Updates Related to COVID-19 Plans
I have a few topics I’d like to update you on related to COVID-19. I also want to let you know that we brought back the COVID-19 Dashboard. Data will be updated regularly and we will begin posting information later this week.
Distancing for Unvaccinated People and Symptom Checking
With the testing plan we now have in place (students testing twice a week and employees testing once a week) we are adjusting the distancing expectations for people who are unvaccinated. Rather than requiring that people distance 6ft we are recommending it when possible.
In addition, with weekly testing in place, symptom checking is recommended but not required. Students and employees will not be expected to show the app status screen or website printout to demonstrate their campus status (Clear or Restricted). Symptom checking is still recommended and can be a helpful reminder to monitor one’s health and seek the assistance of a health care professional if COVID-19 symptoms emerge.
As I described at Monday’s Zoom meeting, given that people need to remove masks while eating and drinking, during the first two and a half weeks of the semester (Aug. 25 to Sept. 12) food and beverage service will be Grab and Go. Harris dining hall’s typical extensive food offerings are available. The College will be monitoring test results during this early part of the semester and we hope to resume normal operations after September 12.
During this period of time, there will be no seating in dining rooms and coffee shops. It is preferable that people eat and drink outside (weather permitting), but you may eat and drink in an indoor location if seated at least six feet apart from another person. This plan also includes catering--catered events should be planned for outside during this period of time.
Another topic that I covered on Monday pertains to being off-campus. It is important that we try to not bring COVID-19 onto campus, particularly given the congregate living nature of a residential college and the elevated levels of COVID-19 in New London County. Through our own experience last year and based on research related to COVID-19 spread, it is clear that eating and drinking in restaurants indoors and in bars contributes to the spread of the virus given that masks are removed in these types of spaces. As a result, the College is not permitting indoor activities off-campus where masks would not reasonably be worn (e.g. restaurants and bars). If you are going to eat off-campus, find a restaurant with seating outside and, if picking up take-out, wear a mask when entering the restaurant. Students may not go to bars even if the bar contains an outdoor space due to crowded outdoor areas. We will continually reevaluate these expectations as we monitor COVID-19 levels in Connecticut and New London County.
As noted in the Student Guidance page on the Path Forward site we have specific instructions on how to manage having visitors and guests on campus this fall. The College is defining visitors and guests differently--a visitor is a person who is coming to campus for a short period of time and is not staying overnight and a guest is a person who is staying overnight at the College.
Visitors are permitted on campus and must be hosted by a faculty/staff member or student; or, they may visit the College through a coordinated admissions event or other College program. The College may coordinate hosting overnight guests through established programs and overnight guests must be fully vaccinated and arrive to campus with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. Students may not host their own overnight guests at this time.
All visitors to the campus are expected to be able to show one of three types of documentation listed below. Visitors may be asked to show this documentation at any time while they are on campus. Faculty, staff, and student hosts are responsible for informing visitors of these expectations and are expected to ask the visitor to show the documentation before arrival or upon arrival to campus:
Documentation of being fully vaccinated
Documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR test with 72 hours of arriving on campus
Documentation of having had COVID-19 within 90 days of arrival on campus
If you or your club/organization are hosting an event (e.g. speaker, performance) and the event will be open to the public then the host(s) of the event is responsible for setting up a check-in area where campus community members can show their Camel ID demonstrating that they are part of our vaccination and testing expectations and those without a Camel ID would need to show the documentation noted above.
If you missed Monday’s Zoom meeting, you can view the recording by using the link below and the following passcode (8!Pgj2@Z):
I hope this information is helpful as we prepare to start the academic year. See you all soon!
Dean of Students