COVID-19 Campus Update: Keeping Our Community Informed

March 12, 2020

Dear Grinnellians,

As a living and learning community we are experiencing a tremendous amount of uncertainty right now. I want to acknowledge the challenges the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation brings, and to remind everyone that we will address those challenges by joining together in common cause. Care and concern for each and every one of you is motivating our efforts to ensure that we remain healthy, that our students are able to continue learning, and that our students on the cusp of graduation will be able to complete their Grinnell journey.

I know that many of your lives have already been affected in significant ways. Perhaps your travel plans have been cancelled, including in courses for which you have worked so hard, or you had to return home prematurely from study abroad. Some of you may be looking at an extended stay in Grinnell, unable to travel home or to see loved ones. Others may be wondering what their jobs will entail in the coming days, weeks, and months.

We especially want to acknowledge that our Senior students must be feeling a certain sense of shock and grief during what should have been a time for anticipating upcoming celebrations. We are working to find some way to give this special cohort of Grinnellians a fitting send-off in the coming days, and will share details as they are available.

Faculty and staff from across the College are working around the clock to ensure that our institution continues to function at the highest level, and that we have sound plans and planning processes in place for whatever we face. All are working together to chart our path ahead.

Going forward we will do our best to communicate vital information in many ways, including in-person and group meetings, written updates and emails, and website postings. Today we have been hosting Town Halls, and you can learn a great deal from viewing a recording of the first Town Hall session available onlineNOTE: there were some initial audio issues; Dean Anne Harris begins to speak and answer questions around the 0:31:45 time mark.

Please remember, campus members also can submit coronavirus response questions or comments via this form. Following below, you will find information about many of the most immediate questions we are hearing. For additional information check the College’s COVID-19 response website, which will be updated frequently.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for the spirit of generosity that I have witnessed you sharing with each other as we do the very difficult work of living together with uncertainty.


Raynard S. Kington



Dining Services During Spring Break

  • The dining hall will be open with a limited menu through March 23; students with meal plans will be able to continue to access the dining hall during that time.
  • Students without meal plans and in need of assistance should discuss their need with financial aid. 
  • After it is clear how many students will remain on campus, we will adjust and announce schedules and menus accordingly.

For questions related to dining services, contact: Jeanette Moser

Room and Board Refunds

  • Pro-rated refunds for room and board will be activated by submission of the survey Student Affairs has requested of all students.
  • These refunds will be issued for students who are currently living and dining on campus and will be leaving Grinnell for the remainder of the semester.
  • The precise amount that a student will be reimbursed will depend upon a number of factors unique to them. A credit will be placed on the student’s account and a reimbursement issued for any balance due to the student.
  • Reimbursements will be direct deposited if we have your automatic bank transfer information on file. Otherwise, they will be mailed to students at the home mailing address on file.
  • Those students who do not have access to the resources required to travel home or another destination where they will live for the spring semester should visit the Financial Aid Office where an expedited refund process can be initiated. A financial aid officer will assess any additional, unmet need, and utilize emergency funds to assist with transportation costs as necessary.

NOTE: Tuition is linked to the award of academic credit. Because we will continue with instruction in an online format and award credit as earned, there will be no refunds for tuition.

For questions related to room and board reimbursement, contact: Brad Lindberg


  • Des Moines and Chicago shuttle services are being organized, turn your requests in as soon as possible so we can determine need.
  • Students can request airport shuttle service for extended dates, coinciding with the timeframe that students need to leave campus.
  • Visit the College’s Transportation website for additional information.

For questions related to transportation, contact: Rick Whitney

Student Employment

  • The College will evaluate each student’s circumstances so that there is no need to remain on campus solely due to work.
  • Students staying on campus with work as part of their need-based financial aid package will be provided opportunities to continue in their current job or alternative job as appropriate.
  • Because work for many students is a part of their need-based financial aid package, we will work with students to assess individual need and may convert what would have been earned to grant funding as appropriate.
  • Students working without a need-based financial aid award may continue working if they remain in Grinnell.
  • Remote work may be an option for students with or without a need-based financial aid award if approved by the College. A process for approval is forthcoming.
  • A work grant is not available for students without a need-based financial aid award.

For questions related to student employment, contact: Mark Watts

For questions related to need-based financial aid packages, contact: Brad Lindberg

Leaving Campus

  • Students are expected to leave campus for remainder of the semester
  • Students must fill out the form sent to them with their plans for leaving campus by March 13 or Pioneer Card access may be shut off
  • Students with exceptional reasons to stay on campus should use the same form to petition to remain on campus

For questions related to leaving campus, contact: Ben Newhouse

Moving and Residence Hall Check Out

  • Keys should be turned in on or before March 23. We will not have standard formal room checks.
  • Nothing should be left in on-campus rooms when students leave so rooms can be cleaned.
  • Eight dumpsters placed at the normal residence hall move-out locations starting Thursday.
  • All students, including seniors, should take all items with them when they leave campus room.

Nobody will be allowed back into spring term room after key is turned in on or before March 23.

  • Student Affairs is working to help provide packing supplies
  • Totes and other packing supplies will be provided by Res Life at no charge starting Thursday morning at 9am in the lounge of residence hall building. Project and language houses will need to visit nearest residence hall.
  • Trunk rooms will be open for students to retrieve items but NOT TO LEAVE items.

Anything left in trunk rooms after March 23 will be discarded

For questions related to moving and residence hall check-out, contact: Ben Newhouse


  • On-campus storage through C&K begins Friday, March 13, in Main Quad. This will be the only on-campus storage option. Times available to put your regular belongings in storage:
    • Friday, March 13 from 10 am to 2 pm
    • Saturday, March 14 from 1 pm to 5 pm
    • Sunday March 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm

NOTE: If you require storage options outside of these hours, please contact C&K Transfer and Storage at 641-236-3418 or email them at

  • Items larger than a standard mini-fridge will not be permitted in Main Quad. Larger items such as bikes and futons can be put on to a truck parked on East St. between James and Haines on Friday, March 13 between 5 pm and 7 pm. 
  • If you plan to participate in off-campus study in Fall 2020, you may use this store option in Main Quad. If you end up requiring storage through the Fall 2020 term, we will make arrangements to continue to store your items until you return for the Spring 2021 at no additional charge.
  • C&K storage will be accepting CASH ONLY ($5-$12 per tote depending on the size of the tote).

For questions related to storage, contact: Dennis Perkins

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