/ Campus Health

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Welcome back to Hope! We are excited to have you here for our 161st academic year. We look forward to providing our students with a robust, in-person living and learning experience, both inside and outside the classroom, all while prioritizing the health and safety of our entire campus community. Welcome to a new year at Hope — you belong here!

Hope College Guidelines

For the 2022–23 academic year, Hope College is committed to providing a full in-person experience within the latest COVID-19 public health guidelines. The parameters and guidance below aim to reduce medically significant illness and minimize strain on the healthcare system. They were developed based on the prevention steps associated with the CDC’s current local COVID-19 Community Level and may be modified if the local Community Level changes or if other public health recommendations are provided.

The CDC provides additional guidance for individuals who are immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), as they are more likely to get sick with COVID-19 or be sick for a longer period. Hope College strongly recommends that immunocompromised persons consult and follow the CDC guidance, including the creation of a personal COVID-19 plan in consultation with their healthcare provider.

Student Testing

Any student who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call the Health Center (616.395.7585) to schedule testing.

The Health Center will provide a test for any student who has been exposed to COVID-19. Per CDC guidance, testing for those without symptoms will be at least 5 days after exposure, not sooner. Interested students can call the Health Center (616.395.7585) for more details.

It is recommended that each student and employee maintain a supply of COVID-19 self tests (aka “home tests”). These can be used for rapid diagnosis of symptoms or for their own asymptomatic (“peace of mind”) testing.

Surveillance testing (sampling of asymptomatic individuals) will not take place unless the local COVID-19 Community Level elevates sufficiently and local conditions warrant. Wastewater testing will continue to provide aggregate data regarding the local presence of COVID-19 infections.

Per guidance from the NCAA, there are no additional testing requirements for student-athletes.

Isolation(Positive Test)

If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, they are responsible to isolate for 5 days regardless of vaccination status in accordance with CDC guidelines. During this time, the individual should not attend class or work and should remain separate from others to the extent possible.

Students needing to isolate are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent (i.e., non-Hope) residence by a private vehicle and safely isolate themselves at home. See the “Student Isolation Location” section below for more details.

Students and employees are responsible for notifying their professors and any work supervisors or coaches of the need to isolate. They are also responsible to inform any close contacts* of their exposure to COVID-19 and advise them to consult this document and the CDC guidelines for further instruction. Additional notification to the college is not required, and professors will not be notified by college personnel of student absences.

For isolation, Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or a positive viral test, and Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms developed (for those with symptoms) or the test specimen was collected (for those without symptoms). Isolation ends after the conclusion of Day 5 if the individual is fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and their symptoms are improving. A subsequent negative COVID-19 test cannot eliminate the 5-day isolation or shorten the duration.

A person who isolates is responsible to wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) through the conclusion of Day 10 any time they are around others inside their home or in public, and should not go to places where they are unable to wear a mask. They should not travel through the conclusion of Day 10. Masking and travel restrictions can be discontinued prior to Day 10 with two (2) sequential negative antigen tests 48 hours apart.

If a person gets very sick from COVID-19 or has a weakened immune system, they should isolate for at least 10 days and consult their doctor before ending isolation.

* A close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from a confirmed COVID-19 infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting 2 days before the infected person developed symptoms or tested positive.

Student Isolation Location

Students needing to isolate are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent (i.e., non-Hope) residence by a private vehicle and safely isolate themselves at home. If they are unable to return to their permanent residence, students who reside on and off campus should isolate-in-place at their college residence and should only leave their room for restroom, food, medical appointments and to go outside. For situations involving a roommate, the isolating student and all roommates should wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) in the room while awake.

  • The isolating individual should not have sustained interactions with others and should wear a mask at all times when not in the room or when the roommate is present and awake.
  • No one other than the official residents should enter a living unit while someone is isolating there.
  • Roommates or friends can bring meals to the isolating student. For those on a meal plan, the student’s ID can be used to obtain self-service carryout meals from the dining halls.

Students will not be reimbursed for tuition, room, board or other fees due to isolation.

Under specific circumstances, high-risk close contact housing is an option for exposed students who are moderately or severely immunocompromised as defined by the CDC. If that student lives in college housing and is sharing a bedroom with a COVID-19 positive student, they can call the Health Center (616.395.7585) to discuss this option. In all cases, the Health Center will make the final determination of whether the exposed individual is eligible for high risk close contact housing. Students in high-risk close contact housing will continue to attend class and use the dining halls as normal. If a student in high-risk close contact housing tests positive, they will vacate high-risk close contact housing and return to their normal on-campus housing upon notification of the test result.

Student Academic Work While in Isolation

Students are responsible for notifying their professors of their need to isolate. Additional notification to the college is not required, and professors will not be notified by college personnel of student absences.

Upon knowing they need to isolate, a student is responsible for contacting each of their professors about materials and assignments that will be missed. Professors should coordinate with students to ensure that any materials or assignments missed during an isolation absence are provided in the most timely and effective manner possible. When appropriate and effective, professors are encouraged to facilitate real-time participation via Google Meet or equivalent methods.

Students who visit the Health Center will be provided with proof of their appointment. Should the student wish to do so, they can provide that proof to the professor. However, for many student COVID-19 absences (including home tests) such proof does not exist. Professors should develop plans for missed classes due to isolation in light of the medical needs of the student.

Exposure to Covid

Persons who have had recent confirmed or suspected exposure to a COVID-19 infected person that meets the criteria for close contact* should wear a high-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) for 10 days around others when indoors in public and should receive testing 5 or more days after exposure (or sooner, if they are symptomatic), regardless of their vaccination status. Quarantine of exposed persons is no longer recommended or required, regardless of vaccination status. 

Students who are close contacts* who start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should isolate (per the guidance above) and call the Health Center (616.395.7585) to schedule a test.

* A close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from a confirmed COVID-19 infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting 2 days before the infected person developed symptoms or tested positive.

Vaccines

All students, employees and visitors to campus are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines

Students who desire a vaccine dose (including a booster) can call the Health Center (616.395.7585) to schedule an appointment. Multiple options are available, including both subunit protein (Novavax) and mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccines.

While COVID-19 vaccination is not required for activities on the Hope College campus, some off-campus programs and experiences facilitated by other organizations (e.g,. internships, study abroad programs) may include a vaccination requirement.

Masks

Wearing a mask is optional throughout the campus of Hope College with the exception of the Health Center (where masks are required per CDC guidance for healthcare settings), those who are isolating, and anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19.

In a small number of academic instructional spaces (classes, labs, performances, etc.) a professor may request that all those present wear a mask where the circumstances of the activity or an individual participant necessitate masking. Students are expected to comply with this request for the safety of all members of the class.

Consistent with the mission and core values of Hope College it is expected that all students, employees and visitors will honor any requests from others to wear a mask. In support of this expectation, it is recommended that each student and employee maintains their own supply of well-fitting face masks while on campus, and that everyone carries a mask with them at all times.

When a mask is needed, one that fully covers the nose and mouth is required. In all situations, cloth masks are not recommended, and high-quality masks or respirators (e.g., N95) are preferred.

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 at Hope College, please email campushealth@hope.edu.