Our COVID-19 protocols will change effective Monday, Feb. 28. In line with Governor Pritzker’s February 9 press conference, Wheaton College will begin moving from “pandemic” to “endemic” COVID-19 precautions. The public health situation has dramatically improved on campus with a sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases, and we are grateful for this new season with lower rates of infection that allows for a mask-optional campus.
Q: Under Gov. Pritzker’s executive order, can students choose to be tested rather than be vaccinated, even if they do not meet the requirements for a medical or religious exemption?
A: Yes. Under the Governor’s executive order, individuals covered by the vaccination requirement can choose to be tested instead of being vaccinated, regardless of the reason for being unvaccinated.
Q: Are face coverings still required while on campus?
Starting on 2/28/22, face coverings are no longer required on campus. We will now follow face covering-optional practices across our campus.
Q: Are there any restrictions on off-campus employment, internships, or activities?
A: There are no current restrictions for off-campus employment, internships, or activities.
Q: What are the campus Covid-safe requirements for undergraduate students when arriving from an international location?
A: Unvaccinated students arriving from international locations should resume submitting their saliva sample on their assigned test day. International (F-1 Visa / MK / TCK) students may reach out to email@example.com with any further questions.
Q: I have a medical condition that puts me at high-risk for COVID-19 infection and complications. What will the face covering-optional protocols mean for me?
Students with additional support needs in a face covering-optional environment should use this Jotform link from Student Health Services. For the duration of the Spring 2022 semester, staff and faculty may require others to wear face coverings in their personal workspace, office, or classroom if they or a family member for whom they provide care has one or more of the conditions the CDC designates as high risk if COVID-19 is contracted.
Q: What will happen if I come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
A: Close contact is defined as having been within 6 feet of a positive COVID-19 case for greater than 15 minutes, cumulatively over a 24 hour period. We are adopting the updated CDC and IDPH guidance that vaccinated and boosted individuals will not need to quarantine but come to SHS to submit a Day 5 test or on any day if developing COVID-19 symptoms. If unvaccinated OR greater than 6 months from a two-dose vaccine OR greater than 2 months from a one-dose vaccine, close contacts in this category will need to quarantine for 5 days and take a test at Day 5 or sooner if developing symptoms. These individuals should continue to wear a face covering around others for 5 additional days.
Students in quarantine who are on a meal plan will be allowed to pick up their meals to-go, without lingering in the dining hall. Student Health Services will be sending official excuses of required class absences due to quarantine to all professors. All missed coursework will be arranged between the student and professor following typical practices for student illness and absence.
Q: What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19?
A: We are asking all students who test positive for COVID-19 who live within a 4 hour driving radius of campus to go home for their isolation period of 5 days, per the updated CDC and IDPH guidance. Students who would need to fly home or are from international locations will be relocated to a campus apartment or a room on East Campus for their isolation. We will be assessing every student after 5 days to assure they are improving and fever-free for 24 hours. If additional time is needed, appropriate accommodations and classroom excuses will be given. Students moved to on-campus isolation will need to bring their own bedding, pillow, towels, washcloths, clothing, toiletries, face masks, a laptop computer, and any course materials they will need. Campus wi-fi will be available. Shared bathrooms are available and are assigned by sex. Pre-packaged meals will be delivered to the isolation housing location. Their meal plan or student account ($15 a day if not on a meal plan), will be charged for the delivered meals. Medical staff will check in with students who are in isolation on-campus. Student Health Services will be sending official excuses of required class absences due to isolation to all professors. All missed coursework will be arranged between the student and professor following typical practices for student illness and absence.
Q: Will I need to report my COVID-19 vaccination status, including if I have had a booster?
A: All students are required to complete the Vaccination Attestation Form. This is a secure, HIPPA compliant form only to be used by Student Health Services. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination can be uploaded and will be entered into the permanent immunization record in EPIC. These records will remain private and confidential. Any student who neglects to complete the Vaccination Attestation Form will be regarded as unvaccinated and subject to once a week surveillance testing until proof of vaccination is provided.
Q: What test will be used to screen for COVID-19 if I am unvaccinated?
A: We continue to use the saliva SafeGuard test. Saliva samples will be deposited in drop boxes located throughout campus (locations: Anderson entrance, Armerding, Billy Graham Hall, Chrouser Sports Center King Arena Lobby, CPO, Fischer Lobby, McManis-Evans Front Desk, Student Health Services inside North Harrison Hall, Smith Traber Lobby, Terrace Apartments laundry room, Williston Lobby) by noon on Mondays and Thursdays for undergrads and noon on Tuesdays for graduate students. All positive SafeGuard tests will be confirmed with a PCR COVID-19 test at Student Health Services.
Q: What is the protocol for varsity athletics related to COVID-19?
- If you are unvaccinated you will be required to take the SafeGuard COVID PCR test 1x/week on Thursdays during your regular season at the College’s expense.
- Testing noncompliance means the student will not be allowed to train or compete until a negative result is received on the next test with Student Health Services or from and outside lab (expense not covered by the College) with a written test result that must be shown to the Tricia Deter, Head Athletic Trainer.
- If unvaccinated OR greater than 6 months from a 2 dose vaccine OR 2 months from a 1 dose vaccine, close contacts will need to quarantine for 5 days and test at Day 5. Additionally they will need to mask around others for an additional 5 days.
- Vaccinated and boosted athletes will not need to quarantine but complete a COVID-19 test 5 days after being in close contact with someone who tested positive.
- Contact tracing and a 5 day isolation (as long as improved) will apply to any student athlete who tests positive for COVID-19.
Q: What are the guidelines for use of the Chrouser Sports Complex?
- Chrouser facilities are open to all spouses and dependents of faculty and staff.
- Everyone must use Chrouser Sports Complex’s Facility Reservation System to book a space for exercise. Participants will need to create a username and password using their wheaton.edu or my.wheaton.edu email address.
- Wearing a face covering is optional.
- If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is the COVID 19 protocol for club sports and intramurals?
A: Unvaccinated club and intramural sport participants must comply with surveillance testing once a week.
Q: Can students have guests spend the night in their rooms?
A: Students are allowed to have a guest of the same sex (non-parent) spend the night in their room. Visitors cannot stay longer than three nights. Roommates should discuss their expectations with having visitors in their space to be in agreement. In an effort to protect our campus, all guests should either be fully vaccinated against COVID or have received a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival.