Welcome Back Update from Dean Zack Irish

Welcome Back! It has been great to see many of you come through the check-in process. We are excited to get another semester started, even in this non-traditional and unique environment. Whether you are on campus, commuting or learning remotely, we look forward to opportunities to connect throughout the semester. I am so proud of the perseverance of this community through the fall semester, and I have no doubt we will rally together to have the same success for the spring.

Please take the time to review the entirety of this email as it is important that you have this information as we begin a new semester. I would also encourage you to save it for later use as a resource when you want to refer to it.

New Title IX Coordinator

I am pleased to share that Caraline Moholland has joined the college as the Title IX Coordinator and Bias Incident Response Officer. Caraline will oversee the administration of the college’s sexual and gender-based misconduct and bias incident policies. She will lead the college’s response to reports made under these policies. Caraline takes over for Rachael Pauze, who has filled the Title IX Coordinator role since 2016 and who has been instrumental in policy and process development at Wheaton. Rachael will serve in a broader capacity for the college and will continue to oversee Title IX compliance and bias incident response. Caraline can be reached at moholland_caraline@wheatoncollege.edu, 508-286-3261.

Department of Campus Safety

As communicated by Meghan Kass on January 11, the Department of Campus Safety continues to be led by Chief Rob Winsor and Lieutenant Roy Mulcahy. Campus Safety will continue to maintain a strong visible presence on campus and are highly trained and equipped to act as first responders in emergency and crisis situations. They are a committed team that will become familiar faces on campus and an integral part of our community. They will work closely with Student Affairs to respond to, and support, our student and community needs. The campus safety team will receive organizational and Wheaton-based training in areas such as cultural competence, effective communication, de-escalation techniques and first aid and CPR. Please take the opportunity to greet them as you see the new staff around campus.

Engagement and Event Opportunities

Similar to the fall semester, there will be a lot of opportunities to “Engage” in the community, both on campus and remote. Our staff has been committed to creating more hybrid opportunities that adhere to current safety protocols. Be sure to follow @wheaton.campuslife on Instagram for more information, and keep an eye on social media and your email for the latest information about upcoming events and engagement opportunities. One exciting program coming up later this month, that was rescheduled from last spring, is a visit with Dr. Anthony Jack. Join Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack, a low-income and first-generation graduate of Amherst College, author of The Privileged Poor, and Harvard scholar, for a community conversation on February 25, 2021 at 5pm on Zoom. It is an important chance for the campus to think about classism and how we can do a better job supporting our low-income students at Wheaton. You can register here.

Return to Campus COVID-19 Protocols

We will have a gradual reopening on campus to prioritize the health and safety of the community. As such, Chase, Emerson, and Balfour Hood dining facilities will be open for takeout only for the first couple of weeks. Additionally, the Library will be operating with new policies and protocols while the Fitness Center and Athletics Facilities will have a delayed opening. New policies and protocols will be communicated in the coming weeks. You will be asked to show your cleared CoVerified status to enter several spaces on campus so it is imperative to adhere to the college’s COVID-19 policies and protocols.

I want to call your attention to the COVID-19 Return to Campus webpage which outlines all of the current policies and protocols for mitigating the risk of an outbreak on campus, including our Community Commitment. I would also encourage you to review the Honor Code and Community Standards to understand the full list of expectations for you as a member of the Wheaton community, on campus and remote. For those living and/or learning on campus, there are several critical expectations for you to minimize our risk of infection on campus:

  • Testing: All students will be required to test twice weekly throughout the semester. A week is considered Monday through Friday and you cannot test on back to back days. Schedule all of your semester appointments ahead of time of the CoVerified App.
  • Symptom Monitoring: All community members are required to complete the symptom checker on the CoVerified App each day before leaving their room or arriving on campus.
  • Face Coverings: All community members will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when you are outside your residence hall room, with the exception of bathing and eating. Please note that bandanas, neck gaiters and masks with exhalation valves are not permitted. As some N95 masks have these valves, those will be permitted only with a surgical mask used over the N95 mask.
  • Social Distancing: Social distancing is important for everyone. New occupancy limits have been set for all classrooms, meetings spaces, elevators and residence hall common rooms. The campus community should follow these social distancing practices:
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ lengths) from other people at all times
    • Do not gather in groups and avoid crowded places and large gatherings
    • Utilize virtual meeting options whenever possible
  • Personal Hygiene: Everyone is expected to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and hot water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection: Community members are expected to wipe down commonly used surfaces in personal work spaces, residence halls and classrooms before and after each use.
  • Travel and Guests: Community members are expected to limit their travel off-campus to essential travel only. Additionally, visitors and guests are not permitted on campus unless they have prior approval from the appropriate office. Current policy permits resident students to only visit other resident students in their assigned residence hall.
  • A special note about the Massachusetts Travel Order: As many of you had to comply with the state travel order for your arrival to campus, it is important to realize you will be required to adhere to the travel order if you choose to leave the state at any time during the semester. Please email covidtesting@wheatoncollege.edu if you plan to leave the state overnight.
  • Quarantine and Isolation: A resident student may need to relocate to quarantine and isolation at any time in relatively short notice. Be prepared with a quarantine bag already packed, or have a plan to appropriately quarantine or isolate off campus.

Given the increased focus on the health and safety of our community, violations of the Community Standards and COVID-19-related policies will result in elevated disciplinary measures. As a reminder, Wheaton’s jurisdiction extends to behaviors both on and off campus. Major violations, including but not limited to, hosting a social gathering or not complying with quarantine/isolation procedures, will likely result in loss of housing and restriction from campus. More minor violations, such as continued non-compliance with face covering or social distancing protocols, will likely result in housing or disciplinary probation. Students who are removed from housing, lose on-campus access, or are suspended from the college as part of the Student Conduct Process will not be refunded any portion of their tuition, room and board, or other fees.

Community Reporting Options

In addition to contacting Campus Safety at 508-286-3333 for concerns requiring immediate response, you may also utilize these other resources to report issues or concerns within the community:

  • Community Reporting Options on insideWheaton
  • LiveSafe App. The LiveSafe app is available to the Wheaton community and provides a direct reporting line to Campus Safety, allowing community members to anonymously report tips as well as seek help.
  • Residential Life Staff. Each residence hall/residential area consists of a staff of Resident Advisors who live in the halls and an Area Coordinator who can help work through the issues associated with living in a community. You can contact Residential Life by calling 508-286-8214 or emailing reslife@wheatoncollege.edu. After business hours, you can still contact Residential Life by contacting Campus Safety and requesting to speak with Residential Life.
  • Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office can be contacted at deanofstudents@wheatoncollege.edu or 508-286-8218. The Dean of Students Office coordinates student support initiatives and the student conduct process. The Dean of Students Office can connect you with different offices and resources within the community.

Lastly, Wheaton College has received NECHE accreditation and SARA approval for delivering online education, which allows us to offer online education to students residing in any state. More specifically, Massachusetts recently passed legislation to join the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Students enrolled in online courses who are residents of states other than Massachusetts, and when such state is a SARA participating state, may submit complaints using this form. You can find more information on the college’s website.

Take care of yourself, each other and make good choices!

Stay safe and be well,

Dean Zack