Important Information About This Weekend and Planning Your Departure From Campus

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I write today to share with you a letter that I sent to your student with information about continuing to follow our COVID-19 protocols and the College’s plans for student departures in November. I ask that you read this and review it with your student to help us ensure a safe and smooth process for everyone leaving campus.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fall2020SafeReturn@conncoll.edu. Thank you for all you do to support your student.

Sincerely,

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students
 



Dear Students, 

As we approach the weekend and move into November, I want to call your attention to a few important pieces of information that hopefully answer some of the questions you may have been wondering about:

New Positive Cases: Earlier this week, test results identified three positive student cases and through contact tracing we identified a number of people who needed to be quarantined. Today, six students who were in quarantine had positive test results and were moved to isolation. College staff members are working closely with these students to provide care and support. These recent cases are all connected to the same social group and are our first positive cases in a month originating from a new source. As a campus, we have done very well in minimizing the spread of the virus. Please continue to comply with the Camels Care Pledge in order to maintain our low prevalence of the virus on campus. Levels of COVID-19 continue to be high in New London County, therefore off-campus travel in the county is still restricted for essential reasons.

New Travel Advisory States: This week, Connecticut added the following states to its travel advisory list: California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Please keep this in mind during your final weeks on campus. Remember to go to the Things to Know page to review the expectations for off-campus travel. If you visit these states overnight, you will need to onboard quarantine for 14 days.

Halloween Weekend: Tomorrow is Halloween–it is on a Saturday and it’s also a full moon! While we all would like to enjoy Halloween as we normally would, this year due to COVID-19 it will not be possible. Please do not let your guard down this weekend in order to celebrate Halloween.

If we have an outbreak as a result of social events this weekend, you and your peers may find yourselves in isolation or quarantine. Working our way through an outbreak can take several weeks and can impact your ability to leave campus for Thanksgiving. Please continue to follow the Camels Care Pledge.

Preparing to Leave Campus: As we move into November, you need to think about the necessary steps to safely leave campus. Similar to the onboarding process, we are implementing a departure process so that you minimize the possibility of spreading COVID-19 beyond our campus to your home communities. All students are expected to follow these steps:

  • As a community we must continue to work together to keep COVID-19 levels on campus low.

  • During the two weeks before you depart campus (beginning around Nov. 6), you should limit your activities and adhere to the same protocols you have been following all semester—wear a mask/face covering, maintain social distancing, wash your hands frequently and avoid situations and settings that present opportunities for contagion (on and off campus).

  • Continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week. Your last test on campus for the semester will be either Thursday, Nov. 19 or Friday, Nov. 20. You should not leave campus until you have your test result, which will be posted to the CoVerified app the next day (the time of day for reporting results varies).

  • Students who are in quarantine or isolation will remain on campus until they are cleared by Student Health Services, unless they have coordinated with their parents/guardians and the College to go home in a private vehicle (no public transportation or Uber/Lyft).

  • When traveling home, take safety precautions to minimize exposure and transmission of the virus when stopping at rest stops, taking public transportation (e.g. trains, planes, Uber/Lyft) or eating at restaurants along the way.

  • Once in your home community, you may choose to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. Given the frequent testing at the College, and if there continues to be low levels of COVID-19 on campus, this recommendation is out of an abundance of caution and consistent with risk mitigation strategies applied after traveling. You should discuss this with your parents/guardians and determine the best way to transition back to your home community.

Departing Campus: In the next couple of weeks, I will send additional details about departing campus. Given that some students are asking about this now, I have a few details to share related to your personal belongings.

We are planning to have students return to campus for the spring semester, but we don’t know how the COVID-19 circumstances in the country and/or in Connecticut could impact this process. Therefore, I ask that you read the following FAQ carefully:

  • What can I leave in my room? You may leave your belongings in your room.

  • What should I take with me? You should take any academic items and personal belongings that you may need next semester if we are not able to repopulate the campus and the semester is entirely remote.

  • How should I leave my room in case we do not return to campus?

    • You may choose to pack your belongings into boxes labeled with your name and leave the boxes in your room. Boxes and packing materials will be provided by the College. This is recommended for students who live at a distance and would need to store their belongings or would want to ship their belongings home (at their own expense) if we don’t repopulate the campus.

    • If you live in a double or apartment, consolidate all your belongings to one side of your room or one area of the apartment so that it is clear which items belong to you.

    • Make sure that your windows are closed and your door is locked when you leave. You should also remove all trash and perishable items from your room before departing.

  • What happens to my belongings if we do not return for the spring semester? Your belongings will remain in your room, and we will develop a process to have you pick up your things in the spring/early summer depending on the COVID-19 circumstances. If you live at a distance and are therefore unable to return to campus, you will need to coordinate to have your belongings stored or shipped to you at your expense.

  • What should I do if I am currently on campus and plan to continue my studies at the College remotely next semester? If you do not plan to study on campus next semester, then you must move out of your room when you leave campus in November. This will allow us to prepare your room for another student to use in the spring semester. You will need to turn in your key to the Camel Card Office dropbox on the second floor of Crozier-Williams before you depart.

Staying on Campus: We have reviewed student petitions to remain on campus. Students who will be staying on campus will receive additional details about living on campus during this period of time after Nov. 22. Students, along with faculty and staff working on campus, will continue to participate in testing from late November to early February.

Returning to Campus: The week of Nov. 9, you will receive an email from Dean Singer, Dean McKnight and me that includes a link to a brief survey about how you intend to continue your Connecticut College education next semester—on-campus or remote. Dean Singer and his colleagues are working to provide you with information on spring semester courses and the format in which they will be taught (semester/module, in-person/virtual). All students (those currently on campus and remote) are required to complete this survey. This information will help the College prepare for the spring semester.

Housing On-Campus Next Semester: If you are currently living on campus, you can continue to live in your current room assignment next semester. If you are remote and plan to return to campus, there will be a process to assign housing for next semester. The data from the above mentioned survey will help us develop plans for spring semester housing. If you have any questions about housing, please direct them to housing@conncoll.edu.

Living Off-Campus Next Semester: At this time, we are not planning to approve any more students to live off-campus. Important Note: If you choose to be a remote student, whether full-time or part-time, you may not live within 50 miles of the College unless you are residing at your permanent address. If we learn that you are not following this requirement and thus not participating in testing on campus, you will be referred to the conduct process for non-compliance, which could lead to suspension from Connecticut College. For more details on this expectation please reference a message sent to you on Aug. 22.

I hope that this information is helpful as you begin to develop plans for the next three weeks and beyond. There is a lot happening on campus this weekend with programming and events, and I encourage you to participate in some of what is being offered. I also hope you take the time to enjoy the sunny weather on Saturday after these recent cold and rainy days. I’ll be in touch soon with more information as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students