November 13, 2020
Last week, I sent an email asking for your help in managing the post-Hurricane and Halloween spike in COVID-19 positive cases. I am writing today to thank you for that support. Though we are not out of the woods yet, we are confident that our interventions – which included increased testing, relocating students who are positive, or a close contact, from the community and placing certain restrictions on visitation and events – are producing the desired effect. I also want to acknowledge the positive role that our students played in this. Their cooperation and compliance is perhaps the single most important variable.
I also want to share information and updates based on some questions I've received:
Early Departures: I understand some families feel that, in the interest of safety, they need to bring their students home early. Based on public safety recommendations, this is something we strongly discourage and for which we cannot grant blanket permission. Students who are considering leaving early should speak with instructors for each of their classes to ensure that remote learning can be accommodated. If they receive permission, students should email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that they will not be participating in surveillance testing. If your student lives on campus, they should continue to follow all Housing & Residence Life Housing procedures.
Late Departures: Some students have inquired about staying in their on-campus residence hall through final exams because of special circumstances, for example if their home environment or personal circumstances are not conducive to taking exams or they are having challenges with travel arrangements. Your student can apply to stay late through the Housing & Residence Life portal. It is important to note that the fall semester's meal plan ends when residence halls close, so dining options on campus may be limited.
Positives/Close Contacts & the Holiday: If a student tests positive or needs to quarantine after the halls close on Nov. 25 at noon, we will continue to provide quarantine and isolation space for them through Dec. 18. Our staff will continue to support them through this period. If they live on campus, we will work with them to plan their departure after their quarantine or isolation ends. Students who test positive or are close contacts will be encouraged to stay on university-hosted property. However, if you are able to arrange for safe, non-air travel transportation for your student we would not prohibit them leaving. We know that, for many families, this isn't an option because of distance or vulnerable family members in the home.
Finally, because of some unforeseen scheduling conflicts, we are postponing the webinar on the spring semester that was scheduled for Monday. We will let you know its rescheduled date as soon as possible.
We are days away from concluding this semester. This is a milestone that many people thought we would not see. It has not been without challenges, but here we are. It truly takes a village – thank you for being part of ours.
Dean of Students