Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our plan for Fall 2020 are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

Communication and Information

Aquinas College will share the latest information via the Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020 website, the primary source for information, guidance and answers about the fall semester. Information about the coronavirus can be found at aquinas.edu/coronavirus, including the Aquinas College COVID-19 Dashboard.

We will provide printed and digital signage across campus to instill a culture of personal and shared responsibility for the community, educate the community about expectations, and provide reminders about the importance of remaining vigilant in our actions to protect ourselves and others.

In addition, we will communicate important information about the Saints Together plan via email, the College's intranet and the College’s social media accounts.

  • Facebook: @aquinascollegegr
  • Twitter: @AquinasCollege
  • Instagram: @aquinascollegegr
  • LinkedIn: linkedin.com/school/aquinas-college-gr
  • YouTube: AquinasCollegeGR

Questions? Send a message to saintstogether@aquinas.edu.


Community Communications


August 28, 2020 - A Thank-You Message from President Quinn

Dear Members of the Aquinas College Community,

As our first full week of classes comes to a close, I want to say thank you.

It brings me great joy to see our students, faculty and staff once again, whether it is on campus or virtually.

This fall I have the pleasure of teaching a First Year Experience class, and I have seen firsthand how excited our students are to be able to pursue their goals, discover their talents and find their purpose at Aquinas. 

Our students are the life of our community and the reason why we are all here. Whether we are in the Academic Building or in a video conference, teaching and learning is what we are here to do.

So many in our community have spent countless hours planning and preparing during the past six months. I know that it hasn’t been easy, but your incredible effort and dedication is proving to be worth every minute. Many students have told me that now, more than ever, they understand what makes Aquinas a special place.

I am proud to see our Catholic and Dominican values being lived out daily by the majority of our community both on and off campus. We are called to serve those most vulnerable among us, and you should be proud of the degree of care for others that you continue to show.

Please know how much your fellow Saints appreciate the mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, avoiding of large groups, symptom self-screens, and overall attention to health and safety measures. We have all had to make adjustments and sacrifices, but we have shown great strength.

Thank you for what you have done and what you continue to do. Keep it up, and we will show the world what it means to be an Aquinas Saint!

God bless,

Kevin


August 27, 2020 - New hours for the AQ Health Center

The AQ Health Center, locatedin the Lower Level of the Wege Center, will be open this weekend in addition to its regular weekday hours.

Regular Weekday Hours

Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

New hours for August 29-31

August 29 (Saturday): 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

August 30 (Sunday): Please visit Urgent Care at Metro Health Park East

Metro Health Park East
4055 Cascade Rd SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Hours: Monday-Sunday (9 a.m.-9 p.m.)
Students can call after hourse service via phone: (616) 252-1500

August 31 (Monday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

We will provide updates on additional weekend hours soon.


August 21, 2020 - A Message from President Quinn to Students and Families regarding COVID-19 Conduct

Dear Aquinas Saints,

Over the past few months, AQ faculty and staff have been working very hard to make the campus as safe as possible for in-person living and instruction. By now, you should be very familiar with the Saints Together protocols, especially about daily screening, mask wearing, social distancing, and good hygiene. Thank you to the majority of our students who are modeling these behaviors.

You probably have heard by now about a number of colleges and universities that had to shut down in-person instruction. In each of these cases, students chose to attend crowded gatherings. They took risks with their health that have had serious repercussions not only for them, but for their entire institution.

We are concluding the first few days of classes, and we have heard reports of students violating our health and safety protocols.

Let me be clear: the College will NOT tolerate these violations.

If our community does not live up to our health and safety standards, I will not allow in-person classes to continue and will not allow residential spaces to remain open.

I am serious about protecting this community, and you should be too. We will take disciplinary action against anyone who puts the health and safety of this community at risk. Disciplinary action includes going through the judicial sanction process under the Student Conduct Code and may be included in a student’s permanent record or may result in removal from campus.

I have also asked our Campus Safety Office to work with the Grand Rapids Police Department to vigorously enforce ordinances off campus, shutting down and ticketing offenders. If we learn that you have hosted such a gathering, the College will pursue serious disciplinary action.

It is definitely a different fall this year, and some of the usual activities are out of bounds until the pandemic is under control. It's not fair. But as Saints, we understand that not everything is about us -- we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.

PLEASE monitor your health, wash your hands, wear your masks, practice social distancing and do not go to gatherings that will attract a lot of people. Remain vigilant. One decision -- such as attending a party or not wearing a mask -- can and will have a lasting effect on you and others.

In the end, we can't just discipline our way to safety. That is not enough. It depends on YOU and your choices. And I hope that you continue to choose to be a Saint.

Sincerely,

Kevin G. Quinn, Ph.D.

President

Report individuals who are in violation of the health and safety guidelines to the Campus Safety Office at (616) 632-2462 or cso@aquinas.edu.


August 21, 2020 - New hours for the AQ Health Center

The AQ Health Center, locatedin the Lower Level of the Wege Center, will be open this weekend in addition to its regular weekday hours.

Regular Weekday Hours

Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

**New hours this weekend: for August 22 and 23 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.**

We will provide updates on additional weekend hours soon.


August 14, 2020 - AQ C.A.R.E.S. Timely Warning -- COVID-19

This is a timely warning to all Aquinas College community members to comply with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act).

Members of the Aquinas Community,

The Dominican Pillars of prayer, study, service and community are alive on our campus in many ways, including in the development of our Saints Together plan, which serves as our roadmap for the return to campus.

Our plan includes informational updates to the campus, so we are introducing the Aquinas COVID-19 Dashboard. The dashboard will be updated daily to track the number of positive cases in the AQ community that have been confirmed by the health department and reported to the College. It also lists quarantine/isolation data.

We also have a responsibility to uphold the privacy of faculty, staff and student information. Confidentiality laws limit sharing of identifying information about affected individuals.

Today’s communication provides the required warning related to these events. Ongoing updates regarding Aquinas College’s actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be posted at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.

AQ C.A.R.E.S. will be used to notify you if there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of our campus community.

COVID-19 Resources

We will closely monitor guidance from government, public health agencies and other experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kent County Health Department.

We will also continue to provide information and updates about COVID-19 through the College’s coronavirus web page, AQ email and social media.

Health and Safety Reminders

Please remember to adhere to the following public health guidance:

  • Practice social distancing (keeping 6 feet of distance from others).

  • Wear a cloth face covering.

  • Practice good personal hygiene, including washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces.

  • Monitor your health for COVID-related symptoms, and stay home if you’re sick.

  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.


August 5, 2020 - New campus signage to promote health and safety

Marketing and Communication has collaborated with Campus Safety, Facilities and departments to produce and install signage in preparation for the return to on-campus living, learning and working.

The signs will reinforce campus health and safety guidelines to help inform, support and protect our campus community.

Installation of mandatory signs across campus will begin this week and will continue over the next couple of weeks. We will add new or revised signage as needed and will adjust signs to adhere to any changes in COVID-19 health and safety guidance.

What signs will be installed? Where will they be installed?

Mandatory signs fall into two main categories: campus health and directional/logistical. They will be installed in buildings and areas across campus, such as entrances/exits, classrooms, restrooms, lobbies, stairwells, hallways, common areas and some outdoor areas. A list of signs is provided below, and samples of the signs are pictured above.

Who will install the signs? When and how will they be installed?

Campus Safety and Facilities will install signs during the next couple of weeks using specific mounting adhesive that is secure, but will not damage walls and surfaces.

Facilities will be installing floor decals in departments this week.

How do I get more signs?

Please contact Kate Simons in Marketing and Communication at kms016@aquinas.edu if you would like additional signs for your department. Please note: Due to volume/capacity, we will not be taking orders for additional signs until August 17.

Signage List

Campus Health and Safety

  • General campus guidelines
  • Wear a mask
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Social distancing
  • Wash your hands
  • How to wear a mask
  • How to wash your hands

Directional/Logistical

  • Stay to the right
  • Do not enter
  • Line starts here
  • Stairs down
  • Stairs up
  • Walk this way (left and right)
  • Enter here (left and right)
  • Exit here (left and right)
  • Area closed
  • Emergency use only
  • Please allow room to empty
  • No drinking; bottle filling only
  • No public seating
  • Out of service
  • Wait here
  • Hours of operation
  • Limit 1 (elevator occupancy)
  • Max room occupancy

July 31, 2020 - WHAC postpones fall sports championships, AQ Athletics moves fall sports to spring

College will roll out plans to resume fall practice schedules and workouts

Today (July 31), the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) office announced its decision to move WHAC championship events in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s cross country to the spring. Championship dates for those sports will be determined at a later time.

In conjunction with those plans and previously announced plans from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Aquinas athletic department announced today it has decided to postpone all fall sports competition until the second semester. The decision was made in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and with the health and safety of AQ student-athletes, the campus community and broader community in mind.

The primary fall sports of men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s volleyball will not compete this fall. Additionally, two-semester sports such as men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis - which have limited competition in the fall,  but are considered spring sports due to the timing of their championships - will also not compete during this time. Next week, Aquinas will roll out plans for these teams to resume practice and workouts in the fall semester to support AQ student-athletes as they prepare for competition in the spring.

“The past few months have obviously been a very difficult time for everyone in our AQ Saints community - our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and supporters,” commented Nick Davidson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics. “We did not make this decision lightly and we are aware that this will not be easy for those involved. We know our teams want to get stronger and compete and we are committed to helping all of our student-athletes get prepared to the best of their abilities to resume competition in the spring. The health, well-being, and safety of our student-athletes is always most important in any scenario and it was the driving factor in this decision.” 

On Tuesday (July 28), the NAIA announced that the national championships in men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball will be postponed to spring 2021. There are also ongoing discussions among the NAIA, WHAC, and Aquinas College about winter sports and their competing seasons.

More information and further details will be provided on AQSaints.com. 


July 17, 2020 - A Message from President Quinn about Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020

Dear Aquinas Community,

In early June we shared Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020 to provide you with information about our return to on-campus instruction. The plan is guided by our Dominican heritage and focuses on the health and wellbeing of our campus community.

Today we are sharing even more details about our plan to help you prepare. We ask that all Aquinas Saints together fully participate in these efforts and approach these changes with an open mind, understanding, care and grace.

As this public health situation evolves, our planning and protocols will also evolve in accordance with guidelines from public health and other experts.

Please visit aquinas.edu/saintstogether to view information that will help make this fall successful and as safe as possible for every member of the Aquinas community. If you have a question, please email saintstogether@aquinas.edu.

We are excited to see you on campus soon.

Go Saints!

God Bless,

Kevin


June 5, 2020 - Aquinas College announces plans for return to campus for fall semester

In the Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020, launched today (June 5), Aquinas College provides a roadmap for students, faculty and staff to return to campus. The College will welcome students back to campus in August and will begin in-class instruction on Aug. 19, one week earlier than originally scheduled. 

Classes will continue through Nov. 21, which will be the last day of face-to-face instruction. The traditional Fall Break in October will be shifted to the week of Thanksgiving. The combined Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break week will be held Nov. 23-27. Following the break, students will not return to campus and will engage in one week of distance learning from Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

“Aquinas College’s Dominican identity compels us to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our campus community,” President Kevin G. Quinn said. “We want to have our community of Saints back on campus, but that is a complex process that we must do as safely and responsibly as possible.”

The AQ Opens Task Force and other members of the campus community have been working since early May to develop a plan informed by guidance from the Kent County Health Department and other public health, higher education and government experts.

The College launched a new website, Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020, available at https://aquinas.edu/saintstogether, to share details about the plan. 

It includes a variety of precautions, protocols and guidance for social distancing, proper use of face coverings, good hygiene and hand-washing practices, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, quarantining and isolation, training, education, communication and a variety of other actions.

President Quinn expressed the need for everyone to have personal responsibility for committing to full participation in the plan.

“We are a community of caring, so we each have individual responsibility to others on our campus,” he said. “It will require the cooperation of all of us to ensure that we can return to and remain on campus this semester.”

Faculty and staff who need to conduct work on campus will gradually return to the workplace in a phased approach throughout the summer. Employees will be required to complete a series of training modules and conduct a daily symptom self-screen. The rest of the College’s employees will continue to telecommute.

Class offerings will closely reflect teaching delivery models traditionally offered with considerations made for health and social-distancing protocols.

“Our goal is to provide our students with as normal a College experience as possible as safely as possible, but this is a new world and there are things that will look and feel a little different this year,” President Quinn said. “Aquinas College’s promise is that we will continue to deliver on our core mission of a high-quality education and valuable learning experiences in line with our Catholic and Dominican heritage with the utmost care and concern for the students we serve.

In the coming weeks, additional information will be added to the Saints Together website and communicated to the campus community through a variety of touchpoints.

The College will also continue to monitor the broader public health situation and refer to guidance or directives from public health and government officials in case the College needs to change course and engage in contingency plans.

“This past spring, our campus community quickly adapted to the rapidly evolving situation around COVID-19,” President Quinn said. “We will remain nimble enough to respond while addressing the academic, social and emotional needs of our students, faculty and staff.”

Academic Calendar

As described above, the academic calendar has been adjusted. Further information about drop/add dates and more will be added soon.

Move-in and Orientation

By June 19, the College will outline the details of a move-in plan that will adhere to social distancing guidelines per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kent County Health Department and state government officials. Move-in will most likely occur with a staggered approach up to a week-and-a-half prior to the start of classes. 

Details about the new move-in process will be posted on the Saints Together website and the Residence Life website, and information will be sent to residential students via email.

Students who may need to move in early (e.g., resident assistants, diversity assistants and Bridge program students) should contact their program coordinator or Residence Life and watch for communication updates on the College’s web pages and email.

Information about international student move-in will be communicated soon. Plans will be subject to guidance from CDC, U.S. State Department and individual countries.

For new students and transfer students, New Student Orientation will begin on Aug. 16.

On-campus Housing and Dining Services

Aquinas College is committed to providing a safe and healthy on-campus housing and dining experience for our students. The College is outlining details for physical distancing in on-campus housing and dining locations, which will be communicated soon.

Details will be planned in accordance with guidance from the Kent County Health Department.

The College has fewer students living on campus than previous years, and this year the College has increased the number of single-occupancy rooms, which will assist in physical distancing in on-campus housing. Isolation and quarantine plans for on-campus residents who test positive for COVID-19 will be shared soon. 

The College is also working with our dining vendor to outline protocols in line with CDC and state guidelines. This may include adjusted seating and traffic flow, new health and safety protocols for dining services employees, and more.

Athletics, Student Activities and Campus Events

More details about the plan to enable student-athletes to resume practice and competition in the fall will be announced soon on the AQ Saints website. Final plans for all sports will be subject to the decisions made by the NAIA and the WHAC, in line with directives from public health and state government officials.

Student activities and campus events will also follow guidance from CDC and the Governor’s office.

Personal Safety and Campus Health

In the coming weeks, the College will provide a Returning to Campus guide for students that will provide information about personal safety, campus health and healthcare resources. It will also outline the expectations for students living, learning or working campus. The College is also engaged with the Kent County Health Department and on-campus healthcare provider regarding health and safety protocols on campus.

All students will receive a Saints Health Kit, which will contain personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. 

Mental health and wellbeing resources are also available through Campus Ministry and Counseling Health and Wellness Services.

The College will provide details for social distancing in offices, residence halls, classrooms, dining hall and other common areas and shared spaces on campus. Each space has unique uses, needs and challenges. Actions may include adjustments to room layout and usage, installation of social-distancing apparatus, other physical changes, limits on capacity, etc. Details will be shared on the Saints Together website. 

The College will also focus on enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces, including restrooms, with a focus on increased frequency of cleaning, in line with guidance from CDC and EPA.

In classrooms, high-touch surfaces will be cleaned each morning during the week, including disinfecting of tabletops. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in each classroom to allow students or employees to clean surfaces in between classes. The College will also use disinfecting sprayers.

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 daily.

The College has also added new hand-sanitizing dispensers at or near the entrances to most buildings on campus.

Additional training and health monitoring protocols will be communicated soon.

Phased Return to Campus for Employees

As described above, some faculty and staff will return to on-campus work gradually. The rest of the College’s employees will continue to telecommute. 

Employees that return to the workplace will be required to complete a series of training modules and conduct a daily symptom self-screen.

Communication and Information

Aquinas College will continue to update the Saints Together: A Plan for Fall 2020 website with the most up-to-date information about the College’s approach.

The College will also communicate to our community via virtual and face-to-face meetings, email, social media, campus signage, digital signage across campus. We will also continue to partner with student leaders, RAs, faculty and staff to provide regular information, education and reminders about health and safety practices.

The College will also provide information to our community partners and neighbors in order to engage in the protection of the health and safety of the broader community.

“Even with our detailed plans, we recognize that some members of our campus community may have specific circumstances or needs that should be addressed with care and compassion,” President Quinn said. “We will continue to work with students and employees individually to provide solutions for those that need it.”

It has taken the hard work of our entire campus to develop this plan, and it will take the continued efforts and vigilance of our entire campus to execute it throughout the year,” President Quinn said. “I am grateful to all those who are upholding the values of this institution so that we can serve the needs of our students and help them achieve their goals.”


May 6, 2020 - Aquinas College forms task force for safe return to in-class instruction

As the 2019-20 academic year concludes, Aquinas College is looking ahead to the fall semester. President Kevin Quinn has formed the AQ Opens Task Force to develop comprehensive and coordinated planning for students to return to campus for in-class instruction and other on-campus activities.

The group, which represents all areas of campus, has begun activities to articulate scenarios for a return to campus and has started developing action plans for those scenarios. The task force will work in collaboration with members of the campus community, state and local health officials and other experts.

Like many other institutions, Aquinas College shifted to distance learning, began telecommuting arrangements and reduced operational core services on campus in March.

“This spring, Aquinas College faculty and staff quickly transitioned to distance learning to ensure as little disruption as possible to our students’ academic progress while keeping our community safe,” President Quinn said. “Their efforts were nothing short of remarkable. In addition, their attention and care for the needs of our students combined with the perseverance of our students is an expression of the strength and values of the AQ community.”

Plans for the fall semester will include new measures and precautions, health-monitoring protocols, cleaning, disinfecting, communication and clear guidance about how to return to in-class instruction while preventing the spread of COVID-19 and being prepared for any future surges in the disease.

“We intend to begin classes on time this fall,” President Kevin Quinn said. “The most important matter facing us now is how to do that thorough planning for our safe return to on-campus work and the establishment of our operational footing for the fall semester in a way that is safe for our community and the broader community.”

President Quinn noted that guidance from public health officials will play an important role in the planning process, and that the College’s activities will be nimble enough to pivot to stricter safety protocols if necessary.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on society and the way we will interact with one another going forward,” President Quinn said. “The world has changed, but we intend to provide as close to a traditional experience as possible for our students, while keeping our community and the broader community safe. There are many details to work out, but the health and safety of our employees and the community will be paramount in our planning.”