Starr King School for the Ministry is determined to protect the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff, while continuing our mission of training religious and social-change leaders. School leadership will continue to watch developments closely and take all necessary and responsible steps for the sake of our community and society at large. If you have any questions or comments about our efforts, please contact the SKSM COVID-19 Monitoring Group: Dr. Gabriella Lettini (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr. Christopher Schelin (email@example.com), and Rev. Jacqueline Duhart (firstname.lastname@example.org).
January 2022 Update: Responding to the Omicron Variant
With the rapid rise of the COVID-19 omicron variant, Starr King School for the Ministry is implementing the following revisions to its operations and safety measures, either independently or in tandem with Mills College:
Hybrid instruction suspended until further notice – It has been our intention to pilot a return to hybrid in-person/online instruction with two courses in Spring 2022 (as detailed in the “Academic Program” section below). Due to the omicron variant, these courses will begin the semester in an exclusively online format and will remain so until it is deemed feasible to gather in a physical space.
February Chapel attendees will participate online – For our February 1 chapel service, the Mills College Chapel will be closed to the general public and attendees will participate via the Zoom link. The service will be hosted from the chapel building but program leaders will follow strict infection protocols.
Booster shot requirement – Matching the protocols adopted by Mills College, SKSM will require all employees, students, and invited guests to receive their booster shots (upon eligibility) before entering a classroom, office, or other space utilized by the school. Documentation must be submitted to Director of Operations Teresa Joye (email@example.com) prior to arrival on campus.
Mills College health check form – Mills has also reinstituted the health screening form that persons must complete each day they visit the campus. The form is available here.
SKSM Relief Fund
Starr King continues to offer emergency financial assistance through our donor-supported Relief Fund. Students are invited to apply for support in meeting acute needs. Learn about our Student Relief Fund efforts here, or visit www.sksm.edu/giverelief to make a gift.
Current Campus Operations
The Mills College campus is open and accessible to students, faculty, and staff, as well as invited guests. Members of the general public may visit the campus between the hours of 5:00 am and 10:00 pm. Their access is limited to outdoor locations, the Tea Shop, the Mail and Copy Center, and the Office of Public Safety. They may enter other indoor facilities for ticketed events or authorized rentals only. Full details of Mills College COVID protocols are available here.
SKSM business hours in Vera Long Hall are set at 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Tuesdays through Thursdays. Faculty and staff resident in the Bay Area divide their time between working from home and from their offices at Vera Long Hall. Appointments with personnel, whether conducted in-person or online, must be scheduled in advance.
Chapel services are currently conducted in a hybrid format on the first Tuesday of the month at 11:00 am PT during fall and spring semesters. All are welcome to join us online via Zoom or in-person at the Mills College Chapel. Recordings of chapel services are also available on our YouTube channel.
Classes continue to be offered fully online through January 2022. For the second year in a row, the Starr King Symposium will be held on Zoom. The course catalogue clearly identifies whether an online course is conducted synchronously or asynchronously.
For Spring 2022, Starr King will pilot a hybrid format for courses taught from Mills classrooms and utilizing upgraded technology. Students will be able to attend class either online or in-person. The two courses piloting this format will be LS-2400: Unitarian Universalist Liturgy and Worship Arts and RSFT-1017: ECO Core.
The GTU Library is open to vaccinated members of the GTU community. Starr King employees and students may access the library through the end of the school’s membership in the consortium on April 1, 2022. Please visit the GTU library website for further details. All members of our community can utilize the robust resources of the Digital Theological Library wherever they are located.
In keeping with public health regulations and Mills College protocols, masks must be worn while indoors and while within 6 feet of other persons in outdoor locations. These requirements must be followed regardless of vaccination status.
Every person must be fully vaccinated, or granted a religious/ethical or medical exemption, before entering a classroom, office, or other space in use by Starr King. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. Before your first visit to campus, please submit proof of vaccination to Director of Operations Teresa Joye (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Starr King will evaluate and grant medical exemptions, or exemptions based on a religious or other sincerely-held belief, on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Dean of Students Chris Schelin (email@example.com) to apply for an exemption. Anyone who has been granted an exemption must adhere to testing requirements set by the school in order to come to campus.
- Hand sanitizer stations are available for immediate disinfecting upon entry to Vera Long Hall and Mills Chapel.
- Air filters operate throughout Vera Long Hall and at Mills Chapel to ensure the regular cleaning and recycling of air.
- Social distancing at a minimum of three feet will be maintained for classes, meetings, and other events that entail groups assembling for extended periods of time.
If You’re Sick
The symptoms of COVID-19 may include one or more of the following:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you know that you have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms, do not come to campus. We encourage you to get tested as soon as possible. Upon receiving a positive test result for coronavirus, please quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. If you were on campus at any time in the 10 days prior to your COVID test, please contact Director of Operations Teresa Joye.
Starr King has received $592,250.00 through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that was authorized by federal legislation. These grants have been used to provide emergency financial assistance to students as well as to support institutional costs incurred by the pandemic. Full reporting of Starr King’s use of HEERF funds is available here.