Graceland University's Plan to Return to Campus
From August 1 through September 14, Graceland partnered with Corteva to do baseline testing for 1,210 students, faculty, and staff on both of its campuses. During this testing, 7 positive tests were found, all on the Lamoni campus. All of those cases have since recovered. The above dashboard now reflects only active and recovered cases.
Data last reported October 26, 2020, 10:22 AM CT
This chart will be updated daily with any new information.
-Patricia H. Draves, PhD, President
Testing / Differences in Testing
Graceland's Lamoni campus students have two convenient options to be tested for COVID-19.
Have you been directed to Monitor, Quarantine or Isolate? The resources available below are designed to help keep our campus safe and to better inform you of the university's actions and procedures to control the spread of COVID-19.
- Duffel bag or other easy-to-carry bag
- Comfortable clothes
- Extra pillow and blanket
- Reusable water bottle
- Hair care items
- Shower supplies/towels
- Charges for phone and electronics
- Nonperishable snacks
Representatives from all areas of the university collaborated on this set of information and resources with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health.
Health and safety policies
In preparing health and safety policies, Graceland considered all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local health department guidelines. With those considerations, the following policies will be followed.
Face coverings required in public spaces
Cloth masks will be worn at all times in all public spaces, including but not limited to classrooms, dining halls, hallways, social areas, public restrooms, stairwells and elevators. All students, faculty and staff will be required to complete training on the proper use, removal and washing of face coverings. Cloth masks are not surgical but can provide protection to other people in case the wearer is asymptomatically infected. Cloth masks will be provided to all students, faculty and staff upon their return to campus. Students, faculty and staff will be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of their own masks.
Social distancing in class
Keeping space from each other is an important part of keeping our community safe. Six feet of space will be maintained in classrooms, labs, restrooms and common areas. There should be no sharing of objects in classrooms for group or partner work. If social distancing in classrooms is not possible, plans are being developed by the faculty-led Creative Design Team. Students should sit in the same seats in classrooms on every occasion and the instructor will create and maintain a seating chart. Cleaning supplies will be available in all classrooms, and Graceland’s Facility Services team will ensure common work areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected per CDC recommendations.
Social distancing on campus
Outside the classroom, social distancing should still be maintained. Physical guides (tape on floor and sidewalks, signs on walls, etc.) will be posted throughout campus to remind students, faculty and staff to maintain six feet of distance. All public rooms, including restrooms, will have a maximum occupancy sign posted outside, and guidelines should be maintained. Water fountains on campus will be disabled, however, motion-activated bottle-fillers will remain available as long as safety can be maintained. All meetings, including house meetings, should be held virtually if maintaining six feet of social distance is not possible. Elevators should not be used, but if they must, only one person should be in an elevator at a time. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at elevator doors and should be used before and after use of the elevator.
Social distancing in offices
As we continue the work to maintain low COVID-19 numbers on both campuses, please use quick phone calls, text messages, emails or notes through Microsoft Teams rather than dropping in to offices unexpectedly. If an in-person conversation is required, make an appointment. This courtesy is helpful in two ways:
- Social distance is one of the primary ways we can fight the spread of COVID-19.
- With an increase in the number of virtual meetings in our offices, an unexpected visitor may disrupt those meetings.
And always remember to wear a face covering on campus unless you are alone in your private office. Face coverings are required everywhere else on campus, even when you think you might be alone.
Training and etiquette
Graceland recognizes that making sweeping changes like this can be overwhelming. Mandatory training will be provided for all students, faculty and staff on all new COVID-19 protocols and policies, including but not limited to proper hand hygiene, handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
Testing and health care access
Graceland will follow all guidelines in regard to testing and screening requirements. The Community Health Center of Southern Iowa in Lamoni is a certified testing location, and the Decatur County Hospital in Leon is the central hub for Decatur County for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. These nearby resources provide students, faculty and staff with excellent and convenient resources should symptoms develop.
Protocols for illness
Should a student, faculty or staff member experience any COVID-19 symptoms, they will be asked to stay home or in their room. They should not attend any classes, clinical/practicums, student teaching, internships, sports activities, or go to work. Once they have quarantined themselves, they should contact the Student Life office or their residence hall director to coordinate with them and the COVID-19 Coordinator on how best to proceed. Areas of campus have been set up for isolating students who are ill or who have been exposed. Students should not return to campus activities until they have been cleared by the COVID-19 Coordinator.
Should an illness occur on campus, contact tracing will be executed by the Decatur County Health Department (Lamoni campus) or the Jackson County Health Department (Independence campus) in accordance with local guidelines. Additionally, Graceland has developed an extensive quarantine and isolation protocol for residential students on the Lamoni campus, which will be strictly followed should illness occur.
Graceland will continue to welcome visitors to campus in a way that respects the health and safety of students, employees and the visitors. All visitors will be expected to comply with all of Graceland’s COVID-19 guidelines, as well as to register their presence on campus at the time of their visit. Visitors should register at the Student Help Desk (west entrance of Newcom Student Union).
Functional visitors are vendors, salespersons, donors, or other visitors with a scheduled appointment on campus (including company representatives from a vendor), as well as guests on campus for a specific purpose like prospective students, performers for COSA events, guest speakers, etc.
These types of visitors should be identified and invited by a hosting individual employee or department when necessary. The host and, when applicable, hosting student or student group, is responsible for communicating with the visitors before they arrive on campus about times, locations, specific parking locations, and building-access instructions.
Event visitors are guests who visit campus to attend a university-sponsored event like an athletic competition, a visual and performing arts performance, or other types of special events. Event visitors will be limited and monitored through either ticket purchase or invitation. Event capacity will always be limited to the COVID-specific number published for the designated room or event venue.
The sponsoring area, or host, of the event is responsible for accountable for overseeing admission/visitor policies and will designate an individual to be responsible for monitoring each event. The event monitor will keep track of those in attendance communicate the necessary policy information before and/or during the event. Event monitors will have disposable masks on hand during the event and will be expected to provide them to anyone who arrives without a mask.
All visitors and event attendees are required to respect social distance standards of masking and at least 6-feet between persons.
Events that require tickets (Athletics and Performing Arts) will utilize the HomeTown Ticketing no-contact ticket sale system to facilitate, prioritize, and track attendance. HomeTown Ticketing provides no-contact ticketing services. Students, faculty and staff will need to show their daily screening green screen plus a ticket. Visitors will need to show their ticket and go through COVID screening, including a temperature check prior to entrance to the event.
The sponsoring area and, when applicable, student or student group, is responsible for developing an invitation list that meets the event space capacity limit. The invitation list will be shared with facilities services so they can set up the room in a manner that facilitates social distancing.
Specific parking and building-access instructions will be given to all scheduled and invited visitors, to ticket holders at the time of purchase, and along with event invitations.
Spontaneous Visitors - Signage on building doors will direct individuals to the central registration desk at the Newcom Student Union and a contact phone number. Signage for each door outside of all campus buildings will indicate that visitors need an appointment before entering, as well as a contact number to schedule an appointment.
Student Visitors - Existing student guest policies define a protocol for students’ visitors; see Residence Life policies below related to pandemic precautions.
Residence Hall Guests
The policy below covers any non-Graceland students visiting Graceland residential housing. These guests can only visit the residential housing of their host - if they intend to visit other place on campus, they must follow the guidelines for Fall 2020 Events & Visitors. Graceland students visiting other Residence Halls must follow regular check-in procedures at the Residence Hall reception desks.
- Students MUST register non-Graceland student visitors at the student reception desks within the residence halls. Apartments, upperclassmen units and campus-housing residents will need to register guests at the Student Help Desk in the Newcom Student Union.
- The student will accompany their guest to check in. The guest will go through a series of COVID-19 screening questions, have their temperature taken, and will be asked to provide their contact information at check-in. The receptionist will provide the guest with a guest pass that has the guest’s and host’s information and screening date. Visitors will need to complete this process EVERY DAY of their visit.
- Overnight guests must complete an overnight guest form and follow the listed check-in procedures above. Overnight guest forms are provided at residence hall reception desks or the Student Help Desk (check out the Guide to Community Living to see the overnight guest policy).
Students are responsible/accountable for all guest behavior, and guests must abide by Graceland University’s policies - including recent COVID policies stated elsewhere on this site. Failure to register guests will result in a university housing notice for failure to check in/out correctly. Be aware that having visitors on campus is a privilege. With the current pandemic, there is a risk to having visitors on campus, and these steps are to ensure visitors are healthy. Visitors who do not pass the screening test will not be allowed in residential housing. Note that travel and risk of exposure should deter visitors from coming to campus.
All Graceland University students and employees are required to do a daily COVID screening. The link to your daily screening will be sent to your Graceland email every morning with the subject “GU COVID Screening” that contains a unique link for you to submit your self-screening. If you do not see your daily email with subject “GU COVID Screening” in your inbox, be sure to check your junk mail and clutter folder. If you do not find the email there, a link is provided on the COVID-19 My Graceland page for you to conduct your daily screening. You must complete your screening before 10 a.m. The screening will provide you with a color-coded result. Instructions for each result are listed below
Changes to the academic calendar
Much like many other institutions across the country, Graceland is conscious of the need to limit the movement of students to and from the campus so as not to expose the community to asymptomatic infection. In order to limit the need for our residential students in Lamoni to travel outside of campus, specifically during the Thanksgiving holiday, the academic calendar has been changed.
First day of classes: Monday, Aug. 17
Last day of finals: Tuesday, Nov. 24
This calendar begins the semester one week earlier than scheduled and ends on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The calendar also removes fall break and will make Labor Day an instruction day. With the earlier start and the removal of fall break and Labor Day, the instruction time for the semester is exactly the same as it would have been in previous semesters. Graceland is thrilled to be able to offer its students the same high-quality educational experience they have come to expect.
For our online and Independence campus programs, the academic calendar remains the same.
Graceland will hold the Spring 2020 Commencement ceremony virtually on Saturday, October 3, 2020. Seniors who were set to walk during Spring 2020 will have the choice to be recognized in the rescheduled virtual commencement ceremony. In order to provide the most flexibility, seniors may also choose to walk in the Spring 2021 ceremony.
Residential living and dining policies
Single- and double-occupancy rooms will be available.
As Graceland prepares to welcome students back to campus, the university acknowledges that there will be a variety of needs and desires for housing. Some students will want a roommate for social, academic or health reasons. Others will feel more secure in an individual room. While it is not traditionally Graceland’s policy to offer these options to all students, the executive council is making an exception to the current policy for the 2020-21 academic year, giving students the ability to request an individual room, should they so desire.
Single- and double-occupancy rooms carry different costs. This year, the difference in room rates will be waived for students with greater financial need, based on estimated family income on their filed FAFSA, to ensure equity for all students as they make their choices.
The decision to make this housing policy exception was not made lightly. Research suggests that students with roommates tend to have more opportunity for connections that positively impact students’ emotional and mental health than students without roommates. This mirrors the observations made by Graceland’s residence Life team. House presidents and house council members will be encouraged to pay special attention to and check in with students in single rooms, making every effort to connect them with house and campus activities.
Graceland has worked closely with its partner Sodexo to ensure that all CDC guidelines are met. Sanitation protocols have been expanded, and improvements have been made to takeout and packaging to help ensure safety and flexibility in dining options.
- Floor decals and consistent signage will reinforce traffic patterns and social distancing.
- All food stations will be attended by uniformed staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- All food options will be served in disposable containers if the student chooses to take their food to-go.
- No personal refillable containers will be allowed.
- Prepackaged items, including salads, deli sandwiches, desserts, baked goods, condiments and beverages will be spread across stations.
- Tables will be spaced to accommodate proper social distancing guidelines.
- Outdoor seating options will be provided.
- Visible, constant sanitation by uniformed staff will be performed, disinfecting tables after each use.
Know the Symptoms of COVID-19
Take Steps to Protect Yourself and Others
There are several steps everyone should be taking to remain vigilant in the spread of the virus. That includes:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces regularly.
- Keep your distance from those who are showing symptoms.
- Stay home when you are ill or are experiencing any symptoms.
- Cover your cough and sneeze.
On the lighter side
First Thursday at Noon recital - April 2020
2006 NAIA Men's Soccer Championship Game
2018 NAIA Men's Basketball Championship Game
Please keep your eyes on our website, on the daily announcements, and on your Sting email, as we will be sharing new information as it becomes available.