COVID-19 Fall Term FAQ

Do you have a question that isn’t covered by this FAQ? Contact us.

If You Feel Sick

What should I do if I feel sick, or have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are experiencing critical or life-threatening symptoms, you should call 911 or go to your local hospital emergency department.

If symptoms are less severe, please call Wilcox Medical Center at (989) 463-7181. If there is no answer, please leave a message. You can also make an appointment online with MidMichigan Urgent Care – Alma at this link.

Students, staff and faculty should also be completing their Daily Health Screening on the Plaid Protects app and mark their symptoms there. Indicating symptoms on the app will prompt a nurse to call you.

I have called and left a message at Wilcox Medical Center and I’m waiting to hear back from them. Alternately, I’m waiting to be seen by my healthcare provider. What should I do while I wait?

If you are experiencing symptoms and are waiting to be seen by a medical professional, or waiting on test results, you should:

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing
  • Stay in your apartment or residence hall room — do not go to work, meetings, classes or athletic events
  • Have food delivered or get your meals to-go, if possible

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for at least 10 days. Isolation can end and students can return to classes when they are without symptoms for 24 hours and cleared by the nurse on-call.

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who feel ill and are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test should not go to class and must contact the Wilcox Medical Center. Students should also contact their professors and discuss potential options in addressing their absence. For additional assistance in addressing academic plans and questions, students may also consult with the Director of Student Success, Dr. Phil Andre (989-463-7430, andre@alma.edu).

Screening and Testing

If I have already had COVID-19 (more than 90 days ago), but have not been vaccinated, do I still have to get tested for COVID-19 when I return to campus in the fall? 

Yes, if it has been past 90 days, you must participate in periodic (weekly) rapid surveillance testing and/or periodic testing required for athletic participation.

If I have been vaccinated and am exposed to COVID-19, do I have to quarantine?

If you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, you need get tested 4 to 5 days after your initial exposure. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you need to test immediately. You should wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer while you are waiting on the result of your test.

You do not need to quarantine while you are waiting on the results of your test. Depending on the result of your test, you may need to quarantine.

Employees can work at their offices while they are waiting on the results of their test, if they are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Employees should wear a face covering at all times while they waiting on the results of their test.

If I have not been vaccinated and am exposed to COVID-19, do I have to quarantine?

Yes, you should immediately quarantine. If you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, you need get tested 4 to 5 days after your initial exposure. If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you need to test immediately. You should wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer while you are waiting on the result of your test. You will need to follow this guidance even if you have had COVID-19 (more than 90 days ago).

A negative COVID-19 test result during quarantine will not reduce or end quarantine. The only people excluded from quarantine are those who have been infected with COVID-19 within the last 90 days or are fully vaccinated for two or more weeks prior to exposure. 

People who are not vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 cannot return to class or the office for at least 10 days — and they must have a negative COVID-19 test result before they do. 

Will face coverings be required when I go back to campus?

Yes. Based on guidance from the CDC and our local health department, Alma College will require everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Face coverings are not required outdoors, in your residence hall room, while you are actively eating, during college-sponsored athletic activity under coach supervision, or when you are alone in your office or work space.

Face coverings are required to be worn over the nose and mouth.

Housing and Residence Life

I am a returning student. How might housing and residence life be different than what took place in 2020-21?

Additional occupancy limits in common areas of residence halls have been lifted. Gatherings are permitted in residence hall shared spaces.

Students will have ID card access to all residence halls from 7 a.m. to midnight, and their own residence halls at all times. This is a return to our standard ID card access practices.

Students may use any bathroom in any residence hall; bathrooms will not be assigned to specific individuals.

The college still requires residency for all students unless a student has a documented accommodation or otherwise meets the qualifications for a residency exemption. If you have a qualifying need that is not met by your current housing arrangement, contact Disability Support Services to begin the accommodation process.

When is move in taking place? 

Move in day for first-year students is Thursday, Aug. 26, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Move in days for returning students are Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How can I sign up for a move in time?

Sign up information for move in times will be sent out Aug. 9.

Is the college taking any special precautions centered around move in? What do I need to know before I come to Alma?

For more information about special precautions the college is requiring for move in, visit the Housing and Residence Life page on the Plaid Protects website.

What is the college’s policy regarding guests in residence hall rooms, and how is the policy affected by COVID-19?

Guests and visitation in college-owned housing will be reinstated in phases. Given the current state of the pandemic, the fall term will begin with as few restrictions as possible, while still emphasizing the importance of basic community standards like hand-washing and staying home when experiencing even mild symptoms.

Our phase will be reviewed regularly, and phases may be moved forward or backward. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions are in place:

  • Student: An Alma College student living in a college-owned housing unit.
  • Visitor: An Alma College student who is visiting a college-owned housing unit to which they are not assigned.
  • Guest: A person who is not an Alma College student, faculty, or staff who is visiting college-owned housing.

Phase I

  • Standard guest and visitor policy and event policies in place without additional restrictions.

Phase II

  • Limited visitors are permitted in college-owned housing
    • Alma College students may visit other Alma College students in their rooms without restrictions, aside from those applicable under standard visitation policies and fire codes.
    • Outside (non-student) guests are not permitted.
  • Small social events (25 attendees or fewer) without alcohol present are permitted in college-owned housing. The event attendees include any individuals present in the house, including those in individual rooms. Social events must comply with all relevant college policies, including social distancing policies.

Phase III

  • No guests or visitors are permitted in college-owned housing.
  • No social events in college-owned housing.

Quarantine, Testing and Vaccinations

Will I be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 when I go back to campus?

Becoming vaccinated for COVID-19 is a personal choice. The more people in our campus community who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, the more likely it is that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms allowed by fewer restrictions. While we are not mandating vaccination, we strongly encourage all members of our campus community to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the beginning of the fall term.

Will the college continue to offer quarantine space on campus this term?

Campus accommodations for quarantine or isolation will be extremely limited, so all students should make a personal plan to quarantine off campus should that be necessary; in addition, faculty will not be required to provide virtual class options for students in quarantine.

Will the college refund room and board charges for students who are required to quarantine off-campus due to COVID-19?

No. Due to the fixed nature of costs for room and board for the fall term, no refunds are available for students who are required to quarantine.

I heard that the college is testing wastewater on campus for COVID-19. I have privacy concerns about that — will the college be testing wastewater for anything besides COVID-19?

We are cognizant of privacy concerns raised by testing wastewater. However, wastewater alone will not identify individuals who have COVID-19 — it will only help identify from which area on campus the wastewater came. The college is only testing wastewater for the presence of COVID-19, not any other medical conditions or substances.

Will everyone truly be required to take their temperature every day? What should I do if I feel sick?

Just like last year, every day, before leaving their residence, all members of the campus community — students (both residential and those living off campus), faculty and staff — must record their temperature and complete risk screening questions in a Daily Screening Form. The college provides a thermometer to all students.

Will the college offer vaccine clinics on-campus this term?

Vaccines are readily available in our community at various locations not far from campus. To find a location where you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine,

Depending on interest from the campus community, Alma College may host an on-campus vaccine clinic this term.

Is Alma College going to verify its students are vaccinated?

Students will be required to indicate vaccine status via a web form prior to move in and unvaccinated students will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test at move in.

College Visits

Will the college continue to host visitors on campus this term? What precautions are being put in place to ensure their safety and the safety of those on campus?

Prior to their visit, prospective Alma College students will receive a registration confirmation email and an email that outlines additional precautions/steps for the visit.

On the day of their visit, admissions visitors will check in at the Reid-Knox Administration building (which houses the Admissions Office). Once inside the building, they will complete a COVID-19 health screen before checking in for their visit. All check in equipment will be sanitized before and after use.

Personal protective equipment is available for admissions visitors as needed.

Employees

Is Alma College going to verify its employees are vaccinated?

Alma College is encouraging its employees to be vaccinated. Vaccination information will be submitted via web form, which has been emailed to all employees. Standard exceptions, such as for medical or religious reasons, will be permitted.