Anne Ehrlich, VP for College Life and Dean of Students, and Jen Lucas, Executive Director of Human Resources, update the campus community about COVID-19 policies and campus trends.
Dear Members of the Gettysburg College Community,
We hope you are settling into the new school year and enjoying these early weeks of the semester with classmates and colleagues. We write today to update you on our campus community’s COVID-19 status, as well as to share some recent observations from across higher education.
Last week, we informed you that COVID-19 testing was underway for students and employees who meet the requirements to be part of the College’s testing protocols. We are pleased to report that moving into the second week of classes, we continue to hold steady at a Baseline Alert Level.
While our start to the semester has been encouraging, the College will continue to keep all COVID-19 policies in place for now, including the indoor masking requirement.
When we established our temporary indoor masking policy, we explained our desire to actively monitor conditions nationally, regionally, in our community, and on our campus before committing to any specific change in approach. As we have seen, the virus remains an active presence in our day-to-day lives.
As part of this monitoring, we are seeing that many college and university campuses with vaccination rates similar to Gettysburg College have had experiences this semester that mirror our own: low positivity rates and the return of dynamic, in-person student activities. With that said, we are also seeing that there are some campuses where—even with high vaccination rates among students and employees, and strategic health measures in place—they are experiencing notable increases in positive cases over the past few weeks.
To ensure we continue to provide as normal a learning, living, and working environment as possible, the most prudent course of action at this time is to maintain our practice of actively monitoring the virus, with the understanding that we will adapt our policies incrementally as conditions allow. As promised, we will assess our temporary masking policy weekly and will provide an update regarding policies next week.
As noted, all of the College’s COVID-19 policies will remain in effect. With that said, we support any campus community member making a personal choice to voluntarily adopt additional safety precautions when it comes to masking. This includes masking when they are in close proximity to others, whether outdoors, in residence halls, or alike. While these precautions are not mandated by the College, we welcome steps taken by community members out of an abundance of caution for the wellbeing of our community at large.
We thank you for your continued resilience amid this pandemic and for your cooperation in keeping our community safe. If you have any questions, please visit the COVID-19 website or contact email@example.com.
Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students
Executive Director of Human Resources