All dormitories, apartments and intentional living community housing will remain open for the foreseeable future, according to a campus-wide email from President Rebecca Stoltzfus on Friday.
Students may choose to return home if they would feel safer, but no student is being encouraged to leave campus at this time, said Chad Coleman, director of campus safety and housing operations. Students who feel safest leaving campus or staying at home during this week will not be penalized for missing class, said Corie Steinke, director of student involvement, in a campus-wide email on Sunday.
As of March 16, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Goshen College. As long as students, faculty and staff follow CDC guidelines regarding hygiene and social distancing, GC could become a safe zone, Coleman said.
“We can make this a safe place,” he said.
In coordination with the crisis management team, Coleman has made several safety options available for students living on campus.
Residence life coordinators now have laser infrared thermometers if students want to check their temperature. A temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever, a common symptom of COVID-19 that can occur within 2-14 days of contracting the virus, according to the center for disease control.
Additionally, rooms in Miller Hall and the apartments in the Romero Apartments have been made available should any student want or need to isolate themselves. The rooms have been cleaned and are being heated around the clock in preparation.
Two students have already made use of the quarantine space in Miller Hall to distance themselves from roommates showing symptoms not caused by COVID-19, Coleman said.
Based on CDC recommendations, anyone who has recently returned to campus from traveling in high-risk countries—Iran, China, South Korea and most of Europe—is encouraged to self-isolate for two weeks.
The decision to keep GC housing open is good news for students who might have had trouble finding a place to go if campus housing were to close. As the COVID-19 crisis develops, the GC crisis management team may decide to close campus housing. If that happens, students with nowhere to go would be able to stay on campus, Coleman said.
“If [international students or others] wanted to go home and they couldn’t go home, we would take care of them,” he said.