Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this semester will look a little bit different at Ripon College. Our largest concern is the safety of everyone on our campus. We understand there will be several questions regarding everyone’s return, and we’ve done our best to answer some of our frequently asked questions. You can get started by picking from one of the following categories:
- Self-screening/COVID-19 symptoms
- Student Life
If you aren’t sure which category to choose, please scroll through the FAQs below. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for below, please call 920-748-8351. Let’s have a safe semester together!
What is the testing plan for Spring 2021?
Because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and across the country, students in residence, as well as faculty and staff who plan to work on campus, will be required to have a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) COVID test before being allowed to begin the spring semester. The College will provide ample opportunities in the days leading up to the start of the semester for students and employees to get tested, free of charge. The College also will require students and employees, who are randomly selected, to get tested approximately once a month during the spring semester as part of the institution’s surveillance testing program. The College will provide these tests free of charge. You must refrain from eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking for one hour prior to your test.
Consistent with the fall 2020 semester, if students are experiencing symptoms they should contact Health Services immediately to schedule a test.
What type of test is being administered? How accurate is it?
We are partnering with Covigilance labs to provide a molecular test that detects the genetic material of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using saliva as opposed to the nasal swab that was used in the fall semester. This test has high accuracy (>99%) compared to nasal swab tests, is non-invasive and allows for a timely turnaround.
Do I need to take a test if I’ve tested positive in the past 90 days?
No. Proof of positive test results should be submitted to Campus Health Services at [email protected].
What if I refuse to take the test?
All members of the campus community who will be on campus at any point during the spring semester are required to be tested every time they are instructed to do so. A student who fails to take a test will have their OneCard access shut off until the test is taken.
What will happen after the test?
Until the morning of Thursday, Jan. 28, when we expect our entire student body and all employees working on campus will have received their COVID testing results, ALL students and employees will be asked to minimize personal contact with other individuals. Students will be asked to remain in residence halls except to get food from grab-and-go at the Commons, the Spot or Starbucks, or when going outside for exercise. Non-essential College employees should work from home until Thursday. With the exemption of Residence Life staff, on-campus student employment will be suspended during this period as well.
Test results are typically available 48 hours after testing. Testing results will be available via Point and Click. Information about Point and Click will be given at the testing event. If you test positive, Kathy Welch, campus nurse, will be contacting you with further instructions. If you test negative, you will not receive any additional notification from the College.
What if I test positive?
You will be notified by Kathy Welch, campus nurse, on the next steps that need to be taken. If you are asymptomatic and test positive, you will be isolated for 10 days from the date of testing. If you are symptomatic and test positive, you will be isolated for 10 days from the start of symptoms.
What if I test negative?
You can continue with your normal routine, unless you are notified that you are a close contact of someone with a positive test.
However, a negative test is just a snapshot of time. You will need to continue with safe practices and monitoring of symptoms.
My friend tested positive. I tested negative. What’s next?
If you are listed as a close contact to someone who tested positive, you will be asked to quarantine for 10 days if you do not get tested and exhibit zero symptoms. This can change to 7 days if you get a negative test and exhibit zero symptoms. Please review this PDF for a detailed quarantine timeline from Fond du Lac County.
Are there different scenarios for operations, given current COVID-19 activity?
Yes. We have adopted a Green/Yellow/Red framework that will allow us to have flexibility should positive cases occur on campus.
How will the campus community be made aware of COVID-19 cases on campus?
We will update a community dashboard on a weekly basis with current COVID-19 data, including the number of active cases, percentage of isolation and quarantine beds in use, and current campus planning phase.
What is the College’s mask policy?
Cloth masks or approved face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and in outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained. The full policy, which includes more details about possible exceptions, can be found here.
What cleaning precautions will we be taking?
Housekeeping and college staff will be cleaning and disinfecting (one step better than sanitizing) each facility daily. We are disinfecting each classroom in between every class using electrostatic technology. We are disinfecting high-touch surfaces three times a day and restrooms and showers at least twice a day. Over the next few months, we will be installing needlepoint plasma technology that purifies the air and builds ions in the air that actively attack the coronavirus, kills it and makes it heavier than air so it drops to the ground. We are utilizing proactive and reactive technology to maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Will college-sanctioned travel for employees or on-campus visitors be allowed?
No college-sanctioned travel will be allowed except with pre-approval of your vice president. It is possible to have on-campus visitors for admissions and essential third-party vendors. All other visitors to campus are strongly discouraged.
Will campus events be open to the community?
All on-campus events, including classes and other meetings, are restricted to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff. Events like Catalyst Day will be held online and will be available for parents and the community to view virtually.
Do I have to monitor and report my symptoms every day?
The CDC and the Fond du Lac County Health Department recommend the use of daily self-screening as an important tool in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In the Campus Community Pledge, all members of our community asserted that they would monitor symptoms on a daily basis.
In order to make that process easier and to ensure that community members are symptom free before entering certain buildings, Ripon College has adopted the #CampusClear app, which can be downloaded to your smartphone or can be accessed via a web browser. You can access #CampusClear in your app store on your mobile device, or by following the links below:
More information can be found on the Reunite Ripon tab of my.ripon.edu. The #CampusClear interface is a daily single question asking you to enter any symptoms you may have or to certify that you are symptom free. If you are symptom free, you will be given a FastPass for the day that can be shown to gain access to Pickard Commons and Willmore Center. If you are not symptom free, you will be given instructions as to how to proceed.
What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?
If you are a student, we ask that you call Health Services at 920-748-8141. For any call that needs to be made after hours, please call Ripon Medical Center at 920-748-3101. A healthcare provider will give you instructions on how to proceed. If you are a faculty or staff member, please contact your local health provider.
I want to return for an extra semester or year. Has the College made any special provisions for students?
Yes. You may be eligible for the Ripon College Plus Semester(s) program. Eligible students interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will have their tuition waived for their ninth semester or fifth year.
Will students be allowed to travel off-campus for college-sponsored programs or activities?
College-sponsored off-campus trips involving groups of students traveling together in vans or buses are generally prohibited for the spring semester 2021.
Organizations and faculty members may request an exception to this prohibition. Exceptions must be granted by either the Dean of Students (for student groups or Student Life needs) or the Dean of Faculty (for class field study or trips). Requests for exceptions must be made at least seven days in advance of the planned trip.
Will I be permitted to leave campus?
The College strongly discourages travel off campus during the spring semester. We understand that extraordinary circumstances may arise. The College asks community members to carefully consider the potential impact of personal travel, especially over weekends, on individual and community health.
In addition, some states or local governments have implemented travel restrictions that must be followed. These restrictions include stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantine upon arrival and possible state border closures. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the website for state or local health departments where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination.
Will visitors and outside speakers be allowed on campus?
Visitors will be significantly limited on campus. Events with outside speakers are expected to be held remotely.
Can I opt out of the meal plan?
The meal plan is required unless you have been released through an accommodation.
Will kitchens be available in the residence halls?
Yes, we expect that kitchens will continue to be available in residence halls, with some modifications.
Will students be able to eat together in the dining halls?
Students will be able to eat together in the dining halls starting Thursday, January 28th. Until then, students can get food from grab-and-go at the Commons, the Spot or Starbucks.
After January 28, campus dining spaces will be set up to accommodate physical distancing. Further details are forthcoming regarding the enforcement of physical distancing in campus dining spaces, including the potential of assigned times for eating lunch.
What will campus dining be like this spring?
Dining services by SAGE will remain similar to what was provided in the fall. SAGE will continue to provide a variety of fresh grab-and-go and hot meal options for campus this spring. Once students are allowed to eat together in the commons starting on January 28, physical distancing and structured eating times will continue to be enforced to ensure the safety and health of SAGE employees, students, faculty and staff. SAGE’s health and safety information can be found in the Reunite Ripon section of the portal.
Am I required to quarantine at home before coming to campus?
We strongly encourage students to take every personal precaution (social distancing, masking, etc.) to limit your possible exposure to COVID-19 before coming to campus. These expectations are clearly articulated in the new Spring Ripon Pledge, which all on-campus students, faculty and staff are required to sign by Jan. 22, 2021.
When should I plan to arrive on campus?
Move-in for the general student population will begin Friday, Jan. 22. Students have been assigned staggered move-in dates and times and should refer to their ripon.edu email for instructions. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to Mark Nicklaus, director of residence life, at [email protected]
Will I be required to quarantine upon arrival in Wisconsin?
We will follow all quarantine guidelines from the Fond du Lac County Health Department. Wisconsin does not currently have any travel restrictions for those coming from other states.
Will I be required to quarantine right when I get to campus?
Unless a student has tested positive for COVID-19, students will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please contact Campus Health Services at 920-748-8141 for further direction. If you are currently in your isolation period, as directed by your county health department, you should not come to campus until you are cleared by a healthcare professional.
Am I required to get a COVID-19 test prior to coming to campus?
We encourage students, particularly those traveling from far away, to get a COVID-19 test prior to your return to campus. While you will be required to get a test upon arrival to campus, a test closer to your place of residence would allow you to quarantine at home if you were to test positive.
Can my parents accompany me on move-in day?
We are asking each student to bring no more than two move-in helpers with them. This will help us cut down on traffic in building entrances, stairwells and hallways, and again, allow for better social distancing. Parents also will be required to observe social distancing and masking requirements on campus.
Will isolation housing be available for students who test positive for COVID-19?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be encouraged to isolate at their homes, but there are a number of isolation rooms with private bathrooms available on-campus.
When will students be required to quarantine?
Students who have had direct exposure to a positive case but have not yet had a confirmed test themselves. This would include symptomatic students who are awaiting testing results.
How many students will be allowed in a room at one time?
The maximum number of people allowed in student rooms INCLUDING the occupants is:
- 4 people for a standard double room (including double-as-single rooms)
- 3 people for a designed single room
- 8 people for a suite (spread out throughout suite to comply with physical distancing)
- 8 people for an apartment (spread out throughout the apartment to comply with physical distancing)
Will students be required to wear a mask in residence halls?
Yes. Students within an assigned living space are considered a “family unit” and masks do not need to be worn in this area.
Am I permitted to have visitors in my on-campus residence?
We strongly discourage students from inviting outside guests to campus.
Will the daily course schedule change?
The daily schedule of classes has been modified to reduce crowding during passing times and during lunch, when safe food service will be under the most pressure. Students will be given assigned lunch periods, which will appear in their course schedule along with their classes.
How do I find out which courses are online and which are face-to-face?
All students are likely to have courses in a variety of formats, whether fully online, face-to-face in a classroom, or in a hybrid style with some face-to-face and some online components.
Students have access to this information both on a full Schedule of Courses on MyRipon and on their own personal course schedules. For fully online courses, they will also see a notation about whether the course is synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination (see 3.).
What does it mean for a course to be “online,” “hybrid” or “face-to-face”?
“Online” — this is a fully online course; neither the student nor the instructor would need to be on campus at any time during the semester to complete the course. An online course may be offered in several ways:
- Synchronous — the course meets “live” during the scheduled class period (on Zoom, for instance)
- Asynchronous — students complete activities and assignments on their own time, meeting deadlines set by the instructor.
- Combination — the course involves some “live” meetings during the class period and some activities done on the student’s own time.
- “Hybrid” — this kind of course may come in different varieties but involves both some face-to-face time and some online components. Therefore, students will need to be on campus to participate in a hybrid course.
- “Face-to-face” — a traditional Ripon class, in which students and the instructor meet on class days in a classroom.
How did the College decide which courses are fully online and which will meet in person?
The College’s goal was to have an appropriate mix of course options for the fall. Decisions also were made based on social distancing guidelines for classrooms that had an impact on space constraints and availability. Finally, faculty were given the choice to determine the modality that best suited their courses.
What if I am concerned about being on campus and want all online courses?
Students who wish to make changes to their schedules should contact their academic advisors or the Office of the Registrar Office. The Office of the Registrar will process adds/drops through email communication.
Ripon College is not able to offer all courses in both an online and a face-to-face format. However, students wishing to pursue a fully online schedule should consult with their academic advisors and the Registrar.
Would a course ever switch to a different format during the semester?
There are cases in which a F2F or hybrid course might need to become a fully online course during the semester:
- The Dean of Faculty asks the instructor to move the course fully online (perhaps temporarily) because multiple students in the course are in self-quarantine or isolation, or COVID-19 interferes with in-person instruction in other ways.
- The instructor needs to move the course fully online because of self-quarantine or diagnosis, or wishes to move the course fully online for other reasons.
- The entire campus switches to remote learning, as we did in March 2020.
Will there be health and safety precautions in classrooms?
Yes. The Plant Department has established safe physical distancing for every classroom. Classroom capacities have been reduced, and seating has been arranged to allow for 6 feet of distance between occupants. Classroom doors will be kept open to allow for better ventilation. The Plant Department will sanitize classrooms between uses with a hydrostatic cleaner.
Students are asked to choose a seat in their classes during the first week and then to stay in that same seat throughout the semester. Faculty have been encouraged to keep seating charts for their classes, in case they might be needed for contact tracing.
How do I continue my classwork if I have to self-quarantine or isolate?
Faculty will have flexible attendance policies and will make arrangements for students to complete assignments who miss class time because of illness, self-quarantine and/or isolation. Continuity of instruction for all students is important. Faculty are not obligated to live-stream face-to-face class sessions for students who are unable to be in the classroom.
Will any Ripon team compete during the spring semester?
The Midwest Conference has canceled all winter sports competition. Winter and fall sports are planning limited competition with a select number of nearby colleges for a shortened season. No decision has been made about the spring sports season yet. Please consult individual coaches for further details.
When will students know if spring teams can compete in the spring semester?
The Midwest Conference President’s Council approved the plan put forth by the MWC COVID Working Group to proceed with an abbreviated conference schedule for spring sports. The completion of that season is dependent on following the protocols set forth by the COVID Working Group.
Will Willmore Center remain open this spring?
Yes. In accordance with campus, local, state and federal guidelines, the same health and safety protocols from the fall will continue in the spring so the Ripon community can stay active. This will include room capacity limits, spacing of equipment, enhanced cleaning protocols, and requirements for physical distancing and masking. Facility schedules and guidelines will be posted as soon as they are finalized.
If I’m a senior and our fall or winter games get pushed to the spring with an adjusted schedule, how will that affect my eligibility with the NCAA?
Under NCAA rules, students will not use a season of eligibility if their team does not compete during the traditional sport season. The NCAA has issued a blanket waiver regarding eligibility concerns for teams who play a limited number of contests, or whose seasons end prematurely.
If I had planned to come back for a fifth year in fall 2020, will I still have eligibility left next fall?