Updates for approved residential cohort

Message sent September 11, 2020

Keira Kant, Associate Dean, responds to questions related to quarantine guidelines and the status of moving students into new spaces for the remainder of the semester.

Dear Students in the Approved Residential Cohort,

I write to you today to provide additional information in response to questions we have received regarding next steps for the approved residential cohort related to quarantining guidelines and the status of moving into new spaces for the remainder of the semester.

Current Quarantine Guidelines

While the process of de-densifying campus is almost concluded, and we tested the approved residential cohort, students must continue to adhere to the quarantine guidelines in the same manner as our initial testing at the start of the semester.

Post-testing quarantine this week

All students were tested on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and were placed into quarantine pending test results. Students should remain in their rooms until they receive a negative test result which is available through Medicat and may leave for grab and go meals in the Dining Center. Students should not visit others in their hall or house during this time. While we hope that all students will receive their test results before classes resume on Monday, if you have not received your result, you should be in touch with your faculty member.

Once students receive a negative test result, they will be out of quarantine but must follow the guidelines in the section below (Plan for this Weekend), and, as always, maintain physical distancing and continue to wear masks.

Plan for this Weekend (Sept. 11-13)

Once students receive confirmation of a negative test result from earlier this week, students can:

  • 7am – 8pm: Students are welcome to be outside, attend classes, pick up meals, manage personal needs (laundry, post office, bookstore, etc)
  • 8pm – 7am: Students should return and stay in their residences

Plans once Classes resume on Monday, September 14

  • Regular testing will occur each week on Mondays and Tuesdays and you will be notified by Residence Life with details for each round of testing.
  • At this time, the College does not plan to require quarantine after testing begins on Monday. This will be evaluated regularly based upon test results, compliance with the Student Health Agreement, regular monitoring/reporting of health checks through Medicat, etc. You will be updated if there are any changes to the status of campus life in relation to quarantine or limited outside hours.

About Masks/Face Coverings

  • When Inside: After we relocate the students remaining on campus as part of the residential cohort, you can visit with others in their rooms as long as everyone is masked and distanced in the room. If you and your friends want to gather, please do so and don’t forget masks/face coverings and physical distancing! Some individual rooms may not allow for more than two or three students, so you may want to consider gathering outside.
  • When Outside: While the weather is still nice, we encourage students to get outside to gather in open grassy areas or the tents, when not in class session. As with inside, masks and physical distancing are required. If you are exercising – running, playing tennis, etc, masks are not required. However, you should carry one with you in the event that you are not able to maintain physical distance and put back on when you stop exercising.
  • When Eating and Gathering: This is clearly an exception to wearing masks/face coverings. However, it is an exception ONLY when eating. As you gather with friends to eat meals, remember you should keep the mask on until you are eating and then put it back on when you are done eating. This is also a reminder that when you gather to eat and socializing, you should be at least 6 feet apart (ie, in circles outside on the grass), not any closer. Please note the signs on each table which indicate the number of people who can sit in a certain area.

New housing assignment and moving

As you know, all students in the approved residential cohort will be placed in singles in order to de-densify the halls and to support the needs of the potential positive COVID-19 cases and associated contacts that may arise. Some students may remain in their current rooms, but others will be moved to achieve these goals and to maintain some sense of community for groups who already have been living together. For example, for the First-Year students, our guiding principles include (but cannot guarantee):

  • Maintaining some continuity with proximity to roommates/floormates
  • Maintaining some continuity with proximity to First-Year Seminar classmates

The Office of Residential & First-Year Programs has been working around the clock to address the best ways to manage the approved residential cohort in the most appropriate spaces for safety and program as possible. In addition to reassigning rooms, there is additional coordination with Facilities Services for cleaning and readying rooms for the transition.

Students will be notified early next week of their new housing assignment with instructions for moving during the weekend of September 18-20. Any students with an existing approved housing accommodation (kitchen, air conditioner, etc) will be placed in a housing assignment that meets the original accommodation when starting the school year.

Additional Reminders

Dining Grab and Go

  • Grab and go meals will continue throughout the quarantine time period and as an option for the remainder of the semester.
  • Beginning on September 16, the Dining Hall and Bullet Hole seating will be available following posted all mitigation strategies, including masks/face coverings and physical distancing. The ONLY exception to wearing a mask is when you are actually eating.

Fitness Center, Campus Recreation, and Intercollegiate Athletics

  • We plan to resume in-person recreational activities within the Jaeger Center, including at the College pool, as early as September 16 (but no later than September 18). If you receive a negative test result before our in-person activities resume and you would like to exercise, students may access the track at Musselman Stadium, the intramural fields, and the Tennis Courts.
  • In addition, coaches will be engaging with members of teams who are part of the approved residential cohort in athletic activities following the same timeline (as early as September 16, but no later than September 18).
  • There will still be mitigating practices in place to comply with federal, state, NCAA, and institutional policies surrounding COVID-19. However, since conditions on campus have changed (de-densification and testing each student regularly), certain adjustments will be made to adapt to these new conditions.
  • This week, there will be several opportunities to engage virtually with Campus Recreation. These opportunities include:
  • Virtual, live fitness classes. Sign up here.
  • Campus Rec E-Sports 2021

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing masks and keeping at least 6 feet of physical distance. These strategies are critical in our efforts to remain in residence going forward for the rest of the semester.

Thank you and be well,