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COVID-19 Information for New and Returning Graduate Students

Frequently Asked Questions for New and Returning Graduate Students

New, prospective, and returning graduate students around the world are facing unique challenges and questions due to COVID-19. Please email covid19@wheaton.edu if you cannot find an answer to your question here. Your question will be directed to the appropriate department for response.

General Information


[UG & GR] Q: What will in-person classes look like 2020-2021?

Wheaton College continues to offer its distinctive Christ-centered liberal arts undergraduate and graduate classes for fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, and coursework continues with the Wheaton tradition of rigorous instruction, regardless of the delivery method. Wheaton faculty members have designed their courses for an adaptive in-person academic year with live instruction. The spring 2021 semester will begin on January 19 with remote instruction and a transition to in-person learning on February 8.

Our goal is to provide a COVID-safe campus environment, which includes social distancing and safe in-person gatherings in classroom spaces. Faculty and students wear masks while in the classroom and are spaced six feet apart. Given the need to reduce the number of students in each classroom, some courses require students to alternate between attending in-person and participating via on-line streaming.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What is the adapted calendar for the spring 2021 semester?

We have modified the academic calendar for spring 2021 to maximize in-person and face-to-face instruction while providing a COVID-safe environment. Spring classes will begin remotely on January 19 and transition to in-person learning on February 8. In order to minimize external exposure and maintain the Wheaton Bubble, we will not be able to hold our traditional Spring Break. In lieu of Spring Break, there will be days of no classes scattered throughout the semester.

  • T, 1/19: First Day of Remote Classes
  • M, 2/8: First Day of In-Person Classes
  • M, 2/15: President’s Day – Classes in Session
  • T, 2/23: No Classes
  • W, 3/10: No Classes
  • F, 3/12: A Quad Ends
  • M-F, 3/29-4/2: Quiet Week (Classes in session with no campus events, no large projects or exams due)
  • F, Apr. 2: Good Friday – No Classes
  • Th, Apr. 15: No Classes
  • F, Apr. 30: Last Day of Classes
  • M, May 3: Reading Day
  • T-Th, May 4-6: Finals

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] 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: September 24, 2020

[UG & GR] 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 members are preparing their 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: November 9, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: How will students attend class in the event of illness or need to quarantine?

All Wheaton faculty are prepared to teach their courses in person and through remote instruction (via on-line streaming). Students have access to their course content even if they are sick or spending time in quarantine. We continue to respond with flexibility and safe practices to promote our community’s health as well as our students’ academic and personal well-being. IT is important 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: January 8, 2021

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

Our faculty have planned for safe and adapted science labs, music instruction, theater, and studio art. The College has adapted experiential and active learning for the campus’ COVID-19 safety standards while remaining focused on academic excellence and meeting learning outcomes.

Updated: November 9, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: May special students register for and attend classes for the Spring 2021 semester?

Special students and employee spouses who are taking a class through the employee benefit program will attend class remotely as part of our Wheaton “bubble” COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong practices. In the event that a special student would be the only remote student in a class, the College reserves the right to cancel the student's registration to preserve the in-person experience for degree-seeking students and prevent alternating attendance. Wheaton College staff and faculty taking a class may attend in person.

Updated: January 15, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: May I register to audit a course for the Spring 2021 semester?

Beginning Spring 2021, degree required audits will be registered such as Graduate School degree-seeking students who are academically required to audit a course as part of their transfer credit agreement. All other audit requests cannot be granted at this time.

Updated: January 15, 2021

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

For the safety of our community and our neighbors, we have asked students to stay on campus and limit off-campus activities. We have prioritized identifying 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 partner with students to identify alternatives. Students who desire to request permission to engage in an essential off campus requirement should first read these brief instructions and then complete a short application.  Students with permission to participate in an essential off campus academically related program and who also live in campus housing will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will I be able to study abroad?

As the pandemic continues across the globe, we will continue to monitor CDC guidance and provide at least 30 days notice to students about any travel or programmatic changes.

Updated: Updated September 24, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Will Buswell Library be open and accessible to students?

Visit the Buswell Library COVID-19 update page for more information and updates about library hours, including important updates about modified hours and access. 

Updated: April 12, 2021

[UG & GR] 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? 

Banner will be updated to reflect whether a course will be fully remote or in-person. For classes with alternating attendance due to COVID-capacities, please check your course syllabus and any attendance instructions from your professor.

Updated: November 9, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

[UG & GR] 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: November 16, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What are the public health protocols for students?

A: Each student must comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols (known as the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment). To help students understand the safety changes and challenges we will be facing this term, students will be required to complete a new training module in Schoology before returning to campus. At the conclusion of the module, they will be asked to sign a new COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment. Our ability to contain the spread of COVID-19 so that we can continue to offer our on-campus living and learning experience is dependent on all students, faculty, and staff working together to closely adhere to the Wheaton College COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong policies, that are informed by State of Illinois COVID-19 safety recommendations. Masking (by covering the nose and mouth completely) at all times, unless you are in your room, or at a safely designed appropriate dining table; and maintaining six feet of social distance from others will not be optional.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will entry testing be required for the spring semester?

Instead of requiring students to bring a negative entry test as we did in the fall, we will be testing all undergraduate and traditional graduate students upon arrival on campus.  Students should report to either the testing station in the King Arena lobby if arriving early (use this Bookings link to make an appointment) or to the Eckert gym (south end) in the Chrouser Recreation Center on move-in weekend at their selected check-in time to complete the entry test prior to going to their residence to quarantine until results return within 24 hours.  Meals will be “grab and go” back to their own residence during this waiting period.  Students will be notified of entry test results by email.  IMPORTANT:  No eating, drinking, chewing gum, brushing teeth or anything in the mouth ONE hour prior to arriving for the entry test to ensure a good saliva specimen and ability to get out of quarantine as soon as possible.  

***Please note that this new process does NOT apply to Flex graduate students. Flex graduate students will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test—taken no more than three days prior to arriving on campus to attend your in-person class.

Updated: January 10, 2021

Q:  What if I am scheduled to arrive on campus before my Bookings appointment for my entry test?

You may bring your belongings to your residence on campus and remain quarantined until your entry testing time.  After testing, you will return to your living space and continue to quarantine while awaiting test results.  You may leave your residence only to pick up grab and go meals from Bon Appetit, and eat meals in your residence until test results are known.  These results will usually return within 24 hours and you will be notified of this result, positive or negative, in your Wheaton email.

Updated: January 26, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What method will be used for the entry testing and ongoing testing for the spring semester?

We are working with a Chicagoland company called Safeguard, used by many of our surrounding school districts, that allows for an at-home saliva collection option for COVID-19 surveillance testing for all students. This method does not provide any personally identifiable information to the testing company. Student saliva samples are identified by number only. 

Upon arrival to campus, you will report to your check-in location in the King Arena lobby or Eckert gym (south end) in the Chrouser Recreation Center.  You will be given an envelope containing vials for the first few weeks of the semester. The first test will be completed and turned in as the entry test. Subsequent tests will need to be taken on the student’s assigned day (see next question) and dropped into the brown drop boxes located around campus by noon of that day.  As you may not eat or drink for ONE hour prior to testing, we recommend taking this test upon awakening. Results should be available within 24 hours. We will be notifying all students of their results by email upon entry so they will know that they may leave quarantine. Students who do not comply with the weekly testing protocol will be subject to consequences, up to and including being removed from on-campus learning. 

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & G] Q: What is the schedule for weekly testing?

The schedule is organized by where you live. 

  • Mondays- Fischer
  • Tuesdays- Smith Traber
  • Wednesdays- MacEvans, Williston, Off-Campus
  • Thursdays- Saint Elliot, Terrace
  • Friday- College Ave, Houses, Michigan, Crescent

* ROTC will test Mondays and Thursdays

*Athletes: if not testing in King Arena lobby that week, follow testing by living location

*FacultyStaff and Graduate students who opt-in: drop off weekly as convenient

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & G] Q: Where are the dropbox locations to deposit weekly tests on campus?

Safeguard drop off locker locations include: Anderson entrance (Beamer Center top-level); Armerding; Billy Graham Hall (BGH); Chrouser Sports Center King Arena Lobby (Testing Site); CPO (Lower Beamer); Fischer Lobby; MacEvans Lobby; Student Health Services (SHS) inside North Harrison Hall; Smith Traber Lobby; Williston Lobby

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What if I am unable to test weekly on my assigned day?

This weekly testing is a requirement for all undergraduate students. Grad students and faculty/student-facing staff may opt-in to this weekly testing. If the assigned day does not work to turn in your test based on your schedule, you may request a different week day for testing (coming soon). Students who do not comply with the weekly testing protocol will be subject to consequences, up to and including being removed from on-campus learning.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Why did I need to activate a SHIELD Illinois account?

We have also partnered with SHIELD Illinois to collect and process all our NCAA required testing for athletes, as well as for any symptomatic and contact tracing testing through Student Health Services. You should have received an email from SHIELD Illinois on December 29th with a unique activation code and instructions for setting up your SHIELD Illinois account.  Please activate this account as soon as possible as the code will expire in 30 days, and we anticipate using this method at some point with most of our students.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q:  What should I do if I need a new activation code or having trouble activating my account for SHIELD Illinois?

If you are having issues signing into the portal or creating an account you can call Shield IL Help at 217-265-6059.  This is a 24/7 service. They will not release results, but they can assist with access and supply reactivation codes/unlock accounts for students.If you are in an international location, you will not be able to access the Shield website and can wait to create your account until you are back in the US.

Updated: January 13, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: How do I make an appointment for a SHIELD Illinois test?  

Please do not try to make an appointment in the SHIELD Illinois system as the available hours are NOT aligned with Wheaton College’s hours of operation. Use this Bookings link to schedule an appointment at the testing site in the King Arena lobby. This site is only used for “surveillance” and entry testing during the month of January. Call Student Health Services for an appointment at 630-752-5072 if you are needing testing due to COVID-19 symptoms.

Updated: January 10, 2021

[UG & GR] Q:  Why is there a cost to each undergraduate and traditional graduate student for spring semester COVID testing?

The COVID testing fee will cover:

1) Required COVID-19 testing upon arrival to campus;

2) Ongoing College required  COVID-19 “surveillance” tests

3) Testing required due to symptoms or contact tracing.

The value of the program is the protection it affords every student with the improved monitoring, streamlined results, and improved communication that come from offering COVID-19 tests on campus. Our goal is to have another term with low levels of coronavirus on campus.  

Students experiencing financial hardship due to the added COVID testing expense will be receiving notification from Student Financial Services about a means to apply for funds that will cover this charge.  Students should be watching their email for this coming announcement.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q:  Where can I test if I am required to submit a test at my own expense due to travel out of state or as a grad Flex student?

For the spring semester, we will be able to offer testing at a price point of $65 per test for students who need testing outside of the College’s pre-paid COVID-19 testing program. This test can be purchased at the COVID-19 Testing Service Center located in King Arena lobby, or a Student Health Services, and will be billed directly to a student account. 

Local pharmacies and drug stores offer testing. Free tests may be available at public testing sites. For locations visit the website for the Federal Department Health and Human Services to identify additional testing locations close to campus.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: How will you know whether or not a student is cleared to participate in classes and campus life in person? 

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: 

  • Light Blue= cleared to attend class and participate in campus life (new spring semester color)
  • Yellow = in a 10 day (or 7 day with a negative test at Day 5) 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 

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

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & G] 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 masks within all campus buildings (except in bedrooms or at safely designed dining in Anderson commons), and outdoors when moving, and outdoors when stationary and 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 (in accordance with the State of Illinois guidance); and requiring weekly testing of all undergraduate students.  Faculty who are teaching on campus, staff who work extensively face-to-face with students and traditional graduate students will be able to opt-in to weekly testing.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What do I need to do to travel outside of the state of Illinois?   

A:  Students living in campus-owned housing or in off-campus non-College owned housing and commuting must request permission from the  Off-Campus Approvals Committee. Please read these brief instructions before completing this form. All students traveling out of state will be required to complete a 10 day quarantine at their permanent address – not in College-owned housing or off-campus non-College owned housing before traveling COVID-safely back to campus. In addition, they must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken on Day 5 during their quarantine to covid.test@wheaton.edu to return to campus. If a student living in College-owned housing leaves campus to travel out of state, no reimbursement for room and board will be provided during the quarantine period.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] 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 the antibodies will remain protective for each individual.  

We will accept a positive COVID test result, instead of evidence of COVID IgG, as a means not to repeat a COVID test or quarantine after being named as a close contact for 90 days as the CDC has published that COVID protection will persist for this length of time.  If evidence of longer protection after infection is found, we will adjust this time period accordingly.

Updated: November 16, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Do I have to wear a face covering on campus?

You must wear CDC approved face coverings in ALL campus buildings (including but not limited to offices, academic buildings, classrooms) at all times and outside on campus when moving. The masking requirement is in effect unless you are in a room completely alone, in your bedroom, eating a meal, or stationary 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. Remember, “You Move, You Mask.  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: November 10, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What are the public health expectations all campus members are expected to follow throughout the semester?

Best practice measures to prevent the spread of infection include daily self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, being tested if symptomatic, being isolated for a minimum of 10 days if tested positive, quarantining for a minimum of 10 days (or 7 days with a negative Day 5 test)  if identified as a close contact with a positive case, wearing a face covering, social distancing, washing hands frequently, and avoid touching one’s eyes and nose with unwashed hands.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19 during the semester?

 

We have arranged separate isolation housing for students should they test positive for the virus. When students isolate on campus for 10 days, they will receive assistance to move; meals will be delivered; Student Health Services will provide medical support; students can engage with courses online after professors are notified by Student. Course excuses will be communicated by Student Care Services to faculty members for students who are too ill to engage with coursework.  

Students may elect to self-isolate at home if they live within a reasonable driving radius, but will need to ask for permission to go off campus for a minimum of ten days from the date symptoms began.  If asymptomatic, isolation will be 10 days from the collection of the positive test result.  Students may return to campus on the date communicated to them by Student Health Services and will need to obtain a new light blue wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life. 

Updated: January 13, 2021

[UG & GR] 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 an isolation house or East Campus for their isolation period of a minimum of 10 days after cutting off their light blue 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 10 days (or 7 days with a negative test result on Day 5) after their last contact with the positive case, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting to SHS for testing if symptoms develop; they will cut off their light blue wristband, turn it into a Residence Life staff member in exchange for a yellow wristband.  Students’ professors will be notified by Health Services that they are approved to learn 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 if they live within a reasonable driving radius, but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for this 10 days (or 7 days with a negative Day 5 test), while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing a test at home as soon as symptoms develop OR at day 5 (7 day quarantine) or day 7 (10 day quarantine) 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 light blue wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life in exchange for their yellow wristband.

Updated: January 13, 2021

[UG & GR] 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 COVID-Safe, Thunder Strong commitments?

We recognize that returning to campus during the pandemic will require a shared commitment to caring for those with whom we are living in community by following the shared commitments 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 student 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 support and resource request 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: December 1, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What if I am not comfortable wearing a face covering? 

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: November 16, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Is Student Health Services (SHS) available to care for my medical needs that are not COVID-19 related?

SHS is 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 offers Telehealth appointments as an alternative to an in-person appointment. There is a designated area of the clinic with a separate entrance to care for patients with potential or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Updated: November 16, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after hours or on the weekends when Student Health Services is closed?

If you or a friend have had difficulty breathing, an inability to walk or talk, or have 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.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] 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: December 1, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Many families have state-based health insurance plans that do not offer coverage for non-emergency care in Illinois.  Does Wheaton have access to a gateway for those students to purchase a health insurance plan with more robust coverage in Illinois?

Wheaton College is unable to offer a health insurance plan for students due to Illinois laws that require health insurance plans to offer what the College believes to be abortifacient products.  While the College offers an accident and illness policy to international students which is not under the same requirements, this plan is not available to domestic students. But we do highly recommend that all students would secure insurance while 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. Under the CARES Act, most COVID related care is free to patients. 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 administered by SHS will be free for symptomatic patients. If medications and other tests are required, standard fees will apply for these additional services.

Updated: December 1, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: When can students move into on-campus housing?

Students can sign up for a move-in time on Saturday, February 6th or Sunday February 7th between 9am to 7pm. When arriving on campus, students must go directly to Chrouser Sports Complex to take their COVID test. Once complete students will move into their housing location and quarantine until they receive email confirmation their test was negative. If they arrive outside of these hours, students are required to quarantine until they have been tested and the results have been received.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: How will room and board billing work for the semester, with the delayed in-person start in February?

All students living on campus will be billed the full semester housing rate, along with the meal plan the student selected. Students arriving on campus February 6th and 7th for in-person learning will receive a prorated credit on their student account for the three weeks they were not living or eating on campus.  Block plans will be adjusted to reflect the short semester, and the addition of Sunday dinner.  Students who began dining on 1/17 will not receive a housing or dining credit; however, their block plans are adjusted to reflect the addition of Sunday dinner.

Updated: January 19, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will there be assigned meal times for the spring semester?

No, based on last semester traffic patterns students have the freedom arrive at their convenience during the meal hours.

Updated: January 19, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will we still have Plexiglass in the dining hall this Spring?

To improve the dining experience, Plexiglass has been removed from the main level; roommates may sit together in the North and South Party Rooms; all other seating upstairs is socially distanced. Please follow directions on signage regarding these spaces, and do not move tables. Dining is limited to 30 minutes.

Updated: January 19, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will students need to bring a negative COVID test to check in for the spring semester?

Instead of requiring students to bring a negative entry test as we did in the fall, we will be testing all undergraduate and graduate students upon arrival on campus.  Students should report to either the testing station in the King Arena lobby if arriving early or to the Chrouser Recreation Center on move-in weekend at their selected check-in time to complete the entry test prior to going to their residence to quarantine until results return within 24 hours.  Meals will be “grab and go” back to their own residence during this waiting period. The spring meal plan begins with dinner on February 6th.  Students will be notified of entry test results by email.  IMPORTANT:  No eating, drinking, chewing gum, brushing teeth or anything in the mouth ONE hour prior to arriving for the entry test to ensure a good specimen and ability to get out of quarantine as soon as possible.  ***Please note that this new process does NOT apply to Flex graduate students. Flex graduate students will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test—taken no more than three days prior to arriving on campus to attend your in-person class.

Updated: January 19, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: How does Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order impact me if I am traveling from one of the restricted states?

Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order does not currently apply to Wheaton. Instead, Wheaton College is adhering to the CDC travel guidance that requires a 10 day quarantine. Wheaton College is allowing the quarantine period to be completed before coming to campus.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What does self-quarantine at home mean in terms of what I am allowed to do during these 10 days?

A: 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 while being aware of any 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 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 10 day incubation period would be critical to prevent coming to campus with a mild case of the virus.  We understand that students live with families or housemates 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: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] 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 on residence life’s FAQ page. We are encouraging students to begin the semester with the basics in case they do need to relocate quickly in response to COVID-19.

Updated September 24, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: In spring can parents and friends help new and returning students move in at the start of the semester?

Thunder Movers will be available to help new and transfer students move in on February 6th. To reduce campus exposure we regret to say that parents and others will not be able enter housing to assist with moving students in. Those who are driving a student to campus are welcome to wear a mask when helping to unload their belongings from the vehicle.

Updated: January 11, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What should I do if I need a special housing accommodation due to health concerns around COVID-19?

A: Though we desire every student to attend on campus, we strongly advise that students who are medically at-risk consider not coming to campus and learn remotely rather than request a housing accommodation to learn on campus due to the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus through asymptomatic individuals.

Updated November 6, 2020

[UG and GR] Q: What are the cleaning protocols 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 is being used by the custodial team, and also is 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 is implementing 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.

Increased health and safety signage has been added across campus along with hand sanitizer stations and transaction windows where appropriate. Community bathrooms in the residence halls and in campus buildings are cleaned multiple times a day, seven days a week, according to the Illinois health and safety expectations. Students living in Fischer hall, campus apartments, or campus houses are 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 are available.

Updated September 9, 2020

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

We expect 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.

Updated November 6, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: How are dining services and access to meals adjusted to care for the College community?

In order to provide COVID-safe dining, we are serving our students according to the State of Illinois’ mandated safety guidelines.  Bon Appetit is continuing to provide their usual high-quality food, including meals for those with dietary concerns, however many changes to our service were required to feed students in a COVID-safe manner.  The State-mandated six-foot social distancing requirement means lines are long, and therefore we are using hallways, with six-foot markings on the floors, to queue students safely.  We extended 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 also provide dinner on Sundays.  Food options are much more limited than usual, and are 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.  Plexiglass dividers have been installed in dining locations to provide a more safe eating environment for students. Beginning in February, we will designate several tables in Anderson Commons as “Reserved for Roommates/Household Members Only,” and remove the plexiglass dividers from these tables where students can sit together closely. We also plan to remove plexiglass from additional tables that are set up to be socially distanced. Plexiglass will remain in the tables located in lower Beamer.  Dining will be limited to 30 minutes. In the event COVID infections on campus increase, the plexiglass dividers will need to be reinstated.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 is offering limited menu options and does not accept cash payment; the Stupe is closed.  For more detailed information, please click here.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: What will happen to me if I come into close contact with my roommate or someone else who tests 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 a campus house or to temporary housing in East Campus for their isolation period of 10 days, after cutting off their light blue 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 10 days (or 7 days with a negative result at Day 5) after their last contact with the positive case, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting to SHS for testing if symptoms develop; they will cut off their light blue wristband, turn it into a Residence Life staff member in exchange for a yellow wristband.  Students’ professors will be notified by Student Health Services that they are approved to learn 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 if they live within a two hour driving radius, but will need to apply for permission to go off campus for this 10 days (or 7 days with a negative result at Day 5), while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing a test at home as soon as symptoms develop or at day 5 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 light blue wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life in exchange for their yellow wristband.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] 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. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are not on a meal plan will be charged $15 a day to have three meals delivered. They will need to wear a mask to walk to the pickup location or have a friend in the building bring it to their bedroom door.

Updated August 5, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What else can I expect in on-campus isolation? 

We have two campus homes we use for isolation. Our East Campus isolation facility has large open community spaces and we provide each student with a bed, dresser, desk, and chair for each student. Students 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. Students in isolation will not be allowed to leave the immediate property. Shared bathrooms are available and are divided by gender. Meals will be delivered and medical staff available as needed.

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Can family members and other non-Wheaton College people visit me from off-campus?

To prevent the spread of infection, we will not allow off-campus visitors for students to be on campus and/or 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. This means that in an apartment with two residents, each resident can have one visitor for a total of two. Apartments with four roommates can have an additional four guests.

Students may socialize with non-Wheaton College people in local socially distant outdoor nature options off campus (e.g., forest preserves, local biking/walking trails, local parks, walking in the neighborhood).  

Updated: January 7, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Can students go to a local friend/ family member/faculty/staff person’s home to visit? 

In support of the State of Illinois COVID safety recommendations, Wheaton College will continue to maintain the Wheaton Bubble. Students are encouraged to find COVID-Safe ways to visit local friends and family outdoors while wearing a mask and social distancing (e.g., forest preserves, local biking/walking trails, local parks, back yards, or walking in the neighborhood). The College will closely monitor COVID spread and applicable state issued guidance and will make adjustments as we are able to do so safely.

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will the College issue room and board 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 to 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 August 11, 2020 

[UG] Q: Will I be able to obtain enough food at the dining hall since meals are served “To Go?”

Bon Appétit provides ample quantities of food to our students. They 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 serves it. In addition, Bon Appétit is providing students with pre-packaged salads, fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, and desserts in separate containers. Finally, they 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 September 8, 2020 

[UG & GR] Q: How is Bon Appetit accommodating students with dietary restrictions?

Bon Appétit provides 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 September 8, 2020 

[UG & GR] Q: What are Wheaton College and Bon Appetit doing to support sustainability during the pandemic, while using so many disposable containers? 

Bon Appetit’s mission includes a strong commitment to environmentally responsible practices, and the company has demonstrated this commitment with its track record. Wheaton College is equally committed to environmental sustainability, which is one of the many reasons the College partners with Bon Appetit.  During the pandemic we are working with strict mandates and restrictions for food service placed on us by local, state, and federal governments so that we can provide food to our students as safely as possible. The majority of the containers used are Earth Plus Brand three compartment mineral filled polypropylene, which contain 50% less plastic than containers of a similar size.  These containers include post-consumer recycled materials, further reducing plastic usage. A combination of  bio-degradable and non-biodegradable containers are also being used as well as some containers that are not recyclable as a result of needing to meet multiple requirements in support of our students.  Please know that, after many months of planning, we determined this to be the safest and most effective way to deliver our food given the COVID-19 guidelines.

Updated September 8, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: Where do I access the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment?

We have updated the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment for Spring 2021. To help students understand the safety changes and challenges we will be facing this term, students will be required to complete a new training module in Schoology before returning to campus. At the conclusion of the module they will be asked to sign a new COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment.

View the updated commitments:

 

Updated: January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

[UG & GR] Q: What housing and dining resources will be available to students in the spring semester if Wheaton College has to change back to remote classes, after the start of in person instruction, due to Covid-19?

Wheaton College remains committed to its international students and understands the unique needs in this situation. If this scenario were to occur, students supported by the ISP office will have authorization to remain in campus housing until the end of the spring 2021 semester. The College will also aim to continue providing food via student meal plans until these end on May 6th.

Updated December 4, 2020

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

Wheaton College faculty will work with students to provide quality, remote learning experiences. It is recommended that students register for spring semester classes that support synchronous participation even in their local time zone. For example, a class that meets on campus at 8 am or 6:30 pm CST would best allow for a positive synchronous experience. If a remote student must register for a class that falls outside of their local time of 7 am-10 pm, faculty will accommodate student asynchronous participation. We ask that remote students email their professors to indicate that they will be participating from an international location and to specify if the class is scheduled to meet outside of 7 am-10 pm local time. The professor will provide details on how to participate asynchronously.

Updated November 12, 2020

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

Similar to the fall semester, Wheaton College is following temporary Covid-19 SEVP guidelines to ensure that F-1 visa students, enrolled on campus and remotely for the spring 2021 semester, are pursuing a program of study in a format that is compliant with all regulations. The campus DSO team will work with the Academic leadership team if SEVP issues new guidelines and notify students accordingly.

The DSO team will also regularly send updates to F-1 visa students via their college email. Students are welcome to e-mail, call, or schedule an appointment with their DSO to address any questions or concerns.

Updated December 1, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: What assistance is available to remote international students that are having technical difficulties accessing class lectures, recordings, materials, and/or finding electronic versions of textbooks?

Students are encouraged to notify their professors of any challenges they experience while participating remotely in their class. In addition, students should report technical difficulties to their professor and ait.service.desk@wheaton.edu for assistance. If students are unable to secure textbooks and reading materials outside of the U.S., they should notify their professor and note that the Buswell Library Subject Librarians are ready to assist. Please identify the librarian whose subject expertise matches your major or class and request assistance by e-mailing them directly.

Updated November 6, 2020

[UG & GR] Q: If I am traveling to campus from an international location for the spring semester, will I need to complete 10 days of self-quarantine and/or provide a negative Covid-19 test prior to participating in classes/activities on campus?

Students arriving from international locations will not be required to complete 10 days of self-quarantine after arriving on campus. Instead, students must complete a required 10-day quarantine at home, or if applicable, in place before traveling safely to campus.  

Students traveling to the U.S. on, or after, January 26th will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test to board their flights, as announced by the CDC this month. Upon arrival to campus, students arriving from international locations on or after January 26th will take a Covid-19 entry test at move-in and 5 days after arrival.  As detailed further in the “Housing and Dining” and “Health and Safety” FAQ’s, students will sign up for a move-in and entry test appointment. At your entry test location you will receive your first Covid-19 test and be asked if you traveled internationally. If so, you will receive information on how to submit a 5 day test.

Updated January 22, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Will international students be allowed to return to campus, if needed, before the start of on-campus classes this Spring 2021 semester?

If students supported by the ISP office need to return to campus, prior to the start of in-person instruction, they can request authorization using the Early Arrival Request Form on the College’s Break Housing Website. Students who receive approval to move in early will be responsible for preparing their own meals until the campus meal plan begins.

Updated January 8, 2021

[UG & GR] Q: Who do I contact if I have other questions or need clarification?

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

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.