Parent and Family Newsletter

Parents and families are a vital part of the Albion College community. They play an important role in the success of our student body and we want to ensure that families stay informed and connected to the College.

Our parent and family newsletter allows us to share regular updates on campus news, activities, events and initiatives. Use the form to sign up for regular email updates, or browse previous updates below.

Albion also manages a Facebook group for parents of current Albion College students. We use this group to share news with families along with providing a space for parents, guardians and caregivers to connect, share resources and build community with one another. Join the parent's group on Facebook and explore our social media directory to stay connected to Albion.

We are grateful for the ongoing engagement and support of parents and families.

Together Safely: Student Dining and Wellness

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 

Dear Albion Parents and Families,

The semester is in full swing at Albion, and it is a joy to have students back on campus.

During the fall semester, we heard lots of feedback about our new dining vendor, Metz Culinary. While much of it was positive, we recognize there are also many areas for improvement. Today, I am writing with information about student dining and wellness resources, along with a brief update on student testing.

Indoor Dining

As a residential community, we know how important eating together is. As of February 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is allowing indoor dining in Michigan in restaurants and dining venues with some restrictions. As a result, Albion College will be offering limited indoor dining opportunities to students in Lower Baldwin, Upper Baldwin and the KC Stack. Our staff at Metz are taking all necessary precautions to keep students safe, including wearing masks, lowering the capacity of dining halls, appropriately spacing tables, optimizing ventilation and regularly sanitizing all surfaces. Students will be expected to continue to comply with all health and safety protocols that have been put in place to support a successful dining experience.

For the time being, Read Between the Grinds, Briton Break and the Dow Smoothie Bar will continue to be available only for carryout. To give students more opportunities and choice, we are also working on opening a new dining venue in Baldwin with a limited menu (smoothies and power bowls only).

Based on MDHHS guidance on indoor seating and dining, all venues will be limited to one person per table. Our team at Metz has made several adjustments to indoor dining spaces to ensure that dining is safe and hygienic. Stanchions and signage have been installed to make these spaces safe and easy to navigate. Staff will be regularly sanitizing tables and have marked all seating six feet apart.

Expanded Menu Options

Just as we have been working hard to support indoor dining this semester, we have also been evaluating all of the feedback we received last semester to expand our menu options.

Baldwin Hall

In Baldwin, we have a new bakery supplier who will source products from 21 local vendors, allowing us to expand our bakery offerings. In addition, artisanal stone-oven pizzas will be returning to the menu. To better accommodate our students’ diverse dietary needs, we have added 20+ new menu items, including vegetarian, vegan and Halal items. We are also looking forward to some exciting daily themed menus, including Taco Tuesday, Mac N’ Cheese Takeover, Pizza and Wing Night and Breakfast for Lunch!

To make Baldwin Hall easier and safer to navigate, we have added new, large digital menu boards that can be seen from a safe distance. In response to student, faculty and staff feedback, we have also switched to eco-friendly containers and utensils to decrease our impact on the environment.

The Eat Shop

We have added new convenience items to the Eat Shop menu to offer more variety in grab ‘n’ go options. We have also rearranged the Eat Shop to make the space easier and safer to navigate in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

Briton Break & Read Between the Grinds

For the spring semester, sushi will be back at Briton Break twice a week and breakfast sandwiches will be added to the menu at Read Between the Grinds.

You can view menus for all of our dining spaces on the Metz website. These will be updated weekly and offer filters for dietary restrictions to show what students can eat safely in real-time. The changes we have made this semester are a direct result of the feedback we received. As in the fall, signs are hung in dining venues with a QR code that students can scan to submit feedback, and we hope they will continue to provide input.

Keeping Dining Safe

To ensure that we are keeping our dining spaces safe for our community, our staff at Metz has undertaken COVID-19 training in line with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They have also undertaken extensive allergen training. Throughout the semester, our dining staff will continue to undergo training to better serve all and keep ahead of industry trends and standards. They are working hard to keep students safe.

As with all of our employees, our dining staff are required to participate in daily health screenings and follow our testing protocols. Dining employees will have their temperature recorded daily. As we continue to strive for safe, indoor dining, we will remain responsive to MDHHS and CDC guidelines.

Deliveries to Isolation Spaces

For spring 2021, we have a new system to streamline and improve the delivery of meals to students in isolation. Our facilities staff will be helping us to deliver food promptly, and we will be utilizing new thermal units to keep food hot during deliveries. Our isolation menu will be created from the Baldwin menu to ensure that students in isolation or quarantine will not miss out on new and fun menu items.

New Telehealth Program

We are excited to share that, in partnership with TimelyMD, Albion College will launch a new telehealth program for students this spring. As you know, we are actively working to prioritize and better support student wellness. This new service will provide access to 24/7 medical and mental telehealth care from anywhere in the United States. The service will be free of charge, with no insurance necessary. More information, including how to register and use the service, will be shared with students later this week. In addition, Counseling Services remains available to support student wellness needs on campus.

Student Testing Update

Our third round of student testing took place last week, on January 28 and 29. We will be sharing more information about upcoming testing schedules with students in the coming days. This spring, we are using Abbott BinaxNOW tests to administer regular rapid testing of students, faculty and staff. Abbott’s COVID-19 app, NAVICA, pairs with the rapid antigen test to deliver results quickly and safely to individuals. All students, faculty and staff have been asked to download NAVICA from the App Store or Google Play at no charge. We have a process in place for students, faculty and staff who do not have access to a Smartphone.

NAVICA will not be used for contact tracing and does not require that location services be turned on. For more information on NAVICA, visit Abbott’s NAVICA FAQ. NAVICA has security protocols in place to ensure that all personal data is protected. For more information on how NAVICA collects and stores data, see their Privacy Policy.

Daily Health Monitoring

We will be shifting away from using the Aura app for health monitoring and testing this spring. Instead, we have a new Daily Health Assessment form that all students, faculty and staff have been instructed to fill out every day by noon. Our COVID-19 team will receive alerts and reach out to symptomatic individuals if testing is required. This information will only be shared with our COVID-19 team and used for the management of COVID-19 on campus.

Reporting Testing Data

As in the fall, Albion will continue to report testing data on our website. COVID-19 updates will be added to our Together Safely site daily, Monday through Friday, as current numbers of active cases change. Our COVID-19 dashboard will be updated at the same time.

As always, copies of the parent and family newsletter will be added to our website and information regarding our COVID-19 policies and protocols for spring 2021 will be added to Together Safely as it is released.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and our whole Albion community.

Dr. Mathew Johnson
President, Albion College

Together Safely: Move-In Details

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Dear Albion Parents and Families,

As we approach move-in weekend, our staff and faculty are looking forward to having students back on campus and are working hard to ensure a smooth transition.

Today, we are sharing reminders about the move-in process, along with some information about health monitoring, break days and residential expectations. Next week, we will share a communication about new improvements to the student dining experience.

Move-in Process

All residential students and non-residential students taking in-person classes on campus are required to complete a centralized check-in process. Check-in will take place at the Dow Center between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, and Sunday, January 24. Students have received instructions on how to sign up for a check-in time via their email.

When students arrive on campus, they should follow directions to the Dow Center Fieldhouse. Students must go to the Dow Center Fieldhouse immediately upon arriving and before proceeding to their residential assignment. Students will enter the Dow Fieldhouse from the parking lot next to the Dow Center to check in.

Check-in time slots are in one-hour time blocks to ensure a safe and efficient process. The check-in process will include a screening to ensure students have received or were provided with an exemption for the flu shot and have submitted documentation for a negative COVID-19 test on or after January 16. Students will also take a rapid test that will be administered by a member of our COVID-19 team and will receive their results before they leave the Dow Center. Students who test positive will have the option of returning home to complete the isolation period or moving into isolation housing on campus.

Students will be issued a new Albion1Card (student ID) during the check-in process. By providing documentation of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving on campus and being tested on arrival, there will be no need for students to quarantine in their rooms after they move into their spring housing.

Move-In Helpers

During their scheduled move-in time slot, students will be allowed up to two helpers who have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, have not been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person in the past 14 days, and are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Move-in helpers are not permitted to participate in the check-in process at the Dow Center and should stay in their vehicles for the duration of check in.

Health Monitoring

We know that the first two weeks will be the most critical period for ensuring the safe and effective management of COVID-19 cases on campus. This semester, in order to be as responsive as possible, students will be required to contact our COVID-19 team directly should they experience any symptoms of COVID-19. Through regular symptom monitoring and responsiveness, we know we will be able to manage the spread of COVID-19 effectively.

Students should perform a daily self-check every morning for the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If students experience any of these symptoms between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, they should call Albion’s COVID-19 team at (517) 629-0220 or email . If they experience any of these symptoms after hours or on weekends, students should call Campus Safety at (517) 629-1234.

Signage will be in place at the entrance of each building to remind students of symptoms and contact information.

Testing Schedule

Following entry testing, students will be tested on January 28-29 and February 11-12. Sign up links for testing slots will be emailed to students closer to these dates. Following our initial three rounds of testing, we will communicate with students in February about future testing schedules. Student-athletes will be on a different testing schedule and will receive information from their athletic trainer and coach at the start of spring practice. For the spring semester, we will continue to report testing data on our website.

Wellness Days

In response to student feedback, the College has added four wellness days during the Spring semester. Wellness Days will take place on February 10, March 16 and April 7. In addition, a Reading Day is scheduled for May 4. We know that last semester was challenging for students and faculty in many ways and our hope is that regularly scheduled wellness days will offer a period of rest as the semester goes on.

Residential Expectations

For the time being, students are not permitted to visit other residential buildings. As the semester continues and we are able to assess compliance as well as case numbers on campus, locally and regionally, we will review whether students can safely move between residential buildings.

Expanded Dining Options

In response to student feedback, we have worked with Metz Culinary Management, our dining vendor, to implement several improvements to our student dining experience. These include additions to the menu in Baldwin and the Eat Shop, as well as an improved system for delivering food to students in quarantine or isolation.

Our dining staff has undergone training to ensure we are poised to respond to CDC guidelines as necessary, and our dining rooms are ready to allow for safe indoor seating once the state of Michigan allows it. Like all employees, our dining staff will be required to follow Albion College’s testing and health monitoring protocols. We will share a dedicated communication with details of student dining improvements early next week.

As always, copies of the parent and family newsletter will be added to our website and information regarding our COVID-19 policies and protocols for spring 2021 will be added to Together Safely as it is released.

We look forward to having students back living and learning at Albion.

Dr. Mathew Johnson
President, Albion College

Together Safely: Off-Campus Travel and On-Campus Visitors

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Dear Albion Parents and Families,

We are looking forward to having students back on campus soon. As we continue to make plans for a healthy spring semester, we are sharing details about how we will keep our on-campus and local communities safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Today, we shared a communication with students regarding Albion’s policies for off-campus work and travel and on-campus visitors, and I am summarizing the contents of this email below. Please note that all of the forms referenced in this email are accessible to students using their Albion login credentials, and should be filled out by students, rather than parents and guardians.

Our policies for off-campus work and travel and on-campus visitors are designed to give as much flexibility as possible while reducing risk of infection entering from outside or infection on campus spreading to the community. While our off-campus travel and on-campus visitor policies remain similar to those of fall 2020, we continue to work to expand these opportunities for students, particularly as the COVID-19 vaccination becomes available later in the semester. We will review policies and protocols on a continuous basis to determine if restrictions can be adjusted based on compliance and case numbers on campus, locally and regionally.

Off-Campus Work

Albion is continuing to work to make off-campus employment as accessible as possible while reducing risk to our campus community. As in the fall, students may work in an off-campus job if:

  1. The employer is located within 25 miles of campus and has all employees participating in Albion College’s testing protocol; or
  2. Students have an approved residency requirement waiver, live in non-college owned housing and agree to take their classes only online.

Students who wish to work off-campus should fill out the Spring Off-Campus Work Request form. If students have already received both doses of the vaccine, they can submit their off-campus work request through this form to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

As the vaccine becomes more readily available, we will share an updated policy regarding working off campus after receiving the vaccine, along with a process for verifying that both doses have been received.

Off-Campus Travel

As in the fall, students must submit the Off-Campus Travel Request form for all travel that is not directly College-sponsored. Students should continue to submit the Off-Campus Travel Request form for medical appointments and grocery shopping so we have a record of these trips, but these cases will be pre-approved. If a student has a family emergency that requires them to leave campus, they do not need to fill out the form.

All other requests, including for family events, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Requesting permission involves a brief conversation with a College administrator to understand and evaluate the risk of exposure.

Grocery Shopping

For the spring semester, students can access any grocery store with curbside pickup in Jackson. The College is also offering a limited number of grocery pickups per week at Meijer and Kroger for students who do not have vehicles. You can learn more about current curbside offerings and grocery pickups on our website.

Visiting Local Businesses

In order to protect both our campus and our local community, Albion has partnered with a number of local businesses that have agreed to participate in full testing of all employees. The list of our Together Safely Business Partners is available on our website. Students do not need to use the off-campus travel form in order to leave campus to visit these businesses, and we encourage students and visiting families to patronize them.

On-Campus Visitors

In keeping with our public health and safety protocols, we have developed a process to facilitate student requests to receive visitors. All parents, guardians and families are permitted to visit outdoor spaces on campus, as well as visit businesses that are part of the Together Safely partnership with students. In order to have a visitor in outside spaces on campus, students must register their visitors so we are aware of the number of visitors on campus at any given time. This allows us to mitigate risk and ensure our whole community is protected.

The College is hoping to expand testing later in the semester in order to increase opportunities for on-campus visitors. We will share more information in the coming months.

As always, copies of the parent and family newsletter will be added to our website and information regarding our COVID-19 policies and protocols for spring 2021 will be added to Together Safely as it is released. This Thursday, January 21, we will share a second email focused on detailed move-in protocols.

We are looking forward to seeing you and your students on campus this weekend!

Dr. Mathew Johnson
President, Albion College

Parent and Family Newsletter - Spring 2021 Testing Protocols

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dear Albion Parents and Families,

We are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus on January 23-24. Our faculty and staff have been working hard over the break to develop protocols that will keep our whole community safe and healthy as we live and learn together. We have made several adjustments to our COVID-19 response based on student feedback, and continue to work with the COVID-19 Student Accountability Committee to ensure our protocols and policies are developed and implemented thoughtfully, thoroughly and with input from student leaders.

Today, we shared a communication with students that detailed Albion’s testing plans for the coming weeks along with some reminders about the move-in process, and I am summarizing the contents of this email below. Next week, we will share a second communication with students and parents with policies regarding off-campus travel and on-campus visitors and a third communication before move in with detailed information on what students should expect when they arrive on campus. As always, copies of the parent and family newsletter will be added to our website.

Testing Before Move In

As we shared in our last newsletter, students must submit documentation of a negative COVID-19 test that was completed on or after January 16, 2021, to before returning to campus to proceed with their scheduled move in. After receiving a negative test, students must continue to check for symptoms of COVID-19 daily. If students develop symptoms after taking their test, they must contact for consultation regarding their return to campus.

If students receive a positive test on or after January 16, 2021, and before returning to campus, they will need to isolate at home but may begin the semester online. If you are having challenges locating a test, email .

In line with CDC guidelines on retesting, students who have tested positive are exempt from testing for the 90 days following this result. If students tested positive on October 23, 2020, or later, they are exempt from testing during move in. If the test was provided by Albion, they will automatically be added to our exemption list. If the test was administered off campus, students should email to be added to the exemption list.

Flu Shots

Students who did not receive the flu shot on campus in the fall must submit documentation of their immunization to , or have a waiver approved, to return to campus for the spring semester. If students received the flu shot during the fall at one of the clinics provided on campus, they do not need to submit documentation.

Entry Testing

Students will receive a rapid COVID-19 test on entry as part of their check-in process during move in. By both performing entry testing and requiring documentation of a negative test from students before they return to campus, we are able to forgo the three-day quarantine period that was required in the fall.

Once students receive a negative result from their rapid test (or verify that they are exempt from testing), they will receive their new ID and may proceed with move in. If students test positive on site, they will be strongly encouraged to return home for the duration of their isolation if it is feasible and take their classes online during this period. If returning home is not an option, students may begin the semester isolating on campus in one of the isolation houses with support from the College COVID-19 team.

January and February Testing Schedule

Albion will continue to provide extensive testing for our entire community, including students, staff and faculty, in spring 2021.

We have student testing scheduled on the following dates:

  • First round: January 23-24 during move in
  • Second round: January 28-29
  • Third round: February 11-12

Students will receive instructions via email on how to sign up for testing slots. Following these three rounds of testing, we will communicate with students in February about future testing schedules.

Wastewater Testing

Throughout the spring semester, Albion College will continue to perform wastewater testing for COVID-19 in many of our larger residence halls including Seaton, Wesley, Mitchell Towers and the fraternities. If positive cases are identified via wastewater testing, we may quarantine students in these residence halls and perform individual testing to isolate potential cases.

Health Monitoring

Students, faculty and staff will continue to be required to participate in daily health monitoring this spring. We will be introducing a new system to support this and will share details in our communication next week.

As in the fall, a successful semester relies on every member of our community living the Albion Community Commitment that we made. Students will continue to be required to wear a mask inside, and outside when a distance of six feet cannot be maintained, maintain at least six feet of physical distance between themselves and others, monitor their health and practice good personal hygiene, including regularly washing their hands and staying home when sick.

Over the coming days, we will continue to share updates regarding our COVID-19 policies and protocols for spring 2021. This information will also be available on Together Safely.

Thank you for all you are doing to prepare our community for a safe and healthy spring semester. We look forward to welcoming students back to campus next week.

Dr. Mathew Johnson
President, Albion College

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