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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


Q: Will in-person classes resume in the fall 2020 semester?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 welcomed their students’ return to campus, and they have designed their courses for an adaptive in-person academic year with live instruction. 

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: September 23, 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, 9/7: No Classes - Labor Day
  • 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: August 29, 2020

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 in-person and at a later date. 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 three days of no classes scattered throughout the semester.

  • W, 1/20: First Day of Classes
  • W, 2/3: No Classes
  • M, 2/15: President’s Day – Classes in Session
  • F, 3/12: A Quad Ends
  • Th, 3/18: No Classes
  • F, Apr. 2: Good Friday – No Classes
  • F, Apr. 30: Last Day of Classes
  • M, May 3: Reading Day
  • T-Th, May 4-6: Finals

Updated: September 24, 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: September 24, 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 contact academic.advising@wheaton.edu to inform the College of your plans so that we can help facilitate your experience.

Updated September 24, 2020

Q: As a remote learner, may I take my classes asynchronously?

Remote learners will attend their classes synchronously at the scheduled day and time for each course. Remote students should be logged into their remote classes during the regularly scheduled class period to engage with the class during lectures and discussions. Remote students situated internationally may attend the course asynchronously if the course would take place outside the hours of 7:30 am-10 pm in their local time.

Updated August 29, 2020

Q: How do I confirm approval of my request for remote only status for fall?

Students who requested to take classes remotely in the June or July survey will be assigned Remote Learning Only (RLO) status in Banner. You may confirm your remote status in Banner by following these instructions:

  1. Log into the Portal at https://portal.wheaton.edu
  2. Select “View holds” in Banner Self-Service under “Student Services” > “Student Records”

    Screenshot of Banner Student Records Option

In the “Hold Type” column will be “Remote Learning Only RLO” if you opted to take classes remotely and live at home or in off-campus housing. This status is updated each Tuesday and Friday at 5pm.

Screenshot of Banner Hold Type Status

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 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: September 24, 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 have adapted and planned to allow 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. We will communicate adaptations of specialized courses to students via their faculty instructors.

Updated: September 24, 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 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: August 20, 2020

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: September 24, 2020

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

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

Updated: September 24, 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? 

Banner will be updated 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: September 24, 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: September 8, 2020

Q: Will you accept test results from another country? 

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

Updated: September 8, 2020

Q: What are the public health protocols for students?

Each student must comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols (known as the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong Commitment).   All students completed the COVID-19 Schoology Online (re) orientation Course before checking in for the semester.

Updated: September 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

These wristbands help Bon Appetit, faculty, and staff manage the public health of our campus. It is critical that 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 or Residence Life.

Updated: September 29, 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 masks within all campus buildings (except in bedrooms), 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; 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: August 26, 2020

Q: I’m living off campus this semester or I have permission to work off-campus. How will I fulfill and pay for the weekly testing requirement described in the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment?

Testing at Student Health Services every week as a commuter student will cost $115 per test and will be billed to your student account.  Free tests are available to commuter students at the DuPage County Fairgrounds on a first-come, first-served basis.  Free tests are available in Aurora to commuter students through the Illinois Department of Public Health on a first come first-served basis.  Visit the website for the Federal Department Health and Human Services to identify additional testing locations close to campus.  Communicate your desired day for weekly testing to Student Health Services as well as your source for testing.  Save the confirmation email of your weekly schedule from Student Health Services.  If you do not provide COVID test results to Student Health Services according to your schedule, you will be required to finish the semester remotely or stop working off-campus.

Students who are responsible for covering the cost of your tests may be eligible for reimbursement from the CARES Act or COVID-19 Relief funds available to the College. As a reminder, these funds are limited. The College will reimburse 100% of the $115 test cost through Student Health Services for Pell grant recipients for A quad and for as much of B quad as possible. The College will reimburse 50% of the test cost for all non-Pell grant recipients for A quad and for as much of B quad as possible.

Student Financial Services will be emailing a link to a CARES Act certification form to eligible students after November 20.  Students with F-1 visas are ineligible for CARES Act funds. For students with F-1 visas, you will be eligible for partial reimbursement through the COVID-19 Relief fund. Student Financial Services will be emailing a link to a COVID-19 certification form to eligible students after November 20.

Updated: September 9, 2020

Q: What do I need to do to travel off-campus for a medical appointment?   

A:  Students living in campus-owned housing or in off-campus non-College owned housing and commuting must notify the Off-Campus Approvals Committee of a medical appointment that requires an overnight stay. Please read these brief instructions before completing this form. All students traveling off-campus to a medical appointment requiring an overnight stay will be required to quarantine at their permanent address – not in College-owned housing or off-campus non-College owned housing – for 14 days and participate in class remotely before traveling COVID-safely back to campus. In addition, they must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken on the 10th day of their quarantine to covid.test@wheaton.edu to return to campus. If a student living in College-owned housing leaves campus for an overnight medical appointment that requires a follow-up quarantine, no reimbursement for room and board will be provided during the quarantine period. Students considering medical procedures that require an overnight stay are encouraged to consult with Student Health Services about the availability of medical care within the Chicago area in order to remain in the Wheaton bubble.

Updated: October 13, 2020

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

Student Health Services will have a low threshold for testing students when symptomatic, as well as testing required by the NCAA for practicing varsity athletes, select vocal/wind students, ROTC cadets, and students engaging with off-campus academically required experiences. We have contracted with several testing service providers to acquire COVID-19 tests for the semester at no cost to students.

Updated: September 24, 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?

You must wear CDS 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: September 8, 2020

Q: What are the public health expectations all campus members are expected to follow throughout the fall 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 14 days 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: September 24, 2020

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 Care Services. 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 two hour driving radius, but will need to ask for permission to go off campus for a minimum of ten days from the date symptoms began, and will need to complete a COVID-19 test on day 10.  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 orange or blue wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life.

Updated: September 29, 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 after cutting off their orange wristband and turning it in to Residence Life or Student Health Services. If results are negative, according to CDC guidelines, we will ask students to quarantine in their own living space for 14 days after their last contact with the positive case, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting to SHS for testing if symptoms develop; they will cut off their orange wristband, turn it into a Residence Life staff member in exchange for a yellow wristband.  Students’ professors will be notified by Student Care 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 14 days, while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing a test at home as soon as symptoms develop or at day 10 if symptoms do not occur.  All quarantining students may return to classes and campus life on the clearance date communicated to them by Student Health Services and pick up a new orange wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life in exchange for their yellow wristband.

Updated: September 29, 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 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: September 24, 2020

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: September 8, 2020

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: September 8, 2020

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

If you are having difficulty breathing, unable 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 September 6, 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: 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: August 10, 2020

Q: Where do I access the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment?

Preview the undergraduate student commitment and the graduate student commitment for fall 2020.

Updated: August 11, 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 pandemic. 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: September 24, 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 during the pandemic?

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

Updated: September 24, 2020

Q: Can I receive counseling services if I choose not to return to campus, 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: September 24, 2020

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

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

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

Campus housing will close on Saturday, November 21st at 5 pm for Thanksgiving break; our classes will transition to remote learning on Monday, November 30. We are encouraging students to return home to finish the semester before returning in 2021 in order to care for our community by helping to prevent any possible post-Thanksgiving holiday outbreaks. However, Wheaton will continue to provide housing and meals for students supported by the International Student Programs office 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 by submitting a break housing request. Students will receive an email with the break housing request link toward the middle of October.

Updated September 28, 2020

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 after receiving permission to attend an essential event (e.g. wedding or funeral).

Updated September 29, 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 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 September 24, 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 will operate in a similar fashion in a COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong way.

 

Updated September 24, 2020

 

Q: Is Wheaton planning on opening housing for the upcoming semester?

Yes, housing will be open unless the state situation worsens and we are compelled by the local authorities to do otherwise. We have implemented 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 September 24, 2020

Q: When can students move in for spring semester?

New students will be given move in information from the Admissions office. Returning students can arrive Sunday, January 17 or Tuesday, January 19th between noon and 5 p.mStudents will not be able to move in on Monday, January 18th as this is the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday and College offices are closed in remembrance. Students need to  sign up for a check-in time. We ask that students not go into any campus buildings or visit with any campus friends until AFTER they have checked in and been given the “all clear” by our health services staff. Additional details will be provided as the move in date approaches.

Updated September 24, 2020

Q: Will students need to bring a negative COVID test to check in for the spring semester?

Yes. More information and details will follow.

Updated September 28, 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 under "What Can I Bring" 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

Q: In January can parents and friends help new and returning students move in at the start of the semester?

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 September 24, 2020

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 due to the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus through asymptomatic individuals, but instead to continue learning remotely.

Updated September 24, 2020

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

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, and are in good standing with the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment.

Updated September 8, 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 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.  Students are assigned meal times at the lunch hour (to ensure those with lunch-time classes have opportunity to eat).  The State-mandated six-foot social distancing requirement means lines are long, and therefore we are using hallways and tents, 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.  Tables 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 is offering limited menu options and does not accept cash payment; the Stupe is closed.

Updated September 8, 2020

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 East Campus for their isolation period of a minimum of 10 days after cutting off their orange wristband and turning it in to Residence Life or Student Health Services. If results are negative, according to CDC guidelines, we will ask students to quarantine in their own living space for 14 days after their last contact with the positive case, while monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and reporting to SHS for testing if symptoms develop; they will cut off their orange wristband, turn it into a Residence Life staff member in exchange for a yellow wristband.  Students’ professors will be notified by Student Care 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 14 days, while monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and completing a test at home as soon as symptoms develop or at day 10 if symptoms do not occur.  All quarantining students may return to classes and campus life on the clearance date communicated to them by Student Health Services and pick up a new orange wristband from Student Health Services or Residence Life in exchange for their yellow wristband.

Updated September 8, 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. 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 6, 2020

Q: What else can I expect in on-campus isolation? 

Our East Campus isolation facility is very basic. There will be a bed, 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 August 11, 2020

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. 

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 August 11, 2020

Q: Can undergraduate students go to a local friend/family member/faculty/staff person’s home to visit? 

To maintain the Wheaton Bubble these activities will not be allowed however, visiting others using COVID-Safe practices including masking and social distancing, at a public outdoor nature location is acceptable (e.g., forest preserves, local biking/walking trails, local parks, walking in the neighborhood).

Updated September 8, 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 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 

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 

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 

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

Q: Where do I access the COVID-Safe, Thunder-Strong commitment?

Preview the undergraduate student commitment and the graduate student commitment for fall 2020. For spring 2020 students will need to re-sign the commitment before returning to campus.

Updated: September 24, 2020

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

Contact us at COVID19@wheaton.edu.

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?

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. 

Updated June 22, 2020

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)?

Wheaton College faculty will work with students to provide quality, remote learning experiences. Faculty have been instructed to accommodate asynchronous class participation for international students if participating synchronously means that the student would need to join their class outside of 7am-10pm local time. We ask you to email your professors to indicate that you will be participating from an international location and time zone. If needed, and whenever possible, the professor will give you details on how to participate asynchronously.

Updated August 26, 2020

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?

Similar to the spring and summer semesters, Wheaton College is following SEVP guidelines to ensure that F-1 visa students, enrolled on campus and remotely for the fall 2020 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 September 11, 2020

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 emailing them directly.

Updated September 11, 2020

Q: How do international students request permission to stay on campus and get meals in the dining hall after November 21st, when classes switch to fully remote? What if I also need a place to stay over Christmas break (December 18th - Jan 17th)?

International (F-1 Visa/MK/TCK) students that need to stay on campus, beyond the College’s transition to remote learning on November 21st, must complete the Break Housing Request Form. Students will receive a link to this form in an email from Residence Life during the first full week of October. This form will allow students to request: 

  1. housing for the remainder of the fall semester (total cost is between $400 - $465, based on your current housing location. These prices do not reflect the cost of married or family campus housing.)
  2. meals for the remainder of the fall semester (total cost is between $485 - $560, based on your current meal plan)
  3. housing during Christmas break, if needed
    1. If staying over Christmas break, students currently living in residence halls will need to move to a campus apartment for that portion of their stay, beginning December 18th. 
    2. Students staying over Christmas break will be responsible for their own meals.

Updated September 30, 2020

Q: If I receive permission to stay on campus between December 18th - January 17th will there be a housing fee? 

International (F-1 Visa/MK/TCK) students who receive permission to stay on campus during break will not be charged a housing fee. 

Updated September 30, 2020

Q: If I receive approval to stay on campus over the Christmas break, will I need to show a negative Covid-19 test prior to the start of classes on January 20th?

Yes, all students will be required to follow the SHS protocol of providing proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to the start of the Spring 2021 semester.

Updated September 30, 2020

Q: I am traveling to campus from an international location for the spring semester, will I need to complete 14 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 14 days of self-quarantine after arriving on campus. Instead, students must complete a required 14-day quarantine at home, or if applicable, in place before traveling safely to campus. Covid-19 testing will be required to move into campus housing and participate in on-campus classes. More information on testing will be announced soon. 

Updated September 30, 2020

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.