Together Safely: Student Life

Last updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Guided by a comprehensive set of public health protocols, Albion College will return to full operations, including on-campus housing and dining services, academic and student support and co-curricular activities, this fall. Over the coming weeks, we will be updating this page regularly as more information about our plans for campus life in fall 2020 becomes available.

Students can submit requests to travel and work off-campus, receive visitors to campus, or manage their travel as a commuter student using the forms below:

A member of our staff will be in contact within three business days to discuss the request.

Life on Campus

While life on campus may look a little different this fall, our faculty and staff are working hard to ensure that the semester is safe, engaging and fun. We have made adjustments to campus programming to ensure that students feel connected while staying healthy by following our health and safety guidelines.

Will activities still happen on campus?

Yes. In-person classes are already small and easily adaptable to social-distancing guidelines. Many activities, including the annual fall play, will still occur in person following public health protocols. Albion has installed several outside tents, created several outside instruction areas for classes, moved fitness equipment outside, and will be adding outside fire pits throughout campus in the coming days. Campus is already buzzing with activity!

Can students leave campus?

Yes, students are able to leave campus. We have not defined a perimeter around campus. We are a college town. “Campus” to us includes many locations in Albion like local businesses and parks, and extends beyond College property. New locations are being added daily as we verify health and safety protocols. The measures allow us to manage risk, not to limit movement.

Can students leave Albion?

Students can request permission to leave the area we have defined as campus (inclusive of most of the City of Albion) for a wide variety of reasons. Requesting permission involves a brief conversation with a College administrator to understand and evaluate the risk of exposure. This case-by-case approach, focused on education and risk assessment, is exactly what we do best as a small liberal arts college. If a student has a recurring reason (weekly, monthly, etc.) to leave campus, or if the student has a family emergency, they do not need to request permission each time.

Can students have visitors on campus?

Yes, families and guests are welcomed on Albion’s campus as long as they register with us, remain outside of our enclosed facilities, and agree to observe our health guidelines of staying physically distant and wearing masks.

Guests may not enter or stay in any residential facilities, including apartments and fraternity houses, for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Can students have an off-campus job during the Fall Semester?

Students may work in an off-campus job if:

  1. the employer is located within 25 miles of campus and has all employees participating in Albion College's testing protocol; or
  2. they have a residency requirement waiver, live in non-college owned housing, and agree to take their classes only online.

Otherwise, residential and in-person students should not work off campus. This policy will operate on an honor system. Students who wish to take classes in person and participate in on-campus activities but need to work should work on campus. Students who wish to work off-campus should fill out the Fall Off-Campus Work Request form.

Adjusting Plans

We understand that during this unique year, student plans may change. Our team at the Cutler Center for Student Success is here to support students as they make decisions about their future at Albion.

How can students pursue a leave of absence or withdrawal?

  • A leave of absence is for students who need to take a temporary break from classes at Albion College for one or two semesters. A student on leave may participate in pre-registration, and some housing selection, if they let the college know of their intent to return by April 1 for a fall semester return and November 1 for a spring semester return. We will still take requests to return up the week before classes begin, but there will be limited class and housing options. A student on leave cannot live in Albion College residences or participate in athletics or campus activities while on leave.
  • A withdrawal is for students who are leaving Albion College and don’t plan to return.

All students who want to take a leave of absence or withdrawal must meet with a Cutler Center staff member (in-person, virtually, or over the phone). The Cutler Center staff member will help the student decide whether a leave of absence or a withdrawal is better in their situation and start the Leave/Withdrawal Intake form if the student has not already completed it. Students need to coordinate with Financial Aid and/or Student Accounts on the financial implications of their decision.

Students who wish to return from a leave must notify the College using this Intent to Return form by April 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester if they want to participate in the pre-registration process and have some housing selection.

Residential Life

Albion College and the Department of Residential Life are working around the clock to create plans for move-in and beyond that focus on the health and safety of our residential students. One of our goals is to foster community environments that are defined as “pod” or “clustered” family living units, where together, residents can create and honor expectations for living in a shared space. We anticipate that you will have the ownership of creating a sense of security and comfort amongst your family.

Albion Community Commitment

Listed below you will find answers to frequently asked questions. We will provide updates as appropriate and will continue to follow national, state, local and college guidance as we update our plans.

When will students move back to campus?

Move-in is scheduled by building, and there will be no early arrival move-ins. The move-in schedule below limits the number of students moving in on each day to accommodate physical distancing and to allow healthcare staff to conduct the required COVID-19 testing. Every student will receive an email confirmation of their move-in date on Wednesday, July 29, which will contain a link that can be used to reserve a move-in slot during one of two time blocks (either 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m). Students will also receive an email reminder 48 hours before their scheduled move-in slot with reminders and updates about check-in procedures. Students can arrive anytime during their scheduled time block. Please know that space is limited each of the time blocks.

  • Monday, August 10 - Students returning to Albion from outside the U.S. (primarily international students) to observe the CDC-recommended 14-day isolation period.
  • Wednesday, August 12 - Wesley Hall 2nd and 3rd floors, Seaton Hall 2nd and 3rd floors.
  • Thursday, August 13 - Wesley Hall Ground and 1st floors, Seaton Hall Ground and 1st floors.
  • Tuesday, August 18 - Whitehouse Hall 2nd and 3rd floors, Mitchell Towers 3rd and 4th floors.
  • Wednesday, August 19 - Whitehouse Hall Ground and 1st floors, Mitchell Towers 1st and 2nd floors, Ingham Hall, Fiske House.
  • Thursday, August 20 - Apartments: Mae, Munger, Burns, Briton, 416 Erie, 507 Erie, Munger House.
  • Friday, August 21 - Fraternity Houses.

Students are allowed up to two helpers to assist them in moving in. Say your goodbyes and good lucks before leaving home, and only travel with the people who are absolutely necessary to help you bring your belongings into your residence hall, apartment or fraternity house. Make sure you share a selfie or two with your families once you're moved in!

Students who are unable to move in during their assigned move-in date will not be permitted to move in early. Students who miss their move-in date should email . Students who show up to campus outside of their scheduled move-in dates will not be allowed to move in.

What precautions are students and helpers expected to take during move-in?

The following expectations are required of students and their helpers during the move-in process:

  • Students will be required to receive a COVID-19 test during the move-in process. Testing will be conducted with nasal swabs with a three-day turnaround, and will be provided with no direct cost to students. More information on the testing protocol here.
  • Students and their helpers will be required to wear masks/face coverings at all times during the move-in process, and are asked to do their best to maintain six feet of physical distance from other students and helpers, to protect each other from illness.
  • Students are reminded to limit the number of personal belongings they bring to campus. Students are prohibited from bringing large items (like furniture, large televisions, or wall-to-wall floor coverings), and only one mini-fridge and microwave are permitted per room. Remember that elevators will not be in operation and moving carts will not be available, so students should limit their packing to what they and their helpers can reasonably carry during their move-in time block.

Summer storage items will be delivered to student rooms before students return to campus. Students should email with questions related to items stored over the summer.

What safety procedures will be in place during move-in?

In order to provide a safe environment for students to move back to campus, the move-in process for Fall 2020 will include the following procedures:

  • Drive to the central check-in station at the Ferguson Hall parking lot (E. Erie St.) for contactless health screening and check-in process.
  • Remain in your vehicle for contactless health screening which will include:
  • Answering three questions related to COVID-19 symptoms:
    • In the past 24 hours have you experienced: a) Fever (100.4° or higher), b) Cough (excluding chronic cough due to known medical reasons), c) Shortness of breath, d) Sore throat, e) Diarrhea (excluding diarrhea due to known medical reasons) or f) Loss of taste or smell?
    • Have you had close contact in the last 14 days with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19?
    • Have you traveled on an airplane internationally in the last 14 days?
  • Have your temperature taken by a no-touch thermometer (must be under 100.4°).
  • Students and helpers who are cleared will receive paper armbands to indicate they have passed the health screening.
    • Students who answer yes to one or more of the questions above or who show symptoms will not be allowed to move in.
    • Helpers who answer yes to one or more of the questions above or who show symptoms will be asked to remain in their vehicle while the student moves in.
  • Students: Complete COVID-19 nasal swab.
  • Students: Complete the Residential Life check-in process including verification of cell phone number and other important student information, and receive a new student ID encoded with your Fall 2020 room assignment. Cell phone numbers are vital to help the College to maintain a safe and healthy environment as students may need to be notified of positive COVID-19 tests or that they have been identified as a ‘close contact' to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • After completing the check-in process, proceed to the residential building and park where instructed. Staff will direct you to the door nearest the student's room.
  • Once the student has completed move-in, helpers will be expected to leave campus and not return until the end of Fall semester to assist their student in traveling back home.

How can students prepare for move-in to campus?

As we continue preparing for fall 2020, each member of the Albion College community will be asked to sign the Albion Community Commitment before they return to campus. This social compact highlights the commitment each of us must make to each other, the College, our local community and our own personal health. Later this summer, students will be required to complete an online public health training and will be asked to sign the Community Commitment as part of that training. Additionally, the Contingency Planning Team, a group of faculty, staff, and public health experts, has developed COVID-19 Health Guidelines, a 4-phased model that guides public health measures on campus based on the condition of the pandemic as it relates to the ongoing operations of the College.

To help keep one another safe, students should plan to quarantine at home for at least 7 days before their move-in date. During this time, we ask that students;

  • Wear a mask when not at home.
  • Enjoy time with family at home! (And, do not get together with others outside of your household.)
  • Avoid restaurants, stores and other public indoor spaces as much as possible.

Students or their helpers who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms should not return to campus on their scheduled move-in date. You should email to make other arrangements to return after you have been cleared by health officials.

Finally, Albion College will be implementing new resources to help students navigate insurance coverage, and will require that all students provide the necessary documentation for Medicaid and verification of insurance prior to arrival.

Will students be expected to self-isolate after moving onto campus?

Yes, after students have moved in they will be required to isolate in their assigned living space for three days, or until they have received the result of their COVID-19 test. As you plan for your self-isolation experience, think about what entertainment or activities you may want to do while remaining in your assigned living space. We know that students arriving on campus are eager to make connections with their peers, so virtual community-building opportunities will be offered throughout move-in week. Make sure to pack your favorite snacks, a fan for hot days, or a board game or puzzles. If you test positive, the College will work with you on next steps.

During the three-day self-isolation period, students are expected to follow these guidelines to limit contact with other community members:

  • Remain in your assigned living space as much as possible.
  • Wear a mask/face covering any time you are not in your assigned living space, including inside all campus buildings, and any time outside when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Pick up meals from Baldwin or other designated on-campus dining locations. Meals should be eaten in your assigned living space or in an outside area away from others.
  • Do not associate or get together with other students except with their roommates, suitemates, or apartment mates.

Students who receive a positive COVID-19 test will be moved to a designated isolation space on campus and will be required to remain there until approved by the Calhoun County Health Department. Roommates without symptoms will be allowed to isolate in their room for a 14 day period provided that they do not test positive for COVID-19 or experience symptoms.

What housing changes can I expect in the fall in order to accommodate safe physical (social) distancing?

Student involvement and support is essential to provide a safe and healthy living environment and to keep as much physical distancing as possible to have a safe and successful semester. Along with the health personal hygiene steps laid out above, the following adjustments have been made to residential spaces on campus:

  • Lofting or bunking beds or moving furniture will not be permitted in most student rooms to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Furniture in the main/larger residence hall lobbies/lounges will be reduced to allow small groups of students to physically (socially) distance.
  • Smaller residence hall study lounges will be off-line.
  • Computer labs will be off-line in Wesley, Seaton, Whitehouse, Mitchell Towers Halls.
  • Kitchenettes in Wesley, Seaton, Whitehouse, Mitchell Towers Halls will be off-line.
  • Laundry rooms in Residential buildings will have designated washers and dryers off-line to ensure distancing in these spaces.

How will movement around campus buildings be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing for the Fall Semester?

We have made a number of adjustments to campus buildings over the summer, including installing new signage with instructions and directionals to keep our community safe. While on campus, students, faculty and staff should:

  • Not hold open or prop open exterior doors to admit others.
  • Sanitize their hands at the nearest sanitizer station after entering a building.
  • Follow all signage and physical distancing guidelines throughout the building.
  • Keep to the right in stairwells and hallways and make every effort to maintain six feet of distancing in all residential buildings.

What activities will occur in the residence halls?

Residential Life staff will work to create an environment where social engagement is possible while practicing physical (social) distancing and other health measures. As mentioned above, within your “clustered” family living unit, residents will create and honor expectations for living in a shared space.

The Residential Life Staff are planning for specific events and programs to develop communities by “clustered” family living units that include a combination of virtual and in-person activities.

What items should I bring to campus?

Students enjoy having many personal items and amenities in the rooms and apartments to make these spaces feel more like home. Given that students will be living and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly encourage all students to bring the following items to support your health and safety.

  • Personal protective equipment - at least seven washable face-covering/masks (one for each day of the week) or disposable masks if you have access
  • Bathroom toiletries - especially soap for frequent hand washing; extra toilet paper for suite and apartment-style housing
  • Hand sanitizer - for your room and to carry with you outside of your room
  • Laundry supplies - as you will want to wash your clothing and bedding frequently
  • Cleaning supplies - paper towels, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant/cleaning products to regularly clean your room, suite bathroom, or apartment
  • Facial tissues
  • Wastebasket and liners for disposing of used cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items in your room
  • Medicine - over the counter and your prescribed medications
  • School supplies
  • Laptop, tablet - electronic instruments that have visual and audio capabilities for participating in Google or Zoom meetings for classes and student organization meetings and activities
  • Personal chargers for electronic instruments
  • Umbrella, boots, raincoat and warm winter outerwear
  • Extra glasses/contacts
  • Personal health insurance card
  • Items needed for on-campus student employment (personal ID such as driver's license, birth certificate and social security card)

Why can't I bring large personal items to campus during COVID-19?

The College is anticipating that in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases in Michigan, the Governor may issue Executive Orders that require students to leave campus relatively quickly, as happened this past Spring Semester 2020. If this occurs, it will be easier for students to leave if they do not have to arrange for large items to also be moved, especially if there are also restrictions to travel that would prevent others from coming to campus to assist with the move-out. process. In addition, more furniture and other items in student rooms will make physical distancing more challenging for room occupants. For these reasons, the College is setting limitations on what students can have in their residence hall rooms, fraternity rooms, suites, and apartments. The College wants students to only bring what they need for the fall 2020 semester.

Listed below are items that students are prohibited from bringing to campus this fall.

  • Sofas
  • Futons
  • Large screen TVs
  • Multiple refrigerators
  • Multiple microwaves
  • Personal exercise equipment
  • Large chairs
  • Coffee tables and other large tables
  • Wall to wall floor coverings
  • Other furniture or large items that cannot be moved by one person and would be difficult to move out in the event that the residential buildings need to be closed.

The College recommends that roommates communicate and agree to share items such as microwaves and refrigerators, and also share in the cleaning and sanitizing of these and all items in their residential space.

How are residential buildings being cleaned?

The campus sanitizing plan has been developed to provide a safe re-entry of students to campus residential spaces and a plan for maintaining a safe and sanitized environment throughout the academic year. A contingency plan has also been created in the event a case of COVID-19 is confirmed on campus. Our custodial contractor ABM has provided essential information on best practices and recommendations on the levels and frequency of sanitization to provide a safe, clean and sanitized campus. The cleaning protocols in place follow the recommendations and processes developed by ABM for their entire international organization. These protocols meet or exceed the CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.

How will living on campus affect me if I have a disability accommodation request?

Students who have a disability that require special housing, transportation, academic-related, or other accommodations must contact Disability Services by emailing Dr. Pam Schwartz at or calling 517/629-0825. She will work with the Office of Residential Life, Campus Safety and the Provost's Office to provide the appropriate accommodations.

What will happen if my roommate or I have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 while living on campus?

The College has designated spaces for isolation and a process for quarantine, which includes minimally shared bathroom access, delivery of meals, laundry availability and the opportunity to continue course work remotely while in quarantine or isolation. Please become familiar with the following procedures:

  • Students with symptoms of COVID-19 should email or call Cheryl Krause at 517-629-0220 or to make arrangements for testing on campus. If unable to reach Cheryl, during after hours, or on weekends, students should visit the Express Care Clinic to be screened and possibly tested for the virus.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to move to a designated isolation space on campus and remain there until health officials determine that they are no longer contagious: usually 10 days after the start of symptoms and following 24 hours of improvement in symptoms and 24 hours fever free without fever-reducing medication.
  • Roommates of students with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive will be required to move to a designated quarantine space or, if they are the only occupant of the room, they will be instructed to quarantine in that room and remain there for 14 days.
  • Students in quarantine or isolation will report their symptoms daily to a Student Health Services staff member.
  • Students in quarantine and isolation will attend classes virtually. Meals, cleaning supplies and other support will be provided for students while they are residing in quarantine or isolation space.

Please note that all of the above procedures are subject to change based on the guidance and directives the College receives from health officials or other medical professionals for responding to students who have been exposed to or have contracted COVID-19.

What if I need to be quarantined or isolated and can't attend class in-person?

Albion College faculty members have always made modifications for students with excused absences due to illness or personal emergency. This will hold true for those students who need to isolate due to a positive Covid-19 test or quarantine due to Covid-19 exposure. If a student is quarantined or isolated, their professors will be notified. Faculty will work with students who must quarantine or isolate to modify class assignments in ways that best accomplish the learning objectives according to their expertise. This might take the form of live streaming the class, recording the class, meeting separately (virtually) with the student who is quarantined or isolated, or providing alternative assignments.

How will departure for Winter Break be structured?

In response to the recent increases in COVID-19 cases in Calhoun County and the state of Michigan, starting November 16, Albion College has given faculty the option to move their courses online for the remainder of the semester so that students are able to depart campus early and finish the semester remotely. Students, faculty and staff should check their email regularly for updates on departure plans.

Students may have one helper assist with their move out process. Helpers must not:

  • be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms,
  • have tested positive within the last 14 days; or
  • have been identified as a close contact in the last 14 days.

For more information on student departures, visit the ResLife Winter Break 2020 page.

Dining Services

As a residential college, we value eating together as a community, and we are working to keep that available and safe for all. Recently, the College partnered with a new dining vendor, Metz Culinary Management. This company has a large footprint in higher education, K-12, hospital and corporate dining as well as through restaurants that they own and operate. We're particularly excited about the potential for more food venues around campus, more variety in cuisine, more developmental opportunities for students who work in food service (including the potential to collaborate on a culinary certificate in the future) and new ways to contribute to our growing collaboration with the local community.

Similar to the Spring 2020 semester, dining setup and accommodations will be provided based on State of Michigan Executive Orders. Robust cleaning and sanitation will also be conducted in all campus food venues. As we continue to plan for Metz engagement on campus, they are already preparing services centered around COVID-19. We will share more information as the transition begins in earnest over the next few weeks. Please visit Albion College - Metz Dining Services Frequently Asked Questions.