Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our academic plans are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Personal Safety and Health

Your fellow Aquinas Saints and, by extension the larger community, are counting on you to keep them as safe and healthy as possible. The following campus health and safety practices and protocols apply to anyone doing business on campus as indicated, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, contractors, vendors, suppliers and guests.

The College will maintain close collaboration with the Kent County Health Department and will support guidance they provide to reduce community spread of COVID-19.


Saints Health Kit

All students will receive a Saints Health Kit with essential items for protecting their health including a waterproof gear bag, AQ cloth face covering, digital thermometer, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Residential students will receive their kits during fall move-in. Commuter students can pick up a kit from the Campus Safety Office.
>See the exact specifications of Saints Health Kit (pdf)


Stay home when sick

Faculty, staff, students and guests must stay home if ill and self-isolate if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, even fatal. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

CDC has identified three major symptoms of COVID-19:

  • A fever (100.4 degrees or higher) or chills
  • An atypical cough
  • An atypical shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Additional symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What to do if you are sick

If you believe you may have COVID-19, are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow CDC guidelines for what to do if you are sick:

  • Fill out they daily symptom self-screen (Healthy Roster).
  • Contact the AQ Health Center or your healthcare provider by phone or, if necessary, get emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day.

Practice social distancing

All faculty, staff, students and guests are required to practice safe social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space (about 2 arms’ length) between themselves and others in all spaces. View this social distancing poster for more details.

  • Respect the personal space of others.
  • Stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Do not gather in large groups.

Traffic flow in buildings (e.g., entrances, exits, stairwells, elevators, hallways) may be adjusted to promote safe social distancing practices. New campus directional signage is provided to assist faculty, staff and students.


Wear a cloth face covering

All faculty, staff, students and guests are required to wear either disposable face masks or reusable cloth face coverings in all public indoor settings. Masks are also required in public outdoor settings when in the presence of others, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Students will receive an AQ-branded, reusable, cloth face covering in their Saints Health Kit. The College will provide reusable cloth face coverings to employees and disposable masks to guests (through the Campus Safety Office).

On Feb. 10, CDC provided updated guidance to help improve how your mask protects you. See CDC's guide to masks and considerations for wearing masks for more detailed information.

Mask Up, Mask Right, issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, offers additional information on face masks such as FAQs, MI Mask Aid (free masks for vulnerable populations) and how a mask works.

When you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Cloth face coverings limit the transmission of the disease through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. CDC states that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.​

Types of acceptable face coverings

Certain types of masks and face coverings are more effective than others.

Mask do's (acceptable)

  • DO make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
  • DO choose three-layered washable cloth masks.
  • DO pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick.
  • DO choose a mask with a nose wire.
  • DO use a mask fitter or brace.
  • DO add layers of material. Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric (two or more) or wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
  • DO choose approved KN95 masks.
  • DO make sure your mask fits snugly over your nose and mouth, under your chin and against the sides of your face.

Regarding clear face coverings, in certain circumstances, clear face coverings may be worn by certain people (e.g., those who interact with students or staff who are deaf or hard of hearing) to cover the nose and wrap securely around the face. Clear face coverings are NOT face shields. See below.

Mask don'ts (not acceptable)

  • DO NOT combine two disposable masks.
  • DO NOT combine a KN95 mask with any other mask.
  • DO NOT choose neck gaiters (unless it is two or more layers or is folded to form two or more layers) or loosely tied bandanas.
  • DO NOT substitute scarves, ski masks or balaclavas for masks. These items can be worn over your mask.
  • DO NOT choose masks with exhalation valves or vents.
  • DO NOT wear a face shield without a mask (except for individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering).
  • DO NOT choose masks made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe.
  • DO NOT choose masks with noticeable gaps, holes or vents.
  • DO NOT choose masks that are surgical masks or N95/respirators. These types of masks are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

How to Wear a Mask

Follow these guidelines to wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.

How to put on a mask

  • Wash your hands before putting on a mask.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily. Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

How to take off a mask

  • Carefully untie the straps behind your head or use a finger to stretch the loops and pull the strap away from the ear. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
  • Fold outside corners together.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing. Wash the mask regularly.

How to clean and store a mask

Masks should be washed regularly. Always remove masks correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.

  • Keep cloth face coverings stored in a paper bag when not in use.
  • Washing a mask
    • Washing Machine: Include your mask with your regular laundry. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask.
    • Washing by hand: Safely prepare a bleach solution. Soak the mask in the solution for 5 minutes. Discard the bleach solution down the drain and rinse the mask thoroughly with cool or room temperature water. Be sure to check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection (some bleach products are not) and is within the expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
  • Drying a mask
    • Dryer: Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
    • Air Dry: Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the mask in direct sunlight.
  • Face coverings may not be used more than one day at a time and must be washed after use. Cloth face coverings should be replaced immediately if soiled, damaged (e.g., ripped, punctured), visibly contaminated or wet.
  • Disposable masks must not be used for more than one day or if soiled, damaged (e.g., stretched ear loops, torn or punctured material), visibly contaminated or wet. Disposable masks should be placed in the trash upon removal. Never wash disposable face masks.

Exceptions

Cloth face coverings are not required in the limited circumstances listed below:

  • While alone or with members of your household in your own vehicle or residence.
  • While eating or drinking, as long as other social distancing and safety guidelines are being followed.
  • While in outdoor settings where social distancing measures are easily maintained. (Although a cloth face covering should be readily available for use.)

Cloth face coverings should not by worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

Please contact Accessibility Services for (students) or HR (for employees) if you have a specific health-related concern about wearing a cloth face covering.


Practice good personal hygiene

Wash hands frequently

  • CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Cleaning and disinfecting

  • Housekeeping staff will practice enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols in campus spaces, including classrooms and bathrooms, based on CDC guidelines. Other public spaces and high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, railings, light switches, elevator buttons, stairwells, meeting rooms and break rooms) will be disinfected multiple times each day.
  • Faculty, staff and students should also use College-provided EPA-registered household disinfectants to wipe frequently touched surfaces and equipment before and after using a space.

Aquinas will acquire at least a 90-day supply of critical equipment and supplies for the safe cleaning and disinfecting of spaces and equipment. Cleaning supplies will be provided to departments and will be available in all classroom spaces.


Screening, testing, contact tracing and notification

Counseling, Health and Wellness Services; the Health Center; Athletic Training; and Human Resources will oversee our comprehensive and integrated plan for monitoring the health and safety of employees and students in collaboration with the Kent County Health Department.

The College will follow specific internal protocols and health department protocols to provide guidance and support to faculty, staff or students who may experience symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Daily Symptom Self-Screen (Healthy Roster)

To help protect the Aquinas community, all faculty, staff, students and guests are required to self-monitor health symptoms and complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-screen through Healthy Roster, which is

  • HIPAA-compliant, private and secure,
  • Easy to use and convenient,
  • Able to provide immediate notification and accelerated response, and
  • Connected to protocols and guidance.

Individuals who do not pass will receive instruction in Healthy Roster and will be contacted directly by the College for further instruction.

Students

Students who are attending in-person classes or are participating in other on-campus activities will receive the daily Healthy Roster text message to prompt them to complete the COVID-19 symptom self-screen. Students can click on the link in the text message to answer the questions.

  • Students are required to answer the brief self-screen every day (including weekends) whether they come to campus or not.
  • Students must complete the self-screen before they arrive on campus, leave their residence each morning, or by 11 a.m., whichever comes first.
  • Students must stop and show their daily Healthy Roster checkmark to the Campus Safety officers upon entering campus or pull over and take a COVID-19 symptom self-screen and temperature check.

Students who do not complete the daily symptom self-screen are in violation of the Student Conduct Code and may be subject to judicial sanction.

If you provided an international phone number in your Saints Together Training, please check your email for the Healthy Roster self-screen. If you are not receiving the Healthy Roster text messages, check your email. If you still have not received a message from Healthy Roster, please complete the Saints Together Training and Pledge (which was emailed to students).

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff who have been approved to return to work on campus are required to monitor health symptoms and report them daily through Healthy Roster. Please refer to the employee Return to Work Guide in the COVID-19 Employee Toolkit on Acorn for more information. Employees will receive the daily Healthy Roster text message to prompt them to complete the COVID-19 symptom self-screen. They can click on the link in the text message to answer the questions.

  • Faculty and staff who have been approved to report to work on campus are required to answer the brief self-screen every weekday whether they come to campus or not.
  • Faculty and staff must complete the self-screen before they arrive on campus, leave their residence each morning, or by 11 a.m., whichever comes first.
  • Faculty and staff must stop and show their daily Healthy Roster checkmark to the Campus Safety officers upon entering campus or pull over and take a COVID-19 symptom self-screen and temperature check

Due to the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, completing the symptom self-screen each day is a safety requirement. Failure to submit each day as required may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

If you are not receiving the Healthy Roster text messages, please contact Human Resources.

Visitors and Guests

Guests (e.g., visitors, vendors, contractors, suppliers) are also required to complete a symptom screening at Campus Safety upon arrival on campus. Guests who have a fever or respond “yes” to having symptoms or contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately leave campus.

New Campus Entrance Procedure

Effective Aug. 19, upon entrance to the Aquinas College campus, all faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to stop and show their daily Healthy Roster checkmark to the Campus Safety officers or pull over and take a COVID-19 symptom self-screen and temperature check.

Testing, contact tracing and notification

Please see the Jan. 5 COVID-19 Update for information on student testing options prior to returning for spring semester.

During the academic semester, the AQ Health Center, which is operated by Metro Health, has testing available on campus (or at local Metro Health locations) for faculty, staff or students who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, and will work with individuals' health insurance. Faculty, staff and students may also visit their own health care providers or one of Kent County Health Department's free COVID-19 testing locations

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 or reports exposure to someone who tested for COVID-19 in Healthy Roster, the AQ Health Center and Counseling, Health and Wellness will communicate with the student, report to the Kent County Health Department and the health department will initiate contact tracing. Further guidance will be provided to the individual for next steps.

The College wil provide information related to our campus on the Aquinas College COVID-19 Dashboard. The College will issue an emergency notification to the campus community when in accordance with guidelines from the Kent County Health Department and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act for immediate threat to the health and safety of the campus community.

Isolation and Quarantine

All faculty, staff, students and guests who have symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate or quarantine either at their permanent address or move to a provided isolation/quarantine space on campus in accordance with guidance from CDC and the Kent County Health Department.

For residential students who are required to isolate or quarantine, Residence Life will follow specific protocols to limit other students’ exposure in on-campus housing as well as provide support for students who are required to isolate/quarantine (e.g., isolation/quarantine space, food, technology, academic support, sense of community, health and mental wellbeing, communication).

The College will also provide information to students about when and how to return to living and learning on campus following completion of a required isolation and quarantine period.


COVID-19 Vaccines

At this time, Aquinas College will not require the COVID-19 vaccine for students or employees; however, per public health guidance, the College encourages members of the campus community to get vaccinated. As the College has done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate our COVID-19 policies in close partnership with the local health department and our health care partners as well as continue to carefully consider guidance from medical, public health, government and higher education experts.

Aquinas College is working in close collaboration with the KCHD, Metro Health and the West Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative regarding availability of COVID-19 vaccines for the campus community.

Please visit the following resources for information about the COVID-19 and for vaccine for registration.

You may also contact your local health department or your health care provider if you have questions.


Gatherings on Campus

All gatherings must follow campus protocols for cloth face coverings, social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, personal hygiene and health monitoring.

  • Activities held or sponsored by the College are permitted indoors and outdoors as long as the gathering encourages and maintains social distancing practices and the use of masks.
  • Social gatherings in on-campus housing are limited to five people.
  • Social gatherings in other spaces on campus are limited to 25 percent of room capacities, which are posted in each space.

The College will continue to evaluate gatherings and will communicate any updates.


Visitors and Guests on Campus

Guests in On-Campus Housing

Non-AQ student guests are NOT permitted in on-campus housing (except when assisting a residential student during fall Move-In). AQ students (both residential and non-residential) are permitted in on-campus housing.

Guests on Campus

Outdoor Spaces

We welcome guests (e.g., alumni, visitors, vendors, contractors, suppliers) to experience our campus' beautiful urban forest and outdoor spaces. In order to make our campus as safe as possible, visitors are required to follow all campus health and safety protocols, including wearing a cloth face covering, practicing social distancing and practicing good hygiene even while outdoors.

Indoor Spaces

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus, buildings are now "swipe access only." Only students, faculty and staff may access campus buildings using their ID cards. Following the transition to distance learning on Nov. 18 and during the holiday break period, only students, faculty and staff who have been approved to remain on campus during that time may access campus buildings.

Guests may not enter campus buildings without prior approval from a member of the senior leadership team and advance notification to the Campus Safety director. In addition to approval, guests must complete a symptom screening at Campus Safety. Guests who have a fever or respond "yes" to having symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately leave campus. Approved guests who pass the symptom screening are required to follow all campus health and safety protocols indoors and outdoors, including wearing a cloth face covering, practicing social distancing and practicing good hygiene.


Travel

When deciding to travel for personal reasons, we strongly encourage consultation of CDC’s Considerations for Travelers information. In addition, we strongly encourage consultation of guidance from the U.S. State Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Kent County Health Department, and guidance from your home country, state and county.

All employee travel for College business should be limited to only travel approved by President Kevin Quinn and must follow travel guidelines from CDC, the U.S. State Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Kent County Health Department.


Campus Traffic Flow and Entrance Procedure

Effective August 19, the following traffic patterns and entrance procedures will be in place on campus for the fall semester.

New Traffic Pattern

The Fulton St. E main entrance will now be a one-way entrance, with two lanes of traffic.

Campus exits will now be located at Robinson Rd. and the Mayfield Lot, which will both be converted to one-way exits. Barriers will be placed at the exits to help direct traffic flow.

New directional signs will be installed on campus. Traffic patterns will be evaluated and adjusted as needed. If you have questions, please contact Campus Safety at cso@aquinas.edu or (616) 632-2462.

New Entrance Procedures

Upon entrance to the Aquinas College campus, all faculty, staff, students and visitors are required to stop and show their daily Healthy Roster checkmark to the Campus Safety officers or pull over and take a COVID-19 symptom self-screen and temperature check.