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COVID-19 Communications

Read the latest communication from Wheaton about Fall 2020.


Dear Campus Community,

As you are likely aware, Illinois has seen a recent rise in COVID-19 positivity across the state. Today, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health have put forward an updated mitigation plan to address this situation. 

Wheaton’s COVID-19 Leadership Team has been in contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health, and despite Illinois Region 8 (which includes DuPage County) moving to Tier 1 of the mitigation plan, no changes or further action are required of higher education institutions at this time. 

As always, in order to support our COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong community, everyone should continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart whenever possible, and maintain the Wheaton bubble. We will continue to monitor the situation and stay in close contact with the State of Illinois so that we can provide prompt updates should the situation change. 

Grace and peace,

COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students, 

If you visit the Wheaton College COVID-19 Dashboard, you will see that our region’s pandemic numbers continue to climb. Please know that we are monitoring this closely and preparing to adjust to any changes in State of Illinois guidelines. 

Thanks to God’s protection and our adherence to the COVID-Safe Commitment we have successfully passed the mid-point on our trek to Thanksgiving. Successful completion of the semester hinges on all of us maintaining our COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong practices and protecting the Wheaton Bubble.  

New Guidance for Christmas Break Travel 

We are making important changes to the College’s quarantine requirements for students who travel to campus in January from international locations or from domestic COVID-19 “hot spots.” Based on changes to the CDC Covid-19 guidelines for travelers, students returning from these locations must complete a 14-day quarantine at home (or, if applicable, in place) before traveling safely to campus.  

Students who spend Christmas break in domestic COVID-19 “hot spots” or international locations will not be required to complete 14 days of self-quarantine after arriving on campus. As with fall semester, all students will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to move into campus housing and participate in on-campus classes. More information on testing will be announced soon.

We do encourage all students, regardless of where they spend Christmas break, to complete a recommended 14-day home quarantine before returning to campus. Please also follow all COVID-19 safety precautions if you travel during Christmas break. 

COVID-Safe Voting

Please register and vote in a COVID-safe way with masks on and socially distant from others.

Fall Festival!

Please keep an eye out for further details for events to be held Friday, October 30 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 31 from 2-8 p.m. In partnership with various student leadership groups we will have COVID-safe venues for live arts, games, and other activities, including food trucks.  

Academic Division Fall Fun Day

Be aware that there will be an employee-only Fall Fun Day on Oct. 21, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

Grace and peace, 

COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students, 

By God’s grace we continue our COVID-Safe push to Thanksgiving.

We are periodically asked what will happen if you come into close contact with a roommate or someone else who tests positive for COVID-19. The answer, per our Student and Family FAQ, is that we will immediately test all close contacts, realizing that some may have an asymptomatic presentation. If test results are positive, students will be moved to East Campus for their isolation period of a minimum of 10 days after removing their orange wristband and turning it into Residence Life or Student Health Services. 

If results are negative, according to CDC guidelines, we will ask students to quarantine in their own living space for 14 days after their last contact with the positive case, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting to SHS for testing if symptoms develop. Before beginning their quarantine, they will remove their orange wristband and turn it in to a Residence Life staff member in exchange for a yellow wristband.  

Your professors will be notified by Student Care Services that you are approved to learn remotely during this time, and we will deliver pre-packaged meals to a central point in student housing if you live on campus. Your meal plan or student account (if not on a meal plan) will be charged for the delivered meals.  

If you are sharing a bathroom on campus, you will need to follow specific protocols for cleaning between use. Students may elect to quarantine at home if they live within a two-hour driving radius, but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for these 14 days while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing a test at home as soon as symptoms develop or at day 10 if symptoms do not occur.  

All quarantining students may return to classes and campus life on the clearance date communicated to them by Student Health Services and pick up a new orange wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life in exchange for their yellow wristband.

Grace and peace, 

COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students,

Remote for Spring

As a follow-up to last week’s message about our intention to continue with on-campus living and learning for the spring semester, we are still planning to allow for remote learning as an option. Further details—including a survey of who intends to study on campus or remotely—are forthcoming.  

Wristband Key

We are grateful for your cooperation in wearing the wristband corresponding to your current situation, for your safety and for the safety of our campus. For your reference, here is the Wheaton College Wristband Key:

  • Orange = cleared to attend class and participate in campus life 
  • Blue = cleared to attend class and participate in campus life while participating in regular testing 
  • Yellow = in a 14-day quarantine in current housing as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or not feeling well and in quarantine while waiting for a COVID-19 test result 
  • No wristband = not authorized to attend class or participate in campus life, or in isolation for testing positive for COVID-19 

Before students go into quarantine, they will exchange their orange wristband for a yellow one from Student Health Services or a Residence Life staff member. Students cleared from quarantine or isolation will receive a new orange wristband. 

These wristbands help Bon Appetit, faculty, and staff manage the public health of our campus. It is critical that student wear the appropriate wristband for their current COVID-19 status to avoid confusion on campus. Broken wristbands may be replaced by Student Health Services or Residence Life.

Adirondack Chairs

Just a reminder that our Adirondack chairs (which have been a hit on campus) need to be kept at least 6 feet apart.

Grace and peace,

COVID-19 Leadership Team

 

Dear Students,

Remember, this is a great year not to get the flu! Make an appointment at Student Health Services (SHS) now or drop by one of our pop-up flu shot events listed below and get your shot for $30 billed to your student account. This is just for students, not for employees.

Flu Shot Pop-up Events

  • Oct. 1, Thursday, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., Beamer Center 064 Parmelee Conference Room
  • Oct. 10, Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Beamer Center 064 Parmelee Conference Room
  • Oct. 15, Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Billy Graham Hall, Barrow’s Foyer
  • Oct. 24, Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Beamer Center 064 Parmelee Conference Room
  • Nov. 3, Tuesday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m., Beamer Center 064 Parmelee Conference Room

What if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after hours or on the weekends when Student Health Services is closed?

If you are experiencing any emergency symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, difficulty walking or talking, or have recently lost consciousness, please call 630-752-5911 for Public Safety to secure an ambulance for medical care.  If you are experiencing mild cold or flu-like symptoms, we ask you to quarantine in your current living space until you can make the next available appointment at Student Health Services.  You should call 630-752-5072 and leave a message with your name, ID number, and cell phone number stating you need to schedule the first available appointment. 

The SHS intake coordinator will reach out to you first thing in the morning (or on Monday) to schedule a free provider visit and free COVID test if indicated.  You should contact your RD/GRA who will have meal tickets which allow your friends or RA to bring back food for you and also will give you a bleach bottle to clean after using shared bathrooms. Once you have your visit, Student Health Services will assist you with your medical needs and with any notices that will need to go to your professors about needing to quarantine.  Your roommates/housemates are free to come and go during this time as long as they are not also feeling sick.

Grace and peace,

COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students,

We are very pleased to announce that our campus-wide COVID-19 testing this past weekend of 1,600 students produced just 1 positive result. We are going back to that one batch of just four students for retesting to narrow down who might have COVID-19. In the meantime, those students are in quarantine.

This low number is an extraordinary testament to your diligence and cooperation, as well as that of our staff and faculty, to adhere to our COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong procedures. Above all, we thank God for allowing us persevere at a time when many other colleges and universities have reverted to teaching remotely. Please view the short video above from President Philip Ryken.

This good news comes with our strongest caution, however. We cannot lighten up on our safety practices now. We must continue to follow the COVID-Safe Commitment, especially since Chicagoland winter conditions could push us inside at any time, creating an ideal environment for germ spread. Please take our masking, distancing, and sanitizing rules and procedures very seriously. For a refresher on what this entails, please visit our Student and Family FAQs or, if you are a graduate student, the Graduate Student FAQs.

And now we press on to Thanksgiving!

Grace and peace,

The COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Campus Community,

We believe that the threat of COVID-19 will continue to be a significant issue during spring semester. Currently, we intend to continue on-campus learning, with regular classes starting January 20, 2021. So far Wheaton has been blessed by God’s provision and protection, but we understand that circumstances could change, forcing us to adjust our plans. Thus, we ask you to maintain an attitude of flexibility.

Negative COVID-19 tests will again be required for students to return to campus. Details regarding timing of residence hall openings, required check-in protocols, etc. will be forthcoming. More details about January graduate intensives will also be forthcoming from the program director.

We are sorry to announce that in order to minimize external exposure and maintain the Wheaton Bubble, we do not plan to have our traditional spring break. We will be providing a finalized calendar in the near future, so please continue to read your emails. We also will be sending all students a survey soon to determine how many students intend to return for spring semester.

We wish you a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong weekend!

Grace and peace,

The COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students,

A Great Year Not to Get the Flu

In one of our meetings last week, President Ryken observed with acute understatement that “this would be a great year not to get the flu.”

Given that Chicago weather will drive us all indoors amid the continuing pandemic, we hope and pray everyone strives to avoid flu this year. Beyond its own dangers, flu could easily be confused with COVID-19, leading to quarantine, testing, and disruption for others.

We encourage everyone to get the flu shot soon. Flu shots are available now by appointment at Student Health Services for $30. And be on the lookout for flu shot clinics popping up on campus next month. Further details are coming soon.

Campus-wide COVID Testing

In an additional effort to keep COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong, we tested 1,600 students for COVID-19 this past weekend. We thank all of you for showing up to be tested. This overall testing, combined with those who are on our regular testing schedule, means we tested almost all undergraduates as well as some graduate students. Those who were tested will hear from us later this week only if they are in a positive batch and need to be retested. We know the stickers on the IDs were a hit, but please take a moment to remove them TODAY! The stickers will gum up the locks and other swipe devices around campus.

Study Spaces

Students have been asking about places to study on campus. Please visit the Buswell Library COVID-19 Update Page for the latest updates about library hours for fall. Many other spaces on campus have signs indicating the “COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong” room capacity. When Lower Beamer is not in use for dining, students can study there (be sure to leave the furniture in its original COVID-Safe layout). While the weather holds, we encourage students to congregate outside in a socially distanced manner. However, many campus buildings are open seven days a week to provide additional space for COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong gatherings.

Besides Lower Beamer, students can access Armerding, Blanchard, Meyer, Billy Graham Hall, and Memorial Student Center as per the usual academic year schedule during the weekday and on Saturdays. With the exception of Billy Graham Hall, these buildings will also be accessible on Sundays from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. to students who live in on-campus housing, with reduced capacity to meet COVID-Safe guidelines. Students will use their ID card to access these buildings. The Barrows door of Billy Graham Hall will be open on Sundays from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday access is limited to students living on campus because they do not have other options to socially distance that other off-campus students can do. Off-campus students who are authorized to be on campus are able to join on-campus students in these buildings for academic or co-curricular purposes.  

Wear Masks in Lower Beamer

Remember, you still need to wear face coverings—including over the nose—when in Lower Beamer to study (not to eat). The plexiglass dividers on the tables don’t replace the face covering. For those of you looking for more comfortable alternatives, we suggest wearing mask frames, which create more space and are washable/reusable. 

When Can Students Leave Campus for Work or Internships?

To reinforce the “Wheaton Bubble,” students living on campus must stay on campus except for doctor appointments, pharmacy supplies, or food runs. Sustained off-campus engagement requiring students to leave campus is prohibited unless essential. Volunteer activities are not considered essential. To request permission for financially necessary off-campus work or an academically-required internship, please read these brief instructions before completing this form. Students approved to engage off campus will need to submit a weekly negative COVID-19 test to Student Health Services in order to continue.  

I Need to Travel for a Special Occasion or Family Event. Is That Allowed? 

Students living in campus-owned housing or in off-campus non-College owned housing and commuting must request permission to attend an essential event off campus such as a family wedding or funeral. Please read these brief instructions before completing this form. All students approved to engage in an essential off-campus event will be required to quarantine at their permanent address – not in College-owned housing or off-campus non-College owned housing – for 14 days and participate in class remotely before traveling COVID-safely back to campus. In addition, they must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken on the 10th day of their quarantine to covid.test@wheaton.edu to return to campus. If a student living in College-owned housing chooses to leave campus for a special occasion or family event, no reimbursement for room and board will be provided during the quarantine period. 

Visit our Student and Family FAQ, which is updated regularly, if you have questions!

Grace and peace,

COVID-19 Leadership Team

 

Dear Students,

We all want to stay healthy and living in community for the full semester. To do so, the COVID-19 Leadership Team is recommending that we do a wide-scale test of the student body this weekend (9/19-9/20). By systematically testing students in addition to the surveillance testing we are already doing for music, athletics, ROTC, and off-campus participants, we should be able to identify a growing cluster before it expands beyond a controllable level. We are targeting 14 days after Labor Day in an effort to capture any cases that have evolved as a result of the holiday weekend. 

We will be doing a self-administered pooled nasal swab test this weekend from 10 a.m-8 p.m. on both Saturday (9/19) and Sunday (9/20). Don’t worry! This is not the test that goes really far up your nose!  It is similar to the nasal test for the flu - quick, easy, and painless! When you come to pick up your meal, plan for an extra 10-15 minutes before you get your food to complete the testing process in Coray Gym. Please bring your ID so that we can put a sticker on it to show you have been tested. This includes graduate students who have meal plans with the College. 

If you don’t have a meal plan or aren’t eating at Anderson this weekend, please sign up for a time slot for either Saturday or Sunday between 2 pm. and 4:30 p.m. by following this link

All other undergraduate students who are not on a meal plan will need to sign up for a testing appointment. All other graduate students are strongly encouraged to sign up for a testing appointment. The more people we can test this weekend the better! 

There are a few groups of people who do not need to be part of this testing:

  1. Weekly testers (this testing weekend cannot replace your weekly test) - your blue band will let you bypass this testing when you get to the front of the line.
  2. If you have had a positive COVID test in the last 3 months, please bring proof of this test with your name, date of test, and test results. Once it is reviewed, you will not need to test this weekend - look for the Exemption table when you get to the front of the line.
  3. If you were tested the week of 9/14 for symptoms or athletics, bring proof of results and, once we review your results, you will not need to test this weekend (if you were tested late in the week and don’t have results yet, we will have someone who can verify that you do not need to be tested) - look for the Exemption table when you get to the front of the line.

Grace and peace,

COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students,

We thank God for another week together and give all credit to Him for allowing virtually everyone to remain healthy. Currently, we have no students in isolation for a positive test and just two students in quarantine. You can always check our latest numbers by visiting our COVID-19 dashboard.

Voting in the Nov. 3 Election

We want to encourage students who are American citizens to vote in November’s local, state, and national elections. You may wish to consider voting via mail-in ballot. However, because of your civic privilege to vote and because many of you are eligible for the first time to vote in a presidential election, you are free to vote in person. It is expected that social distancing practices and COVID-safe environments will be in place at local polling sites.

If It’s Not Over the Nose, It Doesn’t Work

Thank you to everyone for wearing masks when required. As a reminder, your mask must cover your nose (which is, after all, connected to your lungs). If you don’t cover your nose, you are not as well protected from either spreading or inhaling germs. To learn more, please visit the complete Wheaton College masking policy.

Surveillance Testing Message 

To stay healthy for the full semester, the COVID-19 Leadership Team is recommending a wide-scale test of the student body this weekend (9/19-9/20). You will soon receive more information about how you will take part. By systematically testing students in addition to the surveillance testing we are already doing for music, athletics, ROTC, and off-campus participants, we should be able to identify a growing cluster of positive cases before they expand beyond a controllable level.  

OCO Community Work Days!

Consistent with opportunities for students to be outdoors this fall, OCO Community Work days will be permitted with the following guidelines: no contact with homeowners, compliance with College guidance on vehicle use, adherence to protocols for social distancing and cleaning, limit to the number of students at each site, and shorter work periods.

Meet Your COVID-19 Leadership Team 

We have received some questions regarding the membership of the COVID-19 Leadership Team. Please see the following list:  

  • Dr. Philip Ryken, President
  • Chad Rynbrandt, Vice President for Finance and Operations, Treasurer 
  • Dr. Karen An-Hwei Lee, Provost
  • Dr. Kirk Farney, Vice President for Advancement, Vocation, and Alumni Engagement
  • Dr. Paul Chelsen, Vice President for Student Development
  • Silvio Vazquez, Chief Enrollment Management Officer
  • Dr. Sheila Caldwell, Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer
  • Marilee Melvin, Special Assistant to the President
  • Beth Walsh, Director of Student Health Services
  • Joe Moore, Director of Marketing Communications
  • Karen Tucker, Director of Human Resources
  • Dr. Sarah Miglio, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Assistant Professor of Core Studies and History
  • Dr. Steve Ivester, Dean for Student Engagement
  • Wendy Woodward, Chief Information Officer
  • Dr. Mary Yeboah, Director of Graduate Student Life
  • Amy Hillstrom, Administrative Assistant to Vice President for Finance and Operations, Treasurer

Grace and peace,

The COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students,

We hope you had a good and safe weekend and are now ready to tackle the rest of this semester. 

We have a few items to share:

Election and Civility

In less than two months, this country will hold the 2020 presidential election. Americans are as divided as ever. Beyond the pandemic—which itself has become a political issue—we face persistent differences over race and class that often harm communities of color. Social unrest and economic challenges have shaken our ability to treat one another in a civil manner.

Fear, mistrust, and anger can easily lead to hurtful words and behaviors as we live and study together in community. We offer this reminder to treat each other with the utmost respect and civility in the bonds of Christian love as Jesus commanded his disciples (John 13:34-35). Even when differing viewpoints threaten to divide us, we stand united as equal image bearers in Jesus Christ.  

COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Accountability

At Wheaton, we seek to foster an environment where students know that faculty and staff are glad to be with them, whether virtually or on campus. We are all responsible for maintaining a healthy community when we are in public and private spaces off campus and on campus. We are grateful for the many ways students are engaging COVID-Safe behaviors.

There is room to grow, however, and sometimes this requires loving correction. Students should expect to be reminded by a member of the Wheaton College community if they are exhibiting unsafe behavior. We ask that each individual join us in our efforts to keep everyone in the Wheaton College community safe by taking personal responsibility and speaking to fellow members with a spirit of charity if/when concerns are observed.  If the unsafe behavior does not change or intentionally places people at risk, the concern may be shared through the CARES referral form on the Wheaton portal. In order to enjoy being together in person until Thanksgiving, we must take seriously COVID-unsafe behavior that jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of the Wheaton College community.   

Senior Student Development staff members will receive reports of unsafe COVID behavior and determine the outcome or refer the matter to a Hearing Panel for Student Conduct.  

When a matter is referred to a Hearing Panel for Student Conduct, three members of the Wheaton College community (student, staff, and faculty) will meet with the student and determine if he or she should be sent home to complete the semester remotely.

Here are the guiding principles we will use when adjudicating allegations of COVID-unsafe behavior: 1) the nature of the situation; 2) how the student responds when approached; 3) the student’s conduct history; and 4) the impact of the behavior on the community.  

For your additional awareness

Recognizing that we likely will be dealing with the pandemic beyond fall semester, we are changing the name of the team of administrators overseeing our response to the “COVID-19 Leadership Team.” If you need to communicate with us, the e-mail will remain covid19@wheaton.edu.

We now have a dashboard for you, your family, and our employees to visit for the latest numbers related to COVID-19 cases on campus. You will be able to see a daily update of positive student and employee positive cases, quarantine numbers and other information about Wheaton College’s continued preparedness, as well as links to external regional health resources.

Grace and peace,
The COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Students, 

Please view this short video message from President Ryken. We hope you have a restorative Labor Day Weekend! 

Please remember our COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment: when considering socializing off-campus with friends or others, you can do so in local socially-distant outdoor nature options on campus and off campus (e.g., forest preserves, local biking/walking trails, local parks, walking in the neighborhood).  

Students may not leave campus for outdoor dining, coffee shops, or visiting other locations where non-Wheaton College people are present. Students may not travel into Chicago for recreational purposes. We would encourage students to investigate using food delivery services in natural settings as an option. Curbside grocery/shopping pick up, drive-thru pick up, haircuts, and doctor’s appointments are allowable as you practice COVID-Safe behaviors.

May you all stay safe as we continue our journey of living together in community.  

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

Please join us in praising God for a successful start to the semester, including smooth move-in days and an excellent 2020 Orientation—highlighted in this video. We have been very pleased with the way our entire campus community has adapted to our COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong masking and social distancing guidelines. Thank you for taking the safety of your fellow students so seriously.

As we commence this first full week of courses, we encourage you to keep it up as you seek to study, grow in your faith, and build community this academic year. Here are our COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong Daily Top 7 Guidelines to keep everyone safe. Remember, when you:

  1. move, you mask
  2. see someone, you distance first, then greet
  3. touch, you clean
  4. hang out, you go outside and remain at a distance
  5. drive, you socially distance, mask, and open the windows
  6. feel sick, you make an appointment
  7. think about going off campus, you ask, “Can it be delivered?”

We also want to give you an update on our testing results and clarify the process for requesting permission to leave campus.

Staying Healthy

Since everyone has arrived on campus, we have had two test results that were positive for COVID-19. Both of those students are in isolation. An additional 22 who have been close contacts of positive cases are in self-quarantine. We are thankful that on-campus virus activity appears to be low at this point, but we continue to monitor the situation closely each day.

Leaving Campus FAQs

To keep our campus community safe, we are asking you to avoid leaving campus for unessential excursions. If you must leave campus for work, internship, or a special occasion, please request permission. Here are more specifics:

Leaving campus to work or intern

To request permission for financially necessary off-campus work or an academically required internship, please read these brief instructions before completing this form. Students approved to engage off campus will need to submit a weekly negative COVID-19 test to Student Health Services in order to continue.

Leaving campus for a special occasion or family event

Students wanting to request permission to attend an essential off-campus event, such as a family wedding or funeral should read these brief instructions before completing this form. Students approved to engage in an essential off-campus event will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days and participate in class remotely before re-entering campus.

Grace and peace,
Fall Planning Group

Dear Students, 

This week we are thrilled to officially begin Wheaton College’s 2020-2021 academic year. Despite unprecedented circumstances, we look forward to sharing our unique tradition rooted in practicing the Christian liberal arts through instruction, discussion, student collaboration, and applied learning. 

An Inspiring Start to the Year at Orientation

Although it is not everyone’s first year at Wheaton, we want to share video footage from the Orientation Opening Program. It is sure to inspire! If you don’t have 90 minutes to view the entire thing, we encourage you to view President Ryken’s opening remarks here and Wheaton parent Pam Klein’s inspirational prayer for the semester here

The Mission Carries on in Residence Life at Wheaton 

With the last of Wheaton’s students moving in today, Dean of Residence Life Dr. Justin Heth shares some of his thoughts about the mission moving forward in the residence halls: 

Our purpose is still the same—our core of building connection, helping students experience a sense of belonging, supporting and challenging students to live out the body of Christ—is our continued mission this year. We’re just going to do it socially distanced and through a mask the best way we can.

You can read more about Dr. Heth and plans for this semester here

Plans for COVID-19 on Campus 

We assume that there will be some cases of students testing positive for COVID-19 during the semester. As a reminder, we have plans in place to address this situation and contain any spread. We are arranging separate housing for students who test positive for the virus. Students who quarantine on campus will receive assistance to move; meals will be delivered; Student Health Services will provide medical support; and students will be able to engage with courses online. If students are too ill to pursue coursework, we will communicate course excuses to faculty members.  

We are carefully monitoring key measures in our region, which remain below levels that could trigger additional restrictions. As of Sunday, we have more than 1,000 students on campus. Based on arrival tests, we are working with 15 students who had positive results and are isolating at home or off campus until they are cleared. We will continue to provide regular updates as we continue with the beginning of the semester.

For more information, you can always visit our Student and Parent FAQs.  

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group 

 

Dear Students,

It is gratifying to have our new and transfer students successfully moved in. We look forward to welcoming back our returning students over the next few days. Thank you to everyone for your flexibility, patience, and support for keeping our campus COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong.

Growing Together

In some ways, this year will be a year like no other. But in all the most important ways, this year will be just like every other at Wheaton. As always, we’re committed to helping you grow and thrive – even during new challenges. Here are just a few examples of how we’ll be supporting your emotional, spiritual, and vocational growth:

These are just a few examples of how we’ll be supporting your growth this semester. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Campus Store

We thank you for all you are doing as parents to help during this critical phase as we launch a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong semester. The Campus Store invites you to place your order for Wheaton merchandise online, before you come, and schedule an easy curbside pick-up. We are making this option available as people who are not students or employees cannot enter College buildings. Even parents may not enter places such as the Campus Store, Anderson Commons, or residence halls.  

We thank you and your parents for your assistance during this critical time.

Sharing Our Space

The facilities team has been working hard to set up classrooms and other spaces around campus to optimize the layout while maintaining appropriate COVID-safe distance. With that in mind, we ask that you please:

  • Observe the room occupancy limits which are posted in each room.
  • Sit only in designated seats. Some rooms have additional furniture – please don’t use it (it’s in the room because we ran out of storage space).
  • Keep furniture where you find it. This will keep the rooms set up appropriately for the next class or group.

Instructions for Requesting Permission for Off-Campus Activities

To remain COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong, commitments requiring students to leave campus are prohibited unless they are academically required, financially necessary, or volunteer work related to future vocation. The process for requesting approval to participate in an essential off-campus event or engage in an essential off-campus internship/job/volunteer position are described below:

  • Instructions for requesting permission to engage in an essential off-campus event such as a family wedding or funeral are here.  
  • Request form to participate in an essential off-campus event is here.  
  • Instructions for requesting permission to engage off-campus in an essential internship/job/volunteer position are here.  
  • Request form to engage in an essential off-campus internship/work/volunteer position is here

Please note: A student approved to engage in an essential off-campus internship/job/volunteer position is required to submit a weekly negative COVID-19 test to Student Health Services in order to continue. 

Faculty Encouragement from Dr. Ed Stetzer

Dr. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, reflects on the parallels between 1968 and 2020 in this brief word of encouragement, reminding us that God is still at work even in the tumult of 2020.

Shifting from Daily to Weekly Messages

Starting next week, we will be shifting from sending daily email messages to weekly messages on Mondays. We will continue to update the Fall 2020 Communications website with updates if you need to refer to any past information.

Grace and peace,
Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

We praise God for the beautiful weather and a wonderful first day on campus for our arriving freshmen and transfers. We are looking forward to welcoming the rest of our new students today. In today’s message, we have one important reminder about check-in along with a few encouragements from our faculty and a student.

Check in Before Connecting with Friends

You must check in before interacting with friends on campus. For students who have already checked in and received their orange wristband, please encourage your friends and peers on campus to do the same. Please remember, we will only be able to stay together this semester if we all keep our commitment to be COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong. 

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Releases New Teaching Guide

Our exceptional faculty have spent the summer thinking about the fall semester and how to most effectively teach and mentor students during a pandemic where masking and social distancing are customary. In fact, some of our faculty were hard at work writing the book on teaching during pandemic times—literally. The Humanitarian Disaster Institute’s Dr. Jamie Aten and Kent Annan penned a new guide, titled “Returning to Teaching During COVID-19,” which was released just this week and is being distributed to schools that belong to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). We are grateful to the HDI team for providing thought leadership on this important topic.

Faculty Encouragement from Dr. Enoch Hill

Enjoy this word of encouragement from Economics Professor Dr. Enoch Hill.

Student Encouragement

Vice President of Student Development Paul Chelsen talked with a student this week who had returned to campus. When asked to comment on what it is like upholding the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment, the student said the experience has been--

"Strange, but enjoyable . . . everything on campus is meticulously planned...worth the tradeoff to mask up to be able to see friends again."

There is no denying that the times are indeed strange, but we have all worked hard to achieve living and learning in a Christ-loving community. We pray every day that you, too, have an enjoyable experience coming back to campus, connecting with friends, and making new ones.  

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students,

We are thrilled to welcome our new students today and tomorrow. It’s been wonderful seeing so many new faces on campus. Today, we have just a couple of reminders and a piece of encouragement from faculty member Dr. Matthew Forsstrom.

You Move, You Mask

We’re all still getting used to wearing masks and learning their best practices. As a reminder, masks must be worn indoors at all times unless you are in a room completely alone, in your bedroom, or eating in a room. When you’re seated outdoors and able to maintain six feet of distance from other people, you may remove your mask. However, when you are walking around campus, we ask you to wear your mask again to keep safe if you inadvertently stop too close to others. An easy way of remembering this new masking requirement is with the phrase “You move, You mask.” For more on masking, please refer to the Health & Safety tab in our Fall 2020 FAQs for Students and Families.

Complete Your Schoology Course

In order to receive your orange wristband—which gives you entrance to Anderson Commons to dine with Bon Appetit, Chrouser Sports Complex, and your classes—you’ll need to show proof of both a negative COVID-19 test and the completion of the COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong course.

To do the latter, at check-in you can show your grades in Schoology in the browser version or the Schoology App. Within the course, look on the menu for “grades” and you should see a 100 for each module you completed except possibly chapter 4, as this chapter is not recording grades properly.

Please note there are two sets of each chapter—one set for undergraduate students and the other for graduate students. You should have grades for only one set.

Please let Cathy Troupos (cathy.troupos@wheaton.edu) know if you have any questions or concerns about the Schoology training.

Faculty Encouragement from Assistant Economics Professor Dr. Matthew Forsstrom

Students,

I am so thankful that I get to be a part of the Wheaton community that you bring to life every year. In my own experience, walking through uncertainty and challenges with other people is a surefire way to create lasting memories and relationships. So, I expect that this year will be one that has a lasting impact on many of our lives.

I am praying that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in our community, growing us into more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and disciplined people. 

Best, 

Matt Forsstrom 

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students, 

Returning Students, Get Your COVID Test!

If you are arriving on Sunday, August 23, take and send your test today, August 18. If you took and sent your test yesterday, August 17th, that is also acceptable. 

If you are arriving on Monday, August 24, take and send your test on August 19th to ensure you have your results by the time you will be checking in on campus.  

Sign up for a Life Together Group 

This year, instead of meeting for Chapel on Monday, small groups of students called Life Together Groups (LTGs) will meet together in-person or virtually from 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m for the purpose of encouraging one another in the Lord. Led by an undergraduate student leader, a graduate student, or a member of faculty or staff, these LTGs will comprise 10 or fewer people.  

Sign up here by Friday, August 28 to ensure your preference for either a virtual or in-person group. You can also use the link to opt-in to joining a multiculturally focused group, which will center primarily around the experiences of students of color. For more information, visit Wheaton’s Discipleship Ministries website

Encouragement from Dr. Christa Strickler

As I look to the coming of the fall semester, I keep returning to the idea of improvisation. We can’t follow our usual script for the semester. Uncertainties abound, and circumstances may change at a moment’s notice, in a myriad of possible ways. 

Though unsettling, these uncertainties provide us with more opportunities to draw on the resources of Scripture, the church, and the academy to learn how we might faithfully improvise our God-given callings. Not able to rely on our script, we need more than ever to discern God’s voice guiding us through our improvisations, to learn as a community how to be God’s people in the midst of uncertainty. 

I look forward to joining with you all this semester as we lean on God for guidance in faithfully improvising together.

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group 

 

Dear Students,

We’re thrilled to be just a week and a half away from the start of the semester. We hope your self-quarantining and packing are going well. We’ve got the firepits and tents set up, and we’re finalizing all the last details to start the year COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong.

There’s Still Time to Order Your Class Materials

Order your books online from the Wheaton College Campus Store now, and you can retrieve them either in-store or curbside between the dates August 24 and 28. If you must order your books and course materials in-store, please note that there will be significant wait times as the State of Illinois has limited the number of people who can be in the store at once.

Encouragement from Dr. Noah Toly

As many students know, my family and I can see Traber Hall from the front window of our home. For years, we’ve watched as the dorm’s lights signaled the seasons and rhythms of the academic year, coming to life on warm August evenings and darkening for Christmas break, lighting up cold January nights and then darkening again in May.

This year, the lights went out too soon. For the first time, we watched as Traber stood dark for five months –maybe the longest the campus has gone without students in 160 years. Since students left in March, it just hasn’t felt right. But in the past few days, we’ve watched some of the lights come back on as student leaders have returned. We can already feel the energy they’ve brought to campus, and that’s just a taste of what’s to come when classes start –when dorm floors, classrooms, and, for those joining remotely, Zoom screens light up. Of course, things won’t be normal, but for the first time in five months, it’s going to start to feel right.

Noah Toly, Ph.D.
Professor of Urban Studies and Politics & International Relations,
Director of the Center for Urban Engagement, Director of the Aequitas Program

Coming Home

Genesis Morris ’22 has created a short video (with original music by her brother, Michael Morris ’24) that she’s titled, “Home to Wheaton.” Grab your tissues, watch Genesis’s video, and remember, we can’t wait to welcome you home to Wheaton.

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

It’s been wonderful to welcome our student leaders back to campus to prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year. We’ve been especially encouraged by the way they’ve honored the COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong commitment by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Having them here is making us even more excited to have all of you back on campus soon.

It’s Time to Mask Up

Wearing masks is an important part of our plan to stay COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong this fall because masks are an effective way to slow the spread of COVID19. In order to maximize safety and compliance with State of Illinois regulations, you should be prepared to wear your mask indoors when you’re with others, and even outdoors when you’re unable to maintain six feet of distance. Let’s mask up!

Wondering How Meals at Anderson Commons Will Work This Semester?

We talked with Auxiliary Services Director Tony Dawson, Raul Delgado, and the Bon Appetit team to learn more about all the careful planning and logistics around mealtimes. Read this article to get a sneak peek at how it will go. It will be different – but you’ll still have your beloved chicken tenders!

Encouragement from Dr. Jamie Aten

The campus is buzzing this week as we prepare for your arrival. In fact, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) and our M.A. program in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership have already welcomed 17 students to campus this week, with 14 online, for our Foundations intensive course. We were the first-ever to welcome students to campus under the new COVID-19 guidelines, and everything went smoothly—from student check-in, to turning in COVID-19 negative test results, and ensuring all students, staff and faculty followed proper protocols such as physical distancing and mask wearing. 

Our first day back on campus was a success even when a tornado blew through campus that afternoon. Yet while sheltering and lecturing in the basement of Billy Graham Hall, we were sure to meet all COVID-19 requirements and keep our commitment to keeping each other and campus safe for all. We even wrote an article about the experience and what we’ve learned this week that I hope will encourage you as you prepare to return to campus. 

We can’t wait to see you soon. 

Jamie Aten
Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian Disaster Leadership, Executive Director of Humanitarian Disaster Institute, and Associate Professor of Humanitarian Disaster Leadership

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students,

It’s important that we have your status for remote or in-person learning correctly registered as soon as possible. If you have already opted to take classes remotely, we have provided more information below on how to confirm your remote status on the Wheaton College portal. We also wanted to give you a reminder about the counseling services that will be available this fall.

Checking Your Remote Status

Students who requested to take classes remotely in the June or July surveys will be assigned Remote Learning Only (RLO) status in Banner. To request a change to your remote status, please contact the Academic Advising Office at academic.advising@wheaton.edu. To confirm your remote status in Banner follow these instructions:

  1. Log onto the portal.
  2. In Banner Self-Service under “Student Services” > “Student Records,” select “View holds”
  3. If you’ve opted to take classes remotely and live at home or in off-campus housing (not owned by Wheaton College), the “Hold Type” column will be “Remote Learning Only RLO.” Please note that this status is updated each Tuesday and Friday at 5 p.m.

Check the Fall 2020 FAQs for Students and Families – Academics Tab for more information.    

Have questions?

Academic Advising Office        academic.advising@wheaton.edu, 630.752.5615

Student Housing Services          housing.services@wheaton.edu, 630.752.5202

Student Financial Services         sfs@wheaton.edu, 630.752.5700

Office of the Registrar               registrar@wheaton.edu, 630.752.5045

Counseling Services

Your mental and emotional health is very important to us, which is why the Counseling Center will continue to offer counseling services during the fall 2020 semester. To keep both you and our counselors safe, we are moving all in-person counseling appointments to phone or video conference formats. You can make an appointment by calling 630.752.5321 or by emailing counseling.center@wheaton.edu. Emergency or “walk-in” visits will also be held virtually, and these should be made by calling the Counseling Center or by connecting through a Resident Assistant. For those students who are taking classes remotely from another state or living internationally, the Counseling Center will refer you to a local counselor as they are only licensed for counseling in Illinois.

A Word of Encouragement

Today Dr. Nate Thom reflects on our purpose together this fall in this brief word of encouragement.

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

We write today with a reminder about the importance of self-quarantine (as well as how to do it effectively), along with an announcement about the Wheaton Orientation 2020 app for new students.

A Reminder About Self-Quarantine

As you’re aware, we’re asking all students to self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving on campus. But what does that mean, exactly? According to the CDC, a quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. This type of self-quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. As a reminder, people in quarantine should avoid going to school or work, and they should stay home except for essential outings, such as doctor or pharmacy visits and grocery store trips. They should also monitor their health by taking their temperature twice a day while being aware of any other developing COVID-19 symptoms.

Although we won’t require proof of your self-quarantine, we do ask that you would honor this request as a crucial component of keeping our campus COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong.

Introducing the App for Wheaton Undergraduate Orientation 2020

We’re thrilled about the new app for Wheaton Orientation 2020. Whether you’re a first-year or transfer student, this app will enable you to connect with your new classmates while giving you everything you need to start well. You’ll find interactive maps that will help you get around campus, as well as an activity feed that lists upcoming events. The app also contains helpful information, such as registration for academic advising, your campus check-in time, and orientation programming. You can download the app to now via the Apple Store or Google Play by searching for “Wheaton Student Engagement.”

A Word of Encouragement from Dr. Beth Felker Jones

Dear Wheaties,

Beth Felker Jones with Hobbit Door

I’m kind of a hobbit, and I’m prone to feel like Bilbo Baggins, when Gandalf comes offering an adventure.

“We don’t want any adventures here, thank you!”

I’d rather stay safe at home, with my books and my people, and—by all means—second breakfast!

But I keep this little hobbit door by the front door of my house. I like to look at when I go in and out and because,

  1. I’m a nerd and
  2. It reminds me that amazing things can happen on unexpected adventures.

As we enter into the unexpected adventure that is Fall Semester 2020, know that Wheaton faculty are praying for you. Know that we’re in this together. While it wouldn’t do to ignore the proximity of dragons, we have a merry band to travel with, and—most important of all—we have a Sure Guide for the journey. The presence and care of our Father is with us, and the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ will aid us as we seek to:

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

We can’t wait to see your precious faces (or the top halves of your faces) back on campus soon!

Beth Felker Jones
Professor of Theology
Wheaton College

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students, 

We know you have a lot going on as you prepare to join us for the 2020-2021 academic year. To keep the most important information top of mind, we have created this checklist of key action items you must accomplish before arrival on campus:

  • Sign Up for Housing Check-In
    All undergraduate new and returning students must sign up for a housing check-in time on the COVID-19 Housing page. 
  • Secure COVID-19 Testing
    All students are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result at check-in. Please see the Fall 2020 FAQs for options for obtaining a test and answers to related questions about testing and check-in. 

Deadline Extended for Let’s Get Checked Testing Option!
In case you missed it, we’ve extended the deadline to give you a last chance to order your COVID-19 test through Let’s Get Checked. If you choose this test option, please SECURE YOUR TEST by no later than Thursday, August 13  at noon. Tests will be overnighted no later than Tuesday, August 18. Please note Let’s Get Checked will not send tests to PO boxes. 

If you’ve already requested a test but haven’t received it by August 14, please reach out to Let’s Get Checked at 1.929.376.0056. 

Wristbands
When you arrive on campus for check-in, you will need to show proof of your negative COVID-19 test. We will then give you an orange silicone wristband marked with your name, which we are asking you to wear at all times. This will be your entry pass to all campus facilities, including your classes, Chrouser Fitness Center, Anderson Commons, and more. Wheaton staff and faculty will be checking for this wristband, which you will need in order to enter campus facilities.

  • Complete the Schoology Tutorial
    All students are required to complete the Schoology Tutorial before returning to campus. This will enable us all to have the important information necessary to ensure a COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong campus this fall. 
  • Continue to Conduct Self-Quarantine 
    Per DuPage County Health Department guidance and previous College communications, all students traveling to campus from a hot spot as defined by the Chicago Emergency Travel Order should be conducting self-quarantine from now until the day you get to campus. This can be done at home, as long as COVID-Safe precautions are used during the trip to campus. We also strongly recommend that all students self-quarantine prior to coming to campus to join our community.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you back to campus very soon! 

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

Today, we wanted to send along a few reminders about self-quarantining, church attendance, and a new tuition insurance option.

14-Day Self-Quarantine

Since we are swiftly approaching our move-in days, please remember to conduct your 14-day self-quarantine at home (if you are not doing so already) to ensure we’re all coming to campus healthy.

Church Attendance

At Wheaton, we consider church membership and regular attendance as integral to spiritual health. In light of COVID-19, our recommendation is that students continue the practice of meeting virtually with their home churches or local churches. Students are also permitted to attend churches near campus that are following State of Illinois guidelines for in-person worship services; however, space may be limited. In the coming days, we also hope to offer more information about in-person Bible studies on campus.

Wheaton Partners with GradGuard to Provide Tuition Insurance

We’re pleased to announce that Wheaton is making available Tuition Insurance through GradGuard. Tuition Insurance provides semester by semester insurance benefits for losses incurred if you need to withdraw from school due to a covered medical event, illness (including COVID19), injury, or mental health condition. Learn more at GradGuard.com.

Faculty Encouragement 

Lastly, we hope you are encouraged by this video message from Dr. Litong Chen.

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students,

New COVID-19 Test Option

As a reminder, please secure your COVID-19 test kit by clicking on this link by noon today, Friday, August 7th, if you plan to use this mail-in option.

Please note that although you still have the option to secure a negative test result through another medical lab or other testing site, we will no longer allow students to check in on campus without a negative test result. 

Message from Interim Chaplain Greg Waybright

We are pleased to share with you a message describing chapel plans for the coming fall:

Beloved Students of Wheaton!

We look forward to welcoming you to campus! As we prepare to enter into the adventure of a new school year marked by COVID-19, it’s easy to wonder what the days and months ahead will hold. While current restrictions on large gatherings prevent us (at least in the Fall Semester) from meeting in-person, our Monday, Wednesday and Friday chapel times can still provide powerful opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and administration to enter into “the power of story to heal and unite.”

Graduate students will have their own virtual chapel on Mondays at 10:45 a.m. In addition, graduate students are welcome to attend the undergraduate chapels. Chapel attendance will not be required for undergraduates. Please be on the lookout for further communications with detailed information.

Below is general overview of what you can expect this fall. 

Mondays:  Rather than holding our usual Monday undergraduate chapels from 10:40 – 11:20 a.m., members of our campus community will be invited to gather remotely or in-person in Life Together Groups (LTG’s) of around 10 people (or as large as COVID restrictions allow) to meet each Monday from 10:45 – 11:15 a.m. LTG members will touch base, read a Psalm together, share the challenges and opportunities of the week ahead, and pray for one another. We will be following with more details about how to sign up online for 1) either meeting in person or virtually or 2) meeting in a specifically multiculturally focused LTG.  Students who do not sign-up will be placed in groups, defaulting to in-person groups, if available, or virtual groups. 

Wednesdays:  The theme of stories will be at the heart of our live-streamed chapels on Wednesdays from 10:40 am – 11:20 am. Focused on the Gospel of Luke, the stories will highlight the entry of Jesus into the lives of broken people to powerfully bring about healing and unity. 

Fridays:  Live-streamed chapels on Fridays will be briefer (10:40 – 11:00 am), focused upon a song, a Psalm, and a 5-7 minute story of God’s work in the life of one of our community members.

We’re excited to see what the Lord has for us in this unexpected season  and urge you to not miss out on this unique opportunity to enter into life together this semester with the Lord at the center  May we be a glory to Him in the way we choose to share in the power of story – ours in community and His – to further healing and unity.

The Lord’s best and ours to you!

Greg Waybright

Interim Chaplain

Faculty Word of Encouragement

Finally, please view this short video message of encouragement from the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English Professor Christina Bieber Lake.  

Have a good weekend!

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

It was good to see so many of you online at the undergraduate and graduate Town Halls Tuesday evening. We hope our time together was helpful and encouraging. We enjoyed connecting—albeit virtually.

We were especially happy to share our new COVID-19 testing by mail option. As a reminder, please secure your test kit by clicking on this link by noon, this Friday, August 7th, if you plan to use this option.

Please note that although you still have the option to secure a negative test result through another medical lab or other testing site, we will no longer allow students to check-in on campus without a negative test result. 

Today, we wanted to follow up on some frequently asked questions for those of you who couldn’t join us for the Town Hall.

Can you tell us more about the wristbands?

When you arrive on campus for check-in, you will need to show proof of your negative COVID-19 test. We will then give you an orange silicone wristband marked with your name, which we are asking you to wear at all times. This will be your entry pass to all campus facilities, including your classes, Chrouser Fitness Center, Anderson Commons, and more. Wheaton staff and faculty will be checking for this wristband, which you will need in order to enter campus facilities.

Can I go to the grocery store?

Yes! Shopping at supermarkets and other stores is fine as long as you are practicing COVID-Safe behavior.* However, we recommend that you look into curbside pickup or delivery options that many shops offer.

Can I study at the Wheaton Public Library?

Unfortunately, the Wheaton Public Library is only open to patrons participating in grab-and-go books or curbside pickup.

Can I go out to eat or get coffee?

You can certainly pick up food at drive-thrus or restaurants offering to-go orders, though we are not allowing dining inside restaurants or coffee shops.

I am an undergraduate student who lives locally. Can I go home on the weekends?

Since we are encouraging everyone to stay within the “Wheaton Bubble,” we are asking you to stay on campus when possible. However, you can plan socially distanced outings such as a picnic at Klein Creek Farm or a walk on the Prairie Path with your family.

Can I go to doctor appointments (or appointments at the hair or nail salon)?

Of course! Visiting the doctor or dentist—or even the hair or nail salon—is permissible as long as you are practicing COVID-Safe behavior.*

*COVID-Safe behaviors include wearing a mask, socially distancing as much as possible, washing your hands, or using hand sanitizer.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong this fall. We look forward to seeing you in just a few short weeks.

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students, 

We are thankful for the seriousness with which you are taking our COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment, as evidenced by your helpful feedback and questions. Please know we have heard your concerns about securing your COVID-19 test results in time for the start of the semester. 

We are excited to announce a testing solution!

We have contracted with Let’s Get Checked, which will mail a COVID-19 test directly to an address you specify within the contiguous United States. This Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is performed through a self-collected lower nasal swab with step-by-step video instructions. 

If you choose to use this test option, please secure by clicking on this link by this Friday, August 7th, at noon, as arrival times to campus are approaching quickly. 

You will receive a pre-paid envelope for return overnight shipping, and you will have the option to track the test over the course of 24-to-72 hours, the typical timeframe for the turnaround of results once the lab receives your test. The results will be sent both to you and to Student Health Services, allowing for a streamlined check-in process. 

If you choose this option for testing, the $115 cost will be billed to your student account. If you are Title IV-eligible (meaning you have filled out a FAFSA and are eligible to receive Federal funds), you can, upon request, receive reimbursement for the entire cost of the test through CARES Act funding. Other students may apply to Wheaton’s COVID fund for reimbursement help—a form to request reimbursement is available here

Please note that although you still have the option to secure a negative test result through another medical lab or other testing site, we will no longer allow students to check-in on campus without a negative test result.   

If you intend to pursue this testing option, please do so by Friday, August 7th, at noon. You will enter the address where you would like your kit mailed and will receive it by August 13th. These tests can only be mailed to addresses in the contiguous United States. 

Please note, we are allowing you to test six days prior to arrival if your lead time includes a Sunday. Here are two typical timings:

Campus Arrival Take and Mail Test on:
August 19 – New Students August 13
August 23 – All Students August 18


Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

COVID-SAFE, Thunder-Strong – Required Orientation Course

We have prepared a Schoology tutorial for you as a follow up from our Monday, July 20 message to help you visualize how we will experience life together as safely as possible and what commitments we are asking students to make to each other and to every member of our community.

At the end of this tutorial, you will need to sign the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment, which is a requirement for being on campus this semester. 

Please click the link lms.wheaton.edu and look for the COVID-SAFE, Thunder-Strong (re)Orientation course in your Schoology dashboard to begin.  Please complete this tutorial at your own pace between now and the day you arrive back on campus. 

Faculty Encouragement

We have another word of encouragement from a member of our excellent faculty, this time from Assistant Political Science Professor Dr. Tim Taylor. Please view this video to see him share how exciting it will be to discuss his field with you this year.

Town Halls (NOTE NEW GRADUATE TOWN HALL LINK)

Finally, please remember that tonight, Tuesday, August 4, Wheaton College will host separate Town Halls for graduate and undergraduate students.

Graduate Student Town Hall (6:30 p.m. CDT)

President Ryken, Graduate School Dean Scott Moreau, and others will be on hand to answer your questions. 

Graduate students can watch the Town Hall by visiting our Boxcast link. *Please note this is a different Grad link from the one previously shared.* For those who cannot watch live, the Town Hall will be available for viewing on-demand any time starting one hour after the event. Use the same live Town Hall link to view the recording.

Graduate students can submit questions during the Town Hall using Slido (use event code #6446). You can also send questions beforehand to covid19@wheaton.edu with “Student Town Hall” in the subject line.  

Undergraduate Student Town Hall (8 p.m. CDT)

President Ryken, Student Health Services Director Beth Walsh, Assistant Provost Sarah Miglio, Dean for Student Engagement Director Steve Ivester, and other College leaders will answer your questions live.

Undergraduate students can watch the Town Hall by visiting our Boxcast link. For those who cannot watch live, the Student Town Hall will be available for viewing on-demand any time starting one hour after the event. Use the same live Town Hall link to view the recording.

Undergraduate students can submit questions during the Town Hall using Slido (use event code #28576). 

We look forward to connecting with you! 

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear students,

This fall, we are requiring all students, faculty, and staff to wear masks inside campus buildings and in public places where we cannot safely distance. Naturally, on occasion some of us will forget our masks or lose them. So we took steps to procure masks to assist members of our campus community when they find themselves without one. Recently we received a shipment of about 40 boxes filled with more than 10,000 masks—one small example of God at work for good in the pandemic.

In May, the College’s Environmental Health and Safety Specialist, Brian Heinrich, was investigating how to obtain a large quantity of masks to help keep the Wheaton community safe. He reached out to an old friend at International Ministries, who in turn connected him with medical missionaries in Bolivia. Since the pandemic began, their ministry had not been faring well financially, and they had been praying that God would provide. So, when Heinrich called and asked if they could make masks, they saw it as an answer to prayer. Within a month, they worked with more than 100 churches across the United States to fill Wheaton College’s order of 10,000 masks, each one with an encouraging Bible verse enclosed.

We pray that when students wear these masks they will feel lifted by the many loving hands that made them and gratified by the knowledge that obtaining the masks helped a ministry in need.

A Word of Encouragement

Today we are pleased to share another note of encouragement from Dean of Theology Dr. David Lauber:

As I consider how this fall will be unlike any other fall semester at Wheaton, I am happily reminded that regardless of altered conditions we will continue to be a community centered on Christ and empowered by the Spirit. We will continue to be a community of intercession, encouragement, comfort, and love.

In our case, to say that we are “all in this together” is not a tired cliché. It is a genuine affirmation of our commitment to one another as we seek, by God’s grace, to flourish even in the midst of challenging circumstances. I look forward giving thanks to God for the daily blessings of Christian community in the time of COVID-19.

To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer – “As those who have the privilege of living a Christian life with others, we will praise God from the bottom of our hearts. We will declare that this is grace, nothing but grace, that we can live in community with our Christian brothers and sisters.”

Town Halls

Finally, please remember that tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4, Wheaton College will host separate Town Halls for graduate and undergraduate students: 

Graduate Student Town Hall (6:30 p.m. CDT)

President Ryken, Graduate School Dean Scott Moreau, and others will be on hand to answer your questions.

Graduate students can watch the Town Hall by visiting our Boxcast link. For those who cannot watch live, the Town Hall will be available for viewing on-demand any time starting one hour after the event. Use the same live Town Hall link to view the recording.

Graduate students can submit questions during the Town Hall using Slido (use event code #6446). You can also send questions beforehand to covid19@wheaton.edu with “Student Town Hall” in the subject line.  

Undergraduate Student Town Hall (8 p.m. CDT)

President Ryken, Student Health Services Director Beth Walsh, Assistant Provost Sarah Miglio, and other College leaders will answer your questions live.

Undergraduate students can watch the Town Hall by visiting our Boxcast link. For those who cannot watch live, the Student Town Hall will be available for viewing on-demand any time starting one hour after the event. Use the same live Town Hall link to view the recording.

Undergraduate students can submit questions during the Town Hall using Slido (use event code #28576). You can also send questions beforehand to covid19@wheaton.edu with “Student Town Hall” in the subject line.  

We look forward to connecting with you tomorrow!

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear students,

As national circumstances continue to change, Wheaton College’s adaptive fall plan continues to coalesce. One aspect of keeping everyone safe and healthy is requiring all students to sign the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment after completing a Schoology Online Course before arriving on campus. Please watch your e-mail closely for a message early next week with a link to this required curriculum, which will teach procedures for living in community during these unprecedented times. Please remember to take the course, as it is necessary for check-in! 

Student Town Hall Next Week

Because we believe strong communication is key to staying COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong this fall, we are committed to listening well and communicating often. 

On Tuesday, August 4, at 8 p.m. CTD, we will host a virtual Undergraduate Student Town Hall. Details on a virtual Graduate Student Town Hall will soon be sent in a separate communication. 

President Ryken, Dean for Student Engagement Steve Ivester, Student Health Services Director Beth Walsh, Assistant Provost Sarah Miglio, and other College leaders will answer your questions live.

How to Submit Questions

Submit your questions during the Town Hall using Slido (use event code #28576). You can also send questions beforehand to covid19@wheaton.edu with “Student Town Hall” in the subject line.  

How to Watch

Watch the Town Hall by visiting our Boxcast link. For those who cannot watch live, the Student Town Hall will be available for viewing on-demand any time starting one hour after the end of the event. Use the same live Town Hall link to view the recording.

We look forward to connecting with you (virtually) on Tuesday, August 4, at 8 p.m. CTD. 

Grace and peace,

The Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students,

Thank you for the questions and concerns you have sent us over the past few weeks. They are important to us, and we are working as swiftly as we can to respond to them all.

Please feel free to continue to send your questions, but we also wanted to let you know about another opportunity to talk with us in advance of arriving on campus. This coming Tuesday, August 4 at 8 p.m. CDT, President Ryken will host a virtual Town Hall. Soon we will announce details for a separate Town Hall specifically for graduate students.

Dean for Student Engagement Steve Ivester, Student Health Services Director Beth Walsh, Assistant Provost Sarah Miglio, and other College leaders will be on hand to field your questions live. Be on the lookout for a link and further information on how to submit your questions during the online event.  

Here are additional words of faculty encouragement from Amy Peeler, Associate Professor of New Testament:

As I approach my ninth year of teaching at Wheaton, I know this fall will be different from all others, but I am truly excited about the opportunities the different structure provides. With the use of technology, I foresee that we will have more time for discussion and more time for learning activities than I’ve ever had in the past.

Every class will have a fresh sense of discovery (and admittedly the apprehensiveness that new discovery brings!), but we will be in it together, navigating our core objectives of our curriculum in a new way.

Amy Peeler

Wheaton College

We look forward to being with you!

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

It’s that time of summer when store aisles are filled with décor and other items geared to college students preparing to move into residence halls.                  

In these unique pandemic times, we recommend purchasing and packing only the essentials. Traveling light will come in handy this year with our tightly scheduled move-in planning process. It could also prove useful in the unfortunate event that Illinois bumps down to Phase 2 or 3 or circumstances otherwise require you to return home to finish the semester remotely.

If 1 Timothy 6:8 seems too extreme (“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content”), here is a checklist of true essentials assembled by our Residence Life staff:

  • Multiple masks for social distancing
  • Hand sanitizer/disinfecting wipes
  • Blankets and pillow
  • Extra-long sheets (36" x 80")
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Hangers
  • Laundry basket and detergent
  • Cleaning supplies and disinfectant, especially Fischer residents responsible for cleaning their own bathrooms
  • Folding chair or camping chair (to easily take outdoors)
  • Desk supplies
  • Multiple outlet power strip with surge protector
  • Three-prong extension cord
  • White plastic adhesive or 3M brand hooks—no nails or tape in Residence Hall rooms
  • Plate, bowl, silverware, coffee mug
  • Storage containers or organizers
  • Refrigerator that does not exceed four cubic feet in size
  • Bicycle and secure lock ("U" locks recommended) 

We hope this list helps you prepare for the semester, and we look forward to living and learning in community very soon.

Happy packing!

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

 

Dear Students,

Periodically the Fall Planning Group will be sending you words of encouragement from faculty and staff who are working to prepare an excellent fall semester for you. We hope you find their dedication to you as heartwarming as we do.

Today, we have a message from Associate Professor of Politics Bryan McGraw, who serves as our Dean of Social Sciences and Education: 

This fall, of course, will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. I’d like to share two things, though, that I hope will be encouraging as you prepare for the semester.

First, I have been incredibly impressed by the work that faculty have been putting into preparing for their classes and I have every confidence that we will be ready to meet whatever comes. The core of what we do here at Wheaton is teaching young men and women about the world that God has placed them in and no pandemic will change that. We will still be reading great books, conducting lab experiments, exploring Scripture, grappling with the past, and thinking anew about the future.

Second, as the father of an incoming first-year student, I do grieve a bit that her fall experience will not be what she and we had quite expected. But I am confident that the same God who called her to Wheaton will use these straitened experiences to shape her and her classmates in ways we cannot imagine. Who knows what friendships she will embrace, what new things she may discover, what virtues she may develop on a COVID-constrained campus that she might not have done in a normal semester? It will be a challenge for all of us but it is a challenge we can and I believe will meet in a way that will bring glory to God and blessings to us and the world.

Bryan McGraw
Associate Professor of Politics
Dean of Social Sciences and Education

Dear Students,

Over the last week we’ve announced so many new guidelines for the fall semester that you might feel that it will be hard to be on campus. But we’re not going to let COVID-19 keep us from doing life together at Wheaton College!

In fact, we have plans to expand the social life that normally centers around the Beamer Center to cover the entire 80 acres of our campus. With that in mind, here are ten things to look forward to as we come back together this fall:

10. Firepits

This semester we are taking a page from HoneyRock by placing more than a dozen firepits around campus. Several cords of wood will be stacked at a central location, so you can easily pick up kindling. Even as the weather cools off, we’ll have cozy spots to gather safely.

9. Bottomless S’mores

Since no campfire is complete without s’mores, you can also look forward to picking up graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows—all replenished regularly.

8. Camp Chairs

All new students and student leaders will get a Thunder-branded folding camp chair that comes in a bag with a strap for easy transport around campus, making socially-distanced hangouts outside a breeze.

7. Outdoor Food Parades

At regular intervals throughout the semester, Wheaton College will bring local restaurants to you with outdoor food parades featuring Stan’s Donuts, Kilwin’s ice cream sandwiches, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and more.

6. Lawn Games

You might want to practice your lawn game skills now, since the College will have 20 bins filled with games such as Spike Ball and Kubb.

5. Progressive Concerts

Several times throughout the semester, Wheaton will host outdoor student and faculty concerts with different bands or musicians playing at 20 locations around campus.

4. All-School Communion

Instead of being hosted in Edman Chapel, All-School Communion will cover the entire campus with Chapel Band worship music streaming from the Bell Tower. The communion service will end differently too. . .

3. Tents and Adirondack Chairs

Six large white tents will spread out around the Beamer Center and near Smith/Traber and Fisher residence halls, giving you additional places for socially distanced hangouts on a couple hundred Adirondack chairs. 

2. Retooled Orientation

For our new students, Wheaton has a line-up of orientation activities geared to small groups of eight and sixteen. Starting with an all-day excursion at local parks with icebreakers, games, and picnics, orientation will close with small group discussions led by thirty of Wheaton’s beloved faculty.

1. Creative Community

All of this adds up to one thing: we’re committed to a fun, meaningful experience of learning and living together in a new kind of community – one that requires us all to be creative. But when God challenges us to reframe the familiar, it means he’s at work making something new and beautiful.

We can’t wait to see you in person in a few weeks to begin building our new, creative community together!

Grace and peace,
Fall Planning Group

On Friday, July 24, the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Council of Presidents voted to postpone athletic competitions for all fall sports due to COVID-19 safety concerns. Please see a link to the CCIW announcement. As a result, Wheaton College—an NCAA Division III school—will not compete in football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s tennis, volleyball, or women’s golf during fall semester.  

Though we are saddened by the loss of the fall competitive season, Wheaton College is committed to the health and safety of our student-athletes and our campus community.

We still anticipate holding practices for fall sports and conducting a fall non-traditional season for spring sports with no competition permitted. A decision about winter sports will be made later this semester when more guidance from the CCIW and NCAA is available.

Wheaton Athletics strives to develop Christian faith, character and leadership through athletics, and though this fall will be different, we believe completely in the power and impact of this mission. The focus of our planning will transition to preparing for COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong practice and training opportunities, as well as creative ways to be in community together.

An FAQ page is posted on the athletics website to answer additional questions. We also encourage student athletes to reach out to their coaches with any additional questions.

Julie Davis ’91
Wheaton College Director of Athletics

Dear Students, 

We know you have questions!

For example, following Monday’s announcement many of you asked why we are not allowing friends and family to help students move their belongings into campus housing.

We are working to do everything we can to encourage an on-campus experience that reduces exposure to COVID-19. Scientific research indicates that the virus can linger in the air. By limiting the numbers of those who enter campus housing, we will reduce population density and allow the HVAC systems the space to better process the air inside our residences. 

Family members who bring you to campus will need to wear a mask and remain socially distanced from others. They are welcome to assist you in unloading your vehicle so the Thunder Movers can take things inside. During drop-off time, we hope your parents can meet faculty and administrators who will be on site to support this important time of transition. 

We understand that this plan is disappointing to many families, so please know that we made our decision with great reluctance. As you prepare for an unprecedented move-in, we share some thoughts recently posted for Wheaton parents by Professor Brian Howell: 

I can see that many are grieving the loss of moving your students into their rooms, especially families of first-year students. This makes sense. Moving our students into their rooms has become a ritual of transition in our college culture, and we feel the loss of it greatly. As a professor of anthropology, I understand the power of ritual, and as a Christian I know that God has designed us to respond to these moments with the embodied actions in community that mark our lives. (Just look at how often God commands ritual action throughout the Bible!)

I would encourage every family, but particularly our First-Year families, to consider what sort of ritual you can have to make the change feel sacred, blessed, and real. Perhaps it's a special meal, prayer, or reading at home before setting out luggage for the flight the next day. Perhaps it's an exchange of letters at the car, to be opened only after your student texts that she's arrived at Wheaton. Perhaps it's a hug and prayer at the curb as your student disembarks at the dorm, to be followed by a planned FaceTime to see the room when it's set up. 

We invite you to give your parents a virtual tour of your new space using your cell phone. Introduce them to your RA and roommate(s) and help them see that you are settling in well. We cannot eliminate possible exposure to COVID-19, but we are attempting to minimize the risk to protect you and our community. While this semester will be different in so many ways, we believe it will provide its own opportunities to honor God in Christian community.

Grace and peace, 

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,  

We are encouraged that so many of you are indicating that you are ready to do what it takes to help create a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong environment so we can be together on campus this fall.  

In response to yesterday’s email, we have received many questions related to the COVID-19 testing protocol for all students who will live and learn at Wheaton. We understand that this requirement creates extra planning and coordination, which is why we made our announcement shortly after deciding to require a negative test. 

We realize that testing facilities in some communities are having trouble keeping up with demand and that the criteria for getting tested varies from place to place. We recommend that you start by reviewing the full list of testing options provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. The cost of testing could range from $0-$200. We also recommend that you check with your health insurance provider to determine whether they will cover the cost of testing. Eligible students can apply for CARES funding by sending an email to Student Financial Services (sfs@wheaton.edu). We urge you to make every effort to secure a negative test result prior to arrival on campus. 

If you are unable to secure a negative test result, you may be tested on campus at check-in. Being tested on campus means also being quarantined in a living space until we receive your results. The College already has a contract for tests that in most cases will produce results within three days. We are also working hard to secure tests that will produce accurate results more rapidly. While in quarantine, you will have access to remote learning and other remote activities so that once a negative test result is received, you can seamlessly join in-person classes and campus life. The testing administration is being finalized for students who need access to testing throughout the semester. 

Thank you for your patience as we continue to develop operational details for our fall opening. We will be sure to share additional information as soon as it is available. 

Please direct any questions via email to covid19@wheaton.edu or call 630.752.5224. The appropriate person will respond as soon as possible.

Grace and Peace,

Fall Planning Committee

 

Dear Students,

We have needed and appreciated your prayers as we look to God for guidance. We also know you are eagerly awaiting further news of how Wheaton is responding to the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is a long message, but please read this email very carefully. It contains important information about what is necessary for all of us to have a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong fall semester. 

The core of our plan is to maintain a protective perimeter around campus—call it “the Wheaton bubble”—to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. This will only work to the extent that all of us take seriously the responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe. This fall we have the opportunity to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ as never before. Students who do not or cannot comply will be required to continue their studies remotely from an off-campus location. 

Illinois has moved into Phase 4 of Restore Illinois and continues to implement safety guidance to slow the spreading pandemic. Our home of DuPage County has recently been placed in a separate health region from the more densely populated City of Chicago. This will allow us to assess risk and determine future actions with more precision.

We will continue to follow—and in some cases exceed—guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois and DuPage County Departments of Public Health, and the American College Health Association. Everyone who returns to campus must faithfully adhere to campus safety protocols so that we can continue to live and learn together. All students are strongly recommended to quarantine and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days before arriving on campus. This quarantine is required for students traveling from states that have been designated as hotspots, per DuPage County guidance.

There is of course a chance that at any point during the semester the State of Illinois may return our district to Phase 3, which would limit us to having 10 people in a room (rather than 50) and thus compel us to resume fully remote learning. Students who choose to remain on campus would be able to shelter in place, grab-and-go for dining, and participate in classes remotely from their on-campus residence. 

Before Arriving on Campus—Getting Off to a Safe Start

  • All students must sign the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment after completing a Schoology Online Course that will highlight the latest procedures for living in community during these unprecedented times. A link to the course will be sent by early August. Students cannot check in without completing this requirement. 
  • In order to access campus housing, dining, obtain a College ID, come to campus, or attend classes all students must bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test (preferably a Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR test, although rapid antigen tests will also be accepted) taken no more than 5 days prior to arrival in Wheaton. Students who have been unable to access a test or get the results prior to check in may go to one of the testing sites in Illinois or DuPage County.
  • Students with a positive test result or exhibiting symptoms must not come to campus until they obtain a negative test result, but they may begin the semester remotely. 
  • To reduce campus exposure, we regret that parents and other guests will not be able enter housing to assist with moving. ThunderMovers will be on site to help new students carry belongings to their residence hall rooms. 

Daily Life on Campus—Maintaining the Wheaton Bubble

  • Apart from roommates, everyone on campus must maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distance from others, especially when together for 15 minutes or more. 
  • All faculty, staff, and students must wear cloth face coverings in all campus buildings (including offices, academic buildings, and classrooms) at all times and outside on campus when a minimum of six feet of social distance cannot be consistently maintained. The masking requirement is in effect unless students or employees are in a room completely alone, in their bedrooms, eating a meal, or outdoors and able to maintain six feet of distance from others. Activities such as sitting in class, walking across campus, studying in the library, and working out at Chrouser will require a face covering. 
  • When traversing campus, everyone will need to follow posted signage, staying on the right side in hallways and stairways, and limiting talking indoors. Elevator capacity will be limited and reserved for people who are unable to use stairs. 
  • The State of Illinois requires us to limit capacity indoors to 50 people in a room, with everyone six feet apart, even in large spaces like Edman Chapel. Seating in Buswell Library will be limited.
  • Dining times will be assigned for those on meal plans and served mainly as Grab-and-Go. We are adding Sunday dinner to the meal plan in order to help students stay on campus. Sam’s will be open with a limited menu, but the Stupe will be closed. 
  • Students will have priority in Chrouser Sports Complex, but space will be limited and access may require securing an appointment or waiting in line. 
  • Expect longer wait times for services. The College Post Office will limit paper mail and packages to essentials so that wait times at pick-up are manageable.
  • All students, faculty, and staff will sanitize their spaces every time they sit down or get up to leave, using cleaning supplies at every desk/table/workspace. 
  • To help prevent the spread of infection, we will not allow off-campus visitors to enter campus buildings. Students living in campus housing may have one current Wheaton College student visit, as long as face coverings are worn and social distance is maintained.
  • Students living on campus should stay on campus. Off-campus activities are prohibited unless essential. We encourage students to attend virtual church services, to have food or groceries delivered, and to enjoy local outdoor activities (walk on the Prairie Path, visit local forest preserves, etc.). Students who seek an exception to work off campus, participate in an off-campus internship, or take part in an academically required activity will be required to provide COVID-19 test results to Student Health Services (SHS) weekly. For students who cannot afford weekly testing, CARES Act funding is available.  
  • Undergraduate students living in off-campus housing who come to campus will be required to abide by the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment. In order to access campus facilities they must also submit a negative COVID-19 test result to Student Health Services (SHS) weekly. For students who cannot afford weekly testing, CARES Act funding is available.  

Academics and Events—Learning and Living

  • Due to space capacity limits, nearly half of our classes will require students to take turns throughout the week of attending class in person. 
  • Many classes will simultaneously include both in-person and remote learners. A few faculty members will be teaching remotely, requiring students also to participate remotely. All faculty are developing plans to ensure a valuable experience of liberal arts learning, whether in-person or remote.
  • Chapel and other student activities will have space constraints. We are developing creative plans to provide virtual and small group experiences that enrich student life and give opportunities to grow outside the classroom. Student events and co-curricular activities will also be made available to remote students. 
  • Student-athletes should be aware that we anticipate further clarification from the CCIW by the end of July. We will share more information as soon as we have it. 

Keeping Campus Open—Keeping People Safe

  • Despite our best efforts, some students may become ill. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will return home or move to on-campus isolation for a minimum of 10 days. 
  • Students identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive (e.g. roommate, housemate, or anyone who has been in close proximity for more than 15 minutes) will be required to return home or stay in their bedroom for a minimum of 14 days.
  • Students in quarantine or isolation may continue their studies remotely. They will only be allowed back to daily in-person activity after fulfilling the required quarantine and/or receiving negative test results.

Tuition, Fees, and Discounts—Sharing the Costs of COVID-19

  • Our academic plans include a full semester of instruction; thus, tuition will be billed at originally published rates. 
  • Due to calendar adjustments for COVID-19, we have reduced our originally published room and board charges for the fall. 

The steps listed above are daunting, but we also anticipate sharing unique and transformative moments together this fall. Spring semester may need to operate in a similar fashion, with the academic calendar to be announced at a later date. Students who would like to pursue fall semester remotely should use this link to inform the College. For additional details, please access our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) site.

This dramatic moment in world history calls for resilience, hope, and a heart to serve those who are more vulnerable than ourselves. We pray that God will shape our hearts towards selfless service as we faithfully and graciously adhere to these safety measures—something God is calling us to do together, out of our love for Christ. 

Grace and peace,

Fall Planning Group

Dear Students,

Thank you for reading these weekly emails and learning more about how Wheaton College will conduct next semester in light of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.

The national situation is highly complex and continues to change rapidly with record virus spikes appearing across the country. As the State of Illinois has moved into Phase 4 of Restore Illinois, we are tracking evolving guidance from local Dupage County Public Health and the State of Illinois Board of Higher Education. We are using the latest information to inform what campus life will be like for our students and employees.

We plan to send you more information on July 20 to provide a clearer picture of the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitments we will ask every member of our campus community to make in order to protect each other as we engage with campus life and classes. Faithfully adhering to these commitments is necessary for us to continue to live and learn together in community. In the meantime, you may also refer to our Fall 2020 FAQ, which we update regularly.

At this unique time in history, our Christian calling includes helping to protect others, including Wheaton College community members who may be especially vulnerable to the virus. We recognize that many aspects of the Wheaton experience will be different this fall. COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong is a temporary set of commitments in response to the global pandemic.

We look with hope to a future without the COVID-19 virus and the added stress of adapting to how we relate with one another as a result. In the meantime, we continue to seek God’s guidance as we prepare for your arrival and proceed in a way that honors our commitments to one another.

Grace and Peace,

Fall Planning Committee

Dear Students, 

We are very pleased that nearly our entire student body is returning this fall, despite the challenges of COVID-19. This testifies to the exceptional learning experience that students have with Wheaton faculty.

Over the past year, Provost Margaret Diddams led a process to articulate our holistic vision for the Wheaton College graduate. This guiding document addresses such core ideas as cultivating love, knowledge and reason, practical wisdom, and Christian character. I invite you to read our Vision for Wheaton College Graduates

Finally, I am disappointed to announce that we have made the very difficult decision to cancel Wheaton Passage—our pre-orientation program for new students—for Fall 2020. In recent weeks, the Passage leadership team has carefully reviewed the Center for Disease Control and the American Camp Association’s guidelines for running a COVID-safe experience at HoneyRock. After comparing the guidelines with our usual Passage experience, it was clear that the required adaptations would not support the program’s goals. For more information about this decision, please visit wheaton.edu/passage.

In Christ’s service, 

Philip Ryken

President

Dear Students, 

We began this week with the exciting announcement that we have appointed a gifted new provost—Dr. Karen Lee—to join us in August from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. Dr. Lee has a marvelous background in the liberal arts and as an administrator. I encourage you to read more about the work she will be doing at Wheaton to serve our faculty and students. 

June is halfway over, and we are working through every square foot of campus to optimize COVID-19 safety procedures for our students and employees this fall. We are in a very good position for all critical supplies, including hand sanitizer, healthcare-grade disinfectant, and plexiglass. We will continue to share details throughout the summer about ongoing preparations for next semester.

We strongly encourage students to bring a laptop to campus to use remotely for classwork when needed. In order to succeed academically, you will need a laptop for your exclusive use, with easy access to necessary tools during COVID-19.

AIT has developed minimum specifications for a laptop on the AIT website. You should be able to purchase what you need for less than $500. You will also need a set of headphones with a microphone. Students who do not have a laptop that meets the recommended standards and are eligible for federal aid through the FAFSA can apply for grants to assist with these technology expenses through Student Financial Services. International students may also contact Student Financial Services to determine eligibility for assistance. Payments are for technology expenses incurred, and checks will be mailed after students begin their classes at Wheaton in the fall.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken

President 

Dear Students, 

As we continue to prepare for fall 2020, we are working diligently to remove barriers to health and safety. I am pleased to announce that we have secured testing with Tempus Labs to provide 3,000 COVID-19 PCR tests for our students this fall semester. The tests will be provided by the College at no cost to students. We believe this prompt and free access to testing, particularly for symptomatic students and higher contact groups who may interact more closely with each other will help support a coronavirus-safe environment on campus.  

Last Friday, we sent you a short fall student survey to learn more about your plans and personal expectations for the fall. If you have not yet completed it, we ask that you take five minutes to do so before the end of today, June 12. While we are planning for most students to be on campus, we recognize that some may experience difficulty returning. 

As a reminder, Wheaton College will accommodate remote learners, who will need to be approved in advance by the Office of the Provost. We will require any student wishing to attend remotely to have a video consultation with an academic advisor to review course schedules, technology, and other tools needed for academic success. You can begin the approval process to study remotely by completing the survey at the link above.

I end on an encouraging note from one of your fellow Wheaties. Addie Gannon (Class of 2020, Violin Performance and Pedagogy) has produced an original worship album as part of an independent study course in Acoustic Recording Techniques. The album was written and performed by Wheaton students and features members of our Chapel Bands. Addie writes, “This album is an invitation to ‘fear not’ and rest in His loving embrace”—healing words for these difficult days. We hope you will be blessed by this eight-track worship album straight from our students’ hearts and minds. Enjoy it via this Youtube link or Spotify

In Christ’s service, 

Philip Ryken
President

Dear Students,

Our fall semester begins in less than ten weeks! We miss our students badly and look forward to seeing you very much.

As we prepare your welcome, we need to know your plans and personal expectations for the fall. We strive to serve you well, especially as we adapt campus to maximize your learning experience while protecting your health. To that end, we ask that you take five minutes before June 12 to complete this short fall student survey.

We are planning for most students to be on campus, but we recognize that some may experience difficulty returning. Wheaton College will be able to accommodate remote learners, but you will need to be approved for this by the Office of the Provost in advance. To best support your learning, we will require any student wishing to attend remotely to have a video consultation with an academic advisor to review course schedules, technology, and other tools needed for academic success. You can begin the approval process to study remotely as part of completing the survey at the link above.

For students who are approved to study remotely, the Office of Student Financial Services will revise financial aid awards to account for the removal of room and board allotments. Given the nature of academic credit, and due to the additional resources we plan to provide remote learners, tuition rates will be consistent whether students take classes in-person or remotely.

It is important for you to complete the survey before June 12. Why not take five minutes to do it now? Your answers will allow us to plan the best fall semester possible for everyone. Leading up to the start of classes, please check the student and family FAQ page regularly for up-to-date information.

This semester will have unprecedented challenges as we adapt to the new normal of COVID-19. However, I also anticipate unique rewards as we face these challenges together under God’s caring provision.

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken

President

Dear Students and Parents, 

As we shared last week, Wheaton College plans to open its campus to students this fall with a modified academic calendar to maximize in-person academic and co-curricular experiences. We have deferred Wheaton’s traditional Fall Break to November to allow for a week-long Thanksgiving Break followed by one week of remote learning and online finals (December 15-17).

We will communicate throughout the summer to help you prepare for fall. To that end, we have created the Fall 2020 Website, which will have our latest announcements, helpful resources, and a growing FAQ to help you plan for an excellent semester.  

We wish to extend an early welcome to the new first-year and transfer students joining us this fall. We have adjusted Orientation dates to accommodate a staggered new student move-in, and we have re-imagined Parent Orientation in an online format.

In addition to the Fall 2020 Website, we encourage new undergraduate students and their families to pay special attention to the following webpages throughout the summer:

With our newly adapted in-person model, we anticipate unique on-campus public health realities. Our faculty is preparing to ensure that all students can participate in classes, even from off-campus. We expect there will be students who face complicating factors due to quarantine, the inability to return to campus (whether due to international location, immunocompromise, or personal safety concerns), or a government order to shelter in place in response to viral spread. 

We are drafting COVID-19 Campus Expectations and will release them closer to the beginning of the semester to maximize personal and communal safety for students as well as faculty and staff. These expectations will include best practice measures to prevent the spread of infection as well as for on-campus testing, isolating those who test positive, and quarantining those who come into close contact with those who test positive.

While all of this will be challenging, this remains an exciting time to pursue kingdom preparation through Christ-centered liberal arts education. We look forward to seeing you in the fall! Until then, may God keep you in His loving care.  

In Christ’s service, 

Philip Ryken
President

 

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce that Wheaton College will open its campus to students for the Fall 2020 semester with classes beginning as scheduled on August 26, assuming that the Restore Illinois guidelines will allow us to do so. We will follow a modified academic calendar this fall to maximize in-person academic and co-curricular experiences. Fall Break has been reduced to a single day to allow students to leave campus early for a weeklong Thanksgiving Break followed by two weeks of remote learning. Students will take online finals December 15-17.

Until there is a readily available vaccine, few if any places in the world will be coronavirus-free. However, Wheaton has already invested in resources to provide a coronavirus-safe campusWe will share specific plans for testing, tracing, and containing COVID-19 in weekly communications throughout the summer. While these plans will require us to be creative with classroom spaces and dining schedules, we are working to preserve the majority of our regular schedule for daily classes. Additionally, we will offer classes remotely for students who are unable to return to campus or to attend class in person.

Four working groups are meeting continually to carefully plan every aspect of enrollment, academics, student life, and campus operations. Through this process, our guiding principles are healthy Christian community; the safety of students and employees; dedication to shared inquiry through liberal arts learning; loving and protecting our neighbors, including those who are most vulnerable; and identifying the simplest solutions to the massive challenges posed by the coronavirus. 

While our campus community must make significant adaptations to safely fulfill our mission of learning and living together, I assure you that Wheaton will remain Wheaton—a caring Christian community with a passion for faith and learning. In order to protect students, faculty, staff, and the wider community, we expect campus life next fall to be challenging in new and unprecedented ways. Until the State of Illinois guidelines for colleges and universities change, every member of our community will need to practice social distancing, wear face masks where appropriate, participate in symptom monitoring and contact tracing, and submit to appropriate coronavirus testing when requested. Living and dining adaptations will also make student life less convenient. Communications throughout the summer will help you prepare for this “new normal.”

In the event of further threats to public health, we will need to be ready for students to return home during the semester if necessary. In this event, we will pivot to remote learning, as we did in the spring.  

Beyond fostering a healthy environment conducive to the Christian liberal arts experience, our goal is to be as transparent and timely as possible with our communications. Students and their parents should read all College e-mails carefully in the coming months for relevant updates, including a new-student checklist and further information about housing, worship, athletics, music, financial aid, orientation, and other aspects of campus life that are critical to student experience.

Being together again will require uncommon charity, maximum flexibility, and a good measure of stubborn resolve. We believe that by God’s grace Wheaton students can rise to this challenge! We also believe that it will be worth it. Despite the difficulties, this is a good time to be a student—to learn and grow in preparation for kingdom witness to a world in need. With this goal clearly in mind, we look forward to welcoming you back to campus in August.

In Christ’s service, 

Philip Ryken
President

Last week I shared that—due to uncertainty around travel restrictions and the inability to gather publicly because of COVID-19—we will not hold in-person Undergraduate Commencement and related events as initially planned for May 10. We will also not hold our live Graduate Commencement as planned on May 9.

We recognized what a sad disappointment this would be for students and their families. Indeed, when my cabinet met to lament the many things we have lost in recent weeks, our sadness over missing Commencement in May was near the top of our list.

I am grateful for the help of Student Government and the Graduate Student Council for gathering input from students regarding possible ways to recognize their hard work and praise God for their accomplishments. Based on that feedback and what we currently anticipate will be safest for our students, faculty, and staff, we are going to proceed with a two-part solution for Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement ceremonies:

First, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, we will host a short live online Undergraduate gathering to offer spiritual encouragement and honor our graduates for earning their degrees. For Graduate Commencement, we will host a similar online gathering at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 9. We will send further details later this spring, including a URL for students and their families.

Second, we will start to make plans for live on-campus commencements at some point in the next academic year—with a livestream for those who are unable to attend in person. While it is premature to choose dates now, we will provide more definitive plans following the lifting of “shelter in place” and widespread travel restrictions. We will identify dates as soon as we can and also give sufficient lead-time to make plans to attend.

We recognize that it may be inconvenient or even impossible for some students to come back for a ceremony once they have left the Wheaton area, but we are trying to provide the best outcome, given the circumstances.   

In Christ’s service,

Philip Ryken

President

 

 

Wheaton College Provides Housing to Local First Responders

Wheaton College is providing free housing to local first responders during the growing surge of COVID-19 infections and medical emergencies. 

On Tuesday, the College signed an agreement with the City of Wheaton to provide 58 vacated units in its Terrace Apartments to police officers, firefighters and paramedics. First responders will be able to safely isolate from their families during the pandemic. 

The Terrace Apartments are located on East College Ave., three blocks from Wheaton’s main campus, and are not contiguous to other residences. The distance between the apartments and the main campus will protect Wheaton students and personnel. 

“Since our founding, Wheaton College has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the City of Wheaton,” said Wheaton College President Philip Ryken. “We are eager to support our first responders as they work selflessly to save lives in this community.” 

Wheaton Mayor Phil Suess said the agreement will give first responders peace of mind by offering a way to protect their families. 

“Wheaton’s firefighters, paramedics and police officers are on the front lines of this pandemic when they respond to calls for assistance in the community,” said Suess. “Even though our first responders are taking many precautions to ensure their safety, to have a place where they can safely self-isolate from their loved ones is a relief for many. On behalf of our residents, I want to thank the College for its generous contribution to our community during this challenging time.” --LaTonya Taylor 

Dear Wheaton College Community,

We write to notify you that we have our first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a student isolated in a house owned by the College located at the edge campus. 

In line with the College’s policy and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the student is self-isolating and will not enter into any public spaces. The student has not been frequenting campus spaces, and we do not perceive a threat to other students or personnel. (There is a small number of students who have received exceptions to remain on campus during this period.) We have alerted Facilities and Public Safety to ensure they do not enter the residence. We wish the student a rapid recovery and continue to pray for all who need healing. 

The COVID-19 Response Team is in communication with the student, and, based on the established protocol, we are reaching out to students, faculty, and staff who may have had direct contact with the student. We are asking those individuals to self-isolate and quarantine according to DuPage County Health Department and CDC protocols for COVID-19.  

We understand that this announcement may cause heightened concerns, and we will continue to send email notices and update online resources. Wheaton’s COVID-19 Website is the best source of information about the impact of the virus on our College community and provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions. 

On-campus students who develop a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing should call Student Health Service 630.752.5072 during the day, or Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Emergency Department 630.933.2600 after hours, for consultation and/or evaluation for COVID-19. If you are living off-campus or are an employee or other community member, call your primary care provider for further instructions. 

The health and well-being of our community is Wheaton’s top priority. If you are sick, we ask you to please stay home. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever (above 100.4 degrees), coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Please take care of yourselves as we continue to navigate this dynamic situation.

Sincerely in Christ, 

Beth Walsh ‘96, RN MSN CPNP
Nurse Practitioner
Director of Student Health Services | Student Development

Commencement Message from President Philip Ryken 

I write to inform you that—due to uncertainty around travel restrictions and the inability to gather publicly because of COVID-19—we will not hold Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement ceremony and related events as originally planned for May 9 and 10. This saddens us deeply, knowing that it represents a significant disappointment of our students and their loved ones. 

By April 3 we anticipate being able to share alternate plans for celebrating with our graduates. We have sent short surveys coordinated by Student Government and the Graduate Student Council requesting student input about how best to proceed, with the request that students reply by Monday morning, March 30th. 

Though this is not what any of us had hoped, we trust in God’s good plan and are doing our best to adjust our expectations accordingly. May God bless you with good health, provide for your needs, and give you hope for the future during this challenging time in world history.

In Christ’s Service, 

Philip Ryken

President

Our students are dispersed throughout the country and the world during a time of uncertainty about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will affect our healthcare system. We are writing to tell you about a new option we are making available to you to care for your medical and mental health needs.

Campus.Health photoWe are now providing a free service called Campus.Health. All domestic and international students will be able to talk to a mental health provider 24/7 for any mental health need. There is also a telehealth medical option for domestic students that allows you to receive health care for a variety of conditions at a time when some medical offices and hospitals may be overrun caring for those with COVID-19. Unfortunately, an international telehealth medical option is not available due to licensing requirements.

We also want to remind you that Student Health Services is still open for medical advice and in-person appointments with a provider 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST for any enrolled Wheaton student by calling 630.752.5072. International Students who have returned to their home countries can still call for medical advice. The Counseling Center at Wheaton College is still available for consultation and referral phone calls for students now located outside the state of Illinois, and staff members are still available for phone or video conference therapy calls for students who are currently within the state of Illinois. Students may contact the Counseling Center at counseling.center@wheaton.edu.

Whether you're feeling sick or overwhelmed, you will be able to talk to a Campus.Health licensed provider for free from your smartphone or any web-enabled device. Campus.Health medical providers can diagnose and treat common conditions (cold, flu, sinus infection), and their TalkNow service gives students a safe space to talk about anything at any time (anxiety surrounding COVID-19, relationships, depression). To get started or to view FAQs visit the campus.health Resource Page.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced a state-wide "stay-at-home" order requiring all non-essential businesses to cease operations through April 7. Wheaton College's plan to shift to Remote Campus Operations anticipated this development and needed only minor operational changes to comply. The Executive Order defines institutions of higher education as "Essential Businesses and Operations," which allows us to continue to maintain certain on-campus activities throughout the stay-at-home time period. Within this context, we remain focused on launching and delivering the more than 900 classes that are scheduled for the rest of this semester.

All faculty and staff will work remotely unless they are required to support an essential on-campus service. Those who do come to campus to perform essential services are required to continue to adhere to our safety protocols, including social distancing, working in isolation, frequent handwashing, and frequent disinfecting of work surfaces. Essential service providers are further encouraged to limit their time on campus.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 FAQ.

We are providing new information to parents and students which may give additional flexibility to those who have not yet traveled to retrieve possessions from campus housing. 

For those who believe their trip could be complicated by President Trump’s recent discussion of potential domestic travel restrictions, please know students will now receive a full housing/dining credit for B Quad if you check out on or before May 8, 2020. The College hopes disconnecting the housing/dining credit from the check out date will relieve some unintended emotional and financial stress. Students will have up to 48 hours from arrival on campus to collect possessions. The final deadline to pick up personal belongings and receive a full B Quad housing/dining credit is May 8, 2020.   

For students who no longer have access to their textbooks, we are working to provide digital scans of required readings for the first week of B-Quad classes. Students should monitor their e-mail for future instructions.

With our decision to pursue virtual teaching to protect the welfare of our students, employees, and community we recognize that we now face logistical, communications, and financial challenges at a level we rarely have, if ever, experienced. We must now address a large number of questions and details, which are emerging rapidly in this fluid situation. At the same time, our students and their families are rightly seeking answers that we do not yet have regarding their circumstances.  

Employees who regularly work with students and the public should expect many questions for which we do not yet have answers given the complexity of these circumstances. Questions could include whether students will receive refunds for room and board or how they might retrieve textbooks and other possessions without traveling back to campus. In those situations, please explain that we are working as quickly as possible to meet their needs and explain that we are still working out details. Always encourage them to continue to revisit the frequently-updated FAQ on Wheaton College’s COVID-19 website. 

A few immediate things for you to note: 

  • All non-athletic public College events have been cancelled through the end of April. We are currently exploring which events may carry on via livestream. At a later time, we will reassess whether campus public events will resume on or after May 1. We understand and regret that this will affect several scheduled events. Spring Varsity athletic schedules are currently under discussion.
  • For larger meetings, please live stream where you can. AIT is providing training to conduct virtual and remote work activities. These sessions are focused on support for virtual and remote work, not remote teaching. Additional information and resources for faculty related to remote teaching were provided by the Provost. We encourage employees to join us for one of these sessions, where we will show you how to safely access College data, manage your campus phone, and hold virtual meetings. Current training dates and times Monday, March 16th, from 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. in Coray Alumni Gymnasium; and Tuesday, March 17th, from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. in Coray Alumni Gymnasium. 
  • Beyond the public-facing FAQ on our COVID-19 website, we now have a growing employee FAQ. Please visit this site regularly for further information. As you learn answers to queries that you believe might be good for the employee or external FAQ to queries through the course of your work, please send new or suggested Q&As to COVID19@wheaton.edu.
  • We are currently expanding our service center to handle the large number of queries we anticipate receiving in the coming days. We plan to operate the service center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and additional hours over the weekend. People will be able to e-mail or call the center with their questions, which will either be answered or rerouted to the correct office. We plan to send a separate message to you about this service by tomorrow morning. 

This will no doubt be a period of heightened activity, but please know the COVID-19 Response Team continues to meet daily to work with you to meet these challenges.            

Grace and Peace, 

COVID-19 Response Team

Dear Campus Community,

Please know that we take your welfare and safety very seriously. We have reluctantly come to a decision that we understand could be difficult for each of you in a variety of ways. After assessing the regional health situation and campus resources related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided that it would be in the best interest of our community to extend spring break for students by one week and resume classes through virtual teaching on Monday, March 23, 2020.

In light of this decision, we are taking the following actions:

  1. Classes will be held at their regularly scheduled times via Schoology and other online resources. Faculty will communicate with their students before the first scheduled class session with further details. The Provost will follow up with further instructions and resources for faculty.
  2. Despite the difficulties this might cause, we ask undergraduate students to remain or return home for the remainder of the semester. Students may begin moving out of their on-campus housing beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Ideally, students will use this extra week of Spring Break to collect their belongings. Residence Life will communicate further details moving forward. 
  3. On-campus room and board will be provided to those who have no other option, including those from countries with travel restrictions and those with other extenuating circumstances. Please fill out this form by March 15 if you will need on-campus housing. Graduate students may continue to live in on-campus housing.
  4. Our campus will continue to be fully operational during this period. The work of educating our students and caring for those who remain on campus will continue. Faculty and staff are expected to report to work as usual while following the health protocols we have already put in place, per the Center for Disease Control.

Additional information about Commencement, athletics, and other campus events will be forthcoming. 

You may be wondering why we are making this decision now, given that there are no known cases on our campus and relatively few cases in Illinois. Global experience is showing that social distancing is one of the best protections against the virus, which has the potential to spread rapidly in communities. We also believe that spring break travel presents a potential threat to Wheaton and the surrounding community.

Furthermore, the number of new cases is now increasing exponentially. Due to its population density and global connections, the number of cases in Chicagoland is very likely to increase in the next few weeks. Our limited ability to quarantine students or others infected with the virus leads us to believe that it will be safer and perhaps less disruptive for us to move to online coursework now rather than facing this prospect later in the semester. 

We made our decision to pursue virtual instruction carefully and with the goal—consistent with CDC recommendations—of preventing large groups of people in enclosed spaces, such as classrooms, dining halls, and residence halls. Our actions are consistent with the recommendations of leading health officials on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 worldwide and also with similar decisions made by peer institutions.

By being proactive—taking a thoughtful, faithful approach—we have an opportunity to care well for people. We will send further information as planning develops. Please continue to visit our COVID-19 website for further information and updated FAQs.

We recognize that, given our deep commitment to residential Christian liberal arts learning that thrives in close community, this decision will have a significant impact on your Wheaton experience. For our graduating students, we lament that you may not be able to conclude your studies at Wheaton in the way you had anticipated. We look forward to welcoming our returning students back after this semester. 

This is far from the first worldwide challenge that Wheaton College has faced. Through warfare, disease, financial downturns, and other worldwide crises, our spiritual mothers and fathers remained steadfast in prayer and resolute in their mission to serve Christ and His Kingdom. Together we can trust God’s grace to help us weather this storm as well.

Philip Ryken
President

 

There have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) involving Wheaton students or employees, but we are taking a proactive approach as the situation continues to develop. In order to maintain the health and safety of all members of our community, we are asking all students and employees to register any international travel, whether personal or through College programs, with the College.

Student and Employee College-related International Travel: 

All employees must register their College-related or sponsored international travel in GoGlobal using the employee travel registration form.

All students must register their College-related or sponsored international travel in GoGlobal. Registrations are by program or group. Please contact gps@wheaton.edu or call x7309 if you have any questions. 

Student and Employee Personal International Travel:

All employees and students must register their personal international travel using personal travel registration form.

This request to register all international travel will continue until further notice. Employees should discuss all international travel during the Spring semester and going forward with their supervisor.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health, any employee, student, or other community member who has traveled to a Level 3 country where there is large-scale, ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 (currently China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran) should self-isolate and not return to campus for 14 days upon return to the United States. Affected students should contact the Director of Student Care Services and their professors to discuss options to make arrangements during their time away from the classroom. 

During this 14-day self-isolation period, the CDC recommends:

  •   Staying home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
  •   Keeping distance from others (about 6 feet).
  •   Watching for cough, troubled breathing, or other signs of respiratory infection.
  •   Monitoring temperature twice daily for a fever above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C).

Campus students who develop a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, should call Student Health Service 630.752.5072 or Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Emergency Department 630.933.2600 after hours to report their arrival for an evaluation for COVID-19.  Employees or other community members should call their primary care provider for further instructions.

Visit this page for a list of FAQs and updates on College preparations and news. If you have other Wheaton-specific questions, please send them to covid19@wheaton.edu. The CDC website contains all current recommendations for this evolving situation.

COVID-19 Response Team

The immediate health risk to people in Illinois from the coronavirus (COVID-19) remains low, and we do not have any known cases of the virus on campus. However, given the upcoming travel of students over spring break, we wish to communicate how we are preparing in the event the coronavirus touches Wheaton College.

Wheaton’s Student Health Services (SHS) will follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to colleges and universities. The SHS also maintains close contact with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department regarding preventive care as well as treatment recommendations.

Wheaton College has formed a COVID-19 Response Team with representation from across campus to ensure we make timely decisions, communicate updates, and are prepared with ready-to-activate continuity plans. The Vice President for Finance and Operations, Chad Rynbrandt, will be leading this team on behalf of the Senior Administrative Cabinet.

Of immediate concern, COVID-19 is having a major effect on international travel. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), China, Iran, Italy and South Korea are all under Level 3 travel health notice, which warns against non-essential travel due to widespread community transmission. We ask that any student or employee that is travelling to these countries contact SHS before travelling so that the potential implications upon return to campus can be understood. Our decisions regarding College-sponsored programs and travel are based on the CDC’s expert analysis. We will be closely monitoring developments related to our summer programs. We intend to notify you of any decisions affecting them by April 1. In the meantime, we ask that you not make any further travel arrangements or incur expenses related to College-sponsored programs.

On the eve of Spring Break, we encourage the entire Wheaton College community to adhere to these CDC-recommended practices for preventing the spread of sickness:

  • Wash hands frequently and often; use hand sanitizer until able to wash hands with soap and water
  • Try to stay at least 6 feet away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick
  • Note that masks are ineffective for preventing contraction of the virus

The health and safety of our students and employees remain our highest priority. We are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date and relevant information possible regarding the coronavirus.