Roadmap for Reopening

Roadmap to Excellence in Education in a COVID-19 World

Prepared by the Dordt University COVID-19 Task Force (July 2020)

Please note that this information will likely be revised to reflect changing circumstances.


Motto: Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself, love Dordt


  • Carry out the mission of Dordt University and bring glory to God.
  • Care for our students, our campus, and our community. Consistently seek health and safety for all community members.
  • Complete the semester on campus, face-to-face, without significant disruptions.

Key Concepts:

  • Flexible. Not everything will be as we would like it to be, or as it was previously. Not everything will remain the same once the semester starts. We may need to change the roadmap as the semester progresses. 
  • Finite. We do not have the resources to do everything everyone might ask. We have limitations with resources, finances, and labor. We do not have full knowledge of everything that experts might say or recommend, and those experts may disagree. Prudently and diligently, we will seek wise counsel. 
  • Fair. We will endeavor to act as equitably as possible. Some decisions may inconvenience or cause discomfort for some, while working for the goal of the common good. 

Guiding Authorities: 

We will manage the fall semester according to these principles:

covid-19 task group

The task group is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures to manage the campus impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Co-chairs
    • Robert Taylor—Students
    • Howard Wilson—Campus
  • Derek Buteyn—Residence Life
  • Beth Baas—Student Health
  • Dr. Kristin Van De Griend—General disease adviser
  • Nate van Niejenhuis—Facilities
  • Jim Bos—Registrar, classes
  • Dr. Leah Zuidema—Academic Affairs
  • Ross Douma – Athletics
  • Chris Fagerness—Athletic Training Center
  • Sarah Moss—Communication
  • Dr. Mark Christians—Faculty
  • Sue Droog—Human Resources

Key dates

  • Monday, August 3 – Cabinet decision regarding initial alert level and Week of Welcome protocols
  • Tuesday, August 11 – Arrival of first groups of students for pre-semester activities
  • Friday, August 21 - Saturday, August 22 – First-year student move-in
  • Saturday, August 22 – Week of Welcome (WOW) and Parent Orientation begin
  • Tuesday, August 25 – First day of classes
  • Friday, November 6 – Decision date regarding methodology for completion of fall semester


A decision to move from stage to stage will be recommended by the COVID-19 Task Group to President Erik Hoekstra for a final decision.

When possible, the faculty will be given 48 hours of notice prior to transitioning to a higher stage. 



Regular (Pre-COVID) campus operations.


  • Similar to Dordt University in January 2020.


  • None.
  • Vaccination of 80%+ of the campus to provide immunity could lead to a return to blue conditions; spring 2021 semester at the earliest.


COVID-19 suppression (no on-campus spread).


  • Face-to-face instruction for healthy students. 
  • Student instruction available in online format only by prior approval from the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Student Success. This includes sick or immune-compromised students.
  • Employees with health challenges may apply for alternate working arrangements, to be approved by their supervisor and appropriate Vice President. 
  • Residence hall living with roommate(s). 
  • Dining in the Commons and Grille.
  • Co-curricular practices and events.
  • Social distancing as required by regulations.
  • Moderate travel restrictions; e.g. to areas whose R0 > 1.0.
  • Some mass gatherings for chapel and co-curricular events. Events will be managed by a risk assessment matrix.
  • Campus open to visitors. No overnight stays for prospective students or others in campus housing.
  • Limited campus rentals.
  • Reduced contact during move-in. Portions of WOW available online. Increased cleaning of facilities. Testing—baseline, student clusters, and randomized.
  • Students living under community COVID-19 covenant.
  • Maximum class size of 48 whenever possible.
  • Occupancy guideline of 30 square feet per student to accommodate social distancing.
  • Groupwork in classroom with limited number of group partners during the semester.
  • Faculty office hours may be provided face to face in office, face to face outside office, or online through Teams or Zoom. 
  • Travel for field trips and other activities is allowed.
  • Wind Symphony and Chorale will practice on the enlarged B.J. Haan Auditorium stage. 
  • Further details in academic plan below.


  • Masking is initially required for all personnel in classrooms, labs, and public spaces. The requirement will be reviewed weekly after start of the fall semester. Faculty will wear masks or face shields.
  • Initial daily health self-reporting for employees and students. May be less frequent depending on circumstances.
  • Regular temperature checking for employees and students. 
  • Shields installed in interaction areas and classrooms.
  • Dining with limited social distancing (e.g., small table groupings, limited self-service in Commons).


Likely evidence of spread on-campus or increased local community spread.


  • Classroom/online contingency plans as approved by Academic Affairs.
  • Face-to-face instruction for healthy personnel, and online instruction for approved students in quarantine and/or isolation. 
  • Labs limited to one person per station.
  • Class size may be restricted, and/or nature of student contact.
  • Residence hall living—heightened precautions.
  • Quarantine/isolation housing in use.
  • Dining with heightened precautions.
  • Campus closed to rentals.
  • Co-curricular practices and events subject to cancellation.
  • Social distancing as required by regulations.
  • Restricted travel and community interaction. Major population centers off limits if Rº > 1.0. 
  • Restricted attendance with social distancing at mass gatherings, e.g. chapel, athletic events.
  • Campus visiting restricted. 
  • No overnight stays.
  • Employees with health challenges may be permitted to work from home, with prior approval from supervisor and appropriate Vice President.
  • Intensified cleaning.
  • Heightened standards of community health invoked.


  • Daily health symptom reporting required.
  • Daily temperature checking and badging. 
  • Masking in classrooms, service areas, and public areas.


On-campus spread, controlled by quarantine.


  • Campus physical facilities closed to external personnel apart from essential services.
  • Classroom/online contingency plans as approved by Academic Affairs.
  • Dining facilities closed; meal service delivered to residence halls. 
  • No co-curricular events. 
  • No public events.
  • No gatherings beyond 10 people in residence halls.
  • Some employees permitted to work from home, following an approval process by supervisor and appropriate Vice President.
  • Some students return home. 


  • Daily health symptom reporting.
  • Daily temperature checking in residence halls across campus. 
  • Universal masking.
  • Full mitigation practices in place as recommended by state and federal agencies. Working with local health officials to determine how to best control spread.


Large-scale spread, beyond capacity to isolate or quarantine.


  • Physical campus closed to external personnel.
  • Classes delivered online.
  • Most students leave. International students and students with special situations permitted to remain.
  • Dining via meals delivered to residence halls.
  • Campus locked down. Minimal face-to-face service.
  • Many employees working from home, following approval by supervisor and appropriate Vice President. 


Campus-wide planning

Dordt will seek to provide programming that encourages willing and joyful compliance with COVID-19 prevention policies and practices will be included in chapel, co-curricular, and curricular activities.

There will be campus-wide messaging of campus health practices, including:

  • Banners
  • Signage
  • Bulletin boards
  • Social distancing stickers
  • Directional signage

Regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), all Dordt employees will be initially provided with three fabric masks, with more available upon request. Students will be required to provide their own masks. Additional paper masks will be available in several locations, including classrooms, for those who have forgotten their mask.

Face shields will be provided to faculty and staff who request them. Removable podium shields will be installed in each classroom. Gloves will be provided to all employees requesting them. Gloves will be required in computer labs to use keyboards and mice. Decisions regarding use of PPE, such as masks, will be made corporately and not individually. Affected individuals may provide input. Individuals with health-related issues related to PPE may ask for exceptions. 

Hand sanitizer stations will be installed in multiple locations across campus, particularly in classroom areas. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers will be distributed liberally. Social distancing and directional signage will be installed across campus. An alert level banner will be placed prominently on

Regarding movement on campus in constricted areas, there will be education and signage for:

  • Keep to the right
  • Keep moving
  • Keep your distance

The governing authorities on matters of individual health will be the Director of Student Health and Counseling and the Executive Director of Human Resources.

Campus Community health

All students must update their health history with Student Health via the Health History form, which is located on the online student health portal,

Students, faculty, and staff will be required to conduct daily personal self-screenings for symptoms of COVID-19. All students will be required to complete symptom self-screening 15 days prior to their return to campus; for example, football players will need to begin self-screening on Monday, July 27. Faculty and staff will begin self-screening on Monday, August 3.

Initially, students, faculty, and staff will report their information via a webform but will eventually need to utilize the Medicat app or Medicat website. Access to the form, Medicat app and Medicat website will be shared in the coming weeks.

Temperature screening will be used as an audit for self-reporting. There will be temperature screening for affinity groups and random screening in locations. Infrared thermometers will be used. Trained staff or students will be used to conduct the tests. Temperature checking points will include entrances to the Commons, the Grille, the Sky Walk, the Campus Center, Science Building and Classroom Building, and the Rec Center. Personnel with acceptable temperatures will receive a hand stamp. A different stamp will be used each day, without a predictable pattern. Students who have been tested once may show their hand and bypass the testing line. Students with elevated temperatures will be required to return to their rooms or homes and contact Student Health and Counseling.

All COVID-19 testing guidelines will follow local, state, and federal public health practice. Testing of any person with symptoms of COVID-19 will be prioritized. Testing of symptomatic individuals will adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines and be conducted as soon as possible. Testing of exposed students identified through contact tracing will be completed if they become symptomatic or at the discretion of the healthcare provider. Surveillance testing may be used, depending on the alert level. Surveillance and routine testing to systematically identify individuals within groups or communities with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Dordt may choose to require testing for all individuals, if adequate testing is available. When an effective COVID-19 vaccine is available, all personnel will be required to be vaccinated. Personnel may be exempted from the requirement for vaccination upon approval of a vaccination exemption request form, which will be available soon.

Symptomatic individuals will be required to quarantine while awaiting results. Students who test positive will be required to:

  • Return home for 14 days if their home is within 250 miles. 
  • Remain in quarantine for 14 days.

Symptomatic students will be required to move to quarantine or isolation immediately. Assistance may be provided to move limited personal items to isolation. Transportation will be provided if offsite. Linens, trash, and food service will be provided. Daily follow-up care will be provided by Student Health and Counseling in collaboration with Residence Life and Campus Ministries.

Sick students will be required to comply with directives from Student Health and Counseling and should communicate with the Academic Enrichment Center for student support. The duration of quarantine and/or isolation will be determined by public health guidelines.

Individuals with known exposure to COVID-19, as identified through contact tracing, will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Testing may be recommended for COVID-19-exposed individuals who do not exhibit symptoms. If during the 14-day quarantine individuals develop symptoms of COVID-19-like symptoms, or they have a positive COVID-19 test result, they will follow the self-isolation protocol outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Iowa Department of Public Health for individuals with confirmed COVID-19. If individuals develop symptoms after testing positive, they must follows the guidance for positive or COVID-like symptoms.

Regarding HIPAA/ privacy, positive COVID-19 tests are reported to Community Health Partners and then to Dordt University. Sioux Center Health and Student Health and Counseling will provide a mechanism for Sioux Center Health to contact Student Health and Counseling Center when students with COVID-19-like illnesses are seen and require isolation.

Iowa Department of Public Health will conduct contact tracing. Individuals will also be asked to list known contact in the 48 hours prior to symptoms, through their Medicat online student portal (

Regarding emergency planning, the university will determine thresholds (confirmed cases beyond manageable capacity) that would indicate a need to change the institutional alert level. The university has a written rapid response emergency plan for (a) increases of virus transmission within the community surrounding campus, and/or (b) within the campus community, including students, faculty, and staff. There is also a protocol to notify local hospitals and public health in the event of an outbreak. In the event the university no longer is able to provide face-to-face instruction, the university will manage housing, feeding, screening, and testing for students who are unable to return home.

Dordt reserves the right to close the campus to visitors when it deems necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The university will determine the appropriate thresholds for allowing external visitors to enter the campus or campus buildings. If a limited-visitor policy is instituted at a specific alert level, all visitors will be asked to complete a health screening and have their temperature checked before entering a campus facility.

Student Health and Counseling Center staff includes one registered nurse, two part-time nurse practitioners, two counselors, and additional help. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 12:30 – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students must make an appointment to be seen. All counseling appointments will be held via telehealth, and medical appointments will be held via telehealth as appropriate.

During after hours, please call Students Services’ on-call number. Iowa Department of Public Health and Community Health Partners has 24/7 on-call availability for students with symptoms of COVID-19.

Students, faculty, and staff will be required to receive an influenza vaccination in the fall semester when it becomes available. The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent an overloading of community health providers in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak overlapping with flu season. Employees may be exempted from the requirement for vaccination upon completion of an exemption form (to be shared in the coming weeks) and approval by Human Resources. Students with applicable, existing immunization exemption waivers will be exempt from this requirement.

Regulations regarding travel for students from outside the United States will be determined by federal and state government laws and regulations. Anyone with symptoms should not return to class or work and should follow current CDC guidelines for self-isolation and testing. These guidelines are found at CDC Guidelines on COVID-19. 

When planning to return to campus, students should plan to bring the following:

  • Illness supplies (e.g., thermometer, fever reducer, water bottle)
  • Proof of insurance
  • Several face masks (100% cotton two-ply or better are recommended)

Students, faculty, and staff will also receive instruction for:

  • Proper use of masks
  • Handwashing
  • Importance of physical distancing

We encourage students, faculty, and staff to monitor, where Student Health and Counseling will share updates.


Here is more information about the 2020-21 academic calendar:

Fall 2020 Semester
  • First day of class: Tuesday, August 25
  • There will be no Heartland Break during the fall 2020 semester.
  • There will be a one-day mid-semester break on Wednesday, October 14. There will be no classes, but co-curricular activities may meet.
  • Thanksgiving break will be held on Thursday, November 26, and Friday November 27, only.
  • The last day of class will be Friday, December 4.
  • This schedule provides 12 full weeks of classes (classes Monday through Friday), and 14 each of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (42 M/W/F class periods), 15 Tuesdays and 14 Thursdays (29 Tu/Th class periods).
  • Exams will be held the week of December 7-11.
  • Final decision regarding potential post-Thanksgiving pivot to online will be made by Friday, November 6. When that decision is made, the final exam schedule will be published.
spring 2021 semester
  • First day of class: Thursday, January 7.
  • Last day of class: Friday, April 30.
  • Exams: Monday, May 3 – Thursday, May 6.
  • Commencement: Friday, May 7.
  • Dates of breaks within the spring semester still to be determined.

Here is more information about the color-coded alert levels for instruction:


Regular (pre-COVID) campus operations


COVID-19 suppression general operation (no on-campus spread)

  • Masks will be required in the classrooms, labs, and public places until the university determines they are not required.
  • Classroom occupancy guideline of 30 sq. ft. per student to accommodate social distancing will be implemented.
  • Maximum class size of 48 whenever possible.
  • Groupwork is allowed but minimize number of partners a student is paired with over the semester.
  • Faculty will be provided with face shields upon request. Removable shields will be available for podiums.
  • Faculty should be prepared for periods of student absenteeism for health reasons.
  • Students who are immuno-compromised or otherwise at high risk should be excused from face-to-face classes. A note from a medical professional will be required. 
  • Office hours may be face-to-face or virtual. Some students (or faculty) may be more comfortable with virtual office hours. Options include:
  • Face-to-face meetings in the office. Masking may be required as determined by alert level or by faculty preference.
  • Meetings in locations outside the office, such as lounge areas where social distancing is possible.
  • Online meetings through media such as Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, etc. 
  • Travel for field trips and other activities are allowed.
  • Wind Symphony and Chorale will practice on the enlarged B.J. Haan Auditorium stage. 

Likely evidence of on-campus spread or increased local spread

  • Classroom/online contingency plans as approved by Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Reduced classroom occupancy to no more than 24 students in a classroom at one time, regardless of room capacity to reduce number of contacts.
  • Labs should be limited to one person per station (no lab partners).
  • Students not in face-to-face instruction (per above) participate online on a rotated basis. Goal is to allow students to have at least 50% of their instruction happen face-to-face.
  • Field trips are restricted – allowed when CDC and IDPH guidelines can be met.

On-campus spread, maintainable by quarantine

  • Classroom/online contingency plans as approved by Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Instruction moves to online where possible. Students allowed to remain on campus.
  • No field trips or travel for other purposes.

Large-scale spread, beyond capacity to quarantine

  • All instruction takes place online.
  • Most students are asked to leave campus.

Timing of notification of transitions: Normally two workdays prior to changing to more stringent tier, to be approved by the President and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and to be announced via email from Vice President for University Operations Howard Wilson and banner.

Classroom furniture will be arranged to provide adequate social distancing. The goal is to maintain social distancing while still effectively using available square footage. Removable clear plastic shields will be installed on classroom podiums.

Courses with more than 48 students will be re-envisioned to accommodate any condition other than blue (a scenario under blue is very, very unlikely for the fall semester).

Options include:

  • Split course into multiple sections.
  • Blended instruction with groups of students on a scheduled remote access basis.

Classroom technologies include:

  • Use of faculty laptops with Zoom/Teams. Dordt University has acquired a site license for Zoom. 
  • Tracking cameras, such as a tabletop Owl device, and headsets.
  • Dedicated technology cart with camera/microphone.
  • Ability to track discussion groups in class.
  • Ability to facilitate live discussions for remote students.
  • Ability to record and incorporate lectures into Canvas content.

Faculty members may request to teach from outside the assigned classroom, for health reasons. Faculty will be required to complete the appropriate form, available from Human Resources, and be approved by their division chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with Human Resources. 


All students will be required to agree to comply with the COVID-19 Community Covenant, which will be shared soon. They will also be required to sign a legal release of claims. 

The university will provide limited isolation and/or quarantine housing for infected students to the extent of its capacity. Students living within 250 miles of Dordt University will be required to quarantine at home until they have met the conditions for their return.

Students will receive instructions on potential actions should they test positive for COVID-19.

Dordt’s International Student Health Insurance includes coverage for COVID-19-related illness. 

Faculty and Staff


  • Employees will be required to begin daily health reporting on Monday, August 3 and continue through at least Wednesday, September 30. 
  • Employees will use the Covid-19 Daily Symptom Check form located on
  • Employees will be required to participate in random on-campus temperature screening. Employees whose temperature is greater than 100.3 will be required to return home.

Work locations:

  • Employees who desire to work from home and/or be absent from campus must:
  • Complete the appropriate form, available from Human Resources. 
  • Be approved by their supervisor and the Vice President for University Operations or Vice President for Academic Affairs, depending on nature of employment. 

Medical authority: 

  • The governing medical authority regarding employees shall be the Director of Student Health and Counseling in matters regarding quarantine, testing, etc. in collaboration with the Executive Director of Human Resources.


Preseason camps:

  • For move-in, athletic teams will arrive on staggered dates.
  • There will not be a parent meal this semester. 
  • Informational sessions will be provided via Zoom prior to arrival.
  • Symptom screening will be required prior to arrival.


Requirements for testing of student athletes have yet to be determined by the NAIA and GPAC.

Dordt University will provide testing every three days for infected student athletes who are no longer demonstrating symptoms. Athletes requiring more frequent testing will be required to pay for additional tests. 

Athletic Training Center:

Services available will be dependent on alert level. Teleservices may be provided as appropriate. Masks will be required for services, and social distancing will be required.


Daily self-screening will be required from 15 days prior to arrival on campus until Wednesday, September 30, and may be extended.


Transportation to competition will require masking. Whether or not spectators will be present is still to be determined by the NAIA, GPAC, and Dordt University.


Infected athletes will be required to:

  • Participate in contact tracing
  • Quarantine for the period required by Student Health.

Temperature screening:

Student athletes will receive daily temperature screening from team managers, graduate assistants, or training staff, using infrared thermometers. Students with a temperature of 100.3 degrees or greater will receive three tests. If their temperature is 100.4 degrees, they may not practice or participate in competition that day and must contact Student Health for evaluation.


  • Dordt has acquired a Zoom site license to facilitate videoconferencing.
  • Dordt has acquired several Owl cameras to facilitate small group videoconferencing. 
  • Faculty members have been equipped with new Hewlett-Packard laptop computers which include a high-resolution video camera to facilitate video instruction. 
  • Dordt faculty will be equipped with wireless headsets or lapel microphones to facilitate the use of audio with online instruction. 

On-campus cleanliness

Public spaces:

  • Dordt has acquired several large-capacity pump sprayers for cleaning large surfaces with disinfectant. 
  • Small sprayers will be provided in each classroom for disinfection of desktops after classes. Faculty will be asked to appoint a volunteer after each class to quickly spray down the desk surfaces. Surface dries within three minutes.
  • Facilities personnel will increase frequency of cleaning, using an antiseptic product, on door handles, handrails, restroom fixtures, and other commonly-touched items.

Classrooms will be equipped with:

  • Podium screens.
  • A small supply of masks for students who forget their mask.
  • Roster for spraying tables.


  • Regular disinfection of door handles, toilet flush valves, and taps.


In addition to regular cleaning throughout the week, residence halls will now also be cleaned on weekends. A weekend cleaning protocol for restrooms will use student custodial staff.

Heating and cooling: 

The HVAC systems will increase the volume of outside air in order to dilute any aerosolization. The university’s HVAC systems do not accommodate significant HEPA filtration. 

communication efforts

Bi-weekly update emails will continue to be sent out to parents, students, and employees. The communications team will continue to update site to reflect the latest information regarding Dordt’s plans for fall 2020 and additional responses to COVID-19.