Living on Campus

COVID Care Team

To help manage the many aspects of the impact of COVID-19 on students who are in quarantine or isolation, Grinnell College established a COVID Care Team. This team includes representatives from a variety of departments around campus who meet regularly to discuss current or potential concerns. The team works together to find solutions to concerns and provide an experience that is as smooth and comfortable as it can be given the nature of quarantining and isolation.

Departments represented are: Student Health and Wellness; Facilities Management; Dining; Housing; Resident Life Coordinators; Emergency & Disaster Preparedness; Accessibility and Disability Resources; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; as well as Student Experience.

COVID-19 Specific Information

Information about COVID-19 testing, symptoms, and required protective equipment.

Basic COVID-19 Info for Students


(personal protective equipment)
  • All students and employees must wear a mask at all times unless they are in a private room alone with the door closed. For students, this includes dorm rooms and single-user study rooms. For employees this includes offices.
  • Masks must be worn when outdoors if you are around others. 
  • Goggles and face shields are required for certain high-risk situation and encouraged whenever there is a chance of prolonged exposure to droplets. These will protect the wearer from another person’s droplets. Coaches and supervisors will have the final decision if goggles or face shields are required within a department.
  • Examples of situations where goggles or face shields are encouraged: eating around others, sports, cleaning bathrooms, singing, and working out.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Call SHAW at 641-269-3230 if you begin to experience any of these symptoms:

  • fever/chills
  • muscle aches
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • new loss of taste or smell

    COVID-19 Testing

    Photo inside of the testing clinic with lanes to the left side
    Grinnell College Testing Clinic Walk-Through

    Health varies for each person. SHAW works to provide each individual with the support they need based on their personal health. The support they provide is based on guidance from CDC, etymologist consultants, and medical best practices.

    Review the Testing Protocol PDF Diagram; which outlines the process for those that test positive and have symptoms, those that test positive and do not have symptoms, and those that have been exposed to a positive student. View the testing clinic walk-through video on the right. A pdf transcript for the walk-through video is also available. 


    • All students must be tested every week unless they are fully vaccinated.  
    • If you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms or do not feel well, call SHAW (641-269-3230) for instructions. You will be scheduled with a nurse to discuss further and be given instructions on how to test outside.
    • Call SHAW at 641-269-3230 or email Alexis Steele if you need to reschedule a test. Everyone is expected to make testing a priority. Reschedules take a lot of coordination. While the staff understands that things come up, they appreciate your help in keeping your assigned time.
    • 24-48 hours after test, receive results.
      • Positive or Inconclusive results will be called. Specific instructions will be given at that time.
      • Negative results will be emailed. 

    COVID-19 Positive

    Those with positive results will be contacted and given more detailed information related to isolating and any information specific to their circumstances.

    • Students that are asymptomatic (do not experience any COVID-19 symptoms) will be given an antigen test 14 days after their positive result. Those that test negative for that antigen test will be re-enrolled in the testing clinic. Those that test positive will be removed from the weekly testing clinic for 90 days.
    • SHAW will reach out at the end of 90 days to enroll in the testing clinic again. Students will then be expected to resume weekly testing.
    • During initial communication with a positive student, contact tracing is done. Those who are identified as being exposed are contacted to quarantine.


    • Vaccinated students must upload their information into the health portal.
    • Once a nurse has confirmed this information, they will inform the student that they no longer need to participate in weekly testing.
    • Fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine upon arrival or if exposed.
    • Proper PPE still must be worn at all times.
    • Student athletes who have been vaccinated are still required to be tested weekly. Contact coaches for more information.

    Vaccination Uploading Instructions

    • Go to
    • On the left navigation, click on “Medical Clearances.”
    • There should be a section (towards the bottom) called “Additional items not required for clearance.”
    • Click on the green “Update” button next to COVID-19 Vaccination.
    • In the top box, upload your vaccine record using the green radio button labeled “Upload.”
    • Enter the dates of your vaccinations on Date 1 and Date 2.
    • Identify which vaccine you received next to the date, under Vaccine 1 and Vaccine 2.
    • This is now complete. Click done.

    Campus Life

    A look at what life on campus during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


    Skillet of bright green spinach and tofu with a wooden spoon ready to stir

    Our approach to dining must change this year. We cannot responsibly serve food and drinks in ways that promote large group eating activities and compromise other mitigation efforts to contain viral spread. It is also true that students derive considerable social development and pleasure from dining together so we are working with our team of infectious disease experts to determine if we can preserve some of these features in a responsible manner. Due to limited capacity and public health considerations, only students living on campus will have access to a meal plan. Only a full meal plan is available during the 2020-21 academic year and will be required for all students living on campus.

    Meals after Onboarding (April 1 to end of Spring 2 term)

    Beginning April 1, the first day of classes, the Marketplace will be open for meal pickup. You will need to wear a face mask and present your p-card for entry to the Marketplace. There is no indoor dining inside the Rosenfield Center or Marketplace, thus, dining will have a recyclable bag and cutlery kit available for you to carry your food out and eat in your residence hall. You are welcome to reuse the recyclable bag for future meal pick-up or bring a bag of your own.

    Meal Service Hours beginning April 1, 2021

    Hot Breakfast: 7–9 a.m. (no breakfast on Sundays)
    Continental Breakfast: 9–11 a.m. (no breakfast on Sundays)
    Hot Lunch: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
    Cold Lunch: 1–5 p.m.
    Hot Dinner: 5–7 p.m.
    Cold Dinner: 7–8 p.m.


    Students who arrive in Grinnell for the S2 term only, will be offered a snack package when you pick-up your room keys in The Spencer Grill. These snacks are to be enjoyed between hot meal periods during onboarding (March 28, 29, 30 and 31, 2021) since we do not have continuous services and therefore food is not available for you at all times. Please request a meat, vegan, gluten-free or Passover snack package.

    • Two students outside wearing masks while studying. Looking happily at the camera giving a thumbs up


      While many spaces on campus are closed due to COVID-19, there are still a number of areas that can be used for studying. 

      Click on the link below to learn how to make room reservations through the 25Live system as well as the importance of establishing regular study habits. 

    • Student in mask doing lunges at the track


      The Bear Center is open to students who are approved to be on or off campus and have received 2 negative COVID-19 tests.

      All users need to make reservations through 25Live or you will not be permitted into the facility.

      • Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance.
      • You will be required to show a confirmation email from York Plagge in Conference Operations prior to being allowed into the Bear.
    • Students in face masks and shields distanced and looking at art

      Grinnell College Museum of Art

      Students can make an appointment to visit the museum via 25Live Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, noon to 5 pm. Visitors who need to schedule a visit on Mondays or mornings, please contact Lesley Wright. Also contact Lesley Wright if you want to come with a group.

    Housing and Travel

    The cohort of students invited to live on campus each term will be determined by a variety of factors, including the pedagogical needs of certain courses, the curricular needs of students, and experiential learning considerations. Additionally, limited residential space will be available to students who do not have access to a home environment due to homelessness or current visa and travel restrictions. Invitations to campus will be made on a rolling basis in order to maximize the number of students on campus while observing recommend public health protocols.

    As students return to campus, we will be continually evaluating the effectiveness of our efforts and the viability of increasing enrollment over time.

    7/27/20 Update

    Residence Life will take a different approach to housing assignments for the next academic year. All students will be placed in family units called scurries and reside in single rooms. A scurry is the word for a group of squirrels — a homage to our informal mascot, Scarlet. A scurry will be comprised of 10-15 other students with whom you live. First-year students will be placed with a roommate and in a scurry based on a shared academic course. Returning students will identify names of other students they would like to live with or near (and who are present on campus at the same time) to establish their scurry. Each scurry will be spaced throughout the residence halls in accordance with our public health efforts. Room assignments for each term will be released just prior to the start of that term.

    Rose Hall, Rathje Hall, and all college-owned houses will be designated as quarantine spaces for the coming year. Consequently, residents of the Language and Project Houses will be reassigned to other residential spaces for the terms during which they are on campus.

    12/3/20 Update


    Students living on campus will be required to remain in close proximity to Grinnell for public health reasons. Some students may need to travel a bit further for certain medical providers and/or other specialized services. We strongly advise that students observe the same public health protocols when they are off-campus as they will be required to observe on campus (e.g., physical distancing, PPE, frequent handwashing, etc.). These remain essential practices to curtail viral spread as others with whom students come in contact may not be adhering to the same prevention measures. Members of the Grinnell community miss having our students in town, but we want to do our part to minimize the spread within our community. Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to serve as role models of responsible public health practices when spending time in the community.

    Breaks and Transitions Between Terms

    Between the time a student arrives on campus and their designated departure date, students will be expected to remain in close proximity to Grinnell. Travel during term transitions and within-term holidays will not be permitted. The only exception will be the winter break between Fall Term 2 and Spring Term 1. Students will be permitted to travel during that break.

    In the event of an emergency, a student can seek permission from the Dean of Students to travel, but approval will be granted only in limited circumstances (e.g., death/serious illness of a family member). Students will be expected to quarantine upon their return in a similar manner to their initial arrival. Scurries will remain together during term transitions.

    12/3/20 Update

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