Students in class, distanced and wearing masks and face shields

Pandemic Planning: Return to Campus

Grinnell College plans for full return of students this fall.

Excitement is building for the fall semester and a robust in-person campus experience. We look forward to introducing our newest class to campus and welcoming returning students back to their Grinnell home.

Here are some on campus reminders of what to expect and where to find more information:

  • All students are required to submit their COVID vaccination dates and upload their COVID vaccination record through the student portal. Those outside the U.S. who do not have access to COVID-19 vaccinations should contact a SHAW nurse through the student portal to plan next steps. Unvaccinated students and those with medical or religious exemptions will undergo daily testing for 7 days after campus arrival.
  • We are planning that all courses will be offered on campus and in person for the 2021-22 academic year. No fully remote courses will be offered. Students must be present on campus by the start of classes and complete the arrival confirmation. Students seeking permission to arrive late should read the policy and consult with the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising.
  • Fall classes are being offered in a 16-week semester format. Please refer to the academic calendar for dates. 
  • Students are expected to register for full-time studies. Please consult the College Catalog for details about registering for more than 18 or less than 12 credits per semester.
  • Important deadlines for add/drop, withdrawal, S/D/F, and incomplete will occur throughout the semester.

We remain ready to fully open campus this fall — within the responsive standards of community health we have used throughout the pandemic — thanks to several important actions we have taken and resources we have in place:

  • foremost is our requirement that all students have a COVID-19 vaccination to enroll,
  • our ongoing consulting relationship with University of Iowa public health experts,
  • the internal expertise and resources developed by the College’s Emergency Operations Team and the Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) team,
  • our ongoing monitoring of the CDC, WHO, and other public health organizations as well as local, state, and regional public health information and data,
  • our proven ability to quickly process public health news and information, share updates, and increase precautions as needed through campus communication channels and our Campus Activity Level system.

Evolving CDC advisories in response to the delta variant or other COVID-19 developments may prompt further communication from the College about community health precautions.

Campus Activity Levels

Our campus activity level system provides overall guidance for life and work at Grinnell based on our community health conditions.

Blue campus activity status indicator

Current Activity Level: Blue

Safety/PPE: Masks are required inside campus buildings except for in an individual's own dorm room, while eating in the dining hall, and while alone in closed spaces (for example, a private, non-shared office).  

Classes: Courses will meet primarily in-person.  

Meetings and Events: Meetings may occur indoors, masked,and in-person. We encourage meetings and events to be in person when they directly impact student experience. For large meetings of 40 or more individuals (not student-related), online or hybrid meetings are preferable. For meetings of fewer than 40, indoor, masked, in-person are reasonable with an option for online participation included.

Athletics: Varsity athletic competitions will continue. Masking is required for all indoor venues, including spectators and all participants except those actively competing. Team training and competitions will follow mitigation practices as laid out by the NCAA and Midwest Conference.     

Visitors: Visitors are welcome in campus buildings (other than the dining hall) and are required to wear masks.  

Travel: Please continue to be cautious when considering travel. We recommend viewing the CDC transmission estimates prior to travel. College-sponsored travel remains limited and only with approval by supervisors for staff and the Dean’s Office for faculty. 

Student Dining: Students are welcome to eat together in the dining hall, seated in every other chair and in small groups, or in their rooms. Students may remove their masks when seated in the dining hall. Masks are required when selecting food items. 

Employee Dining: We strongly encourage outdoor dining while the warm weather lasts. Individuals who do not have a private office or designated room to eat, such as an open office setting, may eat at their work areas and briefly remove masks to do so. Unmasked time should be as limited as possible. Dining together indoors is not permitted at this time. 


Activity Levels and Definitions

Photo of COVID-19 virus under microscope, public image from CDC

Interactive Tools

Use an interactive risk calculator to help you determine how risky various activities and their combination of factors might be.

Latest Updates

NEW TESTING OPTION: Test Iowa pick-up site and daily courier to State Hygienic Lab

The College has been approved as a Test Iowa home PCR kit pick-up site for our students, employees, preschool families, and household members. These tests are available for free to Iowa residents for home/residence hall delivery from the Iowa Department of Public Health Test Iowa.

Health and Wellness Update, Sept. 20, 2021

Featuring topics related to the pandemic, mental health, nutrition, physical health, exercise and movement, and community to support your overall wellbeing.

On Campus COVID Testing Protocols 

We remain steadfast in our commitment to community health and will continue to review emerging medical evidence and modify our plans in the face of an ever-changing pandemic.

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