CRT, Student Senate respond to COVID policy pushback


Photo by: Jocelyn Nuñez-Colón

Student senate held a town hall with members of the Covid Response Team in order to “bring people with differing perspectives together to help foster understanding.”

Following weeks of mixed reactions to Calvin’s COVID-19 mandates, a six-member CRT panel addressed HIPAA privacy issues, the decision-making process for COVID rules and adjustments to quarantine policy in a town hall hosted by Student Senate on Sept. 9.

“We have heard multiple points of view expressed within the student body, and we believe having an open dialogue will bring people with differing perspectives together to help foster understanding,” Student Senate said in an Aug. 29 Instagram post announcing the town hall. 

According to Sarah Visser, chair of the CRT, COVID-19 mandates for the 2021-2022 school year were determined by higher-ups such as the presidential cabinet in collaboration with the CRT, not by the CRT itself. 

The CRT addressed concerns of privacy surrounding vaccination status and COVID-19 test results. Dr. Laura Champion, director of Health Services, stated that only two people are aware of vaccination statuses submitted by students. Positive COVID test results are also only known by Dr. Champion and other COVID-19 response team members; these privacy measures are in place to comply with HIPAA and FERPA standards. 

According to John Witte, dean of Student Life, quarantined students are now able to cut their isolation in half and students in isolation can now test out of complete isolation on the eighth day of their quarantine if their test results are negative. 

Junior David Cremer felt that the town hall did not satisfactorily address all concerns.  

“These COVID policies are something that we all have a stake in because it affects all of us. There were some things that were unsure and didn’t make sense. I want things to make sense,” said Cremer. “I was hoping to get either clarity or a solution that would make sense to some of these COVID inconsistencies. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

The town hall meetings began in June 2020 as a way for students to express their concerns and questions about Calvin policies surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic following the transition from fully remote to hybrid learning.

“It’s important for students to receive transparent communication about what is happening at Calvin regarding the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sean Salamun, Student Senate’s vice president of operations. “The town halls allow for students to have their questions answered by the people who work to keep Calvin safe and healthy.” Those who are interested in learning more about Calvin’s COVID-19 policies are encouraged to contact [email protected] with questions or concerns.