Update to students: Important updates for students

Aug. 26, 2020

Dear students,

I hope your first few days of classes have gotten off to a great start! Thanks for all the determination and flexibility you are showing as we all transition into a very new look for life on campus. 

As we heard from President Bruess on Monday, I’ve seen lots of great examples of students complying with mask-wearing and other expectations. At the same time, I am aware of cases where students have acted in ways that do not support the health of themselves or others. These cases, which do not involve the majority of students, are deeply concerning as they jeopardize our ability to continue safely living and learning on campus. To so many of you doing the right thing, keep it up! To any who are not, know that the impact of your actions is serious, and the consequences for those caught in violation of campus policies can include fines, suspension or expulsion. And to all our students – we know there’s a lot to learn about our new way of being together. Please keep reading for important information and expectations.

Mask-wearing indoors and out on campus
A college campus is a place where everyone moves about a great deal; we run into each other and strike up informal conversations. We love this! And this is why we expect masks to be worn inside and out, any time you are outside of your personal living or workspace. Wherever you encounter a peer, professor or coworker, you’re ready for a safer way to engage. Masks should be worn even when you are physically distanced. The only time to take them off in public spaces is when eating or drinking.

Physical distancing
Maybe you’ve heard this helpful, rough guide to physical distancing – if you stretch out your arms, and the people on either side of you stretch out theirs, and you don’t touch fingers, you’re about 6 feet apart! As you walk around or when you plop down in a sunny spot, the more you stay aware of your physical distance, the safer we all are. And remember to keep your mask on!

Physical distancing must be observed in campus locations where there is preset seating, including dining spaces (indoor and outdoor), the library, classrooms and other campus buildings. Do not move preset seating. And, in these spaces, you cannot sit closer to someone just because they are your roommate. We understand that in your personal space (res hall room, apartment, house), you and your roommates are close contacts who can sit where you want. Enjoy that freedom in your personal space. It’s simply not possible for your fellow students or faculty and staff to know who your roommates are, so in these public spaces, you are expected to observe physical distancing of 6 feet or more. 

Clean, clean, clean!
In addition to regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces in your personal living space, all students will be getting a COVID-19 care kit that includes spray cleaner and a microfiber cloth, along with an SNC facemask. Bring the spray and cleaner to classes so you can quickly clean your desk before and after class. We expect to have these care kits delivered to your campus mailbox in the Campus Center this week, so check there over the next couple days if you haven’t already received yours.

Building access/visitors
Always carry your ID, which you will need to enter campus buildings. Residential students can only swipe into their own building, but you may visit friends in other buildings (just have them let you in). Non-SNC students are not permitted to stay overnight on campus at this time.

The total number of people allowed in your campus residence is the total number of beds multiplied by two. For example, in most first-year halls, there are two beds in a room, which means four people can gather if they can safely physically distance. In a house with five residents, no more than 10 students may gather, either inside or outside. These numbers include all residents and guests present at the time. 

Note that for any gathering that combines people from more than one residence, masking and physical distancing are required.

Case count, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine
Our dashboard will be updated weekly with the case count for confirmed positive results that impact campus. 

Contact tracing is the process through which our trained campus personnel or local public health officials can limit the spread of COVID-19 by identifying and quarantining close contacts. It is essential for the college to get full and accurate information when they are contact tracing. The Amnesty policy on pages 31-32 of The Citizen has been updated to explicitly state that information gained in contact tracing is not shared for purposes of student disciplinary action. That said, failure to cooperate by withholding or falsifying information is subject to adjudication under Acts of Dishonesty found on Page 49 of The Citizen. Your full cooperation in contract tracing is required and extremely important in our effort to track COVID-19 cases impacting campus.

Isolation is required for symptomatic people or people who have tested positive for COVID-19. As described in our Case Response Plan, we encourage students to isolate at home when it is possible and safe to do so. When this is not possible or safe, students will be housed in the Kress Inn. A student in isolation may not leave their room in the Kress Inn. Health Services staff will test them on site and meals will be provided through dining services. Students in isolation in the Kress Inn must be cleared to leave by Health Services. This happens with a negative test result or, if a student is positive, resolution of symptoms following CDC guidelines.

Quarantine is required for people who are identified as close contacts to a confirmed positive case. Once again, we encourage students to quarantine at home whenever possible. Students unable to quarantine at home also will be housed at the Kress Inn. A quarantined student who, by definition, is not symptomatic has some limited ability to move about and run essential errands as described here. Release from quarantine also is authorized by Health Services 14 days after the last reported contact with the positive case.

Rules and consequences
The Citizen is the code of student life for St. Norbert College, and all SNC students are subject to the standards described there. It has just been updated for the 2020-21 academic year.

On Page 40, you can find a new section on public health, which describes our ability to develop and adjust sanctions in the interest of protecting public health. On Page 70, you can find our sanctions grid for violations of COVID-19 rules currently in place. These are general guidelines and the college reserves the right to impose more severe penalties where warranted.

At the end of last week, all executive board members currently on the rosters of student organizations received a communication from the office of Leadership, Student Engagement & First-Year Experience (LSE) notifying them that student organizations are not permitted to host off-campus events this year and must register on-campus events through this form. Any student organization that hosts an unsanctioned event may lose funding or be disbanded.

Campus shuttle
Our campus shuttle remains available to transport students safely in the evening hours. Please note that, in accordance with CDC guidelines, new protocols are in place to limit the number of students who can be transported at any given time. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as we follow these guidelines with your health in mind.

What if someone is not doing what they should?
Overall, the most important thing is that each student takes care of what’s in their control. You can mask, physically distance and clean: that’s in your control. If you have concerns about choices a roommate or another person around you is making, try to talk directly with that person and express your concerns. If this seems too difficult or doesn't resolve the conflict, work with your resident assistant, area coordinator or an SNC staff member on strategies you can use to take further steps. Remember that Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is here to support you; COVID-19 has brought many new circumstances for us all, and they have tools to help you navigate the ways this is impacting you. CAPS has identified five spaces on campus that students can utilize to ensure their privacy when meeting with a counselor virtually. 

If you want to report concerning behavior in real time, the best option is to contact Campus Safety by calling 920-403-3299. You also are able to submit a Share a Concern. Please note, however, that this webform is not monitored around the clock, which can limit the ability of campus officials to make a timely response. 

And of course, let people know you appreciate it when they are doing the right thing. Thank them for masking or giving you space. We all benefit from positive reinforcement. For a few more tips on the etiquette of dealing with COVID conundrums, review this lighthearted and helpful piece.

Open office hours
And finally, I realize this is a ton of information and you may have questions. I’m hosting two sessions of Zoom office hours for students. Feel free to drop in; I’d love to connect with you!

  • Friday, Aug. 28: 3-4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 31: 3:30-5 p.m.
Here’s to a great year!

Julie Massey
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs