Fall Term Update

The following message was sent earlier today to students and families.

Dear Students and Families:

Planning for the fall quarter at K continues and we are eager to welcome students back for the new academic year. This message provides a comprehensive update on where we are with fall planning, including some information that we have already shared with you and additional details about other areas of campus planning.

As we have shared previously, the College’s priorities remain: a) the health and well-being of our students and employees and b) assisting students in progressing toward graduation with coursework that reflects the K experience of small classes and deep engagement with faculty and staff. We continue to monitor the public health situation in southwest Michigan and will let you know as soon as possible if we need to modify plans for housing or classes in response to the developing public health situation.

Fall Term 2020 Classes

The College will offer classes in person, in a hybrid (partly in person and partly virtual) format, and in a virtual format. Students who wish to take a full load of courses remotely will be able to do so, as nearly half of fall courses will now be offered in a virtual format.

Information about the final mix of classes in each format (and directions on how to search the course schedule by format) is now available on the College website. As a reminder, the add/drop period reopens for returning students on August 3 so that students have several weeks to adjust their schedules as needed before the start of fall term.

Faculty have been working throughout the summer to prepare fall courses that are engaging and intellectually rigorous, regardless of the mode in which they are offered. During the month of August, faculty will be discussing the issue of fall term grading and determining whether modifications should be made to published grading policies in the Academic Catalog. Any faculty-approved changes will be shared before the fall term begins.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar for the fall term remains as published previously. Fall term courses will begin on September 14 and classes end on November 20, with final exams scheduled for November 22-24. At this point, all academic deadlines (e.g., add/drop, course withdrawal) remain as published.

First-Year Students Housing and Orientation

We look forward to welcoming new students to campus this fall! First-year students will start engaging virtually with their Peer Leaders and seminar group by mid-August. In addition, new students will be invited to watch a faculty/staff panel discussion about the broader themes of the Summer Common Reading. More information about both will be forthcoming.

First-year students will receive their housing assignments via their K email during the first week of August. Students will move into the residence halls on Tuesday, September 8, and Wednesday, September 9 (9 a.m.–4 p.m. on both days). Early move-ins cannot be accommodated. Students will be permitted to bring up to two people to assist them with move-in. Everyone must wear masks and we will be engaging in physical distancing practices. After moving their students in, we invite families to stop by the Information Table outside the Hicks Student Center (or inside in the event of rain) to pick up their welcome bag that will contain an abundance of helpful information. Families will then be required to depart campus. Family orientation sessions will be entirely online this year.

Formal Orientation activities for first-year students will begin Wednesday night, September 9, and run through Sunday, September 13. Orientation is required for all incoming first-year students. Virtual options will be made available for students who are studying remotely. Students will be engaging in a variety of sessions to help them know what it means to be a Kalamazoo College student and be successful academically, gain useful information, and engage socially. They will spend time with their Peer Leaders in their small seminar groups, and there will be many opportunities for fun experiences both in-person and virtual. The full schedule will be emailed to new students in early August.

Transfer Student Orientation is scheduled for Friday, September 11, from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. This one-day orientation is required for all transfer students. There will be optional activities scheduled for Saturday, September 12. More information will be emailed to transfer students in early August.

In the event we are entirely online for fall, all Orientation activities will be offered virtually. Questions about orientation can be directed to Jon Collier, Director of Student Activities (Jon.Collier@kzoo.edu).

Sophomore Students

We understand that this is an especially challenging time for you, both because of the disruptions to the final term of your first year and the inability to live on campus this year. We are currently exploring possibilities for additional sophomore-focused programming and will share additional information as it becomes available. Our website for off-campus living may also be a useful source of information.


Campus dining will be limited to students living in the residence halls. This is the best way to ensure physical distancing and compliance with public health mandates about the density of interior dining spaces. We anticipate that a significant proportion of dining will be of the “grab and go” variety whereby students will select items “to go.” Dining Services is exploring and refining a system to order ahead online, and we’ll share more when we know more details. We anticipate that students will be able to “grab and go” from a variety of locations across campus to minimize queuing and crowding. Should public health guidance change and enable a larger number of students to safely participate in campus dining (via commuter meal plans, for example), we will share that information. More specific information will be provided as the academic term approaches.

Enhanced Sanitizing Protocols

Enhanced sanitizing protocols will be in place across campus for fall. Common spaces such as classrooms, restrooms in non-residential buildings, and group restrooms in residential buildings will be disinfected daily. Common touch points (e.g., doorknobs, faucets) will be disinfected on a more frequent basis. In classrooms, materials will be provided for individuals to disinfect their own area (e.g., chair, desk, table) upon entering the space. Classrooms will also be cleaned and disinfected daily by custodial staff.

Community Expectations for Promoting Health and Hygiene

Before returning to campus, all students and employees must complete the online COVID-19 educational modules that were shared via email in mid-July. This program consists of two 10-minute modules and associated assessments.

As part of our commitment to shared community responsibility, every person on campus who is medically able will be required to wear a face covering when in indoor common spaces such as hallways, restrooms, classrooms, lounges, and study/meeting areas. Face coverings are also required in outdoor spaces when social distancing is not possible and in personal spaces (residence hall rooms and individual offices) when more than one person is present. Students should return to campus prepared to self-monitor their health daily and to remain six feet away from others whenever possible. Students should bring a personal thermometer back to campus or to Kalamazoo when they return for the fall.

Everyone should follow CDC and College guidance on regular handwashing with soap and water and, when soap and water are not available, use of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will be provided in stations across campus.

Student Health Center Services

The Student Health Center is available for all enrolled students’ healthcare needs this fall through phone triage, video visits and in-person visits. All students must be enrolled in MyChart and call 269-337-7200 to be pre-screened prior to an appointment. We will not be seeing walk-in students this fall. We plan to test scheduled, pre-screened students for COVID as needed. We are working closely with our local county health department on this dynamic situation and are doing our very best to mitigate risk to all of our campus community. We have on campus designated isolation and quarantine spaces available to campus residents.

The College requires all students living in the Kalamazoo area to have health insurance that is valid in the local area. Please enroll in or waive the College Student Health Insurance Plan.

If you are living away from the Kalamazoo area/only taking virtual classes and do not plan to enroll in the insurance plan, please waive health insurance.

Student Employment

Students will follow the College’s usual processes to attain employment on campus. Students may begin the process by visiting the campus employment website. All employees, including student employees, are expected to complete a pre-work health screening with a temperature reading, wear facial coverings and sanitize their workspace(s).

International Students

The Center for International Programs (CIP) staff are communicating with new and continuing F-1 visa and J-1 students throughout the summer regarding options for fall. For any F-1 student with additional questions, please email ISA@kzoo.edu. We will welcome visiting international students (J-1 visa holders) in the fall and winter, pending availability of travel options from outside the U.S.

Campus Offices and Services

As part of our efforts to maintain physical distance and reduce the density of individuals in campus spaces, many campus employees will continue to work remotely throughout the fall term. Offices and services will remain available to students, but hours for in-person interaction and drop-in access to services will be more limited than in terms past. As we get closer to the beginning of the fall term, specific hours and contact information for each office will be available to the campus community.

Study Abroad

Expanded options for 2021 long-term study abroad during the winter and spring terms and for short-term winter programs are being developed by the Center for International Programs (CIP) in collaboration with our partners around the world. Students who were approved for fall 2020 study abroad have already received information about winter and spring options and should contact cip@kzoo.edu if they have further questions. The CIP will continue to monitor the global travel and health situation and will make a final determination on winter study abroad by October 1.

Intercollegiate Athletics

As announced yesterday, K is postponing the fall intercollegiate athletic season. A decision on winter sports will be made later this fall. The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) also announced that the President’s Council has voted to postpone fall conference competition and conference tournaments for football, cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball. The Conference will develop schedules for these sports to take place later in the academic year.

We look forward to welcoming students back to campus and remain committed to providing the small classes, engagement with faculty and staff, and opportunities to participate in activities with the larger campus community that are hallmarks of the K experience. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to test our resiliency and nimbleness. I am so proud of the work that has been done by our students, faculty, and staff over the past few months. Their resolve to move forward despite many challenges has been inspiring. I have no doubt that we will overcome our current public health crisis and that our community will be stronger as a result of this experience.

Jorge G. Gonzalez

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