COVID-19 Protocols for the New Semester

With the spring semester beginning shortly, it’s important to remember all the COVID-19 protocols that need to be followed.


Graphic by Zainab Imam

Bee Bishop, Staff Writer

With the start of the 2022 spring semester close at hand and the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in the background, COD is beginning to enforce the weekly testing guidelines they had put in place last November. Any student who disregards these protocols will be subject to discipline up to and including expulsion. This is in regards to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Executive Order 2021-20. The order mandated higher education institutions to require proof of vaccination or weekly negative COVID-19 tests for all students, staff and faculty to be on campus for extended periods of time. 

To stay in compliance, COD had set up the following protocols last semester.

All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face mask while indoors, except when actively eating or drinking. The mask should completely cover an individual’s nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of their face. More information about the mask protocol can be found here

For students who are fully vaccinated, COD has a submission process for vaccination information. Students may follow these steps to submit their information. According to the CDC, an individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 20 COD Vice President Jim Bente reported that 2,605 staff members have submitted vaccination cards and 6,421 students have submitted theirs. 

If an individual is ineligible for a vaccine because of a medical or religious reason, the person may request a medical or religious exemption. Information to obtain an exemption can be found here

If an individual is not fully vaccinated, chooses not to get vaccinated or has a medical or religious exemption, the person must adhere to weekly COVID-19 testing. An individual must be tested a week before arriving on campus. Any individual who needs weekly testing will receive an email stating that they are required to test in order to be on campus. More information about testing can be found here.

Additionally, the McAninch Art Center is requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a time sensitive negative test in order to attend performances. These requirements must be met regardless of what age the audience member is. At-home tests will not be accepted as suitable for entry. More information for the latest COVID-19 policy for the MAC can be found here

The administration has decided to shift the first two weeks of the spring 2022 semester to online learning. In-person classes and hybrid courses will be taught remotely until Feb. 7, unless the administration states otherwise. However, the COD campus will not be closing. Services will still be available for in-person meetings. Bente said in an interview all the precautions are about minimizing health risks.

“We’re not trying to keep everybody off campus,” he said. “We’re not closing the campus. We’re not shutting down operations. We’re just trying to reduce the footprint to make it safer for everybody.”

Instructors will have on their class rosters which students have been cleared for on-campus activities. Any individual who is required to test but has failed to do so will be disciplined if they attempt to show up on-campus. According to Bente, the consequences will follow what the college already has in place for other violations of the Student Code of Conduct. More information about the Student Code of Conduct can be found here

“If you’re instructed by the Dean of Students not to show up on campus because you’re violating our COVID protocol,” Bente said. “Yeah, there will be consequences, and it’ll be progessive discipline through the Dean of Students Office.”

COD has also stated, in a school wide email sent Jan. 6, that refunds will not be offered in regards to any actions the college takes to adhere to any executive orders. Bente said that the normal refund policy is still in place for individuals who choose to drop classes for other reasons. 

According to the Student Registration Calendar, “100% refund of tuition & fees will be granted during the first 7% of the number of calendar days in the session based on the start date of the class. 50% refund of tuition & fees will only be granted during the first 8-12% of the number of calendar days in the session based on the start date of the class. The refund dates will be rounded down.”

If a student tests positive for COVID they will be notified by the administration and given instructions on how to properly isolate. Any student who finds that they need accommodation relating to quarantine or isolation should contact the Center for Access and Accommodations

Bente announced at the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 20 that COD administration is looking to have an answer for when in-person classes can resume on campus by 28. Currently, classes are scheduled to be back on campus on Feb 7. Individuals who are required to test need to make sure to visit the testing center, located in Student Resource Center room 2000, during operating hours on Jan. 31, Feb. 1, and Feb. 2. Bente also wanted to continue to encourage students to get vaccinated and to submit their vaccinating information.