Return to Campus Guidelines

From: VP Julie DeGraw
To: Students
Posted: June 15, 2020 at 11:48 a.m.

Dear Students, 

We are excited to welcome you back to campus this August. As you can imagine, we are hard at work preparing the campus in order to create a safe and healthy living-learning campus environment.

Today, we are sharing a few updates in regards to the residential aspect of campus life. As you know, the residence halls are not only the place where our students sleep and study, they are their “home away from home” and are an important part of a student’s education. Students (residential and non-residential) gather, study, and engage in our residence halls throughout the day and night. It is our desire to allow students the opportunity to engage with their peers, but we also have a responsibility to protect the entire residential community from COVID-19 exposure risks. With this in mind, Student Affairs will be implementing the following requirements in the residential buildings:

Residential Student Face-Covering Guidelines:

Strict face-covering expectations will be in place for students living in the residence halls the first weeks (14-days) of the semester. If these guidelines are followed and there are no reported COVID-19 positive cases in the particular residence hall, the residential hall will be permitted to move to a less restrictive face-covering guideline.

Prior to August 31, 2020

  1. All residential students living in a residence hall are required to wear a face covering in all parts of the residential building except when in their own bedroom (with agreement from their roommate) and shower.
  2. Residential students residing in the Promenade Apartments are required to wear a face-covering in all parts of the building except within their own apartment (with agreement from others in the apartment).
  3. Residential students residing in the Sorority Housing Complex or the German House are required to wear a face-covering in all parts of the complex or building except within their own community house or floor (German House).
  4. All visitors (non-occupants of the particular residence hall or apartment) are required to wear a face-covering at all times while in the residence hall or apartment.

Starting August 31, 2020 (if previous requirements are followed and there are not positive cases in a building)

  1. Residential student occupants of a particular residence hall will be encouraged, but not required, to wear face-coverings within their particular residence hall. 
  2. Residential students residing in the Promenade Apartments will be encouraged, but not required, to wear face-coverings in other apartments within their particular apartment building.
  3. All visitors (non-occupants of the particular residence hall or apartment building) are required to wear face-covering at all times while in the residential building.

Guest and Visitation Limitations:

  1. No overnight visitors will be permitted in the residence halls. This would include any sibling, friend, or prospective student visitor.
  2. Non-residential students and non-student visitors will not be allowed to visit or be present on the residential floors. This includes a residential student’s personal bedroom, the floor’s lounge(s), and the floor’s bathrooms.
  3. Non-residential student or non-student visitors wanting to visit a residential student in their residence hall, they may do so, but only in public lounge areas located on the first or ground floor. These public spaces will be clearly identified with signage.
  4. Residential student visitors from other residence halls will be allowed to visit other residential students.

Community Lounge Areas and Kitchen Spaces within Residence Halls:

In order to minimize student exposure to COVID-19 within the residence hall community and kitchen spaces, we are requiring the following:

Public and Floor Lounge Areas:

  1. Every community space and/or floor lounge will be assessed and assigned a maximum occupancy allowed to ensure proper physical distancing. Signage will be provided to alert people to the occupancy limits in a space.
  2. The occupancy of the lounge will be monitored and enforced by the residential life staff.
  3. Each community space and its furnishings will be reconfigured to ensure proper physical distancing.
  4. Residential life will place appropriate restrictions on events and social activities (per the current physical distancing guidance) in these community spaces.
  5. Masks will be required to be worn in all community spaces until August 31 by all students.  After August 31, residential students of that building will be encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask. All visitors will still be required to wear a mask.

Community Kitchen Spaces:

  1. Community kitchen occupancy will also be limited (same standard as lounge spaces).
  2. Residential Life will not loan out any cooking equipment.  Individuals who intend to cook will need to bring their own supplies and they must be kept in their rooms.
  3. Students will be expected to clean up after themselves following any cooking in the community kitchen.
  4. If students fail to abide by these policies and expectations, the community spaces and/or kitchens will be closed for student use (length of closure determined by RLC).

Town Hall Reminder:

As a reminder, there is a Town Hall for returning students scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, noon to 1 p.m. Central time. Members of the Incident Command Team as well as various other staff members and I will be present to answer questions you may have about the plan. Please email any questions you may have in advance of the meeting to Vice President DeGraw at  julie.degraw@valpo.edu so we can be prepared to address your questions in a timely fashion. You may access the meeting by clicking the following:  Returning Student Town Hall Meeting Access Link.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with these expectations. It is our hope that by following these guidelines, we will be able to minimize the potential impact of COVID-19 on campus. Following these guidelines will allow us to continue on-campus and in-person University operations.