Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and updates

Find the most recent Return to Campus memos below.

Links to important documents

Most recent Return to Campus memos

Mask Policy Update | March 2022

Public health data indicates that we have passed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, and it appears that we are shifting from the pandemic phase of this virus to the endemic phase. Our campus is 100% vaccinated and nearly 100% boosted. Wearing a high-quality mask is proving to be highly effective in preventing exposure to COVID-19 for those who are at risk. With these factors in mind, and to more closely align with new CDC guidelines and the level of risk COVID-19 now presents, we are updating our campus mask policy. We encourage everyone to be aware of their own risks, particularly for those who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated.

  • Given that the vaccination rates in Elkhart County remain under 50%, we continue to recommend that all individuals — whether you are vaccinated or not — wear a mask in indoor public spaces when off-campus.
  • In general when you meet with anyone in an indoor space who is wearing a mask, consider it an invitation to put on your own. Having a mask with you at all times is a good idea.
  • Masks continue to be required in any on-campus space other than a personal office for anyone who is not fully vaccinated/boosted for COVID-19.
  • When the capacity of the space (including hallways) allows for physical distancing of four feet or more, masks are optional for fully vaccinated/boosted employees and students on campus, except when designated otherwise by a meeting facilitator or classroom instructor. 
  • In public spaces on campus everyone (students, employees, visitors) is encouraged to wear masks. 
    • We define public spaces on campus as ones that include visitors to campus. For example, break time in the lounge with students and employees present is not a public space whereas a special break in the lounge that includes several visitors is considered a public space. The AMBS Library is generally not a public space unless there is an event; see further information from the library for specific guidelines. 
  • Masks are required for all in indoor chapels since these are sometimes public spaces and because singing typically takes place at regular intervals; chapel planners may announce otherwise for a chapel without singing and with sufficient physical distancing.
  • Masks are expected to be worn as people move through food or refreshment lines in campus spaces.
  • Events will have their own mask policies as indicated in event promotion and programs; during indoor singing at any AMBS event, masks are required until further notice.
  • Take extra precautions by wearing a mask when experiencing cold-like symptoms or when you are around others following times of travel, or other times of potential exposure. 

Expect updates to the policy if there are future surges that impact hospitalization capacity in our area or changes in other metrics.


January 21, 2022

Dear AMBS students and employees,

As we near the end of the second week of classes, may you feel energized with the promise of deep and joyful learning in a new semester.

We previously communicated that most meetings, and campus and blended classes, would meet on zoom for the first two weeks of Semester 2. This has been our “default” mode of instruction in light of post-holiday adjustments as the Omicron wave continues. As planned, next week, beginning January 24, we will switch the default back to campus and blended courses, along with meetings taking place in-person. Chapel will also be in-person and live-streamed starting next week. For campus classes (or for those in the campus section of a blended class), professors will expect to see you in class in person each week, unless a different plan has been communicated.  If you are not able to come to campus for COVID-19 reasons, and need to attend virtually, please contact your professor with as much advance notice as possible.

We are fortunate to have a critical mix of advantages to help us operate in-person at AMBS. In addition to a spacious campus where we can physically distance ourselves, we are helped by the timely efforts of employees and students to get their COVID-19 vaccine boosters (we are nearly at 100%! Please fill out the survey here if you have not yet done so), and exceptional cooperation with quality mask-wearing: thank you! Even so, we know that high rates of spread continue in Elkhart County, and that care, flexibility, grace, and patience remain necessary.

Testing access continues to be a challenge, and we hope that the situation will improve soon. As you heard in an earlier announcement this week, the US postal service now has a site where you can order four free rapid home tests for a given household. If you haven’t already done so, order your four free tests now.  If you live in a campus apartment, it is ideal to specify your apartment number for the address.

We are also looking into maintaining a bank of rapid COVID-19 tests on campus that people can contribute to if they have excess supply. Students and employees who are not able to get a rapid home test, or schedule one at a local site (see options below), can contact Linsey at the reception desk to see if there are any tests available.

A few other testing notes:

  1. Some have had success accessing rapid tests at Goshen Physicians Urgent Care. You will get best results by scheduling an appointment for a test at midnight for the same day (they fill up rapidly). You can then have an appointment, be seen by a provider, and get your results very quickly. You will need to provide an insurance card as these are not free tests. Sign up at: https://www.clockwisemd.com/hospitals/7069/visits/new
  1. For home rapid tests:
    1. If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19, wait until day five after exposure to take the test.
    2. If you have symptoms, you can take a rapid test right away. If you get a negative result, take another rapid test at least 24 hours later for further verification. If you get a positive result, begin isolation and communicate with your professors and/or supervisor(s).
  2. It is ideal, when possible, to also get a PCR test, which is most accurate for detecting the Omicron variant. Current options for these tests can be found at these links.
    1. Current Elkhart County sites.
    2. An additional site is at the Pierre Moran Pavilion, as noted on this brochure

With much appreciation for the AMBS learning community,

Beverly Lapp, Academic Dean, for the Return to Campus Team


January 5, 2022

Dear AMBS Learning Community,

Welcome to semester two! As we arrive back from a long holiday break, we are returning from visits to many places over the past several weeks. As we anticipate a surge of COVID-19 cases across the country following these Christmas season gatherings, we continue to be grateful for the high vaccination rates on our campus. Nearly 60 of us have reported already receiving COVID boosters. However, the Omicron variant appears to be highly transmissible even among the vaccinated, so additional diligence is warranted. Please report your booster here if you have not already done so. 

We encouraged employees to work from home for the first week following the holiday break; next week returning to work on campus will be the default expectation. With high vaccination, campus spaciousness, and mask-wearing, we believe this is safe. At the same time, to increase safety during the current surge, we encourage most meetings of more than a handful of people to take place virtually for the next two weeks, with the expectation of all wearing masks and physical distancing (6 ft. or more) for any in-person meetings or conversations. 

Chapel will meet on Zoom for the first two weeks of the semester, and resume in person on January 25. The AMBS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day program on the afternoon of Monday, January 17 will take place in the AMBS Chapel, but only invited guests will be in attendance; AMBS students and employees will attend via live stream. 

Regarding classes, and to enable clarity for ease of planning and communication, in-person and blended classes will meet via Zoom during weeks 1 and 2 of the semester, with professors teaching from either their classroom or office, and all students on Zoom from their individual spaces on or off campus. Teaching faculty may request exceptions from the dean’s office for some classes, and will communicate with their students in this case. We plan to return to in-person instruction by week three (after the impact of the holidays is lessened). Students who are on campus or in the Elkhart area should plan to be in the classroom by the week of January 24 for campus and blended classes. 

See updated AMBS Guidelines here, including when to isolate and quarantine if you test positive or are exposed to COVID-19.

Our aim is to open this semester with some extra precautions to ensure that we can move to more normal patterns as soon as possible with few, if any, setbacks. Thank you for working with these guidelines for the well-being of our community.

Beverly Lapp, Academic Dean

For the Return to Campus Team


December 21, 2021

Dear AMBS Learning Community:

In the midst of this season of hopeful anticipation, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is of great concern, in addition to the ongoing high spread of  the Delta variant in Elkhart County. In November we communicated that all AMBS employees and students who have access are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and a flu shot. If you have already received your booster, please fill out the AMBS Vaccination Booster Confirmation Form today for our institutional records.

As the Return to Campus team, we have determined that in order to maintain the safest campus community possible, AMBS employees and students who study on campus will now be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster. If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine initially at least six months ago (two or more months ago if you got Johnson & Johnson), please make arrangements as soon as possible to schedule your booster (and flu shot if needed). Indiana residents can do so through this website (see top panel and select “Find a Vaccination Site”) and others in the US can search here. When you get the booster, please fill out the form linked above. In mid-January the records will be reviewed, and we will follow up with anyone who has not documented a booster. Email [email protected] if you need to complete an exemption form for medical or religious reasons. 

For best protection against the Omicron variant, it is recommended that you wear a N95 or KN95 mask in public places and gatherings, or double mask with a surgical mask and cloth face covering. Our campus mask policy will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

We urge great caution in holiday travel and gatherings. If you are traveling or in circumstances that may cause increased risk of exposure, plan now for a COVID-19 test upon your return. Follow this link for testing sites in or near Elkhart County. 

We acknowledge inequities regarding vaccine access, including in places where AMBS students reside. With yearning for a more just world, we pray for safety and well-being for each of you in our community and for your loved ones.  

In Advent peace,

AMBS Return to Campus Team

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Deanna Risser, Mary Ann Weber


November 16, 2021

Dear AMBS Learning Community:

It has been a while since we communicated an update about our Return to Campus policies. We have two key pieces of information to share with this memo. 

1. We strongly encourage all AMBS employees and students to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot AND a flu shot. Both are vital to the ongoing health of our learning community. AMBS employees and students are eligible regardless of age group and other factors because our educational setting is considered “high risk.” A COVID-19 vaccine booster is recommended for you by the CDC if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine initially at least 6 months ago (2 or more months ago if you got Johnson & Johnson). 

You can schedule a booster shot and flu shot locally through this website (see top panel and select “Find a Vaccination Site”). When you get the booster, please fill out the AMBS Vaccination Booster Confirmation Form to communicate the date for our institutional records. 

2. At this time we are not planning to make any changes to our mask policy, though we hope that the impact of children ages 2-11 now qualifying for the vaccine, and the availability of booster shots, will lead us to be able to revise the mask policy by next semester. For now, we continue to allow exceptions to wearing masks when appropriate distance is possible for a group of fully vaccinated people, at the discretion of the group or class leader, if all are comfortable. See our full policy on the COVID-19 Update Center website.

The AMBS community has done an amazing job at caring for one another where COVID is concerned. As we move into the Thanksgiving season, let us give thanks for the ways God’s Spirit is sustaining us in all things.

With deep gratitude,

AMBS Return to Campus Team

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Deanna Risser, Mary Ann Weber


August 9, 2021

Dear AMBS Learning Community, 

Our plans for classes and operations to be in-person this new academic year remain intact, thanks to the incredible response of the AMBS community to vaccination availability. As we return to campus, we remain committed to the safety and well-being of our community. With the Delta variant currently on the rise in the U.S., we are providing this important update about our campus policies.

Elkhart County has now moved to substantial transmission according to the CDC data tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view). As communicated last week, this means that vaccinated members of the AMBS community should wear masks when in public indoor spaces (or in other indoor spaces that are crowded and/or where vaccination status is low or unclear) in Elkhart County and other areas of concern. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks in all indoor public spaces no matter the level of transmission. 

Because of the high rate of fully vaccinated employees (100%) and students on campus (currently 90% of all students enrolled in hybrid and in-person classes during Semester One), the risk of breakthrough transmission remains quite low on our campus. Nationally, the risk of a breakthrough COVID infection for a vaccinated person is less than 1%. The COVID-19 vaccines are working in preventing spread of the virus and severe outcomes in those who are vaccinated. 

However, we understand that even with such high vaccination levels on campus, there are variables in our lives that can increase our concerns about community spread when the surrounding county is experiencing substantial or high rates of transmission. Based on new guidance from the CDC and under advisement from our medical consultant, our campus policies are thus adapted and revised as follows, effective immediately:

  1. Mask requirement. Until Elkhart County moves back to moderate or low transmission (and upon confirmation from the Return to Campus Team), all people on the AMBS campus are required to wear masks in indoor common spaces. 
    1. If fully vaccinated, masks are not required in one’s private work space (office or cubicle, including library cubicles).
    2. If holding social gatherings in apartments or common spaces of guest houses, wear masks unless there is enough spaciousness for 6 ft. distance between individuals.
    3. For meetings/gatherings with a small group in attendance and with enough spaciousness for 6 ft. distance between individuals, masks can be optional in consultation with participants.
  2. In the event of exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19:
    1. Inform your AMBS supervisor/advisor.
    2. Fully vaccinated people with known exposure and who are asymptomatic should carefully mask and monitor symptoms for 14 days from last contact, or until they have a negative test (which they should not get prior to 4 days after last contact).
    3. Anyone (fully vaccinated or not) with known exposure and symptoms should get tested, and be in quarantine until they are tested. If they have mild symptoms and a positive test (or don’t get tested), they should be in isolation for 10 days from when they developed symptoms. If they require hospitalization, isolation will need to be longer.
  3. Space capacity: We will continue to follow state/county health department guidelines regarding space capacity as we assign classrooms and approve event requests.
  4. Events with food: Safe practices will be followed including mask wearing until seated, distance measures, using outdoor spaces when possible, and other strategies. Updated guidelines will be posted soon to the AMBS Covid-19 Update Center. 
  5. Indoor singing: Any plans involving singing indoors should be made in consultation with Beverly Lapp on the Return to Campus Team; masks and spacing will be required for indoor singing until further notice.

Have you been vaccinated and not yet filled out our vaccination survey? Please report that information here as soon as possible to help us know how we are doing and who we yet need to contact. 

With gratitude for the care and responsibility so present in our community, 

AMBS Return to Campus Team

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Deanna Risser, and Mary Ann Weber


July 30, 2021

Dear AMBS Learning Community,

In light of recent developments we want to offer this note of clarification about masks on campus, particularly in regards to the AMBS Library.

The CDC updated its mask guidance recently, given new evidence on the Delta variant currently on the rise in the U.S. It is now recommended that fully vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks in all indoor public places in all areas. Although Elkhart County is currently in an area of moderate transmission according to the CDC data tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view) we see that the trend is moving in the wrong direction. We recommend that vaccinated members of the AMBS community now wear masks when in public indoor spaces (or in other indoor spaces where vaccination status is low or unclear) in Elkhart County and other areas of concern.

We consider AMBS to not be a public space, unless we are holding an event that the public is invited to attend. With our exceptionally high rate of fully vaccinated employees and students on campus, we are not currently planning a change to our on-campus mask policy. To review, the mask policy on campus is that masks are required indoors for anyone who is not fully vaccinated and are optional for people who are fully vaccinated. There may be exceptions for events and meetings at the discretion of the leaders/organizers.

The AMBS Library recently reopened to community users (with our current mask policy in place), which makes it a public space. In consultation with Karl Stutzman and Brandon Board, the Return to Campus Team will close the library to community users if Elkhart County moves into the “substantial” transmission category.  This will return the Library to a non-public space, which will enable us to keep masks optional for fully vaccinated AMBS individuals using the Library, in accordance with current CDC guidelines.

AMBS Return to Campus Team

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Ron Ringenberg, and Mary Ann Weber


July 26, 2021

Dear AMBS Learning Community, 

We are grateful that Elkhart County COVID-19 status has been at level blue for over a month now, with a 3.9% positivity rate. We are also incredibly fortunate to have 100% vaccination against COVID-19 in the AMBS employee group! And, the vaccination rate among AMBS students is quite high as well. This is great news because although no vaccine is 100% protection against disease, the COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective, including against the Delta variant. 

We continue to monitor our local situation closely. Nearly 45% of the Elkhart County population age 12+ is fully vaccinated so far. We are aware that the super-contagious Delta Variant is spreading nationally in many unvaccinated hot spots. Although our campus remains safe with high levels of vaccination providing herd immunity, we recommend exercising caution when you are in public spaces in Elkhart County or other communities with lower vaccination rates and/or higher rates of community spread. 

As communicated previously, a COVID-19 vaccination is required for all AMBS students enrolling in the 2021-2022 academic year who come to the Elkhart campus, once a vaccine has full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Within three weeks of FDA approval of a vaccine, unvaccinated students will be required to receive their first shot and then to complete all required doses, or to submit documentation of their exemption. See exemption information below.

Have you been vaccinated and not yet filled out our vaccination survey? Please report that information here as soon as possible to help us know how we are doing and who we need to contact. 

If you are not yet vaccinated, we strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Getting a vaccine not only protects you, it helps protect others as well, particularly those who are unable to get the vaccine due to age and/or specific health risks. And, your vaccination helps reduce transmission and the ongoing evolution of the virus, which is critical for the larger common good.

See here for more information here from the CDC about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/safety-of-vaccines.html

If you are in Elkhart County, see information about getting the vaccine locally here: https://health.elkhartcounty.com/en/echd-covid-19/covid-19-vaccination-resource-page/

If you are elsewhere in the US, this website will help you find access near your location: https://www.vaccines.gov

Vaccination exemption information: AMBS is allowing medical and religious exceptions. Talk with your physician about the risks and benefits for your personal health and that of your community. If you need an exemption, send an email to [email protected] to request information about how to seek this. 

We will contact all AMBS enrolled students who are residential or taking classes on campus (including MDiv Connect students), and who have not completed the survey or submitted an exception request by August 9, to check on your vaccination status or intentions. 

International students moving to the Elkhart campus: Contact Mary Ann Weber, student services coordinator, if you need help getting a vaccine or have questions about quarantining if you are arriving on campus before you are fully vaccinated.  

We know that access is not adequate in many parts of the world. Even as we urge vaccination for those who are eligible and who have access, and we pray and advocate for more sharing of resources to control this continuing pandemic. 

With gratitude for the care and responsibility so present in our community, 

AMBS Return to Campus Team

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Ron Ringenberg, and Mary Ann Weber


June 21, 2021 – AMBS Library reopening to general public

Because Elkhart County and the surrounding area continue to have low rates of COVID-19, the librarians and Return to Campus Team have decided we will be reopening the AMBS Library to the general public as a place for reading and reflection. Please join us in welcoming back members of our local community.

Our signage will indicate that masks are required for persons who are not fully vaccinated, and we will be monitoring local COVID-19 infection rates closely. We may decide to close again to the general public if rates get substantially worse. If you have questions or concerns about these changes, please see Karl in the library or contact [email protected]

– Karl Stutzman, Director of Library Services


June 16, 2021 – Looking ahead to Semester One of 2021-22 (Vaccines)

Dear AMBS Students,

It feels like summer is just beginning, but we are already thinking about welcoming you to campus for Semester One hybrid week and on campus classes. We are very excited about reopening our campus to face-to-face classes. We also want to ensure that our campus is a safe place for everyone.  We are grateful for the efforts members of our campus community have made to protect the health of others and seek vaccinations. One hundred percent of our faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated within the next few weeks. That’s an amazing accomplishment!

When any of the COVID vaccines receive full approval for general use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we will be requiring vaccinations for all students coming to the AMBS campus. Religious and medical exemptions will be allowed. While we await full FDA approval of the vaccines, we strongly encourage students who will be coming to campus this fall to obtain a vaccination as soon as possible. 

Students coming to campus who are not vaccinated or have not had access to vaccines will need to be quarantined on campus until you can get a negative COVID test, and wear a mask on campus until you are fully vaccinated. Vaccines are readily available locally and we can help you find locations where you can receive a vaccine.

Have a great summer — we can’t wait to see many of you in August!

On behalf of the Return to Campus Team,

David Boshart, Beverly Lapp, Jeff Marshall, Ron Ringenberg, and Mary Ann Weber


July 28, 2020

CARES Act

AMBS is required by the U.S. Department of Education to post the following information on our website:

$6,219 of funds for students and $6,219 of funds for the institution from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act were received and used by AMBS for student aid and technology in 2020. Less than 10 students received the student funds.

From the U.S. Department of Education: In preparing the 30-day Fund Report, institutions should use data suppression and other methodologies to comply with and protect the personally identifiable information from student education records, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). For example, the Department does not expect institutions to report information about a group of 10 or fewer students. For example, if the total number of eligible students, the total of number of students who received Emergency Financial Aid Grants, or the difference between the two numbers is less than 10, then the institution should not display the number of students or the amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students on publicly available website(s) controlled by the institution.