Well, off-campus, you’ve done it. You are currently healthier (1.44%) than the on-campus residential population (2.38%). Just saying. The good news is the overall campus community and the state are proving to remain healthy despite our concern for the presence of variants.
Given this data, our color-coded system plans for some flexibility and students have asked how much longer we will remain in yellow. Fair question. The answer for us now lies in the participation rate in surveillance testing such as the pooled sampling effort in our residence halls. Last week, our participation was 67%. This is below what we would need participation to be if we were to progress to blue.
This can be done. Your behavior and care for one another has consistently shown me how to successfully face the challenges of this pandemic. So, let’s work on our participation. I’ll keep you posted on how those rates improve.
Second, I’ve been asked to talk with you about eating in the dining halls. I really need you to not move chairs around and crowd around tables. As we know, spread of COVID-19 occurs when we are in close contacts without masks on. Let’s work together to be respectful of the seating arrangements in our dining halls. As the weather improves, give some thought to heading outside, spreading out, and enjoying the company of your friends.
Finally, we are all hoping for a fall 2021 that is closer to pre-COVID times. The University has just begun what will have to be a lengthy planning process. I am hopeful that we will be able to share a framework with you of our preliminary plans sometime in April. As you know, the day to day realities of COVID require us to be vigilant and nimble in our plans. Your patience is always appreciated. That being said, I know you rely on us for information and transparency. We’re on it.
All good things,
Eleanor JB Daugherty, EdD
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students