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COVID-19 Information from the Graduate Admissions Office

Graduate Admissions and COVID-19

New and prospective graduate students around the world are facing unique enrollment challenges and questions due to COVID-19. The Wheaton College Graduate Admissions staff are here to help you navigate these questions and concerns. Below, find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. As always, remember that you can contact us via email, phone (630-752-5195), or through our online information sessions.

General Information


Q: Will in-person classes resume in the fall 2020 semester?

Wheaton College will offer its distinctive Christ-centered liberal arts undergraduate and graduate classes this fall 2020 semester, and coursework will continue with the Wheaton tradition of rigorous instruction, regardless of the delivery method. Wheaton faculty eagerly await students’ return to campus, and they are preparing to reconvene for an adaptive in-person semester with live instruction. 

We are pursuing a coronavirus-safe campus environment, which includes social distancing and safe gatherings in classroom space. Faculty and students will wear masks while in the classroom and be spaced six feet apart. Given the need to reduce the number of students in each classroom, some courses will require students to alternate between attending in-person and participating via on-line streaming. We are continuing to monitor the evolving pandemic and appropriate Illinois regulations, and we will communicate any adjustments to this plan later this summer.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What is the adapted calendar for this fall semester?

We have modified the academic calendar for fall 2020 to maximize in-person and face-to-face instruction. Fall Break is deferred to November to allow for a weeklong Thanksgiving Break followed by two weeks of remote learning and then on-line finals.

  • W, 8/26: Classes Begin
  • M, 10/19: B Quad Begins
  • W, 10/21: No Classes
  • F, 11/20: Last Day of On-Campus Classes
  • M-F, 11/23-27: Thanksgiving Break
  • M, 11/30: Remote Classes Begin
  • M: 12/14: Reading Day
  • T-Th, 12/15-17: Finals

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: Do returning students need to re-register for the adaptive in-person semester?

Returning sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students do not need to register again for their fall courses and in most cases should be able to keep their existing schedule for fall. Incoming transfer and first-year undergraduate and graduate students will register as planned this summer.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: How will the adaptive in-person fall semester affect coursework?

Wheaton College remains committed to our Christian liberal arts curriculum with high standards of academic excellence. Each course will fulfill our accreditation standards through the Higher Learning Commission for a full 50 hours of faculty instruction, while meeting the same learning outcomes and curricular goals of past semesters. We remain rooted in our shared commitment to practicing the liberal arts through instruction, discussion, student collaboration, and applied learning. We understand the need to make principled adaptations during this time so that our core mission of teaching and learning continues in a safe and healthy way. We strongly recommend that students come to campus with a laptop computer so that they have ongoing access to the tools they need to succeed academically during this highly flexible period.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: I’ve changed my mind and want to conduct my semester remotely. What should I do?

Given that this school year will pose unique challenges, if you decide to attend remotely from home or elsewhere, please use this link to inform the College of your previously communicated decision that has changed so that we can help facilitate your experience.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q:  How will courses continue if the State of Illinois sees a resurgence of COVID-19 and the College has to pivot back to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan? 

Faculty are preparing their fall courses with the possibility of this scenario in mind. If we need to pivot to remote learning due to increased COVID-19 spread, we will be prepared to do so. In the event of having to shift to fully remote learning, we intend to allow students to choose to remain in their campus housing with grab-and-go dining.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: How will students attend class in the event of illness or need to quarantine?

All Wheaton faculty have been asked to prepare for teaching their courses in person and through remote instruction (via on-line streaming). Students will have access to their course content even if they are sick or spending time in quarantine. We will respond with flexibility and safe practices to promote our community’s health as well as our students’ academic and personal well-being. We strongly recommend that students come to campus with a laptop computer so that they have ongoing access to the tools they need to succeed academically during this highly flexible period.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: What changes will students encounter in specialized courses that involve active, applied learning?

Our faculty are developing plans to allow for safe and adapted science labs, music instruction, theater, and studio art. The College will adapt experiential and active learning for the campus’ COVID-19 safety standards while remaining focused on academic excellence and meeting learning outcomes. We will communicate adaptations of specialized courses to students via their faculty instructors.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: Will students be able to participate in off-campus academic internships and practicums?

For the safety of our community and our neighbors, we will ask students to stay on campus and limit off-campus activities. We are working to identify how students may fulfill specialized degree requirements, including off-campus academic experiences, in a safe manner. In those situations where off-campus academic experiences are not possible due to safety restrictions, we will work with students to identify alternatives. Students who are participating in approved off campus programs and who also live in campus housing or participate in approved off campus activities will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Will I be able to study abroad?

We will continue to monitor the pandemic and provide at least 30 days notice to students should spring semester plans change.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Will Buswell Library be open and accessible to students?

Buswell Library will be open for student use this fall. Visit the Buswell Library COVID-19 update page for more information and updates about library hours for fall.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: How will I know whether my course will be taught in person or remotely, as a result of scheduling issues or faculty health issues? 

Over the next few weeks, we will be updating information in Banner to reflect whether a course will be fully remote or in-person. Please check Banner Self-Service to see how your schedule is developing.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What if I am unable to come to campus this fall?

We recognize that some of our students will be unable to return to campus for a variety of reasons. We will work with them to provide a quality remote learning experience. We will also continue to provide academic support services for students who must complete their coursework remotely. Please submit a request to learn remotely here.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

Q: What demographics are considered medically at-risk should they become infected with COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill, which means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die. We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, CDC will continue to update and share information about risk for severe illness. Older adults and people with underlying conditions are considered high-risk for serious infection should they contract the virus. Please consult with your health care provider to determine whether or not you should come to campus due to your risk factors during COVID-19.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: How should Wheaton College students who are considered medically at-risk plan to engage with classes and work in the fall semester 2020?

We strongly advise that you consider not coming/returning to campus where there is a chance for exposure through asymptomatic individuals, but instead to continue your learning remotely until a vaccine or treatment becomes available if you fall into one of the high-risk categories.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: Will testing for the COVID-19 virus be required prior to starting in the Fall?  

Yes. To protect our campus community, all students must present negative COVID-19 test results at check in, taken no more than 5 days before returning to campus. We will accept a COVID-19 PCR or a rapid test.Here are some options for you to consider: 

FINDING AND PAYING FOR A TEST: Visit this website to identify testing locations in your area. You also may be able to get your doctor to authorize and administer a test, so be sure to check with them. We recommend that you hold onto your receipt, regardless of where you are tested,  and submit it to Student Financial Services (sfs@wheaton.edu) to see if you qualify for reimbursement. 

HAVING A HARD TIME GETTING A TEST: Some areas only give COVID-19 tests to people who are experiencing symptoms. This can make getting a test difficult. Wheaton College is working to partner with Let’s Get Tested, to provide self-administered tests that can be sent via UPS overnight to the address of your choice. On August 10th we hope to be able to provide a way for our students to order a test to be shipped to their address of choice (in the contiguous United States) and then have the $115 fee billed to their student account. 

For those who are scheduled to arrive early, you have the option to go ahead and order a test using a credit card. Should you choose to do this, we recommend that you select the “Express Shipping” option to ensure that the process is completed before you arrive on campus. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you complete the pre-screening self-assessment, we have been advised that Wheaton College students who may have answered “None” to the “Are you experiencing any of these significant symptoms?”, should respond to the following set of questions (“Are you experiencing any of these mild symptoms?”), with “Other” (versus “None”), if the other listed options do not apply. You should order the test as soon as possible, and return it to the company no later than 5 business days before you are scheduled to arrive on campus. 

ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT GET A TEST: Having a negative COVID-19 test result is required to participate in life on campus. Thus, we strongly encourage you to pursue one of the options above. All of our students will have the ability to join scheduled activities and classes, remotely.  If you arrive on campus without the required test result you will need to pursue a locally available test, and stay in quarantine until you have a negative test result. Waiting for results could take 2-3 days. While you await the test result, you will be responsible for providing your own food. Quarantine lodging on campus is limited so please be aware that you may need to arrange your own off campus housing during that quarantine period.  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. 

Updated: July 30, 2020

 

Q:  What if I tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago and my entry test taken 5 days prior to arrival still tests positive?

We are aware of the current recommendations from the CDC and the research finding that for some individuals, COVID-19 will be detected in your system for several weeks after infection.  We would ask that you still re-test for COVID-19 prior to entry. If the entry test is positive but you are able to present the original positive test result taken greater than 10 days prior AND you are no longer experiencing symptoms AND you have been fever-free for greater than 24 hours, you will be permitted to come on to campus.

Updated August 2, 2020

Q: Will you accept test results from another country? 

We will be unable to accept test results from other countries. 

Updated: July 30, 2020

Q: What will the public health protocols be for students?

Each student must comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols (known as the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment).   All students must complete the COVID-19 Schoology Online Course.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What campus-wide safety measures are being taken?

Our safety measures include an isolation facility for students who test positive for COVID-19, requiring quarantine of students who have been within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes; installation of plexiglass barriers in housing bathrooms between sinks; the reduction of lounge furniture across campus to facilitate social distancing; wearing of mask within all campus buildings (except in bedrooms), and outdoors when not able to socially distance; providing remote instruction and virtual event opportunities to assist with maintaining distance; reducing the capacity of spaces across campus to 50% or less; and requiring frequent testing of those who are considered to be in a higher risk group for exposure such as student athletes and certain music students.  

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: I’m living off campus this semester. Do I need to be tested and follow the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment?

Undergraduate students living in off-campus housing who come to campus for any reason will be required to abide by the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment. In addition, there will be a requirement to schedule with Student Health Services to receive a weekly COVID-19 test that will enable continued access to campus facilities.  If insurance does not cover these weekly tests, reimbursement for the cost of the tests can be requested through CARES act funding by emailing sfs@wheaton.edu from their Wheaton email account stating their out-of-pocket costs.

Updated: July 30, 2020

Q:  What type of testing will be available throughout the Fall?

Student Health Services will have a low threshold for testing students when symptomatic, as well as testing as required by the NCAA for practicing varsity athletes. We have contracted with several testing service providers to acquire COVID-19 tests for the fall semester, which will be offered to the student when indicated based on symptoms or for surveillance testing. We hope to be able to provide a fee based solution for students who require weekly testing at their own expense. Local testing options are also available should students wish to pursue those instead to meet the weekly testing requirement.

Updated: July 30, 2020

Q:  Should I have an antibody test to determine if I have had COVID-19 in the past?

Currently, the significance of a positive antibody test is that it shows a previous COVID-19 infection, but we do not know how long individuals are protected after infection. Therefore, we will not be using antibody tests for decisions about return to campus or different expectations for behaviors. Antibody testing may prove helpful in the future as we learn more about how long individuals are protected after infection.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Do I have to wear a face covering on campus?

A: You must wear cloth face coverings in ALL campus buildings (including but not limited to offices, academic buildings, classrooms) at all times and outside on campus when a minimum of six feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained. The masking requirement is in effect unless you are in a room completely alone, in your bedroom, eating a meal, or outdoors and able to maintain six feet of distance from other people. Activities such as sitting in class, walking to lunch, studying at the library, and working out at Chrouser will all require a face covering. We realize that this is one of the most inconvenient aspects of keeping each other safe from infection, but face coverings will be part of our daily routine as a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong community. Read the Wheaton College COVID-19 Face Covering policy for more information.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What will be the public health expectations all campus members should be prepared to follow throughout the fall semester?

Best practice measures to prevent the spread of infection include daily self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, isolating those who test positive, quarantining those who come into close contact with positive cases, wearing a face covering, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and avoid touching one’s eyes and nose with unwashed hands.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q:  What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19 during the semester?

A:  We are arranging separate housing for students should they 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; students can engage with courses online. Students who are too ill to engage with coursework, course excuses will be communicated to faculty members.  

Students may elect to self-isolate at home but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for a minimum of ten days, symptoms are improving, and fever-free for 72 hours.  If asymptomatic, isolation will be 10 days from the collection of the positive test result.  Upon return, students must report to SHS for clearance to return to campus.

Permission forms will be provided at a later date.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What will happen if I am named as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

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. 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.  Classes will continue remotely during this time, and we will deliver pre-packaged meals to a central point in student housing if the student lives on campus. Their meal plan or student account (if not on a meal plan), will be charged for the delivered meals.  If the student is sharing a bathroom on campus, they will need to follow specific protocols for cleaning between use.  Students may elect to quarantine at home but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for this 14 days, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and testing at home if symptoms develop.  Upon return, students must report to SHS for clearance to return to campus. Permission forms will be provided at a later date.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What should I do if I have concerns about another student, faculty member, or staff member who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or is not abiding by Campus Expectations?

We recognize that returning to campus this fall will require a shared commitment to caring for those with whom we are living in community by following the shared commitments (coming soon) and separating ourselves from others at the first sign of any illness.  We will also be required to show healthy charity to others. 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 if they observe concerns before sharing the concern to Student Care Services through the CARES referral form on the Wheaton portal.  Students who do not uphold their commitment to COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong will participate in a process to determine if they will be required to return home or remain off campus to engage their courses remotely.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What if I am not comfortable wearing a face covering, can I still come to campus? 

All students and employees will be required to wear a face covering where required on campus. The nature of our shared community requires that everyone on campus abide by the same safety protocols. This disease can spread asymptomatically, and according to the CDC wearing a face covering is a primary method of reducing the spread of contagion.

Updated: May 27, 2020

Q: Will Student Health Services (SHS) be available to care for my medical needs that are not COVID-19 related?

SHS anticipates offering most of its regularly provided services. All patients will need an appointment, as opposed to walk-ins by calling 630-752-5072. Patients also will be screened for symptoms with a questionnaire and temperature prior to entering the clinic. SHS will offer Telehealth appointments as an alternative to an in-person appointment. There will be a designated area of the clinic with a separate entrance to care for patients with potential or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: What if my symptoms of COVID-19 are serious enough to require hospitalization?

Student Health Services clinical staff will be available to evaluate every student presenting with symptoms of COVID-19, whether minor or severe, with the goal of timely testing. If symptoms require, students will be taken to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, 10 minutes west of campus, for further evaluation and care.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: As many families have a state-based health insurance that does not have coverage outside of emergencies in Illinois, would Wheaton consider offering a gateway or connection to health insurance for those students similar to the insurance required for international students?

Wheaton College is still unable to offer a health insurance plan to students due to the Illinois mandate that it would meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the discordant clause to offer what the College believes to be abortifacient products. We are able to offer an accident and illness policy to international students which is not under the same regulations. But we do highly recommend that all students would secure insurance for their time at Wheaton, especially during these times. Many insurance plans will offer a guest membership out of state with an application process. Students may also qualify for the Illinois Medicaid program but they must enroll. Contact www.student.insurance@wheaton.edu for additional questions regarding insurance.

Student Health Services (SHS) will offer sick visits for all students with providers at no cost this fall to encourage students to report for early identification and isolation of COVID-19. All COVID-19 tests will be free for symptomatic patients. If medications and other tests are required, standard fees will apply for these additional services.

Updated: August 2, 2020

COUNSELING CENTER FAQs

Q: How can I make an appointment with the counseling center?

You can call 630.752.5321, email counseling.center@wheaton.edu, or you can visit our webpage and follow the “Book an appointment” link found there.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Will I be able to see a counselor face to face?

In compliance with CDC guidelines for social distancing the Counseling Center will not be seeing students for face to face appointments during the fall semester. We will continue to offer telebehavioral health sessions until guidelines change and allow us to safely see students one on one in the counseling center offices.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Can I walk into the counseling center to set up an appointment?

No. We ask that you contact online by email at counseling.center@wheaton.edu or by phone (630.752.5321)

Updated: June 4, 2020

Q: Is the counseling center offering walk-in mental health emergency service?

Yes, but these will remain virtual until further notice. We ask that you call 630.752.5321 or reach out to resident life staff to assist you in having an emergency appointment.

Updated: June 4, 2020

Q: How can I fill out all the paperwork required for a first appointment?

All intake paperwork and consent forms are accessible online and once an appointment is set you will be sent a link to those forms.

Updated: June 4, 2020

Q: Will the counseling center be offering any groups this fall?

Yes. We will be offering several groups online with announcements made specific to those at the start of the semester.

Updated: June 4, 2020

Q: Can I receive counseling services if I choose not to return to campus this fall, but continue online learning?

The counseling center staff is only licensed to serve students residing in the State of Illinois. If you live outside of the State of Illinois we can still offer you consultation and referral for services in your home state.

Updated: July 20, 2020

Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

Q: How does Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order impact me if I am traveling from one of the 15 restricted states?

The DuPage County Health Department has issued guidance aligned with the Chicago Emergency Travel Order. All Wheaton College students traveling to campus from a hot spot, as defined by the Chicago Emergency Travel Order, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before arriving on campus. This can be done at home, as long as COVID-Safe precautions are used during the trip to campus. The college is strongly recommending that all students self-quarantine and stay safe at home for 14 days prior to coming to campus and being a part of our community.

Updated July 20, 2020

 

Q: What does self-quarantine at home mean in terms of what I am allowed to do during these 14 days?

 

According to the CDC, quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.  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.  People in quarantine should avoid going to school or work, stay home except for essential outings (doctor, pharmacy, grocery store), and monitor their health by taking their temperature twice a day while being aware of any other developing COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Two of our primary goals of requiring and recommending this quarantine is to limit exposures and monitor for symptoms prior to arrival on campus.  Exposure to large groups of people at a graduation party, good-bye gathering, or even through working in an environment interacting with other people could unknowingly spread the virus.  Monitoring for symptoms during this 14 day incubation period would be critical to prevent coming to campus with a mild case of the virus.  We understand that students live within families and cannot separate themselves completely, but we are asking for a heightened diligence in this time period.  We will not be requiring any formal documentation, but instead asking that you would be on the honor system with this request.

Updated August 2, 2020

Q: Is Wheaton planning on opening housing in the fall?

Yes, housing will be open in the fall unless the state situation worsens and we are compelled by the local authorities to do otherwise. We are implementing ways to reduce density across campus so that students are able to maintain required social distancing. Students who want to live and learn together on campus will need to agree to upholding the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment and safety protocols.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: When can students move in?

New students will move in according to the orientation schedule. Returning students can arrive Sunday, August 23 or Monday August 24th between noon and 5 p.m. Res Life will be sending information to students about how to sign up for a scheduled check-in time.

Updated July 30, 2020

Q: What should I bring or not bring to campus?

Along with packing a few CDC approved face masks and some hand sanitizer, check out our lean and light packing list for what to bring and our list of what not to bring on residence life’s FAQ page. We encourage students to begin the semester with the basics in case they do need to relocate quickly in response to COVID-19.

Updated May 27, 2020

Q: How is Wheaton planning for a Covid-safe move in?

Undergraduate students will sign up online for a check in time.  All new and returning students will report to a Fall 2020 Check-In Station at their designated check-in time. At the check-in station, a student will provide a copy of their negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than five days before arrival. Once confirmed, students will be given their ID card for access to campus dining,facilities, and classes. Specific move-in guidance, including how to sign up for your preferred check-in time, will be provided to students by August 1st. Students who do not check in during the approved check in times will not be allowed to move into campus housing until they provide their negative test results to Student Health Services.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: How is Wheaton planning for a COVID-Safe check-in for graduate students?

Graduate students attending class in person (includes traditional and flex students) will provide a copy of their negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than five* days before arrival (* we will accept a test taken 6 days before coming to campus if the lead time includes a Sunday when labs are often closed for processing).. Once confirmed, students will be given access to campus dining, facilities, and classes. Specific check-in guidance will be provided to students no later than August 1st or 30 days before their first day of in-person class. Students who do not check-in may not attend classes until they provide their negative test results to an authorized Wheaton College employee.

Updated August 2, 2020

Q:  I am having a hard time getting a COVID-19 test, and the results within five days. What should I do? 

A:  To protect our campus community, all students must present negative COVID-19 test results at check in taken no more than 5* days before returning to campus (* we will accept a test taken 6 days before coming to campus if the lead time includes a Sunday when labs are often closed for processing). Here are some options for you to consider: 

FINDING AND PAYING FOR A TEST: Visit this website to identify testing locations in your area. You should also check with your doctor, who may also be able to authorize and administer a test. We recommend that you hold onto your receipt, regardless of where you are tested, and submit it to Student Financial Services (sfs@wheaton.edu) to see if you qualify for reimbursement. 

HAVING A HARD TIME GETTING A TEST: In some areas, people are receiving COVID-19 tests if they are experiencing symptoms. This can make getting a test difficult. Wheaton College is working to partner with Let’s Get Tested, to provide self-administered tests that can be sent via UPS overnight to the address of your choice. On August 10th, we hope to be able to provide a way for our students to order a test to be shipped to their address of choice (in the contiguous United States) and then have the $115 fee billed to their student account. 

For those scheduled to arrive early, you have the option to go ahead and order a test using a credit card. Should you choose to do this, we recommend that you select the “Express Shipping” option to ensure that the process is completed before you arrive on campus. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you complete the pre-screening self-assessment, we have been advised that Wheaton College students who may have answered “None” to the “Are you experiencing any of these significant symptoms?” should respond to the following set of questions (“Are you experiencing any of these mild symptoms?”), with “Other” (versus “None”), if the other listed options do not apply. You should order the test as soon as possible and return it to the company no later than 5 business days before you are scheduled to arrive on campus. 

ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GET A TEST: Having a negative COVID-19 test result is required to participate in life on campus. Thus, we strongly encourage you to pursue one of the options above. All of our students will have the ability to join scheduled activities and classes, remotely. If you arrive on campus without the required test result, you will need to pursue a locally available test and stay in quarantine until you have a negative test result. Waiting for results could take 2-3 days. While you await the test result, you will be responsible for providing your own food. Quarantine lodging on campus is limited so please be aware that you may need to arrange your own off campus housing during that quarantine period. While in quarantine, you will have access to remote learning and other remote activities so that once you receive a negative test result, you can seamlessly join in-person classes and campus life.  

Updated August 2, 2020

Q: Can parents and friends help new and returning students move in?

To reduce campus exposure we regret to say that parents and others will not be able enter housing to assist with moving in. ThunderMovers will be available at the residence halls to help bring student belongings to the room. Those who are driving a student to campus are welcome to wear a mask when helping to unload their belongings from the vehicle.

Updated July 22, 2020

Q:  What should I do if I need a special housing accommodation in the fall due to health concerns around COVID-19?

Though we desire every student to attend on campus in the fall, we strongly advise that students who are medically at-risk consider not coming to campus due to the potential exposure to the virus through asymptomatic individuals, but instead to continue learning remotely.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: What if my roommate does not return for the fall semester?

A roommate choosing not to return is a common occurrence. We acknowledge that it can be disappointing to experience an unexpected roommate opening before the year begins. Our first priority is to make sure every student has a room assignment. Therefore, the housing department may need to assign a returning student or a transfer student in an open bed. The housing office will make every effort to communicate soon after a roommate leaves as well as the name of the new roommate. We appreciate your patience as we work through these issues in the coming weeks.

Updated May 27, 2020

Q: What will the cleaning protocols be across campus?

The College has increased disinfection protocols and frequencies for washrooms, public spaces, and classrooms with an emphasis on high-touch surfaces, using an EPA-registered disinfectant, approved for use against SARS-CoV-2. This product will not only be used by the custodial team, but also made available for use by our campus community in offices, classrooms, and dining facilities. It was selected based on its efficacy and safety. Additionally, the College expects to implement electrostatic sprayers with a similarly safe and effective EPA-registered disinfectant, which will assist in disinfecting large spaces quickly. Because of the electrostatic application, the disinfectant will not linger in the air to be breathed in by those nearby.

Students will also see increased health and safety signage along with hand sanitizer stations and transaction windows where appropriate. Community bathrooms in the residence halls and in campus buildings will be cleaned multiple times a day according to the Illinois health and safety expectations. Students living in Fischer hall, campus apartments, or campus houses will be encouraged to clean their bathrooms regularly. All students will be asked to assist with frequent cleaning across campus in communal spaces (e.g. desks, dining, etc.) before and after use,  by using the cleaning supplies that will be made available.

Updated July 22, 2020

Q: What steps are being taken to protect me in my campus housing? 

A: We foresee students who share a living space (roommates, suitemates, housemates, apartment mates) to act with and care for each other as extended family. To protect our students, access to housing will only be available to current residents. Students living in campus housing can have one current Wheaton College student visit, as long as they maintain social distance and wear face coverings, and are in good standing with the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: How will dining services and access to meals be adjusted to care for our community?

In order to provide COVID-safe dining, we will serve our students according to the State of Illinois’ mandated safety guidelines. Bon Appetit will continue to provide their usual high-quality food, including meals for those with dietary concerns, however many changes to our service are required to feed students in a COVID-safe manner. Students will be assigned meal times at the lunch hour (to ensure those with lunch-time classes have opportunity to eat), and potentially breakfast and dinner as well.  The State-mandated six-foot social distancing requirement means lines will be long, and therefore we will use hallways and tents, with six-foot markings on the floors, to queue students safely. We will extend our meal periods to three hours, offer “to-go” items during the breakfast meal period for students to take for lunch, and provide additional “Grab and Go” options at lunchtime.  We will also provide dinner on Sundays. Food options will be much more limited than usual, and will be served in disposable “to-go” containers.  Students must wear masks at all times while in line and receiving their food, and as they move to the seating areas. Seating will be distributed throughout upper and lower Beamer. However, the number of seats will be limited and some students will have to eat their meals elsewhere on campus during each meal period. Tables will have plexiglass dividers, providing each student with their own safe eating space.  Students will have to clean their eating space using provided supplies before they sit down to eat.  After eating, students must put on their mask back on and observe social distancing as they deposit their used food containers in provided trash cans and exit Beamer. Finally, Sam’s will offer limited menu options and will not accept cash payment; the Stupe will be closed. With full cooperation from our students, we believe this plan will provide safe and effective dining in the Fall.

Updated July 22, 2020

Q: How will my housing be affected if I come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or if I test positive?

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. 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.  Classes will continue remotely during this time, and we will deliver pre-packaged meals to a central point in student housing if the student lives on campus. Their meal plan or student account (if not on a meal plan), will be charged for the delivered meals.  If the student is sharing a bathroom on campus, they will need to follow specific protocols for cleaning between use.  Students may elect to quarantine at home but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for this 14 days, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and testing at home if symptoms develop.  Upon return, students must report to SHS for clearance to return to campus. Permission forms will be provided at a later date.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: How will isolated and quarantined students eat?

Students in quarantine and isolation will have packaged meals delivered to their building that will be charged to their meal plan or student account (if not on a meal plan). They will need to wear a mask to walk to the pick up location or have a friend in the building bring it to their bedroom door.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: Can I remain in campus housing after Thanksgiving break until the end of the semester?

Campus will be closed following Thanksgiving break as our classes transition to remote learning, which means there will be no in-person classes or access to the dining hall. To care for our community and prevent any possible holiday outbreaks we are encouraging everyone to return home to finish the semester before returning in 2021. However, Wheaton will continue to provide availability of housing and meals for students supported by the International Student Programs office as well as varsity student athletes, as needed. We will also work to accommodate students with educational continuity needs such as engineering students, nursing students, and student teachers. All other individual requests to stay on campus beyond Thanksgiving break must receive approval through the Student Development Office.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: Can people visit me from off-campus?

To prevent the spread of infection, we will not allow off-campus visitors to enter campus buildings. Students living in campus housing can have one current Wheaton College student who is adhering to the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment, visit at a time, as long as you maintain social distance and wear face coverings.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: What is Wheaton College planning to do for spring semester?

As the pandemic is continuing to expand across the country, we anticipate that the spring semester may need to operate in a similar fashion, with the spring academic calendar details to be announced at a later date.

Updated July 20, 2020

Q: Will the College issue refunds if campus closes due to COVID-19?

If the College decides or is required to halt in-person classes and activities due to COVID-19, we plan to have students  “shelter in place” in their College residence, continue to attend classes online, and obtain food from the dining hall.  In this situation, students may also choose leave campus housing, drop their meal plans, and return home.  Students who do elect to return home in the event of a mid-semester, College-wide shift to remote learning will receive a prorated refund of room and board charges for any unused full weeks remaining in the semester.

Updated July 27, 2020

Q: When does Bon Appétit begin serving students who are on meal plans?

Students on meal plans may eat their first meal at breakfast on Monday, August 24.  Students arriving early for Orientation and other programs should check with their program contact to determine if meals are available prior to August 24.  Meal plans end after dinner on Friday, November 20.

Updated July 28, 2020 

Q: Will my student be able to obtain enough food at the dining hall since meals are served “To Go?”

Bon Appétit will provide ample quantities of food to our students. They will serve hot items in large “To-Go” containers, measuring 9” x 9” x 3”; these containers are larger than our regular plates. At the point of service, students may request the amount of food they desire and Bon Appétit will serve it. In addition, Bon Appétit will provide students with pre-packaged salads, fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, and desserts in separate containers. Finally, they will offer snack food items for purchase at SAM’s; these items are not part of the meal plan, and are available via “non-cash” purchase only.

Updated July 28, 2020 

Q: Will my student who has dietary restrictions be able to eat at Bon Appetit?

Yes, Bon Appétit will continue to provide meal options to students with dietary restrictions, at the “At Your Service” station in Anderson Commons. Students with more complex dietary restrictions are encouraged to email Chef Roger at Bon Appétit, and he will work with them to develop solutions to meet their dietary needs. His email address is: roger.herring@cafebonappetit.com.

Updated July 28, 2020 

Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.


FAQs

Section updated July 10, 2020

Q: Will students arriving in the U.S. from international locations be required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to participating in orientation/on-campus activities?

A: CDC guidance currently advises that travelers arriving in the U.S. from international locations must self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days. Until the CDC guidelines change, students should plan their travel and arrival to the U.S. accordingly. Students may self-quarantine in off-campus housing, with family/friends, or request campus housing for this purpose. 

Q: What housing and dining resources will the College offer students who need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the U.S.? 

A: Students who plan to live in campus housing for the fall semester and are arriving from an international location, may request early move-in to campus housing to complete the 14 days of self-quarantine. Students may also choose to self-quarantine in off-campus housing or with friends/family. On June 26th, international students have received the form to request campus quarantine housing, if needed on June 26th.  

Students planning to participate in New Student Orientation should arrive by August 5th if needing to self-quarantine. Student leaders arriving early for training should arrive by July 28th. Returning students should arrive by August 12th to complete self-quarantine prior to the first day of classes. 

Students will have the option to request meals delivered to them, at a cost, while in self-quarantine (recommended for new students). The cost of meals for 14 days will be approximately $450. While completing the quarantine housing application form, students may opt-out of the meal delivery service if they prefer to coordinate their meals on their own. More information will be available in the June 26th email. 

Q: I already bought my ticket and now am learning that I have to self-quarantine. Should I change my ticket to arrive earlier?

A: Each student and family will need to decide what is best in this situation. Until the CDC guidelines change, students arriving from international locations must complete the 14 days of self-quarantine prior to participating in-person for campus activities and classes. If you cannot arrive 14 days early, you can still begin the fall semester during your self-quarantine period in the U.S. by participating virtually in orientation programs and classes.

Q: What housing and dining resources will be available if Wheaton College has to change mid-semester to fully online classes due to a second wave of Covid-19?

A: Wheaton College remains committed to its international students and understands the unique needs in this situation. Similar to March 2020, international students will have authorization to remain in campus housing until the end of the fall semester. The College will also aim to continue providing food via student meal plans until these end on November 20th. Undergraduate international students who need housing during Christmas break (December 18th, 2020 to January 9th, 2021) will be able to request to stay on campus if they cannot return home. Between November 20th and January 9th, students staying on campus will be responsible for the cost and preparation of their meals. 

Q: How safe is it for me to return to the U.S.? My family is concerned about how the U.S. is responding to Covid-19 and news outlets in my country have shown videos of violent protests in Chicago and other major cities. 

A: Your concerns about safety are understandable. Students and families can monitor the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Restore Illinois websites to learn how our national and local governments are responding to Covid-19 and to view the guidelines Wheaton College is using to plan for the fall semester. 

We also understand the concern about the protests in the U.S. related to a nation-wide call for justice and equal treatment for all people in the country. While there has been violence related to the protests, it is important to note that the majority of national protests, and all the protests in the Wheaton area, have been peaceful, respectful, and prayerful. Wheaton College remains committed to the safety of students studying and living as part of our community.

Q: If I stay outside of the U.S. for the fall semester, will I need to participate in classes synchronously (CST timezone) or will there be an option to participate asynchronously (my timezone)?

A: Wheaton College faculty will work with students to provide quality, remote learning experiences. As noted in President Ryken’s June 5th email, students who plan to enroll remotely will be required to have a video consultation with an academic advisor to review the student needs and assess if the student can be successful in their expected course schedule. Please report your plans to study remotely using the short fall student survey to request a video consultation and learn more. 

Q: How will the College ensure that F-1 visa students can participate in the adapted in-person fall semester in compliance with the government regulations that limit online/remote learning for visa students in the US?

A: Similar to the spring and summer semesters, Wheaton College will use SEVP guidelines to ensure visa students who return to campus for the fall 2020 semester are enrolled in a program of study compliant with all regulations. The campus DSO team will work with the Academic leadership team if SEVP issues new guidelines and notify students accordingly. 

Additional answers specific to F-1 visa students are found on the F-1 Visa Covid-19 FAQs Fall 2020 website. The DSO team will also regularly send updates to F-1 visa students via their college email. 

Q: Regarding the latest announcement from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), how will Wheaton College assist international students to remian in status?

Based on the latest ICE annoucement on July 7th, international students must be enrolled in at least one in-person class in order to remain F1 status in the U.S. Wheaton College will regsiter as having a hybrid delivery model this fall. 

We will be sending updated I-20s to new and continuing students with comments stating Wheaton's hybrid delivery model this fall. 

We also ask all current international grad students to fill out this survey to inform us their updated fall plans and this will help us prioritize I-20s for this fall. For new grad international students, please fill out this survey

Q: Will my deposit be refundable?

For the regular $8,000 deposits for international M.A. and Psy.D. students, we offer refunds for canceled enrollment due to circumstances beyond your control.

Q: Due to financial constraints, I need more time to decide about my decision to confirm my enrollment. When is the deadline to confirm? 

The normal deadline to confirm is 30 days from your notification of admission. However, we understand that there be challenges to meet this deadline in light of these unprecedented times. Please contact your admissions counselor to let us know if you need an extension.

Q: When can I visit campus in person?

In accordance with federal and state guidance, campus visits are postponed until further notice. Please check our visits page often for the latest updates and to explore several online options for visiting with Admissions Counselors and Academic Departments. 

Plan your online visit >

Q: Should I have a change in plans in light of COVID-19, will my confirmation deposit of $100 be refundable?

Your $100 deposit is applied toward tuition at the time of enrollment. Tuition deposits are refundable for for those who have to cancel enrollment due to circumstances outside of their control.

Q: Will housing be available either on-campus or off-campus?

Most of our graduate students who move to Wheaton live in off-campus housing. We do not foresee that changing. Learn about housing at the link below.

Explore housing >

Q: How will I be able to search in the summer for off-campus housing? 

We recently announced a new off-campus housing platform powered by College Pads. College Pads is a third-party provider that offers you tools to compare off-campus housing options and rooms for rent near Wheaton College. The platform includes filter features to help narrow your search by price, number of bedrooms, amenities, etc. There are also options for finding roommates. More information about off-campus housing can be found by visiting the Moving to Wheaton page.

Q: I'm in a country that is currently on the list of U.S. travel-ban countries. How can I get to the U.S.? 

We are hopeful that travel bans may be lifted before your program start date. Tuition deposit refunds will be made available for circumstances beyond your control.