Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Updates & Resources

Baker University continues to closely monitor developments in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The college’s multidisciplinary COVID-19 Readiness Taskforce is meeting regularly to assess the situation and plan for impacts to our campus community.

First and foremost, we want to maintain safe campuses and encourage and adopt practices that protect the health of students, faculty, staff, and the community.  We also want to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a pandemic. We are taking proactive steps to address a number of concerns.

Update of March 28

Requirement for Face Coverings in Classrooms Expires

Our current mask policy, which requires face coverings in all classrooms, expires today. Effective tomorrow, masks are no longer required in classrooms.

Consistent with CDC guidelines, Baker University will base our mask requirements on county risk level. As of today, Douglas County is at a low risk level.

Green (low risk): No mask requirement on campus; however, professors may require masks in classrooms if they wish to do so.

If the county risk level rises, the following precautions will be implemented.

Yellow (medium risk): Masks are required in classrooms, in hallways, outside of classrooms, and in sports medicine.

Orange (high risk): Masks are required in all indoor public spaces.

Please note: Regardless of county risk level, if Baker sees an increase in COVID-19 cases, resulting in a 5% positivity rate, Baker will require masks on campus for 10 days.

Should the risk level in Douglas County or Baker cases rise, we will notify you about mask requirements. You can also find information about our policies on our COVID-19 policy page.

Please continue to respect the decisions of your classmates, faculty members, and colleagues in their decision on whether to wear a mask, given their individual risk factors and exposure to COVID-19. As a reminder, if you experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you must leave campus immediately to isolate yourself. Quarantine protocols are based on vaccination status.

Update of March 3

Face-Covering Policy

Because COVID-19 cases have dropped significantly in the last month, Douglas County commissioners allowed the county-wide mask mandate to expire last night. The CDC has also released new measures to determine COVID-19 community levels. The new metrics account for hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and infection rates.

Douglas County is currently categorized at a medium level of risk, meaning masks are not required. As such, we are changing our face-covering policy as well. Effective immediately, face coverings are only required in classrooms. They are no longer required in any other campus setting. Faculty may opt to allow students to go mask-free in classrooms if they wish to do so. On March 28, 2022, this classroom mask mandate will expire.

Please continue to respect the decisions of your classmates, faculty members, and colleagues in their decision on whether to wear a mask, given their individual risk factors and exposure to COVID-19.

Our quarantine and isolation policies and protocols are still in place, and you can find that information on our COVID-19 policy page. As a reminder, if you experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, you must leave campus immediately to isolate yourself. Quarantine protocols are based on vaccination status.

Should COVID-19 cases escalate in our area and reach a high level of risk, we will reevaluate our policies and protocols.

Update of February 10

Douglas County Mask Mandate Extended Through March 2

Douglas County has extended the emergency mask mandate through March 2. Face coverings are required on campus in the following settings, regardless of vaccination status:

  • All indoor public spaces – Face coverings are required at all times in all indoor public spaces or while in line to enter an indoor public space (including shared workspaces and areas such as classrooms or the library).  
  • Dining facilities – Face coverings are required inside the dining hall, including walking through the dining hall, disposing of food waste, and in all general areas of the dining facilities. Once seated, while distanced from others by 6 feet, face coverings can be removed while actively consuming food or beverages. 
  • Enclosed spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained – Face coverings are required in enclosed areas (including residential rooms and offices) when other people are present and you are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance.  
  • Outdoor public spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained 

This mandate will be strictly enforced. Violators will be removed from campus.

Update of January 20

Updated Isolation & Quarantine Policies

As COVID-19 cases surge in our area, Douglas County has released revised guidelines regarding isolation and quarantine periods. In accordance with these guidelines, Baker University has updated its isolation and quarantine policies and reporting policy.

We have also outlined the definitions we use as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated, isolation, and quarantine.

View Definitions & Policies

Being vaccinated and boosted is the best defense against COVID-19 and will allow us to have the best campus experience possible. As the CDC, state, and county guidelines continue to evolve, we will evaluate and monitor how they affect the university and will update accordingly.

Update of January 12

Douglas County Mask Mandate Extended Through February 9

Douglas County has extended the emergency mask mandate through February 9. Face coverings are required on campus in the following settings, regardless of vaccination status:

  • All indoor public spaces – Face coverings are required at all times in all indoor public spaces or while in line to enter an indoor public space (including shared workspaces and areas such as classrooms or the library).  
  • Dining facilities – Face coverings are required inside the dining hall, including walking through the dining hall, disposing of food waste, and in all general areas of the dining facilities. Once seated, while distanced from others by 6 feet, face coverings can be removed while actively consuming food or beverages. 
  • Enclosed spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained – Face coverings are required in enclosed areas (including residential rooms and offices) when other people are presentand you are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance.  
  • Outdoor public spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained 

This mandate will be strictly enforced. Violators will be removed from campus.

Update of January 6

Mask Mandate & Isolation & Quarantine Protocols

Douglas County Mask Mandate: January 7 – 12

Douglas County has issued an emergency public health order regarding masks due to rising cases of COVID-19 in our region. It requires all individuals 2 years and older to wear a face covering inside public spaces throughout Douglas County regardless of vaccination status. This health order affects those who work and study on the Baldwin City campus.

  • All indoor public spaces – Face coverings are required at all times in all indoor public spaces or while in line to enter an indoor public space (including shared workspaces and areas such as classrooms or the library).
  • Dining facilities – Face coverings are required inside the dining hall, including walking through the dining hall, disposing of food waste, and in all general areas of the dining facilities. Once seated, while distanced from others by 6 feet, face coverings can be removed while actively consuming food or beverages.
  • Enclosed spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained – Face coverings are required in enclosed areas (including residential rooms and offices) when other people are present and you are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance.
  • Outdoor public spaces when 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained 

This mandate will be strictly enforced. Violators will be removed from campus. Learn more about the Douglas County emergency order.

Isolation & Quarantine Reporting Policy for Students

PCR testing is available to students in the Sports Medicine Office and Student Affairs Office. Antigen testing locations can be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.

Students who must isolate or quarantine or are symptomatic, must report it on this form.

Isolation Policy for Students

A student who is diagnosed with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must leave campus. The university does not have isolation rooms for students. Students must isolate for at least 5 days

On day 6, students may return to campus if all of the following conditions are met:

    • COVID-19 symptoms are gone or resolving AND
    • The student is fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND
    • The student receives a negative COVID-19 antigen test result

Students who meet these conditions must wear a face covering around others at all times until at least 10 days post-diagnosis or as long as the mask mandate is enforced.

Quarantine Policy for Students

    • Unvaccinated students must quarantine off campus. The university does not have quarantine rooms available.
    • Vaccinated students do not need to quarantine, but they must wear a mask in all public spaces for 10 days. It’s highly recommended vaccinated students who are exposed test for COVID-19 on day 5 following exposure. If COVID-19 symptoms develop, a student should leave campus and get tested.

The CDC definition of fully vaccinated is someone who has:

        • Received a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson) that is authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (WHO).
        • Received any combination of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series with at least 17 days between doses.)

Quarantine & Isolation Reporting Policy for Faculty & Staff

Employees who have tested positive or had close contact with someone with COVID-19 must immediately inform Human Resources and their immediate supervisor to determine quarantine or isolation periods and other potential campus exposure. Antigen testing locations can be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.

Quarantine Policy for Faculty & Staff 

Consistent with guidance from the CDC and Douglas County, Baker employees must abide by the following quarantine protocols if they are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 (within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes):

    • Unvaccinated employees — If an unvaccinated employee is exposed, they must quarantine for 10 days.
    • Fully vaccinated employees — If a vaccinated employee is exposed to COVID-19, no quarantine is necessary, but they must wear a mask in all public spaces for 10 days. It’s highly recommended that vaccinated employees who are exposed test for COVID-19 on day 5 following exposure. If COVID-19 symptoms develop, the employee should stay home and get tested.

The CDC definition of fully vaccinated is someone who has:

          • Received a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson) that is authorized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed for emergency use by World Health Organization (WHO).
          • Received any combination of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series with at least 17 days between doses.)

Isolation Policy for Faculty & Staff

If diagnosed with COVID-19, employees must stay home for a minimum of 5 days, regardless of vaccination status. On day 6, employees may return to campus if all of the following conditions are met:

    • COVID-19 symptoms are gone or resolving AND
    • The employee is fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND
    • The employee receives a negative COVID-19 antigen test result

Employees who meet these conditions must wear a face covering around others at all times until at least 10 days post-diagnosis or as long as the mask mandate is enforced.

Update of December 16

Spring 2022 Return-to-Campus Protocol for Students

Students are requested to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination through this online form before arrival on campus. This includes athletes who have already provided proof of vaccination to Sports Medicine. Students who do not submit the verification form before arriving on campus, will be assumed to be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (UPV) until documentation shows otherwise.

Update of August 26

Campus Mask Policy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently raised Douglas County, Kansas, to a “High Alert” status regarding the level of community transmission of COVID-19 being observed. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view . There is some concern in our state and our county regarding the pandemic.

Due to this high alert status, everyone, regardless of vaccine status, must wear a mask in academic buildings, Collins Library, and Osborne Chapel. This takes effect immediately. Staff and faculty may take off their masks when in their offices in the academic buildings, the library, and the chapel. Our scholar-athletes are exempt from mask wearing during practice in Mabee Gym and while in the Mabee weight room.  Students and faculty should wear masks in the classroom in the NLC (room 205).

This mask requirement will stand until the CDC alert status changes. At that time, we will revisit the policy.

Update of July 21

Return-to-campus protocol for students

The university has learned a great deal over the last year, and our improved knowledge has informed our plans for the 2021-22 school year. Protocols have been established for students who are fully vaccinated according to the definition developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other protocols affect students who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Prior to August  1, 2021

Students are requested to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination through this online form before arrival on campus. This includes athletes who have already provided proof of vaccination to Sports Medicine. Students who do not submit the verification form by August 1, will be assumed to be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated (UPV) until documentation shows otherwise.

Please keep in mind that we are subject to state and local mandates that could disrupt these plans,

Vaccine Clinics

Baker will hold two free vaccine clinics in Mabee Gym on August 9 and  Collins Gym August 30 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Travel Guidance & Reporting

Given the rapidly evolving situation with regard to COVID-19, the Baker community is encouraged to carefully consider nonessential international travel. We encourage you to check the World Health Organization (WHO) website for travel advisories as well as the CDC’s website for travel advisories and their FAQs for travelers. Depending on your destination, you may have to make the difficult decision to change or cancel plans to ensure your own well-being and timely return to Baker.

If you are traveling to areas affected by COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to reconsider your plans because of potential quarantine in either that country or when you return to the United States. This could severely affect your plans and delay your return home.

No matter where you are traveling, if you have an underlying medical conditions, please discuss all travel with your health care provider.

Two orange lawn chairs sitting on campus

What You Can Do

COVID-19 is a virus that causes symptoms similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. Symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure and range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Your risk of getting COVID-19 depends on where you are, where you’ve traveled recently, your age (people over 65 are at greater risk) and whether you have a preexisting or chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease like asthma. The CDC recommends calling your doctor immediately if you have concerning symptoms and have recently traveled to an area that has ongoing cases of the virus, or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Taking preventive steps is key in preventing the spread of infection.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Stay home when you are sick! (Currently, the CDC recommends that people remain home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.)
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not share food or drinks, eating utensils, or smoking devices with others.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and frequently touched objects.

 

  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu symptoms.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your forearm or a tissue and then throw away the tissue.
  • Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Practice social distancing if you or the other person is infected. View guidelines.
  • Practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • If traveling, wipe your airplane seat, tray, and arm rests with disinfectant wipes.
  • If traveling, remain in your hotel or resort if you are sick, and seek medical care as needed.

Resources

What to Do If You Feel Sick

Emotional Support

Resources for Faculty and Staff