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Campus Reopening Plan

At Garrett-Evangelical, it is our priority to keep our community of faculty, staff, and students safe and healthy. This is one of the three guiding principles we identified early in our repose to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find all three guiding principles below. As such, we will not only follow governmental guidelines but will evaluate those guidelines in the context of our community to create the lowest risk possible of someone in our community becoming infected with COVID-19.

This reopening section of our website details how we plan to slowly and carefully reopen the Seminary initially to our employees, then to students, and finally the general public. It is created with the intent to keep everyone safe to every extent possible. This plan, which pulls from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance, and local orders and ordinances of the City of Evanston, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois, highlights the responsibilities of all community members in response to each phase in the Five-Phase Restore Illinois Plan.

While we will implement various protocols to ensure your safety, it is up to you and everyone in the community to follow these protocols daily. Please know this webpage is a start of sharing critical information and plans for reopening with initially an emphasis on the information, policies, and procedures for employees as Illinois moves to Phase 3 and 4. We will be adding more information and resources for  students and then the general public as the Seminary gest closer to welcoming them back to campus later in Phase 4 and Phase 5.

We hope this webpage clearly communicates our plans moving forward. If you have any questions about information contained on this site, please email Questions that we believe may be asked by others, will be posted anonymously and answered in the Reopening FAQs.

Guiding Principles

Garrett-Evangelical will continue to follow the guiding principles created during scenario planning in our reopening plan. They are:

  • Caring for the whole person and community. We want to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. We also want to be mindful of the varieties of stress and trauma people are experiencing, while providing the best support we can. Individuals and families are increasingly stressed and fatigued by chronic anxiety, existential uncertainty, grief and loss, debilitating economic challenges, spiritual demoralization, and unequal/inequitable access to resources.
  • Providing trauma-informed and equitable education, services, and support with emphasis on orienting (re-orienting) and retaining students. We will draw on the principles of both trauma-informed pedagogy and trauma-informed care. This is important for both our current and eventual post-disaster social reality. 
  • Stewarding our fiscal responsibilities. We are grateful for the generosity of many of you along with alums, friends, trustees, and foundations who have given gifts or grants to the Seminary providing us with a strong endowment. We need to honor those gifts by continuing to be mindful of how we manage our resources so that Garrett remains strong for generations to come.

Phased Return Based on Five-Phase Restore Illinois Plan

Garrett’s plans to reopen are purposefully planned to ensure a lower risk to our community even as local orders and ordinances of the City of Evanston, the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois begin to loosen restrictions. Our plans follow recommendations from the federal government (Opening Guidelines), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, and our policies and plans will be updated as needed as more information becomes available.

Illinois Phase 1: Rapid Spread

The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open.

  • Garrett’s campus will be closed.
  • Learning will take place remotely.
  • Employees work from home with only essential employees going to campus on a limited basis to complete the essential business functions that can only be completed on campus.

Illinois Phase 2: Flattening

The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Nonessential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home.

  • Garrett’s campus will be closed.
  • Learning will take place remotely.
  • Employees work from home with only essential employees going to campus on a limited basis to complete the essential business functions that can only be completed on campus.

Illinois Phase 3: Recovery

The rate of infection among those surveillance tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. Gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

  • Garrett’s campus will be closed.
  • Learning will take place remotely.
  • Employees work from home with only essential employees going to campus on a limited basis to complete the essential business functions that can only be completed on campus.
  • Seminary will organize a one-time opportunity to take place over a period of weeks for employees to access their desk/offices to collect what they need to continue to work remotely. This will be highly orchestrated to ensure that we can clean and sanitize spaces after each employee comes to campus.
  • All employees who come to campus must first read and electronically sign the COVID-19 Return to Work Policy for Employees they receive from Human Resources. This policy includes instructions for employees to self-monitor their symptoms and situations each day before they come to campus, as well as much of the guidance on this webpage for protocols to follow on campus.

Illinois Phase 4: Revitalization

The rate of infection among those surveillance tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.

  • Garrett will phase in a return of employees over time in a coordinated process to ensure appropriate social distancing, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment), and testing capabilities for COVID-19.
    • Garrett will assess its expanded staffing based on essential operations, ability to control and manage specific work environments, and necessity to access on-site resources. These decisions, once approved, will be communicated through your respective vice president or supervisor.
    • The need to reduce the number of people on campus (density) to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time. Departments that can continue to effectively complete 100% of their work remotely will likely continue to do so until Illinois reaches Phase 5.
    • Expanded staffing will be tightly controlled and coordinated to mitigate potential risks and ensure the safety of faculty and staff, as well as the communities we serve. Initially, we will seek employees to volunteer to return to campus for those who prefer to work on campus than at home. No department should increase staffing levels without approval from their vice president who will coordinate the request with the Leadership Team to ensure staffing levels in one department are coordinated with staffing levels throughout the Seminary.
    • All employees will continue to follow the COVID-19 Return to Work Policy for Employees they received from Human Resources during Illinois Phase 3.
    • The Seminary is already reviewing shared office spaces and other high-contact areas to consider modifications to create greater safety.
    • As staffing on-site increases and operations expand, the assistant vice president of human resources will closely monitor and assess the potential spread of the virus on campus, as well as existing policies and procedures to mitigate it. Testing will be a critical part of assessing the impact of increased staffing. If localized outbreaks emerge, tighter restrictions and reduced staffing may need to be implemented again. Click here for local testing sites.
    • As vice presidents and supervisors consider returning employees to campus, they will need to do so in line with the staffing options.
  • During Fall 2020, learning will continue remotely. If the Seminary is able to safely return most employees to campus in Phase 4, i.e. no cases of COVID-19, then much later in Phase 4, the Seminary may begin to open the campus to students on a limited basis predominantly for access to the Styberg Library. 
    • Policies and practices will be put in place for students visiting Styberg Library.
    • Overall, students will be limited in where they can go and what they can access within Seminary buildings to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
  • The campus will initially remain closed to the general public.
    • If access is opened to the general public, the Seminary will implement policies and procedures for visitors coming to campus.

Illinois Phase 5: Illinois Restored

With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The campus will fully reopen.
    • The Seminary will continue to emphasize the importance of not coming to campus when sick, hand washing, and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces.
    • Offices that were modified to ensure social distancing will remain in their modified state.

Workplace Expectations and Guidelines

All faculty and staff are expected to view and electronically sign the COVID-19 Return to Work Policy for Employees provided to them by Human Resources. This policy includes many of the instructions below and more.

Illinois Phases 3 and 4 Symptom and Situation Monitoring Requirement and Form

Before coming to campus, each employee must conduct their own symptom and situation monitoring. This should be done each day you plan to come to campus. Please take your temperature and use this questionnaire, as a guide to help you discern if you meet any of the criteria that would make it necessary for you to stay home. This criteria includes not only symptoms but situations that may require you to stay home, such as traveling outside of the state, attending gatherings where social distancing was not observed and face masks were not worn, or being in direct contact with anyone diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. In order to come to campus, you must be able to answer “no” to every question on the questionnaire. This questionnaire is for your own self-monitoring and does not need to be submitted to anyone on campus.

Symptoms: At this time, the symptoms of COVID-19 include one or more of the following. These symptoms are reflective of those identified by the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC). Click here to see the CDC’s flyer on COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • New GI symptoms
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you have any symptoms, you must stay home and not come to the Seminary. You should inform your supervisor that you are unable to work on campus because you are not feeling well. You do not need to tell your supervisor the symptoms you are experiencing.

Additionally, if you are exhibiting symptoms, you will need to contact your doctor for an assessment of symptoms and COVID-19 testing.

High-Risk Individuals

According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Click here to view the CDC’s guidance for higher-risk individuals. The high-risk conditions include:

  • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
  • People with HIV
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
  • Severe obesity
  • Being immunocompromised

Employee with these conditions will not be required to come to campus until a vaccine or highly effective treatment is widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period. For those in higher risk groups, those who are pregnant, or those who wish to seek American with Disabilities (ADA) reasonable accommodations related to COVID-19 should access the Seminary’s Disability Accommodation Policy, Disability FAQs, and complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. Click here to access this information on myGETS. You will need to be logged in to myGETS to access this page.

Employees returning to campus are expected to follow the Personal Safety Practices and the Guidance for Specific Workplace Scenarios included in the next two sliders.

COVID-19 Diagnosis

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to complete this online Self-Isolation Form. This form will be posted on the “COVID-19 Employee Resources and Updates” page of myGETS and in the Campus Reopening Plan webpage on You must be logged into myGETS to access it. This form will only be accessed by Erin Moore to ensure the confidentiality of your personal health information and so she can complete contact tracing. Unless you indicate otherwise on the form, your name and diagnosis will not be shared with anyone in the community when Erin informs others who may have come into contact with you or spaces you visited while on campus.

Return to Work After COVID-19 Diagnosis

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, prior to being able to come back to campus, you will need to provide Erin with a doctor’s note indicating the date that it will be safe for you to return to campus. Employees can either scan or take a picture of the doctor’s note and then email it to

Non-Essential Travel is Prohibited

All Seminary-related non-essential travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited. We anticipate non-essential travel continuing to be prohibited through December 31, 2020 and potentially longer. We would also encourage employees to avoid personal non-essential travel.

This is in line with the current travel guidance from the CDC and the anticipation of this guidance being in place for some time. While we are at the CDC’s warning level 3, EIIA, the provider of Garrett’s travel insurance policy, will not cover any Seminary-related non-essential travel claims for Garrett.

Essential travel is limited to those situations where Seminary business cannot reasonably be conducted without face-to-face interaction or visits to specific locations. If you believe your travel is essential travel, please contact your supervisor for review and approval of the trip prior to making travel arrangements. Supervisors should plan to discuss essential travel with Erin Moore, who manages the Seminary’s travel insurance, prior to making an approval.

Personal Safety Practices

Keeping yourself and one another safe requires everyone to be vigilant in following these personal safety practices. Employees should also read this CDC flyer about how to keep yourself and others safe.

Face masks/Cloth Face Coverings: Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all employees working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for social distancing.

The Seminary will be providing employees with two cloth face coverings enabling employees to have one mask in the wash while wearing the other. Click here to view information on the use and care of face coverings. Employees may also wear their own cloth face covering meeting the requirements below. The Seminary will have a very limited number of disposable masks on campus if an employee forgets a cloth mask or face covering at home. Disposable masks may only be worn for one day and then must be placed in the trash.


Cloth Face Covering

Disposable Masks


Home-made or commercially manufactured face coverings that are washable and help contain wearer’s respiratory emissions

Commercially manufactured masks that help contain wearer’s respiratory emissions that should be disposed after one day of use

Intended Use

Required for campus community use in non-healthcare settings (office spaces, general research/work settings, shops, community areas where 6’ social distancing cannot be consistently maintained. Must be replaced daily (While likely necessary for ingress and egress, not required when working alone in an office).

Medical-grade surgical masks and N95 respirators are reserved for healthcare workers.

Social Distancing: Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is important for everyone. Employees working on campus must follow these social distancing practices:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people at all times
  • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands after touching your face. Click here to see the World Health Organization’s (WHO) flyer on handwashing.

Gloves: According to the CDC, gloves are not necessary for general use and do not replace good hand hygiene. Washing your hands often is considered the best practice for common everyday tasks.

Goggles/Face Shields: Employees do not need to wear goggles or face shields as part of general activity on campus. Good hand hygiene and avoiding touching your face are generally sufficient for nonhealthcare environments.

Cleaning/Disinfection: Aramark will clean public offices and work spaces based on CDC guidelines for disinfection and Occupational and Environmental Safety Office (OESO) protocols. During Illinois Phase 3, the Buildings & Grounds Office is working to order and receive disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to create stations at building entrances, elevator stops, and high-traffic areas. Currently, hand sanitizer is in place. Once disinfecting wipes are available, employees will need to follow the signage in those spaces to wipe down high touch surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons.

When Illinois reaches Phase 4, employees will have access to disinfecting wipes in their offices to wipe down commonly used surfaces before and after use. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.).

Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene: If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Then throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Guidelines for Specific Workplace Scenarios

When Illinois enters Phase 4, Garrett will start its phased in approach to return employees to campus. This will be carefully planned and organized to ensure the lowest risk possible to employees who return to campus. Please keep the following in mind for when we get to this phase.

Public Transportation: If you must take public transportation to campus, wear a mask before entering the bus and avoid touching surfaces with your hands. Upon disembarking, wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% alcohol as soon as possible and before removing your mask.

Entering and Exiting the Workplace: Entry to and exit from buildings will be regulated.

  • Employees who work the Main Building or Shaffer should use the side entrance to the north of the main entrance of the Main Building (the northwester door) and will need their key to unlock this door.
  • Employees entering Stead Hall, should use the door on the east side of Stead Hall.
  • All other buildings only have one main access point.
  • All of these entry and exit points will have disinfecting wipes for employees to use to wipe down handles after use.
  • Departments will need to stagger arrival and departure times of employees by 30 minutes to reduce congestion during typical “rush hours” of the business day.

Working in Office Environments: If you share an office with another employee, only one employee will be able to occupy that space at a time so employees would have staggered schedules to ensure proper sanitizing between each employee’s time in the office. The Seminary will also be working to install new or higher cubicle walls around desks, where needed. Plexi-glass will be added in spaces where employees need to interact with others including students and visitors. When you are on campus, be sure to maintain at least 6 feet distance from anyone else on campus.

If you work in an office, no more than one person should be in the same room unless the required 6 feet of distancing can be consistently maintained. If more than one person is in a room, masks/face coverings should be worn at all times. A mask or face covering is not required if you are working alone in a confined office space (does not include partitioned work areas in an open environment).

Masks/face coverings should be worn by any staff in a reception/receiving area. Masks/face coverings should be used when inside any Seminary facility where others are present, including walking in narrow hallways where others travel and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations.

Visual Cues and Directional Signs: The Seminary will determine where it needs to visually mark space to increase distance between employees, other coworkers, students and other visitors (for when campus opens more fully). This may include:

  • Placing visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to people where they should stand while waiting in line.
  • Placing one-way directional signage for hallways to increase distance between people moving through the space.
  • Designating specific stairways for up or down traffic.

Using Restrooms: Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Using Elevators: No more than one person may enter an elevator at a time, so please use the stairs whenever possible. If you are using the elevator, wear your mask or face covering and avoid touching the elevator buttons with your exposed hand/fingers, if possible. Where available, employees should use disposable disinfecting wipes to clean elevator buttons and other surfaces touched while in the elevator. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60% alcohol upon departing the elevator.

Meetings: Convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission. Where feasible, meetings should be held in whole or part using the range of available collaboration tools (e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, telephone, etc.).

In person meetings are limited to the restrictions of local, state and federal orders and should not exceed 50 percent of a room’s capacity, assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation for social distancing requirements. Employees should remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in meeting rooms to support social distancing practices between attendees.

All attendees should wear a mask or face covering while sharing space in a common room. During your time on-site, you are encouraged to communicate with your colleagues and supervisors as needed by email, instant message, telephone or other available technology rather than face-to-face.

Faculty and Staff Lounges: No more than two people can be in the Staff or Faculty Lounges at one time to ensure the 6’ of social distancing. Employees must wear face masks while in these lounges.

Faculty can continue to access their mail in the Faculty Lounge. Faculty and Staff are otherwise encouraged to only use these lounges to store and heat food and should plan to eat in their office area or outside, if possible. Disinfecting wipes will be provided in these spaces and employees must wipe all surfaces they touched, including the microwave handle and buttons, refrigerator handle, coffee machine, door handles, etc.

Before and after eating, you should wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the potential transmission of the virus.

Vending Machines: Will be out of order to eliminate vending personnel coming to campus and to lower risk associated with a high touch surface.