COVID-19 Update: September 17, 2020

Sep 17, 2020 • COVID-19 Campus Updates
Campus Update graphic

Campus Community -

In advance of the town hall next week and before the next weekly email, I wanted to address a few items...

Weekly Email:
We have heard feedback that you would like the weekly email and the latest dashboard numbers to be a joint announcement. When the weekly email started, the dashboard was not yet set up, but this is a change that is easily made. Starting next week, the weekly email will be sent on Tuesday mornings in conjunction with the updated dashboard numbers.

What's the Difference Between Quarantine & Isolation?

  • Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Quarantine is for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or have some other reason that they wish to limit their contact with others.
  • Page three of this document gives good definitions of the different levels of quarantine.
  • Individuals in quarantine who are symptomatic and/or were a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must complete 14 days of quarantine, even if they get a negative test result.
  • Individuals awaiting a test result who have not been exposed and are not symptomatic may be released from quarantine if they receive a negative test result.

What Happens If We Move Operating Levels?

  • A number of students have shared concern about how a change in operation level would happen and what it would mean. Let me assure you that if the time comes to change the operating level, you will have some advance warning.
  • Campus will be alerted at least 24 hours prior to a change so we can work together to prepare. More details would be released once the operating level actually changes - but please know our intent is to give you at least 24 hours warning.
  • It's also worth noting that a change in operating level may not coincide with the weekly email. If information becomes available that makes it evident that a change is needed, we will let campus know and begin that work right away.
  • Should we move to a higher operating level (even red), it does NOT mean that students will be asked to leave campus.
  • Moving to a different operating level is NOT permanent. We will move operating levels as circumstances warrant. We created the operating levels so we could make changes as things happen and as information becomes available. If we were to move to orange or red, we would monitor the situation and shift back to a lower operating level as circumstances improved.
  • For upperclassmen, I know what happened last March may be on your mind. Please know that if we move to an orange or red operating level, it would look much different than last spring. If we reach that point, we will openly communicate with you and give you as much information as possible as it becomes available.

What We Need From You Now:

As we are seeing more cases on campus, we need everyone to do their part.

  • Wear your mask.
  • Limit close contact with others.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Take care of yourself.

We have seen examples here at Morningside of one individual testing positive, then learning that person had close contact (less than six feet for longer than 15 minutes) with more than a dozen people, all of whom must then quarantine for 14 days. Those basic instructions of physical distancing and wearing masks are the best way to stay COVID-19 free and out of quarantine.

I hope that many of you will join us for the Town Hall next Wednesday, where we hope to further clarify some of this information. Meanwhile, please submit questions to Erin Edlund ahead of that meeting, and keep doing your part to keep our community healthy.

Spicer