THE IOWA STANDARD — Dordt University, a Christian college in Sioux Center, is requiring students to sign a COVID-19-updated covenant prior to beginning the academic year. In addition to an email that requests students not attend a local church (except for virtual services), the covenant says Dordt “may require” a flu vaccine along with a COVID vaccine and leaves the door open to anything else Dordt may see fit during the year.
Students will also receive a handstamp if they pass random temperature checks entering Dordt buildings.
“In my opinion, the university has blatantly overstepped its boundaries and seeks to bind students’ consciences by potentially forcing them to disobey their elders by complying with this document,” said a concerned Dordt parent.
Reading through the document, it’s hard to tell how it would be different had the Democrat National Committee and Joe Biden’s campaign crafted it.
“Each one of us can potentially hurt ourselves, others or even our broader community because of the decisions we make,” the document states. “Today, perhaps we are aware of this interdependency more than ever before, living in the midst of a global health pandemic. As we covenant together in community, we will only be as strong or as healthy as our shared, worst decisions.”
Dordt says it is a “broadening of the definition of what it means to be pro-life.”
“We will be remembered more for how we treated one another during this trying time than we will for who was right or wrong about the precautions that we were all asked to enact for the sake of others and for ourselves,” the document adds.
Students are required to sign and agree to various ideas, including one that states:
“I will follow the guidelines of Dordt’s leadership regarding COVID-19 mitigation, even if they have to change mid-year.”
“I acknowledge that if learning has to transition all online this year, Dordt’s leaders will treat me fairly in terms of any possible refunds or tuition discounts.”
More specifically, here are some of the “reasonable constraints” being required of Dordt students.
“I will comply with any travel restrictions Dordt may choose to impose upon its students, due to COVID-19 conditions in other locales.”
“I understand that these practices may evolve as the public health crisis evolves and acknowledge that it is my responsibility to stay informed and comply with any developments.”
“While acknowledging that these rules and precautions may or may not be effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, I agree to comply with such rules and precautions and any modifications or amendments to them. I understand that failure to do so is a violation of Dordt’s Student Code of Conduct and that failing to comply could subject me to disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension, dismissal and being denied further entry onto Dordt’s campus.”
“I understand that for public health reasons, Dordt may require me to have an influenza vaccination this year (limited exemptions may be available for individuals with specific religious or health reasons). I also understand that, should an effective vaccine for COVID-19 be developed which could significantly reduce the impact of this disease on our community, Dordt may require me to be vaccinated.”
The email sent to students said:
“Students, you are required to review and sign the COVID-19 Community Covenant before the first day of class on Tuesday, Aug. 25. You will not be allowed to attend classes without completing this form.”
Masks should be at least two layers of material, the email says.
“Please wash your mask regularly, perhaps as often as you wash your underwear,” the email said.
Staff is required to complete a daily health assessment online every 24 hours. Students are required to fill out the daily health assessment every day for 15 days prior to arriving on campus. Students who do not complete the process will not be allowed to begin classes.
Once on campus, students will be asked to continue filling out the health assessment on a daily basis until Sept. 30, or beyond.
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising part of the email is the section on attending church.
“From now until Sunday, Sept. 13, students are asked to only virtually attend local churches. We’ll continue to collaborate with local church leaders regarding in-person attendance from Sept. 13 and beyond, but like so many other things in life right now, our situation could change.”
While students are asked to not attend in-person church services, they will be allowed to gather in-person for chapel so everyone can take their turn experiencing live worship in a safe environment. Past chapels have included ideas such as Christians marching at the front of the gay pride parade and sex being the parts you’re born with and gender being how you feel and express yourself.
In a video posted to the college’s YouTube page, you can find:
- Masks are required and must be at least two layers.
- Masks must be worn if coughing, sneezing or wheezing.
- Masks must be worn in hallways, restrooms, classrooms, labs, the library, the Rec Center entrance, conference rooms and building and office lobbies.
- Masks do not need to be worn in residence hall room or apartments, outside and more than six feet from others, working in an office by yourself or more than six feet from others.
- Gloves will be required in computer labs.
- Random temperature checks will be conducted at entrances to campus building. A normal temperature will provide a student with a handstamp.
- Students will only be allowed to enter their own residence hall for the first 30 days on campus.
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