Update from the Vice President of Student Life, Becky Starkenburg, June 20, 2020

Trinity Students,

Greetings from Trinity! I’ve been back on campus in my office throughout this week, and it is GOOD to be back. I’m very excited to welcome you all back to campus, and I’m looking forward to the journey that is ahead. We are navigating so many things in this world, and I can think of no better place to be than in the Trinity community to work through matters of care, wellbeing, justice, vocation and community together. We are working diligently for a successful fall opening, planning to have YOU, our students, back on campus, and asking the Lord to establish the work of our hands each and every day. While there is much yet to be planned throughout the months of July and August, we wanted to update you on a few key pieces pertaining to fall.

Academic Calendar
The Academic Calendar has been modified for fall semester 2020. The calendar impacts semester breaks and moves to online instruction after November 20. This allows residential students to leave before Thanksgiving, giving our community the opportunity to navigate what health experts suggest may be a second or third wave of COVID-19 in the fall/winter months.  Further, the daily schedule will be altered to allow for 20 minute breaks in between classes in order to provide ample time for students and faculty to leave classrooms, clean their workspaces, etc. Please see the early released version of the schedule below for details. This will also be posted to trnty.edu very soon. We know this calendar raises many questions for certain populations of students such as international students, student-athletes, and others. Please know staff will work with these communities of students to navigate this in the best way possible.

We anticipate releasing more information as Restore Illinois guidelines become available – including department specific information related to field experience and clinical placements. As of today, we are still awaiting guidance from the state agencies regarding higher education.

New Calendar – As of June 2020, for Fall 2020 Semester*
Monday, August 24Adult/Graduate classes begin in person
Wednesday, August 26Traditional Undergraduate classes begin in person
Wednesday, October 7 Fall Reading Day
Thurs-Fri, October 8-9Classes held
Mon-Tues, Nov. 23-24No class: Extension of Thanksgiving Break
Wed-Fri, Nov 25-27No class: Thanksgiving Break
Nov 30- Dec 18Online Learning/Final Exams Online
Wednesday, January 13 In-person Traditional Undergraduate Classes Begin

*Please note this is the most up to date version as of today – finalized copy will be posted to the registrar’s webpage.

Covenant of Care and Student Life Policies
In mid-July, the College will release a new “Covenant of Care” that each faculty, staff and student member of the Trinity community will be required to sign to participate in the life of the College in the fall. We will post it to trnty.edu in July, and you will have opportunity to electronically sign in August along with your emergency contact information and student life policies. The Covenant will include our shared expectations around life together as we navigate the pandemic. Expect the shared expectations to involve a level of inconvenience that we are putting in place for the sake of  everyone’s health. Among the expectations: we will be asking you to self-screen for COVID symptoms daily, wear masks, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands.

We plan to house all residential students in their current housing assignment. We are blessed to have a small residential community and suite-style bathrooms that will allow us to treat each suite as a family unit. The move-in schedule will be slightly altered, with more options available for move-in and dropping off of belongings, along with the expectation that students sign up for a move in slot, in order for us to space out move in times to allow for physical distancing. We are waiting for Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidelines to be released to confirm and distribute our plans. We will also have quarantine space identified and support available should you get sick. We will be strongly encouraging you to pack light this fall, so that should a need arise for a quick move out, you will be ready to go in a short period of time.

Health Care
It is very important that you make sure you have active health insurance this year, along with the ability to use that insurance in the state of Illinois. This is a requirement. We also recommend that you find out if you have telehealth options available through your primary provider or through your insurance. We will continue to provide access and assistance to students at the UChicago/Ingalls Health Center in Crestwood – I encourage you to check if they will take your insurance as that is very close to campus and a great partnership of ours. We also will be adding a Campus Health Coordinator on campus for COVID-related health concerns.

Student Support Services
Counseling Services, Vocation and Career Development, Student Life, Office of Learning Services, Writing Center, Student and Multicultural Engagement offices will be open and supportive of student flourishing this fall. Our life together will look different than before, but our primary focus is to help you flourish, adapting our approach in new and creative ways. Many offices will have a hybrid model that will involve virtual and in-person support. Though these plans will vary, the common theme will include physical distancing, compassion, and flexibility. I want to assure you that students will have access to the resources and information they need in order to flourish during their time on campus. We are working on accommodations and support plans for students who are not able to attend class for a day or a week or more to still maintain involvement in their coursework, while attending to health. 

Chapel, Thrive, Student Activities, Outcry
We are working to adapt Chapel and other large gatherings to maintain their goodness and purpose while also adhering to guidelines to keep our community healthy. We look forward to the ways God will use this time in our community to challenge and stretch us into new ways of being in community together. Throughout the summer, staff and faculty are working on plans. In July, Student Life will invite student leaders into conversations about what is best for student community as those plans take on more shape.

We expect to have more information available in mid-July on the website. In the meantime, if you have specific questions or concerns related to your own experience, please do not hesitate to reach out to the appropriate office. For general COVID-campus ready related questions or ideas, you are welcome to email me directly. Many of us are taking much needed vacation during this last week of June up until the 4th of July, so response times may be slower. But, we will be back in full force on July 6 and we expect communications and plans to roll out throughout July and August.

Praying for you, students, throughout this summer!

VP Starkenburg

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