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Contents:

A. Campus Safety Committee

B. Vaccination FAQs

C. Community Life FAQs

D. Chapel Updates

E. Registrar Office FAQs

F. Styberg Library FAQs

G. Field Education FAQs

H. Residence Halls, Apartments, and Food Service FAQs

I. Safety Measures on Campus

J. Financial Aid and Student Loans


Created on March 31, 2021 and last updated on July 30, 2021 (Section B, F, I, and J).
This FAQ for students is based on the latest information and guidelines available from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the State of Illinois, and the City of Evanston. As new information is made available in the months leading up to the Fall 2021 semester the FAQ will be updated and dated.

 


 

A. Campus Safety Committee 

1. Who is responsible for planning for campus reopening? 

The Seminary created a Campus Safety Committee (CSC) and tasked them with making the plans to safely reopening campus. Kevin Miller, Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, is the chair of this committee. The committee is comprised of the following members of faculty and staff: 

  • Ron Anderson, Associate Dean of Institutional and Educational Assessment and Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship 

  • Jaeyeon Lucy Chung, Director of the Styberg Library and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology 

  • Katie Fahey, Director of Admissions and Recruitment 

  • Karen Mosby, Dean of Student Life, Chaplain, and Advising Counselor
  • Carrie Moore, Senior Administrator for Academic Affairs 

  • Erin Moore, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources 

  • Shane Nichols, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications  
     

CSC is arranging subgroups to work on specific topics related to reopening. These subgroups will engage staff, faculty, students, and trustees as needed on topics and issues based on their work and expertise.

 

2. What information and resources are the CSC using to create reopening plans? 

The CSC is predominantly focused on the following resources for reopening: 

  • The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website. The CDC continues to update its webpage with guidance for the general public and with specific guidance for higher education. 

  • Public health websites for Illinois and the cities of Evanston and Chicago. While the CDC has a national approach, the CSC needs to ensure plans fit with local public health guidance. 

  • Resources that have been vetted by trusted higher education and other professional associations in which the seminary is a member. We have received reopening checklists, guides, and other helpful information from the Association for Theological Schools (ATS), American Council on Education (ACE), EIIA (our insurance provider that serves higher education exclusively), College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), and more. 

  • Conversations with and reviewing the websites of peer seminaries and theological schools, Northwestern University, and other higher education institutions. Many schools returned to in person learning in January 2021 or sooner. There is a lot we can learn from the processes, procedures, and safety measures that have served these other schools.

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B. Vaccination FAQs


1. Will Garrett require students to be immunized against COVID-19? 
 

Garrett has updated its immunization policy to require all students to be fully vaccinated in advance of arriving on campus in the fall. 

All Garrett students planning to attend in-person course components must submit the COVID-19 Immunization Verification form, available here on myGETS. If you are an international student with a vaccination question, please scroll below.  
 

2. How do I provide proof of vaccination?  

To submit your COVID-19 Immunization Verification, you will need a picture of your completed vaccination card prior to using the submission form. You can find the submission form on the Wellness and Health Care webpage on myGETS (log-in required); follow the instructions there to complete your verification. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact student.life@garrett.edu with the subject line “Issues with Immunization Verification.” 
 

3. Do I need to be vaccinated to take classes in person for fall 2021?  

Yes. Only students who have been vaccinated will be eligible to attend classes in-person for fall 2021.   

4. Will there be exemptions to immunizations against COVID-19?  

Students attending on-campus classes must be vaccinated. If a student requests an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons they will only be allowed to take courses offered online. Students enrolled in only online classes (typically defined as having no access to on-campus facilities), as well as individuals participating in fully online or off-campus programs, will not need to provide proof of vaccination. Those seeking exemption for medical reasons should inquire by sending an email to registrar@garrett.edu. Those seeking exemption for religious reasons should inquire with the Office of Student Life at student.life@garrett.edu.   

5. What if I have been diagnosed with COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?  

From the CDC’s website, “Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. 

"If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine." 

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.”   

6. Will I be able to register for classes for Fall 2021 without having been vaccinated yet?  

Yes, you will be able to register for classes prior to vaccination, but you will have to provide proof of vaccination before coming to campus to attend classes or live in Garrett housing (dormitories or apartments).  Please see Section B.2 for instructions on how to submit vaccination information.  
 

7. I am fully vaccinated! Do I still need to wear a face covering and watch my distance?  

Yes. Until public health experts see evidence that it is safe to not use these protective measures, which guard against transmission of the virus, Garrett will continue to require social distancing and the use of face coverings. We will be providing more guidelines for precautions we will be taking on campus in early summer. You can also see section I. Safety Measures FAQ section below. 

8. Where can I get vaccinated?  

There are many locations to be vaccinated. Garrett strongly urges members of its community to get an available appointment as soon as they become eligible. Here are resources for you:  

  1. CDC Vaccination Finder to find a location anywhere in the United States: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/reporting/vaccinefinder/about.html.  

  1. For locations specifically in Illinois https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location.  

  1. Here are some places to check for appointments that are near campus or in the Chicago area: 

    1. Walgreens Pharmacy: people have found more availability with Walgreens in using their app versus their website. You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. 

    1. CVS Pharmacy 

    1. If you live in Chicago, then www.zocdoc.com is where you can search for appointments at the United Center and about 15 other Chicago vaccination sites. 

    1. You get on a list to be vaccinated in Evanston: https://www.cityofevanston.org/government/departments/health-human-services/covid-19-vaccinations#ad-image-0. Complete the “Vaccination Contact Form” on this site.  

 

9. Will Garrett offer vaccinations?  

Garrett will not offer vaccinations at this time.  

10. Why should I get vaccinated? Is it safe?  

According to the CDC, the vaccines are all safe and effective, and studies have shown they prevent severe illness and death from the virus. See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html for information. 

 

11. Will I have to pay to be vaccinated?  

No! The State Department of Health has made clear that no one will have to pay for the vaccine. There is no out-of-pocket cost to get a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of location. If you have health insurance your insurance company may be billed, but costs will not be passed on to you. See https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccine-faqs for more information. 
 

12. My child is 12-years old or older. Is a vaccine available?  

The Pfizer vaccine may be administered to 12-17 year-olds. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines may be administered to those 18 and older. At this time, there is not a vaccine available for children 11 year-old or younger. 

 

13. I’m an international student—what do I need to know about vaccination?  

All Garrett students planning to attend in-person course components must submit the COVID-19 Immunization Verification Form, available here on myGETS. Any vaccine approved by the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted. We recognize, however, that vaccination availability around the world varies greatly, and we are prepared to assist incoming international students who have not yet been vaccinated. 

If a student is not able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in their country of origin—or if the vaccination they received is not approved by the FDA or the WHO—the student will need to plan on receiving the full course of COVID-19 vaccination upon their arrival in the U.S. The vaccines currently approved by the FDA are the Pfizer, Moderna, and Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. The WHO has additionally approved the AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sinopharm vaccines. 

All international travelers to the United States, whether vaccinated or not, are required to receive a negative COVID-19 test 1-3 days before departing to the U.S. Vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine, but un-vaccinated travelers will be required to quarantine for seven days and receive a second negative COVID-19 test before beginning their vaccination course. Quarantining students are permitted to stay in Garrett housing while they quarantine and receive their vaccinations.  

For more information on the COVID-19 testing required before and after travel to the US, please see this page on the CDC’s website: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States | CDC. You can also learn more about general travel questions here: International Travel During COVID-19 | CDC. 

If you are staying in Garrett housing but do not yet have your COVID-19 vaccine, you will still be eligible to move into your Garrett housing location. You will need to receive your first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of your arrival, and there will be clinics nearby where you will be able to easily schedule appointments. Please inform the Office of Student Life of your arrival date so that we can assist you with scheduling your vaccine appointment. 

Students will not be allowed to attend an in-person class, school sponsored gathering/meeting or enter the library until they are fully vaccinated—two weeks after the final dose. If a student is not fully vaccinated in time and is not allowed to attend a class, they should contact the Academic Dean’s office to request accommodations. 

 

14. What if I am having trouble making a vaccination appointment?  

The Office of Student Life will aid any student struggling to find an appointment. After April 15, 2021 you can contact the Office of Student Life at student.life@garrett.edu, and they will assist you in getting an appointment.   
 
 

15. I currently live in Garrett housing (apartments or dormitories) or I plan to move into Garrett housing, must I and/or my family be vaccinated to live in Garrett housing (dormitories and apartments)?  

Any person age 12 or over who resides in Garrett Housing must be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and must provide evidence of such to the Office of Student Life (as described in question B2 above) by Friday, August 13, 2021. Anyone who cannot or will not provide such evidence will have their housing agreement terminated and be given 30 days to move out. If you are a new resident to Housing, anyone wanting to move in after August 1, 2021 must be fully vaccinated. International students who are unable to receive vaccination in their home countries prior to arrival will be able to move into housing prior to receiving a vaccination; however, they will be required to receive a vaccine with 14 days of arrival and must follow quarantine rules established in B.1. Those international students who do not receive their first vaccine within 14 days of arrival will have their housing agreement terminated and be given 30 days to move out. 

Please remember if you are struggling to get an appointment for vaccination, you can email the Office of Student Life after April 15, 2021, at student.life@garrett.edu for assistance. 
 

16. If I sign a housing agreement and am unable to move to campus because I cannot get a vaccine will I still be responsible for the agreement?  

No, as has been our policy since the pandemic began, any situation caused by the pandemic that affects your ability to fulfill the obligations of your housing agreement will be released and any prepayments will be refunded.  

 

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C. Community Life FAQs  

1. Will we have Community Meal? 

There will be Community Meal. While it may be slightly different from the previous iteration, we will maintain a sense of community and keep best practices while dining.

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D. Chapel Updates  

1. What will Chapel be like in Fall 2021? 

The Chapel Advisory Committee, liturgical studies faculty, Chapel Team, and IT Department are in ongoing conversation about how we can responsibly adapt our seminary worship life for Fall 2021. We anticipate that we will utilize more than one mode of worship both seizing the opportunity to be back in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful as well as attending to the digital liturgical space in which we have gathered for the past year. A key priority that is guiding our work is attending to the full inclusion of all members of the seminary community whether they choose to join worship online or in person.

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E. Registrar Office FAQs  

1. How will I receive information about registration for summer and fall? 

Students will be receiving the usual “Tips from the Registrar” communication shortly about summer and fall 2021 registration. Priority Registration for BGTS, Doctoral, and Senior Students will begin on April 20. General Registration will begin on April 27. 

 

2. What will be the formats and modalities of classes in the summer and fall? 

Summer courses will remain fully online.  

 

Fall courses will be offered four varied formats, including:  

  • In-person classes (will meet in person at 2121 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL 60201) 

  • Online classes (courses will be conducted remotely online.  Some may require synchronous online meetings) 

  • Hybrid classes (will be a mix of in-person and online meetings) 

  • Hyflex classes (the professor will be teaching from a classroom on campus and students may join in-person or online) 

Each modality will be designated in the following way in the course schedule: 

  • In-person class numbers will follow the standard format: FIELD-### 

  • Online class numbers will be designated with an “X” at the end: FIELD-### X 

  • Hybrid class numbers will be designated with an “Y” at the end: FIELD-### Y 

  • Hyflex class numbers will be designated with a “Z” at the end: FIELD-### Z 

 

3. How will a “hyflex” course count toward my online course limit? 

If students enroll in a hyflex course and attend more than half of it virtually, it will count as an online course.  Students and advisors should heed the online course limits carefully for degree programs (as well as ordination and licensing limits on online classes).   

 

4. Will a “hybrid” course count as in-person or online?  

Hybrid courses are planned to meet in-person more than half of the semester, so they will count as in-person courses.   

 

5. How do accreditation requirements affect the modalities that I choose for my classes? 

Garrett is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and University Senate of The United Methodist Church (University Senate). The ATS is “mode neutral” in its standards for Master’s degrees, but expects synchronous or in-person instruction for doctoral programs. The University Senate currently allows for up to two-thirds of Master’s programs to be online. With the HLC, we are currently allowed to provide only up to 50% of our degree programs online. Students should heed these limits when selecting courses and modalities. 

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F. Styberg Library FAQs  

1. Will the library be open for in-person services in the fall? 

Yes, the library will be open for in-person services in the fall. Starting on August 23, 2021, the library will return to open stacks and appointment-free building access for students, faculty, staff, alums, and the Northwestern community. Specifically speaking, students will be able to come into the library to browse the stacks, borrow and return the books, print and copy the materials, or study without making an appointment. The library hours during the fall semester are as follows:

  • August 23 through September 6, Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • September 7 (first day of school) through December 31, Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

The library hours may be extended as the needs arise. Detailed safety protocols and information will be made available prior to the reopening of the Seminary and the Styberg Library in mid-August.

 

2. What services will be available? 

Starting on August 23, the library will resume in-person services while continuing to offer remote services such as curbside pickup, scanning, and virtual workshops/consultations. Below is a list of key services that the library will offer in the fall and beyond:
  • Access to a wide range of physical, electronic, and media collections
  • Course reserves (for both print and electronic books)
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Curbside pickup (for those who do not want to come into the library)
  • Scanning of physical items (for those who live off campus)
  • Mailing of physical book requests (for those who live 50 or more miles away from campus)
  • In-person and virtual reference and library instruction services
  • Online research guides and tutorials
  • Study space (including large tables, individual carrels, and the PhD study suite)
  • Printing, copying, and scanning
  • Loaner laptops

For the updated information about library services, check out the library website regularly:https://library.garrett.edu/services/update-services. In addition, library staff can be contacted via email (styberg.library@garrett.edu), phone (847-866-3909) or chat (library.garrett.edu/chat) Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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G. Field Education FAQs  

1. Can I take the INT 600/605 Leadership Seminar online? 

INT600 and INT605 will be offered Hyflex (e.g. students can choose between online and in person modalities) in both the Fall and Spring semesters of Academic Year 2021-2022.   

  • Fall 2021: INT605 will be Hyflex during the Thursday morning block (9:00-11:00am) and INT600 will be Hyflex during the Thursday evening block (6:30-8:30pm).    

  • Spring 2022: INT600 will be Hyflex during the Thursday morning block (9:00-11:00am) and INT605 will be Hyflex during the Thursday evening block (6:30-8:30pm).

 

2. How will FE600/610 Field Education work for in person and distance students? What kind of safety precautions can I count on at my field placement site? 

FE600/610 Field Education will be offered both semesters of Academic Year 2021-2022 with the following provisions: 

  • Site placement: Field Education staff have been working to place students with sites in and outside of Chicagoland, according to their plans. All sites, site supervisors and students must agree and adhere to the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Field Education Covid Placement Policy. 

  • Peer Groups:  Both in person and online peer groups will be offered during the Wednesday afternoon block (1:00-3:00pm) and Wednesday evening block (6:30-8:30pm).  Distance students will be given priority for online peer groups.

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H. Residence Halls, Apartments, and Food Service FAQs  

See questions 15 and 16 in section B. Vaccination FAQs for information about vaccination requirements for those living in Garrett housing (residence halls and apartments). 

 

1. Will food service be returning to Loder Hall? 

No, food service will not be returning to Loder Hall.  We will be installing a vending mart that will have many options from salads and sandwiches to chips and beverages. Each dorm room will be equipped with a refrigerator and there are kitchens in the basement and second floor of Loder Hall for student use. 

 

2. Where can students get food on campus? 

Northwestern University has many options for food on the campus, please visit their website for information: https://dineoncampus.com/northwestern 

 

3. Is there a meal plan that Garrett students can purchase? 

We are in the process of working with Northwestern University to see if Garrett students can sign up for a pre-paid meal plan through Northwestern University. We will provide this information to Garrett dorm residents once we have it available. Based on early discussions with Northwestern University, this pre-paid meal plan would need to be arranged directly between the student and Northwestern University.  

 

4. How do I sign up for housing? 

Housing applications for the Fall 2021 semester will be made available after April 15, 2021. The housing application will be made accessible through the housing webpage on Garrett's main website and myGETS. Housing applications for the Fall 2021 semester should be submitted by June 15, 2021. The official move in weekend is August 27, 2021 through August 29, 2021. Early move ins begin August 1, 2021. Special circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case manner. Please contact the Housing Office for any specific questions at garrett.housing@garrett.edu   

 

5. What are the housing costs? 

The housing cost for the 2021-2022 academic year can be found here. At minimum, the housing deposit must be paid prior to moving into housing. Please note, if living in an apartment charges are applied and due by the first of the month. If living in a residence hall charges are applied at the beginning of the semester. Please contact the Housing Office for more information about cost and housing payments at garrett.housing@garrett.edu 

 

6. Will tours of housing units be available? 

Unfortunately, physical tours are not available. Please contact the Housing Office at garrett.housing@garrett.edu for more information regarding other options to view units. 

 

7. Will Old Dorm be open for the fall? 

Yes, at this time Old Dorm is slated to be open this academic year. 

 

8. Will face covering and social distancing still need to occur in the housing?  

Yes. Please see the face covering and social distancing information found in section B. Vaccination FAQ. 

 

9. Will there be other safety protocols in place for moving in and for living in housing? 

Yes. We will have more information about safety protocols for the move-in process as well as any other measures that need to be taken in housing as we get closer to August. 

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I. Safety Measures on Campus

1. Who will be able to be on campus? 

We will only enable the faculty, staff, and students who have been vaccinated to return to classes in fall 2021but since Illinois is in Phase 5 we will be open to the general public including Northwestern University students. We still ask that all visitors including prospective students (visiting Admissions), alums/donors (visiting the Development Office), and invited speakers for classes or events be pre-scheduled with an appointment.

2. Since COVID-19 is an airborne virus, what changes will be made to ventilation on campus? 

We have completed a study of the ventilation on campus. Our air handling system was already designed to pull in fresh air versus recirculating air. In using the information provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHREA) Epidemic Task Force, we decided to install plasma air filters that will clean the air of COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria in each classroom and throughout the Styberg Library.

3. What safety measures will be in place during class? 

All faculty and students will be required to be vaccinated to return to in person classes.  Vaccinated people can gather without masks or social distance safely therefore no additional measures will be taken in the classrooms.  The Campus Safety Team is monitoring CDC and public health guidelines and is determining if any changes in the safety measures are needed and will implement changes should they be necessary. Rest assured, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our Garrett community and will err on the side of caution.

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J. Financial Aid and Student Loans

1. Do I need to keep making payments on my federally held student loans?

No. Keep in mind that if you are enrolled at least part-time, you are probably already in an in-school deferment status, which does not require payments. Therefore, no action is required.

If you have graduated, discontinued attendance, or are less than part-time and your loans are in repayment, you may be eligible for an administrative forbearance which would allow you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. The time under the administrative forbearance may count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Please keep in mind that this is not an automatic process. You must request the forbearance. For more information on this option and how to apply, please contact your loan servicer.

2. Great, so how about private student loans, do I still need to keep paying them?

It depends. The Department of Education cannot compel private loan servicers to suspend payments. However, some private loan servicers are trying to make special accommodations for those in repayment. Contact your private loan servicer directly to learn about your options.

3. What about GBEHM private student loans?

If you are in repayment of a GBHEM loan you may be eligible for a 3-month forbearance (with interest accrual). To learn more email umloans@gbhem.org.  

4. I heard all student loan interest has been suspended. How does that work?

All federally held loans (Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans, and some Perkins Loans) have suspended interest for at least the next 60 days, beginning March 13, 2020. During this time, your federal loans will automatically be adjusted so that interest does not accrue. This adjustment will not change your monthly payments, rather any payments made during the 0% interest rate period will be applied in full to your outstanding principal balance or already accrued interest.

FEEL loans, school-serviced Perkins loans, and private student loans are not part of this interest suspension.

5. If I have more questions, what should I do?

If you have questions about your institutional scholarship, outside scholarships, or loan aid for the semester please consult the Financial Aid Handbook, which can be downloaded from myGETS, or contact financial aid at financial.aid@garrett.edu.

If you are in repayment and have questions about your loan status, contact your loan servicer directly. If you are considering federal loan aid please complete the 2020-21 FAFSA at StudentAid.gov. Federal Award Letters for those that have completed the FAFSA will be sent out at the end of May. 

If you have questions about federal student aid, go to studentaid.gov.

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