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The step to cancel in-person events for the first two weeks of the semester was to help limit any potential exposure or spread of the virus early in our time together. This event restriction also included orientation and welcome weekend. Our goal was to hold some smaller-scale, in-person programming as the semester progresses and those changes have begun, starting on September 4.
Student Clubs and Other Engagement Opportunities
Throughout the semester, student clubs and organizations will be encouraged to conduct meetings virtually, and will only be permitted to meet in person and provide in-person programming when all social distancing protocols and guidance at that time can be accommodated. Events and activities will be offered in both virtual and limited capacity, in-person opportunities to comply with federal, state, and local guidance.
Beginning September 8, 2020, student organization-sponsored registered events or gatherings are permitted to request space for any in-person, on-campus event. All in-person, on-campus events must be offered in a hybrid format and include a virtual option to allow any student to have similar engagement opportunities. All faculty & staff meetings will be held exclusively virtual until further notice; no in-person, on-campus meetings are allowed at this time. At this time, in-person, off-campus college-sponsored events are also not permitted. Wheaton College will not host events sponsored by external groups until further notice.
We will begin to hold a limited number of events in person with limited capacity, following these guidelines:
- Each event must be approved in advance by Conference and Event Services
- Event host(s) and sponsor(s) must complete the COVID-19 Campus Events & Gathering Safety Training
- All in-person events will require pre-registration as well as a check-in process at the event
- The in-person event, must also offer a virtual option to allow participation from those unable to attend
- Attendees will be expected to adhere to all other college policies and protocols currently in place (social distancing, wearing masks, complete testing/screening protocols, etc). Failure to comply with the policies may result in the student conduct process for all participants involved.
Virtual events should be booked through the Conferences & Event Services 25Live scheduling system and Engage (for student events). Virtual events can be publicized via the campus events calendar and Engage and the event will be listed on the availability grid within 25Live.
On-campus Events & Gatherings
Currently, registered in-person events or gatherings must follow all campus protocols and adhere to these restrictions:
- Indoor events/gatherings permitted
- Maximum of 25 attendees
- Time limit of 1 hour for indoor event
- Outdoor events/gatherings permitted
- Maximum of 25 attendees
- Time limit of 2-1/2 hours for outdoor event
Athletics and Recreation
Varsity and Club Sports
On July 16, Director of Athletics and Recreation Gavin Viano announced that Wheaton will not be competing against other institutions in traditional intercollegiate athletics during the fall of 2020. All varsity athletics and club sports competition and travel for the fall have been cancelled. On July 17, the presidents of all eleven schools in our athletic conference, the NEWMAC, voted unanimously to suspend conference play until January 1, 2021. We join many other conferences in making this decision, with the health and safety of our communities as the guiding principle. No decision has been made regarding winter or spring seasons at this time, however it has been decided by the conference that competition will not begin until at least January 1, 2021. Depending on NCAA and NEWMAC decisions on fall sports, there may be a possibility for fall teams to compete in the spring of 2021. The college will continue to follow guidance and restrictions for participation in varsity athletics and club sports when they are put forth by the NCAA, NEWMAC, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC.
Starting Tuesday, September 8, Varsity Athletic Teams are permitted to start with structured team practices while adhering to NCAA and state guidance as well as college policies. This includes smaller groups, social distancing, and the use of face coverings.
Pappas Fitness Center
The Fitness Center will reopen for the fall semester on September 8, 2020 with safety precautions in compliance with Massachusetts, CDC, and NCAA guidelines to allow community members to utilize the space and equipment safely. Participants will be expected to wear masks and will have the option of removing their mask while exercising to get enough oxygen and stay safe. Additional capacity limits, cleaning protocols, and policies will be implemented for participants coming and going from the fitness center.
The Fitness Center will be closed every 3 hours and on Sundays for a deep clean done by members of the Department of Athletics and Recreation, including utilization of electrostatic technology and the CDC recommended disinfectant. Participants will be expected to wipe down all equipment and touch points with disinfectant wipes before and after use. Exercise equipment will be spaced six feet apart and participants will not be permitted to share equipment.
Participants are expected to adhere to all other college policies and procedures including maintaining social distancing and good personal hygiene. Additional hand sanitation stations and disinfectant wipes have been added to the Fitness Center. Participants will be expected to bring their own water bottles as the touchless water bottle station will be the only water fountain in operation. No guests will be allowed to access the Fitness Center. Additionally, the use of locker rooms to store personal belongings will be prohibited; locker rooms will be used only for the restrooms.
Additionally, it should be noted that the Balfour Natatorium (pool in Haas Athletic Center) will continue to be closed at this time.
Recreation and Intramurals
Recreational Services plays an important role in supporting the physical and mental well-being of Wheaton College students. During a national health pandemic, physical and mental health are more important than ever. To that end, recreation is committed to providing both virtual options as well as in-person options when in compliance with CDC, Massachusetts and Wheaton guidance.
- Video Gaming Leagues (Esports)
- Walking Challenge, walking bingo, and Walking Club
- Virtual 5k
- Badminton Tournament
- Basketball Hoops Hype Contests
- Cornhole and Kan Jam Tournaments- (both in person and virtual vs. other schools)
- Fishing Tournament
- Sports Trivia
The college encourages the use of outdoor space for walking and running during the fall months with the expectation that community members adhere to social distancing and facial covering policies and procedures.
Additionally, the Department of Athletics and Recreation is committed to providing students with fitness classes throughout the semester. These classes will be a combination of virtual and in person options when in compliance with CDC, Massachusetts and Wheaton guidance. Participants will be practicing physical distancing, classes size capacities will be reduced, and classes will be limited to low-intensity exercising. The college will look to provide these classes in locations that are bigger to provide adequate space for all participants. Pappas Fitness Classes programs will also be offered virtual for all students who wish to remain active, but do not feel comfortable or are not able to participate in person. These classes will also be recorded and can be distributed at the request of students.
Visitors include vendors, contractors, family members or friends of a student or employee, prospective students and their families, alumni, and guest speakers.
Visitors will be restricted unless they have prior approval from:
- Vice President for Finance and Administration for any contractors or vendors
- Vice President for Enrollment and/or Director of Athletics for prospective students and families
- Associate Vice President for Human Resources for any interviewees
- Provost for any guest lecturers or speakers
Admission tours will be limited in the number of registrants, conducted with staggered start times and locations, and will be restricted to outdoors.
All visitors to campus are expected to comply with college safety guidelines, including face coverings, symptom checks and social distancing.