Shift to Alert Level 2-Yellow

Dear Staff and Faculty,

With the continuing decline in positive Covid cases among students, we are moving to alert level 2-yellow, effective today. This is a transition phase in which we will gradually shift back to in-person classes, meetings, etc. We will be sending a communication later today with details about this transition. In the meantime, below is the message from Victor Arcelus explaining to students what this alert level means. This communication will enable students who are off-campus during the orange level to begin to make plans for their return to Conn. Please know that we are working to schedule a town hall with Keith Grant of Hartford HealthCare, perhaps as early as tomorrow (details will follow).

Sincerely,

Jeff Cole
Dean of the Faculty

Mary Keeney,
Interim Vice President of Human Resources 


 

Dear Students,

I continue to be in touch with the CT Department of Public Health and Hartford HealthCare about the specifics related to our rise in cases last week. On Monday, I also spoke with a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, later in the day, I spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). I plan to set up a zoom meeting with all students later in the week to discuss what they had to say about our case and how we might approach the weeks and months ahead.   

As we foresaw, our positive test results are continuing to decline because of the measures that we put in place last week. Monday’s PCR test results yielded 7 positives, and 4 students tested positive with Binax rapid antigen tests in Student Health Services. This latest round of testing shows that, in a span of just one week, we’ve been able to flatten the steep rise in cases. We know it has been a trying week, but given today’s news, I am pleased to let you know that we will be shifting to Alert Level 2-Yellow today. 

On the Path Forward website, you will see an updated alert-level document that describes the details pertaining to Alert Level 2-Yellow. Yellow is a transition stage. This means that various parts of the College will return to more normal operations; although not everything will shift at once, so your continued patience is appreciated. I’ll summarize some of the highlights below. 

  • Mask wearing

    • Masks must be worn inside in all spaces as described in the Student Guidance and Staff and Faculty Guidance pages. 

    • Masks must be worn while socializing with friends inside of buildings including residence hall rooms and apartments. 

    • Masks must be worn outside if in particularly close proximity to people while socializing. 

    • Masks must be worn inside when not actively eating or drinking. If consuming a beverage, briefly lower or raise your mask and then place your mask fully back on.  

    • You may have your mask off in your rooms/apartments with the people you directly live with. Masks must be worn when a non-resident of the room/apartment enters the space. Please note that mask wearing expectations continue to apply on occasions when you are with neighbors in your room as well as people in a group housing cohort. 

  • Eating and drinking

    • When eating and drinking with others, it is preferable to be outside when possible. 

    • When eating in indoor locations with your mask off, you should be seated six feet apart from other people. 

    • There is no eating permitted in the library and classrooms. We ask that you be respectful about expectations set by departments about not eating in certain areas of campus designated by signage. 

  • Staff who have been working remotely will transition to in-person - Supervisors will work with staff to coordinate work schedules and work plans to support staff returning to campus over the course of this week. 

  • Student Employment - Student employment will transition back to in-person in coordination with supervisors.

  • Academic classes will transition to in-person - “Transition” means that over the course of this week, some faculty will be teaching in-person and some will continue to be remote with the goal of being fully in-person next week. Faculty will apprise their students on the location of their classes.  

  • Contact Tracing - While classes and meetings are spaces with low levels of concerns for spread, which was reinforced in conversations with the DPH, CDC, and Dr. Fauci, we are considering ways of enhancing contact tracing for these spaces. More information on this topic will be shared later in the week. 

  • Gathering and study spaces - The library will extend its hours and other spaces across campus will transition to being open for student use (e.g. campus centers, Walter Commons, Hale Center, and academic buildings).

  • Labs, studios, and other spaces will start to reopen during this transition period; departments will communicate with students accordingly.

  • Clubs and Organizations - Will hold meetings and activities outdoors. 

  • Events and Trips - All events will take place outdoors unless special procedures are put in place. If there is a particular event, program, group trip that is planned that would be limited by Alert Level 2-Yellow, please contact Victor Arcelus (860-439-2825) so that options can be discussed.  

  • Athletics (varsity and club) - All fall sports are practicing. Any scheduled competitions will be coordinated with Mo White (varsity) or Rachel Loughran (club) and will require additional team-wide BINAX rapid testing before play or travel.    

  • Athletic Facilities - Will transition to being open with special procedures and supervision.

  • Coffee Shops - Will transition to being open for carry-out

  • Dining Services - Grab and Go

  • Residence Halls - Students may only enter their assigned building.

  • Student Socializing:

    • Residence hall room/apartment - 1 peer per room/apartment resident (e.g. single: resident and 1 peer, double: two residents and 2 peers, etc. )

    • Groups inside - No more than 4 people inside in a common room or large open area (e.g. Cro, library)

    • Groups outside - No more than roughly 15 people

  • Student individual travel local (New London County) - Essential only (grocery store and pharmacy) and mask required

  • Student individual travel distance (beyond New London County) -  Must be approved by class dean in extenuating circumstances. Mask required.

  • Visitors - Student family members may visit with proof of vaccination, negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, or recent infection. Families may not go into residence halls. 

Those students who left campus during Alert Level 3-Orange must have a negative PCR test before returning to campus. They must also arrive on campus on a day that the Testing Center is open (Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri), show their negative test upon arrival and be tested on campus.  

Students who are in isolation on campus or in local hotels and students in isolation at home will begin to transition back to campus later this week after their 10-day period is complete. Student Health Services will individually clear the students to return. Once approved, they will return to campus and can resume their regular engagement on campus following all the protocols noted above.

Please review all this information carefully. We all have to be thoughtful in following the protocols so that we can continue the downward direction in positive cases. If we stay on this trajectory, we will be able to move to Alert Level 1-Green in the coming days.  

Thank you for your continued support and diligence as we work together as a community to remain healthy and safe.  

Sincerely, 

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students