their courses.

Here are important reminders, new updates and messages for specific campus groups at this time:

Prevention and good hygiene are essential:

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Watch these videos (available in English and Spanish) to learn more. There is also more signage around campus with reminders as well.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Note that this is a Plan B, not your first option. Always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

It is time to change how we physically interact with each other on campus. At this time, we strongly discourage all handshakes, hugs, kisses and even fist bumps or elbow taps. Find other ways to greet each other without physically touching.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Don’t share water bottles, glasses or eating utensils with others.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Get a flu shot – it’s not too late.

Be aware that facemasks are not advised for the general public.

If you need to travel, don’t fly or take the train if you have a choice. If you don’t have a choice, read up on how to take hygiene precautions while traveling.

Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

You should know that our custodial staff continues to maintain best practices, including those specific to COVID-19, for routine cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects in public areas that are touched often, and they also take extra precautions in areas that are identified as needing it.

If you become ill:

Limit your physical contact with others.

Please remain home from class, work and other public activities to limit the spread of infection. You should be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to classes and work.

Note that the most clear signs of COVID-19 are a fever and a dry cough. Res Life Coordinators have thermometers to check your temperature if you think you might have a fever.

If you have these symptoms, call your primary care provider. Only go to the hospital (after calling) if you are having a hard time breathing as well.

See a doctor or provider at the first sign of flu-like symptoms to potentially shorten the impact of the virus, but call ahead first.

Students who exhibit flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting) should immediately contact Goshen Family Physicians, which serves as the primary medical service provider for students. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (574) 534-8200 or (574) 534-0050.

In case of an after-hours emergency, students should contact their resident director or resident assistant, or go directly to the Goshen Hospital emergency department (after calling ahead).

Let others know:

Students: Contact your RA, RLC or Chad Coleman immediately so we can be of assistance to you and track campus health needs and trends.

  • There are extra rooms on campus that can be made available to students who need self-isolation.
  • Residence Life staff will assist in providing pack out meals from the dining hall upon request.
  • Contact parents/family members and let them know you are taking the necessary steps to restore your health.

Employees: You or your supervisor should contact the Human Resources Office to report absences due to flu-like symptoms.

If your roommate is sick with flu-like symptoms: 

  • Encourage them to follow the guidance above.
  • Provide assistance to them as you are able to.
  • Be extra cautious and exercise, good hygiene and preventative measures.
  • Avoid sharing household items with them.
  • Monitor your own health closely.
  • Limit others coming into your room who are not essential.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day.

Teaching Faculty:

If and when in-person contact becomes more restricted, all teaching might move from the traditional classroom to an online format. Faculty should begin to prepare for this change, including adding materials to Moodle in anticipation. We recognize that online teaching will be more difficult for laboratory and practicum courses, so we ask faculty to think carefully about how they can manage all types of courses to maintain our excellent academic outcomes.

The schools meeting on Thursday, March 12 and the Teaching Faculty Forum on Thursday, March 19 will provide resources for faculty to adapt their courses. You may reach out to our instructional technology staff (Erin Milanese and Kelsy McLane) at any time.

Thank you for your creativity in managing courses in these uncertain times and for doing what is best for our students!

All Employees: In addition to your available sick time benefit if you or your family members are sick and you cannot work, know that we have a policy in place about how we will handle compensation if the campus were to close.

And finally, I (President Stoltzfus) wrote this blog post on this topic that you may find helpful at this time.

Find all of our updates and info about this at: goshen.edu/coronavirus.

Sincerely,

President Rebecca Stoltzfus and the GC Crisis Management Team:
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety
Glenn Gilbert, director of facilities
Cynthia Good Kaufmann, director of events
Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life and dean of students
Ann Vendrely, vice president for academic affairs


Wednesday, March 11

The WHO’s handwashing instructions put to the Goshen College Alma Mater:


Friday, March 6 — A message from our Food Service Provider, AVI Fresh.

To Our Valued Guests:

We take your health and safety with the utmost of importance.

AVI Foodsystems has been actively monitoring the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) respiratory disease reported in the United States. COVID-19 was initially detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

At this time, it is important to note that the known transmission of this virus is similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. There are no cases of COVID-19 which have shown any evidence of humans being infected by another route, such as through food supply or food consumption.

AVI is actively monitoring the development of this outbreak and are working with our food distributors to ensure services provided will not be affected.

In regards to preventive measures, AVI has strong policies and procedures in place to ensure food safety and prevention of illness transmission. These policies, which mirror CDC recommendations, are closely followed. The policies include but are not limited to: * Enforcement of proper and careful handwashing
* Following of all safety guidelines including appropriate food handling
* Proper sanitation of food preparation areas.

We continue to enforce our team member illness reporting policy which includes immediately reporting symptoms and restricting anyone with high-risk conditions.

In addition, each location follows AVI’s firstLINE Safety System, which includes a robust Business Continuity Plan to ensure we are able to serve our guests in any type of situation.


Thursday, March 5 — Goshen College guidelines concerning COVID-19 and study abroad programs

Goshen College is committed to providing all students with opportunities for immersive global education, while also seeking to ensure the health and safety of students and faculty. With the recent global spread of COVID-19, we want to share with you our guidelines for working with the travel risks to our study abroad destinations.

Goshen College will make its decision to cancel study abroad destinations based on whether the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory is at Level 3 or 4 and/or whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)l has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Advisory, “Avoid Nonessential Travel.” If these advisories go into place after students are already in the country, we will return them to campus.

Given these guidelines, we have decided to relocate the China fall Study-Service Term (SST) program to Indonesia.

As of March 5, there are no travel advisories at level 3 or 4 to any other pending GC destinations and they have not been identified currently as having any limited, sustained or widespread community transmission. This includes our May/Summer and Fall destinations in England, Spain, Nepal, Ecuador, Senegal, Kenya and Indonesia.

Students or faculty who feel uncomfortable with the risks of COVID-19 will be given the opportunity, within a limited time frame, to opt-out of their study abroad program and their deposit will be refunded. The college will work with them to find other ways of fulfilling these credits, potentially at another time. If there are not enough students remaining in the group to make it financially viable, the destination may still be cancelled.

SST programs currently in Tanzania and Ecuador, scheduled to return to campus on April 6 and 7, will continue to function normally unless they move to a different advisory level as noted above.

Although the risk of contagion at these destinations is low, so long as precautions are taken, we advise students or faculty with pre-existing metabolic (diabetes) and respiratory (COPD, asthma, etc.) illness to consult their health care provider on their level of personal risk. We also want you to know that there could be risk of travel disruption through government actions. These could include denial of entry into or immediate exit from a country or region and quarantine up to 14 days.

Given the uncertainties of this quickly evolving situation, we cannot predict when the CDC will lift current restrictions or if additional countries will be impacted by future advisories. We will continue to monitor the situation around the globe, and we will update you and take action should the situation change.

Please be in touch with Jan Shetler, director of international education (jans@goshen.edu) if you have any questions about this.


Wednesday, March 4

Employees, if you would like to pick up a pump bottle of hand sanitizer for your respective shared work areas or classrooms, we are making them available at the Physical Plant window during business hours.


Monday, March 2 — Update about Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions

Although there have been no confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Indiana, we have been closely monitoring the situation in the United States and around the world. In the United States, the threat to the general public for contracting COVID-19 remains low. We are working closely with local health providers and various campus offices in order to be prepared though if that changes. Nothing is more important to us than the health and wellbeing of our students and employees.

We are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for decisions, including about travel abroad. If you have traveled to a country with a CDC Level 3 warning (currently China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Iran) in the last 14 days or plan to in the future, please contact Chad Coleman to take appropriate precautions.

Even if you haven’t recently traveled abroad, taking good care of yourself is important not just for you, but for the entire community. We encourage everyone to take these basic steps to help protect yourself and others from viral illness:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Don’t share water bottles, glasses or eating utensils. Limit close contact, like kissing, with people who are sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).

Get a flu shot – it’s not too late.

Be aware that facemasks are not needed for the general public.

Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

You should know that our custodial staff continues to maintain strong procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects in public areas that are touched often, and they also take extra precautions in areas that are identified as needing it.

If you become ill with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea or vomiting):

Limit your physical contact with others.

Please remain home from class, work, and other public activities to limit the spread of infection. You should be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication before returning to classes and work.

See a doctor or provider at the first sign of flu-like symptoms to potentially shorten the impact of the virus.

Students who exhibit flu-like symptoms should immediately contact Goshen Family Physicians, which serves as the primary medical service provider for students. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (574) 534-8200 or (574) 534-0050.

In case of an after-hours emergency, students should contact their resident director or resident assistant, or go directly to the IU Health Goshen Hospital emergency department.

Let others know:

Students: Contact your RA RLC or Chad Coleman immediately so we can be of assistance to you and track campus health needs. Contact parents/family members and let them know you are taking the necessary steps to restore your health.

Employees: You or your supervisor should contact the Human Resources Office to report absences due to flu-like symptoms.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will communicate updates or any changes as they become available. We will continue to post related updates and information on this webpage.

Please be understanding and as flexible as possible when a member of our community needs to take time away. Thank you for helping us create a campus community that is safe, welcoming and inclusive for everyone, and where all are treated with respect and dignity.

Sincerely,

Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president for student life
Jodi Beyeler, vice president for communications and people strategy
Chad Coleman, director of student life operations and campus safety