Phase 1 visiting privileges begin in dorms


Abigail Ham

3rd VR residents Gabby Freshly, Stephanie Oosterhouse, and Ellie Jones practice social distancing while playing cards.

Resident students are now permitted to visit the rooms of other people on their floor as part of the phase one visiting privileges that began Friday, Sept. 25. 

Doors and windows must be open at all times, masks worn by all, and room capacity is limited to two guests and four total people. Students are still only permitted to eat and drink in their own rooms, and non-roommates must maintain six feet of social distancing while visiting.

On mixed-gender floors, hours for visiting in rooms of students of the opposite sex are further limited than last year’s open house hours still.

Van Reken RA Andrew Hess said expanded visiting privileges don’t seem to have been utilized as much as was anticipated.

Students who have been struggling to find creative outdoor meeting places will also be glad to know that residents of other halls are now permitted to visit in lobbies and basement areas. Masks and social distancing continue to be required in those areas, and room maximum occupancies remain as posted.

Becki Simpson, Associate Dean of Residence Life, warned students in the Sept. 24 announcement email that “these modest initial enhancements could be temporarily revoked on a specific floor if there is a spike of COVID activity in that floor community or if residents are not complying with the above guidelines.”

Sophomore Aubrey Graham said she is hopeful that expanded visiting will be beneficial to students’ mental health. “I completely understand and respect that Calvin wants to keep us safe,” Graham said, “but sometimes having so few social interactions in a day takes a toll on my mental health.” Opportunities to safely interact, she added, “lessens the negative mental health effects of the COVID restrictions.” 

Like Graham, many students see the expanded visiting policy as a positive step toward a “normal” college experience, making it easier to study in small groups, make friends outside of their own floor, and get to know their floormates better. 

Remote student Jocelyn Nunez-Colon said she is “not a fan of things suddenly opening up, because things are looking good for now. If things are working now why change?” According to Nunez-Colon, remote students are paying attention to on-campus students’ social media posts and are concerned that any laxening of rules that are already being frequently broken or bent could result in an outbreak, even though on-campus cases have held steady at zero over the past week. “The fast transition to open visitation,” she said, “is somewhat concerning.”

Phase two of expanding visiting privileges will likely be reviewed next month, and may include permitting visitors from other floors, as well as dorms and apartments. Possible implementation of phase two will rely on residents continuing to follow guidelines and completing #CampusClear daily.