Wheaton College Moves to Remote Learning, Adds New Campus Restrictions

Dean of Students Zack Irish sent out an email to students, faculty, and staff on Thursday, Nov. 5, informing them of new campus policies following a rise in on-campus covid cases. The email said that testing had revealed the “largest one-day spike” since April, with 13 community members, 12 students and 1 non-student, testing positive. 

Following this, Dean Irish laid out new campus social distancing policies being put in place. Dining is now grab and go only, the guest policy allowing students to visit other residence halls and in-campus events has been placed on hold, and athletics practices are cancelled, with the Fitness Center shutting down. 

Effective at the time of the email, dining is limited to grab and go options only, residents are not allowed to visit residential halls other than their own, in-person campus events are on hold, all athletic practices are cancelled, and the Fitness Center is closed. Starting this Friday at 8 a.m., all in-person classes will shift to remote learning, commuter students will be barred from entering campus resident students, and unessential faculty and staff will only be allowed on campus for testing purposes. In addition, resident students will be placed on modified quarantine: students will only be allowed to leave their room to use their floor’s bathroom, pick up food, go outside occasionally for fresh air, attend their COVID-19 tests, attend necessary medical appointments, and work scheduled shifts for off-campus employment.

The email strongly suggested that students limit their off-campus travel, and Dean Irish referenced a plan to rely on contact tracing to provide insight into how the virus was contracted by these community members. Dean Irish also laid out the testing guidelines, reminding students that they cannot be tested more than twice a week, and cannot be tested two days in a row. He also added a reminder that the testing center does not take walk-ins, and strongly suggested that students made all appointments for the rest of the semester. 

Finally, the email suggested that resident students may choose to leave prior to the Thanksgiving recess, with emphasis laid on adhering to the different state travel orders. A follow-up email by Lyndsey Aguilar, Associate Director of Residential Life and Housing Operations, detailed the move-out process for these students.