I hope all of you are enjoying some time off and looking to the holiday season with a new sense of wonder, delight and gratefulness. The fall semester has concluded, and mini-mester is complete – I hope this fall semester enriched your academic experience despite the many challenges we faced.
As we look to the upcoming semester, I wanted to highlight a few things you should expect when you return in January.
Graceland will once again do baseline COVID testing for all students, faculty and staff to begin the semester.
All winter athletes will receive instructions from their coaches on protocol for returning to campus.
House council members, off-campus students, and those living in the Small or Thomas apartments should plan to return Saturday, Jan. 9, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please arrive as early as possible and proceed directly (meaning before you go to your apartment or residence hall) to The Helene Center, where COVID testing will occur.
All other students should plan to return Sunday, Jan. 10, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please arrive as early as possible and proceed directly (meaning before you go to your residence hall) to The Helene Center, where COVID testing will occur.
Students who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID should be tested prior to returning to campus and should plan to return only when they receive a negative test result.
During the semester, students should expect additional baseline testing, and the Test Iowa site will remain available for testing students who are exhibiting symptoms or believe they have been exposed.
The academic experience will be pretty similar to last semester. Please plan for your first two days of classes to be on Zoom, so your professors can share with you the logistics of each class. There have not been fundamental changes to the academic calendar save one: spring break has been moved from March 8-12 to March 22-26. The move times the break closer to warmer weather and further from the height of flu season. All students will be required to take a COVID test when they return from break, so please plan accordingly.
Quarantine and Isolation
As with the fall semester, all students will be required to complete a daily screening. We learned much from the fall semester and have made some improvements for the spring, including some modifications to timelines and requirements for quarantined and isolated students, per new guidance from the CDC.
We have made several improvements to our quarantine and isolation spaces, including new carpeting in some areas, improved internet access and expanded access to amenities. Our mental health task force will also be doing more frequent wellness check-ins for students who are quarantined or isolated.
Masks and Social Distance
Wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and regular handwashing continue to be the best thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID. Please continue to take these precautions in your life away from Graceland and on campus. Most of the issues that arose during the fall semester were due to lapses in adherence to these guidelines.
We will be doing everything we can to keep our campus community informed. We know the dashboard was an important part of our communication strategy. Look for updates when you return to campus.
Change in COVID Coordinator
Head athletic trainer Erin Lundy has graciously agreed to expand her role and will be the point of contact for all Lamoni students, faculty and staff. Beginning now, if you have any questions about symptoms or procedures, you can text Erin at 314.435.8630.
All this information is available on Graceland’s COVID web page. We will continue to keep that page up to date with information as it comes available.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in January. If you have any questions about spring classes or need assistance with registration, please contact your advisor and copy the registrar and Pat Hoffman. Until then, enjoy your time off, and go Yellowjackets!