COVID Safety and Responsibility

Updated June 16, 2022

On Tuesday, May 31, Grinnell College shifted to a modified green activity level. As a result, masks will be optional at Grinnell College during YAW. 

If you no longer wish to attend YAW because of these expectations, or because you are ill and cannot attend, we will cancel your registration and offer you a full refund at any time. To do this, please email us at Refunds will be processed in the order they are received, and it may be late-June before all refunds are complete.

Before you come to Grinnell for YAW, please read all the information below to be fully informed of expectations, resources, and protocols


Masks are now optional indoors, except in the following situations:  

  • If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 
  • If you have recently tested positive and are returning to campus following 5 full days of isolation (5 days of isolation + 5 days of masking).  

Masks are recommended for:  

  • People who have a known exposure* to a COVID positive individual  
  • People who are high risk   
  • Alumni and their guests to campus from areas/regions of high transmission.

While masks on campus are not required, anyone may choose to wear one at any time based on individual preference, perspective, and circumstance. As Grinnellians, please be mindful and respectful of other attendees' choices.

Finally, given the number of individuals traveling to Grinnell from around the world, we strongly encourage participants who choose to mask to wear high quality masks (KN95, N95, or surgical masks, not cloth masks). A supply of these high-quality masks will be available for you during YAW at the registration desk.

* Exposed/Exposure = within 6 feet or less of a confirmed positive for 15 or more minutes cumulative within a 24-hour period and both individuals are unmasked.


An Iowa state law, House File 889, mandates that no Iowa business or government entity may require patrons to furnish proof of having received a vaccination for COVID-19. In keeping with this legislation, the College does not require proof of vaccination in order to attend YAW, though we strongly encourage attendees to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations before attending.

Testing and Resources

Grinnell College will not require guests to test themselves for COVID-19 before coming to campus. We strongly encourage all guests to consider testing themselves before leaving home and to contact us if you feel sick after arriving in Grinnell.

If, at any time, during YAW you feel sick, learn that you have been exposed to COVID-19 at or less than 10 days prior to the event, develop symptoms of COVID-19, and/or test positive for COVID-19, do not attend YAW events. Please remain in your dorm room, hotel room, or at home, and seek medical care. Notify Grinnell College staff by emailing Jackie Aanes, director of operations, at

A limited number of rapid antigen tests will be available for YAW guests at the help[ desk (JRC). If you feel unwell during YAW, you are welcome to request a test. You can also purchase a rapid test at a local store or pharmacy; a local shuttle is available from 4-10 p.m. daily with stops at Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee, among other locations. Masks are required on the local shuttle.

A group of dorm rooms has been set aside as an isolation area for YAW guests who are sick or who test positive for COVID-19 during their time on campus. Given the communal nature of the residence halls, we strongly encourage guests who are sick to move into this space. Assistance, “emergency supply” kits, an extended stay on campus (if needed), and takeaway meals will also be provided to guests who request it.

Visit our College COVID-19 Resource Page for more resources and information.

Reducing the Spread

Grinnell College recommends that all participants screen themselves daily for symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure to the virus. If you are experiencing COVID -19 symptoms or other illness, please do not travel to Grinnell.

The following symptoms are outlined on the CDC Website indicating an individual may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Individuals who have these symptoms or are otherwise sick should not attend YAW. Additionally, if the person is onsite, affected individuals should notify event organizers by sending an email to Jackie Aanes, director of operations, at

Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Personnel must be able to wash their hands after touching any surface/tool suspected of being contaminated, before and after eating or using the restroom, and before touching their face.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Wearing a mask when indoors
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home while sick and avoiding close contact with others
  • Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately disposing of the used tissue