Important COVID information for students

Sept. 11, 2020

Dear Students,

As your third week of on-campus classes winds down, I want to again share important information. These items include updates or changes, reminders, and new information.

I am counting on your attention to these important topics. We made it through week three. Let’s continue to build weeks four, five, six and more...and not say farewell until Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Julie Massey
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

New: Added Quarantine Space

As some are aware, we have begun to utilize the Tundra Lodge as a secondary site for students needing quarantine or isolation. Our campus team and the Tundra staff have worked hard to set up a system for safe use of a dedicated portion of their facilities with oversight by our staff. This additional space ensures we have back-up to the Kress Inn. Q/I space needs fluctuate greatly, and safe cleaning protocols between guests take added time. This addition to our space allows us to remain on campus with greater ability to support those students who are unable to return home for quarantine or isolation.

Update: Dashboard
We continue to listen to your feedback on our COVID-19 Dashboard. We have added recovered cases to the information, and we will now be updating the dashboard daily Monday - Friday.

Update: COVID-19 Sanctions
In response to what we are seeing, and what we are hearing from students, we have updated the COVID-19 sanctions grid. Among the changes you will see are: increases in fines, earlier possibility to be sent home for the remainder of the semester, and an added sanction for loss of housing sign-up lottery position. You can access the grid here. These changes go into effect at 4 p.m. today. Please note that sanctions can be (and often are) layered — for example, if you host a social gathering beyond the stated limit and it also includes underage drinking, you face sanctions under two, or more, violations. This means that even a first offense in this grid can result in higher sanctions if combined with other violations.

Change: Maximum Gathering Size
Our initial rule around social gatherings in all forms of student housing (including houses) remains in effect for spaces with five or fewer beds — the maximum number permitted to gather is the number of beds times two. In addition, effective 4 p.m. today, no social gathering in student housing may exceed ten participants. If you live in a space that has more than five beds, you may no longer use the beds times two guideline: your gathering cannot include more than ten people. As before, this is a total number of people present, and can include any configuration of residents and guests. This change comes in response to concerns expressed by students related to safety in their residences and in response to what we are observing in contact tracing - larger gatherings put far more students at risk of required quarantine or isolation. Residence hall programs can exceed these numbers when offered by professional or student staff in common spaces including outdoors, and where all health precautions including physical distancing are maintained.

Change: Campus Building Access
Most campus buildings have been opened for daytime use without the need for card access. This is to smooth the flow of traffic and reduce unsafe backups. It will still be beneficial to routinely carry your ID should you have need for it in a specific case. Remember that your residence hall always requires a swipe and that you are only coded for access in your own hall.

Reminder: Report Symptoms to Health Services
We are seeing an increase in students who experienced symptoms and were tested in the community without informing Health Services. These students may not be safely isolating while awaiting results; the college first learns about them when the result comes in. This violates the COVID-19 Pledge which requires students to inform Health Services when experiencing symptoms. More importantly, it means you are putting your peers at risk.

Reminder: Cleaning Supplies
You should be bringing your spray bottle and microfiber cloth to each in-person class so that you can clean your desk. The mailroom tells us more than 90% of the care kits have been picked up. If you have not picked up your original care kit, please do so at the mailroom desk. Also, remember there are three campus locations at which you can exchange your bottle for a cleaned and refilled bottle or your cloth for a clean cloth. These locations are: Mulva Library front desk, mailroom desk, and the REH office on the first floor of Todd Wehr Hall.

Reminder: Classes Matter
Finally, I want to ensure students know it is safe to attend class in person unless one is observing required quarantine or isolation. Our contact tracing has not yielded a single close contact from a course instruction setting. Our faculty and students are doing a great job maintaining physical distancing and other health protocols in classrooms and labs. Keep it up! Go to class!