Fall 2021 Opening Plan

July 1, 2021

Dear Students, Parents and Friends of Hesston College,

Greetings from Hesston College! I’m Deb Roth, vice president of Student Life here at Hesston. My role includes oversight of residence life, dining services, counseling, campus ministries and athletics. I want to update you on several items of interest related to the health and safety of the entire campus, including some important guidelines pertaining to our return to campus in August 2021 for the 21-22 academic year.

Hesston College’s Opening Weekend (move-in times and weekend events is August 13 to 15, with dorm move-in beginning on Friday afternoon, August 13. We have planned activities for parents/guardians during the day on Saturday, so plan to attend Opening Weekend with your student. If you are in an early arrival group (e.g. cross country, volleyball, soccer, Bel Canto Singers), early arrival move-in information from your coach or director will be shared with you very soon.

The first day of classes is August 16 and we anticipate minimal restrictions for those who have been vaccinated. The campus will feel much more familiar to those who experienced pre-pandemic college life. However, it is necessary to establish guidelines for those who are not vaccinated in order to manage the virus and all that comes with it: testing, quarantine, isolation, etc. The following points summarize our approach to this new academic year and will hopefully answer some of your questions.

Prior to arrival:

On the Student Checklist when logging in to my.Hesston.edu, all students are required to fill out a portion of their health form indicating whether or not they received the COVID vaccine. Students will be instructed to upload a copy of the completed COVID vaccination card as documentation of their COVID immunization BY AUGUST 1. This information will be used by Student Life, Academics and Athletics on a need-to-know basis to manage COVID-19 in the 2021-22 academic year.

  • This information will only be shared with other students if an individual chooses to do so.
  • Please be sure that the vaccine card image is clear and easy to read.
  • As an added incentive, students who are fully vaccinated will receive a $20 Amazon gift card to put towards textbooks or other college necessities.
    • Students who have a medical or religious reason as to why they have not received the COVID vaccine may receive a gift card upon completion of the accommodations process. To put this process into motion, email the vice president of Student Life at deb.roth@hesston.edu.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are available within walking distance of the college at Hesston Pharmacy. Students may arrange to be vaccinated once the academic year begins by making an appointment at www.hesstonpharmacy.com. Coaches and residence life personnel are also willing to assist in this process as needed.

Students who have not been vaccinated will be required to complete a molecular PCR COVID-19 test up to 7 days prior to their scheduled arrival on campus.

  • Submit an image of those test results which includes name, date, type of test and results to studentlife@hesston.edu.
  • Students who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to move into dorms without completing this step.

Upon arrival

In accordance with current CDC guidelines, all individuals who have not been fully vaccinated are expected to wear masks during their time on campus. Disposable masks will be available for guests who need one.

Opening Weekend events for students and parents will be planned in spaces with distancing capacity as much as possible.

Please plan to bring a blanket or lawn chairs with you to the Opening Celebration Friday evening at Sieber Field, Hesston College’s soccer field.

Once classes begin

All students, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be invited to participate in the Lark Commitment, which includes healthy practices in caring for ourselves and each other in ways such as:

  • Wearing a mask if not vaccinated;
  • Daily self-screenings and reporting any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Thorough hand-washing;
  • Being open to new information as it becomes available regarding the COVID-19 virus, vaccinations, or variants;
  • Actively engaging with campus communication sources.

Classroom configurations will be determined by each professor according to the vaccine status of students on each roster. Faculty will have the opportunity to make seating arrangements accordingly. Chapel/forum gatherings in Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary will include a section for distancing purposes.

Students who are symptomatic will be isolated and promptly tested for COVID-19. If they test positive, they have the option of going home if local, or they will be moved to a local hotel where they will stay for the duration of their illness at their own expense. Residence Life staff will facilitate the meal ordering/delivery process at a rate of $5 per day to cover the cost of additional staffing.

Students who have not been vaccinated and are on a contact list of a positive COVID-19 case will be required to quarantine. Contacts with roommates may quarantine at home (if within reasonable driving distance and with parent/guardian approval), in the designated Quarantine Mod or in a local hotel if no on-campus spaces remain. Meal delivery fee will also apply to quarantine. If the student tests negative on day 6 of quarantine with a molecular PCR, they may be released from quarantine after day 7.

Athletic guidelines will be finalized according to the NJCAA or KJCCC by the end of July. The college may offer more stringent measures than these governing bodies dictate in order to ensure that athletic seasons can be played in their entirety. Testing of unvaccinated athletes will be part of this protocol.

Just for Parents

We have created a special page on our website just for parents, with links to information about Student Life staff, the academic calendar, special events on campus and much more, including how to complete health forms and set FERPA permissions through the student myHesston account. If you do not have internet access or would prefer to communicate by other means, please call us at 620-327-4221 and we will send you this information in hard copy form.

Please review the Campus Community Standards. We encourage you to discuss these community standards with your student. We see these standards as key to building a healthy and caring campus community.

If you have any questions or comments regarding these standards or any other Student Life related item, please feel free to contact me over the summer at deb.roth@hesston.edu.

Remind your student to login to their myHesston account and work through the Student Checklist to ensure these important items are completed before arriving on campus. This checklist is designed to speed up the registration process on the morning after arriving on campus. Room/roommate assignments will be posted on myHesston beginning July 15.

We look forward to meeting you and your family at the Opening Weekend activities. May God bless you as you prepare for this exciting journey of growth and learning at Hesston College.


Deb Roth
Vice President of Student Life