Return to Campus 2021

Answers to FAQ for spring semester #ProtectTheDam plan >

Special announcement: Jan.  8, 2021


We are excited for your return to campus on Jan. 19. Below are five NEW enhancements to the Protect The Dam Plan for the spring semester. Lessons learned from fall semester> 

Mandatory Zoom meetings will also be scheduled with residential students, commuters and CCP students to review all Protect The Dam plans and lessons learned. Watch your email and social media for more details.

Testing to Return to Campus

For all students enrolling in the spring 2021 semester, you will be required to submit ONE of the following (paid for by the student) before you move back onto campus (residential students) or attend your first class (commuter students):

  • Documentation of a COVID-19 positive test result from sometime in the 90 days prior to Jan. 19, 2021.
  • Documentation of a COVID-19 negative test result performed after Jan 11, 2021. 
    **Contact your County Health Department for testing locations and if there are free testing sites in your area.**
  • Documentation of a COVID-19 antibody test with a positive result performed in the 90 days prior to Jan. 19, 2021.
  • Documentation of being administered a vaccine for COVID-19.

Documentation must show the student’s name and date of test/vaccine and the result. Please blank out any personal information regarding social security number, health ID, insurance ID, etc.

Email proof of documentation to Amber Smith in the Student Life Office at

Students will not be permitted to return to campus without documentation on file with the Student Life Office.

Everyone should limit your exposure to large gatherings 10 days before you return to campus. This will help ensure a safe and healthy start to the semester.

International students who are returning from international destinations will need to quarantine on campus for 10 days after their arrival. International students who are domestic, need to follow the process above and will not need to quarantine. 

Testing During the Semester

Student athletes, athletic staff and the inner bubble for each team will continue to follow the testing plans as established by the NCAA.

Students who do not participate in athletics will be screened with random weekly tests. These tests will be administered by Campus Health Center with rapid tests (less invasive nasal swab and 15 minute result).

Faculty and staff not involved in the athletics program will not require testing.

Green Badge System for Daily Symptom Check

New this semester, all students will report their daily symptom check in a new Campus Shield app provided by Cellular 911. Each day, students will submit their symptom report into the app. A green badge will then display on the app. Students will need to show their green badge to get into The Commons for meals. If you do not have a green badge for the day, you will not be permitted into The Commons. More details will be provided on how to download the app. This new system will also replace the RAVE system previously used as the campus-wide emergency text messaging system.

How to avoid quarantine via Contact Tracing

The best ways for students to protect themselves and to limit their risk to COVID exposure, to end up in quarantine or isolation:

  • wear your mask at all times
  • follow social distance rules
  • limit time when eating
  • don’t share utensils
  • avoid large gatherings.

Protect yourself so you do not have to be contact traced.

Campus Community Covid-19 Expectations and Consequences for Accountability

  • Students must remain on campus or in the village on evenings and weekends.
  • Students must obtain written permission from their hall director to be off campus overnight and follow appropriate protocol upon return to campus.
  • Students must wear masks over the nose and mouth when outside their dorm room.
  • Students must complete daily symptom monitoring using the Campus Shield app.
  • Students may only be excused from attending in-person class for quarantine or isolation when directed by Dr. Sherri Winegardner.
  • No guests or visitors will be permitted on campus or in residence halls.

Students who violate the Campus Community Covid-19 Expectations will be held accountable with the following outcomes:

  • First infraction: Meeting with Mr. Phill Talavinia, VP of Student Life, for an official warning.
  • Second infraction: 3-day off-campus suspension from classes (students may not receive credit for course work collected during the period of suspension) and extra-curricular activities, followed by rapid testing (at the student’s expense) upon return to campus.
  • Third infraction: Suspension from Bluffton University with no refunds on tuition, fees, room and board.

COVID 19 Steering Committee

Dr. Sherri Winegardner,
Director and associate professor of nursing,
Karen Bontrager,
Director of president’s office,
Robin Bowlus,
Vice president of advancement and enrollment management,
Tyson Goings,
Director of residence life and diversity, equity and inclusion,
Iris Neufeld,
Tracey Jordan,
Human resources and payroll coordinator,
Amber Smith,
Student life coordinator,
Phill Talavinia,
Vice president of student affairs and athletics,